Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Day 2 - Time and the Conways

Today got off to a great start. I slept in until 10:15, which felt great after crashing just 8 hours prior after an exhausting yet exhilarating, first day.

Anna -- I saw four Arsenal jerseys today. WHERE’S THE LIVERPOOL LOVE?
You are probably wondering where I got the title for this post. Well, after class today, I ventured into London on my own for the first time with the intention of meeting my second cousin, Ryan, who is in town. Funny story: no way in hell would I have felt REMOTELY comfortable doing this a mere two days ago. It is amazing how accommodating this city is, and how nice most people are. I was scared out of my mind two days ago going anywhere on my own… getting from the airport to the dorm was bad enough. Today totally changed my mind. I felt like a total non-tourist (for once). I knew exactly where I was going, and I had fun on the way!
I met Ryan at 1:45 at the St. Paul’s tube stop, which was just one stop away from the one closest to where I am living. Very convenient meeting place! We stopped for lunch at a neat pub, and he told me about his travels in the UK.

He has an amazing story: Wake Forest (he is a rising senior there) actually paid for him to do his own independent research in Scotland, Ireland, and Great Britain about the history of the banjo. I didn’t get to hear him play, but I know that he is quite talented. He is a TRUE lone wolf – hopping from hostel to hostel, lugging around a banjo, a computer, and alllll of his stuff for SEVEN WEEKS. No way could I do that – mad props to you, Ryan. You’ve inspired me to want to travel even more. Best of luck in Ireland and Scotland!
Here is us at the restaurant:

You might be wondering why the stop is called St. Paul’s. Well, it happens to be a massive (and beautiful) cathedral. This thing makes Duke chapel look like child’s play:

We didn't get to go inside, unfortunately. It costs a lot of money, and we didn't have much time. The building is REALLY big though.

Afterward, I showed Ryan down Gray’s Inn Road (the road we live on) and a few cool stops along the way, and we parted ways. I’m very happy that I got to spend some time with him, but sad that he is leaving the UK.

This next part is pretty cool. Why? I did some more exploring on my own, and I went GROCERY SHOPPING ALONE! I know that I'm way more excited about this than anyone that is reading, but it was awesome.

This is the little square with a lot of really cool restaurants, and the grocery store is at the very end:

Call me bargain hunter extraordinaire -- I shave pounds (remember, that is the word for CURRENCY here, not weight) off receipts like a beast. What was once a 17 pound check, I slashed to 12. Here's proof:

Savings of 5.17? That's like $8 US!

And here is what I got:

Love it.

Later that night, we saw an incredibly good play: JB Priestly’s The Time and the Conway's. It started off very confusing (as Professor Clum had warned us), but developed into the best acting (and story telling) I have ever seen. I personally think that acting is one of the most difficult things to do well, granted I don’t have much a talent for it like many others. The actors in this show not only had to have stunning individual performances to make the play work, but they had to act as a family. This is REALLY not an easy feat – if you think about YOUR family, and how… “unique” your reactions are with every member, think about doing that on stage with a different group of people, while maintaining a character and saying all your lines for a 3 hour performance. Needles to say, it was an unbelievably difficult task that was executed flawlessly. I won’t launch into more about the show, but in addition to the tremendous acting, we say some very cool special effects, involving stop-motion stuff.

Before we go, I'll give you my travel tip of the day. Many American's fear for their lives when they come here, because they never know if they should look left first or right. Thankfully, the UK has "got your back". At almost every crosswalk, they have these:

So when in doubt, just look down. The UK knows what's best for you. Brits are so smart... much more so than us Americans.

A few more photos: (I had to take this one)

This is where we saw the show tonight, and many shows to come (National Theater):

And we will end with a glamorous shot of me eating CHICKEN (not fish) and chips. Disappointing... But I promise I will get the traditional fish and chips when I find a good place for it.



  1. THE COAL HOLE HAS AMAZING FISH AND CHIPS! It is an adorable Pub across the Thames but within walking distance of the National Theater. So proud of your grocery shopping and spontaneous exploration. Also, the tour at St. Paul's is worth the money, but if you don't want to spend the money, go to a service there. It's free and you get to see the Cathedral and hear the incredible choir :)

    Much love!

  2. Hey Cam! We're having tons of fun reading your blog -- thanks for keeping us posted! Best of luck, enjoy those shows (I'm jealous), and have a wonderful time. :D


  3. You're going to be hard-pressed to find lots of Liverpool love in London (alliteration much?). Mainly Arsenal and Chelsea since they're the biggest clubs based there. BUT HOLD STRONG, BROTHER. Get up to Liverpool and you'll see all the Red you can handle.