Partying with 50,000 people at Hyde Park

A view of St. Paul's Cathedral from the Millenium Bridge

A view of St. Paul’s Cathedral from the Millenium Bridge

We started the day off at St. Paul’s Cathedral for an Orchestral Eucharist.  St. Paul’s is a beautiful building with extremely lavish decor, as one can imagine.  The service was unlike any I ever attended.  I was amazed that the service was so structured.  The program had almost every spoken word provided for us to follow along.  At some points, I kept itching for something organic, which might explain why I quite enjoyed the deacon’s message.  Her sermon was very personable and felt relevant.  Sometimes the Latin can make one feel a bit displaced.

After the service, Jade and I grabbed lunch and then headed over the Millenium Bridge.  We ran into three book benches today alone!  It was a great day for a book bench hunt.

I took a picture of Jade taking a picture of the Shakespeare Book Bench

I took a picture of Jade taking a picture of the Shakespeare Book Bench outside the Globe

Our plan was to visit the Globe, but it was inexplicably closed for a special event.  We headed over to the Tate Modern where we saw lots of great and lots of weird art.  We spent a few hours roaming around looking at works by Picasso, Louise Bourgeois, Henry Wessel, and Robert Mapplethorpe.  Jade had a great time looking at the photographs and I had a good time absorbing it all in.  I love London and its vast array of cultural attractions.

We walked back to the dorms along the Thames, so I could change my footwear.   My feet were feeling sore from walking around in my flats.  While we are on the topic of feet, here is an ankle update: my sprained ankle has resulted in a very fat and swollen foot that can only be described as “cankle.”  My cankle has actually developed some type of rash, probably from the wrap I wore for a few days.  I blame the London pollution.  Sorry if that was too much information.  Moral of the story: be smart and don’t sprain your ankle.

Jade and I headed over to Oxford Street next, partly to browse and partly in search of a floral crown for my evening venture.  We found one at Primark and I love it.  After our shopping, we parted ways.  I had tickets for the British Summer Time, a concert series at Hyde Park.  I entered the park from the North side, but I needed to pick up my tickets on the South Side.  When I received my tickets, I learned that I needed to make my way back to the North side.  My feet were screaming again because that the small stretch of Hyde park I trekked back and forth was not a very small stretch of land.

When I finally made it into the venue, the Backstreet Boys started playing.  I missed a few of their songs because I had to do some necessary thing such as visit the toilets and queue for fish and chips (obviously).  Surprisingly these fish and chips were way better than the ones I had at the pub.  They were delicious!  They had these little wooden forks to spear the food.  I loved it.

I joined the crowd to watch the Backstreet Boys on the main stage.  I had a great time singing along to some of their hits of yesteryear.  Memories!  They played a few songs from their latest album.  I did not even realize that they had a new album.  News to me!  Also, did anyone else realize that they have been around for twenty years?  I thought that was interesting.  I just had the best time singing along to Backstreet’s Back. It was a good time.

Backstreet Boys breaking it down

Backstreet Boys still breaking it down

After that set, there was an hour break while they set up the stage for McBusted.  I slowly wormed my way closer to the stage.  I didn’t make it very far, as it was extremely crowded.  I came to a standstill multiple times.

McBusted had a fabulous entrance and show.  They dropped onto the stage in the DeLorean.  They started playing a lot of Busted songs.  I’m not familiar with those, so it took a while for me to get into the groove.

The DeLorean

The DeLorean

The concert was so fun.  McBusted are such great performers.  At one point they went off stage and appeared on a UFO stage to play Star Girl.  I think that they invest a decent amount of time and effort into showmanship.

McBusted performing on a UFO

McBusted performing on a UFO

At other points there were fireworks, confetti, tshirt guns, fire, and inflatable triple breasts (I’m not sure what that was about).  They started to show an edited version of Tom’s wedding speech.  I will link the wedding speech because it’s actually quite good and worth a watch (over 13 million views), even if you are not a McFly/McBusted fan.  After that video clip, the band showed up wearing wedding dresses.  Dougie apparently could not get his off, so he spent the rest of the show wearing it.

Also during the show, I witnessed a fight between a middle aged woman and a young man.  There were a surprising number of young men at that concert – more than I thought there would be!  I do not know what they were fighting about, but it definitely got physical.  They were kicking each other.  I also saw the woman try to stub her cigarette in the back of her neck.  Not the classiest of scenes, but it broke up before it got too bad.  The guy walked away.

I never thought that I would have the opportunity to watch McFly in concert, so all in all, it was a great day!  Until next time, stay cool friends!


Serenaded at Waterloo and Seeing London from Above


Jubilee Gardens as seen from the London Eye

Jubilee Gardens as seen from the London Eye

We had a later start this morning.  At Waterloo, we noticed a new book bench, so of course we had to take our picture!  At one point, we stopped to ponder something and a young man began to serenade us with James Blunt’s Beautiful.  I suspect that he was quite drunk.  He belonged to a pack of other young men sniggering as he belted out his lyrics.  It was good fun.

Book Bench at Waterloo Station

Triplets sitting on a Book Bench at Waterloo Station

We took the tube to the National Portrait Gallery, which was amazing.  I never realized how much I adore portraits.  In my mind, they seemed so posed, formulaic, or boring, but seeing all the different styles, people, and media gave me a sense of depth, storytelling, and variety that portraits can assume. One of my favorites was of Fiona Shaw.  I just loved it!

Currently the BP Portrait Award 2014 is on display and it was an absolute madhouse in the gallery.  I was feeling quite claustrophobic trying to navigate my way around.  I definitely did not get to see as much as I desired and I believe that I must take another trip back, preferably not on a Saturday.  A Saturday in the summer in London?  It was quite crowded.

We stopped at EAT for a bite to eat.  Hah!  I got some chicken noodle soup because I was craving something hot.   After lunch, our group dispersed.  Jade and I headed back to Chinatown (we went for dinner on Wednesday).  I was really happy that we got to go back because the stores and business were closed by the time we made it there last time.  This time, I picked up a bag of prawn crackers to make back home.  I almost bought some tapioca balls to make boba, but the queue was quite long and I passed.  I’ll be back!  That’s guaranteed.  I need to go back to buy a bolo bao, some yau tiew (I never know how to spell that), and another milk tea.  The milk tea was the best I’ve ever had.  Better than Coffee or Tea and Taste Tea.  Quel scandale, I know!  The cheek of me to say such a bold statement, but yes, I stand by it.

We headed over to the Tate, which I also loved.  London really does have a great variety of fun, free, and interesting museums to explore.  I love the wide range of art the Tate offered.  From time periods and styles to media and themes, there was definitely something for everyone.  We did not have a lot of time, so we will definitely be back.  Jade and I stopped at Marks and Spencer at Waterloo to pick up dinner and we were shocked to find that the store is closing down.  Where will we shop?   It’s odd to find that we got so attached in such a small amount of time.  I suspect that we will get over it soon enough.

After dinner, Taylor, Laura Douglass, Jade, Paul and I headed down to the London Eye.  We started with the 4D Experience, which made me weary at one point.  I can only take some much light and sound.  Thankfully enough, it was not too bad.  Our ticket was for 9pm, but we are supposed to queue half an hour prior to our booking.  We made it onto the London Eye by 8:35pm, so there wasn’t much of a wait at all.  That was surprising for a Saturday in London during the Summer – to me at least!  It was probably just good timing and great luck!

London Eye

London Eye

We took a few (or many pictures), including a few meta-pictures.  That was fun!  After the London Eye, we strolled down the South Bank.  It was a nice ending to a busy day.  I think that Jade and I walked about 17,000 steps.  I just love exploring London!

I also want to point out that I finally caught up with blogging!   Yay!  I am current.  We’ll see how well I can keep this up and until next time, stay cool, friends!