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!


Sleep day before classes start

I got to sleep in today, for which my body was extremely thankful.  I also tried my first pasty today (which I so cleverly mispronounced – you get the picture).  They remind me of patê chaud/Bánh patê sô, which is a delicious savory puff pastry pie.  When I was a child, my mother used to make them and the name was so unfamiliar/funny to me that I thought she was saying the word “artichoke.”  No matter how much you massacre their names, patê chaud and pasties are delicious.  I might attempt making them when I get back home.  I am not the most tedious former of dumplings, pastries, and such, so they might be majorly disfigured, but hopefully still delicious pasties.

In the afternoon, the gals and I took a stroll to the Strand in search of phones, but I suspect that the other British Studies students beat us there because we visited two more Carphone Warehouses before getting lucky.  We ended up on Oxford Street (great for shopping) and Taylor finally tracked down her ice cream.  She got a soft serve ice cream cone with a flake bar, which Wikipedia informs me is called a 99 Flake.  The origins of the name are unknown, but some suggest it is because the ice cream looks like double bunny ears or perhaps it was the address of the creator.  Who knows?  All I know is that I am definitely going to try a 99 Flake before my departure.

As is our misfortune, Jade and I both had busted bags (zipper woes) that we needed to replace, so we went in search of bags for our daily outings.  We ended up at Primark, which was a complete and utter madhouse.  There were people and clothes and people and clothes and bags and shoes and people just everywhere.  We thankfully made it out successfully and unscathed.

Before getting on the tube, I spotted this poster:

McBusted Promo

With the McBusted poster

So of course, I had to pose with it!  I was mildly obsessed with McFly when it was age appropriate to be, but I still like them and I am hoping to catch their concert in Hyde Park (with the Backstreet Boys) if I can.  Fingers crossed!

We decided to head home at this point, but stopped at Marks & Spencer and Boots for a few necessities.  We intended to have some pizza we picked up from M&S, but things don’t always work out, so we headed back out in search for sustenance.  We ended up at Gourmet Burger Kitchen.  The food was tasty, but the highlight of the meal (for me, at least), was the awesome ketchup bottle.  It was a tomato!  How cute is that?  Too stinking cute is the answer I want.  And look at that Sprite in a glass bottle.  It was the first I’d seen, so I was chuffed.  I might throw some British slang around here and there, just to be that person and because I can!

Cute ketchup dispenser

Cute ketchup dispenser at Gourmet Burger Kitchen

We headed back to the dorm where we watched Archer season five and cringed thinking about our early rise tomorrow. .  We have to meet at 7am for our day trip to the Bodleian Library at Oxford and our Christ Church tour, so I’m hoping to get to bed soon.  Until then, stay cool, friends!