Friday, September 30, 2005

Really Long Post

We're in Belfast, birthplace of C.S. Lewis and the city where the Titanic was built. Pretty awesome, although a bit rainy. It strangely reminds me of the San Francisco Bay Area (it kind of feels like Oakland, actually) but with way too much brick. I mean, we have some brick, but we have to worry about earthquakes and junk. Here they just have to worry about rain. And religious tension. And junk. So they can afford to have a lot of brick. Anyway.

So, I realized while frantically typing my extremely short post the other day how much I need to catch up. So here it is.

Okay, back to the 8 day break. A bunch of really cool random things happened to be going on in London when I was there with my parents, so we got to see some cool stuff. For instance, they had this flotilla of boats and tall ships and funerary barges and floating things go down the river in honor of the (anniverary? of the) burial of Lord Nelson, and we happened to be right on the water (we were waiting for a water taxi kind of thing, but it was coming up the other direction so it was stopped for like 20 minutes). The HMS Belfast (parked on the side of the Thames) shot off a 14 cannon salute. Anyway, we thought it was pretty cool. Then we later found out that they only do this every 40 years or something, so then we decided it was really cool, since it was kind of a once in a lifetime thing. Well, hopefully I'll be alive in 40 years, but I probably won't be in London.

Then there was a random Thames festival going on, so there were lots of food vendors and craft tables and people performing and stuff for sale. We watched this guy who had performing parakeets, mostly because my mom and I like parakeets (one of the only things I got from her - side note: I have it from my mother herself that I am never going to turn into her, so I am very excited about that. I'll just take her good points, for instance liking parakeets and reading all the time). One of the bird looked like Duane (my parakeet at home), so that was kind of funny. The guy was really strange though. Anyway, way too much talking about birds for the average person, so I'll stop.

Also at the festival I picked up a really cool single edition of The Lord of the Rings from 1972, so that was exciting. Hurray for literature. And a few days later they shot off fireworks, which we watched from our hotel room since we were right on the river. Pretty awesome.

Okay, shows and stuff that I saw. Other than Guys and Dolls, I went to A Few Good Men (like the movie, but the play came first) with Rob Lowe in it (if you're into The West Wing which I am not). Then we went to see A Winter's Tale at the Globe Theatre (yay for Shakespeare) which I've only heard about recently but I really enjoyed it. The best part of going to the Globe with your parents = having real seats instead of being a groundling. Although that wouldn't be too bad. Standing for a few hours. Maybe someday. Anyway, then we saw Epitaph for George Dillon starring Joseph Fiennes (a.k.a. "Shakespeare" in Shakespeare in Love). I'm not really sure what it meant. My dad went with me and we were both pretty confused. Good show though.

Most exciting thing I went to was the RUTTER REQUIEM IN ST. PAUL'S CATHEDRAL CONDUCTED BY JOHN RUTTER HIMSELF!! Leave it to me to go to a choir concert. That was the night after my parents left, and pretty much the only reason I stayed in London an extra day rather than starting for Dublin a day earlier. And I'm super glad I did, because it was beautiful. Apparently it was the week of Rutter's 60th birthday, so it was kind of in honor of that. Hurray for turning 60. And now I have "When I'm Sixty-Four" stuck in my head...

Okay, other stuff I did during the break. I went to the Tower of London with my mom, which we've done before but we love it. You have to take the Yeoman Warder's Tour because Beefeaters are funny. They used the same jokes as they did last time, and we still laughed. Oh, those Yeoman Warders... We also went to Hampton Court, which is where Cardinal Wolsey lived until he gave his house to Henry VIII because that's what you do. The garden was super gorgeous, and they have this ancient grapevine (The Great Vine) that was planted centuries ago and is still around. So that's cool.

I went on a day trip to Bath (which I kind of mentioned before) which was really awesome. I've always gone to Bath when I've been to England, so it was kind of tradition. I love that city (although Jane Austen apparently hated it, but that's beside the point). It's just gorgeous, set inside all these green hills, then there's the Roman baths (which I didn't go in since I've done it before), the Royal Crescent, the river, beautiful architecture, just lovely. I think I'd live there if I moved to England.

So, been really dorky lately and kind of getting into genealogy (mostly because we're related to these two Archbishops of Canterbury). We decided to look them up online (I don't know why it took us this long to think of that), and we found tons of family tree stuff. The only problem is that the more research we did, we found our connection to them to be not as close. We thought my great-great-grandfather was the brother of one of them, but now we think they might have been cousins. Anyway, we're going to figure it out. If it all works out right, then apparently my great-great-great-etc. (seven greats in total) grandfather owned an inn/pub in Berwick-upon-Tweed, and I looked it up and the pub still exists. I think it has changed a bit, though, since apparently there are pool tables, a kareoke machine and a DJ. Still cool that it's around, though.

This entry is getting really long. I'll try to sum up quickly.

We all arrived in Dublin on the 23rd (hey, that was a week ago exactly). One of the highlights of Dublin was going to the Guinness Storehouse, where we learned all we ever wanted to know about making Guinness and then ended up in the "Gravity Bar" on the top of the building with a 360-ish degree view of Dublin and a complimentary pint of Guinness. We were all pretty happy at that point. We sat around, sipping the Guinness and talking about how happy we were. Oh happy people. We were in this glow: "Oh we're so happy to all be together again and we all love each other and what a great view of Dublin and we have Guinness and we're so happy." I don't think that it was just the alcohol...

An un-highlight of Dublin was staying in a room with seven strangers (a room for 11 and only 4 of us were BISPers). We met some Australians who were really cool, but otherwise...well, let's just say I hate being woken up at 3:30am by drunk roommates who come back, turn on the room lights and make noise for an hour. As much as I hate that, believe me, I hate it more two nights in a row. Fortunately, they left the day after that, so I only had to worry about being woken up by loud snoring people who couldn't help it (this guy had the weirdest "woken" a word?).

Anyway, safe and sound in Belfast, and very happy to have single rooms after the roommates from hell. The place we're staying at is on a hill (another way it reminds me of SF Bay Area: being on a hill with a great view of the city, esp. at night). And we've had a bit of free time so far, so I've been getting a lot of reading done (always good). Anyway, that's pretty much all I've got for now. Later tonight we're going to a youth thing with like 200 something kids from 13 to 18, so we'll see how that goes. I'm not really sure what we're supposed to do...I guess I'll tell you next time. Anyway, nice talking with you. Ciao.


At 9/30/2005 9:56 AM, Anonymous Nina said...

I hate to admit it, but I actually really liked Persuasion. There, I said it.
Weird snores are never good, but on the bright side, "woken" is definitely a word.


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