London excite me please!

Hello everyone!

Or more precisely, hello the very few people who still follow this boring thing!

So I’ve been in London for a week. It is not like, super crazy fun or anything.

I am still not in the touristy mood. My brother keeps suggesting all these places he wants to go, and he keeps wanting to leave the house at 9 AM, which is ridiculous because that means having to wake up before 9 AM, and goodness knows that is quite out of the question for someone like me. Even more so for someone like me who is on vacation.

But since the sun is out at 5 AM, I am usually up by 7 AM anyway.

Yes, yes! See, I say that so nonchalantly, but actually that is a damn big deal for me. I don’t even wake up that early for classes (which, sadly, is going to change next semester SAD!)

Anyhow!

Other than feeling lazy/heavy/reluctant about leaving the house early in the morning, once I actually get my ass out the door, things are pretty great.

First lunch here? Dim sum in Chinatown. At 4 times the price of dim sum back home. I don’t need to point out the irony here.

Went to watch the Trooping the Color yesterday. Or also called the Queen’s Birthday Parade, or something. I don’t know how I’ve become so jaded. My brother was awed by all the fancy goings-on (“The Queen!” “Can you believe this has 300 years of tradition?” etc.), but all I can think of was, “When does this end?”

Can you see the Royal Family on the balcony? Squint a bit lah, I know it’s damn tiny.

I was quite sien. But I admit, during the glorious 10 minutes that the Queen rode by on her carriage in her pretty lilac dress, a lot of the Brits around us were waving the Union Jack. You can totally sense their national pride. That got me excited. (If this was in the U.S., it might’ve put me off a wee bit, because I used to think Americans have a bit of a superiority complex. But that is a story for another day.)

There were so many incredibly adorable little kids there!

As we were walking along with the crowd towards Buckingham Palace, one kid behind us asked his father, “Daddy is this going to be boring?” And his dad said, with no hint of sarcasm whatsoever, “Yes it’ll be boring.”

While walking to see the parade! So cute.

Then another time, as the guards in their bearskin hats marched past the Queen, what it looked like from where I was standing was that they were just marching back and forth repeatedly. One kid asked his dad, “What are they doing?” And the dad said, “They’re getting some exercise.” LOL.

After that we went to Chinatown again for lunch. This time at one of those small Chinese restaurants, where Jay Chou was playing in the background and one table next to us were speaking Mandarin while the other table were speaking Cantonese. Oh man it was like I never left Malaysia.

I wonder if people studying here ever still get homesick?

We went to St. Paul’s Cathedral after that.

St. Paul's Cathedral

Beautiful architecture. Pricey to enter.

England was playing the United States in the World Cup later that evening, so the city was full of excited football fans. If you leave your house, you will see a gazillion Flags of England all around the city.

At St. Paul, we saw a bunch of British Knights. Um yeah. Crazy football people.

World Cup Fever

Let me tell you one thing.

The English are too crazy about football to want to lose to America. The Americans are too proud to want to lose to England.

So what you get is a clash of two huge giants. Giant football craziness on one hand, giant ego on the other LOL.

If I went on Facebook, I’d see all these passionate debates between my friends who are England supporters, and my friends who are Americans. Not just on football skills, man! Also on “football” versus “soccer”. Now that they drew, one person said something that shut everyone up. She said, “You did not win. You drew with us. But while we are so disappointed, you are happy. What does that say about you?”

Word, LOL.

Anyhow. Between the 2 of us, we brought 3 cameras along (two DSLRs, one regular SLR), and yet we didn’t take much photos. Ironic no?

We went to Hampton Court Palace a few days ago. It was pretty damn amazing! Royal palace of kings from the 16th century, it couldn’t be anything else but amazing, seriously.

You get one of those audio guides with your admission fee, so you’d walk into a room and the narrator on the audio guide would be like, “This is the kitchen in which meals for Henry VIII and 1000 people were prepared. Look to your left. These huge pots and pans were blah blah blah…” Add to that all the sound effects on the audio, it’s like you were actually in the midst of all that Tudor action!

The rooms were amazing. The history was amazing. (I should use a thesaurus.)

The thing is, when you walk down a hallway full of tapestries 10 times (or more?) your size, or stand in the royal bedrooms or the royal throne rooms or the one bathroom of Mary II that had her linen-lined wooden tub, you cannot help but be in awe of the overwhelming history that saturates the walls of this place.

This is that same hall in which King Henry VIII, horrible Henry, tyrannical Henry, entertained his guests with lavish feasts!

This is the very staircase King William III walked!

This is the same four walls in which Queen Mary II used to chill with her ladies-in-waiting!

500 years ago, only the most courageous fool would have the nerve to look up and glimpse at Henry VIII. Everyone else had to make do with looking at his portraits. Such is his great power. Now, 500 years later, us, mere commoners, walk the same paths that this man who ruled the lands walked. If I lived in the Tudor period, I’d be no more than a lowly peasant. Now I’m in the king’s bedroom. How awesome is that? (That came out a little wrong HAHA.)

They didn’t use to bath back then. They believed it caused illness. Queen Mary’s bathtub was something of a novelty. Now can you imagine centuries from now, people will stare at OUR bathtubs/beds/cars and go, “Whoa. How did they live like this?!”

We walked through all the rooms while listening to the audio guide. Then we had lunch in the great Hampton Court Gardens, went around the maze. After that, we decided to go around the castle a second time. By the time we came out, they were already closing and getting ready for some festival at night. Squeezed the worth out of £14.50 kao kao!

When we went to one of William III’s dining rooms the second time, there were several round tables out and people were setting them up with plates, fancy cutlery and wine glasses. We asked them what was going on, and this guy told us that people attending the music festival here could choose to have dinner here. In one of the rooms in the palace. Where kings used to eat!

See, these aren’t big halls. We’re talking about small-ish rooms, about the size of the average modern living rooms. Okay maybe just a wee bit bigger. I think, if I were the king or queen, I’d be damn pissed knowing that people are using my throne room and eating there as some sort of novelty fun. And yet, at the same time, can you imagine the king -THE KING!- having sat on his throne in this very room to meet with an audience, some 400-500 years ago? Like, WHOA.

At one point, while we were at the gallery that Catherine Howard was dragged away screaming, and where her ghost is said to haunt, suddenly who should appear but King Henry VIII himself! Oh yeah! (If you really wanted to potong stim, then you can say he is a man paid to play dress up and talk in old english and wield non-existent power over his equally fake courtiers.)

I wish wish WISH I had photos, but I forgot my camera. I could kick myself, really. My brother brought his old-school SLR, but he had limited film so he took limited photos. There were so many good photo ops, man!

I never know how to end posts so I shall stop abruptly here. Bye!

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