I arrived in Heathrow on the Thursday morning and met up with shinyopals and together we took the longest bus in the universe back to her city. Frances joined us in London the following Tuesday, and then on Thursday we met up with starlightmoonla and lorelaisquared and the five of us spent most of the rest of our time together. It was awesome, the bigger group meant lots of fun and lots of sub-groups splitting off.
- The British Museum: impossibly vast. I think we spent maybe 2 hours in there and we barely scraped the surface. I think the more you know about history and particularly art history the more you will get out of the British Museum. As it is, I know few things, but I was still able to marvel at the sheer age and majesty of some of the pieces anyway. I elbowed my way through tourists to get a glimpse of the Rosetta Stone and felt accomplished.
- The Science & Tech Museum Or Whatever It's Called: This was pretty awesome too. I love science museums so much. SCIENCE IS COOL. We were tired so we sat and watched a presentation on ~Our Climate-Changing World~ about four times through before we stood up and carried on. We also played a game where you are supposed to innoculate people and sometimes they get sick and die. rofl
- The Natural History Museum: Really interesting stuff, but there was too many people for me to really enjoy it. I'm used to Canada's population density of 3 people/km2 okay? The line for the dinosaur exhibit was unfortunately like half an hour long and I couldn't justify that, so we skimmed through other things like exhibits on rocks and some stuff about whales. It was still pretty cool though.
- The London Aquarium: SO COOL. I LOVE AQUARIUMS. I liked doing this even if it was not very London-specific because I like looking at fish and getting to meander at my own pace. Opal and I sat and watched sharks for like fifteen minutes. I took a billion photos. There were penguins. Then we ended up in a weird zombie haunted house thing.
- The Zombie Haunted House Thing By the Aquarium: rofl we decided to do this on a whim on my last day. It was hilarious. Basically we paid like 12 GBP for actors to jump out, scream at us and grab us for 15 minutes. It was so bizarre but so hilarious that I can't bring myself to regret going. I love haunted houses NEGL.
- The National Portrait Gallery: We wandered into this with Frances on a whim and ended up spending an hour or so in there. It was pretty neat! All those portraits I've seen a dozen times in text books were REAL IN FRONT OF ME. I learned that Ben Johnson, my literary nemesis, looks a lot like Tom Baker. We also found a portrait of Noel Clarke and loled at it failing to mention Doctor Who.
- Tower of London: Loved this! We caught the last guided tour which was excellent because it was so much more informative and educational than me wandering around on my own would've been. We talked about beheading people and looked at old stuff and THERE IS A TOWER THAT IS OVER A THOUSAND YEARS OLD AND I GOT TO WALK UP IT, WHAT FRESH HELL IS THIS. It was awesome. Opal turned away in shame a lot. Also, we saw the Crown Jewels, wherein i turned away in shame as well because lol royalty.
- Harrods: LOL WHAT THE HELL IS THIS PLACE. I found a fruit basket that was 1000GBP. THAT FRUIT BETTER BE FRESH FROM THE GARDEN OF EDEN, JUST SAYING.
- The Doctor Who Experience: HILARIOUS. It was pretty nifty. I mean, I'd seen most of it in photos on Tumblr before I went, but it was still fun to get my picture with the terrifying wax statue of Matt Smith and stuff. AND TEN'S TARDIS. lol we spent so long there blocking the little kids from getting photos. Frances spent a while in the "walk like a Cyberman" exhibit until I dragged her away.
- Walking tour of London: Frances found us a free walking tour, and that was when we first met up with starlightmoonla and lorelaisquared. It was great! Our guide was fun and knowledgable and it was super cheap and we got to see lots of places and learn a bit about them without having to pay their horrible entrance fees. I'd definitely recommend it if you're in the area. I don't remember the name but I can make Frances look it up for you.
Also, while we were waiting for this, I guess the sound of me/Frances/lorelaisquared/starlightmoonla's North American accents attracted this random German lady who came over and started quizzing us about Canada and whether or not it was a part of the US and if we were American. When me, lorelaisquared and Frances went "NO!!!" in response to "are you American" she gave us some kind of... lecture... argument... thing...? about how we are from the continent of "America". We all kept being like "no we're from the continent of North America so we are North American but we're not just American because that means from the US" she kept being like "WELL I'M GERMAN BUT I WOULD NEVER SAY I'M NOT EUROPEAN" and we were all like '...what even'. I don't even know if she was genuinely confused or trying to be snarky, I think she was being snarky tbh. Maybe she complains about USian privilege on ontd_feminism.
I think that's about it for established events at like... particular tourist places. Obviously we also did things like "eat at pubs" and "walk around" and "have a picnic" and "watch Fright Night" that were a lot of fun. There was also that time I got my book signed, and that time a guy walked past me on the street and I nearly died of heart palpitations.
You may have noticed that I have barely mentioned Much Ado About Nothing in this post! That is because it is getting its own long-winded post. Get ready. In other theatre news, we also saw Mamma Mia (fun, but I was sitting next to two small children who fidgeted and were incredibly irritating the whole time) and Doctor Faustus. It was at the Globe, which was the highlight for me. The theatre is GORGEOUS and I was totally getting my Shakespeare nerd on, even if the seats were uncomfortable. We had seats, but it started raining, and seeing the actors valiantly carry on despite getting drenched, as well as their interaction with the groundlings, was really neat and gave me nerdish glee even as my ass fell asleep on the hard wooden bench (despite my rented cushion).
The play itself... I feel like I can't be particularly objective about the production because it's a play I am not very familiar with; I know the basic outline but haven't read it. But it had a couple things working against my general enjoyment. For one, it was the day after we saw Much Ado for the last time -- for another, I'd gotten sick the day before and wasn't feeling 100%. Moreover, Dr Faustus in general is a play that just doesn't work as well in our modern secular society the way it would have worked at the time. After Mamma Mia and Much Ado, a depressing morality play just didn't have the same spark and liveliness that I'd grown used to.
Because I don't know the text very well, I don't feel totally qualified to make calls about the acting choices, but I did find myself wishing Arthur Darvill had gone for a more energetic performance. I'd have LOVED to see his Mephistopheles get a bit more sinister mustache-twirling, delight a bit more in his villainy, anything -- and there were a few instances where he did something vaguely along those lines and it was great. But for the most part Mephistopheles seemed... bored, rather than tortured by his mere existence or a sinister agent of evil. I don't think Arthur Darvill was bad, but I also wasn't blown away the way I'd have wanted to be. But then again, maybe if I'd seen him before I'd seen David Tennant and Catherine Tate I'd have felt more starstruck and charitable. Hard to say. But the highlight for me was probably at the end, during the random musical number, when Darvill/Mephistopheles and Faustus rocked out on ukeleles together. LOL what.
Okay, this is already super long. See why Much Ado needs its own post?