Sunday, June 27, 2010

check that off the list

I'm not against having lists--I am very much a descendant of Captain-Make-A-List and live up to that with flying colors. However, there are good lists and bad ones; in my opinion, the sight-seeing lists that all the girls here seem to have are a good example of bad lists. The items on these lists vary from person to person, but it's not so much what's on the list but rather how they are treated--it's this mentality that you have to see something so that you can say you did. For example, the changing of the guard: I hear it's actually pretty cool, but with thousands of people and no visibility, blazing hot sun and no chance of actually seeing it? Doesn't seem that great to me in that case, but these girls still have to be present so that they can check it off their tourist "oh yeah I've been there" lists. Well, I could say I've been there without actually going there--it doesn't take much to say something. And just because every tourist sees it doesn't make it all that worthwhile--like the Statue of Liberty, has anyone actually gone up that thing and ENJOYED it? No one likes it, and yet that's the thing to do in New York--when you could go to somewhere like Ellis Island and get so much more out of your trip! And yet it's all about icons. Sheesh. Just sayin'.

So yesterday we were given this "London Exploration Exercise," which basically was to help us learn to navigate the Tube and the bus. We were all completely exhausted, so I'm afraid that my first outing in the city wasn't quite as enjoyable as it could have been, but I still have several weeks here. :) Our first assignment was to visit Buckingham Palace and see the changing of the guard at 11:30am. We got there about 10:30am, so we had to wait. I had absolutely no desire to wait, as I observed that the place was already packed with people and it has been unusually hot here, but the group was decided--they had to check this off their lists (as previously stated, I hate the whole checking things off a list mentality, but whatever). I'm too much like my dad, in a good way; It might be cool to watch the changing of the guard, but it's not one of my life ambitions and with the heat and that many people I saw absolutely no point in the endeavor. I stayed though, because I didn't really want to finish the assignment alone, and I'm trying to work on patience and bonding with my fellow London peers (you should be proud, haha). Of course we didn't actually SEE it--at all--but I think I might have gotten a couple pictures (think because I couldn't see--I had to just raise my camera above my head and hope that I got something). It was completely worthless, but fortunately it didn't last forever, and I know that when I'm settled in more and feeling better (aka more energy) I won't be such a grump about it.

Tomorrow I start class--wish me luck! :)

Look at those lovely fake smiles. ;)

Don't we all look so excited to see the changing of the guard?
Yes, so excited indeed.
And there it is, the moment we've all been waiting for--little red bugs through prison bars.
I finally got close enough to stick my arm through the bars so my camera could at least get a glimpse of the spectacle.
Thank goodness for digital AND optical zoom.

I couldn't really see them, but the band sounded pretty cool.
P.S. I want a big furry hat and a machine gun.

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