Well, technically today is tomorrow, so I’ll start a new day even though it’s really still the same long slur of consciousness. It’s now 6:43 am or something ridiculous, and that’s 10:43 back home, which equals one long day already, but we still have to stay up all day so we can take care of jet lag in one sitting. Walking through immigration and customs literally took 2 minutes. We talked to the guy about badminton and he let us into his country. There was nothing at customs; you just walk through. I’m not even exaggerating. There was a line for “nothing to declare” and “if you have stuff to declare” and they both just met at the exit with absolutely zero security people in between. Hmph.
We got on ‘the Tube,’ London’s subway system, and after about 10 minutes and 3 stops we figured we’d be there by now, but we weren’t eve out of the airport yet. dang. The airport must be as big as the downtown area of Seattle. It wasn’t much of a shock when the tube surfaced and we saw London daylight for the first time. Warm, humid, overcast, kind of like Seattle, but somehow I don’t feel the threat of rain… but that might change. The vegetation looks much the same, and it’s a pretty green city for how densely packed the building/houses are. There’s lots of brick, and chimneys. Every house seemed to have a garden, or at least on the outskirts of town, and this is all while we’re tired and making observations at subway speeds, so this all might be completely false information. I feel pretty awake though. Everyone on the tube is on their phone. You get tossed around a bit from side to side, but you can almost stand on one foot as long as you trust that when it bumps you to the right, that it’ll return you back to the left. Momentum, man. Like good faithful Seattleites, we found a Starbucks and got some internet with a side of coffee. Or vanilla bean frap in my case. I hate coffee. I’m from Seattle. Blah blah walking contradiction blah blah.
The hotel has three identical paintings when you walk into the lobby. And orange backdrop with a yellow and blue smear wiping from left to right—oh wait, there’s another—make that four. I thought I was trippin’ out, and very well might have been, cause I thought there were mirrors when there weren’t mirrors. We looked up trips to Stonehenge, but they were all booked.
Just walking around town reminds me of a little metaphor in marketing class of how the US is a “melting pot.” London is a melting pot; the US is a salad bowl—there’s different ingredients, but they stay clumped together.
I’m back in the room. It’s 1 am, and I don’t know if I’m tired anymore. Initially our room didn’t have working AC, so they took a couple hours to move us to another room. We headed out and walked around Earl’s Court, which is where Volleyball will be hled, and got some fish and chips with mushy peas. When we got back to the new room we thought to take a quick nap for an hour or two… woops. Jet lag came out of nowhere and slapped us silly. We went to sleep around 1:30 and woke up at 7. We hit the town for some dinner and took the tube down to Picadilly Circus, which I was rather let down to know what not an actual circus. Circus to the Britishish is like ‘square’ to us in the sense of “Times Square;” however there were a few characters there. When you get on the tube, every stop an automated woman says “This is Glaucester Road. Mind the gap between the station and the platform. This is a Picadilly line to Cockfosters.” The underlined parts change, but it’s the same every time.
It started raining like it does at home. We walked around with no particular aim or purpose. There were quite a few American establishments; KFC, McDonalds, Burger King, Ben and Jerry’s, M&M world, Nike store, Rain Forest Café? Statues: there were lots of statues. It’s hard to stand somewhere and not be able to see a statue. The rain chased us into an Italian restaurant (with real Italians), where we ended up watching the opening ceremonies, but skipped out once the Athletes started processing in. We watched the torch lighting in Picadilly Circus around a buncha drunk people on big TV on the side of a building. It was sponsored by Coca Cola, so every 5 minutes or so the screen would turn red with white Coke letters saying “Back soon” and then it went immediately back to showing the ceremonies. I thought it was going to cut out right at the climax, but thankfully it didn’t. We got back around 1:30. I still don’t know if I’m tired. You know that feeling where you don’t know if you’re stuffed or starving? It’s like that, but with energy. The opening ceremonies was good. It told the story of England without words. However I didn’t get the whole music thing, and Voldemort, and Mr. Bean was funny, but in the Olympics? Usually these are things you put in the closing ceremonies. Hmph, oh well. I liked how the cauldron was made of all the metal things the kids carried out with each country during the procession, and then they all came together like a flower or something. Pretty sweet.