Sunday, January 21, 2007

London Visit Boiled Down (to the tune of "London Bridge")

I've been back in school for a week now, and busy out of my mind. But it simply wouldn't be fair to ignore my trip to the other side of the pond, so for anyone who cares to see, here is a summary of my experience.

People/Places/Things I saw in London (by category):

  • Tower of London (where lots of people were tortured and died, before which they carved some pretty depressing ancient graffiti on the walls)
  • The Crown Jewels (talk about shiny…makes Stern girls’ engagement rings look paltry and cheap--and that’s saying something)
  • Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace (during which, to my bafflement, the Royal Band, bearskin hats and all, played a medley of Gershwin—a good American composer)
  • Covent Garden (upscale shopping area, where we also saw a pretty good string quartet playing famous classical pieces in an open square…while very adeptly guilt-tripping observers into giving money)
  • Leicester Square (lots of theatres, yet nothing like Broadway)
  • Trafalgar Square (which contains a lot of famous stuff, like huge stone lions and Nelson’s Column, about which my ever-useful friend knew absolutely no history—but at least I can say I’ve seen it, even if I don’t know why it’s important)
  • The National Gallery (from the outside only)
  • Camden Town (a little like Greenwich Village, English style)
  • The Tate Modern Museum (which was hosting a really cool exhibit that consisted of huge twisty metal tube slides that came down from each of the 5 floors, and which visitors could ride for free! We went down the one from the fourth floor, and it was well worth the visit.)
  • Waterloo Bridge (great view of the city)
  • UCL (University College London—not really a tourist site, but I was there nevertheless, and even attended a statistics lab without being asked whether I was actually a student there or not)
  • The Tube (aka the underground—Mind the Gap!)


  • 2 high schools
  • 2 shuls
  • R’ Tatz
  • R’ Sheinberg
  • One women’s learning program (organized by my friend)
  • Extensive tours of Hendon and Golders Green

Just Plain Fun:

  • Wicked (with British accents, for half the price of tickets in NY—what could possibly have been better????)
  • Kasamba (‘nuff said)
  • My friends’ families (English people are lovely!)
  • A clip of an Iraqi TV talk show with subtitles (I wish I knew the link…but take my word for it, it was one of the funniest things I have ever seen in my entire life)

Things to know before going to England:

  • They drive on the other side of the road! (I knew this, but it wasn’t on my mind when I got there…so the taxi driver looked perplexed when I tried to get in on the wrong side, and I narrowly avoided getting hit by cars several times after not knowing which direction to look when crossing the street).
  • When they speak about “green men” they are not referring to extraterrestrials, but to the lights at crosswalks. (That took me a while.)
  • There are no hechshers on food there…so if you anticipate getting hungry, you better pick up a Kosher Food Guide first…or carry an English friend around with you wherever you go. Also, learn some terminology or you could be very confused (crisps, biscuits, etc.).
  • Things are more expensive there. Period. In order to avoid extreme frustration, pretend the pounds are dollars.

And there you have it, folks: SJ's guide to London! Now in (sort of) the same vein, it's time for me to head back to good ol' Survey of English Lit fun!


Ezzie said...

Kasamba (‘nuff said)

No it isn't! Nu...!? :)

makes Stern girls’ engagement rings look paltry and cheap--and that’s saying something


kishmech said...

you visited some of my fav careful which basements you go into in Camden!
Rabbi Tatz etc I can understand but why did you visit high schools?

Northern Light said...

You didn't tell me about RABBI TATZ!!You know I'm drooling with envy! Why do I have to read your blog to find out about your trip???

SJ said...

Ez - Sorry, one thing that I learned during that fateful visit to Bais Kasamba was that if one meets an anonymous blogger, one must keep all details of said blogger a secret, or risk being ostracized by the entire blogging community.

Kishmech - my friends learn b'chavrusa with high schoolers in two different schools once a week, so I tagged along...and anyway, noting the vast difference between Hasmo and my co-ed out of town high school was a lot of fun

Northern Light - sorry...forgive me?

Karl said...

Glad you survived your trip there!

kasamba said...

You have to COME BACK!!!!!!!!

SJ said...

Karl - thanks!

Kasamba - I definitely plan to!