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 reading...fun fun!