Thursday, 10 May 2012

Stonehenge, Bath, Immersive Theatre, and Clear Cough Syrup

BA Word of the Day:  car bonnet. A car bonnet is the hood of a car. The British students say this phrase "On it like a car bonnet" and for a very long time, I lived in ignorance of its meaning. And thus, I assimilate further into the British culture.

 Hello again! I kept the promise I made about posting within a week (as the clock passes midnight). I would like to take a moment to shout out to Blogspot. Thank you for taking forever to load pictures. You gave me enough time to clean my room AND play a game of solitaire. Oh, and thank you for making the blogging process go from what could have been 30 minutes of writing and done to over an hour of writing, repositioning pictures so that you will let me write where I want to write, and subsequent frustrated cursing at my computer.

I finally go to go to Stonehenge (or anywhere in the UK outside of London for that matter) and it was quite an interesting experience! Let's go through a list of things that I learned:
1. The stones are mostly from west Wales
2. People are buried around it (if you can see the mounds in the photo below against the yellow field backdrop, those are where they are buried)
3. It was built in three phases across 1500 years.
 And that is all I remember. I spent most of the time cutting up with an Australian girl that I sat next to on the bus. I also spent a fair amount of time on my Facebook (in photo captions) pondering how funny it would be if they just built Stonehenge for no good reason. Seriously though, what if it had no historical, scientific, or religious meaning? Just in case you didn't know, and I'm pretty sure this is fact, Stonehenge was repositioned within the last century. For what reason or the total truth behind all of it, I don't know. But it makes me want to say "What if people just haphazardly brought a bunch of stones from west Wales over here for no good reason at all?" Of course, I don't think this is true, but it's funny to ponder if it were to be true.

Oh and there were a bunch of cute little sheepies!

Ok, so I quizzed my Facebook friends on what the yellow crop in the background of the pictures at Stonehenge was. And I promised I would reveal the answer in my next blog post. Some of the guesses were mustard, "Non GMO corn", and flowers... all of which are wrong, although mustard was a close guess. The yellow crop is called rapeseed and is used to produce canola oil. Yea ok that was a tough one, but I just wanted to see if anyone would guess it right. It is one of those things that your tour guide tells you on a trip and everyone goes "Ohhhhhh" all at the same times.
 And then we went for a lovely drive in the English countryside to...
 Bath. Established by the Romans a long time ago. Rebuilt in the inspiration of Rome by I don't remember who. It has a pretty abbey, Bath Abbey in fact, pictured left. It looks a lot like the duomos of Italy. Jane Austen once lived in Bath... and hated it. She was a spinster type of woman and hated all of the gossipy better-than-everyone-else people that had there vacation homes there. Actually, Nicolas Cage had a home there (not when Jane Austen lived there, obviously). But yes, Bath was a quite beautiful little tourist trap town.
 We went into the Roman Baths Museum. I like to take pictures of goofy people doing goofy poses at tourist places so that I can secretly make fun of them. These poor people want everyone to think that they are going to dive into that gross Bath water. It smelled kinda funny (I guess because it has sulfur in it or something. That's what they told us.)
 So, the people that established Bath worshipped the goddess Minerva. They would write these requests on metal paper or sorts and throw it into the spring. Most of the requests (yes, the archaeologists found some and can read them apparently) were for Minerva to punish someone that has done wrong to them. Anyways, pictured left is the head from the statue they built for her.

This is me next to the smelly Bath water

This is the only Baskin Robbins I have seen since I came over to Europe. I don't know why I felt the need to share that with you, but I have.
And this is the first Whole Foods store I have seen while over here. I took this for you Yvonne! It was in Camden Town. For some reason, when I get off the bus to go to Camden Market, I always go down the wrong road. But today that was a good thing since I got to see this.
 For my last theatre class, we went to the V&A Museum, which is free, so I can go there any time. The performing arts gallery is pretty cool. They had a rhinoceros costume from a show we talked about in class. They also had an outfit that Mick Jagger wore once for a performance. It was kinda cool.
 The gem of the day, though, was the last performance we got to see. It was an immersive theatre experience of the show Babel at Caledonian Park (which is right down the road in comparison to other venues). I don't really know the story of Babel. It's biblical and it talks about the time when everyone spoke the same language and they built this tower but were forced to move away from it. I'm not going to try to explain something I don't know, so I will just walk you through my immersive theatre experience.
 So we went into the park and started walking around. There were cast members all along the path doing various things like washing their feet, watching tv while drinking a beer, a guy waiting on his date to show up, a guy feeding birds, all kinds of things. And these were happening along this path in the woods. You could pretty well get as close as you wanted to them. Then you come to the clearing in the park near the tower. There are tents with food and drink, as well as tents and stages that have to do with the performance. I went into a tent and ended up sitting in a circle learning an African song. There was a live band, people singing, people dancing, massages, I'm talking all kinds of stuff. There were also a bunch of stick houses next to the tower. Then the show begins. All of the people that you saw along the path are asked to move their homes and they don't want to. One family decides it will not move. The husband gets taken away into the tower, one of the security guards helps him get out, and that's pretty much the end. It was really cool though. It's as if you are part of the crowd of people that is being asked to move their homes. I even found myself shouting along with them a couple of times. Actually, I followed our professor onto one of the stages, although we found out that only performers were supposed to be there. My advice to you after this experience:  If you are in a city that is having an immersive theatre performance, get tickets and go. It was incredible.

 Other than that, I have just been doing typical uni student stuff. And I have some beef to put on here. There are things I can get used to. A small room, a small kitchen, living at the top of a hill, I can get used to those things. I can never get used to shower water that goes from freezing cold to burning hot with the flush of a toilet, people turning off the light when I am in the shower, and most of all, no toilet paper.

When you say that things like toilet paper are provided, not only should the cleaners restock it as needed, but they should also leave some in the maintenance closets for when they forget to order it. But leaving a building without toilet paper and require students to buy their own/steal it when you actually do restock it is not okay. If you are a study abroad student coming to London, do not stay at Greenview Court and do not stay with Britannia Student Services. I hope they have Google Alerts and see this. Thank you for reading my rant. It makes me feel better.
 Okay, back to my happy place. A few other firsts occurred. I found my first box top! I bought a different kind of cereal and was happily surprised! So a lucky young lady (Anne Hassfurder) will get to turn in a box top all the way from London when I see her again! I know, silly, but it's the little things that count.
Also a first for me. I'm coming down with a bit of a cold (no, that's not the first that I'm talking about) and I had to buy some cough syrup. When I opened it, I started to dread what it might taste like and such. To my surprise, when I poured it into the cap, it was clear. Clear cough syrup?!? I've always seen it in red or blue. Additionally, it didn't taste as horrible as other cough syrups I have had.

So, my boyfriend will be here in 12 day! I'm very excited. We have started planning the things we will do once he gets here.I have half a paper to write and some things to finish up for my internship class. Other than that, the 'study' part of my study abroad is almost over. I'm dreading the fact that I will have to go home in about three weeks and leave all of my lovely friends :( But no time to think about that now! Too much fun to be had! I'm not sure what kind of fun, but if I can make box tops and clear cough syrup fun, I'm sure it won't be too hard to find something. Until next time, Cheers!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, you've had a wonderful trip. I wish I had the time to travel across the United Kingdom, too. It would be great. The photos you've done are also very good.