Richmond's Own (but unowned) Website

Today we started off with an early day – 7 am, going to a 7:30 breakfast. Soon afterwards, we headed out to go to the Portobello Market in London. It’s basically a street market. I went thinking it’d be a block or so, but it was huge! Blocks and blocks on one single street – and it was organized into areas – antiques, fruits & veg, clothing, new products, etc. There were a lot of cool little stalls I stopped by. There were ones with stamps with letters of the alphabet (like for initials) – though they were more like fancy print type than stamps. Like the first letters of the first word of a chapter with fancy flowers around it – like that. I also went by the tourist stalls – I think I’m starting to recognize all the tourist merchandise – the same keychains, pens, t-shirts, etc. Must be the same supplier out there somewhere. Anyways, there were some really nice prints that I looked at – some were from old cigarette boxes, there were series with different trains of the world, including some that I recognize from Thomas (Snowdon railway in particular), and another stall had prints of drawings from Winnie the Pooh, Babar the Elephant, and Thomas the Tank Engine (all guaranteed to be 60+ years older!) There were very nice antique maps too – I was considering getting one too, before realizing I probably wouldn’t have the same appreciation for a 100 pound map as others would (albeit being 100+ years old!) – personally, I probably would have been alright with a photocopy, so alas, I didn’t buy one.

Lots of stalls at Portobello Market
Doctor Who! (and Rory, left, and Amy, right)
After that, Nicole, Kevin and I set out to meet Brendan at the Doctor Who Experience, not too far, at Kensington Olympia. When we were leaving Portobello Market, it was getting VERY crowded (lots of tourists!) – I’m glad we decided to go early in the morning! We took the district line train to Earl’s Court, and had to wait for a train to basically take us on a one stop branch to Kensington/Olympia. This station was a little different (and cool!) because it didn’t have electronic boards like other stations saying the destination and platform and time until the next train, but they did have a board on each platform with the names of destinations, and an arrow would appear next to the destination of the approaching train, which was an innovative (and probably earlier) way of notifying passengers. The person making the announcements was a bit overly excited – maybe bored? “On platform 4, District Line to KENsington Olyyymmmpia!!” – though the train got switched to platform 3 – all of us (and there were a lot of old people too!) had to get off the train we got on and move over to the next platform. Good thing we listened!

When we got to Kensington Olympia, the rain was really pouring down hard! Almost Edinburgh hard rain! It was crazy – I was getting wet, even with my umbrella and semi-waterproof jacket. We got to the Doctor Who Experience as Brendan was leaving, so we said hi as he leaved. He went through the actual experience (like museum/video attractions – you have to pay though), while we just went to the shop part. The Experience is like an exhibition of Doctor Who props/costumes/memorabilia type things. The shop was so cool – I was so excited! There was a display case in the middle like a TARDIS console, and the theme was playing! They had so much – sonic screwdrivers, DVDs, tshirts, lego (well lego-like at least) sets, action figures, TARDIS playsets, Dalek pens, and even a lifesize cardboard TARDIS! It was surreal being there, though I wish not as many things were for children as there were. But it was still a lot of fun.

By the time we left, it was still raining. We decided to go to Tate Modern because Kevin needed to buy some gifts, and we were meeting the group at the Globe theater to watch a performance of Anne Boleyn, which was right nearby. We took the District Line to Mansion House, walked over the Thames on the Millennium Bridge. It was still raining, but since the Millennium Bridge is metal, I could “skate” across it – which was a lot of fun to do! I think I might have attracted some stares though… Kevin and I were going to take shelter under the bridge on the south side – then going underneath it, we realized, it was designed so water would drip down through the bridge. So much for staying dry.

Kevin and Nicole went in the Tate gift shop – it was a different one and bigger one than the one I went to last time – there’s a second gift shop on another floor. But I was shopped out, and sat on one of the huge wide ramps in the open area (it used to be a power station) and ate my packed lunch from Roehampton, and tried to dry off a bit. Though I noticed that there were a lot of people camped out on the sides. Like a refugee place. Well maybe that’s too tough. Evacuation center maybe. Like a hurricane or wildfire evacuation center, people sitting along in their little groups and all that.

Inside the Globe Theatre!
After that, we went to the Globe Theatre! Shakespeare’s Globe! It’s not the original – but it’s a reconstruction of the original. We had yard tickets, meaning we had to stand for the 2 hours of the show, but it was worth it (for 5 pounds! For more, we could have paid for seats) – almost like a peasant’s view of how it would have been – though they might have had mud instead of concrete. There’s no roof (for the yard/standing tickets – there are if you pay for seats, which is covered), but the show goes on no matter the weather! I bought a poncho because it was raining pretty hard when we got there, but I ended up not needing it, because the rain let down during the show, luckily. We saw “Anne Boleyn” – a play about the infamous woman, which jumped between the timelines of King James I (and the King James Bible), and Henry VIII & Anne. It was very good – funny, entertaining, and moving - I enjoyed it greatly, I am so happy that we all decided to go watch! And 3 guys can play a lot of music on older instruments and bells, which helped set the time period of the play.  I never thought I would be able to see a show like that, and I am so glad that I had this opportunity!

The skies cleared for about 30 min after the play! It was beautiful! then the rain came again...
After the Globe, we split up. Adam, Kelsey, Alexis and I went to Covent Garden, intending to do some shopping. When we got there, it was still raining (pouring more – like actual Edinburgh rain this time – but I guess it’s not a real London experience without the rain!), and already 5:30 – since we wanted to get back for dinner, we had about 15 minutes to shop. Alexis and I went back to the Jubilee Market (indoor street market/vendors area), thinking it’d be tourist stuff like last time, but apparently Saturday is for arts & crafts vendors – so we got to see booths with prints, woodwork and metalwork – there were some really cool metal figures placed around wine bottles to look like people! We met back up and got onto the tube, but the lines were CRAZY! There were long lines for the lifts (elevators) down – because this station didn’t have an escalator. There were transit people directing us to the lifts – wouldn’t let us down the 193 stairs (15 storeys I believe(and I believe that’s how they spell stories like floors here)), so we waited for the lift down to the tube which was equally as crowded. But we made it back to Waterloo, ran to the train (always running to trains – transportation here is always a race a man remarked to me last night) – but we did get back in time for dinner. Tonight was burritos! Saw Johnny serving us food again too. The burritos were pretty good – would’ve been better with salsa, but a tomato from the salad bar worked well.

After dinner, I was going to stay in, sleep early, upload some facebook pics. And the like. But the girls were planning on going to the Fez club over in Putney (the nearby town). I figured I’d like to go out, but wasn’t really in the mood to lose my hearing. I got the guys together (rebelling against the club) and we did a “guys night out” (hope the girls weren’t too mad – but maybe that gave them so more freedom in their activities). We ended up on the same bus as the girls (I called it!) because while we went to 2 different bus stops, the busses were running every 20 minutes, so we ended up on the same bus anyways. We went to the Duke’s Head in Putney, which is nice and right on the embankment of the Thames. Tom and Ahren had been there a few times. We got our drinks (big night for me!) – and headed out to a nice spot on the embankment where we sat down on the slope over the river, looking out at Putney Bridge, and the moon, and the light reflected in the sky from the sun. (There are glimmers of sun until at least 10 here – I’m going to miss that. Though Ahren said we’re at the same latitude as Juneau, Alaska – sun up at 5am, down at 10pm – I hear that in the winter, the sun can be set as early as 3pm. I will miss it being light still at 9pm once I get back home to California though.) We also passed some really drunk passed out people, one guy (“He only had one beer! Wake up mate!”) and a drunk girl (“I want  sex!”, before promptly falling down), both being cared for by a group of (what I presume are their) friends, as well as a woman in heels who ran away from her group. Interesting night. None of that happened to us – we were all quite civil! It was just nice for us to go sit by the river, talk and share stories, and spend some time together as friends, it was a really nice evening, and I’m glad we did it (and I spent less money that I would have at the club!).

Sunset from Putney, over the Thames
Putney Bridge and the moon
5 guys on the Embankment (I make 6, but I'm taking the picture!)
But tonight made me realize how much I’m going to miss Putney. It’s a nice place, right on the Thames, and I love the bridge at night! It’s low key, but has enough going on while being suburban enough as well as busy enough to be interesting, and it has a very close proximity to London and super bustling areas. It’s been great to be able to spend time there, I’ve really enjoyed it, and I’m going to miss what Putney has to offer when I get back home.

Katie Joh
7/28/2011 05:00:46 pm

Richmond! I know I'm commenting obscenely much on your blog, but I just wanted to note - those stamps are actually printing blocks! You know like, for old printing machines? So you were actually right :) I know because I bought a few for my friends, so I found out from the vendor!


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