Saturday, July 11, 2009

Not your Typical 4th of July Parade!

*** The original letter used for this post was sent to my family on July 4th!

Happy 4th of July!

I must say that this has been one of the most interesting fourth of July's ever:) We started the morning by getting on the bus and riding into London. We went to the former home of John Wesley (father of Methodism) and toured his church.

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We also got to take a fascinating tour of John Wesley's last residence - his home in London.

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Unfortunately, as we walked across the street to enter Bunn Hill Fields Cemetery, my friend, Margo practically fainted at the gate! She said that she thought that she just had heat stroke, but of course everyone was worried about her. Dr. Stookey found a wheelchair and wheeled her to the bus. She was supposed to leave for the airport on her own, but of course everyone was worried that she might pass out again - and we didn't want her to travel to the airport alone.

Several members of my cohort asked me if I would mind taking Margo to the airport, and if I thought that I could find my way back to the British Museum by myself. Of course! I was actually excited about the adventure. Margo was embarrassed to have to have someone accompany her, but I was glad to go and have an adventure for the day!

We got in a cab and asked them to take us to Heathrow airport. The fare was 68 pounds. Remember, I told you that the exchange rate is $1.75 for every pound, so that was over $100 cab ride. After I checked Margo's bags and got her set up with a wheelchair and porter, I was now on my own to make it back to London Centre.

I found the trains and soon realized that there was an issue. All trains going into London proper were closed due to construction on the track. They thought that the weekend would be the best time to do repairs! So instead of a direct train from Heathrow to the British Museum, a ticket information person told me to take the Heathrow Express into Paddington Station (outside London) and then take two underground lines to get to the British Museum. No problem!

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I took the Heathrow express (only four pounds, by the way) and then found the correct underground line for my first half of the adventure. I was supposed to change underground trains at Oxford Circus. At Oxford Circus, I got off the brown line and found my way to the red line. I stood on the side and waiting for my final ride.

Just as the train neared, a man came over the loud speaker and said, "We need you attention, this station has just closed. No trains will be stopping at this station. You need to leave the underground. I repeat, No trains will be stopping at this station. You need to leave the underground."

What in the world? I quickly left wondering if it was due to security breach of some kind and arose from the depths of the underground to a shoulder to shoulder crowd. What is going on? I asked those standing around me? The Gay Pride Parade! Someone shouted. (Apparently, the crowd had become so large that they closed the underground station so no one else could come. They were afraid of crowd control.) I asked for directions and decided that I would just walk the rest of the way to the British Museum. It's a long walk, someone said.

At that moment, I noticed a rickshaw driver sitting by the side of the road watching the parade. Excuse me, I said, do you think you could drive me to the British Museum? Of course, climb on, he replied.

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Well, considering that the only route was the same as the parade route - I need to inform you that if you watch the BBC tonight, you might see me riding along in a rickshaw in the Gay Pride Parade. I waved proudly to the camera!

What a day!

I made it to the British Museum, enjoyed seeing the Rosetta stone, met back up with my cohort, and just enjoyed a dinner of fish and chips at a local pub.

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The British Museum

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The Rosetta Stone



Love you all,

Emily

2 comments:

Kim said...

Emily, you are the best! I'll look for you on the BBC. This post made me laugh. What an adventure!

Mom2Drew said...

I'm so glad you posted this one on the blog. It made me laugh all over again, and was even better with the picture of your rickshaw driver!