Through God we shall do valiantly, and it is He whho will tread down our adversaries.
For those of you who email me, please email my WPI address. I cannot check my fergos account.
Today we went to a solemn Pentecostal mass at the unfinished Westminster Cathedral, which happened to be all decked out with gorgeous flowers because this was also the last day of a flower festival (their first in 10 years). Three of my group members and our advisor, Delorey, were there. The mass was long, and much of it ended up being sung in Latin. I could not sing along with those parts because I kept stumbling over the Latin words (you try singing egredientem de templo, a latere dextro, alleluia: et omnes ad quos pervenit aqua ista, salvi facti sunt et dicent, alleluia), but because I’ve been to my share of masses before, I kept up alright. The choir sounded quite beautiful. The Cardinal Archbishop of England and Wales (according to my program) led the service and had a very nice chanting voice. We got sprinkled with holy water, breathed lots of incense, and I went up for a blessing during the communion time, so I figure I’m all set for a while. After the service we looked in the chapels and admired the other flower arrangements, which looked a little wilted after three days of being up, but still had significant beauty to them.
Immediately following that we took a drastic change and went to Camden Town, an indescribably campy, crazy experience. We got off the tube into a crush of people that never stopped, no matter where in the area we went…except for around a street preacher who had two people nearby holding signs that read JESUS IS ALIVE. He preached about AIDS and condoms, and how if God meant us to use condoms He would have given us some. To which I say: ?!!
We scooted away from that nutcase and went to the Camden Locks, a bazaar-type place with lots of little food and gift stalls. They sold everything, and every shop we passed had signs proclaiming that they sold magic mushrooms. One random guy even approached me and offered to sell me some weed (I declined). I spent an hour wandering around looking for an ATM because none of the food stall took credit cards. Eventually I walked to a Safeway and got money from what they call a cash point there. This resulted in the purchase of a delicious lemon sugar crepe, a chocolate croissant, and a strawberry milkshake. The milkshake resulted in my learning that milkshakes in the UK lack any resemblance to those in the US. They’re thin and very, very milky; mine tasted exactly like strawberry flavored milk. Not bad, but certainly not the hefty, satisfying drink I expected. Still, live and learn.
To kill some time our group decided to race to Canary Wharf from Camden Town, splitting into two groups.
[Note: this is as far as I wrote yesterday. I will finish this blog today, Monday, in a quick & dirty abridged version from here on.]
Mike and I decided to take the Northern line to Euston station, change to the Northern line’s Bank side and ride that down to the Jubilee line, which went straight to Canary Wharf. Unfortunately, at Euston a train was sitting right there so I hopped on it, leaving Mike behind — and found out it just took me straight back to Mornington Crescent, where we’d just left. This resulted in my ridiing the Northern line around in that area a bit, finally getting my bearings, and going to Canary Wharf by myself (and coming in dead last). Canary Wharf is very new and shiny around the tube station; lots of tall, modern glass buildings reflecting the bright sun. We sat on a big stone platform for a while, absorbing everything, and eventually made our way back to the IES building. A stop at Tesco express (like Honey Farms) resulted in an uncut loaf of bread, peanut butter, jam, soap, and toilet paper (which IES does NOT supply except for one complimentary roll to start with). At 7:20ish we left for dinner at our adivsor’s incredibly swanky apartment. It’s gorgeous, the building is gorgeous, his food was fantastic – and I don’t even like split pea soup that much – and we had a great time.
Unfortunately we didn’t get back to IES until after 11:00, and today I…drumroll please…go meet my sponsors in Merton. I’m nervous. I’m also kind of stinky and dirty; walking around London is an amazingly filthy experience. I actually left dirt smudges on my sheets, and when I blow my nose it comes out absolutely black. Now I have body soap, so I can get well and truly clean. I hope my meeting goes well!