Exploding Art Mimbulus Mimbletonia style

A blog by Julia Felix about experiences on the CAMS New Media in NYC and Europe study abroad program.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

London: The Bermuda Triangle of....London...


It seems that it's going to be a regular thing for me to get majorly lost at least once in each city. Even when my directions are "straight, right, left, right."

I woke up yesterday intending to go to the Tate. Ever since we went there last week to meet with the Film Curator, the giant metal slides there are practically all I can think about. For some reason, going 30mph down a twisty slide is the only thing that will make my stay in London complete. Apparently I have some kind of death wish.

I noticed immediately that something was wrong when I had been walking for half an hour and still hadn't encountered Gower Street. It's almost like that street only exists when it's not being looked for. I decided that it didn't really matter what street I turned on, as long as it went in the right direction, so I just picked the next street that looked fairly large and turned right.

I hadn't been walking for very long when I saw couple of guys with big spikey mohawks walk past me. They turned onto a very small street that turned out to have a strange little park at the end of it. It looked interesting, so I figured, hey, it's only 3:30, I've got time. I walked into it and found that it was like the a lot like the Santa Fe plaza in that all the weird Nightmare Before Christmas clad 14 year olds hung out there. I took pictures for my micro culture cube, and then walked back the way I had come.

I turned right off of this little street and kept going. Walking, walking, walking, everything's looking normal, and then BAM. The most beautiful park I've ever seen in my life is suddenly right in front of me. There were huge Roman looking buildings, two giant fountains, the typical British "guy on a horse on a 70ft pedestal," and a bunch of really cool metal lions everywhere. It was awesome, and I stayed there for a pretty long time just taking pictures.


I started to continue my journey to discover the Tate, when I saw that Big Ben was just a few blocks down the street. Figuring that I had to walk that direction anyway, I went towards it.

While I was walking down the street, there was some kind of protest on the other side. All I could tell from what I could make out of the signs was that it had something to do with the Democratic Republic of Congo, and deporting. I watched for a while, and there was definitely a second where it looked like it was going to break out in a riot. The people were yelling and dancing to this drum music, then they started shaking the fence to the beat, then they started pushing the fences over. Luckily, the leaders of the protest started running around and telling everyone to calm down, so everything was fine.

I moved on to the end of the block, where I was almost right in front of Big Ben. I hadn't realized that it was covered in gold. I took some pictures and was about to turn around to go back to where I SHOULD have gone, when I saw a really cool looking rose window. There seemed to be some kind of cool catherdal across the street, so I went to go check it out.

It turned out to be Westminster Abbey. And it was awesome. It was closed by then, so I couldn't go inside, but the outside was cool enough. It's one of those huge gothic cathedrals with big windows, archways, and really intricate designs all over it. So I guess "WEST MINSTER ABBEY RULZZZZZ!!!!" is good way to put it.

I finally left, decided that the Tate must be closed at that point, and started walking around doing other things. I saw a really cool phone booth that had a bunch of little pieces of paper stuck to the inside that formed a note: "I wish you all well, but I can no longer thrive in England. I think it is hell. Goodbye Hell." I also collected a whole bunch of the phone booth porn advertisements for my project which I probably won't be doing anymore (at least not for credit).

It was getting late, so I decided to go home. I had only walked down one road, so it seemed simple enough. I started walking, and found that the road forked at least 5 times, and I hadn't noticed it before because there was only one way to go while I was walking there. But now there were multiple directions. I stood there contemplating for a long time, then finally decided that I should take the fork that looked more directly ahead of me. I don't really know if or where I messed up, because everything after that was just dark lostness. I had no idea where I was for at least an hour, and wandering around at night by yourself in an unfamiliar part of town in a different country is a little unsettling.

Somehow, I had ended up way north of were I was supposed to be, but I didn't see any point in going back since I didn't know how to get home from there either. I looked at my compass, made sure I was going West-ish, and kept walking. It seemed to be working for a while, but then suddenly the streets started getting creepier. They were more deserted as it got later, and it was also starting to look less touristy and more "I live by the highway." I was freaking out because I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to find my way back, but then I was freaking out because I didn't want to look vulnerable and lost, and I totally did. So I was trying to look like I knew where I was going, even though I totally didn't, and that just led to me getting more lost.

I finally saw a street name that looked familiar, and just took it hoping that I remembered it because it was near ISH or something. It was called Farringdon, and it was a little bit ghetto, but not too bad. There were also a lot of bus stops on it, so I at least felt better knowing that if I really couldn't figure out how to get home, I could just take a bus.

I started coming across maps while I was walking, and saw that Kings Cross was at the end of Farringdon apparently. So I decided to just go for it. I walked and walked, the only thing driving me the idea that I might find something I recognized. There were many points where I wondered if I had read the map wrong and if I was actually headed in some random direction, but I figured if there was a chance I would end up in the right place, that was enough.

Finally, after walking around for about two and a half hours, I saw Kings Cross. Yay!! I was starving at that point, and there was a noodle shop right in front of me with £3.30 noodles, so I went in. It was good, too. Then I walked home, hung out with some drunk people, and went to sleep. The end.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Mararrrr said...

You're such a man, never asking for directions ;) but if that stereotype were true, Matej wouldn't always be the one going into the gas station to ask where the hell we were.

8:38 PM  
Anonymous Talia said...

You should mention your remark about Gower Street to Geoffrey Chaucer (houseoffame.blogspot.com)
His arch-enemy is John Gower, so anything negative relating to Gower Street will be of use to him in his mortal fight.
Also, the real Geoffrey Chaucer is buried in Westminster Abbey, where I got sort of kicked out from by a mean guard.

10:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a day! I'm sure glad you got home safe. Too bad you didn't make the Tate. I had a similar problem with the Prado and I have regretted not getting there ever since.
- YoMama

7:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do believe that your ability to get lost actually exceeds my own - maybe it's genetic?
- Jessica ^_^

8:59 PM  

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