Saturday Jan 31, 2009:
I didn't miss the train yoouuupppiiii LOL
Amir and I had been trying to meet up for the last 4 months, but when one of us was free the other couldn't make it. So, we finally agreed to meet up in London after my exams for an all-day tourism. I got to Waterloo station at 11 a.m. carrying with me printouts of attractions so we make full use of our day :D (and make up for tourism deprivation :P)
We first rode on the London eye, the queue for buying the tickets was rather long but when we arrived to the ticket counter the salesperson told us that that queue was nowhere near long and that on the weekends it is usually triple its length! So, we got on and of course took pictures of London from above :) There was a couple in another capsule who not only had a waitress to serve them champagne but also had their capsule all for themselves!
After the ride we went to the Madame Tussaud museum. We took pictures with celebrities ;) though I was expecting more but apparently they change the figures every now and then depending on world events and latest movie releases. We also took the black cab tour in London which drives through the last few hundred years of London history. We were enjoying it but there was a malfunction and the ride stopped somewhere between Sir Francis Drake and Shakespeare. It did continue a few minutes later. The history of London up until the last century is a very sad one filled with death and hard living conditions. It progresses to a much happier one after the Second World War. We also went into the Scream Chamber! I was kinda nervous before going in because I knew that if someone touches me out of nowhere I would be really frightened; but before going in the guide was explaining the rules and the first rule was that actors will come close to visitors but they won't touch them. He also asked visitors not to touch as the actors "You no touch, We no touch" LOL. We went in but it turned out that the Scream chamber wasn't at all scary :P lol. There was also a section which depicts the Oval Office in the White House with Obama standing next to his desk so visitors can sit on his desk and pretend to be "The President", it was kinda cool and of course everyone was posing as the president with some even 'answering' the phone placed on the desk :)
We then had lunch in a cafe near the museum. The food took forever to arrive but we took it as a chance to catch up and share our experiences here and compare our universities to AUB. By the way, Amir is doing an MSc in Theology and Political Science in Oxford University.
We then took the tube to Buckingham Palace. We toured around it and took pictures and then went for a walk in St James Park. The park was really lovely with all sorts of ducks. Amir told me a story about two Korean students who went to some university in England (can't remember its name now). On the first week of their arrival they were walking around campus and found a small lake with ducks swimming in it. They were so happy to have found "dinner" lol, they hunted the ducks, cooked them, and ate them for dinner. Unfortunately for them, the ducks apparently belonged to the Queen or were part of a group of ducks that belonged to her majesty so when it was found out that they had the ducks for dinner the poor students got kicked out of university and DEPORTED out of the country! LOL ... I think they were harsh on them by deporting them but frankly I can't believe that people might actually HUNT, COOK, AND EAT the poor ducks HAHAHAH
We then walked to Big Ben and the Parliament, a very beautiful building with amazing architecture. We also walked to Trafalgar square and then to China town and finally to Picadilly Square and Leicester Square. Those names reminded me of Monopoly lol. I think I still remember that Leicester Square had the yellow color and Trafalgar Square had the brown color :) We also passed by Ripley's believe it or not museum! I was so excited because I used to watch the series and wanted to go in but it turned out to be 5 levels and we were running out of time and we were already very tired from all the walking so we decided to keep it for another time. We then decided to go home so we went to the underground and said our Goodbyes and we each headed home in a different direction.
Thomas Friedman at the Saudi regime lobby
3 hours ago