Cambridge 


December 3 - 10

 

Wednesday - Day Four

 

It has now become obvious that our body clocks need some adjusting. We all went to bed at a very reasonable hour last night (something like ten o’clock) but by two o’clock we were all up and it took us a while to get back to sleep. This of course means that we all also woke up late and rushed a little to get ready to get our train to London. Peggy was going to drop us to the station as she had an appointment at nine-thirty but we told her go on and we would get a taxi. We called to find out the train schedule and they said that trains leave for London at fifty-four or twenty-four past each hour so we decide that we would try to catch the nine fifty-four train. We arrive at the station at about nine forty-five and get on the queue to purchase our tickets. We get the tickets in our hands at nine fifty-three and make a mad dash for the train whose doors close as soon as we get on board. So, it’s off to London! On the train Keva reads, Nico marks more essays (she has a total of sixty to get done) and I’m writing this on the computer.


Karin and Nico after we arrived at the hotel

We arrive at King’s Cross Station, London and wait at a taxi rank to get a taxi to our hotel (Euston Plaza) where we expect to meet Karin. We arrive and, as expected, Karin is already there waiting for us. She looks well and we are so happy to see her. As it’s too early to check in (check-in time is two and it's now eleven-thirty), we check our bags and start a walk, led by Keva, to look for some place for lunch. We settle on a pub called 'Prince of Wales Feathers' and we all decide to have the fish and chips. We catch up on what everyone has been doing since we all left Pearson.

After lunch we decide to walk towards the area of the theatre where we will see a show tonight and this time Karin is leading the way. We find an Internet cafe where Karin has time remaining which she had purchased earlier in the morning.


I finally get a chance to email my brother, Derek, to wish him a happy birthday (two days late).We then pass a store with many Apple computers in the display window and we go inside where Keva purchases a new pro mouse to replace the hockey puck mouse that came with her iMac. Nico and Karin (well, Nico with Karin watching) are having fun trying to play the game Bugdom on an iBook and I check out the G4 Cube and the flat screen Studio Display. We then continue our walk towards the Strand and we get to the Adelphi Theatre.


Nico checks her email as Karin looks on

I had been told that I could collect our tickets (which I had long since purchased on the web) one hour before the show. It would be more convenient if I could get them now so I ask the people at the box office and it’s okay. I collect the tickets and then we take a taxi back to our hotel. We are thinking about having a typical English High Tea but it’s a little late for that so we decide to rest up, have a small pre show snack and have supper after the theatre.

Our Quad Hotel Room

Karin and I spend some more talking, Nico takes a nap and Keva reads. At five-thirty we head down to a restaurant in our hotel and we have some soup and bread and then leave for the theatre. It has started to rain a little so we get a taxi and I must say that each of our taxi drivers, except maybe the one that took us to the train station this morning, have been fascinating people. They have also been very personable and we have enjoyed our rides with them. Nico’s cousin, Adrian, once remarked that London taxi drivers were some the world's smartest people because the knowledge of the London streets was so difficult that it took great brains to pass the test to get a taxi licence. Our driver regales with stories of his past Norwegian girlfriend, once he found out where Karin was from. He also tells us stories about his father, the recent floods in London and the fact that he is actually a barrister who represents other drivers at taxi disciplinary hearings. We are highly entertained and once out of the taxi, we make the comparison to New York taxi drives who, if they speak English at all, will not usually talk to you.

At the theatre, we take our seats and I am immediately bothered by the many announcements made in over the public address system about either the location of the concession stands, or how many minutes are left before the show begins or begging ticket holders to take their seats. It’s not what one expects from a sophisticated London theatre. Anyway, the show begins and it’s quite a good production. This is Nico and my third encounter with ‘Chicago’ in two years. We saw a production of the musical in New York two summers ago. We then saw the original play version with the second year theatre arts students last year at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and now another production of the musical version here in London. We of course make comparisons of the three productions and there some elements of this show that we particularly liked. One of the leads (a woman from Sweden) is better than her counterpart in New York.


We feel that the weak link in this show however, is the actor playing Billy Flynn. He gets by but it would have been a far better production had he been stronger. Nico also did not feel that the dancers got the Bob Fosse moves down as well as the New York cast did and that took away a little from the show for her but all-in-all it was very enjoyable production and well worth the cost of the tickets and the time spent there. We leave the theatre and go to Covent Garden to look for a restaurant for dinner. We find a place called 'The Rock Garden Cafe' and it’s noisy inside but they also have tables outside.


Photo kindly taken by our waiter


It’s a bit cool but they also have outdoor heaters so we get a table and we have dinner outside. Karin tells us all about the new Maldives UWC committee that she has worked to establish and she is expecting the first Maldivian student to be attending Pearson in September.

We debate taking a taxi back to the hotel but, unlike New York, most London taxi drives stop taking fares at twelve o’clock so we walk back. It’s been a good day and tomorrow we bid farewell to Karin go back to Cambridge.


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