The Great and Many Adventures of the Previous Week

Where do I begin?

So many adventures, so little time to tell you of them. Well, may my fingers be faster than the clock on the wall…
Last Tuesday our class went to see “The Cherry Orchard” by Anton Chekhov (as I mentioned we were going to do in my last e-mail). It was, again, superb (I would make a lousy critic, wouldn’t I?). The characters were wonderfully well developed (as is typical of Chekhov’s plays) and gave one a real sense of their plight as Russian citizens at the end of the 19th century. There is a sort of distorted despondent air between the characters, and each entirely self involved, hardly listening to one another when they speak.

Next to Harrods! On Friday we went to the single largest and most impressive retail store I have ever seen (and will ever see, I expect). There are six floors to Harrods, and between the top and the bottom floors, just about anything you can possibly consider sellable is sold. From $40 p/kg pesto sauce to $85,000 pianos (one of which I got to play – I’m going back), $2,000 televisions sets to $10 t-shirts, $500 shoes to $100 sheets, several restaurants (with $18 sandwiches), delis, ice cream parlors, luxury bathrooms jewelry, 24 karat gold plated shaving kits, $20,000 wedding dresses, furniture, lamps, perfume, sunglasses, watches, hats (most of which ranged in price from 300 to 800 dollars), cars, mustard, fresh fish, chocolate, cheese, you name it, they’ve got it. It embodies the very definition of extravagance. But I must admit, it was quite interesting and inspiring to see all of the different types of products that exist (mingled with feelings of being overwhelmed, and not wanting to touch the outrageously priced goods, but at the same time wanting to touch them, too). A lot of that stuff I have never even thought about – especially in the furniture section.

I’ll end my description of the Harrods adventure with the thought that if you had a million dollars to spend in a day (and believe me, it looked as though some of the people trying on $400 Gucci shoes did) you could do it very easily at Harrods.

After our trip to the Store That Sells All Things, we went to see the musical Chicago at the Adelphi Theatre. What Energy! The show was set in early 1940s Chicago and was riddled with fun, memorable songs and one liners sung and spoken in deliciously practiced American Accents. All of the actors and actresses danced and moved about the stage flawlessly, quickly, and masterfully (the actresses in high heels, poor dears).

On Saturday Tina, Emma, Amanda, Andrew and I went on a day trip to the Isle of Wight: an adventure in its own right (rhyme only partially intended).

We left from Great Portland Street in London at 8:15 AM in a coach with a rather psychotic driver. Imagine, if you will, a 50 foot bus screaming through 10 foot wide, curving roads, running local drivers off of the road, weaving in and out of driving circles, running red lights and making Emma quite sick (yes, sick in THAT sense).

At one point he drove us off of the road at a view point (to take pictures) and high-centered the bus on wet green grass. As some of you will recall, I have learned my lesson in the past regarding driving a vehicle where it doesn’t belong – and I wanted to say something to this half-deranged driver before he killed us all rolling the bus down the hill that we were beginning to slide down – but I didn’t. We all just sort of held our breath as the bus careened sideways from its back-end while the front stayed put, closer and closer to a quick ride down the steep hill into the sheep pasture below.

Thankfully, he stopped trying, let us out of the bus, used the bus’s hydraulic shocks, raised the front wheels up a bit, and backed out successfully onto the PAVED road – amidst the sighs of relief and cheers of joy from the rather worried passengers (the five of us included).

The island itself was quite wonderful: green, flowing, sunny and small – and once again it was great to get out of London and back into a more rural area. Our tour guide was very very nice, and made the whole trip quite enjoyable. We sat in front of a group of Australians who were also quite fun – and we enjoyed talking with them for a bit.

Last night we went to see Merrily We Roll Along, a musical with the music written by Sondheim (the same guy who wrote the music for “West Side Story”). Tina made the observation, and I quite agree, that it was, in a word, Energetic. All of the actors were FULLY into their parts, and the intimacy of the small theatre in which it was held added to that effect (we were literally in the front row, about 2 feet away from the actors at times; I was even spat upon once or twice).

My mom is coming to visit me for 10 days – I go out to Heathrow tonight to pick her up from her United Airlines flight at about 9 PM. Her visit should be fun.

Well, that’s about all for this week ladies and gentleman. Tune in again for another episode of “TYLER’S ADVENTURES ABROAD” (to be read in a great Booming voice).