I told myself I would write more often to document my time here. So since my last (slightly depressing) post, I’m pleased to say that I’ve been having a lot more fun here.
Last Thursday, I got discounted tickets to see the ballet performance of Sleeping Beauty through the Cornell-Brown-Penn Centre in London. My friend Mary and I met up with Donna, Heidi, and Heidi’s high school friend to watch it together. It was my first time seeing a ballet and I have to say that it was pretty surprising. I had no idea how they would make Sleeping Beauty into a ballet but it was not at all what I expected when the storyline threw in a vampire bite that turned a boy into a fairy. I was already confused after the first act and it wasn’t until I left the theatre that I saw a poster for the ballet with the subtitle: A Gothic Romance. Oh that explains it… sort of.
After the ballet, we bought some cheap wine, cider, and ice cream before heading over to check out Heidi’s flat. Her room was pretty nice (and comes with her own bathroom!) and I got to meet one of her flatmates. Then, we pigged out in the shared kitchen while talking about the most random things and ended the night watching Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. Heidi fell asleep right away but I at least made it to the middle before passing out as well. =P
The next day, we decided to get dim sum in Chinatown. According to the online reviews, the restaurant we picked was one of the few in Chinatown that still has the trolleys for dim sum. Most of the other restaurants give their menu and you tick off the dishes you want. I was pleasantly surprised at the variety of dim sum dishes that they had. Not only was there the typical shrimp cherng fun and chicken feet, but they had dan tat and even duck and cha siew! We were pretty full by the end, but being the fatties that we are, we still went to get bubble tea afterwards. There was this cute, HK-style cafe called Boba Jam and they had pudding milk tea and my favorite desserts!
Oh, I forgot to mention that the night before, we had dinner at this fancy restaurant before watching the ballet. Arbutus is apparently a must-try in every London guide book and I had to say that although it was pricey, the quality of the food was superb. I got to try some crispy pig’s head and lamb liver!
Then it was while we were getting bubble tea that Donna texted me. She was at orientation and just got free tickets to this club tonight in London. I was originally planning to bus it back to Oxford that night but spontaneously decided to stay another night instead. I mean, how often do you get to club in London for free?
So after some more sightseeing at Somerset House and Big Ben, we went over to check out Donna’s dorm. Her place is amazing! Her triple is a bit crowded, but she has her own bathroom with the nicest shower and her own kitchen stocked with everything you need! Instead of going out to eat, we bought some groceries and cooked our own dinner. Heidi’s friend Helen is such a good cook. We (or more accurately, just Helen) made garlic bread, pasta with pesto sauce, and salad. We even bought wine again and a toffee apple cheesecake for dessert, all for only £4.50 each (~$7).
Then a quick shower, a change of clothes that I borrowed from Donna (I didn’t bring anything with me because I didn’t expect to stay an extra night), and we were ready to go clubbing!
Unfortunately, the club was not that fun. The queue for coat check was massive so we just held onto our coats. The music lacked tempo, making it too slow to dance to. And this one guy from Brazil came up and made chinky eyes at us. Not impressed, and frankly, I was a bit annoyed at his ignorance of Asians living in America. Overall, it wasn’t the best night but at least I can say I’ve gone clubbing in London, for free!
The next day (Saturday), I knew I really had to go back. After a quick trip to Buckingham Palace to see the Changing of the Guard ceremony, Heidi, her other high school friend Theresa, and I grabbed lunch before they sent me off. I arrived back in Oxford later that day after a satisfying weekend. Although I ended up a little behind on my work, I was glad I stayed another night. Sometimes spontaneity works out better than plans after all. =)