Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Queen is coming! The Queen is coming!!!

The Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh will be coming to officially open the business school at UEL, which by the way has been 'opened' and used for months now. I never understood the idea of 'officially opening' something.

Yesterday one of my college roomies, who now lives in Nante, and I went to the Tate Modern and then wandered through Greenwich. The Tate is so much fun to walk through. Filled with equal amounts of the bizarre and intriguing; its art allows the beholder to find beauty in art work ranging from Monet, to Picasso to Lange to Flavin. It was filled with the usuall 'artsy' and those who you wouldn't immediatly think would find such fun and interest in an art museum. Mothers with their young children crowded the rooms filled with statues, paintings and photographs. Children were asked what they liked, what colors they saw and if they could described how they felt upon viewing the work. It was fun to see such a diverse group of people enjoying art on such different levels.

We then went over to Greenwich, walked around Greenwich University campus and along the river. If and or when I look for a flat in London of my own I will most certainly begin looking in this part of town. Very cute, beautiful, older architecture, along the river and close enough to the city center but far enough that there are still large green spaces. Very picturesque.

Finally start my second semester classes. Last night I had International Criminal Law and I have my second class tonight, War and Human Rights. Let the endless hours of reading begin.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

At 7am this morning the night bus travelling from Edinburgh to London deposited my two friends and I at Victoria coach station. At 8:30am I staggered to my bed, plopped into it and did not move from it until well after 1pm. I love Sundays where one can sleep in, lay around and generally relax. After walking all over Edinburgh for the past two days and spending my night in a cold and uncomfortable coach, lounging was exactly what I needed.

Edinburgh, I am happy to report, is everything I remember it to be and more. It is still clean and filled with friendly Scots. It is still divided into the Old city and the New city. The old city is filled with windy cobblestone roads that trail up and down the the hillside. They are spotted with old shoppes selling kilts, anything tartan and Scotch Whiskey. Pubs and bars are in plentiful supply as is charm, beauty and historic architecture. My favorite scene is from Prince Street, the main shopping street that divides the Old from the New, looking up the hill at night to see Edinburgh Castle lit up. It is truly a majestic sight to see.

My short stint in hostels was relatively unremarkable. They were everything one would think a cheap and alternative nights stay to be. Filled with interesting people and run by odd characters. We were fortunate enough to stay in two that had friendly, clean and relatively normal inhabitants. While in Scotland I did not partake in the eating of the traditional Scottish meal of Haggis, and anyone who knows what Haggis is, knows why anyone other than a hairy Scotsman would have any desire to look at it let alone try it. While there the three of us thought it would be fun to see The Last King of Scotland, even though the film is about Uganda and Ida Amin. The timing never worked unfortunately and we saw Blood Diamonds instead.

On the bus ride up I started the second of two books I was given for Christmas, The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid a memoir by Bill Bryson. Having read almost all of Bryson's previous works I was greatly looking forward to delving into his new literary composition. I unfortunately had to stop reading half way through my bus journey. It was a personal decision based on the consideration of those sleeping around me, which was pretty much everyone else on the upper level of the bus. I stopped reading because I could no longer stand to stifle my abundant laughter. This man is freak'n funny. His book, A Walk in the Woods, is by far my favorite and A Short History of Nearly Everything deserves almost equal accreditation for being entirely written on science and naturally history and still, for the most part, keeping my attention, interest, and providing numerous smirks and the occasional laughter. Having just finished the book prior to starting my own attempts at writing here, I can attest to his continued humor in his latest book, not my favorite or his finest but still pretty darn good.