This Is London's Festival
Trip Start Sep 07, 2010
60Trip End Aug 21, 2011
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Zone 2 was set up further east on the river near the “beach” (or embankment)
The Southwark Bridge was home to the Feast on the Bride, Zone 3, event. Hundreds of vendors set up camp along the bridge to sell you anything and everything you wanted. They had Turkish delight, cheese, sausage with rocket (a type of cabbage), and one vendor even dragged in a cow from the English countryside to pet while selling you meat alternatives (a.k.a. tofu). In the center of the bridge, rows upon rows of tables and chairs had been set up where you could relax and enjoy the delicious food you bought. Shadow puppets and toy boat races were also set up for the children between the tables.
Various vendors and bands were set up in Zone 4. Most of this area was dominated by wildlife conservation groups as well.
A parade (they called it a “night carnival”) and fireworks was scheduled as the conclusion to the Thames Festival. I got a fantastic seat near the beginning of the parade and waited for it to begin
The parade started with a blast, and, as you can see in the pictures, was simply amazing. It was, by far, the best parade I’d ever witnessed. There were huge floats, people in extravagant costumes, and tons of dancing and singing. It was really over-the-top. You could tell people in the parade had been preparing for months. One of the biggest acts in parade was the London School of Samba featuring hundreds of dancers of all ages sambaing along the Thames River. As the half-naked samba queens sauntered passed, I couldn’t help but think, “Is it too late to transfer??” I’m clearly wasting my time as the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and, if there’s an open slot at the London School of Samba, I want in
After the caboose of the parade marched by, I headed across the street to get ready for the fireworks finale. The parade still had a ways to go before it completed its route and the fireworks could begin. I climbed up on what was probably a monument to something, but, for me, it functioned as a great chair above the crowd to catch the fireworks. While I waited, I was subjected to one of the dumbest conversations I have ever been forced to overhear. A (presumably) eastern European man was hitting on two girls beside me. He asked them everything you could ever want to know. He asked them what they were doing in London, what school they went to, where they lived (he did not like general answers like “southeast London” either), what they liked to do, what they were doing later tonight. He asked them all this while sitting very precariously on this monument that was probably 20 feet from the water (and there were a lot of sharp corners between where he was the actual water). Both the girls and me were starting to get sick of him. I know this because when he turned his back to the girls, they pretended to push him into over the edge. After talking to them for about 45 minutes, it dawned on him to ask them what their names were...
As dark as it was, I could see some barges being pushed out into the river
P.S. I would like to add that, as I was getting haircut the next day, my barber (from Barcelona) said that he had moved to London because there was always something going on here. He said it was the heart of Europe and the most exciting place to live. I told him that I had just been to the Thames Festival and that it was amazing, and, when I asked him if he went, he said, “Ohh, with the parade and fireworks? No, I went to Soho, had a drink with a friend. I was tired after, so I just went home.” Whoops.