Not Wimbledon and then Wimbledon

Trip Start Jun 20, 2009
Trip End Aug 01, 2009

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Where I stayed
Kenan House

Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Sunday, June 28, 2009

First, I forgot to mention in my last entry that on Thursday we went to Hyde Park. It was really beautiful and I fed one of the Queen's swans. Apparently, the ugly duckling grows up to be a huge jerk. That swan was MEAN and certainly not grateful. Otherwise, though, the park was very relaxing. There have been a series of performances there this weekend, including the Killers and Dave Matthews Band.

When we heard Michael Jackson died, we were in a bar called "The Court" off of Tottenham Court Road. A guy in the bar apparently apprehended our group and told them the news. I saw on the television on some channel called "Sky News" that TMZ was reporting that Michael Jackson was dead. I have to be completely honest: I like some MJ songs, but I was never a big fan. Still, it was stunning, especially when not of the greatest mental acuity, that Michael Jackson could be dead, especially right before his enormous comeback tour, with 50 shows right here in London. Someone in the bar had already bought tickets. How terrible. Even I have to admit that Michael Jackson had a profound impact on the world of music.

On Friday, a group of us went to Wimbledon. We left around 1pm and arrived about 45 minutes later by tube. If you're at all familiar with Wimbledon, you know how it turned out.

When we arrived, we found a queue (line) thousands and thousands of people long on the field outside the premises. We were informed by a helpful woman that the earliest we would get in was 6pm, after which of course there would be relatively little tennis to be seen. Needless to say, we didn't hang around. Instead, we decided to return tomorrow.

Instead, we went to Harrods. If you've never heard of it, Harrods is a massive department store in Knightsbridge, London. It's also massively expensive.There are handbags that sell for 2000 there. A 'traditional' Fish & Chips in their food court (more like 'food hall') goes for about 30 (that's about $50). Anyways, when the five or so of my group tried to get in, we were immediately stopped. 'No groups' is apparently their policy. We regrouped and tried to get in a different door. Unfortunately, the guard in that door had apparently watched us gather and again told us 'no groups' and barred us from entering. Frustrated, we crossed the street and then staggered our entrances through the remaining doors over a few minutes. We eventually met up in the 'food court' but we couldn't actually meet up, or we'd be thrown out. We instead had to act like actual criminals trying to talk to each other surreptitiously. It of course wasn't any fun, so we all left after only a few minutes.

We didn't want the day to be a total waste, so we went to the British Museum for an hour. I saw the Rosetta Stone and the marble statues from the original Parthenon that Greece now wants back. The museum is amazing, and one hour wasn't nearly enough.

To go to Wimbledon,we had to wake up at 4am on Saturday. We got up and took a cab at 5:00m and joined up with a Colorado State guy who happened to also be going and waiting on the same street for a cab. We arrived around 5:30 and got official queue cards for Day 6 of Wimbledon, 'Middle Saturday.' I was number 3,256 in line. We waited in line for about five hours, sitting and talking to the Australian man in front of us. I bought a copy of the Daily Mail, which had a free Wimbledon DVD in it but was otherwise garbage. It made an excellent cushion, though; the London newspaper industry, at least, seems to be thriving.

We got in at about 10:30, an hour after gates opened. We bought ground passes for 20 and went to Court 18, one of the 'show courts' to see David Ferrer from Spain (seed #16) play Radek Stephanek from the Czech Republic (#23). They were extremely evenly matched, and the game lasted around four hours. Stephanek finally won, 3 sets to 2, 6 games to 4. We then took a break to eat some delicious, official Wimbledon strawberries and cream. After that,we headed over to Court 3 and caught Gilles Simone of France (#8) play Victor Hanescu of Romania (#31). The match was much shorter, with Simone winning a decisive 3 sets to 0. It was amazing tennis.

After that, we left, since we were exhausted. We caught the tube back.

Today promises to be much quieter. It started raining for the first time since we arrived, very unusual in London. The #1 tourist destination for me is going to be the laundry room.

Happy Travels!
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