Monday, July 19, 2010

love thy neighborhood

Today is day one - at least for the mighty Wolverines who all showed up in fits and starts throughout the morning. Some of them stumbled in around 10 am, a few around 11:30, some around 1, and Daniel Whiting around 2. But they all made it. In years past we stayed at Manson Place and there was no receptionst to let everyone in. I had to do it. So I would wait carefully in my room to hear the sounds of luggage bumping down the sidewalk and run up with my bag of keys. This year, in Metrogate, we have 24 hour reception. So the porters did all the work. And it was great. I still waited sort of anxiously in my room for them to arrive, but I didn't have to lift any luggage or anything (I'M TOO OLD FOR THAT.)

Once everybody got here and we assessed who had bad knees, who was dying and needed to sleep, separated those who had great flights with quiet seatmates and those who had terrible flights with chatty ones, we set out on our neighborhood tour. We saw all the sights of Kensington: The Natural History Museum, The Hyde Park Chapel, the respective homes of Benny Hill and Virginia Woolf, the #9 Bus, the Gap, the Pasty shop, and made it all the way round on the Circle Line from High Street Kensington to Gloucester Road. Gloucester Road is home base this year.

I knew the walking would be tiring for everyone, but rule #1 of jet lag is that you do not talk about jet lag. Rule #2 is that you keep going. So we went downtown for more walking. EPIC WALKING.

Daniel Whiting has been assigned to be "tube captain." His job is to tell everyone which stop to get off. He has also devised a way to do this via "sign language."

Nicholas Grossaint has been assigned to be "house captain." Unfortunately, this is a holdover title from ACTF, and has no real power in London. But the title makes Nick feel awesome about himself so we let him keep it.

Speaking of Nicholas, I'm not kidding about that jet-lag.

Look! It's Royal Albert Hall!

Check it out! It's Albert himself.
Dang, we saw something REALLY funny at the Trafalgar Fountains. I can't remember what, but it was SO FUNNY.

Here's the Admiral's Arch. There is a cement nose sticking out of one of the walls. It pokes out and you can touch it. Apparently soldiers used to touch the nose for good luck when they rode by on horses. I'm not kidding. There is a nose sticking out of the wall.

Maybe you have heard of the London Eye? (tourist trap, literally, keep moving)

Ah, the panoramic views from Hungerford Bridge!

I just need someone to explain this hat to me. It wasn't a joke. He really put that on and felt good about it. I'm sorry if I come across as a snob. Grown men just don't wear mauve bonnets where I come from. And if they do, they got it at Hot Topic so you know it's awesome and ironic.

We had to take a breather on a grassy knoll in St. James park.

Speaking of horses....we caught the tail end of this group! (did you see what I did there?)

Our epic walk lasted three hours, and everyone walked like troupers. I was very proud of them. They crashed hard tonight - but it was a great way to start life in London! I'm glad everyone is here, safe and secure. I feel like a dad again. I want to go tuck everyone in and say goodnight, but that's probably inappropriate.

photos by Alex Ungerman and Nicholas Grossaint