When I left the hospital last week, I asked how much walking I was allowed to do on my leg. The answer was “as much as you can bear.”
So I decided to put that to the test and finally make like a proper tourist after spending many many days at my friend’s house with my leg propped up.
First off: mass transport in London. This is transit done right. Done proper if you will. You purchase a stored value card (called, oddly, “the Oyster” card), and this works for both busses and subway (Tube, Underground, etc). I’ve used it three day running now and am quite a fan. Also: the busses are those fabulous double-decker contraptions with huge windows, perfect for a tourist with limited mobility.
Baylor lives in an area called Crystal Palace. This is 7 miles south-east of London proper, so while my instructions were to walk as much as I could bear, walking into town seemed a little aggressive. So, the first day was a trial foray: can I make it into London, mosey around a bit, and get back with no mishaps.
The day started marvelously, and I had the top floor seat, right up front. Just perfect for taking pictures from:
The first wrinkle came when the bus stopped partway through the route and announced the bus had been redirected; everyone off. Strange. I took the transfer ticket the driver gave me and asked for his recommendations on what bus to take instead to reach my destination. I’m sure he gave me advice that would be just right for someone who knew the city. I was quickly lost and decided to just wander and make the best of it. One easy landmark to run into was the new building (The Shard). It kinda sticks out:
So, the rest of that day I wandered on my crutches and walking boot. One observation: when you are hobbling about town on crutches, other people pointedly do NOT stare at you, but their kids (7 and younger) stare at you from the moment you are in sight until you are completely out of site, even turning their heads and walking backwards, wondering “why does that man walk so funny? Is he in a circus?” Good times.
Soon enough the nice weather realized that this was not Spain and returned to proper form. Luckily I was back on a bus by then.
Also on the way back, the bus stopped twice and forced everyone off it and onto a replacement bus. Each time was for no discernible reason other than to force the passengers to get a little exercise. Might be a new NHS policy? I don’t know.
Day two was much the same, although this time the buses operated flawlessly. On this trip I decided to purchase a new phone (seeing as how my old phone has now stubbornly refused to hold a charge or even work when plugged directly in). So I am now armed with a full and working UK phone. Stand back, people, I might be dangerous. (I expect only DT will get that quote). Benefit: back to taking pictures with a phone like a normal human.
Day three I felt like I knew the limits of my foot more (or, rather, was ready to push them a bit), so I spent even longer wandering about town. This took me to all kinds of places where I failed to take pictures. The aptly named Green Park. The tiny Soho Square park. China town. Oxford Circus (much less clowns than you’d expect). Piccadilly circus (ditto. What’s up with the disappointing circuses here?).
I did, however, get a few pictures of random things I came across:
Found a street than randomly had many awesome cars parked. An absolutely drool-worthy Aston Martin Vantage was just hanging out on the curb. A few 911’s. Then this absolute beauty:
I ran into a giant drum band, randomly. Couldn’t do much dancing of jigs what with my leg / crutch situation and all, but they were fun to stand and listen to.
Then, eventually I stumbled on what appeared to be a large crowd, barriers, and this thing:
So, since I’ve never seen an honest-to-god movie premier before, I figured I’d hang around and see how these things work. Note for those of you who attend these in the future:
- find the guys with earbuds in. Watch them, you’ll knew when things are going to be happening.
- Finding the guy with an earbud AND a clipboard means you’ve got your finger on the pulse.
- The celebrities are unleashed in waves, giving ample time for interviews and such.
- Along with celebrities are floods of seemingly normal folk. Hard to tell the difference sometimes.
Often there would be enough of a ruckus made that you know it was someone, but since I don’t read many tabloids on a regular basis, I’m afraid I’m the worst sort of paparazzi here.
Now most celebrities faced away from the “fan” group because they were playing to the other side of the line up; the one with all the TV cameras. Near the end, there was one bloke that broke this pattern and came to hobnob with the rabble:
He turned out to be pretty cool, was signing things and joking with people and generally having a good time with it.
Which is good ’cause it’s kinda his night and all.
Turns out the DailyMail does a much better job covering this than I. I did see the other people they pictured, but got even worse pictures of them than what I have above so didn’t think they were worth cluttering this page with.
After that, I wandered around and right nearby found posters for what might be the most awesome combinations and themes of movies I’ve ever seen:
Finally, I stumbled home on sore and aching feet (both of ’em) to a fabulous sunset. Good day in London: accomplished.