Fri 18 May 2007
Since Mike was with his girlfriend last night, Charles, Tim, and I ended up going to Night & Day for a few ciders, but it ended up being a relatively early night out.
In the morning, class was relatively short since Professor Flowers wanted to go over his notes from our IBM visitation in the afternoon. In a nutshell, their goal was to form “network corporations” that would allow for corporations that truly transcended national barriers in innovation. Also, we went over a couple of presentations on LBOs, including the takeovers of Sallie Mae, Duracell, and Safeway. Class ran until around 11 and then we were free for the afternoon.
Tim, Charles, and I went to the Pizza Express on High Holborn Street for lunch. Basically, it was like an upscale Pizza Hut with upscale cuisine for nearly similar prices. Tim was flying out to Austria to visit his girlfriend, so Charles and I took the tube to Knightsbridge station. At Knightsbridge is the world famous Harrod’s of London. Harrod’s is one of the most famous stores in the world and lots of famous people make their purchases there. It’s not hard to see why. First of all, there is anything one can imagine, from horse saddles to cricket bats, to laptop computers to fish, and perfumes to radio controlled cars. But unlike a Macy’s, the seven floors of this place are ritz to the nth degree.
From Harrod’s we walked over to the V&A Museum, but we didn’t really care to stay, so we grabbed the bus to Hyde Park Corner and walked up to where Speakers’ Corner was supposed to be. Speakers’ Corner was one of the first places that was designated in 1872 for free speech. People are allowed to visit there and say whatever they’d like for however long they’d like, so long as they do not incite a breach of peace, nor use obscenities or blasphemy. Suffice to say, the practice has been reduced to Sundays and we were a few days early.
We decided to mosey up to the Marble Arch, snap a few shots, and head on the bus to Camden Market. A couple of people I know had suggested that Camden Market was the place to see, however we found it to not be a place of great relevance. I’m not sure if its intent is/was to be a farmers’ market, but when we were there, it was merely filled with scads of vendors selling a few clever t-shirts and not much else. Charles and I checked out most of the area but, finding nothing of importance, decided to move along to the Arsenal stadium.
We took a double decker bus from Camden Town to Finsbury Park, getting off a block away from the World of Arsenal store. I picked up a scarf for myself, since apparently that’s one of the football fan requisites that I did not yet have. We walked around the area, not exactly sure of where we were going, however we ultimately made it to Emirates Stadium.
Though the season was already over, it was neat to see the place where Arsenal plays because this has been my first year following a football team and on Saturday mornings when I’m awake to catch a match on Fox Soccer Channel, I’ve gotten more into the sport. As such, visiting the stadium and its environs seemed to help bring some reality to what I was partaking in; in this city, it is obvious how connected people are to their individual teams. I’m definitely understanding how much it is like the Montreal Canadiens are to the city of Montréal.
Around 6, we headed toward the bus stop and caught another double decker bus back to King’s Cross/St. Pancras tube station. The bus ride was interesting, as it highlighted the working class parts of London that not many tourists usually choose to see. If I had even more time in London, I would have definitely attempted to venture out there more often to get an intimate picture of what the local life is like. Spending most of the time downtown definitely relegates one to more touristy experiences.
When we got back to the hotel, we just sat around the lobby and people started to filter in. I ended up going to dinner with Amish, Mahesh, and Professor Flowers at this Japanese noodle bar, Wagamama. Personally, I thought the food was good and reasonably priced. The four of us briefly headed back to the hotel and Professor Flowers went back to practice his oboe while the three of us headed out to Waterloo tube station to get some nocturnal shots of the London Eye and Big Ben.
I might have had the most success with my photographs, using some of the level surfaces for image stabilization during the longer nighttime exposures. After almost 90 minutes of attempting to get our shots, we headed back toward the hotel. We told Mike that we might meet his girlfriend and him for some drinks at Night & Day, but by the time we got there, it was 11:50, the bar was packed, no one we knew was there, and everyone decided to call it a night.