The last 24 hours have been… difficult. I imagine a bad day was statistically bound to happen at some point during this trip. I’m trying to remain hopeful and optimistic, but sometimes you gotta let the anger, self-deprication, and dejection run their course first.
Saturday morning, Fath, Felicity, and I decided to try our luck getting tickets to Hamlet at the Barbican theater, a production that sold out in record-breaking time last year simply because of Benedict Cumberbatch.
We’d done our research, and the Barbican would release thirty 10 pound tickets every morning for that day’s production. Reports said that eager fans were lining up outside the ticket office in advance, so we got to the theater about 2 1/2 hours before it opened.
The line wasn’t incredibly long, but we weren’t quite close enough to have any luck. We were literally right behind the last person to get a ticket. They had a few returned tickets at full price (upwards of 60 pounds) but we didn’t want to go that badly. We did figure, though, that if we got there an hour or two earlier the next day, that we might have a shot. So we went back to the flat only semi-disappointed with a resolution to get there by 6 am.
Also that morning, I left my map of London on the tube by accident. I loved that thing because it was laminated and sturdy, I’d made marks on all of the well-known locations, and it had a good tube map on the back side that I used pretty much on a daily basis. And… I left it on the seat next to me. That’s exactly how I lost my first iPhone at school not too long ago; you’d think I’d have learned, right?
Anyway, after taking a little nap and doing some laundry, Faith and I then decided to go to the London Dungeons. We’d bought a combo ticket pack through the London Eye to see that, the Dungeons, and Madame Tussaude’s. When we’d gone to the Eye, I had to show my confirmation email to get the ticket voucher for the rest of the attractions.
That I lost, too.
I scoured our room, looking everywhere twice, but to no avail. I’m convinced that it must’ve flown out of my bag at one point. I tried appealing to the London Eye people for a replacement ticket; I had email proof that I bought it, so surely they’d be able to look up my ticket number or something. Nope. So basically I paid 51 pounds to ride the London Eye. I’m still trying to decide if it’s worth it to buy the Dungeons and Tussaude’s tickets separately or not.
Pair the hatred I had for my carelessness and bad luck at that moment with the incredibly frustrating walk back across the Westminster Bridge where everyone and their mothers were either crowded around sleezy street magicians or stopped in the middle of the walkway to take a selfie, and you can imagine how pissed off I was. It took a lot of self-checks and prayers to keep myself from pushing everyone into the road.
We then tried going to Primark, a really cheap British clothing store, to find a nice dress or something to wear to the play the next day (because we were confident we’d get tickets this time!) They were locking the doors right as we got there. Have I ever mentioned that stores and even some restaurants close super early around here? I don’t get it.
How I didn’t melt into a puddle of despair at that moment, the world will never know. We ended up at a nearby H&M and I found a nice dress on sale for 7 pounds. That helped a little. It also helped that Faith and I picked up ciders on the way home and enjoyed them while watching KPop videos.
I’d thought that the next day would be better, especially since we all had a good feeling about these Hamlet tickets. So we woke up 4:30 AM, put on clothes, grabbed our pillows, and set off for the Barbican. We had to use the buses, something we hadn’t yet become comfortable with, because it was too early for the tubes. But Faith had this cool app that guided us, and at about 6 we arrived…
… only to realize, Oh yeah it’s Sunday; there are no shows on Sundays. The doors were locked, there were no people queueing. It’s quite the experience, let me tell you, to realize you didn’t think something through while in a foreign country in the wee hours of the morning in a deserted neighborhood holding a pillow.
And that’s where I’m going to take this. The whole thing was an experience, a learning experience. I know now to not set things on the seat next to me, to keep track of where I place important tickets, and to not let eagerness get in the way of being mindful. I’m still barely an adult. This is only my second time out of the country, the first without my family. So I’m going to have these experiences, but I’m going to learn from them and do better next time.
Plus, I’m in London. I got to see the sunrise in London. And I spent this weekend with two friends I’ve gotten to know so well in just the last two weeks. Faith was great in keeping me calm when I felt like murdering people on the Bridge. Felicity has kept my perspective on the positive side with reminders about how awesome this trip is. And we went through it all together, so now we have like this super special London bond or something that I don’t think three girls could ever replicate anywhere again.
And there you have it, my spectacularly crappy day. It’s already Sunday, so the weekend’s not quite over yet. Fingers crossed that the last plan I have left (hint: it’s Korean related) doesn’t tank, too.
Oh, and PS: We are planning to go back to the Barbican on Friday, our last day. Wish us (better) luck!