London, week 2: Book of Mormon! Olympic Park!

The second week started with work, work and more work. After all, that’s what I’m here for! Because of my incompetence (and lack of experience) it took me until 6 pm every day to finish everything I had to do. However, on Friday, as I was checking my emails first thing in the morning (it’s an awful habit, checking emails in bed, but I can’t help myself) I realized I had received an email from my supervisor, telling me to take a day off. Yay!

I didn’t have any plans, so at first I was worried I’d be bored, but looking inside my mailbox revealed that my shiny new student Oyster card had finally arrived. So I had to take it out into the world and show it around the city a little bit. I know, I know, I’m ridiculous, but during my attempt to save money I only took the bus to and from work and had to walk everywhere else, which resulted in not-going-anywhere because places are far apart, especially if you’re visiting them after eight hours of non-stop standing.

I went for a walk down Regent Street and did some window shopping. And then, in the evening, I remembered that the Book of Mormon theatre is pretty close to where I am. Which means.. the ticket lottery! And then I played it. And didn’t win. Boohoo.

Book of Mormon!?

On Saturday morning, I decided to try to win a ticket for Book of Mormon again. Since it was a Saturday matinee, I figured it would be less crowded and I’d have a better chance of winning.

I was there at noon, filled out the lottery sheet and then left for a very nervous 30-minute break because they select the winners at exactly 12.30. When I came back, the hopeful crowd had already gathered in front of the side entrance and the mood was very, very tense. Everybody had someone to go to the theatre with; I, of course, was all by myself. And the next winner is… from Australia… From London.. damn.

One ticket for Tanja… from Slovenia! Oh my god. That’s me! I let out a squeak, showed them my passport and collected my sign-up sheet, so I would be able to buy the ticket. My hands were, quite literally, shaking. It was probably hilarious to witness how much time and effort it took for me to get the money out of my wallet and pay for the tickets. What I hadn’t realized was that the tickets were actually for the front row!

Now, I know some people might not like that and that’s the exact reason why they’re cheaper, but for me, front row is perfect. It’s definitely my favourite place to sit, especially because it’s so close to the stage you can see EVERYTHING. Plus, I can’t afford premium seats and would otherwise have to sit somewhere in the dress circle in the cheap seats, which are approximately 35.5 miles away from the stage. (Who needs to see the actors’ face expressions anyway, right?)

With two hours until the show, I didn’t feel like I was wearing appropriate clothes for West End (I suppose I’m the only person in the world who gets this kind of feelings), so I went to Primark and bought a necklace. Or maybe I just needed the excuse? We’ll never know.

All I can say about Book of Mormon is – it was amazing. I’m a huge fan of South Park and Family Guy (and poking fun of everything. And sarcasm.), so this was the perfect musical for me. My whole face hurt from laughing so much from start to finish.

Olympic Park

On Sunday, I went on a trip with ISH – the International Students House. It was a little underwhelming because I was expecting it to be a huge event, but only eight people (including me) showed up. It was a trip to East London and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, including the ArcelorMittal Orbit!

I was hoping for it to be an easy way to meet new friends, but, as you can imagine, when only 7 other people sign up… it’s a little bit weird. We walked through Whitechapel and Brick lane, and then had lunch at one of the food markets. I was feeling extra adventurous, so, after trying a couple of different cuisines, I settled for Vietnamese. It was incredibly spicy for my taste (I don’t eat spicy food, ever), but – adventure!

Now I can finally say (not that this was what I had always aspired to) I’ve seen an original Banksy. Yay! And lots of other street art as well.

After lunch, we walked around the City a bit and saw a commercial shoot. Possibly with a famous actor. I just have no idea who he was.

Obviously, the first thing I had to do after taking the tube from Liverpool Street to Stratford and walking to the Olympic Park was to take a selfie in the selfie ball. Of course. (I have no idea what it’s called or why it’s there, but its reflective surface makes it very convenient for selfie-taking and that’s exactly what everybody does).

The park itself is absolutely gorgeous, even if you have no intention whatsoever of doing anything sports-related.

Even the ads (that are probably hiding an ugly construction site) are beautiful.

The main reason I went on this trip, however, was the ArcelorMittal Orbit. It’s a kind of an observation tower and a piece of art, all in one. It’s Britain’s tallest sculpture and largest piece of public art. It opened just a day before we visited! And it’s quite expensive to visit. Just like everything else in London, apart from the free museums.

The view wasn’t as cool as it is, I imagine, from the London Eye, because it’s in East London. But it’s still a fun place to visit because of the funky shape and the giant steel mirrors that you get to see on top. Do not touch!