:: Pedantic Platitudes ::

Greetings! My name is Sam J and I am a student at Harvard University. Perhaps this blog will present a little look into the mundane yet unique events that make up my life.
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:: Friday, August 19, 2005 ::

Augh! Too many happenings, too little time to write about it!

A few things happened in the past few weeks:

We went to Wales! We climbed a steep 1,500 foot mountain to observe the geological results of glaciers, to see the same geological observations Charles Darwin made in the 1800s. The climb was quite strenuous, but at least there was a trail. The very next day we climbed another mountain that was even steeper and there wasn't even a trail! We just walked through heavy brush and on unstable boulders. The view from the top was incredible, though.

We also got to stop by a couple of towns in Wales, one of which was Llangollen (pronounced "thangothlen" because the spelling of "ll" in Welsh denotes a "th" sound), and it was cool to experience a bit of their culture. All the signs were in Welsh and English. I think it would be cool to learn Welsh.

We visited Shrewsbury, where Charles Darwin was born, and where our professor went to high school. We saw some of Charles Darwin's notes and random doodling as an elementary school student, as well as the house in which he was born.

We visited Stratford-Upon-Avon and saw the house in which Shakespeare was born. We also saw a Shakespeare play: As You Like It, which was, well, Shakespeare. The play was a bit long, but they did add some song and dance to keep things interesting. In Stratford-Upon-Avon, we also saw the Harvard House, which was the birthplace of John Harvard (Harvard University is named after him). The plaque on the house was wrong, though, because John Harvard was not the founder of Harvard University; that was done by the Massachusetts Bay Colony. John Harvard only donated a bunch of books to the institution... we had to have dinner before the play, so we didn't get to see where Shakespeare was buried... but it's in the town as well.

Our class went to London again, and I got to ride the London Underground! It was an interesting experience, and I liked how there were warnings to "Please mind the gap" between the train and the platform. We visited the Natural History Museum, as well as the British Museum, where I saw a bunch of mummies as well as the Rosetta Stone, which was the key to understanding Egyptian hieroglyphs.

A bunch of us stayed in London for the weekend before the class field trip, and we got a special tour of the Tower of London, which is really a castle. It's beautiful, and inside are many exhibits and displays about British history. The monarchy's crown jewels are also stored there, so we saw exhibits with glittering crowns, orbs, scepters, and other amazing objects made of gold and decorated with diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and every other gem you can imagine. We also saw the famous Tower Bridge. We had dinner (Chinese food, yay) near Picadilly Circus and then wandered about that area at night. When it got dark, we wandered near Big Ben, which is stunning at night, and it reminded me of the scene in Disney's Peter Pan when Peter, Wendy, John, and Michael fly over London and then pause briefly on the big hand of Big Ben.

We then walked along the Thames, past the London Eye, and towards our hostel. The walk along the river was so amazing at night because the trees are all lit up with blue and white twinkly lights. Such a sight.

We also passed by St. Paul's Cathedral, which is in the movie Mary Poppins where the old lady is telling people to "Feed the birds, tuppence a bag." It's a particularly poignant scene in the film, and the song (which happens to be Walt Disney's favorite) reminds us of the power of simple charity and the need to be kind, especially to those less fortunate than us.

The next day, after visiting the museums, I saw Mary Poppins, the new musical. I liked it so much. It had elements from the movie, but it also had so much more. They rewrote some of the Sherman Brothers' classic songs and added new songs, but it all worked so wonderfully well together. It still had the magical feel of the movie, more so because it was all live onstage. There were also a lot of special effects, including the title character flying over the audience with her umbrella! They even got the scene where Mary Poppins pulls a tall lamp and plant from an empty carpetbag. At intermission, I moved up to some empty seats in the second row from the stage, and it made the rest of the show so much better. Yay, I love this musical. Better than any other Disney stage musical because it's not just the movie onstage... it's so much more. I can't wait to see it again if/when it arrives in the US on Broadway.

OK, now I'm off to play Mafia the card game, which my classmates have recently become obsessed with. It's quite a fun game... I've grown quite fond of it myself.

Quote of the Day: "She's playing you like a friggin' fiddle!"

:: SL 4:38 PM [+] ::

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