London Trip Part Two: The London Experience

Royal Albert Hall

  1. Arriving at London Euston

At this point we have arrived in the heart of London, more specifically, London Euston Train Station. Strangely, I keep on pronouncing it as Houston, but that’s irrelevant!

Ahem-

I took a quick glance around. I didn’t feel strange at first, it felt like any other ordinary train station. I would say that it’s just about the same size as any other major city station. =) We were in a rush too so we had no time to enjoy the sights of the station.

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Next moment, we got into the black cab! That was the first ever time that I had been inside the black taxi cab. I’m a bit iffy with taxis nowadays due to my experience with taxis from when I attended College and University, that’s another story though! I was more excited than nervous. Perhaps it’s because the Black cabs are quite famous in London, and I was with my brother.

The gentleman driver knew where he was going but there was one moment where my heart skipped a beat. He pulled by the lights and from my point of view it looked as though we were going to crash besides this huge lorry! Turns out, he was just pulling up beside it. Me and my brother exchanged grimaces of relief!

We took another route because there was a vintage car real show in the park. =)

Through all those lovely detours we have finally arrived at the Queen’s Gate Hotel.^^/

  1. The Queen’s Gate Hotel

The first thing I thought, when I looked up is “wow, I gotta take a picture of this!” and so I did, and it was magical. =)

I felt really important when we went into the reception. I especially felt an important guest when we were given swipe cards. I was a little mean to my brother at this point… I made him take the stairs all the way up to the fourth floor. Haha. When we reached there we had a problem… how do we get in? We tried to swipe it horizontally, vertically and tried to place it as if there was a hole there… turns out, all I needed to do was place the card over this fancy switch and the door opened!

We got in. The room was small but cosy. We had problems working the kettle though. Then… well. I decided at that moment, after putting my card in the card holder, that I should take a picture of my door for Nan. So I walked out, closed the door and took a picture. When all was said and done, I put my phone away and tried to open the door… I was locked outside! My brother, Mum, my sister, everyone warned me that whatever I do, I should not leave my room without my card. I did that without even trying. Luckily my brother was in the room so all I had to do was knock on the door and my brother opened it. Haha. It wasn’t even his room. XD

My bed was ok and the shower and bathroom was in mint condition. As long as the shower was super hygienic then I am happy. =) I couldn’t really get all that comfortable on the bed, I wasn’t used to sleeping on someone else’s bed. I had a quick cup of tea before we left to go for a walk at the Kensington Gardens. There wasn’t much time to relax just yet as we wanted to have a quick stroll in the park.

  1. Kensington Gardens

Before we took a stroll in the park we decided to have a dummy run to the Royal Albert Hall.

I did this whilst watching out for the busy roads. I’m especially nervous around roads. Pre-university I’d often go into my own little world and not really pay attention to my surroundings. I used to be very embarrassed to admit this so I never explained why I lacked concentration when walking along the roads. Nowadays, I’m very aware of my sense of self. So, I can control my own thoughts, especially around busy roads. I’m still not as confident though, I will only cross roads when I feel secure over the fact that the roads are absolutely clear. I don’t care even if I have to wait ten minutes, it’s better to be a bit late and stay safe. ^^/

The Royal Albert Hall is literally a five minute walk from where the hotel was, perhaps even shorter. It was simply a majestic sight to behold. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s hard to put it into words. Opposite this building is the Royal College of Music. That was a nice building too. You could literally hear the pianos playing from where we were. On the other side of the Royal Albert Hall was the Royal College of Art, another nice building. =)

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On the way to the park we got ourselves Ice Cream. Since this was a monumental occasion I chose to get a triple whippy into a double whippy comb… It was extremely delicious, but, I kept on dripping it on the floor. 😦 I said that it was worth every penny, until my brother reminded me of the fact that it was actually him who treated us both to the ice cream… so, it was worth all the pennies he spent on it. 😉

However, I dropped bits of ice cream onto my shirt. I wouldn’t mind if it was any ordinary shirt, but, I bought this shirt specifically to debut in London. And, I somewhat made a mess of it. Haha!

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Walking in that park was simply lovely. There were loads of people though, and as more people came near me, I kept on taking shots of the sceneries. I got a few nice shots too, especially of the sky and water. =)

Strangely though, what I liked more about the park were the colourful people that were in it. It made me feel like that it was a waste of time feeling anxious around other people. I saw all sorts of eccentric activities the people were doing, I saw one or two doing yoga. I was happy because everyone was doing all sort of eccentric stuff, but, no one was judging anyone. They were just getting on with their own stuff. It made me feel like I could blend in and be myself with ease, without feeling judged.

My philosophy is ‘eccentric is the new normality’ haha. =D

  1. Realisation

Something occurred to me whilst I was snapping photos. I do genuinely love taking photos, but yet, I always find that I’m taking more then I need to. Why is that? I think I found my answer after I got back to the hotel. I take photos to distract myself from the situation.

To me, this makes a lot of sense. I’m always nervous when I’m out and about, especially when I’m venturing into the unknown. Sometimes to escape my nerves and socialising with new people I would often pick things out that I think would make a nice photo, and take a few pictures of it. It was exactly like that when I went to my sister’s wedding. I told myself to restrain myself from photo taking… that did not happen at all. Partly, it was because I enjoyed taking pictures of the scenery and people, but it was also to distract myself from feeling anxious.

How I felt when taking photos in London was no different from when I was taking photos at my sister’s wedding.

I wouldn’t say that taking photos is necessarily a bad thing but I at least understand why I’m taking more than necessary. Am I going to resolve this? Do I need to resolve this? I’m not sure, but what I am sure is that I’ve learnt a lot about myself in this trip, and this is one of the platforms that I have learnt. =)

  1. Pre-Concert Preparations

I was apprehensive when I got off the station, into the hotel, and walking through the park. But… I felt incredibly ill as soon as I went back to my room.

I don’t know what suddenly came to me. I propose that since I was constantly busy I was somewhat distracted by my anxiety. However, since I was back at the hotel, I had some peace and quiet. That was then when I started to feel ill. I became aware that I was in London, and that everything was out of routine. At that time I opted to listen to the Non Non Biyori soundtrack. Then, it was time to go and grab some tea lunch at the Royal Albert Hall…

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Whilst feeling nauseous, apprehensive and a little jaded, I went and had a Panini and hot chocolate.

To my surprise, me and my brother saw a lot of people dress in cosplay from characters from the Final Fantasy series! I was led to believe that we had to dress smart casual. Who would have thought? I was happy that everyone was in a good, positive mood but, it was getting a little bit too much for me. It was a small room just inside the Royal Albert Hall, so, I needed to go out into the open space to avoid the huge crowd. Believe me, it was super tight. I felt more ill after that.

I bought the concert programme and took it back to the hotel before the start of the concert…

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In Part Three I’m going to talk about the concert, my night in the hotel and my journey home.

Thanks for Reading,

Stay tuned.^^/

Ryan.

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Dressing up as the Shockmaster!

The Shockmaster

Spook Tidings!^^/

  1. The Idea

For Halloween I went to my brother’s Halloween party dressed as the Shockmaster.[1]

I decided to come as the Shockmaster since March, during the time when I watched WWE Wrestlemania with my Brother and co., everyone was bantering and someone suggested that we all should go to the gathering dressed up as a wrestler, to mark the occasion. I decided at that moment that I was going to dress up as the Shockmaster since it would be funny and no one would suspect it. It was sort of last minute though, so I decided to put that idea on ice. But, then I had a thought… what if I was to dress up as that gimmick for Halloween? It would be amazing, I thought, and so I would bide my time until October…

October had arrived and my brother did indeed arrange a Halloween party for us all. But, I was then under the impression that my Brother decided not to hold a party this year so I decided not to pursue with the Shockmaster costume. It turns out that that I misunderstood, so, my costume idea was back on!

  1. The Items

The Shockmaster had a huge Stormtrooper Helmet which was covered in silver paint and sprayed with a lot of glitter. He also had a huge black fluffy coat and denim jeans.

Getting my hands on a Stormtrooper Helmet was difficult. I could have bought one off Ebay but I opted out of this. The ones I saw were very expensive and not local. Haha. Upon my Mum’s advice I went to a few local charity shops to see if they had any in stock. Big moment coming up…

Me and Dad went into a shop and browsed randomly for something entirely different. We both walked out and it occurred to me that we forgot to ask for a Stormtrooper Helmet! So, I went back inside the shop, and asked the lady at the till if she had any Stormtrooper helmets in stock. She went to have a look, came back, and said no. I sort of smiled and said ‘thanks for looking’… I didn’t really know what to do after that as situations like this doesn’t happen that often. I decided to say my byes and left the store. In hindsight, I think that was the best protocol action to take.^^/

Desperate times called for desperate measures… we had to make a Stormtrooper Helmet ourselves!

  1. The Making

I refer to ‘ourselves’ since my Mum kindly gave me a helping hand with the helmet.

First off, we measured my head with a bucket. Then, we used lots of newspaper and glued it onto the bucket. We had to keep leaving the layers to dry overnight, so, we’d often put them in an airing cupboard to leave them to dry. We decided that my face required room so we then added a fruit bowl underneath the top of the bucket. Plus, it adds stability.

When bits of newspaper were dry my Dad carefully lifted the dried newspapers from the bucket with ease. However… he couldn’t get the fruit bowl out! D=

After all this we covered the newspaper with a layer of brown paper. We then shaped the front bit of the helmet using cardboard tubes, covering them first in silver foil. Our next step was to spray paint the whole thing silver. When this was dry we painted the helmet with silver glitter glue to get that sparkly effect. Thus, on the morning of the Halloween party, it was officially complete!

  1. The Party and Reaction

I sort of had my doubts to be honest, I won’t lie. Whilst we all did the best we could the helmet did not look anything like a Stormtrooper Helmet nor did it look like the Shockmaster. Haha! We all had a good laugh at it though.

I think as long as it had the comical effect and it makes people laugh, it’s all good. It was why I decided to dress up as him in the first place, to make everyone laugh. =) Still, I must say though, people would probably mistake me for a darlik rather than some wrestler from the 90’s. Haha!

I walked to my Brother’s door, knocked on it, he opened up and I shouted “I’m going to SHOOOOCK YOOOOOOOOOU!!!” he laughed, Cheese laughed and everyone else laughed as well. Everyone laughed and the atmosphere was great. My job was done. As my job was done that meant me taking off my helmet! XD

  1. The Conclusion

It was a good evening. I spoke to a couple of new people and we have similar interests in common. I was happy to speak to these new people and I felt like I instigated the conversation at times. Good for me. =D I was a little bit under the weather and felt slightly nervous at knowing or not knowing who may or who may not be there. I did ok though.

THANKS FOR READING

 The Shockmaster 3

I had utmost fun doing the Shockmaster costume. In truth though if I had more time then I reckon I could have done a better job and come better prepared. I felt a little disheartened from time to time and took jokes from my parents perhaps a little too seriously. I did ok under the circumstances. In all honestly I would have been more anxious about the Halloween party had it not been for the more upcoming London trip the following day.

I will tell you all about my London trip in future blogs. It was a very significant moment in my life and I’m still feeling the after affects even now. Bear with me for a couple of days and I will fill you in all about it. Stay tuned. =)

Ps, you probably gathered that I spent the evening with a fruit bowl on my head, and you would be right! 😉

Thanks for reading.

Sayonara.^^/

Ryan

[1] The Shockmaster, portrayed by Fred Ottman, was a wrestling gimmick from the World Championship Wrestling promotion during the 1990’s. The Shockmaster made an infamous debut due to his falling incident during a WCW segment. Here is the Youtube clip that shows the incident: <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5oMiqJRVqs>