Sunday, February 3, 2008

Fabulous London & Debate

Darryl has been kind enough to write up some of our experiences in the past few days—he has a fancy iPhone that I’ve been drooling over. On our first full day in London I desperately needed to rest, having stayed awake the entire trip from the US. For some reason, I was completely unable to sleep on the flight. I decided to tackle the London tube system on February 1st, and successfully made it to The Globe and the Tate Modern. I was listening to Andrew Bird (fabulous musician) and waling around by myself—it was so beautiful. Here are some of my favorites from the Tate Modern: Malevich (Dynamic Suprematism) | Kandinsky (Swinging) | Jasper Johns (0-9) | Matisse (Snails) | Joan Miro (Woman and Bird in the Moonlight) | Jackson Pollack (Birth, Summertime, No. 93) | Bernard Frize (Splitz) | Paul Klee (Walpurgis Night) | Fiona Rae (Night Vision). I was so moved walking through the TM—I would try to describe the feeling to you, but I’m not sure I can do the experience justice.

When I returned to our hotel (Victoria neighborhood in London), I changed into a very ‘Ralph Loren’ outfit, that matched Darryl’s outfit quite well, and headed off to the English Speaking Union (ESU) in Green Park. Green Park is absolutely gorgeous, and one day I plan on buying a flat over there. Here’s to dreaming. We met up with Patrick and we left for a pub nearby so that he could explain British Parliamentary debate to us. I wrote down what he instructed us to do on a sticky note note, and consumed my pint as quickly as possible as we were running late to the tournament. We made our way to Inner Temple, which is an incredibly impressive area of London, full of barristers, and more importantly The Witness Box (a very cute pub). I honestly had difficulty adapting to BP debating the first day—I changed the way I was flowing (i.e., writing down my arguments), was trying to not be mesmerized by the British accents, and find a good balance between rhetoric and refutation. Ironically, I was told by some of our judges the first day that I was too rhetorical. In the U.S., I am better known for being a very aggressive refutation based debater. Alas, on day 2 of Inner Temple IV I was able to figure it out, and Darryl and I hit our stride (even though we stayed at the pub until 2 o’clock in the morning). In BP, there are four teams of two in a round, and each team is ranked 1-4 at the end. We managed to take straight 1’s that entire day. We broke to the semifinal round (a first for any American team at the Inner Temple IV), and I was the 16th speaker and Darryl was the 18th speaker overall in the tournament. One of our hosts from the ESU, Patrick, admitted he did not to expect us to do so well, so I reminded him that we are ‘All American’ bad asses. Darryl is working on a summary of Inner Temple on a round-by-round basis. I will say that I met some very interesting people and had some wonderful conversations. I am proud to say that in our semi-final round, Darryl and I won over a barrister who strikingly resembled my boss’s boss, Dana Hayter. We celebrated by visiting with some of Britain’s future barristers at the Shakespeare Pub and some other posh joint across the street (I didn’t catch the name).

Today I woke up with a bit of a headache, which I am blaming on the Guinness. After regaining my composure, I went to a small café to have a traditional English breakfast (or a heart stopper) and some tea. After that, I hopped on the tube at Victoria Station, and went to Oxford Circus to catch the Central tube. I got off near the British Museum, and navigated my over by finding tourists with maps that seemed to be pointing at the BM location. Darryl was not feeling well and had papers to grade, so I went on another adventure by myself. I’m starting to feel like such a Londoner, maybe not so much seeing as I am staying in pretty touristy and safe areas, but nonetheless I do love the city. I saw the China’s First Emperor The Terracotta Army display, and wandered through the free exhibits. I loved the Ancient Egypt exhibit, the Roman Empire Wolfson Gallery (with an adorable vase called the Portland Vase), and particularly the Asia display rooms (Chinese jade, India: Amaravati, and China, India, South and Southeast Asia)—particularly the stuff from the 18th century. After enjoying the museum, I decided to get back to our hotel.

Our itinerary for the rest of the trip is as follows: Ireland on Monday & Tuesday (we are planning on having some very serious discussions about debate, but not actually competing) | Tuesday (arrive back in London and find our hotel and a pub) | Wednesday (The Great Shakespeare Debate, and the UK-US Debate at the American School in London where we will be supporting the motion, “This house believes that the American century has ended”) | Thursday (Day in Oxford) | Friday (Travel to Cardiff) | Saturday (Cardiff IV) | Sunday (Day in Wales) | Monday (Day in Bristol or Exeter) | Tuesday through Thursday (Trip to Scotland) | Friday (Fly out of Gatwick at 12:00 PM). Of course, this itinerary is subject to change. I am very excited to be going to Ireland!!!!

On a final note, you’ll notice the template for this blog has changed. It was making Darryl sick to his stomach, so I relented and have chosen a more simple background.


Paul said...

Ya lucky fools I'm quite jealous. Good work at Inner Temple, Straight 1's !!!. Say hi to James for me when you get a chance, and pick his brain about History in general and London specifically, he was fantastic and quirky when we chatted. Kick some ass and Take some names, and have a great time in Ireland. peace,


Nancy said...

It sounds like the time is whizzing by! I hope you're taking pictures! (I'm not seeing many posted here:::hint hint:::)

Congratulations on your Inner Temple wins! Rock on, you two!!

Whales? In Wales?

If you get the chance to do a real touristy thing, find Richard with the Red Hat's tour that's a day trip to Salisbury by train, then on by bus to Stonehenge. It's Fabulous!

"Enjoy every sandwich." - Warren Zevon

Love reading this blog! Stay well and warm,

Judith Strom said...

when i traveled in europe Ireland was one of my favorite places. you will love the people and the sights. The irish accent is even more fun to listen to than the English. Make sure you so as much sight seeing as possible, good luck on future debates, you two rock! Love mom judith