Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cheers Mate!


We got back late Monday night and had a great time.  It was really great that I was able to take the time off work to go with them.  I will not feel as bad next time that I don't get to go hopefully.
While we were in London, we didn't have a lot of free time- it seems like we were always either sleeping (or lacking sleep) or moving towards somewhere- but we did manage to squeeze in a little bit of sightseeing.  

Sorry if this next part is boring, but I need to recap my trip for my mom.  I will post pictures in separate posts because I hate how they get all mixed up and hard to move, etc- but here is the story of the trip to go with the pics.
We flew out of LA Tuesday afternoon, with a plan to sleep on the plane and arrive with no jet lag Wednesday morning at 10am.  Unfortunately, none of us anticipated the allure of in flight movies and about 4 movies later we landed with no real sleep...

We were to be picked up from the airport by Micha, the European representative of the band's label.  Unfortunately the Queen must've been out and about that day, and London's traffic was awful... so we ended up taking a cab to meet him at the hotel.  The cabs there are super cool though, with flippy down seats that face each other and tvs and such.  
When we got to the hotel, our room wasn't ready, so we put our luggage and music equipment in a locked closet in the lobby (common in England I guess to have this option) and walked to the store where the boys would be playing that night.  With all of us on the verge of falling asleep, we decided to head back to the room for a 2 hour nap.  Then back to the store for their show, which went well.  I ate a really good panini from a sandwhich shop down the way. yum  That is also where I saw the "Walkers" brand "crisps" (potato chips for us americans) in turkey and stuffing flavor. bleh.

The next day we met up with our British friend, Chico (who lives in LA, but is currently in London for the holidays) who took us around sightseeing.  On my request we took the "Tube" or the Underground first to Buckingham Palace to see the Queen.  Unfortunately, she must not have received the message about our date for tea, because she never showed.  We walked around on the Princess Diana Memorial Walk, which was gorgeous and I saw the most BOLD set of squirrels and birds ever.  I got within inches of touching one before I thought better of it.
The Memorial Walk took us over to St Paul's something where we saw the guards. This is what I was waiting for!  I had been practicing my pose since the day before.  When it was my turn to stand next to one, he all of a sudden stomped and walked off.  Upon following him, we found another one who was standing alone by a wall.  No one was around him, so I thought, "now's my chance!" As I was walking up to him, I went under an archway, and then all of a sudden he stomps! and yells "STAND CLEAR OF THE ARCHWAY!"  which freaked me out, and explains the scared facial expression.  Meanwhile, the first guard has returned to his original spot, so I run go get a pic with him.  Caleb refused though to get in the pic.  He was kind of scared I think... they did have swords after all.  So back outside, where Caleb decides he will get a picture, but only with the guy that yelled at me, geez.  I resume my pose, but Caleb wasn't into it... Probably cause he was on sword side.  They also had a guard with a horse that stood very still as well- Ashton got a pick with him.
We then went past a bunch of phone booths and found Big Ben and Westminster Abbey.  Nice.
Then we jumped back on the tube to go to this free museum and meet up with another guy from the label, Simon, who'd be attending the festival with us.  Since we were starving, we went to a pub to eat.  The boys got fish and chips.  I got a falafal sandwich with chips. yum
After the museum, it was time for the guys to switch hotels and get the gear to the bar for that night's soundcheck.  The bar was called the Legion and it was in East London I think.  The show went very well, despite the fact that I couldn't see them play from where I was selling tshirts and cds and also despite the relentless drunk Brit hitting on me throughout it all.  Geez.  He even knew I was married to the guitar player!  yikes.  Let me tell you, the young British guys really like their high fives!  I must have given out like 100 that night.
EARLY the next morning we left London to go across the country for the festival in Southwest England.  I slept off and on the whole way, so unfortunately missed a lot of the beautiful countryside.  I did however manage to see sheep and some old buildings and between Caleb and I got some pictures of this part of the trip.
When we arrived at the festival Friday afternoon, we checked in, got our backstage access passes and wristbands and room keys and booklets, etc.  The festival was on the grounds of an amusement park like place called "Butlins".  I am pretty sure that if we had prepared properly/ hadn't been freezing cold, we could've participated in the indoor water park, rope climbing, mini golfing extravaganza surrounding us.  But it was VERY cold and just going from our apartment to the festival main tent, was too much outdoor time.
The guys played Friday afternoon.  There were two stages and they were the 2nd band that played on the 2nd stage.  I was worried that this would mean that they would have a small crowd size, but there ended up being A LOT of people at their show.  I left when they still had a couple songs left to go to the merch area in the main tent to sell their CDs and Tshirts.  I could tell when they stopped playing, because there was a rush of people coming to buy and rave. It was great and nearly made me a little emotional, not to mention a little overwhelmed to see so many people appreciating their talent.  I sold merch for about 3 1/2- 4 hours that night and then saw some other bands play.  We sold out of all their CDs and only had 7" records and tshirts left at the end of the night.
We slept until 2pm on Saturday and then spent the rest of the day seeing bands and watched The Thing in the cinema.
On Sunday, we decided that I should sell merch again, since some people were asking that didn't stop by Friday night.  I think I was selling for 1 or 2 hours tops, and we ended up selling out of the records too!  With all the stuff we brought with- we only brought back 3 shirts!  I would've sold them too, but they were Smalls and XL... I had some Medium sized guys try to squeeze into the small, but it wouldn't work. haha
Monday morning we were up EARLY again to head back to the airport.  I was hoping that we'd get to Stonehenge, but the route that our GPS took us wasn't that way.. next time.  We made it to the airport 3 hours early, checked in with no problems, was AMAZED by the shops in the airport- looked like a fancy mall! Boarded the plane 30 minutes early, then proceeded to sit on the runway or tarmac or whatever for 5 hours!  We didn't even realize at first that we hadn't taken off, cause we had all fallen asleep!  Once they taxi'ed us back to the gate, we realized something was wrong... Once they informed us they'd be serving dinner, we realized we weren't going anywhere fast...  I watched a movie and ate dinner and slept before we even took off.  It wasn't that bad, except I was seated next to a lady that crowded my armrest and "Humpf"'d every few minutes.  After 25 hours of traveling and 15 hours on the plane, we landed.  The entrance to the US Customs was dark, dank and smelled like trash (due to the overflowing dumpster nearby)- I don't think that's the first impression we'd like to give... someone should look into that.  Got to sleep sometime between 2am and 3am and was back at work for my 9am meeting the next day.  What a trip!
Woah, that was exhausting to write, I can't believe anyone would be able to make it through that recap.  The posts with the pictures will be separate.


Brent and Emily said...

Woot! I read the whole thing! I think I need a nap now. J/K. Good recap, Claire. That's awesome that you pretty much got sold out of stuff. :)

Leslie said...

What a great trip. I had no problem getting through the recap : ) I'm glad you had such a good time!!

Sarah said...

Wow! I read the whole thing too. It sounded exhausting, fun, fast, and lacking a lot of sleep. I laughed out loud at the high five line. And then I felt so bad for you when you're plan didn't take off for 5 hours. That is ridiculous! Can't believe you showed up to work the next day after all of that at 9am. I am impressed! Have you recovered yet???