“I don’t know…” my sister replied, looking around desperately for a sign that might lead us to Phantom of the Opera.
We had a harebrained scheme: Catch a 15:00 bus to London from Oxford, find Phantom’s playhouse, and after taking a few touristy pictures, grab the late bus back home.
On the way to London.
“The play will be between 7 and 8,” I say.
Kathryn and her friend Lauren glance nervously at watches and cell phone clocks.
“Well…it’s 6:30 now.”
Our plans had already met a slight hitch when our bus had broken down on the highway. And searching for a theater was more difficult than expected. Unlike New York’s Broadway, London stages are scattered throughout the city. So we began asking the question I have become so accustomed to asking: “Excuse me, hi yes sorry. Do you know where (insert every destination ever here)."
Really? Oh yes...
One bus driver pointed us down a street. The next bus driver pointed us back towards the way we came. The man working at a theater could only tell us to ask a bus driver. Finally I saw a postman. Yes a postman! That was who helped me when I was lost on my first day of work! Postmen are awesome – I love you postmen.
So I quickly walked over to him before he could take his lovely postman self down another street.
“Sir, excuse me! Yes…sorry to bother you but…”
Oh wait. You’re not a postman. Dang you and your fake postman outfit…you postman poser! I blindly trusted you because of your uniform and hat and letters in your hand. And the more I talk to you the more I realize you don’t speak English…but you say I should ask a taxi driver? Ok! Yes this one right here? Well, thank you fake postman! Yes have a nice night.
Literally running around London.
So Kathryn, Lauren and I asked a taxi driver if he knew where Her Majesty’s Theater was located.
“You wanna get in?”
“Ha. No sir. Could you just simply tell me…”
“You want in?” he asked again, smashing a turkey sandwich into his face.
“No. I do not. We do not “want in,” I said beginning to get frustrated.
“You gonna pay?”
Ok. I have a feeling we’re not in Ireland anymore.
“Can you tell me or no,” I said. The clock was ticking and I didn’t have time for little taxi man games. Luckily my favorite fake postman came up behind us.
“Coo you jost tell ‘deem where dis is, yes?” he asked.
“Ok," the driver consented. "You’re gonna go down this street here, you see? Go take a left, and then you’re gonna start looking for Haymarket, see? It’s on the left there. On Haymarket.”
I gave him a quick “thanks” but saved my genuine gratitude for the fake postman. “No problem,” he said and went back up the street with his random letters that obviously were not today’s mail.
So the adventure continued. We ran through the streets on London, skipped over obstacles, darted through traffic, and frantically searched for Haymarket. Lauren had to remove her shoes and prance around the city barefoot to keep up. But we were going to see that show, even if our feet were bleeding by the time we arrived. I had already learned in Ireland that blisters will fade...right?
Nice...who needs shoes.
Finally we found the theater. Between Kathryn’s knowledge of London, the fake postman, and the annoying taxi driver, we arrived at 7:15 for the 7:30 show.
Love love love.
“25 pounds for obstructed view,” the man in the booth told us. Last minute tickets are always cheaper, but unless we sat near a column, they would still cost over 70 pounds – which is over $130 American dollars.
So behind a column we sat. And it didn’t matter. It didn’t matter at all. At first we thought it would be horrible, but once the play started I think it’s safe to say we were all captivated by the magic of the London theater and swept away by the actors voices that led us to a world a mystery and intrigue in a 1800s opera house.
And for 25 pounds? Heck ya!
Harebrained scheme: Check
London play: Check
Touristy pictures by Big Bed and red payphones: Check
Classic holiday with Kathryn: Check, Check, Check!
You better believe I was talking in a British accent...
Me and P on "holiday."