WSC/WPC Impressions – August 13 (Sightseeing)

Somehow, I managed to wake up even earlier than yesterday, despite the fact that I was lacking sleep. I really hope I can at least get enough sleep tonight so that I can perform well tomorrow. Anyways, I got the rest of the puzzles back during breakfast, and it turned out that all the sudokus I solved during the WSC were correct. The team photo session that followed was chaotic, as usual, but we managed to get everyone from team Canada into the country photo, at least.

The sightseeing came next, where we rode on a tour bus through the narrow roads of London. We first went to the Buckingham palace to see the changing of the guards, which as the name suggested, was the changing of the guards in the Buckingham palace. Apparently, it takes place every other day, and the ceremony consists of a parade of guards marching down the streets, and carrying instruments and guns with bayonets. The tour guide walked very fast, perhaps so that we can make it to the ceremony, and we were at risk of losing half the group.

After the changing of the guards, we went back on the bus, which drove through Westminster Abbey and Big Ben. We then drove next to the London eye (a Ferris wheel) and to St. Paul’s Cathedral. At this point, the traffic was horrible, and the sky looked like it would rain. At St. Paul’s, Jerry and some Europeans left the group to sight-see on their own, and they would be the first of several groups to do so.

We walked along the outside of St. Paul’s, then across the Millennium Bridge (aka. the wobbly bridge), where we got a good view of the “walkie-talkie” (aka. death ray), the “cheese grater”, and other iconic skyscrapers of London. Across the bridge, we arrived just outside Tate Modern, where some animal groups were setting up telescopes for people to see the peregrine falcons nesting above the Tate.

Our group then went east to the Globe Theatre, which was a reconstruction of the Globe Theatre of Shakespeare’s time. At this point, the group was very slow, so Jerry and I decided to left the group. We walked on ahead alongside the riverbank, seeing the London Bridge and the City hall. We passed by the London prison museum as well. At this point, we asked one of the info staff on how to get to Sherlock Holmes and Harry Potter. It turned out the best way to do that was to head back towards the train station we passed by a little while ago.

While heading back, we met with the group again, and got the schedule of the shuttle to the hotel. We first went to Baker’s street, which was the fictional residence of Sherlock Holmes. While the museum itself costed 7 pounds, the line up for it was insanely long, so we left after looked around the museum lobby a little. Then, we head to King’s Cross. At the station, Jerry asked someone for platform 9 and 10, which turns out not to exist for the underground station. (Oops!) At the light rail station, it turns out that there’s literally nothing between platforms 9 and 10, as the 2 train tracks were adjacent. Instead, they have a sign and a gift shop at the side near platforms 9-11 section. What’s even more surprising is the existence platform 0.

At this point, David wanted his McDonald’s fix so bad that we went to a McDonald’s near the station. I went to grab a cappuccino from a nearby Starbucks. After eating, we decided that we couldn’t make it back to meet with the group for the tour bus, so we had to find our way to East Croydon station. The trains at King’s Cross all goes north, so we had to go to the St Pancras station adjacent to it. In there, we passed the Eurostar, and went for a train that took us (not-so-)directly to East Croydon. It turned out that the train was taking the long route, and for parts of it, it was the slowest train I have ever rode. Eventually, we did made it to the 5:30 shuttle to the hotel.

After dinner was the Q&A session. As usual, there are more questions for this Q&A than that of the sudoku, and we did get clarifications for several useful facts. Then came the the reading of a from the queen endorsing this event (not financially though), which got a round of applause. Next was the captain’s meeting. Since our usual captain wasn’t there, Byron and I stayed behind to see what’s up. From what I heard, there will likely going to be another GP next year. The meeting was rather heated at some spots, and it went on until it was over 11pm, which is going to have negative effect on my sleep schedule. I have yet to get a real good long sleep for the entire duration of the competition.

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