The WPDP trip began with a bang...literally. The day the group, led by instructor Mark Harvey, landed in London happened to be July 7th, 2005, the date of the terrorist attacks on London's public trasportation system. Striving to be good diplomats and enjoy their experience, the students and staff kept a stiff upper lip and went about the program as planned, with the minor exception of having class in the dorm's downstairs pub.
As is his wont, Comrade Harvey led the group to glory in their sixteen-day outing, with such various activities as singing "Fields of Athenry" in several crowded English parks, parliamentary debates, an absolutism debate in Speaker's Corner, a West End performance of "The Producers" as well as "The Philadelphia Story" at the Old Vic Theatre, meeting and lunch with an Irish Republican activist, and all that Markism can concieve to do in London (see Markists). The group christened themselves "C.A.T.A.L.Y.S.T.", which stands for "Crazy Americans Travelling About London Yelling 'Silly Terrorists!' ", and adopted Mark's lemonade-loving penguin, Norm, as their mascot (if you look hard enough, you can find a picture of him settled comfortably atop the helmet of a London Police sergeant at Buckingham Palace).
During their tenure in the City of Cities, the group walked an estimated 2435413643867.6 miles, and aggravated an estimated 2536817687 Britons, including the old man who still regretted the fall of the British Empire but not including the Texan in Hyde Park. That Texan was a jerk. He once claimed he was Japanese. Douche.
Edit by Tanner: It was the general idea of everyone that Tanner was the most comical of the group, having once used an empty glass Coke bottle as a telescope in the Italian restaurant. Apparently, Tanner was under the impression that he was a pirate. A pirate that strangely resembled Garfield the cat. Edit by Victor: TanTan was a good panda.
Most of the group was awesome enough to go buy at midnight at a Borders in London. Most of the group was also guilty of dressing up as members of the opposite sex and walking about London dressed as such.
Sir Alexander Trash-in-hood will live in infamy for being the funniest North Carolinan...Carolinian(as in the state) ever. His rugged good looks, booming voice, and impressive physical stature made him the natural leader of the group, which faced difficulties including a terrorist bombing and a random drunken woman who attempted to seduce Benjamin. Throughout these trials, Sir Trash-in-hood maintained a facade of calm, and disposed himself with the essential characteristics of a leader. So much so, in fact, that at the end of the session, when Mark, the groups formal leader, decided to reveal the true treachery behind his leadership tactics, he commented on the natural leadership qualities inherent in young Trash-in-hood, showing that sometimes stuffed penguins are not necessary for mass group manipulations.
Also, several of the male group members were fortunate--or unfortunate--enough to be assigned a single occupancy room. These were Ryan Moseley, Liam O'Toole, Andrew Shell, and Victor Yamaykin. This resulted in several humorous incidents, notably when Victor walked into Andrew's room to see Andrew counting money on his bed. Upon this, Victor observed that "this isn't my room." Andrew heartily agreed with this notion, but he extended his hospitality to his friend anyway. They wound up listening to the Team America: World Police soundtrack. It was stupendous.
Such incidents were not uncommon, especially in the room occupied by Molly and Sarah where there was much socialising and rejoicing. The conversations during the nights following our arrival and leading up to our departure were full of mirth, honesty, and a hint of inspiration.
Although it was obvious who had not enjoyed their full night's sleep at breakfast the next morning, whinging was not tolerated from anyone. The same principle applied for being tardy to class. The punishment (or the honor) for arriving late to the pub was writing and reciting a poem for our beloved Norm. And much hilarity ensued.
Aside from the jovial demeanor of the group while studying and living in the pub of the LSE for the greater portion of the day at times, there were a number of memorable, dare say smashing, adventures into the city itself. In particular, on the first night, the group dined at a Turkish restaurant and delighted in several trays of warm slices of pita bread. Later on, they decided to attempt a foray into the world of abstract art at the TATE Modern. Perhaps the most unusual subject on display was a giant sculpture of what appeared to be, ehem, excrement with several pieces of the aforementioned excrement strewn about the floor. The bard Mark along with his companions Sir Alexander Trash-in-hood and Teo the impersonator appealed to Zen Master Victor for his interpretation of the sculpture's meaning. He paused to reflect upon the medium within the space of the entire room and replied that it could possibly represent the Tower of Babel. And with that, the members of the group did grin, and they set out for their next adventure to the Black Friar's Bridge and parts unknown. To be continued...