Guy Fawkes Day and the Cellphone Debacle…

And the week had been going so well.

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Guy Fawkes Fireworks. Picture Credit to my friend, Anna. Southwark Park, London, England. November 2014.

This post was meant to talk exclusively about Guy Fawkes Day and what we did featuring slow motion footage of the fireworks and fire dancers (I discovered the slow motion ability on my iphone), however, that footage was lost when said phone decided it wanted to take a swim this week. In that light, this week will have a split focus.

Let’s start with the more enjoyable half first.

Guy Fawkes Day, for those who don’t know, is a day and/or night of revelry on November 5th that commemorates the foiled attempt of a group of conspirators to blow up Parliament in 1605 (though in a more modern context, some have subverted the meaning to celebrate those who tried to fight the authority). This boils down to a night of bonfires (though these have been outlawed in many areas) and firework shows which can be found all over London and beyond the whole week around the 5th (the real night of celebration is the 5th obviously).

I went to one of the free shows with a group of friends at Southwark Park. Coming from London Bridge was crazy. It’s about a half an hour walk, depending on your speed, which ended up being the best option. However, not knowing this, we took the tube and ended up smashed in with more people than any of those cars should carry (and yes, cars, not carriages if BBC’s Sherlock is to be believed!). So packed in like sardines, we made our way to the park about an hour before the festivities began.

The park was packed with people, booths of food, carnival rides, and fire dancers/performers on stages throughout the park. The food smelled great but, with the length of the lines, we opted to eat later and watched the fire performers who equally thrilled and freaked out my friend and I as they performed stunts that would have had anyone else lit on fire rather that playing with it.

Once the fireworks began, we were amazed. They were perfectly choreographed with the music and, halfway behind the crowd, we still felt directly under the explosions. Anna, who supplied this week’s picture, is a fellow American who agreed that the show, while short, rivaled (if not surpassed) any display found in America on the Fourth of July. The timing of every firework to the chosen music was better than I had ever seen. I don’t know the difference in laws for distance from fireworks at home and here, but it was amazing how close we felt. The only drawback I could see was how quickly it ended. There was never a stop like you’d see in the US between songs (appearing more like scenes), but our shows tend to go on longer or have a pause before we give everything we have to light up the sky for a finale. There was nothing like that here, but it was beautiful.

Once it’s over (again, much more quickly than I expected), you’ll find that despite the warning that exiting right away and all at once will be slow and all together not recommended, that’s exactly what happens. We did not heed the warning, but my advice is to wait. The food booths, rides, and fire dancers are all around and able to be used/ watched after the fireworks end, and if you try to go directly after the show’s finished, you end up packed in a crowd trying to leave the park. It took us half an hour at the least just to exit the park. Then if you’re trying to take the tube back home, you have to remember that many of those people you were just cramped in with are also going to be fighting for a space in the same car as you are to get back home.

Seriously, it’s better to take in the festivities a bit longer until the crowd dies down and then head out.

Like I said, we didn’t wait to leave the park, but we did choose not to endure the tube. Instead, we walked home, which isn’t a bad walk if you are used to walking around the city. Plus, walking down one of the smaller roads as you navigate away from the crowds, we did get to glimpse crowd gathered around an illicit bonfire, making it feel much more like the holiday I’d expected (with a tradition that one doesn’t experience just going to a place like Disneyland or Fourth of July in America).

All in all, it was a great night.

Then, I did something stupid: I dropped my phone in a toilet.

For anyone who has ever done this, it is not too bad if you are in a place where you can take care of the problem right away. But, of course, I wasn’t. I was at school between classes with no way to take the phone apart to dry it out and no access to rice to begin pulling out any moisture right away. I wasn’t even able to get the screen to where I could tell if it was powered down or not.

With all these factors, my phone is fried (I tried to salvage it with rice for 24 hours but it was much too late).

But this is why my family invests in an insurance provider that covers everything including water damage! I mailed my phone home to the US (which is way too expensive for us student types, by the way!), ordered a cheap music player, dug out the old UK phone my friend/boss gave me before I moved out here (this thing is pre-flip phone, just to give you an idea of what I’m working with. If you lose your only phone and are waiting or insurance to get it fixed or replace it, these are cheap emergency pay by month phones you can pick up for your basic phone and texting needs!), and am about to head out to buy a watch and alarm clock.

Because that’s what we don’t think about until we’ve somehow misplaced/lost/destroyed things like our high-tech phones. That phone was my camera, my truly portable computer (both of these features I won’t be replacing before I get my phone back), my alarm clock, my watch, my phone, my map and navigation system, my portable notebook and password keeper, and my music system. That’s a lot to lose in one trip to the bathroom.

But c’est la vie, right? Replace what you can that you can not only afford, but that will still be useful once you do have your new replacement phone and just roll with the punches. For now, I’ll be going old school and doing a whole lot of planning before I leave the house without a quick searching (cellphone) safety net!

Well, I’ve got to go run errands and get ready for a nerdy night of Doctor Who, which I might tell you about next week, but until then,

I’m Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

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Guy Fawkes Day and the Cellphone Debacle…

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