I Went To Europe And It Was Okay, Part 15: Friday, December 31, 1999We took a taxi to Letham Pier to sign up for a Millennium river cruise for tonight. We tried to book in advance, but they only accept cash. Some Y2K fears, perhaps? We have no problem getting tickets. After, we walk along the Thames right past the huge Millennium ferris wheel. It's not running because of "safety concerns." Whatever.
12/31/2001 1:11 AM
12/31/2001 1:11 AM
Street vendors are in the process of setting up. In America, people would have already been there for days, staking out their spot for the celebration, carefully roping of their area and laying down blankets. From one of the vendors, I buy a scarf with the South Park kids dressed as footballers. They had several different teams. I chose the "Gooners" one; I know nothing about English football teams, I just liked the name. Patty says I'll get beat up by fans of the opposing teams.
We visited a comic book shop near the hotel called "Gosh!" There is another comic book shop a few blocks away and it seems like every other shop is some sort of book store. I like this neighborhood. We also visited a grocery store to stock up on food in case there are no open restaurants tomorrow. I think everyone else has though the same thing. The crown jewel in our basket is the bag of Jelly Babies.
After a little rest, we headed out to The Celebration. We took the tube ("Mind the gap") to Westminster Pier to catch our boat by 8pm. After sitting at the dock way too long, we headed off down the river. All the bridges we passed under were packed with people, as well as every inch of the banks. We were the rockingest boat on the river, what with our groovy DJ. We eventually made our way down to the Dome. It's pretty damn big.
Back we went towards Big Ben and the Millennium Wheel, where all the big hoopla would take place. Each ticket comes with a half a bottle of wine and a half a bottle of champagne, so folks were pretty happy and excited by this time. Since Patty doesn't drink, I ended up with most of our allotted booze. A little after 11, we moored across from the Wheel and waited for the countdown. We stood outside on the small area at the front of the boat ("I'm king of the world!"). As it got closer to midnight, more and more people tried to squeeze out there. At 12, the fireworks began.