Eye see London…

I (saw) France (a few weeks ago), but I didn’t see any underpants…

Still, it was one of the best dates I’ve ever been on.

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OK, so let me rewind.

When the office email came around looking for takers to attend London’s first “Wheel of Date” on the London Eye, I immediately raised my hand. And by raised my hand, I mean, replied “Yes! Me! Me!’ At the very least, I thought, I’d get a free ride on the London Eye. I hadn’t planned on riding the London Eye at all (bit touristy for my taste), but this — 500 singles all randomly split into groups of 20 per pod for a different type of activity date, whilst also riding ’round ’round way above London — sounded amazing!

We were told to meet just around the corner from the Eye in the Old Vic Tunnels, which in itself was super cool. It’s a maze-like series of unused railway tunnels that in 2009 were turned into a performance arts and events space. In fact, the elusive Banksy held the UK premiere of Exit Through the Gift Shop in these very graffiti-lined, brick-arched passageways. They’re set to close in just three weeks, so I’m glad I got to check them out.

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The line to check-in

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Man at work (not Banksy)

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Inside the tunnels – bar’s just at the back

I forced myself to split from the two work colleagues I came with so that I could actually meet someone. Brave? Yes. Awkward? That too. As usual, the guys I ended up chatting to were all way too young for me and had clearly bathed in cologne before arriving. (I find this is the case here in London. They all wear way too much of this one scent. That said, their sense of style is miles above most New York men — from the messily-groomed hair to the brown-suede laceless oxfords.)

After a few drinks — not the smartest idea when shoving nervous singles into no-escape-pods for 30 minutes — we were all herded toward the Eye: guys on the left, girls on the right. Then, they divided us evenly into groups of 20 and tossed us into a moving pod featuring a random interactive element or form of entertainment. There was table tennis, a petting zoo (complete with bunnies and hamsters), a silent disco, karaoke and more. Our pod was comedy. I was pleased with this as it wasn’t karaoke (not a fan) and I’m always up for a good laugh. Not at my expense, though, and that’s sort of what happened.

The first comedian said, “I presume you’re all from London.” And being one beer in, I say, “Not me!” before quickly regretting opening my mouth. It wasn’t all that bad, though. Except when he asked me if I like — and this is what I HEARD — OHHBERMAH. I had no idea what he was saying. He repeated it again cause I clearly wasn’t reacting the way he anticipated. I thought it was some type of beer or lager I hadn’t tried yet. No. He was asking me if I like Obama. As in the president of my country. Luckily, I can laugh at myself, so that was all fine and good.

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O-BA-MA

We were about 3/4 of the way around by the time all three comedians finished their schtick. I may have been ready to disembark, but my cheeks hurt from laughing so much — a good sign on any date!

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Look, it’s Big Ben, Parliament!

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The ping-pong pod

Then, everyone headed back to the tunnels to check out their other options. At least at this point all the “giraffes” had an obvious opening line when craning their head far enough in one direction: “What was your pod like?”

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The singles crowd

The best was when I overheard this between two dudes: “What have we done wrong?” asked one. “We turned up sober,” said the other.

Indeed.

Still, I did see London — both from way above and down below. Plus, I gotta give Doing Something and Time Out London props. It was a massively clever and ambitious feat, pulled-off extremely well.

Next time, I hope I get to pet the bunnies and, er, see some underpants.

3 thoughts on “Eye see London…

  1. Pingback: Absolutely Fabulous! |

  2. Pingback: I Get Around: The Art of Flanerie | From New York to London to Elsewhere and Back Again

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