Long time readers of Bizzybiz may recall that I have been to Wales before, and that I swore I would never go back there again. But the BBC in their infinite wisdom has decided that Cardiff is the best place for filming Doctor Who and that therefore it is also the ideal location for the Doctor Who Experience, and so it was that I found myself paying £6 for the privilege of crossing a bridge to get into Wales.
For the record, Wales is not the ideal location for anything unless cold, wet, and misery are essential components.
Wales was just as I remembered it: howling wind blowing rain right in my face, impossibly gray and cold in a way that had me absolutely convinced the sun had floated away and would never return, and as soul crushing as a pile of dead kittens drowned in the tears of starving children. The situation was not at all helped by the fact that I guessed wrong on which direction the exhibit was from the car park and became hopelessly lost. I had to use maps on my asshole phone to find my way back (thank fuck I didn't update to iOS 6, I would still be lost in Cardiff. Or more likely frozen to death a la Jack Torrence in Cardiff). The path Asshole Phone (this is what I have actually named it) led me through a car park, some overgrown brush, across a busy street where I very nearly got flattened by a truck, across a river, and through a dodgy looking industrial park. It took just over an hour to get to a place that when navigated properly should only be a five minute walk from where I'd left the car.
The Doctor Who Experience itself is fabulous. There is an interactive bit at the beginning where Matt Smith's 11th Doctor has managed to get stranded without the TARDIS, which involves getting to help drive the TARDIS so he can get it back, surviving an encounter with the Daleks, getting safely past the weeping angels (which was actually terrifying), and some sort of 3D movie that I know nothing about because I spent the duration of it staring at the floor and trying not to vomit. Then there is a museum bit with tons of props, costumes, and set pieces dating back to the origin of the series, and exhibits of all the major monsters including two showing the evolution of the Daleks and the Cybermen over time. I felt the gift shop could be a bit better, especially a couple of days later when I saw how much better and more plentiful the Doctor Who merchandise was at Forbidden Planet.
The best part of my field trip to Wales was leaving. After spending the balance of the day in overcast damp and cold, I found myself back on the bridge looking up at the sky and laughing hysterically. I could actually see the edge of the cloud line which ended right over the water, giving way to the kind of beautiful sunny English afternoon that has been characteristic of my last few trips over. Yes, the clouds ended at the exact border of the country. I am not making this up for dramatic effect, that ACTUALLY HAPPENED.
I mean it this time you guys, I am done visiting Wales. At least until I can figure out how to invent personal sizes weather systems that will keep the sun shining around me the whole time.