Sunday, 20 April 2008

A trip to London


With much prodding and pushing from Herman and Bernadette, I go on a weekend trip to London. The tourist coach is full of foreign college students studying in Paris. They are extremely friendly, but there is a problem: They cannot speak English and I cannot speak French. We manage to communicate though, using a combination of nods, hand signs, head shakes, and smiles.

We get to Calais and take a ferry. As you approach the coast of England, you can see the awesome white cliffs of Dover. Suddenly, I remember Mathew Arnold and his poem “Dover Beach” and think fondly of my father, the English professor, who had never been to the land of his favourite poets and dramatists.

We are staying in a hotel near Gloucester Road and I find myself sharing a very large room with two Algerian girls and a Mexican boy called Filiberto. We quickly become friends and over a cup of coffee, they anoint me as the de facto leader of the small group, the overriding qualification for the post being of course, a working knowledge of English.

So we do the London tour bit: Hopping on and off open top buses, we feed the pigeons at the Trafalgar Square, gape at the graceful contours of St. Paul's Cathedral, admire the Big Ben and complain bitterly about the exorbitant entrance fees at Madame Tussauds. By evening, we are thoroughly exhausted and decide on an early dinner. Rather selfishly, I suggest Indian and, to my surprise, everyone agrees.

It is my first Indian meal after three weeks and I have tears in my eyes at the end of the feast.

The meal revives our spirits and the girls suggest we go to a night club. Both Filiberto and I are a bit apprehensive but the girls are full of enthusiasm and drag us along. It turns out to be a frenetic but a thoroughly enjoyable experience, even though we run out of money after three rounds of drinks. A bunch of giggling English girls who have smuggled in gin cocktails in quarter bottles share their booty with us and a good time is had by all.

The next day we visit Windsor Castle. I do not remember much of that visit; I am sure, neither do my three friends of the previous night.

We were quietly nursing our king-size hangovers.
Photo Courtesy: Openphoto.net

1 comment:

govind paliath said...

Hehe . . .Yet another interesting post!:P

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Stepping Sideways... by K. Radhakrishnan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.