What do you do if you land up in London just for one day? After tripping around country Wales for almost a week with a fully packed itinerary, I was suddenly thrown into a big city with 8 hours to kill. I had very vague memories from my earlier trip to London in 1999. Having traveled with my parents, I don’t remember planning a single thing. I happily hopped on to the Red Bus and headed to the Wax museums of the world and Palaces and Cathedrals and what not. (I do remember almost getting slapped by my father for leaving the camera behind in the Bus and then for chasing the bus with a 100 metre sprint in the middle of London traffic. Good ole days).
To make life simple, I decided to meet three people, randomly picked from family, friends, connections, whatever you want to call it. I hopped around London thanks to the unbelievably efficient Tube. Thank you Oyster Card.
Started the day with a lovely walk in the park with Monidi, my husband’s cousin and her little kid Rishi. Spent time discussing all and sundry about Mumbai and London and how we are related. Bummed off a super rich chocolate brownie and black coffee. It’s always good to meet family in foreign land, where the exchange rate doesn’t work in your favour. Check out her blog – Pedestrian. Loved her description: street encounters, everything that happens on two feet, at a human pace. Surely, the human pace bit is something I forget when I am in Mumbai.
Then, spent the afternoon with a senior from college, who moved to London a few years ago. From good ole Pune times to discussing Madras mamis to London life, it was a delight. Bummed off some super lunch. Ok, ok. I did offer to pay. Pallu maintains a kickass blog called Writerzblock. Especially check out her post on ‘Tam Brams guide to saving money’. . How do you think I managed to save all that money to travel?
Finally, decided to meet my kid cousin Dhruva, who isn’t a kid anymore. He moved to the UK to study Geographic Information Systems and landed a cool job not far from London. Incidentally, he was the same cousin I hung out with in the 1999 trip. What’s changed. We both were allowed to order beer instead of Coca Cola. So, out of the blue, we landed up in the coolest blues bar, which had a free jamming session going on. Ain’t Nothing But has this old bar feel to it, with the ‘we love to let you experiment as long as you buy beer’ strategy in place. Loved the last few hours in London having a couple of beers. I was going to write ‘Bumming off beers’. But, wait! Kid cousin bummed a beer off me.
Happily high, I headed to Heathrow, boarded the flight and slept like a baby all the way till Andheri East.