It was a nice travel from Bangalore to London. I was able to catch up with my favourite Radhakrishnan, darling Jishore and other team members of Jaleel in Dubai through phone from Dubai Airport. Dubai was still haunting me to come back. Even the travel was with all Vidya Balan movies back to back :-). Chat with friends, Vidya Balan movies, some sleep and sweet memories of Buttu... what else I can need for a good travel? It was around 7:20 PM local time I landed in London's Gatwick Terminal. Atlast I touched the UK soil. For a long time I didn't feel that excitement of visiting a new place. Why? It is in the later part of this post. Also the roads resembled a lot like Dubai and it reminded me why Emaritis were obsessed with European style of living.
Before reaching I had this apprehension but I never felt the feeling that I am in some foreign country. On the night I landed, almost every 4 / 5 person I came across was Indians. After a while I started making queries in Hindi directly because you can easily identify with Indian facial features easily. There is a huge diaspora of Indian population here, especially the Punjabis. So we need not be surprised if we find Britian having an Indian Prime minister soon.
When there is so much of Indian population, the problems of having spicy Indian foods automatically get nulled. Even though the price is on slightly higher side, you can go for it for the taste and availability. My colleague who lived on Burgers for the last whole month is now complaining of weight increase and is now planning for weight loss in India. That's the basic reason why you find foreigners always obese.
In all the places I go I always look for the Public transports for the reasons - (i) Only when you mingle with the local crowd you can get and enjoy the feel of the country & (ii) for office commutations I need not spend out of my packet but when it comes to travelling out of my curiousity, the public transport services will be economical. So I decided to explore on the Public Transport system before I hit the office. Thankfully London has an excellent rail network (Tube services - they call as) which makes the need of a personal transport almost defunct. They had prepared the network map and giving them for free which is very useful for the visitors like me.
London is a temptress when it comes to the climate. For a moment it will be cold and when you expect rain, it will be so sunny and hot. Before you decide to remove your warm clothings, it will start drizzling. So it is a nice challenge to match the mood of London's climate. Thankfully I came equipped with sufficient wool wears and it helped me a lot. Any place I land with drizzling / rain becomes my favourite - Pollachi, Thirumurthy, Thanjavur are a few examples. So when London greeted me with drizzling I fell in love with this place.
That alone is not the reason to like London. This city looks like straight out of the history books. It is still old by centuries and retains those structures and historical feel. When you walk on the streets of London you'll feel like walking into an ancient history. The buildings are maximum 1-2 storeyed only which doesn't make the place too crowded with appartments and people with subsequent pollution. Because of the less available living space in Central London, this place is tooo costly to live at. Not only the places are historical, even the historical medium of entertainment - theatre (stage dramas) are flourishing in London even in this age of movies, satellite TVs etc.
I purposefully choose living at the suburbs that demand a long travel time. Reason is simple - this is the one way you make yourself familiar with the local geography and observe the local crowds. Else you might want to go out on weekends only and end up catching up only the tourist spots which will always be crowded. Also when you take local breaks in the railway station and walk outside the station, there is enough fodder provided for your observation. Each street, tube station and even the lamp posts have a history behind it and it is very much thrilling to explore them.
The days are long here. Except the winters, London has long days. Which means that the sunlight starts from 6:00 AM and is brighter till 8:30 - 9:00 PM. Last evening when I was returning from office, around 8:00 PM it was looking like 6:00 PM in India.
I goofed up on certain things while coming here. I forgot that the European electrical sockets are different from Indian ones and I left back those adaptors (which I used in Dubai) back at home. So it couldn't recharge my mobile phone, laptops for a couple of days.
Speaking of mobile phones, this is easily available here in vending machines. So the one I took at the Gatwick airport was very helpful in reaching my room that night. I can't imagine what would I have done without that phone that night which was so useful in taking the instructions from my colleague.
I'll keep you posted in whatever intresting things I come across in London. See you all till then!!!