London ENGLAND

No i have not been shipwrecked on Albions shores, i was plonked at Heathrow like a million others each day. When you fly with an asian airline they have a way of making you feel quite special and the planes are cosy. When you are standing in the assigned compartment outside the back entrance of this airport, trying to choke down the first cigarette for fifteen hours and trying to keep the back of your neck warm and fighting to remember why you thought it was so important to do all of this anyway, then rather than feeling special it is possible to get a twinge of insecurity about whether the ATM you can’t find will accept your debit card anyway.

The train is the cure.  As i become immersed in the throng of morning londoners it all comes flooding back. The Chi is so strong, everything is compact, functional, colourful and the interactions are so infinitely variable and the dainty little underground trains get up a roar and a rhythm as they reef you through that gap in the ground at seemingly imposable speeds.

Then the unique flowing march of London commuters where the fast and the slow manage by dint of ancient protocol to avoid constant collisions. A march through tiled tubes, up endless escalators, through turnstiles, past shops and then out onto the street where dawn is slowly staking its claim on the black jacketed and on the bleary eyed but lovely.

The smell of coffee and the shouts from market stalls fill up the mind with hope and humour. The really great thing about cities is that they bring people together, they share a space and mingle even when they don’t stop to talk. When you are in London everyone knows  that you like people because you wouldn’t be here if you didn’t. Each glance is a compliment, each conversation about directions is an excuse to look into the eyes of a like minded fellow human. Within four hours complete strangers have guided me to the best mobile phone deal, the best place to look for a room to rent, where to get a job and for four quid at Sams Cafe i got a plate of breakfast so big that i couldn’t finish it. Milky coffee thrown in.

Approaching noon i got my sim card working and called my sweet sister. She had been worried about me and had called the airline to make sure i had arrived. I felt very lucky to have someone in the city who cared about me and arranged to head south to see her. The day had warmed up and the sun was lifting everyones spirits but i couldn’t find a room yet. The train south took me into more familiar territory and from its windows i looked into the tiny wintry backyards where veggie patches and abandoned chairs told of a different rhythm to suburban life.

As i walked up to my sisters flat the almost village lifestyle of these parts soothed my heartache and i could picture myself making a life amongst the cute bustle of it all. The streets are tidy and the people warm and friendly. The increasingly cosmopolitan feel of it adds to it beautifully. It is still full with red buses and overhanging trees. It is still compact and solid and being here makes me feel alive and useful. I have not said everything i wanted to about the people here, their style, their direct spirit. Please be patient with me as i am still a little jetlagged.

In the next episode, Brixton, Belmont and Leytonstone…

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One Response to “London ENGLAND”

  1. Carlos Says:

    Any luck in finding work??

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