Punjabi in England – Planes, Trains, No Automobiles in London

I know you’ve probably forgotten everything I’ve written so far about this fateful tryst with destiny, the trip to London, England, fraught as it was with the aggregation of aggravations and the curious concatenation of circumstances that led to the very stormy emotions running through my sugar soaked veins.

That was a longish sentence. This one is short. If you wish to read the England Chronicles so far, go ahead and try the links below

  1. The Romance Explained
  2. Plan Draft v0.0
  3. Plotting, planning and Problems

Done?

Flight

Air Canada 858, tail # C-FIVS, a B777-333ER, left 16 minutes late at 00:06. ‘Twas Friday, and the moon was in its last quarter, 64% visible, 20.89 days old. This is important. The moon is always important. It, or so I am reliably informed, rules moods, tides, some types of calendars and your destiny, too. The sun apparently is useful only for providing light, heat, seasons and life.

As we left the shores of Canada, and headed out over the Atlantic south of Greenland, they served us the usual unappetizing airline meal. My meal was unappetizing, even more so than the usual airline meal, being labelled “special”.

I slept fitfully, as I do on planes. and no, I do not remember any of the in-flight entertainment which is shown on the screens that are at just the right angle and just the right distance to cause my weak eyesight and progressive lenses to allow no more than an illusion of action. I be old people, people. Yes, ’tis true.

And so the long night wore on. Daylight arrived and we flew over Ireland and made our way to the great city in the south of England, to whit, London, where lay a Castle, a Tower, a Bridge, a River and a Garden or Kew, heh heh.

Arrival in London

Heathrow airport was as I remembered it, large. We arrived 30 minutes ahead of scheduled time. Someone had obviously updated it a bit since I’d last seen it, twenty one years previously. I don’t remember customs and baggage check. I do remember appearing into a glass encased area where I caught my first glimpse of London.

The very first glimpse! Such as it is…

 

We had made up our minds, after much deliberation, to take the train in to Earls Court, where our hotel waited in expectant indifference to my momentous arrival. Directions asked for and received, we took the elevator down to the station. The train arrived and a cavernous voice announced that it was not going all the way to Earls Court, but would terminate at Northfields.

We took it anyway and duly arrived in the sunshine at Northfields. The Spanish speaking family opposite us stayed on. I went back in to tell them the train wasn’t going in to London and were they sure they wanted to stay on. They jumped out, thanking me profusely.

We had to jump out here and wait for another.

A short while later we were finally on our way to Earls Court. Strange stations came and went and then we were past Hammersmith and Baron’s Court and arrived in Earls Court.

We dragged ourselves and our bags ( one large suitcase, one carry on, a knapsack, a camera backpack and my sleep machine ) out into the street and wheeled the lot over to the Hotel K+K George. This was a a long walk totaling three minutes. Yep, the hotel is wonderfully located.

Check in was smooth, the lobby was nicely laid out, modern and clean. The room was nice, too. Tired from the trip, we decided to walk out and explore the surrounding areas.

First Foray

First, I wanted coffee and a snack. Across the street stood Paul, whom we remembered from our trip to France. We had a baguette with cheese and coffee. So our first coffee in England was French baguette and coffee.

Then we crossed over to the Earls Court station where we bought Oyster passes and took a train to Knightsbridge. We came out on the street and wondered which way to go. London has it’s iconic red double decker buses and two came down the street as we walked this way and that because we knew not which way lay Hyde Park.

Our first double decker in London!

 

We, of course, walked the wrong way out of the station and we headed in the completely opposite direction, away, from our intended destination. I didn’t really care. With my camera safely across my shoulder in its harness, I was able to pull it up with one hand and shoot off what I ever wanted. Like Boodles.

Boodles. Where we did not buy anything.

 

We walked past the boutiques then decided to make a left on Harriet and walk back the other way. Finally, we walked past the very round building called the Hyde Park Tower across the S Carriage Dr and down Albert Gate. Where I took a picture and we entered Hyde Park. 

Not sure why it’s a deer and I’m too lazy to research..

Hyde Park

Here are my first thoughts on Hyde Park in London, England.

Uninteresting. See picture.

First view of Hyde Park

 

Ok, that was one thought.

The grass was patchy and sparse, the trees scattered. The essence of green space that I was expecting was missing and Central Park in NYC is better.

We walked on and came to a body of water, which we, with our foreknowledge of the place, correctly surmised was The Serpentine. There’s a restaurant at one end. Around this people milled around, sat around. Around the edge of the water the place teemed with life, Middle Eastern Life, mostly. We found out the deck chairs could be rented by the hour, at what we thought was an exorbitant rate.

As we walked along, the edge of the water, we saw this strange sculpture. It offered nothing to aesthetics, preferring bland geometry as a replacement for art. But, I have been told art lies in the eyes of the beholder.

What is this? Art

 

More interesting were the swans which we did not feed. Here they are posing without a care in the world.

Now you see them being all symmetrical and all

 

Hey where did they go?

 

As I walked back, I saw this couple trying to take a selfie by the edge of the pond. I walked up and offered to take their picture for them. There was some hesitation, presumably because of the professional camera harness over my left shoulder and the camera hanging at my hip.

“I’m just a tourist, like you. I’ll use your camera and don’t worry, there’s no charge!”

“Oh! Please! Thank you very much.”, said the man.

I took his phone, snapped a couple of pictures of them and handed the camera back. Their thanks given and gracefully received, we set sail for the tube station for the train back to Earls Court.

End of the day

Here is the inside of the station escalators that took us into the bowels of the earth.

Dinner

At the corner of the street stood a Nando’s. We’d been told the chicken was good, so we stopped for dinner. It not bad. I was so tired after the sleepless flight in the night and the walking, dragging luggage and the train rides that I really don’t remember. This is the photo to show I was there eating a quinoa salad with my chicken.

Our first dinner in London, UK.

Tomorrow, we would start exploring in earnest.

What would we see?

Check back in here to find out.

If you’re a regular,you’re aware that posts may not appear in chronological order, aren’t you?

Meanwhile, here are a few scenic scenes.

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