Before India: A Day in London (5/23/2014)

Derek and I had had a wonderful night with dear friends Uyen, Shelley, Tammy and Jorge at India’s Tandoori in Santa Monica. Within a couple days we would be in Delhi. It was a good send off to our trip. The next day, we ran last minute errands; and before long we were sitting inside the massive upper deck of the Airbus A380 on British Airways. I couldn’t remember a flight I’ve ever described as such, but on this flight, we were sitting in the lap of luxury.

On the plane, I ate surprisingly good food and I read and I wrote and I listened to music and I watched The Dark Knight. And I even got a little bit of good rest.

And we were off, set loose on London.

From Heathrow, we took the express train for a short 20 minute ride to Paddington Station. Then we took the Tube to the Warerloo stop. On the overhead, we were continually reminded to “Mind the gap!”, a warning for us as we stepped onto and off the train. Even warnings in British sound cool.

Before long, we were outside and the massive London Eye stood before us. I thought the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier was big. Each car on the London Eye could house at least twenty people. The 45 min revolution took us on a postcard journey where we could see the River Thames, the Parliament building, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and other buildings and monuments that I’d need a guide to identify. London had a spectacular view.

From there we spent the remaining five hours or so walking the city. And London is a very walkable city and extremely photographer friendly.

I could not get enough of Big Ben – its hourly gongs music to the London skies and our ears – and the Houses of Parliament Building. Both viewing it from afar up in the air from the London Eye and up close walking around it only added to its splendor. I don’t remember seeing it when we lived in England; I was too young. But this was always my dad’s favourite sight to see.

Afterwards, we walked by Westminster Abbey feeling all of its thousand year history just walking by it, then the open expanses of Trafalgar Square, vibrant with all its peoples located in the heart of London, with the National Gallery looming over the square, before stopping off at the Silver Crossing near quirky Picadilly Circus for lunch.

By the time we were ready to leave, the grey skies of London closed to rain upon us, quite fitting I thought to myself, as we made our way back to the Tube that took us to the express train back to Heathrow. It was only six plus hours, but we packed a lot of life into it.

My biggest revelation? The birds of London have no fear, but that’s a story for another day.

Onto India.

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