Saturday, August 20, 2011

Back on the road

I have the privilege of returning to South Asia again for a month, this time to spend 3 weeks in India and 1 in Pakistan. Two of the weeks I'm in India are business, but I decided to spend an additional week to visit with family, especially as I didn't have time to do so last time I travelled to India on business. I like having had the opportunity to see them this time. I was able to visit with additional family before even getting to India, though, as I had an 8 hour layover in London and wanted to head out to see my cousins who live there. I was only able to meet one of them as the other had some immediate tasks to attend to with workers coming to her house and what not, but at least I saw my one cousin and was able to meet his wife for the first time. It would have been great to hop on the tube and head over to her direction, but I spent so long going through customs that by the time I got out, caught a train and then a bus to get to my meeting point with my one cousin, we only really had a couple of hours to visit, so there wasn't enough time to go anywhere else.

(Street scene in London while standing at Earl's Court bus stop)

My flight to London was actually quite pleasant, despite being full. Though seated in the middle section and in the very last row, I at least got an aisle seat, and they also had enough space to recline the chair, so I did do that this time because I knew there was no one behind me I would annoy! I was able to sleep for most of the trip, especially as London flights from Edmonton are always night departures, and by the time I arrived in London, I felt well-rested and ready to hit the light fantastic--in contrast to my arrival in India, by which time my ankles had swollen, and I was exhausted! In any case, one of the funny things I saw on the plane was a guy who was knitting. You normally don't see anyone knitting generally, let alone a male. He looked like he was in his early 20s; he has a skill that most females today don't even have!

I had a great visit with my cousin. We went to this little restaurant somewhere around Notting Hill area, and just had a good visit for the few hours I was there. I had fish and chips, not so much because I was in England but because I wanted to eat something lighter than the rest of the menu could offer, and my cousin at his wife shared something called a pide, which I still can't really figure out what it is. It seemed to be something like a pizza, but I don't know how a pide differs from that.

I took the Heathrow Express from Paddington back to the airport, which was much faster than taking the tube. I didn't see much seating at first, so I asked this one guy if I could sit next to him, but it turned out he didn't speak English, so one of his buddies said I should go ahead and sit down. By the time we sorted that out, some other girl had already squeezed in front of me and sat next to the guy, so I just moved on. When I was getting off at my terminal, they were still on the train, getting off at another terminal obviously, and the guy who could speak English said goodbye to me, and then he waved, saying "From Russia with love." That just made me laugh. If there's one thing I can guarantee when I travel, I will always meet at least one funny person!

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