Return to london.
Trip Start Jan 27, 2008
30Trip End Apr 06, 2009
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Where I stayed
At least this time there was a warm welcome from a current flame, many kisses and the holding of hands on the long ride. Tends to make things a bit more bearable. Carola's flat in Maida Vale is small but quite functional, which words could be used to describe many things here in L-town, but of course not the city itself.
London is sprawling, not many buildings over 5 stories for the most part. When you don't build up as in say, New York, you have to build out, and this is certainly true. The architecture is beautiful; small details and scrollwork are all over everything
Since my last visit here, almost two years ago, it seems that in at least one respect the english have become slightly more americanized: coffee! Yes, it is true, not only is there coffee readily available now, it is mainly good coffee, not the nescafe that was the standard not all that long ago. The drawback of course is that the evil corporate starbucks has crept into the neighborhoods, attempting to squeeze out the local shops in keeping with their business plan. Others have joined the fray as well. KFC, McDonalds, Burger King and even Walmart, (the worst of all), are setting up shop all over, much to the chagrin of many in hopes of picking the strong british pound from the pockets of unsuspecting and ever plumping customers. And they go there in droves.
And that is part of it, isn't it? Cashing in a hundred american and receiving 49 pounds in return is a little disheartening, especially when a pound buys almost nothing. Fortunately, staying with my sweetheart who not only has a kitchen but inspires me to cook saves loads, as the supermarkets are fairly cheap compared with eating prepared food. Still, a wee tear forms in my eye as I hand over my greenbacks and get back funny big money with a homely old lady on the face.
I'm better with change this time round, not a huge pocket full anymore but a few coppers, pence and toppence, all but useless until you have a jar full. 3 or 4 coins in the pocket as opposed to 30 or 40. Not bad for an american.
Two days after landing and with the jet-lag cured Carola and I have been spending time as lovers often do, walking, shopping, cooking, and generally enjoying each other's company during the short time we will have together before I get back on the tube, ride an hour, walk a few miles, and step on to the plane to debark in India, half a world away from my starting point. Some good part of me is itching to get there, but mostly I will miss this lady and her newly adopted city. At least until India swallows me whole again.