Holiday from the Holiday in the UK

Trip Start Jul 23, 2002
Trip End Jul 23, 2003

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Flag of United Kingdom  ,
Sunday, April 13, 2003

I haven't quite managed to get up to date, but I thought I should make an effort in putting in some update of the last three weeks I've spent in the UK before I leave and head to Africa (which will be in a couple of hours).

The visit to England wasn't part of the initial plan, but when the flights had to come through here I figured it was a good opportunity to catch up with some friends and see a bit of the country that you always hear about at home. Also a bit of a holiday from my holiday where I had no real agendas, nothing needing to be done and no real deadlines, other than to get to Africa by the 5th of May.

The trip to get to the UK was not one that I had been looking forward to, because it consisted of 40+ hours on planes and in airports and visits to 5 different countries (although I didn't officially set foot on 3 of them, as there's no stamps in the passport). So leaving Cuzco meant goodbyes to the last of the people I'd spent time with in the jungle which as normal weren't fun. That was followed by a quick flight across the Andes to Lima, followed by 14 hours in the airport, although I spent about 5 of them in Lima but didn't like the area so didn't hang around for dark - something to do with all the bars on the windows and people doing trade through the bars. About 2am it's time for another flight, this time to Santiago, followed by a walk through the transit lounge and a hour or so wait before getting back onto the same plane to get to Buenos Aires. Then another bit of waiting in the airport, followed by a flight to Sao Paulo (which I didn't know about when the ticket was booked), with a hour wait in the plane before they fumigated it (with everyone on board) before the 9 or so hours to London. And just when you think your finally there, it happens to be that you do laps around the city before being cleared to land and then can't get off the plane and have to wait near the maintenance shed for about 3/4 hour before they have a arrivals bay free that the plane could pull up to. And then finally I'm in the UK.

After negotiating the tube, I made it to Mary's place in Fulham and got to stay in a house for pretty much the first time in 9 months (apart from 2 days in Canada). The novelty of it was all pretty cool and for the next couple of weeks I enjoyed being in houses and having home cooked meals etc. Sitting on a sofa, bundled up in a doona, watching TV and eating creme egg icecreams, and other simple things like that, become more enjoyable when they're not done very often.

So after a chance to dump my bag, enjoy a hot shower and go for a wander around the supermarket we headed into the city for dinner with some of Mary's other friends who'd also just arrived in the UK. Suddenly I was surrounded with Australian's again, despite being in England. On chatting with one of the other girls who'd arrived from New York that morning she decided she didn't have anything to complain about when I said about my flight and she noticed my hand still in plaster (which I have yet to explain, lets just say Peru, rafting, hand, paddle and Simon's arse were all involved). It was strange going out for dinner and seeing the numbers I was used to seeing on Peru for prices on the menu, but I had to suddenly multiple rather than divide the prices which makes a huge difference in the final price. Going to take some getting used to the expensiveness of this country after being in central and south America.

The next few days saw some wandering around the city past the main tourist sights starting at the London Tower and working my way past the sites to end up near Westminister Abbey. Found an Australia shop and bought a few presents aswell. London was a little chaotic with all the buildings, traffic and people after coming from Peru, and I was glad that they had the Look Left and Look Right signs on the ground as I had no idea what direction traffic was coming from for the first day or so. Hopefully by the time I get back to Oz, I'll know which way the cars drive (fingers crossed anyway). Naturally I went out for a wander without an umbrella or anything because I just wasn't in that mindset, but here the rain isn't warm like in the jungle, so you really don't want to get to wet. Have to do some resorting of the thinking to get into the way of life here.

Before I left the city there was a visit to the hospital for more x-rays and to get the plaster taken off my thumb. These x-rays are definitely less impressive than the first set, but it does mean my thumb is at least on the way to being usable, although I need to get some strength and movement back into it. Hopefully the last hospital visit for this trip.

We also took a day trip out to the country with another of Mary's friends who has a car. We headed Dover direction, but saw the sign to Leed's Castle (not in Leeds) and ended up there. We spent the afternoon wandering the gardens and exploring the castle. Had peacocks displaying on the paths, swans with their cygnets on the ponds, and some beautiful gardens to wander through. The castle itself is also very beautiful and the others had a lot of fun playing around with their cameras getting different shots around the castle, moat and gardens. Walked through the bird avairies and checked out some of the bird species I'd just seen in the jungle. Then went and got ourselves lost in the maze before getting to the grotto and finding our way out. Then it was time to head back to London, after a very enjoyable day out.

Being in England it was strange suddenly seeing all the places you hear about all the time, and there were so many familiar place names, but they were all in the wrong location (compared to where they'd be in Oz). Wasn't really in a frame of mind for a big city, not that I'm a fan of cities in the first place, so after a couple of days headed to the country to stay with Rodney in Somerset.
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