I left Tripoli on the “Day of Rage” for London for six days of quality time with my girlfriend. Don’t worry, I will not be giving a detailed account of my relationship, but considering that I did a few cool things during my stay in the UK, I thought I’d share those things. To those friends reading this wondering why on earth I didn’t contact them while in London, my sincere apologies but I needed the time with my girlfriend, who I don’t get to see as much as I would want to. The only friends I did see were once who threw “bitch” fits when I told them I might not be able to meet them and other who I hadn’t seen on my last trip to London for New Years.
The “bitch” fit ended up resulting in an impromptu reunion of the Cancerous Cacophony from Abu Dhabi. Myself, Blackberry Bill, Scatological Umer and Angelic Amir, the founding members of the Cacophony, were reunited, sharing stories with other friends. Honestly it is always good to hang out with these guys as I (maybe them too) get to relive one of the best years of my life.
This reunion was on my second night in the city, before that, I spent the afternoon with two other friends, well basically the sisters I never had, in Camden Market, just chilling out, catching up and generally having fun. They were doing last minute shopping as they were heading to India the following day for a wedding. They, like me, have had a spate of matrimonial rituals to attend to as friends are getting married left, right and center (I think we are lagging behind!)
The rest of the time, was spent with my girlfriend. Skype is a useful thing and all, but it does in the end lead to an unorthodox relationship, so having more than one or two days with my girlfriend in London is simply fantastic. Our plan was to spend the first couple of days in London, then heading out to country for some proper relaxation. We didn’t have a definitive plan and most of this was hatched up on my first morning in London.
Our time in London (after the first day), was spent walking around Covent Garden and meeting another friend who was in town for the day, followed by something I’d been somewhat keen on doing for a while. Considering that Libya is not the hub of cultural activity that is London, or even Abu Dhabi, I wanted to go to theatre or to a musical. A couple of people had told me about how much they enjoyed the Lion King. So in addition to sorting out a weekend trip to the country, I booked tickets to the musical for the Saturday Night.
I’ve been to musicals before, but the Lion King completely blew me away. First off, I hadn’t watched the movie in years, so it was almost like watching it for the first time. Second, what they did with the characters is somewhat beyond belief as they made the animals actually look like the real deal (by using people). At times I was simply in awe at they managed to create animals from people. I could only imagine what the kids in the audience were thinking. The whole spectacle was simply fantastic and it really was 60 quid well spent.
After the musical, we headed back south of the Thames. Raquel (that’s the name of the girl who kind of stole my heart) had recommended we have dinner at a Brazilian churrascaria (Grill), so we made our way towards this restaurant, that was until the evils of urban design befell me. On our way there, in the middle of the sidewalk some stupid urban designer placed a water feature type of thing (looked almost like a drainage channel) which I, as any normal human being who uses sidewalks, stumbled into this stupid architectural ditch, getting my shoes, trouser and feet wet (not cool on a cold London evening). Raquel found my misfortune extremely entertaining and was almost rolling on floor laughing.
This meant I had to head home, which fortunately was not far, to change trousers, socks and shoes. We also ended up going to another place for dinner, which in the end turned out to be a good alternative as the food was great.
Spending time with Raquel and doing things normal couples do (as opposed to skype conversations), seeing friends and getting some “culture” (Yeah, I don’t know if the Lion King counts as a cultural experience) was the perfect start to my stay in London. The following day we would be making our way towards the Cotswolds…
To be continued…