Hola! Hope you're smiling :)
How wonderful it was to step out into London, albeit only a few metres away from home, into an English pub all decorated with stars – I could see that I had truly arrived in England this December evening. I wanted to go to The Blind Beggar since my visit in July but somehow Catharine says there are other better, lesser expensive pubs and we end up going there instead – that’s how we got here The White Hart.
I loved the pubs, no problem. It had several beer taps and Catharine asked which is better when the bar tender, a lovely girl said we should try them all and gave us a beer tasting experience – I think tasted around 5 beers and both Catharine and I settled on one that was fruity and delicious. Marcus was still home and joined us a little later. On other tables were elderly folks who were enjoying their drinks quietly.
Catharine and I caught up on our lives since July when someone seemed to lean over my shoulder and gave me a massive fright – Marcus of course! After a while, some young British hip hoppers entered the pub, they seemed both interesting and dangerous. I was craving for a little breather on London’s wintery streets so I excused myself and stepped out. The White Hart’s entrance doors are really narrow. I stood on the sidewalk outside and breathed when one of the hip hoppers came out and spoke nicely. He was friendly and inquired about me. I told him it was my first day of an epic one month around Europe trip. His reaction to it surprised me.
This trip was epic only to me, otherwise, this is nothing compared to what travelers do, traveling for months and years around the globe and I thought there were plenty of them. I thought my travels wouldn’t really count but here was a stranger who thought I was awesome, a serious traveler and I thought to myself “really? That impressed you?” He was impressed enough to call out his other friend and introduce him to me. The other guy didn’t seem interested at all!
He shook hands with me, wished me well and we went back to our tables. I was very pleased with the first smirting conversation though there wasn’t any flirting, just plain, good-intentioned talk.
After the beer, we thought we should have dinner. Catharine and Marcus (more Catharine) were confused about where to go – this amazing new Italian restaurant or the Indian ones they know. I didn’t want them to pick an Indian restaurant. I was just coming from India! But I wouldn’t say a thing. I was guilty of something. Catharine had asked me to bring Paradise’s biryani for her and Marcus but I couldn’t take it with me to London. My friends and family said that it wouldn’t last that long – an 18-20 hour journey so I didn’t take it, it was a huge disappointment to Catharine. Marcus said that he heard so much about the biryani, he would have preferred to lie in sick after having stale biryani than not have it.
Gladly for me, they picked the Italian restaurant which was indeed nice. The restaurant was empty when we entered. A nice Italian waitress brought out complimentary pickled olives. I didn’t know I’d love them so much until I had one.
Don’t quite remember what my friends ordered but I ordered a chicken pizza. A huge one arrived after 20 minutes, I could have only 3 slices of them and left around 4, we packed it for Marcus’ lunch the next day. Notice in the picture below a hanging boat in the background, it made me smile 🙂
Over dinner they inquired about my journey and I narrated my long Jeddah experience and how hard I tried to get into the country. Conversations with Catharine are always fantastic – she’s fantastic, well-read, widely-traveled, a liberal and has had many adventures in life. It was only that evening that I could see how Marcus was all that too and a little more of a radical liberal. We were discussing my idea of ‘marrying and divorcing’ and thus cheating the country into giving me a Visa. Marcus understood this well, the trivialization of marriage and I was happy to have his support. Catharine agreed too.
After dinner, we requested the Italian waitress to take a picture of us, she did and below is a proof of that.
The walk from the Italian restaurant to home was extremely pleasant. My pace was good, I didn’t hold up the big walkers – my friends – ahead of me and we talked gaily of our lives and the good London. Just before reaching home Catharine pointed me to a fox in the park, there were quite a few of them she said and added they are shy and don’t really attack humans. I thought it was incredible to see a fox in the middle of a city like London! Even closer to home Marcus bought a couple of beers – I don’t quite remember if I had any but I remember sleeping very well. I was very tired and very happy.