Monday, December 30, 2019

Trip to the UK

This year, I travelled to UK in September for about a month and before the year ends, I would like to share my memories from the trip. I would like to start with the best part first. I travelled with my father and daughter. My father has been to China before this. When asked to describe the China trip in a few words, he said ‘Though the country like us has a lot of people, it doesn’t feel so in the public places. People are cleaning there all the time. They have a simple technique to pick up cigarette butts. The metro is just wonderful, but I so wish if the people there could speak some English’. About UK he said ‘the GPS is extremely useful, and I could read the directions very well for the first time on phone. There are pigeons and ducks everywhere. Everything though is of higher quality but very expensive. People are jogging/running all the time which explains the fewer Pharmacies. Our Railways follow the same system as theirs, it’s just that theirs looks cleaner’. It was the first trip outside India for my daughter. I have no idea how she would describe it. Maybe she can say something in future when she looks at the pictures. From what I could observe, she loved the green grass in parks with fewer children to share it with. She ran, slept and rolled over the grass, while she keeps on the lookout for insects here.

Green grass

We did some touristy things like visiting the London eye, Madame Tussauds, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, a lot of Parks like the James’s Park/Regents Park/Kensington Gardens/Greenwich Park and even visited farms for my daughter like Mudchute, and museums like the National Maritime Museum. It was quite a feeling to stand on the Meridian line and observe the home of Greenwich Mean Time at the National Maritime Museum. Sakura had the experience of traveling on a Buggy for a month. The first time she saw us preparing the Buggy for travel she cried but once she realized how comfortable it was to ride on, she used to just go and sit on the Buggy asking me to take her out on a walk. The weather was chilly, but the air was clean and none of us had to take any anti-allergens or medicines for cold.

I used to visit the nearby Supermarkets, Tesco mostly, to buy everyday stuff. On most of the days, Sakura sat on the Buggy while I picked up items and paid at the counter but one day she wanted to come out and check the aisles herself. Without me forecasting what she could do, I pulled her out of the buggy and there she was, wandering around me. While I moved to different aisles, she stuck to the one with chocolates and I didn’t mind her doing that till she was just being observant. It must have been a few minutes when I heard one of the shopkeepers asking me to check what my baby was up to. She had thrown a lot of chocolates on the floor and the moment she saw me, she started shouting, anticipating a not so pleasant conversation between her and me. Well… that was one embarrassing situation. I disliked myself for having taken her out of the Buggy in a Supermarket.

At a local park in London

We got 4 complete weekends, one of which we spent by traveling to a town named York. My father found a driver from Kerala, South India to speak to. In a 20 min Uber ride, the driver narrated his life in brief. That’s how simple I wish to keep my life too, one which can be explained in a few sentences, its goals and objectives clearly stated. He told my father that he loved his life in York as a driver. His wife who was a nurse had brought him to York. He has 2 lovely children and York has some of the finest schools in UK, something that he is very happy of. My father asked how life of a medical practitioner in UK was, to which he said “It’s tiring. The work hours are long, and doctors/nurses often work overtime because there is just so much to be done and written down.” My father was glad that the doctors are at least not beaten up like in our country. There are nearly 150 Indian families in a small town like York in UK and nearly 40 from just one South Indian state. One of the serious questions my father asked him was if he missed his home country to which he said ‘Not at all. The country and town have given him so much that he considers coming to York one of the best decisions of his life’.

We walked almost the whole town of York, covering the York city wall, York Minster, York’s chocolate story, York Shambles including the Wizardry shops, bakeries, open market, etc. We also met an elderly man who came forward on his own to take pictures for us as a family. Maybe he saw how I sulked at taking selfies/groupfies. People were extremely friendly; it seemed they had time to talk to strangers. It was quite nice to see a lot of elderly couple coming out and having breakfast together, chatting/talking to each other instead of using mobile phones. Street life seemed like a part of their life because by the time it was lunch hour, the streets were full of locals.

The highlight of my whole trip was catching a glimpse of Mr. Tom Branson (Real name: Allen Leech) from Downton Abbey. I saw him at the York Railway station on our return trip back to London and I think my eyes were wide open, but he happened to smile. I was so shocked to see him that I forgot to notice who was walking next to him, but I did notice that he smiled at his neighbor too as he walked along, almost saying something non-verbally in his smile.

In swing motion

The month flew by and all I’m left with now are memories, mostly beautiful and some funny ones. Now, if you wish to catch a few glimpses of my trip through my lens, please look at an album here.

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