Monday, October 11, 2004
bowled over by London
London isn't a place I am only passingly familiar with. I have lived and worked in London, at periods visited London almost every weekend, frequently rolled around drunk and eaten kebabs in London, sat poe-faced on the tube in London and woken up dazed in London more times than I can remember. But something about this last weekend over there with my Spanish and French friends was different.
Living abroad is giving me a much deeper understanding and appreciation of my home, the people and their ways, its culture, social structure, street design and the environment, its place in world history. Everytime I go back I see things in a new and refreshing light, and in a way that reminds me so deeply of my roots.
I remembered London as a fairly drab place full of miserable people. But on this occasion it was completely the opposite.
With the Egg and the Gherkin up by the Tower on both sides of the Thames, the incredible futuristic grandeur of Westminster tube station, and a general splattering of well designed buildings, the country seems to be dragging itself out of its depression about lost past glories.
In the shops people were chatty and open. I just love the simplicity with which I can slip into easy chat with people, sharing a common language and humour, a deep understanding of the sensitivities and nuances around which I should navigate. In the streets the whole world was in to stay or to visit. Multicultural London is really a wonder.
With my friends Tanya, Sara, Oscar, Jenny, Noemi, Cindy, and of course Larry who generously let us stay at his place down on Docklands, I had a fantastic weekend. And I mustn't forget Nick, Owen, and Gav who joined me in the pub for some Sunday afternoon beers. Cheers guys!
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