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The South Bank, London
So, I left the house for the Woking railway station giving myself half an hour to walk to it. Past the tall plant fences and the quaint homes, past the pond with the ducks and the geese in it and past Natalie’s baby pre-school Lloyds and onwards looking out for the building that looks like a ship. There came the ‘ship’ on my horizon and I hoped I had reached in the estimated 1/2 hour.
Walking into the station I was glad to see people prefer buying tickets out of a machine rather than a teller so I was just 2nd in line.
“Off peak to Waterloo and back” I asked and the lady smiled and said my train would be in 2 minutes and to please rush to platform 2. In seconds my train arrived after I checked the lit boards just incase I had boarded the wrong train. The train was pretty full and I guess a lot of people travel off peak to avoid the steep tickets which are steep as they are 18 quid return. Thats around Rs1800 rupees. But in retrospect, I think India would have been more expensive for the distance travelled and would never have been as clean and comfortable.
It was a non-stop to Waterloo and the train pulled into the Waterloo station in 20 minutes. Getting out with the crowd I walked to the exit keeping the London Eye within view. That’s the best way and you dont have to look like the lost tourist.
In minutes I was on the South Bank passing ques of Indian tourists all lined up to go up on the London Eye. All in their colourful sarees and salwars, taking selfies and generally talking on the tops of their voices.
I hurried on as I just had 20 minutes to get to the Globe where I was meeting old friend Corinne Moulton. I glanced at the Tate Modern as I passed wondering what art show was on. We normally take in a Shakespeare’s play at the Globe and Corinne had booked our tickets, this time in the gallery for Romeo and Juliet. Frankly I prefer standing in the Yard for 5 quid which I have been doing for years. One is more engaged with the show when standing with the ‘plebs’ as the actors run in and out of the crowd. But this time with the huge crowds who were visiting, all the 5 quid tickets were sold out.
Hardly had I reached the Globe when I spotted Corinne and we went into the Globe to have a quick coffee and check on our tickets. I always enjoy a play in the Globe simply because it never fails to amaze me how a live production can bring alive a play which I hated through school. Merchant of Venice, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth and Midsummers Night’s Dream are some of the shows I have watched over the years all on my own till Corinne got sucked in too!
I was waiting to meet my classmate of the Erasmus Mundus Masters in Europe from 2006 – 2008. Rose was from the Phillipines and was now married and living in London. She is a stringer for a Philipino TV channel and covers everything from fashion to the news. Rose is gorgeous and came in by 12:30 and then we headed for lunch. Corinne, Rose and I wanted a sandwich lunch and so did Rose, so it was easy. We walked up to the South Bank Grill where I decided immediately on a ham and cheese with mushrooms thrown in and a Latte. We sat out in the sunshine and caught up with our news and all about Rose’s little girl Julia who is now 5.
Then it was time to say ‘bye to Rose and for me and Corinne to make our way to the Globe. The crowds had begun filing in and we had posh seats in the gallery which I felt had a birds eye view BUT was too far from the stage. When we stood in the plebs stall or the yard, we were right up to the stage and we leaned against the stage to rest.
The play had an Indian actor, Guju accent and all and the wedding scene had the bhangra and the tube lights as are used in North Indian weddings with the barat. I was disappointed, but India seems to be the flavour everytime. However the final death scene was very well done by the two young actors and had the house full of youngsters and older tourists like us, riveted to the stage.
After the show I was to meet my friend Kiran Pereira, so Corinne and I waited for her to come from work. We went into the Globe’s cafe to eat something with her and this time I had a lovely slice of ham and cheddar quiche. I love quiche and we never get the real stuff in India.
Chat, chat chat, catching up on Kiran who is married to an Italian and is working on a website about sand-mining and its negative effects across the globe. Kiran was educated in the UK and then stayed on to use her degree in the country.
Soon it was time for me to get home, but luckily cause in the west it stays bright till nine pm, getting home late is not worrisome in the UK. I got my train to Woking in minutes and there was David waiting to pick me up at the station to go home.
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