First stop, London town.
As a result of all the recent happenings, I had failed to arrange accommodation for my brief stay in London and had been relying upon staying with a dear friend who I was mad to catch up with. But, after weeks of trying to catch each other, i was told that she was actually going to be out of the country too _ so i made last minute arrangements to stay with my wonderful cousins in Tooting Bec/Balham.
I think that it was exactly how i needed to start the trip, taking it easy and having a lovely Indian takeaway and catch up with family who i hadn’t seen in a while. They treated me like a queen and let me stay in their wonderful house which is really like a palace and we talked literature until the early hours of the morning. They are truly people that I treasure in my life and I always enjoy spending time in their company. I also received some fabulous book recommendations for my trip, and i’ve so far managed to track down, Amitav Ghosh - Glass Palace, Jeffrey Eugenides - Middlesex and Rohinton Mistry - A Fine Balance.
While in London town, I also got the chance to catch up with a great friend of mine and enjoyed a fabulous lunch in Farringdon as we attempted to catch up on the past year or so and tell each other our plans for the next one. Almost an hour and a half of laughter, alongside serious conversation and really lovely food. I even got to see where he worked and meet his little puppy Paddy who was just adorable and took a real fancy to my pants!
Then it was to meet up with an old school friend, who i’d only just seen at a wedding but had happened to be passing through London on his way to Essex. A great catch up was had in Neal’s Yard, one of my favourite haunts and we rambled around Covent Garden catching up on our years of missed tales. Another irony had befallen us in that i was now traveling to the side of the world which he had inhabited for the past four years, but no longer did anymore! It was random, oh so random. One night in the big smoke and it was off to Heathrow Airport. I caught the ever packed tube from Balham and was at the brand new terminal in Heathrow before i knew it. All the time, my mind racing at the prospect of the next adventure and the long, messy queues for flights.
I was off up in to the air before i knew it, only a few thousand more miles and i would be stepping off the plane and landing myself in one of the biggest culture shocks of my life, Dubai.