Europe | United Kingdom (UK), Great Britain | England | London – End of Part 1
Ok ok I know I’m dragging this out. I’ve been back in London for 2 months now. But there’s a final entry to part 1, and few details missed out. (Anyway London is thousands of miles from my original home. It all started as travel. Before I came here I wrote: “I’ll be over at the end of May for anything between 2 weeks and forever.” That was over 12 years ago.)
(September 2002) After our return from central Europe, Sexton was at a loss within a few days. ‘I feel like we should be dropping our bags off at the hotel and going out to explore the town. Going out for a meal and drinks.’ This from the man previously afraid of travel. One night shortly after our return we were separated in a football crowd and Sexton ended up on the wrong side of closing Underground train doors. Instead of panicking as he’d have done in the past, he got off at the next stop and waited.
We flew back to London a glorious sunny Klagenfurt morning. I wished we were spending it at the lake not the airport.
As we are married Sexton and I are meant to be able to pass through immigration together. I picked the wrong day and the wrong customs officer. ‘we’re married…’ I began as my husband handed over the passports.
‘But you do not have ze same name!’ (Gestapo accent for effect; in fact I’ve never come across any German customs officers like that, only British ones.). Then, viciously thumbing through my passport: ‘How long have you been married to this gentleman?’
Behind him two policemen with fat fingers held large machine guns. The same type of guards were all over the baggage claim area. Uh, didn’t they realise if anyone was going to blow up a plane they’d have done so already? This was check OUT area not check IN area. None of them looked like they really knew how to use the guns which made it all the more disconcerting.
Next stop: Russia. I wonder what the security will be like there? Don’t hold your breath though; this’ll take some planning and preparation. Even if I never find out who my great grandfather really was, at least I can see the country of his birth.
And the missing 2 days…in case anyone was wondering how we got from being beach bums in Bulgaria to bulbitating in Vienna. I’ve added it here:
(November 2002) I am turning into my aunt. “no money…blah blah blah…broke…blah blah..by the way I’m off to Egypt next week, Berlin the week after and Barcelona after that.”
I’ve waited almost 2 years to do this diving course yet I still feel guilty about it. I’m not telling anyone. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do it, depending on the (possible?) upcoming Iraq war.
When Sexton and I got back from Romania/etc I thought we needed to just book up something and had to do it far in advance to get cheap flights – hence Barcelona, where my former flatmate now lives.
Then Yorrick just wouldn’t take no for answer re: his birthday party in Berlin (Charlottenburg! the Chelsea of Berlin, how ever can we afford it?).
Then I saw that I am still due about a week off work before the year is up, the war’s not starting in the next 3 weeks (inshallah), and well, the only problem is money but I can worry about that later.
In the 70s and early 80s my family would pick up my dad’s sister from the slum where she lived in her mother’s house. We’d go to lunch at some waterfront family restaurant and my aunt would chain smoke and moan about how poor she was. Then she’d tell us about her latest holiday to Spain, Morocco, Aruba, or Mexico.
That would be me. Tatty old clothes, wearing woolly hats indoors rather than turning on the central heating. Stepping through other people’s piss in the elevator to get to a flat with damp walls and psychotic neighbours. Then hopping on 3 planes in the next month or so. (And I haven’t forgotten about Russia next year….)