Posted Sep 26, 2010 in Travel | 2 Comments

Just Londoning

The elevator doors whirred open and I stepped inside, with my silly, empty little ice bucket, that I really needed to fill up in order to keep my ginger beer tasty. The silly little fridge in the otherwise luxurious room at the Mariott was too small to accommodate the bottle, so I had to rely on external means of refrigeration. A hotel employee stepped in right after me.

I was all the rage here, in the heart of Kensington, with my neat collection of African football jerseys (for those who don’t know, football is the proper word for “soccer”). Sure enough, the hotel employee was quick to notice my crisp Ghana jersey.

“Ay, mate, nice jersey! Essien is a sick player!”

“Damn straight!”

“So where you go’ that jersey from?”

“See, my aunt’s fiancee is from Ghana. She went to visit with him once, and she got me this at the market in Accra.”

Ding. I arrived at the floor with the ice machine, so I bade my traveling companion farewell.

“Cheers mate!”


We’d see my aunt’s fiancee, William, a few days later. Only time I ever saw him. After we’d chilled in London together, he tried to build some sort of cool uncle-nephew relationship over the phone, but we seldom had anything interesting to say to each other. And, as the ancient saying goes, the Earth stands still in awkwardness when two men have nothing to say to each other. Actually, I just made that up. But I digress.

Later on, I went for a walk in Hyde Park, with my silly little blue bag hanging off one of my shoulders. I did love that bag. That particular day, it had in it: a pack of Lucky Strikes, a carton of goat milk, a map of London, a pen, my journal, and perhaps some other effects which I don’t remember. I walked along the water’s edge, right through a flock of hungry swans who were headed for some parkgoers, and finally sat down on the grass. I pulled out my journal and started writing. This is my entry for that day, translated from Romanian:

24 June 2008

I’m in London, and it’s like I’m in paradise. It is a city which is extraordinarily beautiful, filled with people from all over the world, with a bunch of things to see. This morning, I was at the Natural History Museum, and I can’t wait to show dad the pictures. I hope I can visit the British Museum in its entirety tomorrow. I heard it’s gigantic. I’m in Hyde Park now, and I’m lying down right next to a big flock of swans. You can walk with them. That is to say, among them.

It seems that things will finally sort themselves out and I’ll finally make it to Algeria. But I’ll only be sure when I set foot in Algiers. (It would take me another year to make it there).

I couldn’t register for my classes because everything seems to be full. I’ll have to send an e-mail or something when I get back to Bucharest.

Every human being reminds me of an animal. (What follows is an enumeration of various animals which I associate to my family members, a passage which is perhaps of too intimate a nature for me to insert it here).

I got up a while later, and walked off in the direction of some ravens. Looking at the water, I saw a pair of waterfowl who had built a floating nest out of an old picture frame and various bits of garbage they had found floating about. One of the two was sitting cozy inside the nest, while the other was swimming around looking for more flotsam to add to their raft. I have enclosed a picture of the jolly couple for your viewing pleasure.

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  1. I really enjoyed this article…nice to remember London. Well written. Looking forward to reading more about London. Is it going to be continued?

  2. Corina,

    It most certainly will, sometime in the future :)

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