From the motherland

by

Actually the title is a lie, I write this while in the beautiful surrounds of Positano. Before I let the Springtime weather completely take me, I wanted to write a few more words about old blighty, good ol London.

Previously all mentions of London had included the words cold and dreary. While that definitely remains true, I am happy to say that I found the good bits behind the icy exterior.

England to me was always a depressing place that I had little interest in visiting. Much of my opinion had come from the glimpses shown on various tv programs. Usually it showed drab people in rundown looking locations surrounded by grey grey and more grey. Usually there was some drizzle there to boot.

Of course the tv can never really illustrate what a place is really like, and anyone who feels it can is clearly deluded. No as with anything, the only way to experience it is to actually go there.

Completely ignoring the shitty weather, I was first surprised by just how green London was. No not the rolling green hills just beyond the city limits; with their wide yellow belts of rapeseed, but the sheer number of public parks or greens as they call them. They were everywhere and in most cases beautifully well kept little plots of nature. So many of these were markedly statues of some old notable that further added to their interest.

And here I will mention squirrels. Why can’t we have these in Australia? Someone needs to sneak some past customs (yeah good luck with Nazi Germany..er Aussie customs) and start a breeding program. I love these little guys! I probably stood out like tourist scum from half a mile away, my neck always craned back scanning the trees for cuteness. I have a feeling our beefy brush tail possums might eat them for breakfast however.

In many ways London reminded me of a very big Melbourne, though I do have to say I think we peg the motherland in the food and coffee departments. I loved the old buildings, the plinthed statues, the layers of history that were simply everywhere. The entire place was alive with movement and activity and like Melbourne, so utterly multi-cultural.

I was also floored by the cab drivers. These guys were the most polite, friendly and well spoken people I have encountered in a very long time. They were genuinely concerned about their customer, querying in detail our destination so they could most effectively deliver us there. They would offer random facts and information, all with sweet east London accents. Australian taxi drivers could learns few things here. One guy told us the story how his school had sung in Pink Floyds The Wall (showing us the school as we drive past- Islington Green it was called back then) and how he was absolutely gutted as they used the grade 3 students while he was in grade 4.

All in all i came away from London feeling like I had experienced the essence of what makes it one of the worlds great cities. Not only was it nice to see where my brother (and several great friends) have lived and worked for many years, but I have cleared up that tv instilled inspiring that London is a dreary hole – it so isn’t. Individually, many of the housing buildings can be seen that way, I do understand how it looked that way. Taking into account the entire picture however paints an entirely different picture.

I was also blown away by just how effective the bus system was. For tourists I can’t recommend enough cruising around on the top level of a double decker. The way that these buses allowed us to view the city really surprised me.

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6 Responses to “From the motherland”

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  4. teamdesouza Says:

    Glad you enjoyed London! Shame we were not still there to play, but perhaps one day you will cross the lands (and seas) to come to Canada? After living in the UK for close to 5 years, I am glad we look back fondly after being so very, very ready to leave it behind. Sounds like you had a wicked holiday, MMD. xx

  5. Marcus Says:

    Anna! Man long time no talk!

    Yeah it was great to see London – definitely better than I expected, but the weather was absolutely miserable. And to think, it was that freakin freezing one week before Summer…jeez! The rest of our trip was beautiful weatherwise, but that London cold will stick with me. I haven’t felt that cold since being in Wuxi during the Winter.

    How are you guys doing? I’d love to see you while in Canada – have even mentioned it to Courtney. The only problem is time…or lack of, particularly in the leave department. I think next year we’re going to do another 2weekish beach holiday – maybe Thailand again due to my massage addiction, or possibly Vietnam/Cambodia/Malaysia/Somewhere hot with awesome beaches/pools.

    How’s life in Canada? Any chance of returning soon?

  6. teamdesouza Says:

    If we dont get our work permits then yep, there is a chance of us returning soon! Fingers crossed we get them though.
    Funny, I can count on one hand the only times I was truly cold in London. I laugh now at the fact that people wore puffy coats in winter, I only had a little jacket! Here… well, thats a whole new kind of cold, -4 degrees means we dont have to wear a coat anymore, you kind of get used to it. Even Lee! The novelty of -30 in winter still hasn’t worn off 🙂
    Its awesome you enjoyed Europe, I hope you guys go back. And love the addition to SEA, might have to meet you somewhere at some point ;P

    Canada is good, summer is kind of here, allergies are a nightmare, same ol’ same ol’. But its nice to have some warm weather and sunshine, though its been a bit misery guts lately. But after London for 5 years? Grey skies and rain is a walk in the park!

    Maybe hold off your trip over here until we are visa’d and we can do a chalet trip in the mountains out west. Open fire, skiing, wine & cheese, living the dream! xx

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