First of all, I know their ancestors were our colonizers but I love a lot of British things. The accent. The history. The series that come from that place: Sherlock. Merlin. The Bodyguard. The Crown (the reason I subscribed to Netflix). Arsenal at a certain teenage point in my life. A lot of things. Bernard’s Watch. Bless This House. I can still hear the theme song in my head as I type this. Like I said, a lot of things.
So I will not say I was not super pumped to step on that soil earlier this year.
Sasa the only problem was the weather. You step out of the airport and it finally hits you how cold it is. I have never been that cold in my life. And don’t forget the heat that we have been having until recently around here. At least the weather is changing polepole. I am telling you I had not worn a sweater for months this 2019 apart from that moment in London. And I am the girl that is teased for always being in sweaters by some people I will not mention. Brace yourselves my Naija brothers and sisters. The. Sweaters. Are. Back.
Back to the London cold. I had underestimated it. My colleagues and I walked out of the automatic doors, bags in tow, into the cold air and I wanted to scream. First of all, I had not unpacked my warm jacket, so I was just in my hoodie that is normally overly warm in Nairobi. Weh. Mimi ni nani? I decided to brave it. We followed the signs to find to the Tube. That’s what’s they call the London Underground trains there, so we actually got totally confused when we realized following the train signs lead to you to something else entirely. Thankfully, there is a helpful tourist centre with staff that guide you, but not before you bump into some random hustler who will try to get you to buy some weird tickets to nowhere you know. Fishy people are everywhere, not just pale Archives. LOL.
We got the Oyster cards that let you get into any public transport to use all week then headed down to the tube. At this point, you can imagine we were being very careful with the stops and signs because Shiku is very prone to getting lost in new places but is still the one who wants to demonstrate confidence in knowing where we are. LOL.
We eventually got to London Bridge, our station of arrival. Sasa hapa ndipo ngoma ingine ikaanza. First, I am cold and the one who has the offline map downloaded, so I have to expose my bare hands in the cold cold air. And it’s more than a kilometre walk to somewhere you have never been before, dragging bags. Sigh. But ujuaji na kuchocha is fantastic, and you have to end up where you were instructed to end up. So we walk in the near empty streets up and down to Bermondsey. I could not pronounce this word right until the last last days.
By the time we got settled into our rooms, I did not want to talk to anyone or eat or do anything. I just wanted to shower and sleep in the warmth. And that is exactly what I did. From like 4PM to 6AM. :joy: Best feeling in the world.
Finally, I could now shake off my disorientation and enjoy cold London.
The walk to the office was the best, because it was across Tower Bridge. I was gawking all through, inside my warm clothes, looking like an eskimo. Pictures were taken.
Fast forward to the moments we could see stuff after work hours. Btw don’t ever let anyone lie to you about how they normally have the time of their lives when they travel for work. Issa lie. You have to squeeze that time in. You are there for work anyway. Who do you think you are? Asi. I can even tell you without exaggerating that the only day I walked around places in broad daylight was Saturday, just before our flight back.
Stratford City Mall is this huge thing that has all the shops for kawaida mwananchi like me, including, of course, Primark. Woi, but this Primark be dirty oo. In the fitting room, I near puked. I am not even kidding you. Beggars will not be choosers. And you can bet I bumped into a Kenyan in there.
I made an appearance on Oxford Street just because my colleague insisted it is the shopping street of shopping streets. But mimi I don’t leave my Ukikuyu behind. I did not buy a single thing on that street. Too expensive. I’d rather come back with my pounds. But if I was super rich, I’d have bought every item in the GAP store.
I got on a double-decker bus that night. And as expected, I got lost. I got off the wrong bus stop and had to let Google take me round in circles before I got back to the hotel. LOL.
Loved the fish and chips!
Remember my Arsenal teenage love? Of course I had to get on the tube and go to Arsenal. I mean? Plus my brothers are cray Arsenal fans, so I had to grab a few things for the men in my life who support the club.
Also, my friends, I love the British Monarchy. Buckingham Palace was a must. Just watching those guards matching back and forth across the courtyard for no reason was interesting. It is totally crowded though so getting a clear pic is hard work. Plus the whole Westminster area with the Westminster Abbey and Big Ben (which totally confused me because I had forgotten it is under construction).
In short, that was pretty much most of it. I would go back to London again and again. Hopefully I can see the Tower Bridge being lifted then. And it will be summer. And I can go to 221B Baker Street. And I can dine at The Shard. And Madame Tussauds.