Saturday, June 18, 2011

Tuesday morning, S had to go to Belfast. Hence, the alarm was scheduled to ring at 3:45am. I woke up suddenly to find the sun rays seeping through the curtains into our room and I was shocked for a moment and already started thinking if S has missed his flight..And I turn to the clock to see it showing 3:05 AM.relieved, went back to sleep only to be up again at 4AM. After sending off S, tossed and turned , and finally woke up and got readied. Had b'fast of pizza and left for changing of the guard at the Buckingham palace. Before going to the palace, went to Westminster , and en-quired the debate viewing hours in the Parliament and the service timings at Westminster Abbey. Walked to the Palace via St.James park. and when I reached there it was 10:30AM and people had already started thronging around.. En-quired a security guard on the best viewing place, and sneaked through the crowd and placed my backpack right in front of the palace gate. Crowd was beginning to swell and there was a family of 3, a mom and her two daughters among others around me. The mom was preparing her daughters as to what to expect during the ceremony. You know what she said , here it goes  : "Two guards, one from either side (pointing to directions) will come forward and one will hand over the customary equipment to the other and the changing of the guard is done. It will happen so soon that you might probably start thinking "Is this what this entire hoopla about changing of guard is?Is this why I waited for 2 hours?" Well, everything in life is like that..We build up expectations, desires, and one fine day,, it happens, and the moment passes by too , and we'll be like,"Has <xyz> already happened? Have I already experienced <abc> ? Is this what all is? " We keep anticipating for something or the other all the time and we ignore the present and when we get the opportunity to experience what we were anticipating for long, it passes by so soon, that we start building up desires for something else..and this thought process and journey goes on and on..."  <end of what that mommy said her daughters>

She told this sitting on the compound wall of the palace right next to me and it hit me so hard that I thought probably that was meant for me. <another post for the profound impact that it had on me>.The ceremony was quite an experience vieing it among thousands of tourists like me.  After changing of the guard, left for Little Venice (as suggested by my cousin the previous day) . At Little Venice, took a river boat ride to Camden Town .The market at Camden Town was similar to the kind of shops in Ranganathan St in Chennai, small shops selling knick-knacks and people teeming them..If you are an insider, then this is a good place to shop. Else, tourists can visit the market to get an experience of it and there is nothing worthwhile buying there (as people wouldn't believe that the gifts are from London  if you get gifts  from this place). Left the place and came over to St.James' park, had my lunch there admist pigeons who seem to have an enormous capability to sense slightest smell of any eatable even from a distance..I'd infact parked myself in a place along the road side (outer boundary of the park in order to not to attract the pigeons) and little did I expect that in a few minutes after opening my lunch packet, I was to witness a row of pigeons walking towards my side. Fed them some bread pieces .

After lunch and brief rest at the park, left for the evening song at Westminster Abbey. We were given pamphlets that described about the history of the church and the sequence of the prayer which was very useful.It had narrations so clear that that it said when to stand, when to kneel and what song the choir will sing. After offering prayers, came to the Parliament only to be told by the security that there was a long queue inside and it would take an hour and hence she advised me to come after about 30 minutes.Spent time around the Parliament area, soaking in the sunlight, the traffic and the people around..Then, joined the queue in the Parliament and I was allowed to go inside in about 15-20 minutes. This was the first time I was visiting a Parliament (haven't visited the Parliament of my own country of residence) and the had a good experience. came back to the hotel and waited for S to arrive. We went to the nearby Singaporean hotel for dinner and called it a day.

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