After much thought as to whether to spend the day in and around London, wnjoying the beautiful weather or to visit Stonehenge, I settled on the former. Decided to take the ferry to Greenwich. Took the ferry from the St.Pauls' pier. Walked via the Greenwich Park uphill to the Maritime Museum. A short trek, I would say, after a very long time. Had a wondeful view of the city from the hill and also saw O2 from there. The day was cloudy with the skies threateining to open up anytime and it did and was drizzling and raining on and off.
Spent time in the muueum, took pictures on the longitudinal line (yeah, the 7pound ticket is for this pic only!!) , got drenched n the drizzle and spent soem time on the hill top before proceeding to the city. Thought pf taking teh tunnel to the other side of Greenwich initially, but then dropped the plan, proceeded to the market , had Ethiopian food for lunch and went to Cutty Sark DLR station to board the tarin to Bank. This is where the dram for the day starts..
Unline all other tube sttaions, this particular station that runs trains on the DLR line does not have the gates that opens up when you validate the Oyster card. Looks like there is a counter somehwre eon the side of the entrance and exit of the station where one has to swipe in. This particular information I got to know much later, just before a probablity of spending some time behind the bars in a foreign land ..
Yes, I boarded the train and was making plans for the rest of day. Tahts when this ticket checker walsk in and asks for my Oyster card and my card doesnt show that its been signed of at Cutty Sark before boarding the train and the ticket checker asked me to wait at Bank where he would "talk" to me before proceeding to check others. The lady who was sitting opposite to me gave me curious looks and gave an expression that meant "all the Best/good Luck" I decoded this expression much later only, for I was pretty much cool and was pondering inside my brains if I swiped or not..Travelling in London, one need not sue brains at all , as all directions are spoon fed and you just need to follow directions. I was still mainitaing my cool and was thinking where I would go next. Little did I know what was coming up at Bank.
Bank station arrived and this was the last station for this particular DLR route, and this white man aka, the ticket checker asked another colleague of his at the station to "take care" of me , while he would deal with another fellow traveller who hadnt swiped his card ..This new TC had my complexion, so I assumed him to be Indian origin. On his questioning, I told him that there was no gate 9as other tube stations) where I could swipe my card and I handed him my card to deduct t amount for this travel. This erson was not taking any of it and started giving gyaan about how Indians never listen or see anything, there are announcements that the counter for swiping tha card (none of which I heard when I wasin the station), and there are notices giving directions to people towards the swipe counter (which I couldnt catch too)..He presented me with teh option of paying fine..I told him that I'm a tourist and that I have no money to pay, he proceeded to say that he cant help me in this regard as there are cameras everywhere , he even pointed to one camera where all our conersation was being recorded and he was just doing his duty, failing which it would become a big problem for him and hsi job..I kept repeating myself that I ahd no money and gace details of how I've come here as a tourist while my husband is at work. The conversation above repeated over and over untill he asked for my ID proofs where in my passport, Chennai was mentioned and thats when he asked "Tamilaa??" "Amman Sir" was my reply and I thought to myself, "Didnt you recognise me for soo long?I have a brown skin, with oiled and plaited hair and an appavi look, why did it take long for you to recognise??" anyways, now he was a little soft and confirmed whether I've come to London seeking job and when I assured him that next day was my flight back home, he felt convinced and spared me..Took me aside to a place where there was no camera and asked me to just leave without stopping anywhere in between in case someone stops me to question. By the time he left me, he had almost filled up half of the memo , and I returned back to check if he had filled all the details and this filling would cause any problems in the short/diatnat future. he showed me the memo that he had crossed it completely and had written Invalid on the same. relieved was I and I ran to the exit of the station and called up M to narrate the whole story and like a person out of sanity, looked everywhere for cameras that would capture how I'm fleeing :)
From Bank, proceeded to Holborn to Covent Garden .Reached Covent Garden and saw a place that sold tickets for musicals, stood in the line , but when the queue didnt move for about 20 minutes, left the place and proceedd towards the Covent Garden market. Waht a place..Covered area full of shopping joints that sold anything and everything from stationery, edibles, to expensive pieces of jewellery. I wished I had bought some pieces of silver jewellery , earrings especially.I wanted to come along with M , who has a wonderful taste and is my official clothes/jewellery/ selector :) . The market was clearly demarcated that shops that sell quality items were put up in one part , while a different section of the market had local stuff, the things that you find regularly at Burma Bazaar in India.
Once I was done with Covent Garden, went towards China town, not withstanding the smell of the fried Noodles and various other stuff emnating from the place, proceeded towards the tube station and got down at South Kensington. My cousin had recommended the cup cakes in Humming Bird Bakery , since South K had a store of H. bakery, went to the store and the aroma from teh shop was too irresistible. Made a beeline in the 15x10 ft shop and stocked my bag with a couple of cakes and walked towards Gloucester Road. Passed via residentail areas and was dreaming what kind of people do live here in such posh villas, enjoyed the pictureusque lanes and on reaching Gloucester Road, a sense of belonging passed down my spine and it was indeed nice to see the tube station, the Tesco, Bombay Brasserie. Picked up water bottle, and a pack of chips to satiate my craving of fried something and proceeded to the room.
M had been to the pub with his colleagues and when M was back, shared with him the days events and since both of us were too tired to go out for dinner, asked him to grab some burger at the Burger King nearby and we called it a day.