Hi! I am Shubham Sarcar, a student of class 7, DPS -R K Puram. Some people may know me from before from another travelogue that I had written when I was in class 4, about my trip to Garhmukteshwar. This time I am writing about my visit to London. Since I was there during the World Cup, you’ll find quite a lot of references to football.
London Trip 3
Day 1 – LHR (London – Heathrow – Roti Daal)
After so many days of wait, the grand day, 9th June 2010 had arrived. We were to go to London that night. Unlike our last London trip, which was planned just 10-15 days before departure, this one had been getting planned for at least 6-7 months by my Mom & Honey (My Mausi). Shopping was done for gifts to be taken, suitcases were organized, stuff was stuffed in 2 suitcases – we even put one suitcase inside another so that we have an extra suitcase to bring back stuff. Little did we realize that we would need many many more (we bought 4 big strollers in London). After we said an emotional bye to my dadi, we finally got on our way to the airport. On the way, my Mausi who works for BA explained to us which lounge to go to & what all to do to make the wait at the airport interesting. We finally entered the airport & got our boarding passes & all and headed for the lounge. On the way to the lounge I walked into a pillar type thing (something my mom is famous for in our family) & hurt one of my knees very badly. I continued walking in excitement to the BA Club World Lounge.
There was a small buffet with a cute merry go round thingie with patties on it. My mom tasted practically everything, I read a book which my dad had got for me about the Football World Cup while my dad spoke on his phone. After some time, two people dressed in BA uniforms came to tell us that the boarding for our plane had started.
We entered the plane and I got busy reading the magazine & the TV schedule; and because the World Cup was starting in a day or two there was a magazine on the World Cup too! (I didn’t know if it started in one day or two days as I didn’t know if it was after or before 12 midnight). Then, from the corner of my eye I saw a control panel. I started pressing the buttons & found that they controlled the tilt of the seats!! At that time life was COMPLETE ☺
Now all I had to do was sit back & enjoy. So I did precisely that – I tilted my seat to the most comfortable position (I did that many times during the journey), got myself some soft drinks & crisps and cycled through the in-flight entertainment channels & enjoyed.
I watched 2-3 things at a time; I even watched Percy Jackson & the Olympians: Lightning thieves, a movie I had been longing to watch for a long time. I also watched FRIENDS & How I Met You Mother and a movie starring a WWE superstar, The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) called Tooth Fairy. After the tiring ordeal ☺ I finally went to sleep after my mom told me that for the fourth time :P
I woke up, & finally it was landing time!!! Breakfast had already been served ☺, but the nice air hostess had packed some for me. And then finally, finally (the second ‘finally’ to be said with a lot of extra emotions) we touched down into London!!!
We got off & I suddenly realized that we were in the new terminal 5!! It was quiet awesome but the highlight was that we saw Kapil Dev on our way to the immigration desk. I was quite surprised that none of the Indians there were asking for autographs or begging him for pictures with him or trying to get him in the background of the picture (well, ok, I was trying to do the latter).
It was around 7am when we reached London & we could not go to my mom’s Mausi’s (henceforth referred to as everyone’s Mausi) house till 11 am. So we decided to go to the lounge & hang around.
When we reached the lounge, my mom discovered a spa there and dragged my dad into it. She told me to eat breakfast till she relieved herself of her tiredness of sleeping thru the 7 hours of the 9 hour flight :P . I grabbed a plate for myself, took some sausages, beans, ham & what I thought were toasts and heaped 4 on my plate, only to realize that they were hash browns, basically aaloo. I also got myself some hot chocolate & sat down with the sports section of a newspaper. Right about then I realized that the newspapers were around 120 pages! But then I realized they charge a full pound for it, so I guess it is ok. After reading the newspaper, which had a complete schedule of the World Cup matches , an in-depth analysis, a full table where you could write down your own predictions (I will come to that later), I started watching the TV – which also had stuff about football & World Cup running. Right about then I got some of the biggest shocks I was going to get on that trip to London – Ballack & Cole had been released from Chelsea by Ancellotti :O. God knows what was he thinking releasing the captain of Germany who has been in the final of the Euro Cup (as captain), the World Cup (in 2002 as a rising star), the Deutsche Pokal (German FA Cup) with Bayern Munchen & Bayer Leverkusen & the FA Cup with Chelsea just recently (the match because of which the legend would be missing the World Cup). He had also won the Bundesliga with two different clubs (Bayer Leverkusen & Bayern Munchen) & the Barclays Premiere League with Chelsea. So, I came to the conclusion that Carlo Ancellotti has lost it. And one more shocklet was that Rio Ferdinand had been ruled out of the World Cup because of an injury (actually, for me that was good as I wanted Steven Gerard to be the captain). I told the news to my dad after he & my mom came back from the spa. He too was quite shocked. By the time my mom & dad finished their breakfast, I got quite impatient. I wanted to get to Mausi’s house fast ☺
Finally we decided to leave for her place at about 9 am. My mom said we would have to take the tube with all our luggage (which was all of two pieces). So we went to buy Oyster cards for ourselves but the lady at the counter said that it would be more “sensible” to buy a day travel card for me. My problem with the travel card was that it was soooo uninteresting ☹. You just had to put it in one slot & then it would come out of the other slot & the gate would open. Where is the fun in that? An Oyster card is so much better – you put it on the reader & Kapoing! the gate opens.
And so I had to use an uninteresting day card for the rest of the trip because of the lady at the counter. She also advised us to leave after 9.30 am as the rush hour would have finished by that time & so we would get emptier trains. Also, during the rush hour, the tube people charged you double. I wasn’t too happy about leaving later coz I wanted to get to Mausi’s place fast, but also didn’t want to travel in a crowded train with our luggage (all of 2 pieces) & so we just sat there till 9.30 am. We did take some pictures but I got quite bored. Finally at about 9.40 am we decided to make a move. There was a lift connecting the airport to the tube station. So we went down & took a tube – loading our luggage was a little difficult but we managed. The train wasn’t very crowded so we were quite comfy. The tube train wasn’t really as fast as I expected, but it was fun.
There was a tube map stuck on either side of the train & also a simplified route of that particular train. We were on the Piccadilly line & we had to change to the District line to reach Mausi’s place which was in Hornchurch – at the other end of the city from the airport. We had about four stations from where we could change lines, but Honey told us to change at Hammersmith as from there the platform for the District line was literally opposite to the Piccadilly line platform & it would be the easiest with our baggage (all of two pieces). So we got off at Hammersmith with our luggage. I said ‘Danke’ to the German woman who helped taking our bags off the train but I don’t think she heard. We got on the District line which was practically empty. I sat comfortably & listened to music. I knew it would be a long ride to Hornchurch. After we got off we had to climb some stairs to get to the exit. We left the Tube station; a cab stand was right next to it, so we hired one for Hornchurch. I was quite tickled when we told him we had to go to 2 Wheatley Close and he had to see the map to locate it ;-)
We reached the house & saw my mom’s Mausa (henceforth referred to as everyone’s Mausa) and Renu ji (my mom’s cousin) outside. We got out and said our Hello’s & exchanged hugs & all and went into the house. When we entered I noticed a really nice squiggly thingie with different colours hanging on one of the lights. I really liked that ☺. So after we got in, my mom and had some tea with Renu ji and Mausa and I had juice. We clicked a lot of photos and I think I took some really nice ones ☺. Renu ji called Mausi, and the moment she heard that we had reached she rushed back home. We said our Hi’s to Mausi and my mom and dad drank some more tea. After that Mausi left for her clinic and promised to be back soon. Renu ji showed us our rooms & she & Mausa also left. My mom gave us a little lunch & after that she started unpacking. Meanwhile I switched on the telly & started watching RM TV. I by mistake would have pressed some buttons & the channel changed to ESPN Classics, where the 2006 World Cup was being shown☺. The whole point in watching the match was to see Zidane headbutt Materrazi – as I hadn’t watched it in 2006. I saw the 90 minutes & till the end of the first half of extra time, but right then Mausa ji came & told us that we had to go to the tube station to pick up Anjali (my mother’s cousin) & so we had to go & I missed the headbutt. But on the way Masua ji gave me some little cards with players of the English World Cup squad, so I got quite happy & Mausa ji started bringing them for me almost everyday ☺.
We reached the tube station & waited for about 20 minutes but then we got too bored so we generally got out to get some British air & to take pictures. We took a longish walk & bought a sim card. After that we got back to the car after about 30 minutes. Anjali was nowhere to be seen. We got in & right about then we get a call from Anjali saying that she had reached the Hornchurch house. Mausa ji got a little mad about the fact that she didn’t tell us. We got back home & I resumed watching RM TV (Real Madrid TV), but unfortunately I missed the final. Anjali was talking to my mom while my dad joined me. When Anjali was leaving she showed us her predictions on that sheet that the newspaper had provided. According to her, the final was going to be South Africa Vs Brazil in which Brazil would win :P
After she went my mom & dad had another cup of tea with Mausa & Mausi. I entertained myself with the pre-World Cup programmes & after sometime I too joined them. My mom gave them their presents from India.
We sat down for dinner which consisted of Indian food :PPPPPP. Before leaving , I had practically pledged to myself to not eat Indian food, but there I was eating Dal & Rotis. Though it wasn’t new to me, as I had been to London before, but it was still weird eating dinner at 9.30 pm with quite a lot of sunlight outside☺. After that tiring day I went to bed. And it was then that I realized the fact that I had been awake for about 36 hours non-stop! (OK, with may be 1-2 hours of sleep in the aircraft).