TODAY -

My Trip To England
- Part 2 -

By:- Aribam Herojit Sharma *



LEEDS:

From Bradford we headed to Leeds, a cool city with lots of Architectural buildings we broaded free city bus till Leeds Univ. Near the univ there is this PUB called the DOCK where we went , chose our drinks. I began with a Scottish beer on Ann's suggestion.

I was busy with Handicam in capturing the scenes, Danny asked us to play POOL as no-one among us knew how to play Ann agreed to learn from Danny. Teresa and I talked about Brit culture how different it is from our culture and so on.

Drinks after drinks, as I was not satisfied with cider so i decided to go for something harder but to my utter dismay, it didn't give me the kick as it did whenever we boozed in Delhi. I decided to halt the drink because it will be a waste of money to drink in a pub coz drinks costs really high unlike in India.

We came back to our hotel before the last train to Shipley. We decided to meet again in Leeds next morning. By now I know why Brits are called true Gentleman. No matter how much they drink they will never make chaos even when they are high.

SUNDAY:

We planned to meet in Leeds in the morning, Danny and I reached Leeds in the morning and we talked to Ann to meet at the city center, we decided to meet at Leeds Shopping Centre. The funny thing I experienced was that, whole mall have only one free Washroom.

I asked people around there to help me to find the LOO but it literally took 45 minutes just to locate it. Once we came out from the mall I got voicemail from Ann asking our whereabouts. I called her up and we met then. Firstly, we decided to buy a digicam so we went to ARGOS.

Luckily we got the camera in good deal and started clicking pictures. We went to MORRISON's to buy some chicken and vegetables. Ann and I tried to buy few wine bottles but the girl at the counter asked our ID's as we both look so young to buy alcohol.

I saw her my Indian PAN card as age proof but she refused to accept that. Funnily enough when Danny went, he got those wine and beer , I guessed it was not a problem for him as he looks old enough to buy alcohol or he charmed the lady at the counter, God knows better.

At last, I had proper Manipuri chak and beans eronba(WOW) in the UK. We called the cab after meal and went to the bus interchange. had we be late by 2 minutes Ann might have missed the bus and had to spend a few more pounds to get a current ticket. A lesson I learnt ever since I got here 'Everything you want to do in the UK you need to planned well in advance otherwise you will end up spending more money'.

After taking few photos of the surroundings we caught a train back to our hotel. Thinking about next day office, was again a nightmare but I was looking forward to end the week as soon as possible so that next weekend we will be in London.

In office we didn't have proper lunch inorder to save money(lol) , we went out for walk during the lunch break and ate those apples and boiled eggs which we brought from our hotel breakfast (Oh gracious, such a miser have I become????).

That day we decided to walk to the hotel to see how far is 3 miles, it was not easy with our laptops to walk fast it took us an hour to reach our hotel (Ibis Hotel Shipley). On the way Ann phoned me about our journey ticket for London and she also gave us a really good news that we can stay in her friend's hotel for free one night, I said it's too good to be true, we will save at least 50 quips if that is true.

In the UK that kind of favor is very rare and highly appreciable that too from someone who don't know us, I thanked Ann and her friend that's unforgettable. Days passed so quickly while dreaming about London (World's coolest city). On the other hand too much download from work it was hard to remember what we have learned so far.

But everybody at work was really helpful and understanding they even say if we learn for six months it's not easy to get hang of it but we were there for only three weeks. Hope everyone reading this bullshit is not bored with my Grammar because I am really poor in English grammar.

It's just that since I worked in call center for few years I know how to communicate. Everyday my girlfriend calls me up on her break that was again very rejoicing and nostalgic to talk to your LOVE in that far away land. Whenever we broad a cab the driver happens to be Indian which was again good in a way as they play Hindi FM but would have been really great had they ferried us for free!!!

At work most of the people are very dedicated and professional, their professionalism was indeed appreciable and inspirational. As the day passed by, we were now ready to set off for London Saturday morning.

LONDON A DREAM CITY:

We went to Leeds to catch the National Express Coach but I lost the print out of the ticket. On the way to the interchange we did try to take a print out the ticket from my mail but, unfortunately, we failed to find a cyber café.

So in the enquiry we stood in the Queue to request for a print out but it was a long Queue (God save us) , we requested other people in the queue to allow us to jump before them as our bus has started boarding, that was again agreed by those people in the line (that was very kind of the uk people as they could see we are at some kind of problem).

At the counter the gentleman said he cannot print ticket for us he is not authorized but we can try to convinced the bus driver. We stood there in the line(yet again) to broad the bus and few people start showing their mobile instead of ticket, suddenly an idea struck my mind probably if we tell the truth to the driver he might refused us to broad the bus.

So I show him my mobile phone which has Ann's message for the ticket ref number he didn't bother to check that and allowed us to broad the Bus. I was like 'thank GOD'. It's four and half hour journey from Leeds to London. My seat was in between two Indian girls. I didn't talk to any of them.

I observed the girl in my right is UK born Indian from her accent, the girl on the left is typical mayang (Indian). Bus driver announced to begin the journey and ask us to fasten our seat belts and if not, they will not take any responsibility in case of accident.

I took out my phone and listened to Don William's numbers after a while I ask the girl on the left "Are you bengali or punjabi?" she replied "How do you know im bengali?" I told her I have lots of bengali friends in Delhi. We started talking and I asked her what she is doing in the UK she said doing research in LEEDS University in English.

I was shell-shock 'a typical mayang girl doing research in English in English land with that kind of mayang accent?' I thought I am far better (trust me it's not superiority complex but the hard-truth),she also asked my part of the story and I told her about our trip.

We reached London city, it is really a Dream City it feels good to see many people like Delhi. Otherwise it seems like what type of foreign this is with no crowd to see. Our bus halts at Victoria station, from there Ann guided me to take tube (metro train) from Victoria underground.

We walked till there, bought tickets till Hendon Underground and we got the train. At Hendon station I called her and she guided me how to reach her. In Hendon I saw many Mayangs again and I saw Ann. We went to her room she Introduced us to Dink and Giri both of them are meetei. We agreed to have few glass of wine and they prepared fish for us that was again sumptuous after a long Journey (Mouth-watering).



After lunch we headed for London City, Ann showed us the famous landmarks in London like London Eye, Parliament, Buckingham Palace etc after going around the city we were dead tired. Decided to take some rest in some joint's we ordered Shake and F5 ourselves.

Ann already booked our table to a Club for that night that is Verve. We went there and made ourselves comfortable, ordered few drinks.

Verve got three floors, they play the same music in ground floor and first floor. But the dance floor was in basement with loud Dance numbers. We sat there in the ground floor for about an hour after few drinks we decided to hit the dance floor. Even after 3 rounds of cocktail it did not give me a kick at all (we are like one bottle per person type).

No one of us danced except me and Ann and Danny was the photographer, Dinku and Girish the mere observers. After shaking few moves , Ann and I stopped for a drink, I knew no one will be happy to dance with me as I am not like any other good dancer. Ann had a hard time dancing with me but my legs cannot stop easily once I start, in full swing I danced (you can check out those pictures taken by Danny when we were dancing in my ORKUT).

I was missing someone while I was there, guess who? By then we agreed to try a drink which is famous according to Ann that is "Sex On The Beach" (I thought who the hell gave that name for a drink!) That was some type of mock-tail that too did not make me high, I decided to go for Tequila and had those small glasses of poison.

After a while Girish wanted to go back so we hugged and he left, I also remember a group of blonde girls draged me in their group while Ann and I were dancing. Probably they saw my energy not my dancing skills (Ha Ha Ha) I danced with them for a while and came back to Ann we sat down for a while. We agreed to leave as early as 12 pm to catch the last tube to Hendon.

That day 23rd may 09 i would like to remember for the rest of my life. Memorable places to see and wonderful sunshine in the UK everyone seemed to be happy on their face not because of me, about the sunshine dude! In the UK you cannot see sun frequently, you will see clouds and rains at any point of time.

I was very happy because so many days in that country, but never a good companions like that day Dinku a lovely person who is very honest and friendly, Ann my friend and going to be mari mata, Girish an innocent Meetei pakhang with no wathi warrem. After meeting these people I wonder if all the Manipuri people are like this team then we would not be lacking behind anyone else.

Mentally there is a lot of difference between Meeteis in Manipur, Meeteis in Indian cities and Meeteis Abroad. Meeteis in abroad are more clear of their vision and target. I promised Ann to come back with Baby by last part of August 09 to see more of London. We reached our destination, Ann's room, we packed our bag's and Dinku gave us the hotel address, we call taxi and reached the hotel(Elstree Inn).

In the reception there was again an Indian guy who talks in Malayalam accent we asked our way to the room and he helped. That night I was not able to catch my favorite Sunrise Radio channel, might be out of range from Bradford.

Next morning we woke up as early as nine and out to buy pork and chicken from TESCO with few wine (Because it is a culture in the UK to take wine if you are visiting someone for a meal). I called up Ann to ask if she needed anymore stuff so that we can get it from TESCO, she told me to get some juice and something for Eronba. We tried to capture the BIG MALL in our lens and their organized way of arranging things, from A to Z household needs you will get in this store from rubber to eraser.

To be continued....




* Aribam Herojit Sharma contributes to e-pao.net for the first time . The writer can be contacted at aribamhero(at)yahoo(dot)com or his blog at http://march11.hpage.com
This article was webcasted on July 09th, 2009.


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