After some nutter accosts me, we land.
Let me rephrase and re-explain. Do the usual deal – jam iPod into ear, play game on my Blackberry, avoid all direct contact with anything with eyes. Chick sits down and appears to be talking loudly to herself. In fact, she’s addressing me. When I clearly am busy with BrickBuilder 2000 and a fullblast iPod.
It says something like this, ‘…and then I thought ‘Is this the gate we’re departing from?’ No, silly billy, this is the gate we’re going from, and Rob says to me, ‘Just make sure you get to Waterloo.’
‘Excuse me, who the fuck are you and who the dickens is Rob?’
‘Well of course he is, you perfect stranger who is telling me her life story uninvited.
‘And I say ‘Rob, I’ve been to London before, and Gary works for Volkswagen, so he’ll be there, you know Gary has been working for Volkswagen for 12 years, and I love radish salad.’
‘Oh has he? Wow. He must be…awesome.’
And so it went until I managed to lose her. The day we land she had no idea who I was when I tentatively asked how her flight was. ‘Oh, you’re from London?’
(No….I’m the South African girl you spilled an entire rhetoric to…you friggin’ nutcase.’)
So arrive and decide to meander along into London via the Picadilly Line. The last time I was in London this seemed a familiar thing to do (5 years ago…shit), got off at Green Park and took the Victoria Line to Vauxhall, where I was to be staying. At my fancy shmancy corporate hotel.
Someone told me that in London, they felt hot. All the time. She’s right. Taking trains like I knew what I was doing makes me feel like a fit bitch.
It all runs helluva smoothly. Two Prize chavs get on at South Ealing. They’re kind of greasy looking, one has a black eye, and they’re wearing polyester tracksuits and trainers. I try not to stare, but I can’t help myself. I’m itching. Itching. To say DO I LOOK BLOODY BOVVERED?
I mean my chav hunt has kicked off with a mighty bang, and we’re barely out of Zone 6.
I couldn’t stop sneaking little stares, trying to get the full picture one eyeball at a time. By the time we hit Earl’s Court, they were staring back at me. One could cut the tension wiff a knoife. I was sitting there on the brink of chaos, a chivvy chaos I could impode by whispering, ‘Are you girls pikeys or somefing?’
I get out into the open at Vauxhall, dragging my suitcase, still feeling like a fit bitch.
And step into a world of wet, bucketing down rain and a hurricane. Disorientated and getting drenched, I realised I perhaps should’ve studied as to where I was staying before I walked into a world of wet mayhem.
I stood outside in the pouring rain trying to navigate where the fuck I was, suitcase, computer bag, and a terrible sense of direction. Wind, rain, and my brolly turns inside out and breaks.
The one thing I need in London, five minutes later, the brolly breaks. Anyway I’m laughing because what else can you do but laugh when you’re drenched and you have no fucking clue. Or where anything is. What a tourist; how perfectly embarrassing. Flagged down a taxi. Which cost me…wait for it…five quid to go something like 700 metres to my hotel. Now now, I won’t bore you with Saffa exchange rates and wingeing, but FUCKEN ‘ELL, THAT’S DAYLIGHT ROBBERY.
By the time I got to the hotel, holding a limp broken umbrella, a sopping suitcase, a wet computer case and a few lousy pounds, I looked like I’d had the vigorous bout of lovemaking ever. My hair was delightfully tousled to the point where I didn’t recognise myself, I was drenched and my cheeks were English Rose flushed.
‘Ah Miss O’Toast, room 634. Are you sure you’re Miss O’Toast?’
Yes. I’m a fucking tourist who got caught in the rain, it’s not like you okes haven’t seen this before. I didn’t know that you guys had hurricanes outside either.
‘Ah yes. A slight blustery day.’
Slight? I was walking backwards just now.
‘I know. We saw you from the lobby. It gave us a right larf.’
My Brit aunt, Dad’s sister, meets me and I end up having a swell day in the rain (ag, what’s a little constant and incessant drizzle?) with her. Got a new brolly at Boots, shopped a little at Selfridges (saw chav kids. Dude. Stuff the grown up chavs, the 10 year olds are terrifying), had a pint on Marylebone Road, or that area, and we had lunch at Valerie’s Patisserie (?) off Bond Street I think it was, and walked down Oxford Road – and had coffee off St Christopher’s Square.
Even in the rain, London, as far as I’m concerned, is gorgeous. Nobody smoked in the pub. How the fuck is this even possible? Oh and it cost me R52 for a box of TENS. I’m giving up. Tomorrow. Or I’ll be bankrupt in 30 seconds.
London is so green, and the buildings are so beautiful. I’m going to have so much fun here over the next week.
And today I start my training at our London offices. I can’t wait to meet all sorts of interesting, multi-cultured people! And trust me when I say that our offices here are nothing short of amazing. You’re going to have to trust me, because that’s all I will really say.
Good heavens they’re unbelievable. Good heavens. I've already met a whole lot of new people - from Germany, Spain, Hungary and other parts of Hingland.
I'm in absolute heaven. Gotta do a presentation now, with a team of multi-nationals. Yeeeha! (Is this all for real??)