Thursday, October 20, 2005

London - part 1

I hate flying. I am scared to death by the immense height and speed of the plane. It is completely over my head. I feel trapped and at the mercy of the laws of physics. But it is the cheapest and easiest way to get to England. And my desire to be there regularly overcomes my fear.

So on Thursday I boarded a BA plane to London Heathrow. Since it was the first proper holiday for a long time I had decided to spend my money on indulgence and selected two very nice and also very expensive hotels for the first and the last night of my stay. In between I did not have a choice of hotel since I decided to go on an organised hiking trip in Sussex. But more about that later.

The first hotel I chose is located in Chelsea harbour. Being an Aquarius I am naturally drawn to the water. My ideal place to live would be at the beach or at least within walking distance of it. So this was an easy decision and it turned out to be a good one. Chelsea harbour is a nice and quite area, where armed security guards make sure no "unwanted" people show up. Apparently quite a number of the rich and famous live around there.

I walked along the river and around the harbour (the latter takes only a couple of minutes; it is very small). I took some pictures with my brother digital camera that I had borrowed.

Before meeting with a friend of mine I went to the hotel’s gym for my marathon training unit of the day. From the treadmill I had an excellent view of the harbour and especially the tallest building, called The Belvedere. Apparently Michael Caine lives in it, but he was nowhere to be seen.

In the evening I walked all the way from the hotel to Charing Cross road to meet Barbara at a Salsa club she had recommended. When I walked along The Mall I couldn’t help thinking that in about six months time I would come running along this street or – in a worst case scenario – crawling towards the finish line of the London marathon.

The Salsa evening started with a two hour training course. We were split into groups and Barbara joined the intermediates having been there a couple of times already. I decided to stay with the beginners. The course was fun although I first had to dance with a girl from New Zealand due to a shortage of male participants and then with a huge guy (I am only 5ft 2in tall), who had two left feet. After the course a live band started playing (not very good) and it was “anybody can drag anybody onto the dance floor”. I decidedly did not like the look of the guy who came towards me and fled to the bar. The whole thing made me feel extremely uncomfortable. Call me boring and old-fashioned but I prefer to know people I do some sort of "forbidden dance" with at least a little. And the style was quite different from what we had been tought in the previous two hours!

My options were to sit and watch Barbara or to go back to the hotel. Since I feared I would be rather miserable and probably quite drunk if I stayed, I went back to the hotel. I guess, Barbara was not too happy about this, but since we had already agreed to go out for drinks on Monday, I think it was the best solution.

I had some wine in the hotel bar watching out for Mr Caine while at the same time reading “The Diary of a C-list celeb”. Very funny book! Went to bed feeling happy and slightly tipsy due to lack of any substantial food intake during the day.


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