Sunday, August 27, 2017

‘See You in London’

My finger quivered on the mouse as I moved the curser over the “Cancel Vacation” tab.

One click and I wouldn’t have to go anywhere or do anything. I wouldn’t have to dig out my passport, fly on an airplane, or rent a hotel room and exchange currency.

One click and I could stay in my nice little comfort zone eating wonton soup and watching DVDs.

That was me about 10 days ago just prior to my most fabulous trip to England, where I was so stressed, so nervous, so freaked out that I was ready to scrub the entire mission and stay hidden under the blankets for a week.

I was worried about my job, my health, the plane going down, terrorists, alien invasions, and a whole slew of nameless emotional gargoyles lingering on the rim of my subconscious ready to bum-rush my brain.

But I couldn’t give into the fear. I had told just about everyone I knew that I was heading to the U.K. and it would like pretty ridiculous if I suddenly bailed on the whole shebang. And I had people to see, including fellow bloggers in London and a guy in Manchester who friended me on Facebook a few years ago called Rob Lenihan.

Yes, that’s right, we share the same name. I don’t know if we’re officially related but Rob and his family are such wonderful people that I consider them family regardless of what the DNA has to say.

In addition to Rob and the rest of that lovely Manchester crew, I also met up with one of my official cousins, Keir, and his family who were in London for a brief stay before moving on to Ireland and Barcelona.

The Chimes of Big Ben

Early on in the trip I had a fabulous meeting with Mario, the genius behind A Cuban in London, at a tea shop on Portobello Road. I also managed to visit Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace and Hyde Park, which was just across the street from my hotel.

It was incredible meeting Rob and Mario and so many others in the real world after years of communicating via the Internet.

The only disappointment was the fact that I could not meet up with the lovely and talented Jay of The Sparkling Synapse, who was suffering from a terrible flu attack.

That was tough, frankly, but I vow that I will meet this wonderful woman in person in the near future.

London is a great theater town and I saw Connor McPherson’s The Girl from the North Country and Jez Butterworth’s The Ferryman, both of which were incredible.

I’m also becoming an old hand at riding the Underground and I was impressed with how knowledgeable and courteous that staff were—at least the ones I met certainly were.

I realized how resistant to change I can be and traveling to a different country can cure you of that particular ailment in a hurry. You either adapt or sit around your hotel room all day.

So, yes, I’m really glad I didn’t give into temptation and cancel this trip. I met up with great family and friends, saw some terrific sites, and enjoyed some great theater. That beats a bowl of wonton soup any day of the year.


Bijoux said...

Omg, that is fabulous! I've never been to Europe, so I hope you post more photos! And how fun to meet another Rob L. It sounds as though you had a lot of company on your trip!

Rob K said...

Oh, Bijoux, I had the most fantastic time! I met so many great people, saw so many cool things! I'm so glad I didn't give in to my fears!

Now I think we should meet in the real world....


A Cuban In London said...

It was a pleasure meeting you in the flesh, Rob. I had a fantastic time talking to you and finding out so many things about the States, a country that is so linked to Cuba, whether intentionally or not! :-)

Whenever you're down in Londontown, give us a bell and we'll meet up. I really liked what you wrote in your last paragraph about the staff on the Tube being courteous and polite. Someone posted a clip on my Facebook wall recently. It was meant to be a satirical take on Londoners' reluctance to engage with people. I didn't recognise that London at all. The main character was a "northerner" and I know that generally speaking there are misconceptions about people who come from or live beyond the M25. But, on the other hand, the London in which I live is one where people greet each other in the morning and treat each other politely most of the time.

After I left you that day I carried on cycling around west London and "discovered" a new area I was not familiar with. I must confess that that was as a consequence of getting lost. Badly. But I didn't mind. When I'm cycling, I am in my own little bubble. :-)

Greetings from London.

Rob K said...

Mario, it was great meeting you as well. You really made me feel at home.

I'm missing London (and Manchester!) so much right now. When I first arrived I felt so disoriented and confused, but gradually I got to really love this town. New York can be very oppressive with all the crowds and the huge buildings, but I didn't feel that way in London at all.

And the Tube employees were just great, which is more than I can say for a lot of their New York counterparts.

So, yes, by all means, I will look you up the next time I'm in town and please do the same should you venture to this side of the Pond.

I like your story about discovering a new area. Great things can happen when we get lost!

Take care!

Ron said...

So THAT'S where you were?!?! freaking AWESOME, Rob! I've only been to two places in Europe (Brussels and Amsterdam), both of which I LOVED! MY next trip will be to Italy. Yet, I have a feeling I will not want to come home.

Doesn't it feel wonderful to break away from our everyday life and do something completely different? You feel so recharged and energized, don't you?

So glad you got to meet up with fellow bloggers. That to me, has been one of the BEST things about blogging, meeting people from different parts of the world!

Love your photographs! Looking forward to seeing more!

Have a faaaaaaaabulous Labor Day Weekend, buddy!


Rob K said...

Hey, Ron, what's up?

You're so right-it was indeed wonderful getting out of the routine and do something different. It really changes your perspective. I met great people and had a great time.

Now you make sure you get your butt to Italy so you can tell us all about it!

Take care, buddy, and have a great weekend!