Whatever worries or fears I had on the day that I left Nairobi all seem to temporarily melted away by the next morning. Through a very swift British system, I was able to check out of the airport than 30 minutes after arrival and hop on the Tube. Even though I was suppose to meet my younger sister at one station, because I was so early, I figured I’d would just go directly into town and then call her to let her know my new location. A friend had lent me his SIM card and another friend had given me her Oyster (train pass) card. For those in the states, this is the system the rest of the world uses which allows you to have instant telephone connection anywhere in the world in only a few minutes and for less than $30 even though the price varies. No monthly plans, no contracts, no nothing! Just slap your SIM card in for whatever location and you are connected. I have a mini collection going for the various countries I’ve been to. Anyway, when it came time to choose a destination within Central London, I choose one based solely on the sound of the word…..Piccadilly! Yes, Piccadilly Circus was where I arrived at about 7:30 in the morning after an hour long commute from the airport. The ride was great! British group Mattafix was blasting through the iPod, the sun was out (a phenomenon I hear is very rare in this city), and the train was slowing filling with the first commuters. It was a great reminder of that glorious New York Metro system that I love. With my arrival in central London, the serious vomiting of cash, which seems to be a major pitfall of life of all Londoners, began for me with a $5 cup of hot chocolate.
I walked around for a few hours, just enjoying the city while many of its citizens were still hitting the snooze button. I eventually met up with my sister who had jumped on the train from Manchester to go to the Embassy for a temporary passport and we walked aimlessly around. Can you think of a better activity, then just exploring a new city on foot, with no map to point you in the ‘right’ direction? I sat in a lovely park, walked around some fabulous streets with lots of fun shops and eventually got to Covent Garden which was also just waking up. The rest of the day involved having a cup of tea in an outdoor café, waiting in Trafalgar Square to meet up with a friend (which didn’t work out), zipping back to the airport only to find that my flight to New York was an hour delayed, and trying on a whole bunch of stuff that will probably NEVER make it into my closet (i.e. a beautiful Hermes scarf or Ferragamo shoes that were only $200 – technically a steal, but still not highway robbery enough for me).
By the time it was time to board the flight, my entire lower body was sore from a full day of walking non-stop with a backpack full of stuff I won’t entrust to baggage systems, like my MacBook or beautiful Kitengela and Kazuri necklaces!