Here we are, week two of my two month long stint in The Country That Once Colonised Us But Is Now Colonised BY Us (TCTOCUBINCBU). I had a pretty good time this last week. For one thing, Small got married and I got to pahtaaaay London style. For another, I am filled with the little insights that make foreign travel so worth it. But let's begin at the beginning.
The couple decided to get married at court and have a day long party after that. We met Small and Mr Small (who really deserves his own name here, but I can't think of one at the moment, so Mr. Small it is) at one of London's oldest pubs, The Prospect Of Whitby. So old that it even has its own Wikipedia page! Coolness. The pub was delightful, we had the upstairs 'Pepys Room' all to ourselves, a wedding party of about twenty people, foreigners and Indians and it overlooked the Thames. Interestingly, the room we were in was once used for cock fighting and boxing matches, which made me think of Sherlock Holmes , which in turn made me think of Robert Downey Jr with his shirt off. Good times.
I wore my red Cotton-On H&M dress with a red sweater on top and JC wore... a suit. People in London are usually very nicely dressed, and I find myself for the first time in my life, not completely satisfied with my clothes. It's odd, I'm used to being nicely turned out and now I either look ordinary or out of style and this means I might have to do some shopping while I am here and use some of my already limited resources to buy some new clothes. Even though it's unfashionable and weird to shop there, Oxfam, the charity shop has some very cool second hand clothes on display. I don't have a thing about preworn clothes like a lot of other people do, the Oxfam shop that I popped into had some pretty nice stuff, and cheap too, so what's the harm, eh?
This was the view from the pub, right below me, which you can't see is a gallows, because apparently, some bloodthirsty judge used to love to drink there and watch the prisoners dangling beneath him. Gross.
Later on, after stopping at the Smalls' for a brief rest period, we made our way down to a boat on the Thames, where the reception was held. The boat was called Tattershall Castle and it was the coolest party I have been to in a long time. (We did have this pretty nice boat party in Bombay a while ago, but that was pre-terrorist, and now I don't think you're allowed to have boat parties anymore.) The boat stayed in one place, but it did rock every now and then, so you felt like you were drunk even if you weren't. For this one, I wore a proper evening dress, daring to go sweater-less, but I had my coat close by, in case I felt suddenly chilly. I'm still not daring enough to check it in to the cloakroom.
We had to leave fairly early, because JC had work the next day, also London is a fair bit away from where we are staying, about 40 minutes commute, but I did manage to get some dancing in, and quite a lot of drunkeness. All in all, a brilliant party and the couple looked so sweet and happy, my heart was overflowing with love and good wishes.
I've basically been at home for the rest of the week, writing and watching TV. Saturday night, we did manage to go out to a pub called The Railway, in Crawley (which by all descriptions sounds like the underbelly of England, but it wasn't so bad.) It was nice and cheap with a live band and we met a friend of JC's and all her friends, so I had a pretty nice time. Also, the sambuca shots went a long way in loosening my inhibitions, even though I paid the price quite heavily the next morning.
It's sort of strange being the only brown person in a bar, people keep looking at you, and you don't know whether it's your hat or your clothes or just you, yourself, that look odd. And JC and I both got ID'd at the entrance, which MAY have been about us looking too young, but more likely because we looked like unpleasant elements. I was all like, "Seriously? Seriously? Do I look like I'm going to blow up a random pub in the middle of England?" But then I DO get ID'd in India as well sometimes, so I'm just going with the looks-too-young explaination.
Also, I guess London has a lot more Indians than the smaller suburbs. It makes me happy to spot posters like this in the tube stations.
Tonight, I go out with JC and his brother and his fiancee to dinner to an Indian restaurant. I was planning to be all cool and not eat any Indian till I got home but I can't hold out any longer! I hope they do a good biryani. I have this rice craving that will not go away.