Archive | October 23, 2009

An Englishman in a strange land (4)

One  hour and fourty five minutes before takeoff and I’m sitting in the departure lounge, terminal 3 Heathrow airport. We have checked in, offloaded the suitcases and passed through the security barrier.  Anything metallic had to be removed and placed on a tray. Including my belt.

Security is understandably tight, especially with the ever present threat from Islamic fundamentalists, but I could help but feel that in some cases the airport security was perhaps a bit over zealous.

A criminally cute young blonde girl about 7 years of age, was made to walk through the barrier several times before the offending metallic item was identified. Now it doesn’t need a forensics profiler to point out that blonde seven year old girls are a low risk group as far as being members of Al Qaida.

Or am I mistaken, perhaps Bin Ladens new ploy is to recruit young blonde girls in his quest for world Islamic domination. I digress, but you get my point!

All around me is a cacophony of people. Some sitting down, Heads immersed in books. Others, like myself, tapping away on laptop keyboards, some just sitting, counting down the minutes to when they board. A sea of transient individuals. Each embarking on their own personal adventures and yet, for a fleeting moment in time, all joined together with one common goal. To get on that damn plane as fast  as possible!!

To my left and right, to my front and rear, the shops are bulging with people. Harrods, Starbucks, Boots, HMV, only the big boys allowed to open up here me thinks. Prime retail territory! Prime retail profits.

To my right is a suited chap who appears totally engrossed in the book he is reading. I glance at the cover and all of a sudden alarm bells start ringing.

The book is called the God Delusion and is written by Richard Dawkin an Evolutionary Biologist and Oxford professor. Basically the book is a critique of Religion and has been on the  New York Times best seller list for many months. I had planned to buy and read during my Holiday, but as is the case with most things I totally forgot.

Still, I should have some time left to find a book shop.

Untill next time , over and out.

An Englishman in a strange land (3)

The final night here in the UK before i fly out and i’ve just finished watching ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. An Oscar Winning film from my favourite Director Danny Boyle. The film centres around the plight of three poor orphans as they struggle to survive in the harsh reality of modern day India.

The film is billed as ‘the feel good film of the year’ and yet i found it terribly depressing. Orphans are picked up off the streets with a promise of a better life only to be groomed to become beggers. Some are purposely blinded by their masters because blind beggars tend to make more money. Most of that money of course going to people higher up the chain.

I have been forewarned several times about the child beggers in Delhi. They will not leave you alone untill you have given them some money. The dilema here is that you give money to one child and then within seconds, like a moth to flame you will be surrounded by hourdes of children, each thrusting their outstretched hands in my general direction.

The thing to do, according to seasoned travellers to India, is not pay them any money at all, but instead take them to a nearby shop and buy them food. That way their masters will not see any money and the children will be blessed with  full bellies. Result!!

Although my brothers attempt to deter a particularly troublesome Begger by threatening to chop off his head and shove it up his arse, was only partially successful, with the beggar explaing that for a fee he could direct him to a very cheap knife shop!!

Its gone past midnight now, and i really need to be in the land of nod. We have an early start tomorrow. The plan is to travel to Southall in the morning and then make our way to Heathrow airport.

I have utilised their meet and greet service, which means that i can leave the car in one of their designated car parks and then ten days later go back to the car park and drive off. Assuming the battery isn’t flat!!

Untill the next time, over and out.