Newsbytheway's Blog

January 6, 2010

New Delhi to London.. Via Colombo and Male

Filed under: Travelogue — Rabea Khan @ 10:15 am
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Money can make you do crazy things. Crazy enough, that in order to save some you can convince yourself to take a 24-hour journey to a destination 9 hours away. I was crazy.

Copyright Rabea Khan 2010

1910 I boarded the Sri Lankan Airlines flight UL 196 to Colombo. It was slightly delayed but I didn’t let myself  to get annoyed  too much.  After all it’s just a pre cursor to my journey. Food: passé .In-flight entertainment: nil.

2300 I landed in Colombo. My flight to London is scheduled at 1115 next day. I am so not looking forward to spending a night at the airport.  Disembarking from the plane I vowed never to book a multi-stop flight, no matter how cheap it is.

I contacted the information counter, to figure out which lounge will be my destination for the night. She forwarded me to the transfer counter saying that you’ll be provided with accommodation in a hotel.  Suddenly the idea of taking a via Colombo flight didn’t seem so stupid. Bless you Sri Lankan airlines.

Copyright Rabea Khan 2010

0100 I reached the hotel called Brown’s Beach.  My expectations weren’t too high. Was just glad to be able to see the city, breathe the fresh air, even if it was for few hours.  Receptionist gave me a form to fill up and directed me to a lounge sofa. I look up and realized that I was just 50 feet away from the beach. It was a beach resort! God bless Sri Lankan airlines.

0715 I woke up and it took me few minutes to realize where I am.  My cab is expected at 0830. I got ready quickly so that I can grab a few bites aka breakfast buffet before I leave for the airport. The receptionist gave me the news that my flight is delayed and the cab will now be coming @ 0950. I never thought one can be happy when flights are delayed. Bless you Sri Lankan airlines.

I thought of utilizing my time by having a lazy breakfast and take a stroll at the beach. After a quick stroll I ventured out of the hotel. It’s still early in the morning so shops are closed and there is nothing much to explore. I returned to the hotel looking forward to a coffee and some sunbathing on the beach.

The transit holiday was uneventful till an elderly man approached me. He looked decent and I thought he was just trying to have a polite conversation with a fellow countryman. After exchanging niceties I was bidding him goodbye. He replied smiling

“ Why are you in such a hurry? We can spend some time together, if you want I can come to your room.”

I stared and curtly replied “ no thanks” and left hurriedly.

Copyright Rabea Khan 2010

Fuming I reached the lobby. The cab hasn’t arrived yet. Gladly there was a wedding photo shoot taking place at  the beach with a  pretty bridesmaids and a lovely bride in white flowing gown. Quite a picturesque setting. It did uplift my mood.

1000 I left from the hotel looking forward to seeing the city in the daytime.  Driver was nice and chatty and gave me an express tour of the town.  I reached airport by 1030

1400 Flight UL 509 took off from Colombo finally. I was seated next to a chatty woman from Maldives. A bollywood enthusiast, she knew more gossips about the Indian film stars than me. We reached Male, Maldives @ 1515 on an airport situated literally in the sea. Amazing.

Copyright Rabea Khan 2010

1615 We took off from Male for our final destination, London. I was again seated next a woman from Maldives and I realized that I am capable for not speaking for half a day, even if some one is just sitting next to me. We didn’t exchange a single word. At least the aircraft had a TV set. I watched four movies.

0400 I am at last in London. Local time 2230. Temperature: -3.  Lowest temperature I have ever experienced. Thankfully the cab I have booked was prompt and I reached uni in no time.

Overall it wasn’t such a bad experience, long journeys can be fun too.

I asked myself, Will I do it again? No way.

I am not crazy.

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November 1, 2009

A night in London: excellent cinema, greasy food…

Filed under: London — Rabea Khan @ 12:59 am
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I ,with a bunch of friends from my MA Journalism course, decided to make an evening out of our early weekend  and went to see Un prophète.  It was judged as the best film  during the BFI London film  festival that culminated last Thursday.

Since it was the  my first french movie, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But in the end was pleasantly enthralled by the entire experience. . The film is shot in such an emphatic manner that you can almost feel the emotion of the protagonist.

Post movie, we decided to go to china town on our  food quest . Considering our limited budget we let the money pick our restaurant.  Winner was a buffet @ £6.85.  Coming from India, oily food doesn’t bother me that much. But I have never seen that much of grease in any Chinese menu. (Mind you, this is huge coming from an Indian whose stable diet was the greasy Chinjabi=Chinese + Punjabi cuisine back home).

Everything had excess oil in it., even the innocent vegetables were not spared. The chefs ‘ special list had everything deep fried. And I reckon as a dare, they had this notice displayed at every table.

I guess someone needs to tell them that people are wasting their food not because they want to but they are forced to… no one can eat that much oil even if it comes cheap..  To me it really doesn’t matter.. there is no way I am going back to that oilfield ever again.

October 16, 2009

It’s Un’fare’!!

Filed under: London — Rabea Khan @ 7:17 pm
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Living in London is not cheap.. Especially for an Indian like me… and to add more to the misery, Mr. Johnson has decided to increase the tube and bus fare for the next year..Its my third week in London, I am yet to come out of the 80-multiplication phase (where you divide everything by 80 to calculate how much its worth in Indian rupees, and end up buying nothing) and on top of it, rising fares..

One can’t help but reminisce about Delhi metro… its much more faster, modern and cheap.. fare from one corner of the city to the other is Rs 22max (30p!!) Now I am all for one world, one economy, one currency.. Imagine a world like this.. now I truly know what John Lennon meant..

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