Monday, October 26, 2015

Twenty-five hours in London

  We arrived with the Underground from Heathrow at Green Park Station at 1.45 in the afternoon local time on October 20th, and left from the same spot almost exactly twenty-five hours later.
  My friend got a hotel room with another, but I didn’t. I had decided to stay awake all the time, both for financial reasons and in order to enjoy every second of the short stay, and I did. It’s also fairly easy for me, with preparations and lots of coffee to stay awake for thirty-six hours.
  We started off with dinner and coffee afterwards. The start of most of my London visits is the good meal and giant Cappuccino coffee, not necessarily in that order. It usually gives me what I call «the London feeling», kickstarting it, if you will, and it did this time as well.
  I didn’t meet up with many of my London friends this time, but mostly did photographing, dining and playing poker. Most of the photographing took place in and around Green Park, on Piccadilly and Piccadilly Circus. My plan before arrival was slightly more ambitious, but as usual, I just managed to do less than half of everything I had set out to do in London. Great distractions and inspirations are everywhere.
  Most of the photos were taken during twilight and the early evening. The mere process of doing them always feels great to me. The photographer always sees more than the human being alone, or rather, simplifying it: the process of the passionate art photographer taking photos makes the passionate human being see and even feel more.
  It dawned on me only much later that I had not filmed anything, not a single clip.
  I visited a few pubs as well, taking in the mood, having a few Guiness beers. It didn’t really affect me much, didn’t make me more intoxicated than I already was. The fairly brief visits still gave me a lot, in terms of inspiration and quiet experience, of taking in the mood at the various places.
  I was ready, very ready for the poker playing.
  The game itself turned out to be an unremarkable performance on my part. It wasn’t my evening. I usually win money, either a little or a lot when I play, but that night I didn’t. It happens and don’t usually bother me. I truly win or lose with the same mind or mindset.
  Playing poker is always a win/win situation for me. Whether or not I win or lose money, the mere process of playing always makes me dig deep into myself, and thus I open up myself, and inspiration blooms. I wrote notes and thoughts for two hours without break in my Diary of a Traveling Man after I stopped playing.
  I moved beyond an obstacle in my novel Lewis of Modern York I had wrestled with for months.
  I spent the night at the casino, leaving in the early morning for quite a few more intense experiences.
  I visited a quiet, concealed «townhall meeting» south of the river, not so much a meeting but an orientation about future events. It still made my spirit soar.
  I ended the London visit as I started it, with dining and coffee.
  It was all very intense. I felt like we spent weeks there, and not only twenty-five hours. I know I will reap the benefits of the Journey for weeks, both in terms of an elevated good mood and ongoing higher level of creativity.

  Postscript: It was my first time in the fairly new Heathrow Terminal 5. It was quite unremarkable. All airports, old and new seem more or less the same to me. We couldn’t help but noticing what a bad spot for disabled people it had to be, though. Getting around out there alone must be a nightmare for people with wheelchairs and those unable to walk the vast distances. I can’t imagine the so called Lichfield Suite for those with special needs and needs for special assistance, can counter that. While Gatwick has moving sidewalks, for instance, Terminal 5 doesn’t. There are other problems. A shiny new airport lacks essential facilities for disabled people. They need far more time and effort to get around compared to others. That’s more than typical for the new Great Society the current ruling political party in the UK wants to make, I guess.

  Second postscript: I ended up staying awake for forty-nine hours (and sleeping for fourteen the next day, waking up at six o’clock in the evening). Lots of new and intense thoughts need to be engraved.

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