London in Gloomy October.

I have been putting off updating my blog for quite a while. These posts are collecting dusts in the draft folder and i reckon, i might as well just publish them anyway.

If I could describe London in one word, it would be ‘gloomy’ and I am not talking about the weather.  I was there during the Queen’s funeral in October. You could sense the heaviness looms in the air, tinged with grief. What an experience that was. Shops closed, and the queen was all everyone was talking about and quite the only programme there was to watch on TV. Back to back video montages of her younger self up until her final moments. Death is always a sad thing regardless whom it touches (Somewhat). On the day of the funeral, the streets were thronged with people from all walks of life. Some have been camping out in the streets for days just so they could not miss such momentous event. Surprisingly, even dad kept himself up to date with the queen’s funeral on TV back at home which is a rarity. “You don’t understand, she has been alive for almost a century. She has always been…around. It is a BIG deal.”

On my flight to London, I overheard an Irish woman spoke to a fellow passenger, “It is awful. I immediately booked the ticket to London to pay my respect and I will be flying back to Dublin tonight.” It is understandable why some would willingly stand in line for more than a day out in the cold just so they could pay their last respect to the queen. Unfortunately, some even ended up in the hospital. She is after all, the Queen of England. It was quite heartwarming to see the extent some would go for her. I guess she is simply loved by many.

It was my first time in London and naturally, I was brought to see the iconic landmarks like the Big Ben, and gave up soon after. It was impossible to wander around when every inch of the pavement is occupied by humans and cute dogs and tents, barricades erected, road closures. Every now and then, the police siren will start blaring, announcing the arrival of a VVIP and the crowd will come to a halt for a moment, curious. “Who are we waiting for?” We had asked this red-headed woman who was just standing next to us, leaning towards the barricade, anxiously waiting for someone whilst I was resting my already sore feet, “Just the prime ministers. It is exciting!” From a distance, there were a group of Asian men (Probably Japs?) clad in perfectly fitted suits, accompanied by troops in uniforms. A moment later, a garbage truck passed by that led to a boisterous cheer from the crowd. “Well, there goes my prime minister.” I muttered under my breath.

Truthfully, I did not get to see much of London. Apart from the road closures, most days, i was in bed, sick from covid for the first time ever, barely alive, barely breathing. On top of that, i even left my purse behind and had to go through all the excruciating drama of trying to get it back from Italy. And with that, my time in London will always be a fascinating anecdote for me.

I guess, prior to my visit, it was always a wonder why London is so immensely loved by many and I guess I quite understand now. There is a sense of familiarity as you walk around for Malaysians.

It is a better version of Penang.


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