UK Trip: Musings

The United Kingdom offers great opportunities to learn and explore for the energetic tourist. It has exploited its potential for tourism, from London to the suburbs and rural villages,to the hilt. In Oxford, every college was selling souvenirs; one of them was selling milk chocolate too!  Tube stations are particularly tourist friendly with prominent, yet not out-of-place, signboards pointing the way to nearby tourist destinations. Within the train itself posters show important tourist spots along the Line. It’s almost as if the Underground administration is assuming many of the commuters will be tourists.

The British are genuinely polite and friendly. Being warm and courteous in every human interaction seems to be drilled into their cultural DNA. Maybe this is because we were so obviously tourists, or maybe not.

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UK Trip: Day Ten

Observant readers may have noticed I’ve skipped Day Nine. Imaginative readers may be wondering what happened on the missing day. Did I slip into a time vortex? Was I kidnapped by aliens?

The truth is far more prosaic and probably boring than any of these. Day Nine was a bit of a rest day. We went to nearby Guildford for a few hours. This is not an indictment against Guildford tourism. It offers plenty of opportunities for tourists but we didn’t want to exert ourselves too much. We went to Guildford Castle which was constructed  by William the Conqueror in 1066. We saw Lewis Carrol’s house which he moved into after writing Alice in Wonderland.

Yesterday was also the day of the Brexit referendum. I was very surprised and somewhat shocked  to see Leave  winning. However the consequences of this may not be as terrifying as envisaged.

Today we went to Oxford. We changed trains once at Reading. The scenery outside the window was wonderfully picturesque.

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UK Trip: Day Eight

This is the bus we take everyday to Guildford Station.

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The portion of the shop seen on the left is where I buy my papers. Today I decided to try out the Daily Mirror. I found it far more readable than any paper I’d bought till now. Editorial is presented simply and forcefully on the third page itself. There were several interesting articles like how Tom Hiddleston is not a patch on Daniel Craig and can’t come miles near landing the Bond role with his “Where’s my phone?” look.

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An interesting aspect of British newspapers, as seen from the front page, is how they’re not afraid of upholding a specific view-point. In this age of information overload, logical opinion pieces are very important.

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UK Trip: Day Six

The British are probably the most polite nation in the world. They go to great lengths to make the other person comfortable and at ease. Their cheery greetings, patiently waiting for pedestrians to cross the road whilst in cars and involuntary queue formations are absolutely delightful. There is an unwritten code of conduct which every Briton swears by making day-to-day  interactions tolerable and hassle-free.

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UK Trip: Day Five

Strong sunshine warming one’s back is the most uplifting and exhilarating experience in Britain. The normally overcast skies, chilly wind and slow drizzle make the occasional clear sunny warmth all the more precious. I had the pleasure of this experience today morning. I was reading Private Eye, a fortnightly magazine reporting wrongdoings, gaffes and general dodgy behaviour by politicians, financiers, celebrities and key institutions including the press.

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