Monday, May 07, 2007

Bank Holiday Tourists

This afternoon I spent hanging out with some friends over at their place in Islington. A friend of mine discovered that I am a card player. I had a great time!

On the way there, I was struck by the fact that I apparently have developed an air of familiarity with the area. Standing in the Monument tube station waiting for the Circle Line train when I was approached by an oriental tourist (perhaps Japanese?) with a tube map.

On The Tube Platform

"Black to Kinks Crass?" he said in broken English.

"Excuse me?" I asked completely missing his meaning.

"Kinks Crass?" he repeated. There was something really not right about what he was saying.

"Kinks Crass?" I asked. "Ah! King's Cross! You want the Northern Line to King's Cross?"

"Yes!" He said nodding emphatically. "King's Crass. This platform for King's Cross?"

"No. You'll want the Northern Line." I responded. "But I don't think that the Northern Line is running today from this station.

I called over to a station staff member standing on the opposite platform. He confirmed that engineering works were taking place and the Northern Line platforms were closed for engineering works.

It took a little doing, but I explained to the man that he needed to board a yellow line (Circle Line) train and take it to the St. Pancras/Kings Cross station and walk across to King's Cross. I then noticed that he was a member of a group of about six-or-seven oriental gentlemen. I wished him well and watched to make sure he and his group boarded the proper train (I was waiting for the Circle Line myself) and promptly stopped thinking about them.

Later, Same Trip - The Kid

The kid is way to young to remember the movie! The kid sitting across the aisle from me on the Circle Line got on at Aldgate and plopped himself down in the seat facing me. The first thing I noticed was the M*A*S*H tee-shirt he was wearing. It wasn't one of the shirts that was popular because of the TV show. It was the old movie poster… the woman's leg's supporting the two-fingered peace sign. (The "V" for "Victory" as it was known over here.)

I suppose that it is time for that film and its imagery to come around again!

The Return Trip - The Americans

The family boarded the train at Liverpool Street. I have no idea where they were coming from, but it was plain that they were tourists from the moment I saw them. If it wasn't for the shopping bags that each of them (even the children) carried emblazoned with the logos and names of Harrods, The Tower of London, and The Hard Rock Café, then it was the fact that both the parents carried cameras. The children were also wearing those stupid plastic police helmets.

That's how I knew they were tourists. The way I knew that they were Americans was that they broke one of the first rules that I learned about travel in the tube: Keep your voices low if you must speak to your companions. There is no need for the whole train to hear you!

They left the tube at Aldgate.

I hope that wherever you are today, you fit easily into your surroundings.

Don Bergquist - 07 May 2007 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, United Kingdom

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