A City, A Run
Two people, a man and a woman (not necessarily a couple), walk into a shopping mall. It hosts about 100+ stores, most of which sell outfits. The man is interested in buying a bow tie which he plans on donning at a wedding the following day. The woman, having been wise enough to shop online weeks in advance, is not interested in buying anything really. To kill time, as the man hunts for the bow tie, she plans on traipsing around the mall. She believes she is strong enough to resist the shopping temptation that maybe aroused by the luscious displays of clothes and shoes. They agree to meet in 20 minutes at a colourful coffee shop that sits right in the middle of the mall. He goes left and she turns right.
It turns out that this particular day was the worst day to tempt fate. As soon as she takes her first step, she spots her favourite store at the far end of the mall, its prodigious initials engraved on the wall next to the entrance. A red light beams from the initials and glares at her hard enough to kill any malignant cells in her body. She experiences a wave of excitement. It’s as if she has just spotted her childhood crush. Her eyes light up. Adrenaline levels shoot and suddenly, her previously non-existent shopping list grows exponentially. What was initially meant to be a 20 minute browsing affair becomes long enough for the SGR train to do a round trip to Mombasa.
In 20 minutes time, the man is seated at the counter of the coffee shop. He is leaning forward, taking in the sweet aroma of the hot caramel macchiato that has just been placed on the ledge. A small blue shopping bag lies next to the coffee. Its contents, a lonely eccentric polka dot bow tie. One hour later, the man is scrolling through his iPad catching up on global news. Two hours later, he has read everything under the sun and is running thin on his patience. Two and a half hours later, he finally decides to call her.
“I am just paying up then I find you. Are you at the coffee shop?” She says.
“Isn’t that where we agreed to meet two and a half hours ago?” He snaps back.
“No need to fly off the handle. I am on my way.”
She shows up 15 minutes later, panting heavily from the weight of the shopping bags on both her hands.
London was amazingly refreshing. The weather was warm and inviting, completely mimicking the one back in Kenya (last I checked). I enjoyed every bit of it, especially the fact that I did not have to worry about mosquitos buzzing and biting me at night! Such a huge relief 🙂
If you came here today expecting a photo gallery of monuments and views and that kind of thing, I am sorry to break your heart. Think of my trip to London as a man shopping for a bow tie. Being the third time there (no one’s counting), I decided to make it brief and to the point. The main agenda was to attend the mister’s cousin’s wedding which was a beautiful in every way. Besides attending an English wedding for the first time, I had two other highlights which deserve a mention.
On our first day, we had the most delectable steak at a quaint restaurant tucked in Ealing. The space was small and cosy, it almost felt like we were dining at home. Classical music softly streamed from the invisible speakers. We were five of us. Based on the recommendation of one of us who was old and wise and a food expert, three of us went for the sirloin steak. In fact, this is how I arrived at my decision.
“Which steak has a nice layer of fat within or around it?” I asked proudly, never mind that I had put in two weeks of clean eating and intense work out prior to this trip. See my life, people.
“Take the sirloin steak. You will not go wrong that” said our self-declared food expert!
And so I ordered my stake with baked potatoes (as opposed to fries – high five to me!-) The potatoes had been doused with olive oil before being baked, which made them taste so heavenly. I was convinced they were supplied by a farmer from Limuru. The sirloin steak was soft and succulent and flavourful, its juices dripping with every slice. Divine.
A signage on the wall read “A MEAL WITHOUT WINE IS CALLED BREAKFAST`”, so I heeded the advice and ordered a bottle of ESPETO TEMPRANILO. In deed, it would have been a travesty to have our steak without downing it with such rich wine. By the time we left the bistro at 10.00pm, sun was still up. It was broad daylight, something that I really never got used to.
The following morning, I headed out for a 10km run. One minute I was running past stunning fenceless maisonettes and the next I was crossing a bridge that went over a canal that cut across a park. Next I found myself at the shopping centre, the temptation to walk into H&M brewing fiercely inside me-never mind that I did not have my debit card with me.
There’s an incredible way in which the beauty of a city reveals itself during a run. For this reason, I have promised myself to make time for a 10km run in every town I visit. It’s 1.00am and I just landed, about an hour ago, in the city that most of my youthful dreams were all about. The feeling is sublime.
Below are the only proper photos I snapped in London but I promise you loads of images from my current location, you will feel like you took the trip with me.
Good morning from Athens, Greece.