Monday, 23 February, 2009

Day Uno - Landing, Lodging & Loitering

It may not be appropriate to call it 'a dream come true'; however i secretly have been cherishing thoughts of an on-site assignment for the past few months. Being a software engineer and in business for 3 years is an apt 'excuse' ; and so after days of ifs and buts, boosts and brakes, here i am in UK. Through this and the following posts, i will be sharing my experience in the empire where the sun at last did set.

To make a short story shorter, the travel was incident-free. I had a good time during the journey; broke into conversations with co-passengers (and of-course the air hostesses). My co-passenger was an American working for Lockheed Martin flying to Washington DC. We talked for an hour over a lot of things - Honeywell, Aerospace business, India, America, Obama and finally London. Few minutes before landing, he revealed that he was born in Kottayam Kerala; and that he speaks Thamizh and Malayalam well.... surprises come in many packages. As the jet was hovering over London awaiting clearance, i had a good view of London Eye and Buckingham Palace - first glimses of the city! Emigration formalities at Heathrow were hassle-free. The lady officer joked at my duration of stay (84 days sharp), quizzed me on a couple of things; then i was through. Heathrow's terminal 5 lives to its reputation - the terminal is rightly big enough for an airport that is the busiest in the world in passenger traffic terms. I had pre-booked a taxi; the taxi driver picked me up at the airport and we were off.

It was 10 in the morning and we were driving out of London towards Yeovil. So, it was a pleasant drive, with no traffic and lots of sunshine. We whizzed past many a farmland, meadow and grassland. The taxi driver gave me good company with quick-bites about the places around. An hour into the drive, we drove past Stone Henge, one of the ancient mysteries we still are looking answers for. Driving through castles interspersed with cottages, meadows meshed up with industries, modern life style inter-twined with medieval architecture, i arrived at my hotel, The Manor, by afternoon.

The hotel is a 250 year old castle which had been refurbished into a hotel once the kings and queens morphed into CEOs and celebrities. The receptionist was a man in his 40s accompanied by a lady wearing a 1970s style dress . The hotel was warm and well-furnished. After a quick lunch, i settled down in my room with Wi-Fi and GTalk to keep company.

Later in the evening, i strolled out to the town center. Did i tell you about the town? Yeovil is a cool place... yeah.. so cool that i had to rush back to the hotel in 5 minutes to get my jacket and gloves ;) The temperatures usually hover around 10 C, sinking down close to zero in the evenings. My hotel is situated right at the middle of the town center. So, all the shops were just a 'rock-throw' away. I loitered around the streets for over an hour, gazing through closed shop windows (shops close by 5 coz of the weather), nodding heads with an occasional Brit walking down the road (not many walk in the roads for the same reason). Finally, i bought some processed food and drinks (strictly non-alcoholic) and rushed to my room to blog my experience away.

~ KK from UK

PS: The rush back to the room was more to escape the weather than the zeal to blog. The blog was written a day later.