Thursday, September 17, 2009

Afternoon and Evening in London

I was just about to drop into semi-eternal sleep when my BlackBerry rang and it was Zuzana, the nice girl I met just before Mark Knopfler’s Prince’s Trust concert (see one of the earlier posts). I had emailed her a couple of days ago, telling her that I will be back in London for a few days – happily, she found some time in her busy schedule to meet up.

After quite a long train ride towards what I believed was the end of Earth (but turned out to be just the end of the Northern tube line), I arrived at our agreed-upon meeting place. It was great to see her again! we walked to get some coffee, then proceeded to a lovely nearby park. We talked about all sorts of things (including Mark Knopfler’s music, of course), got to know each other better. She’s a lovely person, very humble and modest- which I found charming to no end.

We parted ways at around 6:00pm and it was time to meet with my best friend, Ran Liebermann, of whom I wrote about in this blog a few months ago. To make a long story short, we’ve known each other for eighteen years now (since high school) and we share many common interests. He happened to be in town for business and I couldn’t miss the opportunity to meet with him.

Took about 45 minutes for until I arrived at the Old Street station, where I left the underground area and saw his shiny face, bearing a ridiculously generous smile. We both hugged and laughed our arses off as we met.

It is such a great and exciting feeling, meeting someone who’s such a good friend of yours in a totally new place, under unique circumstances. After a short visit to his hotel, we went out to eat. We followed the recommendation of the hotel’s concierge and went to a restaurant called La Caricatura – an Italian restaurant just off Oxford Street.

Enjoyed a glass of Merlot (on the house, because we had to sit outside) and didn’t stop talking for a second, catching up with whatever is new with each other. It was a great moment to publish a Tweet about this (yes, I’m on Twitter as isaac_s, feel free to follow me), which was automatically published in my Facebook profile, making people who know us both jealous and surprised at the same time.

Ran Liebermann is one year younger than I am, married to Karin and the father of one gorgeous 2-years old toddler named Yoav. A devout father, Ran finds it hard to be away from his family – he spoke at great length about how he misses his wife & kid. I found it very easy to relate to his feeling – not because I’m married plus a kid (I am not), but because I know him so well that I could almost feel the way I would if I would be in his shoes.

We ended up ordering some pizza which was a wood-burning one, but rather… how to say… mediocre. Crust was OK but other than that it was really nothing out of the ordinary. On the scale of “Campus Pizza” (0; the worst pizza I ever had; located next to the University of Waterloo in the city of Waterloo where I live) - “Wooden Heads Pizza” (10; the best pizza I ever head; located in Kingston, Ontario), this one would score somewhere between 5 and 6. But I didn’t care much about the food; it was more about meeting up with a great friend and having a great time.

We then proceeded to the Oxford Circus area, then to the Soho to have some dessert in that dessert place I was raving about a week ago. I was greeted very heartedly as the guy serving us happened to remember me from my last few visits; felt like being welcome there, which was quite nice. We took the least healthy items they had on display. While I was waiting for the drinks, I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was the same guy who served us, holding a wrapped raisin bread… on the house, with a wink. I immediately fell in love with that place.

The chit-chat didn’t seem to end – we have so much in common that conversation never seems to dry out. I guess that’s why we’ve been great friends for eighteen years, despite the last six-seven years being 10,000km away from each other.

Then went for a walk around the Soho and we got to Piccadilly Circus, which is London’s version of Manhattan’s Times Square. Wednesday night and the streets were bloody flooded with people. There always is something to do in this area of London. You can’t possibly count the bars, pubs, restaurants, ice-cream stands, falafel stands… you name it, you’ve got it in London.

A top place to be in… when you have someone to share the experience with.

I then felt like I’m going to collapse. It has been an extremely long day and I felt like my brain is starting to change form into something that could never be of any use. I couldn’t take more than two coherent sentences out of my weary mouth and so we decided to part ways. Down at the Tottenham Court Road station we went, and symbolically parted ways while he’s turning to the left and myself to the right – same tube line, just different directions. That was a weird feeling, and it is weird now as well as I’m writing this. 180 degrees apart, and we’re both lost in the immense London tube system. Amazing how suddenly can solitude take over.

Another great day has passed, looking forward to tomorrow.


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