In and Out

It had been a long couple of flights from Japan.  I thought the Brits would warmly welcome me in.  After all, I had lived here as a backpacking youngster.  How wrong could I be?

It had been so easy everywhere else to travel electronically and it felt good saving paper.  As I approached the immigration desk at London Heathrow, I expected it all to be straightforward - after all, this is one of the most developed countries I have visited.  It was NOT the time I wanted to turn on my mobile phone to show my e-ticket proof that I was leaving the country in a few days, only to find a completely flat mobile phone battery...........  

They did not buy that I was only staying in London for four days to see a friend and that I REALLY wanted to be in Spain, not London.  They did not buy that I could be self-employed with no fixed itinerary.  As I sat in the detention centre, awaiting my fate, with the other people who looked like they were asylum seekers, it felt a bit like being in a movie.  I did not belong.  After having fingerprints and photographs taken (mugshots) and a very invasive bag search that included reading through my journals, they let me in and made me feel very privileged that they had done so.  By that stage, I would have been happy if they had deported me.

London did, however, give me a fantastic few days of reliving memories, new sights, live entertainment, good food and great company - although a 14 degree 'summer' day will always be a bit of an oxymoron.  Like me, London has matured.  It is a modern, vibrant, cosmopolitan city, mixed with fascinating history and full of accents from all over the world.

Hopefully getting out will be easier. 

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