Siguiendo el ya habitual ritmo de artículo por mes, procedo por la presente a dar fe de lo que viene siendo un fin de semana en Londres, con motivo de hacer acto de presencia en el concierto de Jean-Michel Jarre que tuvo lugar en el Wembley Arena. Para ir abriendo boca antes del resto de la crónica —narrada en impecable inglés por un escritor que prefiere permanecer en el anonimato—, nada como una fotina:
It was about to attend a Jarre concert in London, but it ended being more than that. Some months ago my colleague Diego discovered that he was about to start a new tour, and that the capital of the United Kingdom was chosen as one of the destinations. The point is that the company where I work has rented flat in London. Coincidence? Probably. The net result of this is that we checked whether it would be possible to stay there for a weekend, and then we bought tickets both for the concert and for a Porto-London flight. And it was very nice to share this trip with Diego, which told me loads of interesting things about eastern countries, as he lived in Hong Kong and visited some other near countries.
We headed to Porto where we met two great friends of mine who are there in their Erasmus year. The deal was to have dinner we all four, and then rest in their place until it was time to head to the airport. After having dinner we experimented one of the greatests pieces of chocolate cake in a cafeteria in Porto (sorry, I do not remember the name). But —as always— the most important thing for me was having the opoprtunity of being together one more time, as we had lots of things to talk about.
The next day we woke up early, and tried the shiny new tram system at Porto in order to reach to the airport. It does Just Work™, as expected, and is a very convenient way of avoiding picking a bus or your car to go there. The airport was remodelled since the last time I was there, and now it has a modern design and a clean layout. Diego told me about the funny story with the name Francisco de Sá Carneiro was prime minister of Portugal which died in a plane accident, so it is very contradictory to use his name for an airport…
We arrived at the Stansted airport and my first interesting sight was that all the floor of the building is covered by fitted carpet. About an hour and a half later we arrived at the flat, after picking up a pair of tube lines and getting past Baker Street. We did not search for number 221B, though. After leaving our luggage, we went back to Baker St. and tried to find a pub to have lunch, which we definitely. While walking we saw an odd book shop which has books in shelves ordered by country name. After tasting some British food, I must say that it was not as horrible as I was told. I am convinced that is an urban legen here in Spain, probably due to the fact that there was a peculiar mixture of sauces in our dishes. We reached the Wembley Arena somewhat soon, so we entered a supermarket and we bought some soft drinks and chocolate. As I am a caffeine addict, I tried a soft drink made of coffee which I have never seen in Spain. I found it to be interesting.
While entering the Arena, Waiting for Cousteau was sounding through the speakers, like it was in the 2008 Oxygène concert I attended. We were worried about the smoke clouds which were below the roof, but in the end they were neccessary to see the laser harp and most of the lightning effects :-). The first track was Industrial Revolution, like in the Gdansk concert, which is great for starting concerts and it sounds powerful live. The songs I liked most were Chronology II and Magnetic Fields I because they sound epic on stage. I could not avoid remembering about my friend Javier when they finally played Chronology VI and Équinoxe IV. The concert was all very emotive: Jarre’s sons were attending the concert and Jarre had some words to dedicate a song to his father. The concert lasted near two hours, which were two hours of joy for us. I bought a mug in the shop before leaving.
After leaving the Arena we went back to Piccadilly to have a walk by Chinatown, and we had soba (そば ) and udon (うどん) at the Tokyo Dinner restaurant. Interestingly enough they do not have dinner sets, so the name is not very appropriate. Unfortunately they did not have ramen (ラーメン) which ultimately was the reason why we wanted to go there.
On Saturday we visited Camden Town and we bought a pair of funny T-shirts. Mine says: “No, I’m not un f*!#ing Facebook”. We also had the occasion to be present at a mod meeting, and saw their stylish Vespa and Lambretta bikes. Diego did not know about the mod movement, and we had an interesting chat about it and some related topics, including The Who’s Tommy film. We also had a quick walk around the floodgate and then headed to the Royal Academy of Arts, where we wanted to go because of an exposition of ukiyo-e (浮世絵) prints by Kuniyoshi (歌川国芳). We had lunch at a japanese tavern whose name remains unknown for me, but in which there were oriental people having lunch, so it looked like the business was run by japanese people thus being a good place to find what we were looking for the day before. We finally had ramen, and a I had onigiris (おにぎり), too. The food was delicious 😀
In the afternoon we had a walk by Trafalgar Square, and then by the nearbies of the Westminster Abbey and the Houses of the Parliament, where the Big Ben is located. The London Eye, the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge are all located in that area which we visited mostly by walking. In the London Bridge we were asked by a half-french girl to take a photograph of her and her friend, which we did. We had a quick chat and it could have been great but it was a pity not to ask them to have a beer all together. So we went back to our apartment and had a shower before trying to have some fun in the night. Then we had a dreadful luck with the nightly buses: we reached Notting Hill okay, but we were not able to pick up line N7! We waited for hours, and the only interesting thing we saw was… a fox! We have seen a fox crossing the street from one garden to another. After that we decided that it would be wise to go back home and have a rest.
We spent most of the Sunday traveling back from London to Stansted, then Porto and finally back home. What I liked a lot about this day was buying a bottle of Cherry Coke at the airport before leaving the UK.