Sunday, January 4, 2009

Arrival London

We were too tired to be able to tell where this was...

It ill behooves one to criticize one’s hosts so I will not dwell on this stage of the journey too long. After a flight that seemed to take the longest possible route between Australia and England (a recurrent theme) we extracted ourselves from the aircraft and wandered dazed and disoriented to the Customs counter. It appears that the authorities at Heathrow were totally unprepared for the sudden arrival of a pack of foreigners. We were greeted, and I use the word loosely, by three officials suffering from some anti-social disorder. They took delight in asking a bunch of South American students the most impertinent and irrelevant questions. When the poor jet-lagged students looked puzzled at the relevance of the questions the officials resorted to the age-old method of asking the questions more loudly.

One young woman was asked how the course she was undertaking would benefit her. Another was told that her three-month break over Xmas was a suspiciously long time for a holiday. The pimply little inquisitor insisted that he couldn’t take three months off and thus doubted anyone else could. I was tempted to point out that his salary was his problem not hers but decided that this may lead to my arrest and execution so let it pass.

The English have been making cutbacks in their armed forces. They can afford to do this because mainland defense is now in the hands of customs officers. Should an invading force storm the cliffs at Dover they will be met by a battalion of clipboard wielding mini-Hitlers and confronted with such questions as “What are your reasons for invading?” “How long do you intend to invade for?”, “What does your father do?” and “How many fingers am I holding up behind my back?” Or else told bluntly “Three months for an invasion! That’s a long time. I couldn’t afford to invade a country for that long”.

Outside the terminal the citizens were polite and helpful. However, this may be due to the appalling number of surveillance cameras that monitor British cities. You get the feeling that if a local forgets their manners a voice will boom from a pole-mounted camera – “Hey, you! What’s the magic word?”

We didn’t stay in London but instead set off for the dreaming spires of Oxford. I must admit that the British train system seems to work. Unfortunately, only the Queen can afford to use it regularly.


  1. hilarious! more more!

  2. MORE! Have had to curtail food, drink and general merriment so I need vicarious travel!

  3. Your wish, of course, is our command....