5th June 2010
After the 8hr flight I was finally in the United Kingdom, at Heathrow Airport. It was a little bit hard to believe considering I’d been asleep most of the flight. I thought maybe I was getting delirious.
The landing of the plane made my arrival more factual than imaginary. I also had to reset my watch which was 3hrs ahead , Kenyan time. I must say that Heathrow Airport beat my expectation. Having only Jomo Kenyatta International Airport [which is also big in its own right] in mind you could say that my imagination was quite limited in regard to my expectation of Heathrow Airport.
As it turns out Heathrow is much larger and more spacious than JKIA. It is made up of more storeys in comparison and it is more developed in terms of technology. Just to get to my luggage Muthoni and I had to take 2 or so escalators and 3 more to get to the trains that were to take us out of the airport!
Apparently, it is easier to get around London using a train than any other form of transport. Trains here are faster and more advanced. Also railway lines are more direct thus chances of getting lost are less. I found this out because we used an underground electric train to get out of the airport, we also took another one only it was over ground but equally fast. This to me was marvellous and quite memorable.
One of the limitations of railway transport is that rails are not accessible everywhere therefore complementary means of transport have to be used. In our case we resorted to using a taxi to get to the flat we were staying in so as prepare for the next half of our journey.
This short taxi made it clear to me that not only was London a huge and beautiful city but also a densely populated one! It is full of busy people going about their duties and enjoying the sunlight which is quite a rare commodity. But it is during the summer solstice where the sun is overhead the tropic of Cancer [I do not mean to brag of my geographical knowledge just thought I’d share a little bit of what I call basic understanding].
After a few minutes, exactly 45 minutes we were ready to begin the other half of our journey which was from London to Hereford by train, then to Hay-on-Wye in Wales by car. Hay-on Wye is where the Hay Festival is being held. Before the journey we decided to have some breakfast at the legendary McDonalds. For me that just ascertained that dreams do come true [fast foods are part of a teenager’s main things so don’t look at me like that]. I was more than delighted to partake of that breakfast!!!!
After a 3hr train ride we had finally arrived at Hereford. We were driven to Hay-on-Wye, the town where the festival was being held. I was more than dumbfounded maybe even tongue-tied by what I saw! Other than the roads being smooth ,the town itself was remarkably small! How could such a small town host such a huge event for 10 days concurrently?!
Hay also has 38 book shops for only approximately 1500 people!!!!!!! Now to me those are people who love reading. The festival is all about books!! Different authors had come to discuss their books. The likes of Sue Townsend and Yaan Martel[ author of Life Of Pi and Beatrice and Virgil]were all present and the sessions were all very interesting. I enjoyed myself fully and was encouraged to read more, and maybe, just maybe, I may impact as many people as these authors did through there writing. By the end of these sessions jet lag was catching up with me.
But before the end of the day we went to an Author’s party where authors were to relax and while the night away. Here I was able to make a couple of friends who I was able to talk to for a while before we left. Muthoni and I went to the Swan Hotel where we were to spend the two nights we were in Hay. That was one memorable first day!