A Conversation for The Story of the London Eye
It was 1972......
Alfredo Started conversation Jul 22, 2007
As I had rediscovered around 1972 the god of my childhood, I traded roaming the world for roaming the bible.
I have no idea why, but I suddenly wanted to visit London.
The next day I traveled to the harbor of Hoek van Holland (close to Rotterdam).
It was Sunday and I was waiting in a pub for the fairy to depart.
While I was sitting at a table I was reading for myself in a small bible I had bought. Peoples stared at me for a while, but ignored me later on.
At the fairy I did spend some time writing with a black marker something about "God". Why not.
Arriving in London I can't remember where I slept, but I do remember very well that early in the morning, I knocked at a door of a catholic church and said, I wanted to speak someone.
Well, the one who did let me in became the following hour my pastor and I just told him my life story without demanding anything, than just a book to help me in understanding life.
After a hesitation the pastor finally gave me a book, but emphasized very strongly that I could just borrow it for a week. I made my promise and left the church and walked downtown.
I had my jacket on, with my credo at the back of it, and while I walked downtown, a man, about 35 years old, touched my shoulder from the back and asked me if he could talk to me.
"That's O.K., let's get some coffee here and talk" was my first reaction and we found a table and suddenly he told me his life story.
The only thing that I can recollect is, that he said, without any melancholy or whatever sentimentality, that he was now living all alone, divorced, "while there were so many peoples at my wedding day".
His words were impressing for me.
At a moment, I got the feeling that the man did teach me more about life than the Catholic book could do, so I decided to give him the book I had just borrowed.
While he looked at it I suddenly said; "let's go, now, right now!".
"But we haven't paid yet, we haven't paid yet".
"I know! Do you think I have money for coffee and breakfast?
Still very surprised the man followed me into the street, thanked and greeted me and we both went on with our own journey in life.
To me, my best destination was a public building where one could get a shower. On my way to it, I saw a sex shop as big as a huge warehouse and I thought that was the end of civilization.
Finally arriving in the public bathroom I had just enough money to enter and seeing the insight it was as if I had entered a 19th century fabric.
All steel, hot, very noisy, difficult to find my own way, but I did meet a woman and a man who both worked there and they helped me to find my way.
After taking a shower of six minutes I dressed and thanked them by offering them some cigarettes.
They reacted as if Christ had returned to earth.
Their eyes were suddenly uplifted and I saw a big smile at the face of the woman and suddenly we'd become the trinity ourselves. I'll never forget their expressions of delight.
So we talked a while and I said I'd come from Holland and was just roaming London because I'd never been there.
They told me how to find my way in the city and where I could buy cheap fish chips.
We shook hands and went further downtown and I started to realize that if I wanted to eat, sleep or whatever, I needed at least some money, while I hardly had anything at all.
Suddenly I realized how privileged I was, having a Dutch passport and - as you can guess – so I sold it for a few pounds (10 Euro now) in Piccadilly Circus. The same guy who bought it told me, it was not very safe, to keep my coat on while walking around at Piccadilly Circus.
So I left the area and it became my farewell to London, but, Great Britain was and is an Island and had to find my way out of it to reach the continent.
Being the son of a lawyer and having become very streetwise after those turmoil years, I finally made up my mind. "I am going to the Dutch consulate and ask them for money to pay the fairy, because they are obliged by Dutch law to pay me for my trip home and give me legal papers.
Arriving in the consulate I told a member of the staff why I was there. He listened at me and went to another room, while I waited
in the hall. After a few minutes, another man came to me from that same room and with furious eyes he told me how my life was a highway to hell, so to speak.
After that sermon I told him; "you've got to pay me and give me legal papers according to Dutch law".
The man's head exploded and he turned around and left the hall.
After a few minutes I found a chair and waited for about one or two hours. I did not mind, because I knew I had won the battle
And so it ended. A clerk finally gave me a document that was needed for my trip to Holland and money to pay the fairy.
After sitting on deck of the boat for two hours, a woman came to me and asked me why I had written these words at my coat. I tried to answer her and we got engaged in a personal meeting until the end of that sea trip.
The fairy had reached Hoek van Holland (close to Rotterdam) and getting off board a train was already waiting for us, and the woman and I walked into the train and suddenly I ran into a toilet and told her I would stay there as long as I needed to travel.
The surprised woman instantly offered to pay my trip, but I did not think that I needed her help; "I can take care for myself. Thanks and goodbye!" and finally sat at the toilet on my way home.
London, a place to be.
It was 1972......
Alfredo Posted Jul 23, 2007
Of course, "fairy" must be "ferry"................
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