A burnt child dreads the fire

Meeting with a Voodoo Man @London Tube

(Para ler este post em Português: Gato escaldado tem medo de água fria)

It’s a freezing Sunday morning in London – expecting snow late tonight. So there’s not much to do, I was planning to go to Brick Lane but it won’t be very fun with this cold weather… Well I assume there’ll be another chance.

During this first week in London I haven’t done very much to be honest, but nonetheless it’s been an interesting week…

On Wednesday I met Jim here at the house and we drank scotch together till late night. She’s a smart and cool Spanish girl a few years younger than me who is going to be in London for at least the next 3 months in order to finish her PhD thesis. She has lived in London before so she speaks great English. Good for me! I’ve barely arrived in the city and I’ve already made a friend! After chatting and drinking for a while, the young french couple who were also staying here arrived home and we invited them to join us for a drink. The girl was a little shy and answered ‘oh I’m not sure…‘ but her boyfriend was cheeky and so they accepted our offer. He was a fast drinker and within less than an hour my bottle was almost finished! *Lesson of the day: take care when offering scotch to the french! haha just kidding they’re a nice couple!

On Thursday I went to check out my new Kung Fu school ‘Jake Nong Martial Arts‘. The practicing area is located at the back of a Massage/ Acupuncture health care centre and it’s not very large. There I met Kelly who teaches kung fu for kids. Week day classes happen only at the end of the afternoon and they are not everyday. So I enrolled and left.

Jake Long Martial Arts Academy
Jake Long Martial Arts Academy – building facade and training area
Look dad it's almost like if I was home... Except the fact that I had to prepare all by myself...
Look dad it’s almost like if I was home… Except by the fact that I had to do it all by myself… 😛

Coming back home I stopped by a grocery store to buy some food, stuff for breakfast and snacks like cashews, cheese, bread and apples.

On Friday I did my first kung fu class! It was a little messy cause there were several kids at the same class but very fun! Sifu Jake Nong is very respectful and well-respected, has extensive kung fu knowledge and he’s a renowned worldwide champion with lots of medals and trophies. After class we talked for a while, he briefly told me something about their lineage and etc.

It was Jim’s birthday and we had agreed to dine in a Vietnamese restaurant to celebrate the special date. She had moved that morning to another apartment and we arranged to meet at her new temporary home, from where we were supposed to go together. I wrote down her address on a piece of paper and took a bus, but although I had easily found her street the buildings there were not numbered so wandering in the rain I had to walk a few blocks asking everyone I saw on the street for directions, until I finally found a guy that was able to help me.

Happy B-day Jim!!
Happy B-day Jim!!

While this stranger was walking me to Jim’s place we passed in front of a place that smelled so good it made him mention that that was indeed an amazing and inexpensive restaurant. So I ended up spending the evening with Jim and her friend Adri experiencing this astonishing Indian cuisine Tayyabs. Dee-lish-ious!

On Saturday morning I went to the gym to practice kung fu. The training was awesome! It was a small class taught by sihing Daniel, he’s very experienced, attentive, has excellent technique, and all the other guys were amazingly friendly. The class lasted for more than two hours and I learned many new things. We did a sword form that was totally new to me, wrestling and stretching. The great news is that there is going to be a London Kung Fu Tournament this April 27 – of course I’ll be signing up for that! After such an exhausting class I was starving! The guys asked me to join them for lunch, which I gladly accepted. They took me to Wagamama’s, UK’s most famous Japanese restaurant chain . I tried Blueberry Apple & Ginger Juice, Chili Squid, gyoza, lollipop prawn kushiyaki, pork ribs, and wagamama ramen. Everything was scrumptious!!

That night I went to Camden Town with Jim to have some drinks, where Adri would be expecting us. On our way to Camden Jim and I got stuck inside the underground train for more than half an hour!! The train unexpectedly stopped inbetween two stations and there was an announcement over the carriage speakers that there was something going wrong at Moorgate station and that the train would have to go back to its previous stop. After a while we saw the driver walking through our carriage in order to take up his position in his booth in the other end of the train. It took a few more minutes more before the train finally started moving backwards. London’s tube decidedly impredictable… We took the bus.

Camden is a touristic area where you can see punks walking the streets, there are tons of pubs, live music spots, night clubs, it’s truly an amazing sight to see!

a night in Camden Town
A night in Camden Town: a pint at The Elephants Head pub followed by small rock gig of The Lipstick Melodies @The Forge Music & Arts Venue

Later that night I was by myself in the tube riding back home when a middle age black man approached me and asked ‘What are you doing here alone? Where are your husband and family?‘ I told him I’m a solo traveler wandering the world and that I don’t have anybody, but he was devastated by that. I tried to explain how I enjoy my life just the way it is, that I’m actually happy not being married, that I don’t regret not having kids, but he kept trying to convince me that I should have a family. We discussed this subject for a couple of stops and then before getting off the train he looked at me like a real voodoo man and kind of put a curse on me… He told me: ‘You will meet someone when you get to Barcelona, you’ll fall in love and raise a family...‘ Scary. Haha! So I’d better never visit Barcelona!!

Voodoo man at London tube
Voodoo man @ London tube

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