The tube from Charing Cross to London Bridge was the easier part. Once in London Bridge, it took me a while to get the tickets printed. I had made the reservation online yesterday night. The ticket machines spew out both receipts and tickets. The tickets come out in one place and the receipts in other. And the receipts come out first. So if this is the first time, you might take the receipt (which looks very much like the tickets) and think that is it. Add to this, the previous customers don’t pick up their receipts and I ended up seeing three of them where I was supposed to get two. It took some clarification and understanding to go back to the machine and find my tickets still there! After this initial confusion, I headed to the platform. It was just few minutes before my 8:11 train to Kingswood was to leave. So I happily or hurriedly boarded the train on the platform. After it started moving, I realized the train I was on was the wrong one. O-Oh! Getting off at the next station and getting to Kingswood was not so late despite all this. This is mainly due to the frequency of the London underground and the fact that you can change any train along the route. Once more I got onto a shiny, silver Mercedes cab ride to work.
I wasn’t late to the meeting and we ended up working till nearly 5 PM on a Friday afternoon. The place was getting emptier by the minute – all in a rush to catch the home-bound train and beat the rush. Phil, the Manager, offered to take me to the station. This time, I got back to the hotel without any hitches. I guess I was getting used to the system by the time I was supposed to leave. Googling for restaurants led me to the Masala Zone on Drury. I found the place and there was about ½ hour worth of line. However, I got to sit right away as I was alone. The place is the busiest Indian restaurant I have been to anywhere, I guess. It had a seating capacity of 200 and all places were filled! You can see the chefs/cooks churning out the eats. There was a lot of chat on the menu. I ordered some lentil based chat which was excellent and a vegetarian thali. The food was excellent overall. I recalled Rama would enjoy London more so than any other city due to the choice of eating out there.
After dinner, I thought I will finish up the trip doing some souvenir shopping. Went to the same two gift shops that I had been couple of times before and was again unimpressed with whatever I saw. They were either too flashy or gaudy for my taste. I remembered the hotel lobby had exhibits of souvenirs for sale. But it was too late and the Concierge was closed for the day. It would open again at 7:30 AM, so I had a chance to buy before I left for the airport. After some email checking and watching BBC, I set the alarm early and closed my thoughts for the night.