I’m on a train on my way back to London. It’s been a nice 72 hours in Birmingham… or… I should say Soluhill. Before coming here, I was unaware I was heading to a suburban town 40 minutes away from where I’d stay a year ago. Pleasant surprise it was. Think of it as “any given suburban town”, USA, except British. People drive on the opposite side, the rows of houses resemble old cottages, people talk extremely polite, and the roads wind and make little sense to a foreigner.
I arrived at Birmingham New Street train station and I was promptly picked up by my friend ‘Capital-G’. We made a quick stop at her mum’s for some tea. Last year, this beautiful woman hosted my ass providing me with fresh squeezed juice every morning, home made Indian food every meal, and even washed my sweaty clothes. It was better than any hotel I’ve yet to stay, so it was nice to see her again. Luckily, she gave us some food she’d prepared earlier for us to enjoy back at Capital-G’s. We left quickly and stopped in the middle of the road somewhere to say hi to her siblings. Again, lovely people. Her sister tried to set me up on a blind date. By the way they were talking about the guy I was both scared and excited. At the end, the date never happened. I couldn’t be bothered to set it up.
After a short drive, we got to her house. Her husband, ‘g-minor’, was hungrily waiting for us. She heated the food and we dove right in to the delectable meal. Amidst burning lips and glasses of water, we quickly caught up on the past few weeks, they had just come to visit me in New York. Later that evening, we went to a cute little bar in the middle of the middle of nowhere, England. I had a whiskey, he had a beer, she had a juice. Other than Americans, no one will touch a drink with a ten foot pole if they have to drive. When we left, the car wouldn’t start. We asked for some help and drove back home. Had another whiskey, talked some more, and went to bed.
The next morning, they went to work, I sorted out some of my travel accommodations and transportation, and waited for g-minor to pick me up to go for lunch. He took me to a very American, think sizzler, dinner type of place. Food was good. The stares we got by the locals were even better. We stopped by a sporting goods store where he was looking for a present, and I bought a present for my boss. We met Capital-G at home and headed for afternoon tea at a nice hotel in the English countryside. After tea, we went to g-minor’s nephew’s birthday. It was a somewhat traditional Indian affair. His family was nice. I felt a bit ‘looked at’ but I behaved. I fed his nephew some cake (Indian tradition). Shortly after, we left.
We had another home cooked dinner at their’s. The food seriously is the highlight of my trip. It is superb, to say the least. We had more drinks and went to bed. I woke up at 5am and couldn’t go back to sleep. I dillydallied for a few hours till finally I fell back asleep. Woke up again at noonish. Went to see Capital-G at work. She’s a dentist. She checked my pearly off-whites, we had lunch, and then I walked to the train station. I boarded the train relaxed, satisfied, and looking forward to come back to civilization. I need the stress of a city to feel at ease.