In my first trip of the summer holidays, I travelled to sunny London, and thence to the exotic locale of the visa section of the Japanese Embassy. The ‘sunny’ bit of the previous sentence was a lie. Everything else is true.
Having convinced myself that getting my entry visa for Japan would be a long, difficult and expensive process, I didn’t even mind being proved wrong when I left the Embassy half an hour after I walked in, having been told I should come back next Monday and collect my passport (complete with visa) on payment of the princely sum of £6. After I asked nicely if I could have it earlier as I was going to Barcelona on Saturday, they even said I could collect it this Friday. Shame I only remembered about my holiday this weekend on the Tube after I’d left, and had to dash back to tell them so.
Speaking of the Tube, it seemed perfectly normal. One passenger offered a smile to me, which as anyone who has taken the London Underground knows is a rare thing indeed. By half-five, however, rush hour had peaked and the traditional sardine-tin passenger scheme came into play. No more eye contact. I can only hope this is a sign that things are getting back to normal.