The quest for the exotic—and Marrakech.
For another numinous London transport hub, click here.
Having regaled you with several stories of the 94 bus, gateway to the Mystic East (links here), I can now show my versatility with an encounter on another bus.
On Monday, en route to my daily swim, I climbed aboard at Chiswick High Road to find an old codger [Around your age?—Ed.] [Look, I’ve warned you about this—SJ] shouting loudly and somewhat menacingly at his fellow passengers: *
“If anyone’s going all the way to Hounslow Bus Station, just be aware that it takes about two and a half hours! It goes All Round The World!”
Wow, just imagine—the souks of Marrakech, the oases of Central Asia, the fabled Machu Picchu… and all for the price of a bus ticket to Hounslow. Who needs eighty days—I mean it’s not like there can be that much to see (cf. “I mean, what is there in Greece?”). More gazing at flowers from horseback. Anyway, rather than taking the opportunity to bathe in the limpid blue waters of Tianshan Lake, I got off up the road at the pool as usual. **
I won’t divulge the bus route, lest it become wildly over-subscribed.
See also Thankyou Driver!.
“Typical! You wait for days and then two come along at once!”
Sir Aurel Stein’s travels on the Silk Road, 1914 (click here).
* For another bus rant, see my BTL comment here.
** Seriously though folks, around the late 1990s, when we London musos still had quite a bit of work, I got a phone-call from an orchestral fixer: “Steve, can you pencil in a big world tour for next year, second half of September to late October, Bach and Handel programme with the choir… Starts in the Far East, then round Australia, west to east coast of the States, finishing up with European capitals and the UK”. YAY, I thought.
Couple of months later, phone rings again: “Hi Steve, just to update you, it’s looking like the tour’ll begin on the 28th September, and we should be back in London by 18th October.” Um, OK…
Later in the year (with undiminished enthusiasm): “Steve, we’ve just got those dates confirmed—it’s now going to be one concert in Singapore on 3rd October, and then Birmingham on the 8th.”
This was nearly as tempting as a Messiah in Scunthorpe for a jolly good tea—but it was a harbinger of the state of many an orchestral diary (cf. Perfection is NOT the word for it).