Missing U, London

In the season when arriving in London, the capital of sun-never-set empire, the fog in the sky comes casually while the river is as quiet as in oil painting. In the first month of arrival, it was rainy, stormy, mixed with a little sun light and tranquility.

The first impression of London looked similar to the description of the fancy district in “Tom and Jerry’s Life in London”. Piccadilly Circus was crowded with passers-by from dawn to twilight. In an endless stream of workers, students, tourists, buskers and beggars, there were serious faces and smiling cheeks. The city retained an order and tidiness in clusters of ginger, blond and black hair. On Regent Street, routemasters, ran through not only the busy avenue, but also the impression in my mind. They were beyond sightseeing buses. Almost all buses in London were based on this model. So did the taxi. The shiny black classics add some retro sensation to the modern city. Due to bombings during World War II, new buildings and traditional architectures gave us a feeling of Xintiandi in Shanghai, letting the vitality of the new century flow in the heart of ancient Great Britain.

Unlike the glamour of the day, the night in London came early and it was absurd. People with a curious heart wandered around the bars in Soho. Some rigorous British dared to confide their truth under the provocation of alcohol. They would not flirt firstly but to approach you with a permission. They always said “you are so cute” when they handed you over a cocktail. Suddenly a blush appeared on your face without tasting the drink. Compared to boys, British girls looked like women in Shakespeare’s opera. At one night, she was wrapped in a padded jacket and dressed in a mini skirt in the freezing winter. Accidentally she slipped off her high heels and hardly got up. Although she seemed to be angry, she complained in a British polite way, one hand holding against the wall and one hand grabbing the beer. I could only wish her city-wall-like thick foundation would be able to bring her an adventure tonight. 

Afterwards, when the first rays of spring awakened the cherry blossoms in London, lockdown began. During the undemanding lockdown, I walked alone in the park, trying to make some new friends.

When we talk about London, we can’t help thinking of Dickens’s 19th-century’s”Orphan Twist”: “The air smells exactly like the cemetery” and “the skeletons rowing in the Thames” in my history book. After nearly a century of rectification, the fog has gone while London became the world’s first national park city in 2019. It is the greenest international city I have ever seen. In the district of Little Venice, the canal was like Amsterdam, where many people lived on the water. where swans, ducks and fish stationed. In the northern part of Regent’s Park, people could even take boat as a public transportation to the other side of the city. Since the beginning of the lockdown, the rainy and rainy London had ushered in a rare long time of sunny days. How could I trap myself in the tiny room in such a good weather?

During the lockdown, London turned to a zoo. People could be found only in the park’s green grass. Although I was alone a little envious of those gatherings of young and old, but soon, I enjoyed myself with new furry friends. The city was a paradise for squirrels. Whether in Hamstead Heath, not far from the school ESCP, or in Regent’s Park to the north, or St. James’s Park in the center next to Buckingham Palace, squirrels were playing games in any green space. If we had nuts in hands, squat on the ground and they would hop around for food. Once, after giving an entire bag of cashew nuts, the greedy squirrel stared at me for a long time without moving. Another time, the duck also swayed to beg for food so I had no choice but to run away. Immediately, a team of squirrels, ducks, and pigeons ran after me. It was such a view in the park!

The days in London were short yet fulfilling. After the rain and snow, the warmth sent me a goodbye. Every day in London has been a happy day. The magnificent avenue, cute  gentlemen, heavy makeup girls, colorful blossoms, adorable animals, oh, and Chinatown…they are all in the empire that the sun never sets. I am missing you, London.

日不落的想念,伦敦

在抵达日不落帝国首都伦敦的季节里,天空的雾来得漫不经心,河水像油画一样安静。在第一个月,阴雨风暴里夹杂着些许的晴朗和安宁。

对伦敦的初印象,仿佛《汤姆和杰里的伦敦生活》对于富人区的描述一般,在皮卡迪利圆环上从日出到日落挤满了路人。交织在络绎不绝的上班族、学生、游客、卖艺者与乞丐中,夹杂着严肃的面孔与嬉笑的脸颊。那些棕红发、金发还是黑发的人群,仍然给城市保留了一份有序与整洁。广场上头的摄政大道,红色双层巴士在弧形大道上川流不息。不要以为双层巴士只是旅游观光车,几乎伦敦所有的巴士都以此为模型,与黑色光亮的老爷计程车给摩登的城市添了些复古的色彩。由于二战希特勒的连番轰炸,古建筑残缺不齐,也因此伦敦市区新旧建筑层次感极强,仿佛上海新天地,让21世纪的活力流淌在英国的心脏里。

不同于白日的光鲜,伦敦的夜来得早,也荒诞得妙。心怀好奇的人在SOHO街区的酒吧徜徉,平日严谨的英国人在酒精的调教下,敢于吐露自己的真情趣。他们不会拐弯抹角地与心仪的人调情,也不会在未经允许下与对眼的你过分亲近,而是在递酒时来一句“你真可爱”,酒未入口便先让人红了脸。相比于男生,一晚,一英国女生像极了莎士比亚的歌剧中丑态百出的妇人,寒冬中裹着棉袄穿着短裙,一不小心没站好脚从高跟鞋上滑下。她虽然怒火俨然上头,可嘴里还是文质彬彬地抱怨,一手扶着墙一手拿着酒晃悠悠地在灯红酒绿的夜色中站起,我心里只能默默祝福她那似城墙的厚粉底说不定今晚能有所收获。

不久之后,当第一缕春光唤醒伦敦的樱花时,戒严开始了。在完全不严的封城期间,我只身来到公园散步,看着和平鸽慵懒步伐押着韵,心偷偷地放晴。

谈到伦敦时,我们不免想起狄更斯在《雾都孤儿》中描绘的19世纪霍乱时期,“空气闻起来和墓地里的一模一样”的街区,与历史书中出现的在泰晤士河里划船的骷髅。经过近一个世纪的整治,雾都不再,伦敦是我至今见过最绿色的国际都市。2019年,伦敦成为世界首个国家公园城市,同时,运河再开发项目驱动城市更新。在小威尼斯街区,运河上如同阿姆斯特丹,住着不少水上人家,天鹅与鸭子和鱼产驻扎于此。在摄政公园北部,人们甚至可以称作公交游艇到达城市另一头。自从戒严开始,阴雨不断的伦敦迎来了罕见的数月的晴朗天气,勾引的得我禁不住外界的诱惑,偷偷出门。

戒严期间的伦敦宛若动物园,街道上空无一人,至于公园的绿地上聚集着老老少少。独自一人的我虽有些羡慕那些家庭,但很快,我也找到新的小伙伴。这里简直是松鼠的乐园,无论是学校不远的Hamstead Heath,还是北边的摄政公园,亦或是白金汉宫旁市中心的圣詹姆斯公园,几乎任何绿地都能找见他们的身影。若我们手拿坚果,蹲在地上一动不动,他们便会一蹦一跳跑来觅食。一次,我一袋腰果全给他们了,一只胆大的松鼠居然盯着我久久不动,还有一次,鸭子也大摇大摆地跑来要饭,我只好拔腿就跑,鸭子大军加上格子元帅还有松鼠战队居然追了上来,伦敦的小动物们真是成精了。

伦敦的日子短暂而充实,经过初期的雨雪后,竟是温暖的阳光与我送别。伦敦的每一天,我都倍感开心。气派的大街、礼貌的绅士、浓妆的女孩、缤纷的花卉、可爱的动物,哦,还有唐人街。在日不落帝国,你就是晴天,你就是晴天,我的爱未眠,不落的想念,飞在你身边,我的爱未眠。

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