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Thursday, July 17th, 2003

London, England

Short Stopover

An evening in London

On my way from Johannesburg to London to join Paramahamsa Maharaj, the Emirates Airlines plane stops briefly in Dubai, in the tiny United Arab Emirates (population 1,800,00) on the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.

From the air, Dubai looks as artificial as that other desert city, Las Vegas (without the glitz, of course). The perennial wind-swept sands of the desert constantly encroach upon the neat, geometrically laid out streets; you get the feeling that the whole city could be obliterated, buried under the shifting sand, in just a few short weeks.

At eight o' clock local time (10:00 a.m. GMT) our flight continues, up along the Persian Gulf, between Iraq and Iran, along the Black sea and through Turkey (where I'll return tomorrow), and over Europe to London, where we arrive at 12:20 p.m.

My old friend, Devashis Prabhu — whom I first met at the Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math in Nabadwip in October of 1983 — is there at Gatwick International airport to meet me. I'm surprised that my other old pal, Mukunda Prabhu is not at the airport as well, but Devashis Prabhu informs me that he had to take my erstwhile South African companion, Sripad Paramahamsa Maharaj, down to Bournemouth.

At the Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math in Green Street, I take the darshan of Sri Sri Guru-Gauranga-Radha-Shyamasundar, am introduced to Dayanidhi Prabhu, Dwarakesha Prabhu, Ashraya Vigraha Prabhu, and Lavanya Mayi Devi Dasi, and given some prasadam. The carrot halavah is excellent!

Mukunda Prabhu and Paramahamsa Maharaj return from Bournemouth at about eight o'clock.

Mukunda's me ol' china; it seems like donkeys since I've seen his chevy, so we hop up the tiny apples in the front of the mickey and rabbit 'til the dickory hits twelve...*

*Cockney rhyming slang:
Mukunda Prabhu is my old friend (china plate = mate = friend); it seems like years (donkey's ears) since I've seen his face (Chevy Chase), so we climb up the tiny stairs (apples and pears) in the front of the house (mickey mouse) and talk (rabbit and pork) until the clock (hickory dickory dock) strikes twelve...

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