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Wednesday, August 6th, 2003

London, England

Hotter Than July

Cooler weather ahead

London is hot! I am only staying here at the Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math for two days, but according to the weather report, I can say that I was here on the hottest day in the city's history: today the temperature reached 96°Fahrenheit (almost 36°Celsius).

But don't feel sorry for me: at Villa Govinda Ashram in Milan, Italy, where Srila Gurudeva and his entourage are staying, the temperature today is a sweltering 38°C (100°F). That's 5°C hotter than the temperature in Delhi!

This morning, Srutasrava Prabhu breezes through the London Math here in Upton Park, diagonally opposite the West Ham United Football Club's stadium. The Hammers fans, still trying to get over their team being relegated from the Premiership in May, are in an uproar over Cole's transfer to Chelsea which was completed yesterday for £6.6m. And with Cole gone, can it be long before Defoe (rumored to be worth £8m plus to the club) jumps ship?

But enough about football, or soccer, as Srutasrava Prabhu would say. It is good to see and talk to him again. It has been three months since we were last together, with Srila Gurudeva in Calcutta. He stays for just a few hours, and leaves for Saint Petersburg in the afternoon. Tomorrow morning Srila Gurudeva and his entourage will travel from Milan to Saint Petersburg, and I will fly from London to Moscow in the afternoon.

It is 20°C in Moscow and 16°C in Saint Petersburg today, so while Europe bakes in one of the biggest heat waves in the last hundred years — the Danube river passing through the Balkans has dropped so low that wrecks of World War II boats are now visible — the Russian portion of Srila Gurudeva's 20th World Tour will, thankfully, be a lot cooler.

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