Travelblog: Held Hostage in Style by a Volcano

There are advantages and disadvantages to being held hostage by a volcano in London.

In terms of disadvantages, if you are being held hostage with hundreds of thousands of other people trying to escape, I’ve discovered the UK island is virtually impossible to leave. If you aren’t flying out, your only options are by train or ferry to reach the European mainland. And if you and hundreds of thousands of other people are trying to leave at the same time, your chances of finding a spot on a train or ferry in time to reach a functioning airport with an actual seat on a plane back home for you are quite slim. London is also a very expensive city to be held hostage in. Yesterday I had a tuna sandwich and some sort of fruit juice concocted from every kind of artificial flavor and sweetener one could imagine. It cost me 5.40 GBP. That’s a whopping 45 Egyptian Pounds. In Egypt, I could buy a really nice dinner with that.

In terms of advantages, if you do have the money, there are quite a lot of things one can busy oneself with while one’s volcanic captor is busy spewing ash.

Last night, while Eyjafjallajokull (the name of my Icelandic captor…I call him Eyja for short) was busy coughing, I sneaked away and watched the musical Wicked. I’ve been trying to search back in my memory when I last watched a live musical. For the life of me, the only one I can remember ever watching was a musical done by my fellow students in high school. So watching this live musical in London on a set like theirs with actors like theirs was like awakening to a new world. I’ve seen many musicals on TV, of course. But you assume that there are a lot of special effects involved that only TV cameras can do properly. This stage was set up with so many beautiful and fun special effects I had the fascination of a child in me.  And that lead singer’s voice. That lead singer’s voice! What a voice! Wicked was, well, divinely wicked.

Earlier yesterday I went to the London Dungeon, which was fun but could have been funner if I had the children with me. That sort of thing needs someone with you to hold onto when you get the urge to scream because someone jumped out in your face in the dark of a dungeon. Without anyone for me to hold onto, I tended not to scream as much as I normally would if I had company. I must say it was quite frustrating to London’s undead.

Something I noticed was that I was not chosen for a single deathly experiment at the Dungeon. Of course, there were more people in the group I ended up with than the number of deathly experiments, but I do stand out with the hijab on my head. One would think the dead saw me at least. I was wondering whether London’s dead were over-concerned that I’d be offended if I were to appear in Dead-Man’s Court with the accusation of being a naked-dancing witch. Or maybe they felt that I wouldn’t be comfortable bending over while a dead woman explained how she tortures her victims by sticking a hook up their arse. Strange, really.

Later on that afternoon I visited Madame Tussuad’s Wax Museum. Although the waxed figures were done well, I was very turned off by the hundreds of people there – hundreds of lame people, I should say – taking their pictures next to these waxed figures. Let me paint a picture for you to bring this closer. A mother and a daughter pose for a museum camera as they both fondly place their hands on the chest of Robert Pattinson (I had to look his name up to get it for you), the star of the vampire movie series, Twilight. I also watched a young man get his picture taken by a friend while he acted as if he were speaking into the microphone of a waxed imitation of some television presenter or other. And on and on and on. It was absolutely ridiculous!

Well…I continue to monitor Eyja. If it looks like his violent episodes are going to get any worse, I’m going to try to make a break for it. Right now I have a ticket out of Heathrow Airport on Tuesday. If that one’s canceled, I might just have to swim off the island.

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