Day one

Since leaving Europe  I’ve been writing all my experiences in my Secret Diary, I’ll be keeping some things to myself to abide by the proverbial “What happens in …., stays in ….”, and I’ll be publishing some on this blog. I’ll try to vary the content as much as possible and will post songs to accompany the articles, because sometimes words aren’t enough to portray ones emotions.

This is the first thing I wrote while waiting for my first plane to London on the 27th of September.

“It’s 8:47 on a warm autumn morning in Bordeaux, after having said goodbye to my loved one, I’ve come to the realisation, this is it. I know I’m leaving, but I don’t know when I’m coming back, I’m diving head first into the unknown, and I’m experiencing the weirdest of feelings. On one hand I feel emptiness, knowing that upon arrival, no one is waiting for me, for the first time in my life I’m going to be truly A L O N E, but on the other hand, I’m filling up with excitement and the adrenaline is slowly building up, the accumulated anxiousness bottled up inside me is releasing, I’m depressurising. You know sometimes things feel totally right, or totally wrong and you obey to your gut feeling, well my instincts have well and truly left me, I feel like an emotional washing-machine. I think I understand why though, our so-called gut feelings are based on passed experiences, and/or stories we’ve heard, so when you’re confronted to an unfamiliar situation, your psyche has no triggers to pull, I’m trying to grab on to something, but it’s just thin air slipping through my fingers.”

That’ll be enough drama for today!

When I arrived in London I had 10 hours to spend until my flight to Sao Paulo, so I used that time to head down to Strand and pick-up some chilean pesos, as emergency, food and taxi money for when I got to Santiago. At that point I was starving so I tucked into one of Great Britain’s most important heritages, the £3 Meal Deal, you can knock english cuisine all you want, but you cannot ignore the fact the we are the supreme leaders of snacking.

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Feasting on my Meal Deal

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My Meal Deal unapologetically stealing the show

On my way back from Strand, I walked up Victoria Street and spotted the London Scientology HQ, intrigued, and slightly intimidated by the behemoth of a building towering over me, I slowly walked through the front door and was astonished by the ostentatious hall and gold-leaf covered Scientology coat-of-arms. The receptionist greeted me and seemed fairly kind, she handed me a personal information leaflet to fill-in and called down a tour guide to show me round the permanent exposition. I obviously wrote down my pseudonym, and politely refused their generous offer to keep my bag behind the desk.

I was warmly greeted by this very lively and confident young man who immediately walked me up the majestic staircase and asked if I wanted a bit of history on the building, or move straight to the exposition, I suggested the latter.

HD graphics reminiscent of Hollywood Sci-Fi movie credits projected on massive flat-screen panels on all walls lit up the room with a heavenly glow. What we had here was a showcase of the sheer array of fields Scientology is involved in: Drug rehab (Narconon), Criminal reinsertion programs, Consultancy, Personal development, you name it, they got it. Scientology is intergenerational, interdisciplinary, welcomes all social classes and is extremely relatable.

Scientology is intergenerational, interdisciplinary, welcomes all social classes and is extremely relatable.

After having  been whipped around the exposition at an extreme pace while being blasted with scientology jargon, and statistics  I was left alone and was offered some free information DVDs for private viewing at home.

Scientology is similar to any other religion in a way that it helps people build on themselves, be better people, and help others. The distinction with other religions is that it provides empirical research to back the claims made.

Confidence, Family conflicts, Success were all the notions that popped up on the information boards, and regularly shot out of my tour guide’s mouth. Scientology would make me a better person, I was in a dark place, and the scientific methods elaborated by L. Ron Hubbard would free my from my negative thetans.

 

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Surprisingly I was allowed to take this picture!

Having left the building, strolled past St-Paul’s Cathedral and wandered across the world-famous Millenium Bridge, I arrived at the Tate Gallery, where I made a quick pit-stop on the public wifi to check some e-mails before heading up to the newly constructed viewing platform on the 10th floor.

Breathtaking views guaranteed.

I do think however, that the Tate Gallery’s neighbours living 15 meters away in fully glass panelled grand-standing penthouses probably regret having splashed out on what has become a human zoo, and an unofficial Tate Gallery exposition. Each day, thousands of tourists gaze insistently into their private lives, pointing their 30x zooms into the fortunate (or unfortunate) fews’ living rooms while lip-dubbing their conversations.

I still did feel a bit sorry for them, even though having to lower the blinds while reaching for your Baccarat glass filled with prestige champagne, in order to preserve intimacy is a nice problem to have.

I then decided it was time to hop on the tube to Heathrow Airport where my flight to São Paulo was scheduled. I’ll pass the boring airport details of hanging around, hanging around, drenching yourself in free aftershave, then hanging around again.

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It had been a few years since I hadn’t flown on a long-haul flight, and I was especially looking forward to the inflight meals. When my food eventually arrived, I enjoyed the textures, however I couldn’t really distinguish the taste. At 75,000 ft your tastebuds decide to politely leave the building  and even altar bread at sea level is more flavourful

At 75,000 ft your tastebuds decide to politely leave the building  and even altar bread at sea level is more flavourful.

It’s 20:25 on the 28th of September and we’ve just touched down in Santiago! I’ll post my first impressions of Chile in my next post, Stay tuned! Besos!

p.s. here’s a little teaser.

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