World Cup 2019 Tour Diaries: Ship Collection in Southampton, But Where is Everyone?

Titanic set sail from Southampton

Read the previous part of these World Cup Tour Diaries here.

June 1:

It is a travel day. A bus to Southampton which is a couple of hours away.

I sitting next to an old man who tells me he is travelling in a bus – or coach – for the first time. It has always been a train or a flight otherwise.

I ask him the purpose of his Southampton visit.

“To receive a ship,” he says.

Um. “Titanic?” I ask him hopefully.

He gives out a wry smile as if to say that was a bad joke.

Except I wasn’t joking. Titanic II is coming up soon.

Our bus takes its time getting out of London because of the traffic. But traffic or no traffic, most UK drivers refrain from honking a lot. In fact, in the seven days I am there since landing in the country, I haven’t heard a single such use of their vehicle horn.

That’s until that ride.

Our driver sounds like his partner’s given him an ultimatum; ‘you get late to our date once more, we are done.’

He huffs, puffs and honks his way through the traffic. The guy on the bike, the man in a small sedan, even that hulk in the 24-wheeler, all of them look scared. Very, very scared.

So am I. And I come from the land of honkers.

Later that evening I visit a pub. It’s the Champions League football final and I want to capture some of the atmosphere in the pubs.

There’s a barbeque behind the pub where they make my chicken burger.

It tastes as good as it looks. And it looks extraordinary.

Top it off with a chocolate from a nearby Sainsbury’s. Probably the best meal so far.

June 2:

First full day in Southampton and one I need to be properly fuelled for because it’s going to be a walking day.

Westquay Shopping Centre, City centre, St. Mary’s Football Stadium, Ocean Village and a couple of other such stops await. If I had one of those fitness apps on me, it would have told me to the opposite of what Johnnie Walker tells us.

Stop Walking.

The highlight is lunching at an Indian restaurant which serves a South Indian buffet at a reasonable rate.

For some reason, a stomach-ful of Indian food is usually costlier than other cuisines outside India. But this one is reasonably-priced. Some awesome rasam, vegetables and sambhar.

Only issue is that the food slows me down drastically. So does that-fitness-app-which-I-don’t-have. The thought of it anyway.

Interestingly, it’s a Sunday and the number of people on the road at any time (other than the city centre) can be counted using the fingers of one of my hands.

I shoot a video depicting just that. The only thing I hear on that video is the sound of wind.

Southampton is probably Wellington on a valium.

Where on earth is everyone?

Read the next part of these World Cup diaries here.

About Suneer Chowdhary 121 Articles
Cricket Analyst | Freelance Cricket Writer | Cricket Radio | Cricket Videos | Football | Tennis

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