Before travelling to the UK, I had extremely low expectation of the country and especially London. Many factors led me to think like that, starting with the way I’m treated in Dubai, everyone I know complains about the British weather, also the stereotype that British people are as cold as their weather and finally the visa centre for giving me a hard time and rejecting my first application for minor reasons.
Anyhow, Tim and I landed in Heathrow airport and it was my first visit to the UK and amusingly the lady at the passport control counter cracked a joke about my travel document saying “it’s been ages I haven’t seen one of those”. FYI, I have a ‘travel document’ which is issued by the Lebanese Government for Palestinian Refugees and is still HANDWRITTEN. She also advised us that in our next trip, I get to stand in the EU/UK passport line. My reaction was ‘OMG! This is the first time anyone at passport control treated me in a nice and respectful manner’.
Besides the fact that my travel document is handwritten, it is only written in French and Arabic (يا الله / Oh Mon Dieu). The amount of crap I receive at airports and of course being interrogated and waiting for translators to translate my enormous booklet. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very proud to be PALESTINIAN but passport control are just pain in the @$$.
After landing in London and passing immigration feeling like the queen of the world, everyone I interacted with was nice. It felt weird at first but later made me feel very welcomed. Before heading to Hayling, we stopped at a rent a ca in London and everyone who worked there were a racial mix of Asians and Africans with a strong British accent.
After spending days in the country side, Tim and I decided to stay in London for 2 days before flying back to Dubai. Honestly, I was impressed by the lovely city, country and the British people. Everyone was friendly and helpful and my viewpoint changed 180 degrees and I fell in love with the people, British culture and the UK weather LOL.