Wednesday, December 24, 2003

My life as a hamster

I am now in London. I've been here since Monday morning and I can officially report that London is wet, cold, dirty and old. I'm staying with my aunt, uncle and cousins in their terrace house near Brixton and the area they live in is strangely reminiscent of Chungking because nearly everyone is African or Indian.

As I sit at the computer in their loft I am accompanied by my cousins' pet hamster, Yoda, in his flashy multistorey plastic cage. As a child I always wanted a hamster and felt that they must be more exciting than the mice we were able to have. I have come to the conclusion that they might be a little cuter and less smelly than mice but hamsters make very boring pets.

Yoda has two beds in his cage (one in the loft and another on the bottom level) and he spends 99% of his time sleeping. He would stay in the loft bed 24/7 if he could but he has to descend occasionally for meals. The out of shape jedi master travels between the two hangouts by a precarious looking plastic tube, his only occasion for physical exertion.

I realised this morning that Yoda and I have been living very similar lives over the past few days. His multistorey hamster house bears a freakish resemblance to my aunt and uncle's terrace and both Yoda and I venture out little. Like Yoda, I spend a lot of my time sitting around in the loft, occasionally descending to eat, read and watch tv downstairs via a precarious spiral staircase.

And I'm loving it! It's exactly what I need after a crazy month in Hong Kong and I still can't believe that my aunt and uncle have a video collection including both 'Kath and Kim' and 'Goodness Gracious Me'. Anyway, I leave it all today for a single storey 'hamster flat' in Birmingham. I'm looking forward to seeing all the relatives there as well as the rest of my family who fly from Rome to Birmingham today.