Birbal was a famous or mythic jester in Akbar’s court. Akbar liked to test Birbal’s wit by presenting him with various puzzles. One day, Akbar asks Birbal to determine how many crows were in Persia (was it persia? Akbar’s empire). Akbar warned that if Birbal was wrong, he would get his head chopped off. (A bit like the mad queen in Alice in Wonderland. hmmmm) But Birbal gave a confident answer. (It doesn’t matter the number.) “If there are more crows, then they are they are visiting their friends and family here. If there are fewer, then they have gone on vacation.”

That pretty much describes Covent Garden mid-morning. I still haven’t figured out the normal London schedule because I’m pretty much self-employed as a student. I make my own hours and just need to turn in these papers by deadline. Usually I don’t get out of Hampstead before 10 and reach central London by 11. I find the tube to be really busy at 10:30 or so, which I consider late morning. It surprises me how many people are just getting to work at this time. But once when I took the tube at 7 in the morning with my Mom, I found it equally packed. I guess the working people just come in waves every hour and its most busiest at half past. For example 9:20, the Jubilee is empty by 9:30, its packed.

I wanted to work at a cafe today but I didn’t realise it opened at 11 and I arrived earlier than I expected. So I walked around to Covent Garden to finish reading this book while enjoyign the warmth of the sun. One of the outdoor restaurants was quite full and I was wondering who these people were, on a Wedesday morning just taking it easy. I sat on a bench a little ways from it, where three other people were also just sitting and people-watching. well, I discovered that both sets of couples were french tourists. I realised that this bench consisted of French and Americans. The two biggest tourist groups of London. And I’m guessing that the restaurant probably fit into the same demographic.

The next time you are in London and see people wandering around during normal working ours, we are the crows of England’s favorite friends.

(The cafe I am in also consisted of French people and two sets of people interviewing for jobs. And a student.)