Our first day off. Ray took us down to Broxbourne and we cashed a travellers cheque, then caught the train to Cheshunt, changed for the Enfield train and got off at Lower Edmonton¹. We found the Health and Social Services office and waited for half an hour amongst the old people, the unemployed, and the maniacs, to get our National Insurance number, then answered some stupid questions to get a Tax Number.
We caught the train to Liverpool Street then the Circle Line to Kensington High Street where, after a bit of a search, we located the offices of Kumuka Africa². We checked out a few details about the 16-week trans-Africa trip and watched a ½ -hour video on it. We left there and spent the rest of the day wandering around music shops in Notting Hill Gate and the West End looking for a second hand guitar for me. We eventually found one in Denmark Street (a place called Andy’s, a three-story shop crammed full of electric and acoustic guitars). After that we caught a double decker bus and just cruised around for an hour or so then had a curry for tea and caught the trains back to the pub.
¹All of these are outer suburbs of North London.
²Kumuka was a travel company specializing in overland trips in Africa. Eventually, the company would grow to offer overland trips worldwide, a decision that led to its downfall. Overextended, the company went bankrupt in 2012. But in 1989, their overland expeditions were very much hands-on, do-it-yourself adventures. The trip we would set off on later in 1989 saw us travel from Nairobi, in Kenya, all the way back to London via East Africa, the Congo Jungle, sub-Saharan Africa, the Sahara Desert, the Atlas Mountains of Morocco and across Spain.