Southall is one of regions in London most famous for its large Asian population. 55% of the population is Indian or Pakistani but there is also a large community of Somalis who live there. The result: a colourful, vibrant area with cultural differences woven intricately throughout. The signs at the train station are even bilingual in English and Gurmukhi.
It was quite a fascinating little venture. The McDonalds is halal. There is a pub called the Glassy Junction which accepts rupees as payment (300 = 1 pint of beer). It has churches, temples and mosques.
I went into a little jumble of a shop that sells everything from rolls to bubble wrap to states of Ganesh, to Jesus and Mary dinner trays to sex toys to children’s toys to kitchen ware and hardware. The goods were dirty and tumbling off the shelves. It was an array of treasures that required some digging.
There were gorgeously vivid fabric shops, sari-sari shops and jewellery shops, lots of phones and DVDs, loads of curry restaurants and market food lining the streets, vegetables and fruits like I’ve seen in Quiapo and Baclaran.