Tuesday, August 06, 2013

off to see the queen p1

I got so excited about my London trip that I think maybe the health check post doesn't sound so appetising anymore. Initially I wasn't because I did not expect I'd fly again so soon after returning from Malaysia, but I told myself not to complain since I have not been to UK before. I bet most everyone else I know have been there, so finally this is my chance!

It was late evening by the time my Japanese colleague and I reached the city from the airport. Don't let the sky fool you, the sun set pretty late in Europe in summer. Here at almost 8pm, we decided to get a cab to the hotel from the nearest station. So this is the famous London black cab! It didn't look too fancy from the outside, but the inside is spacious and passengers sit facing each other, unlike normal cars.

One of the evenings I decided to meet up with an ex-colleague who happened to be in London for work too. We wandered around Knightsbridge, but were too late to visit the famed Harrods. Since we were hungry, and not too sure what would be good in the area, we decided to have Kids Meal at McD's! We were joking how Malaysians we were, converting currency and stinging on basic needs.

For the project, my colleagues and I were based at the vendor's office near Holborn. For the first 2 days they fed us, but the generosity stopped after that when the COO stopped visiting :/ So I decided to venture out to try some local breakfast. I had my impression of what a porridge should be, coming from Asia. So I was quite surprised this is what the Brits called their "hot porridge"! Rather than savoury with watery rice, theirs is more like warm oats topped with bananas and syrup.

One of the must try while you're in the UK is the fish and chips. I'm sure all of us have had our own versions before, so I was keen to try the "original". I was glad I decided to share because the huge fish and abundant fries were more than what my tummy could take. The Brits love their chippy with a dash of vinegar, squeezed lemon and some salt and pepper (somehow I still like having tartare sauce on the side, helps balance the fried-ness).

I didn't realise what a big commotion this was until I read news that everyone else have been camping either outside the hospital or the palace, waiting for the announcement. I was secretly hoping I'd be able to meet the Queen (or rather, Prince Harry!), but a bonus would be to meet the youngest prince. You can almost sense the relief in the air when the big news came. Bookies and punters were having a field day with bets on the date of birth, and the name of the prince.

Walking along Oxford St was quite an amazing experience, because you'd see 2 or even 3 shops of the same brand along that same street. I saw about 4 Zara's there, though unfortunately there wasn't anything nice from their summer sales. Was glad to see Uniqlo, Muji and ASICS too.

Before visiting London, I thought the double deckers were open air at the top deck. I wonder where I got this impression. It was quite fun riding these to work everyday. Similar to other metropolitans with limited space like Singapore, HK and Tokyo, London depend very much on public transportation, so I appreciated the efficiency and choice of these while I was there. Makes me wish our government could have the foresight and vision to plan ahead too >.<

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