Sunday, July 30, 2006

Canals of Amsterdam

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Tube and I

Oh I just love the tube. It stopped at least 3 times on the way to dinner. Was supposed to reach my destination by 7.00 p.m., ended up reaching after 8 p.m.. Spent nearly 2 hours on the train for a simple 40 minutes journey normally. Thank goodness I was smart enough to switch lines/trains midway through the journey. It was steaming hot too in the train.

Apparently, a train in front of us had difficulties and couldn't move. Once, it was a dog running onto the tracks. Funny dog. Very funny. Other times, it's signal failures and faulty trains. As extensive as the Underground network is in London, reliability needs to be improved. I've had delays for a number of times and always hear news of sever delays on other lines.

And it has to happen when I have plans, like dinner plans or when I have planned to go sightseeing somewhere. For example, my plans to visit the British Museum was thwarted when suddenly, without warning, both lines which service my station had problems. And then when I took the bus, it was stuck near Hyde Park due to a massive traffic jam. I ended up going to the Potrait Gallery instead, at least I could be flexible (yes, I need a whole day in the museum, which is why losing precious 2-3 hours would dampen my plans there).

Well, at least I made it to dinner. Which was good by the way. Magic Wok in Bayswater. Yes, forget the overcrowded, tourist-trap Four Seasons.

Oh my, I so need to clean my room.

And I am very thankful that I am busy at work these few days. Gosh, it's such a relief to be productive.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Cloudy Days in Paris


Standing exactly 10,433 km from Kuala Lumpur (that's what the sign says) in a steel tower overlooking the city of Paris, thoughts that ran through my mind includes: why must my battery die now, should I come again for the night lights, should I buy a third battery, gosh why must it rain today, what should I have for dinner, gosh my feet hurts (walked from the Louvre to the Arc De Triomphe, in the rain).

And how lucky for someone from a humble background like me to be in Paris, exploring world famous sights and sounds. I am honestly not very excitable, it's just my nature. I am not easily impressed, and found Paris not particularly inspiring. The Louvre is a fantastic treasure throve, that I cannot deny. The Ile de Cite across the Seine is a beautiful place. Walking along Champ De Elysee towards the Arc De Triomphe gives plenty of pleasure, the rain and traffic not withstanding. Notre Dame and Basilica Sacre Couer gave much peace and calm. Gargoyles looking over the city of Paris, keeping it in its glory. However, there is something missing from Paris, it is too drab in some parts and I don't see myself living there even though it's a great city. There is a certain melancholy enveloping the city, or maybe it was just the weather. The gap between the haves and have nots is glaringly clear in Paris.

But I do realise what a long way I've come. As I stood overlooking the city, I thought of the immense sacrifices my parents have made for me. I thought of how they have never been this far, and a tinge of guilt came into play. Remorse even for they have been very generous with me and how they stinge on themselves. I have never thanked them for all their gifts, and looked back at how a spoilt brat I was, always wanting more.

Down The Lane

Watching some videos reminds me of how carefree I was.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Pets and Partners :P

Girlfriends and boyfriends are like pets. You feed them, dress them up, groom them, play with them, pat them, scold them, worry about them, whisper sweet nothings to them. A hug and a snuggle. A big wet kiss. Without them, life can be lonesome sometimes. Even with all the extra work of maintaining one (or two), it's something most of us enjoy doing. Works even better when you have the object of your affection eating out of your hands, literally and figuratively.

Saturday, July 08, 2006


The rays shine through

Like an old friend's cue

Wash away the blue

Summer is time to forget

A new season

A new place

Friday, July 07, 2006

Lunchtime Tales

I thought the Commons was bad but now there is a worse place. Cafeteria at my company. At least we get greens and not everything is lathered with mayo. I now can conclude it is the British influence that made the populace of East and South East Asia consume mayo the way they do. Mayo on bread. Mayo on fruits. Mayo on meat. Mayo on eggs.

And when you say sandwich, they will assume it is two slices of sliced bread placed together. Got caught a couple of times, said sandwich when I meant baguette or ciabatta for my 'sandwich'. I guess the American terminology does not equate normal sliced bread as sandwich alone and that when you say sandwich, you choose between croissant, ciabatta, baguette, sliced bread et al. Now, that's cross cultural communication for you.

Another quirk at lunchtime is how the person behind the counter takes such joy in smothering butter or margarine onto my bread. I have to remember to stop them. And there is no mustard on the countertop. Back home, at least I can find chilli sauce. I miss my spicy sandwiches. The best I can do is ask for black pepper on my sandwich filling which really does not quite do the job.

And legend has it that they once served fried Mars bars. Yup, Mars bar in batter and fried just like they do for fish. I haven't eaten anything from the main meals. They don't look appetizing and even dodgy at times. Well, at least I will appreciate the Commons more when I return to school for my final trimester.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

I Am Back

It's not particularly exciting but when I think about it, it is rather surreal to be in another continent, another city for the summer. My plans have always been to do an internship in the US but somehow I ended here in London. Not that I am complaining. I've been here since 27th May, having landed here after spending a week at home.

End of School Term
The end of the 2nd trimester in grad school brings about the realization that the good times are coming to an end soon. At the end of this year, I would graduate and leave school, again. Spent a couple of weeks in Glendale before I decided to take off for a long weekend in Tuscon. I took a road trip there after managing to priceline a resort stay for half the price. Went with L and we also met up at a sushi place with a schoolmate who lives there. All in all it was a relaxing trip. Memorable especially when the waitress at the fondue restaurant thought L was out on her Mother's Day celebration for the evening away from screaming toddlers. :D We made use of the pool and whirlpool in the resort, plus the room was comfy. Oh and we visited the largest second hand bookstore in Arizona. Also went to an old mission in an Indian reservations. It was a laidback city, with an airbase and a university providing the impetus for the growth there. Also, we went to a Malaysian restaurant, probably the only one is the state of Arizona. We had roticanai, nasi lemak, chilli crab and fried calamari. It was ok but overpriced I think.

And then it was packing and stowing things away into storage as I prepare myself for a 30 hours journey to KL. It's amazing how I came to campus with a backpack and a large luggage and now I think i doubled if not tripled my personal belongings on campus. L was a great help with the packing up and we used her car and a rental car to move things in just one trip. Monica and Annie sent me off to the shuttle van. As we left campus, a sandstorm brewed outside. I was getting worried that we might get blown off the ramps as we reached the airport. Ah Arizona. You hate it, you love it.

On another note, the exam schedule was horrible. 2 papers for 2 days and, 5 papers over 4 days. But I managed to get through and I am quite happy with the results. I will be taking a full load next trimester even thought that would be 3 credits over my required graduation credits. Might as well take the opportunity to learn as much as I can. Which reminds me, I should email a professor about a part time job as a teaching assistant for accounting. It should be easy enough for me I think.

The humidity in Malaysia is one thing I took for granted. Now flying in from a dry place, it was a tad uncomfortable. But I quickly adjusted. Didn't do much at home, just chilling and relaxing, and getting ready for my internship. Shopped a little and caught some movies as well.

So here I am sitting at my desk in the office somewhere in London, pondering my next steps.