dmjewelle: (??)
D.M. Jewelle ([personal profile] dmjewelle) wrote2013-06-02 01:28 am
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[Day 8] Let's Do One Last Run Around London (Before saying goodbyeee)!

Hello! It's my last day in London!

After much thought I decide to soldier on with my depressing continental breakfast. So depressing I never took a picture of it!

Have a picture of the concierges changing shifts instead!

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On the left is Witek, a helpful troll who gives no helpful information.

Me: Where do you come from?
Witek: Heaven!

On the right is Mehmood, a guy who looks EVERY BIT like Walter C. Dornez from Hellsing if you ever saw him for real. Him wearing a vest and tie doesn't help.

Today we head out to Shepherd's Bush, where my dad stayed for a year during his postgrad studies. Mum tagged along and cooked for him, so it's like a trip down memory lane for her. However me being me, I decide I want to try a NEW Tube line, so I take the Hammersmith & City Line which takes us outside Paddington Station. Mum freaks out.

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This is the only time I entered Paddington train station. This may sound naive, but I really thought Paddington Station would have...y'know...Paddington Bear stuff. Like a shop or something. I didn't even SEE the sculpture the station apparently has. I feel like a failure.

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The station exits at Shepherd's Bush Market. Mum used to do her daily marketing here!

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...When it was a lot later in the morning I after 10.30. This was around 9, only the butchers and greengrocers were fully open.

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The market is mostly run by Asians - there's halal butchers, lino & furs & fabric shops (for your cosplay needs!) luggage shops, Asian grocers, and even a shop that does African braids! If my hair was still long I would have SO paid for it. There was also a PS2 game shop that just opened, the place feels a bit like Petaling Street (if Petaling Street had no garbage, that is).

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Floor graffiti!

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When my parents said there were a lot of Asians in their neighbourhood, I didn't expect it to look so...ghetto. This...gave me a Harlem feel for some reason. Like any moment a bunch of people are going to bust out the Harlem Shake and mug me sort of feel. @_@

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Even the music posters feel different here!

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FINALLY, a Nando's! Someone told me they'd never seen a Nando's in UK so you can imagine how thrilled I was to see this. I'd try it but they weren't open yet.

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BIGGEST CULTURE SHOCK EVER: Seeing a mosque that's not built with minarets and domes and spans several hundred square kilometers.

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Me: Map says we're reaching Ingersoll Road!
Mum: I think we're LOST *asks a school teacher for directions*
School teacher: You're quite close actually-

It was the next turn after the conversation. Ingersoll Road actually sounds like a good name for a character. Now to find a story to slot 'em in.

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Ingersoll Road was the least ghetto row of houses I saw in Shepherd's Bush. My parents lived here. No, they can't remember the house number.

We dropped by a corner shoe shop where I bought a lovely pair of chunky-heeled boots for £25. Someone told me UK shoes last a LONG time - I hope this one does too. The owner was an Indian lady who had relatives in Malaysia, her children were doctors and dentists and she lamented UK's failing economy and how she was planning to close shop and retire. "This country is finished", she kept repeating.

After that we hopped on a bus to Westfield, because why not.

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This is the al fresco dining area of Westfield. Hello, what is this PENANG! shop?

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Since the menu is too small for you to read, you only need to know that prawn fried rice costs £6.00. That's like RM30 for FRIED RICE. Like Japan, I'm saying screw you I'll go home and eat all the fried rice I want.

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This is what Westfield looks like inside! The store directories not only point out your location, but pick your destination and it'll even show you how to get there! Saw a pair of twin baby boys in a pram throwing a tantrum about wanting to go "SHOPPING!" and their nanny/mother trying to reason with them. Mum bought nuts and tidbits for the flight home. The bookshop had a self-checkout counter where you scan the barcode, insert your money, bag your own stuff (if you want), and leave without having to encounter a human being. Also used PS3 games were going for £20 for 2. I would've bought some if I was interested in the titles. :(

A man selling Dead Sea Salt soap asked where we were from, I said Malaysia, and he started speaking in fluent Malay! He's always wanted to go to Malaysia, so I hope he gets his wish. The sea salt soap, he had an offer where you bought 3 products for £55. Thinking back that's only like RM300 for a bunch of skincare products and I've definitely bought less for that amount. Ah well. :(

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People who didn't want to walk could take this motorized scooter. Don't get run over!

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One the many resting areas Westfield has - observe the very comfy guy on my right.

Went to M&S for lunch (M&S is an anchor tenant in Westfield), shared a cup of hot chocolate - the lady saw I absolutely 'needed it' and added extra chocolate, the sweetie! - and curry chicken rice with mum because that was the only thing we could really eat.

Got some last-minute shopping in, then headed back to the hotel around 1PM. Mum had a neurosis about missing the airport transfer coach, but staying past checkout times incurred £10/HOUR so we hung out for the next...2.5 hours in the bar/lounge. Originally the plan was mum walks back to the hotel while I go to Gower Street and see whether I could suss out any clues where they were filming Sherlock and MAYBE run around London trying to catch a glimpse BUT THEN the train stopped in an unfamiliar platform, mum freaked out, and I walked her back to the hotel. By then I was too lazy to reload my Oyster card. Apparently Oyster cards cut public transport fare by half...if my train fare came to about £2.50, London must REALLY want their people to walk everywhere. No wonder I didn't see any fat people in London.

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Took a picture of this when the bag owner snuck up behind me.

Old lady: Do you think it's funny?
Me: ...I guess?
Old lady: I think it's rude, and my friend gave it to me!
Me: ....oh.
Old lady: But I'm already 84, so I might as well travel while I still can - I'm already getting forgetful!

She was from Australia (aussies travel a lot) on her 3rd trip to London with her daughter and grandchild.

Another silly story was when we took our bags down to the lobby: The hotel only has one lift, so a NZ man and his son (around 10ish) got into the lift first. The lift was also quite slow, and the man's wife took some time to reach the lobby. Her son actually said, "SHE'S NEVER COMING BAAAACK D8". The man laughed and knocked his son upside his head. Mum was mildly horrified to see such a mummy's boy, I'm wondering what sort of trauma happened for the kid to say that. Have they accidentally left her in the airport while they flew off? I wouldn't be surprised.

Anyway waiting for 2.5 hours can get very boring, so I took a short look at the park outside our hotel.

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The buildings at the back is a hall for University of London students.

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Dad explained that franked mail means mail that doesn't need stamps or something. I keep thinking Frankenstein mail, like mail that got stitched up together and needs reviving, and hot dogs are somehow involved...

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In London, apparently you only use a phone booth to call sex hotlines. >_>

The transfer coach came at 5 PM sharp!

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"St Mary Abbots Church: A place of peace, where you can ask questions, admit mistakes, and hope for answers."
I hope they paid their copywriter well.

In the airport, the metal detector was VERY sensitive and everyone wearing sneakers had to remove their shoes. I got into the body scanner, and it pinpointed something around my heart, but never got to ask what it was. :( There was a LONG corridor where you get to ask for plastic bags to put your fluids and dispose sharps, and the security guy asked me if I had ANYTHING fluid: lotions, moisturizers, creams, water, soap, detergent, foundation, medication, mascara, etc. I kept saying no, and he looked rather doubtful. I thought he'd have seen everything by now.

In the departure lounge, I had some toasted teacakes, and we browsed the shops.

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This 6-ft BEAR can be yours for only £1700! If you actually bought it, I'm just wondering HOW do you get it onto the plane?! This is just like that 4-ft Totoro I saw in Kyoto!

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Note to self: Memorize a piano ditty to play if I ever encounter random pianos. A kid was playing one at the check-in area, these pianos are scattered around the airport.

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The Airbus is so huge you don't even see it. Have a picture of Air India's plane instead, that just reminds me of the Russell Peters joke about Bollywood movies. "I know what you're thinking, even we Indians don't take that airline". Hur.

I forgot to mention on the flight TO London we sat behind an English couple who had gone to Brisbane to see their son who was working there. This would be normal if the man REALLY didn't look like Zero Punctuation's Yahtzee, but I had didn't get to ask if their son was a bar-owning videogame reviewer. Also, a LOT of planes were landing at the time so we got an aerial view of London when the plane circled at least FIVE TIMES. The couple behind us pointed out landmarks. /__\

On this flight I saw a tall bespectacled guy who looked rather cute! Unfortunately he sat too far for me to snap any pics, and he was probably transferring to Australia anyway. Dang. :(

The flight home was a LOT more bearable because everyone closed the windows and slept. I slept for at least 5 hours. The windows were always closed because any attempt to open them would bring in SUNLIGHT and MAN the sun was bright. x__x Also had to constantly wear my seatbelt because the announcement would come on at random times due to bad weather. Watched 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' starring a bunch of award-winning old British actors and the Slumdog Millionaire guy and it was 2 hours well spent. The entertainment deck also had Angela Aki AND Vocaloid albums, someone in MAS is an otaku heehee.

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Business class gets to choose food from a menu; economy class gets microwaved packs. I picked nasi briyani because apparently the ENTIRE economy class was eating nasi lemak and I didn't want to trouble the stewardess. Mum doesn't like airline food, but good thing I have no sense of taste, so the quality of the food didn't matter. Also, EVERYTHING comes with bread.

Reached home around 6, melted in Malaysian heat. Still melting.

Total damage: One bag.

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5 years of night calls and anime conventions, and it only disintegrates from a week in London. SRS.

And that wraps up my London travel log! Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed it! m(_ _)m