Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Jalan-Jalan London 2017

Oh where do I even begin? For starters, we've not been back to the UK for a couple of years, so you bet we were damn excited. The initial plan was to go during the mid-year school break, but as it coincides with Ramadhan this year, we decided to utilise the one-week March holidays instead. So effectively we didn't have to wait to long. Woohoo!

We arrived on a Saturday morning and made our way to the hotel near Paddington. And oh, it's also the first time in a good many years that we're in the UK in very early spring, so we travelled a little light. But still, the temperature throughout was mostly in the single digit, and there were days when we had to break out the gloves.

The first order of business was to get some breakfast, and of course, it had to be croissants and coffee at Pret. Ah, how we've missed the simple pleasures of the place.

Then, it was time to walk the city. From Marble Arch, we walked the length of Oxford Street, and eventually to Regent Street, where things got interesting.

We had seen quite a bit of people sitting around carrying placards and soon it became apparent that there was some sort of demonstration or protest was about to take place. And as we came out of Hamleys, a sea of people had started their march down the road, chanting anti-racism slogans and displaying various placards carrying the same message.

This was Tia's first experience being in the thick of full-fledged protest and she was just excited and happy at the same time to see people converging to spread positivity. And after some coaxing, she mustered enough courage to join the march! So proud of her!

So that was Day One. And the next few days were spent doing our favourite London things. : )

We also took the bus a bit more this time around, so rather than just the darkness of tunnels on the underground, we got to see some pretty interesting things we haven't seen before.

Tia also wanted to go the the YouTube Creator Store, the first in the world apparently, so we went to King's Cross to get there. And of course Tia got a bit emo when we finally found it. Hehe.

We also found the Harry Porter store at Platform 3/4, King's Cross, which was totally a pleasant surprise!

Then it was back to more shopping and enjoying the cool weather. Tia did mention to me that since she's also a couple of years older since our last trip, she could appreciate things more. So, there was still some fresh excitement when we got to places like Notting Hill, Westfield London, Covent Garden and our 'ol hood, the Tower Bridge.

And of course, London's Little Malaysia, Bayswater : )

I also made it a point to visit Central Film School, where I did my filmmaking certificate course. It was great to see Adam, who was a classmate and now works at the school. Central have got more students now, and have taken up more space to accommodate everyone. It was great to see!

Of course, I also enjoyed the familiar sights and smells of nearby Brick Lane, and we also had a quick lunch of lamb chops at my favourite place there, Jungle Baraai : )

We also spent a couple of days in Liverpool! Which I will write more about in the next post.

But on day we returned to London, we got news about the Westminster attack. As a result, people were visibly jittery, and we had to take a detour as the M6 was closed.

As we finally arrived at the Victoria Coach Station, we were also told that some of the roads, and underground stations around Westminster were closed. But we got back to the hotel safely.

The next day, we went to Trafalgar Square, and it was almost business as usual. Tourists were out enjoying the sights, but we could see some heavy police presence as investigations into the incident got underway. Here's my video:

For the first time too, Tia and mama went for a musical at the West End. I gave them three choices, and both of them chose "Thriller Live", featuring the music of Michael Jackson!

And of course they had a blast, especially Tia, who is very much into performing arts these days. "I can totally see myself as a performer here," she said after the show : )

It was just awesome to be back here, but after a week, we had to face to reality flying home. Hope to see you again very, very soon, London!


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