19 Mar 2006

london weekend trip

as i said, i hopped down to london on friday night to see off my friend joanne. she's a friend i made way back in high school through a friend. i didn't really see her much until uni where she started going out with one of my very good friends. since then she's been a good friend which i sometimes share problems with.

well, she had made her way to london for half a year on some law firm rotation thingy (they call it seconded, but they pronounce it in a weird way to make it sound all poncy). she's leaving next week, so i was down for a farewell dinner thing.

surprise meeting

turns out there were like 14, 15 people there, most of them either lawyers (grr..) or bankers (grr grr..). to my surprise, there were a couple of aussies in the midst, and from sydney as well. i have to clarify here, these aussie-asians, so the same type as me. the best thing of all was that i bumped into a friend of mine back in high school called shaun. he (unbeknownst to me) made it to oxford and then ended up working at the prime minister's office. yeah, he gets to see tony blair regularly -- and he's an aussie-asian. figure that out.

it was cool meeting up with him, because i had not realised what people had been up to, and he even told me there 's a 10 year high school reunion this year. damn, has it been that long? i remember a graduated in 1997, so it can't be. hrmm. also got the gossip whats up with some of the ultra elite people in my high school (i never made it into the top 20 in my high school), and some of them have gone on to doing PhDs at MIT, Harvard, Stanford, etc.

thing is i was never really good friends with him, since he was in what we/they term as the A-crew. you can sort of guess what that means, these are the people who us inferiors would look up upon and call them nerds because they made it into the A-class for all their subjects. even though you didn't bond well in high school, when you bump into them later in life, you feel much closer to them than any other people when you're in a foreign country.

anyway, just wanted to share one of the best friday nights i've had this year. i think it is the first time i haven't felt alone in this world -- and plus talking the shaun made me realise how important it is the chase your dream and figure out what you really want to make out of your life. not what some friend or family thinks you should do with your life.

i hope i get some chance to meet up with him again next time i go down to london.

expensive dinner

other things at the dinner, it was at covent garden at a place called detroit. the food was excellent, but you'd expect that after paying £36/pp. beer and drinks were super expensive there, if you think castle pub is expensive, wait till you go down here for some lame imported lager. yet these lawyer people could all stomach the cost -- but hell, i haven't gone out for dinner in 2 months, so i could afford to splash out a little.

btw, that 36 quid basically was for some drinks, black ink pasta with cuttlefish and a really really nice grape, walnut, pecan rocket lettuce salad. i just realised that is basically $A80, which meant i could of been eating all the lobster and salmon sashimi i could stomach for 2 days straight. that is how crazy it is to eat out in london. i'm really thinking whether i want to work here after i finish with cambridge.

illegal beer

i didn't fancy doing taking the cinderella train back to cambridge on friday night, so i opted to crash at manfred's place (cinderella train = last train before 12). turns out i rushed out of cambridge so quickly that i forgot to bring any sleeping clothes, toothbrush etc.

i said goodbye to joanne and wished her luck as she was going to rome for 4 days before heading back to hk. told her about all the things to look out for like the pickpockets on the subway and the bag slicing thieves.

i met up with manfred at covent garden and we managed to catch the last tube back to oxford circus. not feeling like we wanted to end the night so quickly, we went round to the convenience store for some beer. the beer was in plain view in the fridge, but when we decided to choose something, the shopkeeper told us that we couldn't buy any because it was past 11pm. fair enough.

so we was about the reach for some 7up when the last customer in the store had left, and suddenly the shopkeeper decided that he'd sell us beer after all. except we have to put them in our bags. hey, i don't care about breaking the law here, nice to see some sense in these shop keepers. so thanks to the law flouting shop keeper who kept the night flowing for us.

we went and chatted till 3am, about everything from our ambitions, to relationships, to architecture, to tech, to work, etc. it was great fun. as i had 5 pints of beer, i had a bit of a hangover the next day.

saturday lunch + double espresso + apple store

we met up with some friends that manfred had been asked to meet up with -- which he didn't know before. its one of those things where you go to some place new, and someone says "hey, my cousin/sister/friend lives there, i'll give you their number and you can give them a call!" i never follow through with that sort of stuff, but i suppose they might be been really bored of london.

they were great people tho, really friendly, in that american type of way. they were from the states. we had some traditional fish and chips, but rather than the beer at lunch, i opted for a double espresso to clear my head. once that was clear, i could remember my usual subliminal london visiting objective. that is, i have to visit the london apple store. again, this doesn't disappoint. i checked out the ipod hifi which i ranted on about before, the sound isn't thaaat good, but it is better than all the other ipod speaker docks. but seriously, i dunno if i would call it home audio quality.

the macbook pro is great, the magsafe power supply really does work, the built in isight camera was pretty decent quality. the rosetta stuff isn't bad, microsoft word was usable for typing documents, but i'm not sure how other sutff like photoshop would be.

so thats about all there is to say about my trip to london. this is a much longer post than usual, but many things happened that i'd like to reflect on -- and bore all you guys to death. btw, to those who actually know the characters i'm talking about, it wouldn't kill you to drop me a note :P

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