Tuesday, July 13, 2010

London

London's weather is perfect now, around 20 C, sometimes cloudy, sometimes sunny. I was at Oxford St & Marylebone St this afternoon and had a wonderful time window-shopping. Maybe it's good that the shoes I want are not available in my size and I'm in between sizes for the skirt I fell in love with. I've put back the weight I lost in Europe, can you believe it. Maybe I never lost any in the first place and it was just the difference in scales. Bummer. But that didn't stop me from eating the super sweet (but not very flavorsome) Pakistani mangoes, donut peaches (as they call them here), ice cream and sandwiches. I also seem to have a strange craving for fizzy drinks, something I don't usually drink. I think it's the human propensity for things that are forbidden.

I'm not able to put up any photos since there's no card reader here. My daughter'll arrive tomorrow night and that's when we'll paint London red:)) In Italy and Spain, the ladies were all in summer dresses and sandals and looked so carefree and pretty. Here some girls are wearing black leggings and sweaters. And they all look too pale. So different. We bought cheap 10 euros dresses and mine went into the washer last night and came out shrunk by half. I'm not too upset about that since I looked like a pregnant grandma in it. The preggy look has been in for too long. Bring back the waistline! And don't you just love jeggings with high heels. But at £170 a pair in Selfridges..I'll stick to my old jeans. I couldn't find D & G's lipstick in Italy but found them at Selfridges. Any one tried Tom Ford's new lipsticks yet? I saw a queue at LV in Selfridges. What's with LV and Asians?? At the Prada outlet in Florence, it was mostly the Koreans who were snapping up the bags. When I walked in, there was still a full-leather Prada bag but after one round around the store, it was gone. No offence but I think Dior, Lowe and Gucci have the ugliest bags. Is it Bond St where all the jewellers are? I've never seen diamonds as big as quail's eggs (almost) and they are all there. Big cities really are about materialism. It'll be hard to have much savings in big cities...

In the toss-up between Cambridge and Oxford for best place to visit, the travel guide books recommend Cambridge as the prettier city. I nearly went there today until I found out that the journey one way would take about 3 hours. I've had enough of bus rides! I am bummed to know that Cambridge is only 25 miles from Stansted Airport. 

London's tube fares are the highest of any European city I've been to. Fare from Baker St to Willesden Green (6 stops?) is £2.30. That's a big rip off, Londoners. I can travel anywhere in Paris for 1.60 euros or was it 1.30 euros. Italy too.

Again, I am impressed by the many small green patches or parks that dot the city. In Italy, we looked for parks to eat our sandwiches and we couldn't find any. In fact, Italian cities are devoid of trees. In London, there are lots of greenery and pretty pots of colorful flowers hanging on lamp posts and windows. The thing missing is cobblestone which is what makes continental Europe so rustic and medieval-looking.

I'm also relieved I'm in a city where English is the language spoken. In fact, I'm enjoying it so much that I'm beginning to like the British accent, provided it's not too strong.  Of the 3 countries I was in the last two weeks (Italy, Spain and France), Spain was the hardest for information and direction enquiries because the average Spanaird doesn't speak much English. The French speak good English (albeit very accented) and the Italians too. The Italians are extremely friendly to and appreciative of women. The English men don't seem to even look at women, the French men do but the Italian men openly ogle up and down, no shyness about their amorous nature.Oh, I finally met the rude French who fulfilled the Rude French Person stereotype that the non-French population has experienced. I'm kind of pleased I experienced the RFP or I'll be the only one among my friends to not have the experience . I was at the SNCF office in the train station in Marseilles and the queue was very very long. Took 40 minutes before my turn. When I asked to buy tickets to Genova, Italy, the French girl said crossly, rudely, "I don't speak English" (in a tone that sounded like it's my problem I can't speak French) and turned sideway to her computer and started working on it like I wasn't there. I was incredulous. What, is it my problem you don't speak English, you...that's what I would've liked to tell her but I waited a couple of seconds, not knowing how to deal with the situation and then I said loudly, lifting up my shoulders, palms up, "SO?" She turned back to me, still not smiling (I imagined slapping her silly), and said "Where you want to go?", Story short, she finally directed me to her colleague who was better educated and mannered. Somebody should tell her she's there to give service so she should learn some English and manners. But to be fair, I don't let one bad apple spoil everything because I've found the French to be very friendly and helpful and they never fail to greet you "Bonjour" and "Merci". The fact is there are rude people anywhere. But then again, you will never get that sort of treatment in Asia. If they can't speak English, Asians will apologize and find someone who does. That's the Asian way.

Btw, does anyone know where I can see some modern kitchen showrooms in London?

18 comments:

zurin said...

glad to know your enjoying yourself. Bet you cant wait for Yi to join you, cant imagine what'll you'll do! LOL Have fun! :)

Johnathan Oh said...

Hi Terri, glad to see you in a higher note. Cheers and enjoy your trip! :)

Anonymous said...

Ah, that ain’t nothing, just do it! That’s truly you, Terri. You are one gutsy lady. Don’t think I could have done the same; not with lugging big bags by oneself. But you got through it & we benefited from your sharing of the experience. You literally took us through the ups and downs of your travel.
When are u back in KK? We’re in KK now till July 30. Will email you my contact # in KK. Hope to see you before we return to T.O. Enjoy the rest of your trip.

Mike C

tina said...

What are you doing tomorrow afternoon? Wanna have lunch with me?

terri@adailyobsession said...

zurin: am nearly wishing i have more time here...

jo: thnx, i will:)

mike: be back on 19 july. make sure u n family can have lunch/dinner with us.

tina: i'm home all alone today with nothing to do bc i'll wait for my girl to sight see n shop. if i knew u had lunch intentions, i'd have gone meet u today! aiya. i'll be shopping the next few days so if u have time, we can have lunch (on me since u r cooking dinner on sat). am looking forward to meeting u!did i tell u you tt in your profile pic, you look exactly like one of my close friends.

i have a phone card but can't open up my phone to put in the card. haha, helpless housewife who gets these things done by her kids.

tina said...

Terri

Please check your email. Gave you my office number to call so no need to use mobile. Hopefully there is a landline where you are or give me the number there and I will call you.

Anonymous said...

Hello there! I have been reading your blog for quite sometime. I am a Malaysian living in London for 10 years now. Here are some tips that will hopefully help you to enjoy London more. To find cobbles street, they are around London Bridge area. Walk along the riverside for different views of London. Modern Kitchen showrooms would be far from the central city itself. But, you can try along Tottenham Court Road towards the furniture shops such as habitat. Do keep in touch (email:jessicachiew@hotmail.com) maybe we might meet in London before you go. Take care.

Jessica

Anonymous said...

Tt's great, will catch up w/ U then.

Cheers,
Mike C

Audrey.c said...

Hey!...

im from kk as well been your follower for 2years! and you were in cambridge? i love Cambridge! anyway.. you should
try out sketch for their dessert (tea session) they are amazing!...
here's the link
http://www.sketch.uk.com/

there's loads more nice scones n tea places!
if u wan u can jus drop me an email
cvchew@gmail.com

fieeee said...
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fieeee said...
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mvmaithai said...

Enjoyed your posting on your travels in Europe. Can't wait to see pictures as I haven't been to London in years:-(! Not sure about kitchen showrooms, but I love Conran. Perhaps you've already been there. They have stuff for the homes, including lots of kitchen items.

I was back in Pahang, Malaysia almost ten years ago, and all I remember is how hot it was! There were no parks anywhere! If there were, there are no trees! The giant tree behind my mom's old house was cut down. It is so sad:-( We used to climb and play on it when we were kids. Did people not know it takes over a hundred years to grow a tree that big?
I thought Singapore has a better foresight in preserving their trees and homes, and building parks for the public to enjoy.

Tilda said...

Hello...
I'm a student studying in UK. =) Since I've been living here for 4 years, I still think a day travel card is the cheapest way to travel throughout London. It's about 5pounds for the whole day which includes bus and tube.

I've studied college in Cam and now placement in Oxford, I still recommmend Cam. Punting in the summer while seeing the colleges is a must. =) You can try to find out 2for1 travel whilst you're in London or maybe fares to outbound London. It says 10pound return Oxford or Cambridge. I guess that's the cheapest train I've seen for this trip you're looking for, unless you prefer the long bus ride (National Express). Here's a link to check out. Hope it helps...
http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/times_fares/promotions/pr08b746b65443a085031e0defafc4af/details.html

Tilda

jaslyn said...

It's nice to know you're enjoying your stay in London. Have you been to Borough market? You really should, since you like food and fresh produce :)

Anonymous said...

Why do you expect a French person working in France to be able to speak English to customers? I can't speak Malay - when I was in Malaysia, I tried my luck using English and if the person didn't speak English, only Malay, I never got angry because they 'only' knew their national language. And BTW, I encountered many unhelpful non-English speaking Malaysians but was never arrogant enough to presume that they should speak *my* language. Instead I felt slightly apologetic that I was unable to speak even simple Malay.

terri@adailyobsession said...

anon: france as one of the top economy n advanced country in the world shd shape its citizens up like other european countries such as netherlands, sweden, germany who acknowledge that english is the international language most widely used for communication between people of different languages. whether you like it or not, no other language is as international as english and if your country opens its doors to tourists, it is an advantage to know the language especially when you are in the service industry. if this lady was in a small town where no tourists visit, i could understand it but this was marseilles, the second or third largest city in france.

you shouldn't presume tt i was arrogant either about the french lady not being able to speak english. i was not angry either about her poor language skills. it was her bad and rude attitude, turning away and refusing to serve me. the correct thing to do would be to direct me to another person, not ignore me. there were so many people behind me soo so it was awkward. i didn't fault her for being non-lingual or non-englsih speaking, you totally misunderstood my point.

in malaysia i would have a lower expectation since malaysia is a second-tier country and doesn't get tt many toursits. and lastly, your feeling apologetic that you can't even speak a word of malay is rightly so bc you sure sound like a malaysian/singaporean or at least an ex-such.

terri@adailyobsession said...

'mono-lingual' not 'non-lingual'

Anonymous said...

I apologize if I misunderstood your point. I have to say that as a non-Malay speaker in Malaysia, I encountered such an attitude many times and so I do understand your irritation at the unhelpful behaviour.

And BTW, the reason why I do not speak Malay is that I was not allowed to study it in school.

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