? London Day Trip II
Getting down to London was chaotic. My taxi arrived 15 minutes before my train departure and I got to the train station 2 minutes departure, the quick-ticket machine didn?t work and I had to queue up for a long time to collect my ticket, the code I gave didn?t work and the lady on the counter had to use some other measures. Fortunately, the train was delayed by 15 minutes and I thought for second that my luck changed after all. I spoke too soon, my train was delayed for 2 hours, stopping and slowing down numerous times due to loads of technicalities.
Ka Bien and Gin Yew waited patiently at the train station for 2 hours. We finally met up at Chinatown for lunch.
Ka Bien lives with her rich uncle in London now. She has not been eating meat for the past few days as her aunty is a vegetarian and she doesn?t allow meat to be cooked at home. She ate our Crispy Peking duck with great pleasure! 😀
Gin Yew on the other hand didn?t change much, except that he slept less nowadays. He?s been working and he said that he didn?t sleep throughout the night before he came here.
Our first destination was Westminster, where all the tourist spots are located. We took pictures of the Westminster Abbey and headed to London Eye for bird eye?s view of the city. It costs 11 pounds per person and we queued for half an hour. Ka Bien bought a small booklet with panoramic pictures of London city with descriptions. It even has tips for taking photographs, i.e, not to use flash when taking pictures because the glass might reflect it.
The ride went very slowly. The carriage we were in could fit up to 15 people. It was pretty hard to take pictures as people were crowding on one side of the carriage. But the view was fabulous. We could see the bright modern parts of London and the gloomy parts of the suburbs.
The ride lasted for half an hour. And while we were descending, there was an announcement. Apparently, they?re going to take a picture of us in the carriage. Ka Bien, Gin yew and I posed immediately. Those buggers charged us 6 pounds for the photo.
We wandered around Westminster Abbey to take some photos. Since it is Ka Bien?s first visit to Westminster, she took loads of pictures of the Big Ben, House of Commons and House of Lords.
Buckingham Palace was our next destination. While we were heading there, we stopped by St. Andrew?s park, which is located opposite of the palace. It was built in the 1500s and beautifully decorated with trees and flowerbeds. Low fences were built around the lake so that ducks and swans can?t run around the park. Most of them hung around the fence, waiting for people to feed them. The park was crowded with people. We took couple of pictures and rested on the bench for a while before heading back to Buckingham Palace.
The security in Buckingham Palace wasn?t tight at all. There was only 2 policemen guarding an opened gate even though the Queen is in the palace (if the United Kingdom flag is raised high, it means the Queen is at home :D)
We were expecting the redcoat palace guards standing outside the palace but there were only 2 of them standing inside the palace. We can barely see it hence we couldn?t take a good picture of it.
We headed to Tower Bridge by tube. The bridge was built in the 1900s and it serves as a symbolic monument of London (I always thought it was some medieval bridge). The area around the bridge costs a bomb. Ka Bien?s uncle owns a one bedroom apartment around there and it is valued about 400 million pounds. We took some pictures (as usual), crossed the bridge and headed to Chinatown to meet up with Daniel and bush.
Chinatown was dead quiet. Seems that there were rumours that Chinatown was infected with SARS. bush was supposed to meet up with us in the morning but he slept while waiting for me (thanks to my 2 hours delayed train). We wanted Japanese food and asked Daniel to bring us to one. However, he said that there aren?t many Japanese restaurants in London and most of them are expensive and not so delicious. He was right. The food in the restaurant we went in Soho called Satsumi wasn?t nice at all. Damn, I miss Melbourne Japanese food especially Una don from Yoyogi at Swanston Street! Anyway, bush finally dropped by at Satsumi to say hi. He left in a while.
Gin yew?s birthday is 2 days away hence Ka Bien and I treated him dinner. He?s 23 years old this year.
London underground is a bloody chaotic place. Everyone and everything moves so fast. Daniel and I were caught in the rush hour. The tube was packed like a can of sardines and people kept on pushing and shoving other people into the tube.
Going home was dramatic. I managed to get to the train 1 minute before departure, some madman harassed me by asking me loads of question which I didn?t understand a word and eventually left stranded in Darby (which is 1? hour away from Sheffield). The train stopped suddenly in Darby and announced that there?s a bus waiting to drive us down to Sheffield. It was an unexpected move as all of us were expecting to be brought back to Sheffield by train. We got off the train and a man started scolding the train driver. He was pretty pissed with the unexpected event and told the train driver, ?you could go home by a taxi and we have to take a bus home?? The train driver replied that there would be a bus for us. Unfortunately, there isn?t any bus. No one organised a bus for us. The same man went to the counter and started complaining loudly. Half an hour later, Midland mainline (the train operator) organised a bus for us. Everyone felt relieved but only for a short period. While we were at Chesterfield station (half an hour away from Sheffield), the bus stopped unexpectedly and announced that this is his last stop. He has not received any orders to bring us to Sheffield. Everyone gasped in disbelieve. One of them even shouted, ?You?re joking!? The bus driver was pissed. He got off the bus and went into station to speak with the management. Few minutes later, he got into the bus back and complained, ?This is the last time we?ll supply busses to Midland mainline?. He drove us all the way back to Sheffield.
While we were in Sheffield, a man with a German Shepard came up to the bus driver and politely asked him to be dropped in a specific area. The bus driver refused to stop and reasoned it by saying it?s against insurance policy. The man said, ?oh it?s okay then? and suddenly, he grabbed the front door and opened it. He threatened to jump if the bus doesn?t stop. He even claimed that the bus driver would be liable if he jumps. The bus driver drove even faster. He even beat a traffic light. The ordeal lasted less than a minute and the bus had to stop due to traffic light. The man with his dog jumped out from the bus and thanked the bus driver.
Remember I said that something is stopping me from getting my tickets? Now I know why. If I didn?t get my ticket, I would have been spared from such ordeal. But yet, I?m glad I?m still in one piece 😀
London Day Trip II
Only one photo available, havent developed the rest yet 😀