London, United Kingdom 2013

Since graduating from university in 2003, I’ve not paid a visit to the United Kingdom. But after leaving the place for almost 10 years, I went back to the United Kingdom to visit Liverpool and London.

I didn’t like London as much as I did the last time I came to London. I guess I didn’t like the long walks as I don’t walk a lot in Kuala Lumpur. In fact, I had blisters on my feet for few days!

In our first week, we stayed at Croydon,  a small town located at Zone 5. It’s so far away that it costs me 100 pounds of taxi fare just to get there from Heathrow Airport! 

Fortunately, we moved to a friend’s apartment at Maida Vale at Zone 2. She just moved out from her apartment and we had the whole apartment for ourselves! Her place is strategically located few minutes away from the tube. There’s also a great coffee place by the name Elgin. I went there so many times until the baristas recognise me.

I visited places that I have been before and never been before. I find that every part of London is very different. One place could be extremely posh whereas the other looks like a dumpster. 

We visited a few markets such as Borough Market, Portobello Market, Convent Garden Market and Camden Market. I was hoping to find some antiques but I couldn’t find anything interesting.

St Christopher’s Place @ Oxford Street. This place has an interesting entrance. It’s unassuming but once you step through the narrow alley, you’ll find yourself in pedestrianised streets with boutiques and restaurants.

We also made a trip to British Museum again. I find that most of the stuff is still the same. But this time round, I got to see stuff I missed last time.

Lindow Man , a well preserved human body found in a peat-bog at Lindow Moss, near Manchester. He was killed sometime around 2BC – 119A. Poor chap looks like dried cuttlefish.

Contract for a sale of land craved on a rock – 1033BC!

Roman coins

We came at the time when Catherine Middleton gave birth to Prince George Alexander Louis. Since the Royal couple did not announce whether they are having a boy and a girl, most Royal baby commemorative items were unisex. I also didn’t see any commemorative items bearing the Prince’s name. However, the Daily Mail reported that cybersquatters registered nearly 200 domain names connected to the royal baby!

We were in Austria when the royal baby was born. The Buckingham Palace was filled with well wishers when the royal baby was born. When we came back, my wife and I visited the palace hoping to witness the celebration but it was already over. It was back to its tourisy self.

We also signed up for the London Haunted Tour to check out the haunted scenes of London. However, I find this walk more of an historical walk than a haunted tour. The so-called haunted stories were so old that they are not scary anymore. However, I enjoyed the walk to all the historical places and obscure places.

This is where the original London Bridge started

One of the oldest parts of London. Narrow streets and once infested with the plague. Was told that night soil was normally through from the top floor!

One of the many obscure old pubs hidden in the lanes of London city

Leadenhall Market, one of the oldest markets in London dating back to the 14th Century. This place was featured in the movie Harry Potter.

Mice fight over cheese on a ledge in Philpot Lane. One of the smallest sculptures in London.

We visited the site where the first coffee house stood.

Statue of George Peabody – touch his shoes for good luck, I think.

Before we left London for home, we managed to catch Wicked, a musical based on the classic story The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Apollo Victoria Theater, where the play was shown, is huge hall but with a small foyer. Although it was hot and stuffy in the hall, I enjoyed the musical very much. We sat quite far from the stage. My wife rented a binocular for a pound.

Mobile Working

Since I practice some sort of mobile office system, I have a few words about this.

Mobile working is affordable in the UK. The place in we stayed in Maida Vale doesn’t have broadband. Also, it’s not easy to find free WiFi in London.

Hence, I got a Three Mobile Simcard for 1 pound topped it with 10 pounds worth of credit. I then use an iPhone to tether the Internet connection so that I can go online with my Samsung Ultrabook.

But Three Mobile’s connection is pretty crap. It’s slow and unreliable.

It’s amazing what one can do with a mobile office. When I was in Austria, I filed a trade mark application for a client online!

Law firms

As usual, I met some lawyers from a UK law firm that I work with. I’ve worked with some of them for many years whereas some just recently. It’s interesting to note that these lawyers are of many nationalities such as Spanish, Polish, Indian and American!

This firm also has a very strong data protection department. Due to their capabilities, they expanded their practice to Europe and recently in California. Surprising, one of them knows a Chinese lawyer that I met in Chiang Mai few years ago. What a small world! 

I saw one law firm in Liverpool with a retail outlet as their office. They offer very low fixed fee legal services and these services are generally for individuals. Such modal makes legal access cheaper to the public. Unfortunately, such modal is not acceptable in Malaysia.

We met up with Sow in London for dinner and drinks.

Sow in 2005

Sow was my barf bag holder for few years before leaving to UK for good.

Although its been 5 years since we hung out together, we had a great time catching up and drinking. We had dinner and a few pints at a pub called Hornimen @ Hays, London Bridge. After than Sow brought us one of those obscure hipster cocktail bars. You wont find a fancy entrance but a small door with a small sign. The one we went to had an oriental theme at the 4th floor of a restaurant. Their drinks were divided into types of alcohol eg champagne, vermont, vodka and whisky.

After drinks, we followed Sow to Chinatown for supper. Never felt so fat in my life before.

I also met up with Liz, one of my Multilaw friends whom I met in Chiangmai, Thailand. We had lunch in Tower Hill. She even brought me to the law firm where she works. The reception looks pretty modern and their open plan office is behind the reception. The firm recently had a merger and a few lawyers got laid off. It’s not the first time I hear lawyers being laid off and it is common in the UK and the US. However, I’ve not heard of lawyers being laid off in Kuala Lumpur!


After 2 weeks, we finally left the United Kingdom for home. I came to the realization that metropolitan life is not for me. I still like my semi hermit lifestyle and driving around whenever I want to. I guess I don’t like spending British Pounds when I’m earning in Ringgit Malaysia.

Nevertheless, I’ll come back to London again – when Ringgit Malaysia foreign exchange rate improves!