The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Monday, 21 March 2011

First impressions of London

We are here in London, after a 1 hour flight delay and 13 hours in the air. I am short on sleep, but thankfully not jet-lagged (unlike that time we went to New York). I dozed for about 10 minutes on the plane (sleep and me, we hardly meet on planes), so I zonked out on the bed quite easily after we arrived at our London apartment around 10pm. Zak, on the other hand, slept unusually well during the flight, so he is still adjusting and hence the reason why I am short on sleep.

(Images in this post are unedited because I am using the tiny ASUS that can't even handle viewing images.)

Food and caffeine @ Starbucks - blueberry yogurt, greek yogurt with granola, babyccino for Zak, grilled beef and cheese panini, and a tall cappuccino (not in shot). Coffee is pretty cheap in London:

On our first day in London yesterday, we spent some time getting food supplies and acquainting ourselves with the neighbourhood. However, the very first thing we did was to get some breakfast at Starbucks. Rob was starving and was very happy when we sat down in Starbucks for some late breakfast. We had nothing in the apartment, and because it was Sunday, most shops were shut. Thankfully there is a really nice supermarket (Waitrose) just around the corner from here which opens on Sundays but only from 11am. I could get everything from fresh groceries and cleaning stuff to allergy medication and thermometer. Being Sunday, the roads were quite dead, but we saw plenty of bicyclists and special bicycle lanes marked out on the roads. Nice change after Tokyo (where there are lots of bicycles but not encouraged on the roads, which then makes it unsafe for pedestrians) and Hong Kong (just plain unsafe on the roads with the shocking driving, and impractical to go with pedestrian traffic down the underground subway system and/or up the overhead footpaths).

Zak chillaxing on this massive swing at the playground:

One thing that took us by surprise was how friendly Londoners are. Through tales of others who'd been to London before me, I got the impression that people here are usually unsmiling, always gloomy to match the weather. I'm glad to report that it is definitely not like that at all! For example, I found a lovely park with playground near our apartment, and there I met a mum who introduced to me a "stay-and-play" playgroup at the school next to the park that is open to the public for free. Informational treasures like this can only come from local knowledge, or by doing some hard homework of scouring the internet. I probably won't use the playgroup much in the next 11 days because I intend to explore London a bit, but it is definitely good to know something like that exists in the area just in case my plans for the day don't work out. So far I like what I've seen of London, and I can understand why so many of my friends love it here.


  1. That's awesome you are visiting London :) I will be in London in a month for vacation! Too bad we will miss each other.

  2. I like London, and I think you will to. Yeah, shame that we will miss each other. Enjoy London!