Thursday, June 11, 2009

a surreal night

i was oncall on monday night. it was a busy call and i only managed to come home to have dinner (mom cooked) around 2am. it was the night where the racial riots took place in kamunting, and A+E was crazy mad with injured people.

i was a little woozy from fatigue, i was hungry and thirsty as hell, and as i sat down to dinner i figured i should watch some telly.

so that night, i had dinner at 2am, while watching The Simpsons, while being on call, while racial riots were erupting not far away from me. whoa. i think it was the most surreal night of my life.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

costs and expenses

i think i spent maybe RM4000 in the UK, not including my airfare. this included food, overland transportation, souvenirs, entrance tickets, newspapers, bric-a-bracs, books, assorted snacks, some change for buskers, some tips for waiters, some handouts to beggars.

i think it was well-spent! i am a very happy man. but here are what i think are the best experiences for me (and their costs):

FREE:
1. walks around London.
2. playing football in Regents Park (and scoring 8 goals).
3. falling asleep on a park bench alongside the Thames, opposite Westminster, in the spring sunshine.
4. going to Parliament to watch the debates - especially during the whole expenses-claims saga.

70p:
1. unquestionably, The Guardian. almost every day. including Sundays, when it takes a small forest to produce the weekend editions (GBP2 weekends).

GBP2.50:
1. a jacket potato with liberal smearings of mayo and spicy beans - somewhere in Covent Garden.

GBP4.79:
1. The Guardian, a sandwich and a hot chocolate from Subway, a park bench and the spring sunshine.

GBP5:
1. ticket to Star Trek in Leicester Square, down from GBP13.50. i wandered aimlessly into the cinema looking for ticket prices, around 45 minutes before the show. a guy sees my aimlessness, makes for me and asks if i wanted to buy a ticket to Star Trek, that he doesn't mind selling to me for GBP5. so i buy it - and i had a wonderful show!

GBP7.99:
1. a three course Italian meal - minestrone, carbonara, icecream. i never knew Italian could be so delicious.

GBP8:
1. i bought a map of Canada for this price - from 1882. it's a new hobby - cartography!

GBP9:
1. KUNIYOSHI! the grand Japanese master of block painting had an exhibition in the Royal Academy of Arts - i struggled for 2 days to decide whether or not to pay to see his works, which i can see for free online. i'm glad something in me was spendthrift!

GBP16.50:
1. free travel on the Tube and buses for a whole week!!

**big gap here huh? some multiple-items receipts amount to somewhere between 16.50-35.00, but i have no single items in this range - i guess i'm either in the cheapskates section, or the upper crust**

GBP35:
1. Adam Duritz and the Counting Crows, with my sister. fantastic smashing concert - and i'm very glad for the company of someone i love very very very dearly.

GBP38:
1. tickets to the Guiness Premiership Rugby Finals between London Irish and Leicester Tigers, and sitting next to a Scot who supports the Irish, and told me the history of that team.

GBP65.50:
1. Seat 942, Row 12, Block 125, Upper Tier - Arsenal v Chelsea (sigh... why did they have to lose 1-4?)

GBP200 (or what may have been):
1. a guy stopped me while i was walking along Baker Street, and offered me a brand new Sony VAIO laptop worth GBP990 for GBP200. instantly i smelled a thief. stupidly (or bravely), i followed him to a side road where he showed me a brand new Sony VAIO laptop with Windows Vista. i made an excuse and said no - though i would have been severely tempted by a MacBook haha!

***

the last time i was in London, i was a (semi)impoverished student going for debate tournaments and sleeping in people's dorms.

this time, i'm a working professional with money enough to spend. ahh the wonders of purchasing power!

Monday, June 01, 2009

funny how i don't write anymore

touching down on home shores brings chores rushing back to you - calls, patients, work, souvenirs, unpacking, laundry, sleep, re-synchronisation of body-mind-soul to pass another exam - phew.

it's back to sesquipedalian jargonistic speech - like encephalopathy, fronto-temporo-parietal haemorrhage and Addisonian crises. for two glorious weeks, i was living off a palette of beautifully sculpted monosyllabic words - lunch, walk, sun, newspapers (okay, fine, so that's three syllables), parks and sleep.

but hey i can look forward to another holiday at the end of this particular leg of my journey? perhaps three weeks in Indochina, riding elephants and motorcycles, eating beef noodles and fried crickets, witnessing cock-fighting and muay thai.

yes - i'd love that!