Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Day 1 - London

New Mumbai Airport
(Took a flight from Singapore to London - via Mumbai)

The infrastructure of India is improving, unfortunately, the efficiency of the airport needs to catch-up with its modern building. Inefficiency is quite a pain, and it took us sometime to get off the plane and get onto the main terminal.

Vegetarian KFC!! (Mumbai Airport)


Wiki:"London is the capital city of England and the United Kingdom.[4] It is the most populous city in the United Kingdom, with a metropolitan area of over 13 million inhabitants. Standing on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its founding by the Romans, who named itLondinium."

This was my first visit to London, and I was really excited about it. Singapore being a ex-colony of British, some things are kind of familiar - the 3-pin power socket is the same, left-hand traffic, and most importantly, everything is in English!

My first impression of London (Mayfair).

Mayfair. London

Wiki:"Mayfair is an area of central London, by the east edge of Hyde Park, in the City of Westminster. The district is now mainly commercial, with many former homes converted into offices for major corporations headquarters, embassies, and also hedge funds and real estate businesses. There remains a substantial quantity of residential property as well as some exclusive shopping and restaurants, as well as London's largest concentration of five star hotels. Rents are among the highest in London and the world."

I stayed at Millennium Hotel at Mayfair (thanks to the credit card perks!!). The room rate is really expensive (S$380/night, US$300/night) for a 4-star hotel and room is really small. Indeed, London is very expensive.

Bike Bay
(Love the idea of cycling in a city. It's green!)

Rental rates

Leisure walking is just a pleasure in London.
Arriving from the crowded Singapore, I appreciate big open space a lot more.


Wiki: "Buckingham Palace is the London residence and principal workplace of the monarchy of the United Kingdom.[3] Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is often at the centre of state occasions and royal hospitality. It has been a focus for the British people at times of national rejoicing.

Originally known as Buckingham House, the building which forms the core of today's palace was a large townhouse built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703 on a site which had been in private ownership for at least 150 years. It was subsequently acquired by King George III in 1761[4] as a private residence for Queen Charlotte and was known as "The Queen's House". During the 19th century it was enlarged, principally by architects John Nash and Edward Blore, who formed three wings around a central courtyard. Buckingham Palace finally became the official royal palace of the British monarch on the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837."

Buckingham Palace

Went for a tour (£21/S$42/US$33) in the Buckingham Palace, it was kinda modest considering that this is the world most famous monarchy. The tour is overpriced (I felt that I was herded like a sheep), and I had not much recollection of the palace. Visiting it once is enough. =)

Guard outside Buckingham Palace

The Royal Coat of Arms

Wiki: "The Royal coat of arms is the official coat of arms of the British monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II.[1] These arms are used by the Queen in her official capacity as monarch of the United Kingdom. Variants of the Royal Arms are used by other members of the Royal Family; and by the British government in connection with the administration and government of the country. In Scotland, the Queen has a separate version of the Royal Arms, a variant of which is used by the Scotland Office.

The shield is quartered, depicting in the first and fourth quarters the three passant guardant lions of England; in the second, the rampant lion and double tressure flory-counterflory of Scotland; and in the third, a harp for Ireland.[2] Thecrest is a statant guardant lion wearing the St Edward's Crown, himself on another representation of that crown. Thedexter supporter is a likewise crowned English lion; the sinister, a Scottish unicorn. According to legend a free unicorn was considered a very dangerous beast; therefore the heraldic unicorn is chained,[3] as were both supporting unicorns in the Royal coat of arms of Scotland. In the greenery below, a thistleTudor Rose and shamrock are present, representing Scotland, England and Ireland respectively. The coat features both the motto of English monarchsDieu et mon droit (God and my right), and the motto of the Order of the GarterHoni soit qui mal y pense (shame upon him who thinks evil of it) on a representation of the Garter behind the shield."

The garden behind the palace

Wildlife within the palace compound.

Greens behind the palace

No visit to London is complete without eating the Fish n Chips, with a beer. =)


Wiki: "Westminster Abbey, formally titled the Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, is a large, mainly Gothic, church in the City of Westminster, London, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is one of the most notable religious buildings in the United Kingdom and has been the traditional place of coronation and burial site forEnglish and, later, British monarchs. The abbey is a Royal Peculiar and between 1540 and 1556 had the status of a cathedral; the building is no longer an abbey nor cathedral however, having instead the status since 1560 of a "Royal Peculiar" – a church responsible directly to the Sovereign."



Wiki: "The Palace of Westminster is the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Commonly known as the Houses of Parliament after its tenants, the Palace lies on the Middlesex bank of the River Thames in the City of Westminster, in central London. Its name, which derives from the neighbouring Westminster Abbey, may refer to either of two structures: the Old Palace, a medieval building complex that was destroyed by fire in 1834, and its replacement New Palace that stands today. For ceremonial purposes, the palace retains its original style and status as a royal residence."

Beautiful Windows

Majestic Big Ben

Palace of Westminister

The River Thames

London Eye

War Veteran Demonstration

Random Street View (Lotsa double-decker bus)

Beautiful Buildings

London is really beautiful - Old buildings with rich history.

London Tube.

 It is actually quite decent, not as bad as what people said.
It is the most expensive metro/subway/underground train I ever taken so far. A short ride is at least £2.1/S$4.2/US$3.3!!!

Celebrated my good friend's birthday in a simple restaurant.
It is not cheap for a simple meal - £75/S$150/US$118.

Walking back to hotel in Mayfair.
I love the evening stroll in the quiet street. 
Abit cold, but very comfortable and relaxing.

Day 2 - London

A nice park outside the hotel.
I was happy just walking through this simple, yet very nice park.

St Paul's Cathedral 

River Thames


Wiki: "Tate Modern is a modern art gallery located in London. It is Britain's national gallery of international modern art and forms part of the Tate group (together with Tate BritainTate LiverpoolTate St Ives and Tate Online).[3] It is the most-visited modern art gallery in the world, with around 4.7 million visitors per year.[4] It is based in the former Bankside Power Station, in the Bankside area of the London Borough of Southwark. Tate holds the national collection of British art from 1900 to the present day and international modern and contemporary art."

Yeah!! Love it!!

Reflection of St Paul's Cathedral

Reflection of St Paul's Cathedral
(Didn't realized there was a guy behind the glass)

Reflection (inside the museum)

Reflection (inside the museum)

 Outside View


(Daily objects could be used as an art piece)

Very Zen...
I love this piece.

Interior of the Museum
Where's the line between real and imaginary? 


Wiki: The City of London is a city and ceremonial county within London. It constituted most of London from its settlement by the Romans in the 1st century AD to the Middle Ages, but the conurbation has since grown far beyond the City's borders.[4] The City is now only a tiny part of the metropolis of London, though it remains a notable part of central London. It is one of two districts of London to hold city status; the other is the adjacentCity of Westminster.

The City is a major business and financial centre.[8] Throughout the 19th century, the City was perhaps the world's primary business centre, and it continues to be a major meeting point for businesses.[9] London came top in the Worldwide Centres of Commerce Index, published in 2008. "

City reflection

London being one of the top financial centers of the world, 
being in the financial industry, I would love to be based here for a while.

Financial Center

Really love the cosmopolitan London with people from diverse background.

London City and Tower bridge

London City and Tower bridge

Tower Bridge

Wiki:" Tower Bridge (built 1886–1894) is a combined bascule and suspension bridge in London which crosses the River Thames. It is close to the Tower of London, from which it takes its name, and has become an iconic symbol of London." 

Tower Bridge
(often mistaken as London Bridge. When I was singing the nursery rhythm of "London Bridge is falling down", the image of the bridge is this Tower Bridge.)


Wiki: "The British Museum is a museum in London dedicated to human history and culture. Its permanent collection, numbering some 8 million works,[3] is among the largest and most comprehensive in existence[3] and originates from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its beginnings to the present.[a]
The British Museum was established in 1753, largely based on the collections of the physician and scientist Sir Hans Sloane. The museum first opened to the public on 15 January 1759 in Montagu House in Bloomsbury, on the site of the current museum building. Its expansion over the following two and a half centuries was largely a result of an expanding British colonial footprint and has resulted in the creation of several branch institutions, the first being theBritish Museum (Natural History) in South Kensington in 1881. Some objects in the collection, most notably the Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon, are the objects of controversy and of calls for restitution to their countries of origin."

British Museum.

One of the best museums in the world. It is the best, in terms of diverse collection, I ever been to.
Thanks to the British Empire.

Back in the 19th century, it must be an exciting era to be a British Explorer, to ravel the mysterious around the world, to explore new frontiers and to loot treasures from all around the world.

Interior of British Museum

Mesoamerica. I visited Mexico city and its Anthropology museum 6 mths ago, above graph is a very good summary of the history in the region, where Mayan civilization is more dominant in the West.

**I did not see this graph in Anthropology museum in Mexico, and was confused for a while.

Aztec Art Piece

Statue from the Easter Island 
(I have never seen such statue anywhere else)

Egyptian Artifact

My visit to Egyptian Museum:

Taken from the Parthenon in Athens, Greece 

One of the original - The Porch of the Caryatids

These artifacts are missing when I visited Athens,
My visit to Athens Museum:

Persian Artifacts

Persian Artifacts

I have seen most of the artifacts from various major civilizations before, but the Persian civilizations artifacts are quite rare. There is a good sizable collection in the British Museum.

5,500 years old Mummy

I felt conflicted when I went to the Museum. On one hand, I felt that British was exploiting and robbing other nations of their history, on the other other hand, the British have done such a great job preserving the artifacts which has significance to the whole mankind, and not just the country of origin.

For instance: I have been to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo (but that Museum was subsequently damaged during the Arab Spring."). The Iranian doesn't seem to treasure its rich history as well, other than its recent Islam history.

Convertible Rolls Royce.
The Indian Diaspora is doing well in London.
(Or rather, the rich Indians prefer to migrate to London)


End my evening with a good catching up with friend who is working as a trader in London for the past 4 years. It is good to know a foreign place through your friend too. =)