Friday, September 28, 2007

Humans weren't meant to travel like this

Economy-class-syndrome isn't the preserve of airline passengers, anytime you're in a cramped space with little movement for long stretches of time I'll bet your risking a mild form of DVT. Why do I bring this up? Because I'm one of millions of everyday London Underground Tube users who during rush hour have to witness scenes like this:

If you see practically nothing but a bunch of bags or clothes, your guess is as good as mine because that's what my camera phone picked up when trying to take a photo of my feet on the tube amongst other passengers. I live on one of the busiest lines on the tube: The Piccadilly line. It's the only one that services Heathrow Airport to the rest of London, so here we have the world's busiest airport being served by just one line on the London Underground system.

There are alternative public transport systems such as buses and taxis. But unless you have a lot of time on your hands - let's just say an ETERNITY - to get to anywhere into town or you've got the national GDP of a small African country in your wallet to pay for the ubiquitous London Black cab and the patience to listen to the yammering cabbie, I suggest your best and most convenient option is still the Tube.

Suffice to say many a traveller take the cheaper option of lugging their over sized luggage onto the Tube train to and from the airport. Add to the mix those of us who live in the nearby suburbs also travelling into and out of town for work and you've got one long all-standing travelling sauna! Not a great way to start or even end the working day by any one's standards.

And to think there are endless posters plastered around the entire London Tube network publicizing how Transport For London (TFL) are investing heavily on public transport and more importantly on adding extra capacity to Tube trains. If that's the case how come I never get a proper place to stand let alone a friggin seat?! I hope someone from TFL picks this up through some random Googling on their lunch break and at least gives me a decent answer as to why people like me who live four stations from the end of the line can't seem to find ample space after the so-called 'investments'.

Unlike the unreliable service of London transport, service at this blog shall be much more regular, my absence this week is purely due to my being extremely tired or ('knackered' as we say around here) every time I come home from work, and I've been fasting for the whole day, that means no food or water from before dawn to sunset!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

It's that time of year again

Yep it's here and I'm late as usual to acknowledge it, no it's not my Birthday or that my bank wants my student overdraft back...NOW. Nope it's none of that, it is of course the beginning of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, and like fellow blogger Mybrid has pointed out it has coincided with Rosh Hashanah - The Jewish New year - for the third and final year in a row at least for another 30 years. Here's a quick rundown of what Ramadan is.

Another thing that coincided with the beginning of Ramadan is that I got my final year results and I finally passed my friggin degree in Software engineering and due to the sheer frustration and personal angst it has caused me, I've been telling myself I never want to see another computer for as long as I live. And yes the irony of what I just said is not lost on me! So I'm more relieved than particularly elated because it's been one unnecessarily long hard slog for me! I feel I can actually get on with my life and slowly pick up the pace and join the others in this rat race we like to call 'life'.

Anyways, this is going to be a short entry because I've got to go down to Ikea to replace some faulty bits of my bed on my way to my aunt's place to break fast with the rest of the family.

I'm sure I'll find something inspirational to think about whilst trudging through the giant hamster cage that is Ikea. I might just get around to reviewing the books and films I never got a chance to do.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

An interesting discussion on the virtues of blogging

We're running a little dry on blogworthy inspiration today so I thought I'd post this little interesting video from my favourite press club - The Frontline Club - for anyone who might be interested in the power of the humble online diary.

Monday, September 03, 2007

48-hour portrait of Kent

Well here are the photos of Kent from the weekend, enjoy. As mentioned previously, I was like a Japanese tourist snapping away at anything and everything as soon as I got off the coach at Canterbury bus station, so the following shots are pretty much like my eyes blinking at everything I see in chronological order too...well almost!

Canterbury town highstreet, I don't know what the sand on the left is all about

Face sculpture in front of the Marlowe theater just off the highstreet

A friendly warning to outsiders on campus. Somehow it sounds better than 'Trespassers will be shot on site'.

University students from London can only dream of such luxuries as having an entire old town house to themselves! Of course my friend lives in one of the 9 double bedrooms so its not all his but the location like everything else in Kent is beautiful and well manicured.

I took this photo of the famous Canterbury cathedral from the campus bus stop As we waited for the University bus to take us into town. Maybe I should've Photoshoped the lamp posts and road for a postcard-perfect view

Westgate over the Stour river that delineates the old walled border of Canterbury town. You can see cars going through that very narrow entrance but even our double-decker bus managed to scrape through it with literally a few inches to spare on either side!

Here's a view of the same entrance but from the opposite direction, you can clearly see its very narrow

Westgate from the Stour river (more like a stream if you ask me) with gondolas and their punters on the left

View of the Stour river from the bridge in leading into Westgate

The Old Kings School shop, I'm not sure if it was part of the school but its unusual leaning and bent structure seems to attract visitors

The next day we went down to Herne bay and I did more of the same on our way there.

Some of the international students playing American football with the local ones on campus in the middle of the Kent countryside. Now there's a surreal image!

The beach at Herne Bay, it's no Seychelles or Hawaii but its a beach nevertheless although it doesn't count as a beach in my book. I hate pebbles!

At least the sun was out and it wasn't completely overcast

In case the South-Westerly wind blowing in from the sea wasn't cold enough we came across this reminder of our proximity to the North Pole at one of seaside pubs

A random street leading onto the seafront

A clock tower/monument on the seafront promenade, I don't know what its about but it looked regal enough to shoot

A hint as to what we had for lunch on the beach, suffice to say it didn't feel as healthy to eat as my mussels adventure a few weeks ago and my stomach thought so too.

Well there you have it, that's my weekend getaway to the Kent countryside, and these pics took a looong time to upload so I hope whoever enjoyed reading this savoured all of them!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

A weekend break from the city

I'm in Kent - also known as 'The Garden of England' - this weekend. More specifically I'm visiting an old friend at the University of Kent in the city of Canterbury. I needed to just chill out and forget about the daily grind of London life at least for a couple of days. The air's a little fresher over here and the University campus is beautiful, green and leafy and the great British summer that's been late in coming finally got its timing right!

Kent, a county in the South East coast of England is just outside London but feels a lot further away due to its small town quaintness. Its a lazy Sunday morning and we just got up and are in the middle of deciding which beach to go to to spend the rest of the day before I head back to London in the evening. Will it be Herne bay, Ramsgate or Margate (they're all beaches by the way)? OK Herne Bay it is as it's probably the nearest and we don't have all day.

Right, we better get ready to go so I'll post an update with photos from my visit when I get home tomorrow and it looks like its going to be the last time I do a bit of travelling to anywhere nice for a while so I'll make the most of it by taking photos of absolutely everything like a Japanese tourist.