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London

After five years I have made my way back to London. While there are already a gazillion articles and blogs written about London town, this is my unique account of the moody city.

This was one of those trips where I made zero plan other than to spend quality time with my little sister, catching up with friends and eat my heart out hence at the bottom of this page is a list my places I tried as suggested by local friends.

Oxygen

If it didn’t make sense before, it now make sense to me why there are plenty of  Londoners in Sydney; the culture, food, and people are similar or the same – including that London can be stressful, just like Sydney. Although Sydney is winning on the fact that beaches are 30 minutes away from the city centre, and greens are 60 minutes away or just at your doorstep. I used to live less than 20 mins away from city centre where it was suburban, it was quiet, and plenty of red-back spiders (parks, mangroves, a river and bays). Then again, it makes sense that there are plenty of Britons in Sydney, they need more that 5-day of summer to keep their souls warm.

What was I to do on a rainy day? I walked around Harvey Nichols and then get trapped in Harrods. Plenty of tourists fascinated with anything marked with “Harrods” on them, and being a good aunty that I am, I grabbed a fluffy security blanket with “Harrods” for my nephew. I’m curious on the emergency exit procedure because I struggled to find any EXIT signs as I clutched on the last 4 litres of Oxygen left in my lungs.

Tears

Being a minimalist, I loathe shopping, especially when I have to search for a bargain. Shopping would be easy for me if money was not an issue, and I can just take the first thing I like that ticked all my requirements. Two hours later, I walked out of TK Maxx with a waterproof jacket (70% off, at the right size and length), one-piece swimmer (Sydney’s water will be slightly chill for a bikini set when I get back), and one less pair of sunnies. Tears.

I am devastated that I have lost my sunnies not only because of the monetary value and that I have squint a little more, but the events leading up to the lost were signs of what was about to happen. I took a selfie about 30 mins earlier with an appreciation of how the sunnies are making my eyes comfortable; yes it was cloudy but the sun penetrates through clouds. As I put my sunnies down, I look at them lovingly and remind myself that I need to pick them up or maybe I should put them in my jacket. As I walk out of the change room, distracted carrying the many layers of clothes to cope with the cold outside and the warm inside, I left my loved ones behind. A few minutes were gone when I had a gasping moment, not able to locate my sunnies on my body, and I ran back to the change room, and they were gone.

Be aware of my surrounding and the little events, and listen to that nudging voice.

The manager at TK Maxx had a quick look at the surveillance video but I guess if someone stole it, they would have hidden them and not parade them out. Oh the times we leave our valuables on tables unsupervised or accidentally left things at places, and I haven’t lost anything in Sydney – make me miss home even more!

This dishonesty will have its karma; the person who stole it would be thinking they have a brain cancer after wearing my sunnies that are prescribed with power, polarised and curved specifically for my eyes. I hope they will find God.

Luxury

Sea urchin, truffle, yellow tail, caviars, salmon, sea bass, eel, crabs (Cornish spider crab & soft shell crab), and sake – oh so divine!

I was not enjoying my walk around V&A Museum; all these beautiful statues, paintings, and other artwork, but I was just not feeling it. I sat down, as usual, contemplating about life, a message arrived with a photo of a cat captioned “walking the cat” – I bursted out laughing in the serenity of the Renaissance collections. That was my cue to leave.

Walking out hungry, I wandered to Dinings in Knightsbridge, and I thought a plate of sashimi would be a good light lunch. I keep on forgetting how rich these ingredients are and 5 pieces of sashimi is enough. I didn’t wait the 15 minutes for my stomach to tell my brain that I’m full, instead I was debating where to order 3 or 6 sushi rolls. I ordered 6 and my love-handle spilled over my high-waist jeans.

The experience was orgasmic. The sea urchin was fresh, it melted in my mouth. The truffle was deep and subtle. The fish were flawless. The caviars popped and swirled. The crabs, one was crunchy and the other smooth. Washed them all down with a very smooth hot sake.

I may not be that creative with my adjectives. Heavenly, orgasmic, flawless, smooth, amazing experience.

Another dining luxury was Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. This was my second experience and I’ve now tried more than half of the menu. Food, service, and the whole experience is AMAZING; there isn’t much more I can write about it other than the fact that I came back.

Simple

After all these delicious food, including fine dining meals, what I craved the most was Mie Goreng (Indonesian instant noodle). Is it a contradiction or is it normal to enjoy both the finer things in life and the simplest things?

Once upon a time, I was rather peckish and wanted to grab a snack from Oporto as we were walking through a shopping centre, and the person I was with at that moment said “… but that’s a take-away place, you can’t have that, let’s find a cafe or a restaurant”. The look of shock on my face, I was disappointed to have given out the impression that I was somewhat snobby or pretentious.

” I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best” – Oscar Wilde

My father passed away when I was very young, I was raised by a single mother and like the stereotype of being raised by single mothers, life was difficult, and money was tight. To this day, I look for bargains, it is very hard for me to spend money on anything – I think about the pros & cons, and wait until I desperately want something before I spend any money on it. Although over the years I have created a list of things that I would spend money on – people, travel, food, and experiences.

Friends

Everything happens for a reason or a lesson. One of the benefits of travelling is meeting new people, and once in a while strangers become friends. These strangers are from different continents and corners of the world hence sometimes they don’t turn into friends.

Strangers in Cartagena, friends in London. Oh.. the friendship and wisdom I have gained.

During my time in London, something became quite clear to me; people are at war, daily, in public or within closed doors. Sometimes, some people, deserve a cheer for getting out of the house when the sun is shinning. It is a reminder to be kind, to yourself and others. It is a reminder to love, yourself and others. It is a reminder to ask “R U OK?”

 

Food Glorious Food

  • Japanese – Dinings (TripAdvisor) – heavenly, fresh and orgasmic
  • British – Dinner by Heston Blumenthal (TripAdvisor) – 2nd visit
  • Morocan – Momo (TripAdvisor) – the cafe area is relaxing for mint tea, shisha, and small plates with very friendly service
  • Rusian – Mari Vanna (TripAdvisor) – nostalgic and good food
  • Indian – Dishoom Shoreditch (TripAdvisor) – yummy cocktails at the bar, cool hangout, probably not a family-friendly spot, great food, and great service.
  • Vietnamese – Song Que (TripAdvisor) – good food, still recovering my conversion rate on paying $20 for Pho Beef
  • Chinese – Little Four Season (Tripadvisor) – so there was a queue outside the main Four Season and we went next door where there is no queue and inside is full of Chinese customers.
  • Chinese – Baozilnn (TripAdvisor) – famous for pork bao, and the Dan Dan noodle was great
  • Vegan – Palm Vaults (TripAdvisor) – Bullet coffee and beetroot hot chocolate
  • Steakhouse – Hixter Bankside (TripAdvisor) – came for their Sunday Roast but it was only Saturday (most places do serve it on other days)
  • Italian – San Carlo Cicchetti (TripAdvisor) – pretentious services if you look like the typical laid-back Aussie – good food though

Other recommended places that I didn’t get to visit:

This entry was posted in Travels.
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