Friday, December 18

London Travels: Oxford Street, Primark, Big Ben

Update: finished filming the first part of my vlog!
The filming is still quite shaky, editing pretty choppy and quality slightly suckish. BUT I truly believe it is a big step up from my Singapore vlog LOL. I'm still yet to master the music transitions so please excuse that. Hope you enjoyed!



Hello my fellow readers.

I highly doubt there will even be anyone here cause my blog is really dead but for those of you who are I thank you for sticking and bearing with me!! You have a special place in my heart. yup you!! JUST YOU.

If you do not follow me on any of my other social platforms, then this will be news to you. haha.
I recently returned from a two week trip to Europe with my family where we went around London and Paris. I had no intention of being sentimental and gooey in this post but I can't help myself cause dreams really do come true!! I have ALWAYS wanted to go to Paris since I was a child cause I loved this tv segment Madeline. Has anyone else ever watched it? I'm still yet to chance upon other people who have!!

anyway, I still remember the show very very vividly. It was about a small girl named Madeline who was pretty notorious, hence she attends a boarding school in Paris and the show revolves around her mischiefs and fun all around the beautiful city. oh- and the eiffel tower is in the theme song I believe. So it has intrigued me immensely for quite some time now. I also easily reminisce back to the COUNTLESS number of times I have asked my parents about the electricity tower approximately 500 metres away from our house in association to the eiffel tower. I was so confused but gradually understood the difference as I matured with age.

London came up in my life agenda a little later. around 2011 I believe, when one direction caused their first uproar. I fell IN LOVE with their accents and even MORE in love with their culture as I read around here and there. tell me, which 12 year old would have known the biggest misconception about London is Big Ben. And by that I mean, did you know that Big Ben is only the GREAT BELL of the clock inside the Elizabeth Tower? So basically people have overlooked the name of the tower and over time labelled both the tower and the clock under one name- Big Ben. I knew that when I was TWELVE guys. 12.

So yes, you can see why I was so so so eager to go on this trip. Not only am I reliving my 6 year old fantasies but I just love travelling in general and this was my farthest trip yet.

we disembarked from PIA to KLIA around 4.00 am 27th of November. And from KLIA to Heathrow around 10.10. It was an 18 hour journey overall, including transit. My dad booked a direct flight from KLIA to Heathrow instead of the usual transit in Dubai cause he found it more convenient albeit slightly costlier. The journey was OK I guess. The food was horrendous, the flight on-shows got boring after a while, the small compact space got into my brain as I had a headache and rushed over to empty seats to lay down. Just before touch down, a small Korean boy had air sickness all over the seats.(I knew he was korean cause I heard his parents constantly asking him if he was okay, in korean and I could understand AND I WAS SO PROUD!!!)  I was in aisle so I could watch with dismay- and admiration as the head stewardess was pretty good. The usual. I love-hate flights. The trepidation of flying sucks, the process of flying sucks but being in the air off to a strange, foreign land is cool.




from penang to kl

as we waited for our flight to Heathrow, my family decided to have breakfast in Old Town. They do incredible breakfasts and supper. I do not recommend going there for lunch or dinner though, I do not enjoy their meals during those times.


finally we boarded!!
from when we first entered the flight..................

to when I just woke up and had a meal. LOL I look so terribly pale.


I vlogged more than took pictures so please excuse if they are lacking. we finally reached Heathrow and took two trains to Lambert North where our apartment was. yup, apartment. so much cosier and practical than a hotel to be honest.Lambert North is a really really good area considering it seemed like the center of all of London!!

My first impression upon London was amazing. And I wasn't even out yet. You see, during the subway ride, a very British couple entered the tube and sat right opposite us. They were probably 55> and were the cutest little things!! The lady wore bright red lipstick and had on a festive little party dress. She was sitting and applying NAIL POLISH. ON THE TRAIN. She caught me staring and smiled and asked if her nails looked ok. I incessantly nodded my head in awe and she laughed saying it took skills to do so. The man was also super adorabs. He wore a LEGIT British top hat and took selfies with his wife (presumably). SO.SO.CUTE!!

 Then two young ladies entered the same tube, talking on top of their lungs. Or shall I say, gossiping. I learnt a lot about their lives during the ride cause they chattered non-stop. REALLY LOUDLY. I learnt about their love lives, whose boyfriend sucked, what he did to her and what she did to him. You know. Then gradually more and more people filled in and I zoned out slightly and stopped my people watching for a moment only to be interrupted by a teenager probably my age or slightly older who stared at our suitcases as he entered and said "colourful suitcases" to my mum. How sociable are the people here?!




after an 18 hour journey. excuse how shabby we look cause we just weren't bothered by that point.

anyway, we reached north lambert safely and checked in to our house where the hostess Sherry gave us some information.


mine and my sister's room. It came with 2 rooms, a bathroom and a kitchen. So my sis and I took one and my parents, the other.
we were all KNACKERED from the flight and instantly had a warm bath after having a slight taste of London's freezing cold air. After that, we had some instant noodles to wash off the disgusting flight food aftertaste and slept. told you we were worn out. that's basically day 1. hahaha.


MAGGI MY LUV.

The next day, all of us got up bright and early (4am but it wasn't bright lol) cause 1) we were in London!!! THE CITY OF SHERLOCK HOLMES, SHAKESPEARE, GOOD PASTRY AND RED TELEPHONE BOOTHS. and also mainly 2) we were hella jet lagged. - I'm actually typing this at 2:00am on the dot cause I just woke up from sleeping thanks to my seemingly incurable desynchronosis. anyway, my sister and I were the first ones to shower and get ready and eat bfast so we were impatient and decided to go on a morning stroll alone.



It was the loveliest walk I've ever been on and the bustling streets of London were already alive at that point ie. 5am. People were hurrying about with fast-paced talks on phones, black cabs fumbling up and down with equally jet-lagged and starry eyed tourists and the workers in a bank opposite us looked so forlorn and serious I couldn't help salute. It is absolutely lovely to people watch in London. We walked all the way to Westminster Bridge Road where there was a red telephone booth which caught our attention. as usual, headed over to get some pictures and decided that was enough for a good chilly morning. When I turned to head home, two young guys on bicycles who HAD BRITISH ACCENTS - although probably a Bath accent - asked me how to get to bloody Victoria Station. I just stared at him for a right old minute and simply apologised for not knowing. He instantly recongnised my unfamiliar English accent and sheepishly backed away. This happened one a many times here in London whenever I roamed the streets alone. I think it's because I look like a Londoner considering my Indian descent which does largely populate the city. (although I can't rectify so cause I didn't seem to think as such during my stay)



headed home and our family finally traveled together. we took the tube again from Lambert North to Oxford Street.




I'm no photographer but I'm incredibly proud of this perspective shot!! 

 We planned a day in Primark cause my whole family wanted to shop and TRUST.ME. even for my frugal little Indian family, Primark is clothing HAVEN. The prices are pretty reasonable in accordance to TODAY'S currency exchange rates and they can even be regarded as cheap!! even I, a person who absolutely resents shopping had to love the place. I couldn't stop picking up stuff. they were ALL. TOO. CUTE. in the end I bought myself a couple (I say couple, there are a lot) of new shirts, a sweater, a new coat and a new set of PJ's. my family went to town too!! My mum is really vain and enjoys shopping immensely for your information hehe. So we practically ended up with 3 huge shopping bags.




However, Primark was closed when we arrived cause like I said, we were up super early. They only open at 8am and thus marks our first street roaming.






 had a lovely stroll along the brimming streets as we watched the sun rise and entered a Sainsbury to grab some snacks for an additional breakfast. Nope, not sorry.




random shot in Sainsbury's where we picked up possibly THE BEST CHOCOLATE FILLED DOUGHNUT I HAVE EVER HAD IN MY LIFE. and if you have been following me for quite some time, you should know that I have had my good share of doughnuts. and Sainsbury's do incredible ones. Please trust me on this.



after primark, we walked along and found a shop called "Kingdom of Sweets" which seemed really interesting but was easily transparent enough to show how tourist targeted it was. No price tags on any of the items. It frustrated me deeply cause I wanted to buy the Reese's peanut butter and Bertie Bort's Every Flavoured Beans from Harry Potter but I am kinda stubborn and refused to entertain such establishments. My sister on the other hand, gladly bought a whole jar of sweets for £2 which was kinda interesting.





(spot my little sis's Primark bag hehe)

 not long after, we headed back home for some chill time. And after a while, headed back out again. This time we walked to see the ever-so-famous Big Ben in the Elizabeth Tower (winks a gazillion times) and also the London Eye as they were located barely 7 minutes from our homestay.


 where is big ben!!! I only see us!!





after admiring the magnificent tower, we walked further ahead to get shots of the London Eye which was situated right opposite this bad boy. The London Eye was OK not as stunning as I presumed cause it looked just like the Singapore Flyer I went on previously. but at night MY OH MY. It is NOTHING compared to the flyer. It is beguiling in the winter's night, especially.


we walked on and continued taking pictures of everything. believe me when I say London is so beautiful that I couldn't stop taking pictures of every single building. may it be a house, may it be a shop lot, may it be a historical site; they are all ravishing and it takes at least 2 days to get used to such beauty.




picked up leaves for my travel journal!! which got lost in the process of packing for Paris LOL its ok this picture is enough I guess.




there's actually a hilarious story behind these pictures. You see, the jeans I was wearing that day was for some odd reason really loose and kept slipping down. So I halted my mum and sis and asked them to help cover me as I trudge my pants back up. But my dad, being the designated and dedicated photographer he is, couldn't stop taking pictures of us doing so HAHAHA. too funny.




more with big ben although we walked away from it quite a distance but stumbled upon a lovely area for shots.

continued on and came across a GORGEOUS cathedral. can't quite remember its name but it isn't St.Paul's.




 there aren't that many great shots of it cause by this point we were just exhausted and ready for dinner and a good sleep. It was only 3pm in the picture above but we walked home at 5pm when the skies were literally as though it was midnight. It kinda screwed everyone over cause it felt like we were supposed to be tucked up in bed when in reality it was only half the day gone.

bought some takeaway from chicken palace, a random diner near our house!



The chicken wings were FANTASTIC. 

and thus day one came to an end. It was a productive day but we did go to bed early for we were awake alarmingly early that morning and the fast changing skies were of no help too. hehe. Stay tuned for day 3! 

Thanks for reading and I'll see you soon. 




     

Friday, November 13

Nilam Camp '15

hi everyone! It's currently precisely 0005 on friday the thirteenth and I just got a few chills from reading KLNoir so I decided to write a post to distract myself
basically this is about the 4 day nilam camp I attended in BTPN Kepala Batas.
let me assure you this is the FIRST AND LAST time I am ever participating in competitions that require you to stay overnight. Trust me, I am NEVER. EVER. EVER. doing this again.
I was the only representative in the SP Utara section so I went for the camp alone not knowing anyone but in the end establishing a solid friendship with many people whom I've grown fond of solely based on their personalities.


night before leaving

if there's one thing that's unique about this camp is the fact that it involves ONLY form 4 students and standard 5 students and we were each paired up with a kid whom we were in charge of. I was NOT keen on the idea at ALL. Plus, they were really racist with the picks and chose malay-malay chinese-chinese indian-indian which made me extra pissed. but there was really nothing I could do about it, could I? so I just rolled with it, unsatisfyingly of course.

my roommate is a little indian girl who is really independent which is a good thing.

here's a lil' room tour for you


after a bunch of shit activities here's my sweaty face in the mirror


there was a compartment underneath my dressing table which was supposedly meant for clothes/ hand luggage but c'mon!! PRIORITIZE ESSENTIALS 


dressing table with all my facial stuff


THANKFULLY!!! there were 2 study tables for us each with decent lighting and a good bookshelf where I kept all my books. (duh) 

the reason why I was kinda unhappy about attending this camp was also due to the fact that I had finals the NEXT WEEK. and what was I doing?! haha. HAHA. stuck in a stupid camp. I planned to study a little every day AT LEAST. but I ended up sleeping every night cause it was honestly super super super tiring!!! We have to wake up at 5.30am every day and go to bed at the earliest - 11pm. EARLIEST. Plus, the heater in my room wasn't working so it was HELL for 4 days.

Not only that!!!!!!!! The light in our bathroom wasn't working either - and I still feel disgusted thinking of how  nightmarish it was bathing in the wee hours of the morning and night with no vision of what's around you. it was really bad. ( I did complain and they offered us another room WITHOUT air conditioning but good bathroom facilities. my roommate wanted air-cond and so did I so we just went through hell for the comfort of cool air. Which, now that I think about it, was idiotic. )


MOTHER OF ALL SAVIOURS


there was the TINIEST tv provided which showed running man at 10pm every night!! and some random korean drama in the middle so it made me a TAD bit happier.


we had quite a few places to store stuff which was pretty convenient



my COMPLETE crap bed. with my sejarah book already out HAHAHAH




view from my room


mine vs. roommates side of the room


this was from the talk held the first night where everyone was basically inn their pajamas lmao. SO BORING. That's what I remember, anyway.

So, I'm sure you're all probably (not) wondering how I got to make friends, right? well the first friend I ever made was harpreet. actually, it was thanks to her sincerity and sociability that we became friends cause she was the only female representative from her school and the two others were guys so we become quick friends and I soon learned that she is the sweetest most honest person I have EVER met. and I'm dead serious.


thanks harpreet!! honestly, for making my camp life suck less.


I LOOK SO SO SO BAD HERE. it was taken in a museum in usm which was so cute!!

love u </3
I still remember before we took this pic she said "Ok I'm going to hug you now" TOO CUTE



me, harps, andrew, angela ( ps: I SHIP THEM SO MUCH)

And so how did I continue to form friendships with Kei Yi, Stella and Sufern? through lizards and cockroaches.


it was the first night and kei yi stayed opposite me and there was a huge commotion outside so I decided to check and see what was going on. turns out there was a huge cockroach in sufern's room which was two doors away and a lizard in kei yi's bathroom!! my roommate was the hero of the day despite her ripe age of 11, she is the one who actually sprayed ridsect everywhere and managed to daze the cockroach. kei yi, on the other hand, resorted to calling one of the camp instructors who skilfully and casually just threw the lizard out the window. THAT was how the two of them became friends with me.

stella, on the other hand, was sociable on her own. she's from pcghs and is super super smart and has a beautiful command of english!! i believe she will win the comp ( results yet to be announced ) we actually became closer after the trip to the Seb Jaya Public Library where me, harpreet, kei yi, stella, sufern, andrew, angela, and jarod sat tgt during a random talk which tbh was advocating extremism which in my VERY honest opinion was wrong for them. 

all of us exchanged instagrams and facebook after the whole fiesta cause we were all riled up about what the talk was about and all. then thats where I found out that stella was a debater too- third speaker of the pcghs team. I told her that I debated as well and when she found out she told me the the funniest things. 


me & stella

here's a group pic with everyone on the last day before we headed home!!



from left : xin yan, sufern, kei yi, stella, angela, mua, harpreet, andrew, jarod

here are some pics from our trip to usm!


stairway to heaven LOL


i look SO ODD.


<3






andrew and angela playing the traditional congkak together!

how's the food, you ask? ha hahah ahahgahah hahaghaa




  




YOU TELL ME.
GOD, it was rice after rice after rice after bun after rice. The rice was all good but NOT EVERY DAY PLEASE I COULD DO WITH SOME GRILLED CHICKEN OR SALAD OK?? but i survived through 4 days of it. ya I came out unscathed. 

THANK GOD for my secret stack of snacks I stocked up on the first day


the best chipsmores are the hazelnut ones don't lie to yourself!!

when you don't have a rubber band- you do this. legit.

then there was this day where we were required to do a random presentation. I'm sure it was just basically to test our fluency and capability of the language. idk how I did- I wasn't very keen on doing well I just wanted to carry myself appropriately.



LOVED our group name LOL. 

on the final day we had to do random book reports and the talk on it was so boring that harpreet and kei yi drew me some artwork which was too cute!! ps: kei yi is INCREDIBLY talented in drawing comic strips



4 days passed by slowly and finally!!!!! it was time to head home. truly, a once in a lifetime experience - one which I learnt a lot and how to appreciate all the luxuries I take for granted now. thanks kem nilam for a hardy and solid memory, one which I will remember forever.






 bye for now!! will blog very very soon.