Sunday, June 21, 2009

Part 3: London Beckons

I checked out of the University on the morning of June 19, to make my way to London, Since I had the whole day to myself, I decided to be a wee bit adventurous, and so, went in search of public transport. In the UK, it is very normal to do a lot of walking and getting about by bus, train or even by tube is also fairly common since these services are generally very dependable.

So from the University’s de Havilland campus, I walked to the Galleria, where I took bus No. 301 to the train station (Hatfield, I think), and then onwards, by train of course, to reach London King’s Cross station. From there, I took the tube to Bayswater, where a 9-minute walk saw me arrive at the doorstep of Malaysia Hall, 30-34 Queensborough Terrace. I was fortunate to secure a room – I was told, that Malaysia Hall is almost always full house during summer – and in spite of what we read in some of the blogs about the rotten hospitality there, the reception I experienced was almost pleasant but in case, we get excited about it, let me add that it was a typical Malaysian-style service – very laidback. But what the hell, the room rate was only £15.28 for a single room on the fourth floor. Anyway for those Malaysians keen to get cheap accommodation at Malaysia Hall, kindly check out but remember, it is best to book one month ahead, and also do take note that Friday afternoons are not the best of times to drop in because they are closed for Friday prayers. Also doors are locked at 11 PM, so no painting the town red until the wee hours of the morning – unless you’re not staying at Malaysia Hall!

Flower stall at Bayswater

Once, accommodation was settled, I thought I would stray from the Bayswater area to go into the city center. And so, I took the tube to Oxford Circus, and immediately having exited the station, I came upon Oxford Street. It’s often described as UK’s and some said Europe’s largest high street (it has more than 300 shops). For anyone visiting London, a visit to bustling Oxford Street is a must. It's central, it's well connected and it's busy. Boy, was it busy, as I have always remembered Oxford Street – crowded with shoppers and tourists alike. Sale signs were everywhere, and people of all hues and colors were flooding in from every nook and corner of the world – and I did not believe I was exaggerating when I said this. But I was not one for walking – even though the weather was great – and after an hour or two, I decided I had enough.

By the time, I headed back to Bayswater, I wanted to put my feet up, and so I decided to take in a movie. Not just any movie, but one that was likely not to be screened in Malaysia, a “screamingly funny” comedy called “The Hangover” – replete with expletives and other interesting stuff. Most reviews gave it a four-star rating (e.g. London Lite, Daily Mirror, Metro, News of the World, The Sun, Independent, Sunday Express). I am not the type who laughs easily – still, it has its funny moments. By the way, the ticket price at the Odeon was £9.80, so it was not really a bargain-basement way to take a breather. Here's the trailer:

And as is normal in the UK, a couple of beers before I called it a night.

Malaysia Hall at night

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