Bismillahirrahmanirrahim.. "Oh you who believe, eat of the good things wherewith We have provided you, and render thanks to Allah, if it is indeed He who you worship" (Al-Baqarah : 172)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Spring in my step

1st day in London

My home away from home for the next almost 3 weeks. And no, that's not my merc...

Hilton Paddington (want to but can't afford to)
the very friendly En. Salahudin Yaakob, director of Station Hotel Scotland and I think also the owner of the company that runs MARA house.
taking a breather from carrying these awfully heavy luggage, on Sussex Gardens Road leading towards the MARA house.

my long lost friend who now stays in London (lucky me!!)

Heathrow arrival Terminal 4

Whoooaaaaa......after 13 hours of flying, 3 on-board movies, 2 very ordinary meals, and a few bouts of ass-numbing from sitting too long cramps and tube hauling luggage experience later, here I am, nice and cosy in one of MARA house's room.

It's 11 pm local time. Isya' here is at around 10.40ish pm and Subuh tomorrow will at three-ish am. Sunrise is at 5 am. Yeah I know, it's very early. But that means more daylight and I love it!! The weather earlier was gorgeous, totally disregards forecast about it being rainy and cloudy today. I don't know the temperature but I would say it was around 16C and the soft wind blowing, adds to the coolness of the spring weather. Totally loved it.

Am sitting in my small room, which is not like the normal hotel rooms that you're used to, but it's like what Yusuf of Mara House described to me in his email - a quiet comfort, and my butt is not kissing the walls. The room is facing another small hotel across the road, from which you can hear the occasional sounds of cars, ambulance and people laughing from the street down below.

Staying in this dorm-like facility brings back the memory of staying in UPM, the room is basic and we have to share the common bathroom outside. Yes, you read right. common but Co-ed bathroom. I have to wear tudung all the time to go to the loo, which is quite often coz my bladder is still adjusting to the cold weather here.

The place is really charming, it's like one of those old rest house back home. The elevator can fit about 3 people, which according to Yusof, is very big. You have to swing open the heavy door, then you push aside the pre-war like door grill, in order to use it. But I love it. It's so different from the modern stuff that I'm used to. And of course, it's cheap. Don't think Hubbs will like it here, but hey, am alone and don't need all those extras.

This is why I love London. I know it's over-rated, like my plane seat mate said. Totally overrated but I still love it. The old buildings still preserved, gives London a character, is what I often said to my Hubbs. He likes the convenience of a modern life in the US better.

I load up on a weekly oyster top-up for zones 1-5. It cost me a whopping 44 pound!! But I think it's quite fair coz i can use it for tube travel and bus rides for a week. Sidah took me around Church Street, which is something like our pasar malam in Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman. Then we took to Oxford Street and went straight into Primark. I bought a nice sweater for 5 pound. Dang!! That was cheap. You can't even get that price at FOS Malaysia.

My dinner was at Bonda Cafe downstairs. Quaint little place, but was pretty full. They have some cakes, a selection of Malay kuihs like serimuka, bengkang ubi, maybe cucur udang and the likes. The menu, pretty extensive, with dishes like nasi goreng kampung, noodles, etc. Price for main dish starts from BP2.50. Hmmm, not bad.

I had nasi goreng Daging which cost BP5.50 (almost RM27). U don't want to convert everything, otherwise you'll have high blood pressure everytime you want to pay for something. I met this bloke (who, for the life of me I wanted to knock his head a bit, just can't be bothered to get his butt off to help us hauled the luggage up a flight of stairs) from Malaysia who is attending a training in Glasgow, he compared everything to Euro and ringgit. Of course, it's more expensive. This is a metropolitan and it has one of the highest cost of living rate in the world. Duhh!! You want cheap you go to Teluk Intan la...

Before I retired into my cosy retreat, I had a nice chat with the guys here at MARA house. Salahudin, Yusuf and another guy who used to work here before. The staff here are fantastic.

This is not my first time here in London. I've been here twice, with hubby, maybe 12 years ago. But today is my 1st day in London, alone, and I'm loving it. I can't stop giggling like a kid with candies...

Dear Hubbs, if you're reading this, I do miss you and Zaim, a lot. Perhaps even more tomorrow and after that. But like what they say, absence makes the hearts grow fonder, right? But I think our phone bills will be hefty this month.

Tomorrow is another day of adventure for me.

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