This is the last in a series of blogposts on my weekend trip to London in November, 1994. Indeed, it was a whirlwind visit, just over one weekend and it was over in the blink of an eye.
When we got up on Friday morning after our first night at the Malaysia House, the first thing we all did was to head downstairs to the basement for a truly Malaysian breakfast at the canteen there. Needless to say, after around two months in the UK, the nasi lemak tasted like heaven, absolutely something to die for!
I heard the others talking about waiting for some big shot to show up, the guy in charge of the Malaysian students in the UK. I don’t know if he was the ambassador or something but they said he managed the Malaysia House where we were staying. Of course, I had no intention of doing that so I went outside, giving the rest the impression that I was just going out for a bit of fresh air.
I walked to Regent Street and hopped on a double decker tour bus…
…and climbed on top and sat there in the open air and went on a tour of all the places of interest in the city.
I saw all of them – the Tower Bridge…
…Trafalgar Square, Westminister Abbey and all the rest. We even went past No. 10, Downing Street and Hard Rock Cafe, London too!
Actually, this was a hop on hop off bus and I could get off anywhere I liked to take photographs and get on the next one that came along but those were the days before the smartphone and selfies were unheard of…and I jolly well would not want to take photos without me in them for remembrance, just snapshots of sceneries – I might as well go and buy some postcards if I wanted those.
I ended the tour at Piccadilly Circus – that was where I stopped by a booking agent’s office and bought the tickets to the two musicals that I watched in a day that weekend in London. I also stopped by Planet Hollywood, London and bought a t-shirt from there – of course, I was the envy of all who saw me using it when I came back to Malaysia but personally, I preferred this cheap one…
…that I bought at a roadside stall at Regent Street.
Before I left the vicinity, I went to see what they had at The Rock Circus, the pop music spin-off of Madame Tussaud’s there. I sure enjoyed myself very much especially how when I walked near an exhibit…
…I would hear the popular songs by that singer or singers…
After I was done there, I walked to Soho/Chinatown which people said was the red light district of London. No, I did not see anything (s)exciting at all or maybe I was not looking in all the right places. The only interesting thing that I stumbled upon there was an all-you-can-eat buffet lunch for only £2 at a Chinese restaurant. That was cheap and of course, I walked right in!
Unfortunately, what they were serving was most disappointing – what we call the F4 dinners at school parties. For the uninitiated, F4 was a very popular Taiwanese boy band at one time and an F4 dinner would have 4 choices – Fried rice, Fried noodles, Fried bihun and Fried kway teow but they did not have that last one, just another noodle dish instead and they called it Singapore Fried noodles. The difference was that those noodle dishes that we had at the school parties were quite nice but no, I would not say the same about these that I had in London for want of a whole lot of ingredients. They were all so bland, absolutely tasteless, so much so that I suspected they did not add any salt or msg even.
Thankfully, there was another option – fried chicken wings and of course, I feasted on those to eat my fill and get my money’s worth. I don’t remember anything else that transpired that day. I probably went back to my room at the Malaysia House and had an early night – I did not get to sleep the whole night the night before all the way in the coach from Plymouth to London.
The next morning, I sneaked off again and made my way to Madame Tussaud’s which actually was not very far away, walking distance. When I got there, I was shocked to see the queue…
…but thankfully, they were very fast and the line was moving the whole time! In no time at all, I was already inside the building where I met the Royal Family…
…and a whole lot of famous people and celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor…
…and all the rest. Personally, because I am more into music, I actually enjoyed The Rock Circus that I went to the day before more.
I went to watch the two musicals that afternoon and night and the next morning, I chanced upon a sexy model in her lingerie along Regent or was it Oxford Street and before I knew it, we were in the coach once more, on our way back to Plymouth. I guess it wasn’t much, really but at least, I’ve been to London – been there, done that! THE END.
8 thoughts on “In the blink of an eye…”
I hope you had a great time in London.
You should take Bus No 15 (the only number they still run the original Routemaster, where you have to pull the wire to stop the bus) next time you come here.
London is actually my 2nd home in the UK. Edinburgh is my 1st. 🙂 Cos I used to study there.
If you like walking in the country side, you will love Scotland too.
We don’t have £2 Chinese buffet anymore.
It was £5 when I first came here, now it’s nearly £7.
Inflation is a cruel reality.
But they do have more options now, including sweet and sour pork, wanton soup, etc.
£5 for a decently good buffet with sweet and sour pork and wanton soup would be pretty reasonable. It was only RM3.50 to a £ at the time. I remember I did not eat much during my stay there, just had a muffin and sat by the roadside and ate for lunch…and that was £1, I think.
I would love to visit Scotland – I’ve friends there but at my age, I don’t think I can fly long haul anymore. I wanted to go then, 1994 but by the time I was free to travel (I finished my major assignment very fast, way ahead of the others), it was December and they told me it was very cold.
I heard they’ve done away with the double deckers in London. That would be very sad, a heritage like those black taxis that I used a lot in Plymouth.
I laugh at the part where you stumbled upon their “all-you-can-eat-buffet lunch” for £2 only to find that you have F4.. 😊😊.. and how you feast on the chickens wings to make your money’s worth.
I would call that survival. Gosh!!! Everything was so so so expensive and the exchange rate is much worse now. I had to go without any decent meal to save my money for other things. Bought a suitcase full of things for my girl when I was there and I could not resist their awesome lace tablecloth, treasured to this very day, still used on special occasions.
Well, that was wonderful wasn’t it? If only you could stay a few days longer, you could have seen more. London is one of the cities that I would love to visit but I really don’t know when that opportunity will come. Speaking of Chinese food overseas, I once had lunch at a Chinese restaurant outside Harvard University, Boston and I was quite shocked by how bland and awful the food was. It was truly an eye opener!
LOL!!! So it’s not just at this one that I went to in London then? I did go to one or two in Melbourne, no problem there and the yum cha (dim sum) places in New Zealand were great, direct from Hong Kong, better than Sibu, I would say!
On the other hand, I’ve seen some of my blogger friends overseas blogging about the dishes served at some Chinese restaurants they went to…and I had to refrain from saying anything. Ah well! I guess it is the same here too – there are good ones and others that need to improve.
The red double-decker bus is an eye-catcher.
I think I read somewhere that they have done away with those buses? Rather sad, don’t you think? That’s their heritage!