Tag Archives: Lim Liping

London Day 2 – Chinatown, Les Miserables, Soho

The morning dawn on me again… yet another day in London! I was hard pressed deciding where to go. In the end I thought I will head out to Piccadilly Circus and formulate a plan later.

Chinatown in London

It was late morning by the time I reached the place, and my legs brought me to Chinatown. The city’s present Chinatown is in the Soho area, occupying the area in and around Gerrard Street. It contains a number of Chinese restaurants, bakeries, supermarkets, souvenir shops, and other Chinese-run businesses. There was only a couple of early shoppers (tourists, more like) walking around when I was there.

Went into a “eat all you can” vegetarian place… simply because their spread was so colourful and tantalising. The food tasted rather bland, but since I had it with a pint of beer, I didn’t really complain. At 7 pounds I think it was a worthwhile lunch.

I got restless again after the lengthy meal, so I decided to head to Theaterland and check out what is on offer. Because I was in London during one of the peak weeks in the year (the week around New Year), a few musicals stopped running, and most of the running ones ran out of tickets days beforehand.

But as I walked pass Queen’s Theater, I saw a notice that they were running an afternoon matinee show for Les Misérables. Quickly I dashed to the box office and enquired on ticket availability, and yes! They have some of the best seats available too. For 55 pounds, I got myself a nice spot at the Circle Seats.

Les Misérables @ Queen's Theatre

I have been arranging and performing the music from Les Misérables since my secondary school band days. Never in my wildest dream did I ever think that, one day, I will be able to watch the original cast performing the show on their homeground.

But I did. From the start of the show till the curtain fall three hours later, I couldn’t stop tearing. Of course, my two glasses of red wine (yumm, isn’t it just the most fabulous idea? To be able to enjoy some drinks in theaters. Singapore is just too sterile!) helped in getting my emotions all stirred up. The kind gentleman sitting to my right kept asking if I was okay. I sniffed and said, yes I am, I am just too moved being here, that’s all.

OMG. I can’t believe how drama I was.

Famous Four Season Duck at Chinatown

After the play ended, I met up with Liping, Huisi, Huili and Melvin for a “reunion” dinner at the famous Four Season Duck in Chinatown. I was there half and hour early, and there was already a waiting list! So I got a table first, and happily ordered something to munch on while waiting for the others. And in walk Liping with a HUGE bouquet of flowers – not for me – and followed by Huili and the rest.

It was a fun dinner time when we caught up with each others’ life. These were my band friends back from uni-days, and it was great to see them again after such a long time.

Drinking Session @ Soho London

Drinking Session @ Soho London

After dinner, we adjourned to some pub for drinks and continue to yak. Since all of them are working the next day, they headed home for an early night while I continued my adventure in Soho late into the night. What did I do? Just pub-hopping and stuff. I felt alive in the nightlife of London!

Click here for some pics on my day in London.

Athens Day 5: Enroute to London

The dawn of my last morning in Athens came upon us. Our flight was scheduled to be in the noon, but knowing our luck with flights, we checked out from Athens Backpackers early in the morning.

Athens Backpackers, you’ll be missed!

We carried our large backpacks to the train station, and within the hour we arrived at Athens International Airport. The check-in was rather painless, and we have some time to while away, so Liping and I went around the shops. Like, finally we don’t have to rush through airports with a feeling of dread at the pit of our stomach.

Enroute to London on EasyJet!

I must say I was very impressed by Easy Jet. Despite being a budget airline, their service was flawless, the aircraft felt amazingly fresh, and the entire journey was over in a flash. I was really happy, and if I ever travel to and fro London, I will definitely choose them.

So we landed at Gatwick airport. I was holding my breathe as I stepped out of the airplane. I am finally in London! Was half expecting problems at the immigration, but like Liping said, they will always ask you the standard questions, so as long as I have answers for them, I will be fine.

Zapped through the immigration, and off we went to find the Tube… but even Liping got really confused. It took us a good 30 minutes before we figured out where the Tube was. LOL.

The journey to Liping’s place took longer than expected. For one, my Oyster card (courtesy of Liping) didn’t work well, so I was stuck at the turnstile for longer than expected. The Tube was crowded, and by the time we reach Warwick Avenue station, it was already dark.

And it was freezing cold. I loved it. Did I ever mention how much I love being in cold countries? LOL.

London bus service was amazing too. I mean, they actually announced the upcoming stops, so that people like me who has no idea which stop was where, it was incredibly useful. I wondered why Singapore didn’t use the same thing, and Liping said, “That’s because, by the time they repeated the upcoming stops in four languages, the bus would have passed the said stop”

LOL. That’s very true. The four language thing in Singapore MRT could be a bit over the board sometimes.

Dinner @ Maida Vale

Liping stays in a Zone 2 area in London called Maida Vale. I read about the place before – no, not from some guidebook – but on Shopaholic! You see, Becky and her boyfriend/husband (depends on which book you are reading) stays in Maida Vale. I have little idea how the place looked like when I arrived because everything was dark, but I had a feeling it will be gorgeous in the morning.

So Liping and I walked… actually, no, we ran because it was so cold, from her place to a nearby pub (a pub! in a residential area!) for dinner. I was eager to try out the multitude varieties of British beer, and the famous fish & chips. The former was impressive – I mean, look at the selection! You’ll die of liver malfunction before you can finish tasting them all – and the latter was not as expected. The barter tasted bland, though the fish was fresh.

I half contemplated leaving the house to go out that night, but figured that it might be too much to be so adventurous in a strange land at that time of the night. So I rested my tired body to get ready for the big London adventure the next day!