Sunday, November 2, 2008

Back from a great trip to London


Jet-lagged and wiery from a four hour delay in Bahrain, I write this not quite knowing what time of day it is, let alone what day!


I just spent 9 days in London, staying with my son, DIL and my three fabulous grandchildren, Lucia (6), Maya (4) and Oliver (20 months), and while I'm full of the most amazing warmth for them, I'm still thawing out from the bitterly cold weather, served up to me by my home town.
The grand children, of whom I'd only met Lucia before (as they're all in London and I'm in Kuala Lumpur), are FANTASTIC! Maya is so very much like my wonderful little daughter, Nicole, who's also four years old, and in fact just 3 weeks older than Maya. They are both full of beans, full of (acceptable) mischief, cheeky, hugely talkative (just like me, I'm told.....) and absolutely adorable, as of course are Lucia and Oliver.
As for London, first time there for 12 years, it has improved enormously, and much of the credit should probably go to the Ken Livingstone, the former mayor, who did his level best to make living in the world's finest capital, even better for Londoners, residents, visitors and tourists. It's much cleaner (very little litter around), the people are so much friendlier, and the public transport systems really do work pretty well and don't have to be expensive either.
We took the children to so many fun places, but a couple are worth a special mention - The Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green (http://www.vam.ac.uk/moc/) and the Tate Modern (http://www.tate.org.uk/modern/) which were so interesting, so very well laid out, and with something for everyone, no matter what age. The activities for kids were imagintive and FREE, just like the entrance, yup, no charges whatsoever!
The flights were OK, not anything better. I took Bahrain's Gulf Air, which I've flown a few times, but the last was about 20 years ago, as it was the cheapest, but it still cost £800 at the conversion rate at which I booked. The service was crap by comparison to the best of the Asian airlines, Singapore Airlines, Malaysian Airlines, Thai International Airways and Cathay Pacific Airlines of Hong Kong, but the Euro airlines all fall well short too, and the US airlines are among the worst in the world for service.
I was pleasantly surprised at some of the costs in London, and the relatively easy availability of discount stores for just about every thing. But the real revalation was a fantastic Chinese and Asian produce store in Camberwell Green (SE5), which had just about everything I can get in KL. I cooked a few Malaysian dishes for the family with produce from this store, and they all were very well received, especially a fresh lemon and fresh thyme flavoured, baked sea bass, which was delicious.
Of course the major highlights would not be complete without remarking that is was wonderful was seeing my terrific two children from my first marriage for the first time in three years. Matt, the father of my grandchildren, and Caroline, globe trotting project manager for VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas). Matt's also in the Charity line, as International Co-ordinator for ATD Fourth World, a very large, Paris based charity, working exclusively with the world's extreme poor.
Right, I'm now ready to try to return to sleeping...... zzzzzz


3 comments:

ArahMan7 said...

Hola Mike,

I was about to leave a comment or two but seeing you tired and all, I gonna let you sleep first.

Talk with you later Mike after you've rested.

See you around.

Greetings and lots of love from Kuale Kangsor.

~ ArahMan7

flawedangel said...

Hi.. came here via MyBlogLog.

Lovely grandchildren you have. :)

There's a place in Bayswater that sells Asian food supplies as well. Tawana, I think it's called. I once found durian there! *LOL*

Stephen said...

Welcome to Malaysia, hope you enjoy your stay there.