Oxford / Videos

first day in the uk

I’m not even technically in London yet – in the small … town of Slough (Wiki very usefully tells me it is a “borough and unitary authority within the ceremonial county of Royal Berkshire, England”), where my parents and I put up for the night after my very uneventful flight from Singapore to London. It’s only 15 minutes away from Heathrow.

A good choice, in fact, because I crashed at around 6 pm (our flight landed at 3.30 pm and we arrived at the hotel a little past 5 pm) while my parents were fighting over the coveted use of Wifi on my laptop, because we had to, outrageously, pay for Wifi at the hotel and only one user could use it at any time, and my laptop had logged in and we couldn’t figure out how to log it back out, since simply turning off the Wifi did not help.

I promptly woke up at around 4 am! Great first night, I must say.

In any case, have some very exciting photos to accompany my recounting of very exciting night:

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My luggage! I was very proud of myself for (vacuum)packing all my clothes into one moderately sized suitcase, until I packed everything else and realized, to my despair, I had three other bags of … stuff. I was very baffled. Granted, the cardboard box is full of food and some toiletries. The other suitcase has shoes and scrapbooking materials. The duffel bag is my vacation travel carryon.

I dream about traveling the world with one suitcase (and maybe a backpack) someday. For the time being … I will have four pieces of luggage. Admittedly, this makes me feel a little inadequate, but I will forget about that when I munch down on the two boxes of cereal I brought with me (:

(I briefly, but seriously, contemplated bringing rice over. Only because it will be cheaper. Half the price, at least. I resisted.)

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Singapore has one hell of a classy airport, I must say. Compared to the dingy, uh antique feel of Heathrow. No photos of the prettiest and newest one, though. Have many photos of clouds and aerial views of land masses, instead:

PhotobucketI have an inordinate interest in uh, landscape shots. And clouds. Fluffy, luxurious clouds.
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Voila. I love how corporeal and defined and realistic the clouds look as the setting for a whole new world, removed from the baseness of human existence, the pristine landscape crowding up into mountains and ridges and foam.

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The flight, in any case, was the smoothest one I can remember taking. Not in terms of lack of turbulence but in terms of my enjoyment levels. For some reason or another, I was very well entertained throughout and I can’t remember a flight ever passing faster. I spent the first four or five hours sound asleep, and then I woke up to watch The Avengers, which was seriously, seriously thrilling, in spite of the weakness of the plot; honestly, I was very uh emotionally affected by the movie. Especially all the fight scenes. They were … very exciting. I then put on some music, had my lunch, fell asleep for another two hours, and then watched another movie in French this time, called The Chef. It was a very feel-good movie about an aspiring genius chef who gets recruited by his hero while at a painting job because his wife is pregnant with his daughter … the French women in it were singularly lovely.

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I associate Europe distinctly with countrysides neatly partitioned into cosy squares of farmland grassed by different shades of yellow and green, and seeing them en route in the plane is always a privately thrilling experience.
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As if to complement the flight, immigration whizzed by in thirty successful seconds. Upon reaching the immigration queues, large signs proclaiming INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS told me exactly which forms I needed and had not brought with me.

There were a great many of them. I dug out my CAS number from my email inbox and then hoped for the best as the queue drew closer to the immigration counter. The guy I got was a cheery sort of chap, middle-aged, who called me ‘dear’, leafed through my passport and took my thumb print, all in quick succession, and then waved me through. No questions asked, no comment made.

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I have this great knack for figuring out when the worst time to close my eyes during a photo is.

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At the car rental place, my dad spent around 15 minutes trying to figure out how to start the engine, because there was no apparent key or a keyhole. Eventually, he enlisted the help of a mechanic puttering around the tow truck next to our car and figured out that the entire key pad itself fitted into this tab by the side of the wheel, and all he had to do was shove it in and press.

Then we spent another 15 minutes figuring out the GPS system. For a guy with a computer engineering background, he is not very technologically savvy.

This is actually posted a day later, of course, due to British parsimony regarding free Wifi, and I would recount today’s adventures (!) but I really am exhausted, so that shall have to keep.

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