Travel Diaries: London-town

at Corfe Castle, Bournemouth

at Corfe Castle, Bournemouth

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date

– The Bard

A very very late post on my English summer.

Day 1: All by myself by Tower Bridge, London

Since summer was gone in the blink of an eye (junk season seems like a dream now) – I thought I’d make one last tribute with a post about my trip to England last August.

The Globe Theatre on the banks of the Thames

Apologies for all the touristy shots. How I would love to be a London local and be that cool girl, but unfortunately I was indeed that Asian tourist in ‘the big smoke’.

“The Shard”, Southwark

NOT London Bridge. Tower Bridge. The Victorian-era London Bridge was sold to an American and was reconstructed piece by piece in Lake Havasu City, Arizona

And of course, while I was there, I had to go to West End. As I had seen “Wicked” on my London trip circa 2011, this time around I had to see…

The heat is on in Saigon

Unfortunately public transport is not as good in London as it is in Hong Kong so even if I was soooo paranoidly trying to be on time we WERE STILL LATE FOR THE SHOW :(( and missed the Overture and opening. I even ran on the cobblestoned street in my heels.

bought with my hard earned money

My Instagram review of Miss Saigon:

#misssaigon #review take 2: Thirteen years since I first saw the #musical

– Lyrics were changed to less artistic and ‘oriental’ to more straightforward and literal (eg ‘I have a heart like the sea’ became ‘there’s so much more you don’t see’ … wtf

– Ellen’s solo ‘Her or Me’ was completely removed and changed to a crappy ‘Maybe’ to make her character more sympathetic and less selfish

– I understood Thuy more and think Kim should have just relented and said yes to him 3 years after reunification instead of becoming a bar girl in Bangkok

– I’m so sorry if this is bitchy but for a post war Vietnamese girl Kim was overweight and it was distracting

– was that Rachel ann go as Gigi. Would have made me so proud if I just DIDN’T MISS THE FIRST PART. “The Movie in My Mind” is one of my favourites and I didn’t catch it :((

– choreography wasn’t great. During Chris’s solo ‘Why God’ he was seated on a stair smoking most of the time. Would that seem tortured to you? I mean, hey this is supposed to be theatre right? No power or stage presence, very weak movements.

– the engineer was portrayed as more cunning and evil but not less comedic (it also made him more realistic)

– Watching it as a 25 year old instead of a 12 year old gave me a more pragmatic (and cynical) take on the story. I started seeing Kim as a crazy self-victimising Asian girl

– I still cried in the end @joyceraboca wish I had seen it with you

“The Cheese Grater” @ 122 Leadenhall Street. They were putting blinds to cover the glass because it was too reflective and on sunny days was apparently melting things on cars. Seems superfluous to me since London gets sun for like 2 weeks max in a year right haha

Exercising! (seriously, on a holiday?!) Actually the weather was super good and sunny the whole time I was there. This was the time I was still super obsessed with fitness and exercising and clean eating. I’ve toned down since then.

I actually ran more than 1k on the treadmill at the hotel before hitting the buffet breakfast so I could eat more. It’s an effective strategy what can I say – the best one in fact. That’s “Monument” behind me, by the way

The “Walkie-Talkie” 20 Fenchurch Street

“The Gherkin” (Pickle) – 30 St Mary Axe

Rented a Boris Bike. That’s St. Paul’s behind me. The Boris Bikes were great at 2 pounds a day but kind of annoying that you had to dock them every 30 minutes. ALSO Central London isn’t a very cycle-friendly area since it’s way too crowded. Kept bumping into people and getting inched off the road by vehicles

Cleopatra’s Needle is the popular name for each of three Ancient Egyptian obelisks re-erected in London, Paris, and New York City during the nineteenth century. The obelisks in London and New York are a pair, the one in Paris, also part of a pair came from a different site in Luxor where its twin remains.

The London needle (from Wikipedia) – thought it was interesting to share

The London needle is in the City of Westminster, on the Victoria Embankment near the Golden Jubilee Bridges. It was presented to the United Kingdom in 1819 by the ruler of Egypt and Sudan Muhammad Ali, in commemoration of the victories of Lord Nelson at the Battle of the Nile and Sir Ralph Abercromby at the Battle of Alexandria in 1801. Although the British government welcomed the gesture, it declined to fund the expense of transporting it to London.

The obelisk remained in Alexandria until 1877 when Sir William James Erasmus Wilson, a distinguished anatomist and dermatologist, sponsored its transportation to London at a cost of some £10,000 (a very considerable sum in those days). It was dug out of the sand in which it had been buried for nearly 2,000 years and was encased in a great iron cylinder.

London Eye in the background. Haven’t gotten around doing that touristy thing yet.

Tha National Gallery, in front of which people were celebrating the Eid. If Muslims are allowed to celebrate this in London, then why aren’t Filipinos allowed to celebrate fucking Independence Day in Singapore?!

Jamie Oliver’s Diner. Disgusting food.

car shopping

our home in Bournemouth (south of England)

Bournemouth city centre

Bournemouth beach

steam engine train

Corfe Castle

We actually shot some arrows. I hit the straw man 2/3 times

Corfe Castle

efficient transportation – not. I had to throw away my suitcase because it wouldn’t fit in the boot! I wasn’t happy about that.

Durdle door, Dorset section of the coastal walk


Dorset coastal walk

Godiva, Coventry

walks in the Midland with this Welsh Springer Spaniel

Chatsworth. aka Downton Abbey in my mind.


we had to find our way out of this hedge maze. Apparently it was the height of entertainment during the 16th century. It was actually difficult to get to the middle. I think it took me 15-20 minutes. Kept bumping into the same people getting as lost as I was.

the centre! I got there first.

not exactly dressed for the occasion

my bed of choice – in the emerald room

I actually played the piano at the request of the caretaker. I didn’t do so well…

I miss my brown hair :~(

Croquet at the Hardwick Hall lawn. I won.

Bess of Hardwick Hall. She was talking to everyone but I think she wasn’t sure if I could speak English.

friendly field horses. They came up to me when they saw me and I was so pleased I gave them some apples

making scones with clotted cream. Kidding I was just an eater. I made some Filipino food for dinner though.

Hope you liked the photo diary of my trip to England.

Until next year, summer!


PS. Probably not returning to the UK anytime soon. The visa process is an absolute nightmare. Two years ago it took around 5 working days and HKD900+ to get a visa. NOW it takes 15-20 working days with the new process and HKD1,200+ to get it!! I had to pay an extra HKD1,300 to expedite the whole thing because I couldn’t wait 15 days – what a nightmare :(((( Made me absolutely furious.

One thought on “Travel Diaries: London-town

  1. nonom says:

    You got it good! 😉 I took one of our Filipina helpers to Europe and the British visa was over HKD3,000! That was 9 years ago, so the price must have come down since then.


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