Sunday, December 30, 2007

Ushering 2008

Tomorrow I should be in London to usher the New Year with 350,000 people. I did not feel 2008 was coming but I knew 2007 was ending. Strange! It was until writing on the final pages of my diary that I realised 2008 is just days away! I bought a new diary two days ago and started filling it up with important dates for the new year. As I was writing in the names and birthdays, I noticed many of them fell on the weekends. Irene starts the weekend birthday list in February, then Sarah Lee, Mui Yen and Kelvin Ng for March. Lil Khoo for April, my mum in May, Winson in July, Eric and Yoke Mei in August, my car in September, Evelyn in October and Baby Brendan ends the list in November. Better opportunity to wish them on weekends than on weekdays.

2007 has moved on incredibly fast for me. As I sat back to recount those days of what I've learnt, mistakes I've made and goals I've achieved, I felt 2007 was an incredible year for me. I flipped through the pages of my diary and thought, "My God! So many things have happened this year!" I would describe 2007 as the "Year of the Great Experiences" for me. The lessons and experiences that have driven an impact in the way I think and live my life:

The Bad:
1. Trying to learn up Accounting and Finance in 8 weeks without prior knowledge of the subject is a bad idea. I ended up calling my Godfather on New Year's day to help me with the assignment.

2. ESD Assignment deadlines. They were all a mad rush!

3. Services in the UK are at snail pace. The Post Office, the bank, to see a doctor, to see a dentist, to get a Visa appointment, to get a National Insurance number, to get my laptop repaired (early this year), etc...OMG, they take ages!

4. I am still peeved at the weather pattern in this country. There are also no four seasons in this country but four types of winter!

5. I still can't figure out why cyclists are not allowed to cycle on the road shoulder. It's so darn dangerous to share lanes with motor vehicles. A cyclist who knocks down a pedestrian will probably cause injuries but a motor vehicle that knocks down a cyclist will probably cause fatality!

6. Long distance is not only bad for relationships but also for foreign language. My Japanese has crystalised to the level I have graduated from Japan and not improved at all. In fact, I have lost touch speaking it.

7. ShippingtoMalaysia Delivery Services takes 4 months for a parcel to arrive into Malaysia. How ridiculous! That's the last I'll use their service.

8. Better return to Malaysia during Christmas or find someone to be with at that time. It can be a daunting experience having to celebrate this day alone.

9. There are two frustrating things about taking the train; either it is delayed or has changed the platform number. The only difference is when to do the mad run.

10. Finally, J-net remains to be the greatest nightmare for me in 2007.

The Good
1. Learnt lots of stuff from Prof Nick Ashford. The ideas that I have learnt from the Sustainability, Trade and the Environment subject have profound impact in what I write in the papers, the essays and at work now.

2. Studying in Cambridge was a priceless experience. Wouldn't trade that with anything else. Not even a place in Oxford! Haha...

3. Attended as many talks as possible in Cambridge; topics ranging from politics, religion, war to weather talk.

4. The London Marathon....need I say more...

5. Opportunities to meet up with Malaysian ministers, renowned business owners and great leaders who have been swept under the carpet for a long time (like AI). Even foreign leaders like Al Gore!

6. Snow experience.

7. Living alone in another country has made my faith in God much stronger.

8. Paid to go back to Malaysia to do my research.

9. Learnt to use new softwares like Gabi, Vensim and MS Access.

10. Stronger feeling of love and affection towards family members, relatives and friends when away from home.

11. Very thankful to Shell and the British Council for taking care of their scholars so well. If only scholarships in Malaysia can be administered so effectively then we wouldn't have complaints of PSD scholars crying for a raise in their allowances.

12. The name "Cambridge" has opened many doors and job opportunities in Malaysia. Somehow it's difficult to find a good one.

13. Graduation ceremonies in Cambridge is quick but interesting. It can also turn out to be too quick for people who have flown all the way from home, 13,000km away, just to witness this once in a lifetime event. Thousands of pounds just for a 20-minute ceremony.

14. Good to know that the friendships in Malaysia have remained as strong as before I left the country.

15. Getting accustomed and liking the BBQ culture here in the UK. Hardly done any BBQ while I was in Malaysia. Probably because the weather is too hot and unsuitable for such an occasion.

16. Renewed relationship and knowledge of Malaysia by living outside the country. Having friends to come and visit while I was home makes an interesting tourist guide role to play.

17. Earning in pounds is a nice feeling. As long as there are still leftovers at the end of the month that is...

18. Working in the UK is quite flexible. There's this thing called flexible working hours. Some companies even have the work from home arrangement.

19. Learnt to appreciate what I used to have in Malaysia; family, friends, great weather for running, the rainforests, triathlon, training, a car to drive around, the nightlife and convenience of applying for things without the need to carry my passport, 3 months bank statement, a utility bill for proof of address and then wait for 6 weeks for them to be processed.

The Odd
1. Tolerance level towards alcohol increased! From a pint to four now (in 1.5 hours).

2. Learnt that beyond UK, not many people in other parts of the world speak or obsessed about learning English. An experience from visiting European countries.

3. Trading in Ebay UK can be so exciting and nail-biting. Everything under the sun can be found here. Try looking for used dentures and you'll get results too!

4. Learnt that UK is still not prepared to cope with snowfall. Public transportation and businesses can grind to a halt as a result of snow showers!

5. I still can't forget Japan.

6. Scotland has their own parliament even though they are part of the UK. Somehow the Scottish friends I know don't really have a good impression of the English. That's something I only found out here. Surprisingly this has some influence on students who are studying there too.

7. Punting is harder than I thought. I fell into the river!

8. The only time I sought attention was when I donned a Baju Melayu during our final course dinner. It was also the first time I wore one.

9. There are many Malaysians working and studying in Britain. Sometimes it can be really irritating meeting a few of them trying to speak in this thick (broken) English accent when they've only been here for 3 months. But most other times, it's great to see them around and catch up on news back home.

10. I noticed people here like having meetings for almost anything. Sometimes I have a few meetings in a day for almost everyday!

11. The divorce rate in this country is incredible. I was initially shocked to find people telling me that they have children and then, introduce me to their girlfriends/ boyfriends, but after a while I got used to the system.

12. Is religion dead in this country? A quote from a TV interview, "It took Jonathan 35 years to realise that God isn't real. Most of us have realised this by the time we turn 13..." Another ad wrote, "Christmas: The birth of Santa".

All in all, it's a superb year for me. 2008 will come after tomorrow. And I wish everyone a Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Trip to Oxford

A trip to Oxford is long overdue for me. I have planned to make a trip there since I was in Cambridge.

I only decided to go there when I woke up this morning and saw the sky was clear and weather brilliant. It was an impromptu decision. I am glad I made the trip in time before the end of 2007 lest I've to make it a new year resolution! It was also a very enjoyable trip for me as I have learnt and saw a lot from the oldest university in Britain.

Oxford is only 25 minutes away from Reading by train. In fact, I just realised Reading is near to many other places other than London. It's 25 minutes to London, 25 minutes to Windsor and now, 25 minutes to Oxford. I should be able to discover more places in time to come. Perhaps I should give Reading a slogan of its own: "Town to other towns in 25 minutes!"

I brought my bicycle to Oxford since people who have been there told me that Oxford is a bigger place than Cambridge. I thought it would be nice to see the city in a bike. Save time, save the effort from walking too much. Besides, like Cambridge, Oxford is also a cycling city. I made the right decision. Oxford was bigger and I saved so much time getting from one place to another with the bike. Though bigger in size, I found the traffic less intimidating to cyclists than it is in Cambridge. I found cycling in Oxford much safer.

Oi! What is this?! Look what greeted me as soon as I arrived Oxford!

When I got out from the train station and headed to the city centre, I passed by the Said Business School. It's one of the good MBA schools in the UK. I stopped by the roadside when I spotted it. I peeped in from the outside. It was quite deserted especially at this time of the year. So I didn't bother going in. I had initially imagined it to be much bigger from the outside or something like the Judge Business School in Cambridge. Who knows, good things come in small packages!

When I reached the city centre, I quickly bought a map from the Tourist Information Centre. It's really essential to have one even though it cost 1.25 quid a pop. I had no idea of my orientation in the city and what were the things to see. Like I said, it was an impromptu decision to come here, so I didn't even do any research on Oxford! That aside, I found that UK is perhaps the only country (of the countries I've been) to be selling guide maps to tourists. These are usually given free. There was once a gush of wind blew the map off from my hand as I was spreading it open. It nearly fell on a puddle of water but thankfully a lady caught hold of it. I breathed a sigh of relief. The lady handed the map back to me and said, " That look just now, was priceless!" That's how much people like me will wince when they (almost) lose a map which they have to pay for it (again)! Ugly! Ugly!

I noticed the common benchmark to getting around Oxford is the Carfax Tower. I found out later that Carfax means "crossroads" in French. Now that explains its significance.

Carfax Tower

I checked the map and saw that the nearest point to start the visit was the Bridge of Sigh. There wasn't a river shown in the map where the bridge was located. So it was interesting to find out the Oxford version of this bridge and how it'll look. We have one in St John's College, Cambridge over River Cam but the one in Oxford is over a road called, New College Lane to connect both sides of Hertford College. No offence to Oxonians, but I think Cambridge's looks more picturesque and stunning.

Bridge of Sigh comparison; Cambridge on the left, Oxford on the right

Or compare the cheeky fella and the bridge...

Panorama view of Bridge of Sigh's surrounding

Around the area, there were other interesting buildings like the Radcliffe Camera and the University Church of St Mary the Virgin. Radcliffe Camera is a reading room for the Bodleian Library, which has an underground storage space of 100 miles (161km)! I also spent some time at the Church of St Mary the Virgin, reading the dramatic death history of Thomas Cranmer in the church, admiring the building architecture and carvings.

Radcliffe Camera

University Church of St Mary the Virgin

700-year old well-preserved wooden furniture in the University Church of St Mary the Virgin

Somehow Cambridge has many similarities with Oxford. Alot of the building names and functions are the same. The University Church in Cambridge is called the Great St Mary. Mere coincidence??

Then I proceeded to Christ Church College. To enter, visitors have to pay £4.90 per pax. I tried my luck with another method.

I asked, "Excuse me, do I need to pay if I enter as a university student? I'm not from Oxford though."

The ticket master bent over, "Do you have a university card? Which university are you from?"

I showed my blue colour university card and flipped over to the back to show the university's name, "Cambridge, Sir. Would that be alright?"

The ticket master responded swiftly, "Oh! From the other place! Ah! Get in!"

I was so happy I got in for free. I pushed my luck a little further and asked, "In that case, sir, next time when I come, can I also bring in two guests with me?

" depends on the mood of the person manning the counter on that day. You see, we don't have arrangements to let people from "the other place" come here for free. Sometimes we let them in, sometimes we don't. It just depends on the mood of the person."

"Okay, in that case...oh well..from "the other place" huh...So you're telling me your mood is good today!"

"Haha! Get in before I change my mind, you cheeky fella!"

Panaroma view of Christ Church College

Christ Church College is apparently the most famous college in Oxford and perhaps in the world. It is also the only university college in the world with a cathedral in it! I can guarantee that most, if not all of us who have seen movies whether in the cinema or at home would have come across Christ Church College, knowingly or unknowingly. Take the bet? First up...Harry Potter's dining hall. Eventhough it was digitally modified, the base model came from the college hall.

Great Hogwarts Hall adapted from the college hall

And most recently, the Golden Compass was filmed in the hall and grounds of the college. I haven't seen the movie so I tried looking for the movie trailer. I found these very familiar shots in the trailer and was surprised...

Snapshots of Golden Compass filmed at the College Hall
The original hall used in the movies

Check out the picture above and compare it with the photo below. Taken today at the grounds of the college. Notice the difference? That's the power of computer graphic editting!

Perhaps the highlight of the trip was Christ Church College. I spent quite a lot of time there. I sat through a 15-minute video presentation of the college, spoke to the gatekeeper of the college cathedral who apparently was born in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, and had my lunch at the college grounds to admire the architecture of the surrounding.

Cathedral of Oxford in the college

Close-up shot taken in the Cathedral
If there's anything I can spot lacking in Cambridge would be a covered market. Oxford has that and it houses a variety of shops and stalls in it. When I checked out the place, I didn't find anything that interest me except a box of oysters on shaved ice which reminded me of my last visit to a Japanese buffet restaurant in Malaysia.

Oxford's Ashmolean Museum is like what Fitzwilliam Museum is to Cambridge. There are a plethora of paintings and artefacts in it. Visitors can take photograph in the museum, which was brilliant! There was a section with silver and goldwares in display and I thought it would be great if I can take photos of those and make up for the ones I couldn't take when I was in Windsor. They looked so similar. The intricacy of the carvings on the metal illustrates the emphasis on elegance and refinement in the work of arts by the British. I stood there for a while trying to figure out how some of those carvings were done and how much time it took to produce one of them.

When I was in Malaysia, the ubiquitous "Oxford" name has appeared in almost every dictionary that I ever had, except the last one by Collins Cobuild. In fact my first dictionary was "The Little Oxford Dictionary". We also have academic textbooks that are printed by the Oxford University Press. Malaysians like myself have been so exposed to this name that we no longer take notice of it. When I spotted the OUP in the map, I told myself that I should pay "homage" to this place. Standing in front of the OUP was like the final leg of completing an Oxford experience.

Other bits of Oxford....

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

"Violently Christmas"

I'm still trying to figure out the magic behind the song, "Fairytale of New York" by "The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl". This song has made it to be the "most played" Christmas song in the UK.

If I didn't know the lyrics, I did find the song nice and soothing. The format of the tune is also typical of a Christmas song. Then when I read the lyrics, I was appalled by the use of "old slut", "scumbag", "maggot", "lousy faggot" and "Christmas your arse" in the song. They were quite a turnoff actually. Somehow, the tune kept ringing in my mind. Arrghhh!!!

I would have happily recommended this song if not for the crazy lyrics. But the fact that I am writing about it now....oh well...

I read that the song has also created a controversy here. BBC had initially censored the song but made a u-turn in the decision after listeners complained. They thought it's creative and said that they can decide for themselves what is malicious and not. To me, it's quite an "Eminem-type" urban Christmas song. I don't know if it's in the Malaysian radio channels but I doubt this song will make it to the airwaves. I've embedded the Youtube below. Do tell me what you think as I am still trying to figure out what is the magic behind this song...

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Christmas!!

I was driving around town to do some Christmas shopping since I moved into a new place. The days leading up to Christmas was cold and foggy. It was a different kind of White Christmas. The temperature ranged 3 to -3 deg C on average. It was forecast to be milder on the eve and Christmas. Today, the temperature is around 9 deg C.

The streets were packed with last-minute shoppers, a condition I am personally familiar with.

I noticed Christmas in the UK is too commercialised. People can get stressed over the presents that they buy or not. As a result, they can also be easily agitated at this time of the year. Take for example the other day when I was in a store. A lady was trying to squeeze through the crowd with her baby pram. She was excusing herself all the way until she met an agitated shopper who felt he was abruptly interrupted by this lady. I was just standing next to him when he started scolding profanities at her. They ended up scolding each other and soon the volume of their voices increased attracting more onlookers at the aisle.

For me, I slowly inched away from the scene. It's really none of my business. I just wanted to get my own shopping done. It was certainly a tense moment and it was not an exceptional event. Most shoppers did look worn and stressed out.

I thought Christmas was turning commercial in Malaysia until I came here and experience a worse situation. Business papers even say that this is essential, as it "keeps the economy going" and that's good for the country! Maybe it's a hard comparison to Malaysia as we can never achieve the level of business as in here. But I did figure out that Malaysians go after different things. While presents remain part of the celebration, food seems to be a better household topic.

My Christmas food: Brussels sprout, roast meat, red curry chicken (a weird improvisation) and lots of vegetable cooked in olive oil

Bramley apple pie for dessert

Maybe it's a cultural thing, that food is the common topic whether you're a Malay, Chinese or Indian. Even Christmas presents have evolved to suit our local cultures. As I am from a Chinese family, Christmas presents can turn out to be an angpao (red packet with money).

Today, I called my grandmother to wish her Happy Christmas. She told she has an angpao for me. Even though I declined to accept it since I am already a grown up and earning an income, she insisted that I should take the angpao and buy myself a Christmas present that I like.

I belief other races or people have their own interpretations of Christmas presents. J-net for example, once told me that all she wants for Christmas is for her children to come home and see her. Two of her children didn't want to live with her anymore and now that the other housemate and I have left the house, she'll be alone for Christmas. As much as I dread thinking of what she did to me, I do really sympathise her condition.

St James Church; for Christmas Midnight Mass

Inside the church

I have been lucky on celebrating Christmas for two years in this country. Both were meant to be a lonely occasion for me. Somehow, things will just come up. Last year, I was with other students in Cambridge having a party in a Church. This year, I am also alone. In fact, I have the whole house to myself for 10 days until early next year. What's changed this year is that I have gone to church twice to listen to carols and participate in the Christmas Eve and Christmas mass. It was a wonderful and meaningful moment for me. My move to the new place is like a rebirth of staying in Reading. It has brought me to a new level of understanding that Christmas is not only about presents, but also a gift of hope, a hope that's been born to us 2000 years ago.

Happy Christmas everyone!!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Snow and Food Serendipity

I was in London today to talk biofuels with someone but was met with an unusual event at an unusual time and place. It was snowing in South London. When I got out of the train, the tiles on the roof of the houses looked white but I initially thought it was just frost, as usual. Then when I walked closer, the roads and the lawns had snow flakes covering on top. I knew that couldn't be frost anymore. Quite an unusual surprise.

Snow in South London

It was an hour journey back to Central London. Winson invited few days ago to have dinner at his place with his parents. I missed home-cooked Malaysian food, so without a second thought, I promised to come. When I arrived, they had cooked more than just a simple meal! I would have easily settled for anything since I understand they were here on holiday. It was a sumptuous dinner, with curry chicken, braised pork, home-flown red seabass steamed with mushrooms and vegetables. As if these weren't enough, we also had the dark glutinuous rice for dessert.

As usual, I have frightened both Mr and Mrs Tan when they saw the amount of food I devoured. But they were also happy to see such an appetite. It's good omen in Chinese belief? Haha!

Pork, o pork! Why did you have to look so appetising! I have overeaten and it's all your fault!
Dinner with the Tan family in Fulham

Now, I just got an idea. Maybe I should get my mom here for a while...hehehehe.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Final Salvo from Hell

The psycho old lady in the house threw herself into a fit of anger this morning for no apparent reason. She was shouting and shouting saying that I called her a thief last time, that I was wrong to ask her about the backpack, saying that I shouldn't have asked her about it at all and questioned why I didn't ask the other housemate. I was in a shock because of the sudden burst of anger and history lesson. They came like spears! Imagine I was having breakfast and preparing for work when this happened.

This is how it all started. J-net replied my email promising to return my rental deposit (in the form of a cheque) yesterday evening. She didn't. She then said it would be ready the next morning, i.e this morning. It wasn't there either. So I asked her about it. While walking back with the cheque, a flame in her suddenly ignited. She was burning in anger, accusing me of "no bloody manners" (for saying thank you instead of please, or was it the other way round..oh well...), cursing me that I will not survive long in the next place, threatening me to tell the church priest that I am a bad boy, and warning me not to simply talk about her as she knows, as she put it, "hundreds of staff" in my company. I am not very convinced about that actually...oh well..

I suspect she was still drunk since she smelt alcohol from the doses of mulled wine that she drank yesterday evening. But she seemed okay by the look on her face. I don't know. But what she scolded this time was quite funny actually. In fact, I contained my laughters especially when she said about reporting to the priest or gossiping about her in the office. In Malaysia, we would have called this person "perasan", meaning "full of herself, with no substance". But the right English word I'd use on a person like her is 'uppityness'.

I hope this is the last salvo from hell before I move out on Saturday. Now I see a great deal about TGI Friday tomorrow!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Present from GOD

I'd be lying if I were to tell you that the whole incident with my landlady did not affect me emotionally. Remember how it all started - with the whole backpack incident. Today, I am very happy that this whole thing came to an unexpected conclusion.
Call it luck or a master stroke from God, something miraculous happened.
A brand new replacement of the backpack arrived at the office today. The reason it arrived at the office this time is because of the previous mess. But that's nothing to shout about. A replacement for the missing one, that's only natural.
But what is even more bizarre is that the missing one - the one that got me kicked out of this house and subsequently written off as mis-delivered - came back to life! I know it's hard to believe. I was surprised myself.
So where did I found it? Apparently the warranty office has written my house number wrongly. It wrote 1 instead of 7! It appeared in today's historical message thread when I received the new bag. In fact, they even wrote the address wrongly. Instead of Clifton, they wrote Clitton. And the post code, 1PD instead of 7PD. With so many errors in the address, there was no way the bag was going to reach me and that's why they realised it was much easier for them to send me a replacement than trying to retrace the delivery!
I didn't want to pursue with the matter and thought, after so much that happened in the past two weeks over this stupid bag, I might as well get on with life and be happy with the replacement though not the colour that I wanted. As usual, I'd go to the gym and swimming pool on Mondays. However, I realised I left my gear in another bag! It was the first time I have forgotten to bring them in the bag. So that was a rare one. That means, no exercise today or if I insist, I had to cycle home to get my stuff. Arrgh! What a hassle. Forget it then.
So I thought, okay then I'll hit the gym then. Damn! The contact lens and bathing materials were in the other bag too! Arrgghhh!! Frust! So, no gym. Something I would unusually let go easily.
It was as if something was prompting me to go home and go to number 1 and ask if they had my bag. Every event that happened today was stacked up in making me do just that. So I did. I rang the door bell at number 1. A lady came out. I asked, "Excuse I know this sounds strange. But I was wondering if a bagpack was delivered to this address, like two weeks or a week ago?"
The lady's look brightened from a "what the heck is this Asian guy doing at my doorstep" look to something she was familiar, "O! That's right! So it was yours! And I thought who this bag belonged to."

She went back into the house and reached for the bag. It was still neatly wrapped. She handed the bag to me. I insisted to show her my ID even though she declined. She said, I'm sure it's yours since you asked about it. I just wanted to make sure she's 110% confident with what she's doing. She smiled when she saw both names on the ID card and consignment note matched. "That's alright," she said.

The bag still neatly wrapped when the lady in number 1 handed it over to me

Now I have two backpacks. I am thinking what should I do with the extra. It's either I use it for my upcoming trip to Switzerland or I'll just sell it in Ebay. After some thought, I'd probably keep it for a while and wait for my next inspiration. After all, I also realised that the new bag was slightly bigger and a newer model. So, it'll be a more suitable bag to carry for my travels.

The old and the new

As I sat down to consolidate my feelings of excitement, I remembered that I prayed in Church one day about how much stress I had with the landlady and asked God to grant me patience to get through each day with her. Or if not, make something else work. What happened today is a true testament that God has answered this prayer in a mysterious way. He has not only taught me patience but also made me learnt tolerance and forgiveness. Whether He has given me a new bag or brought me to a new place to stay (as this place is also nearer to the train station and my office as well as located on the better side of Reading) in His way of answering this prayer, He has made me lived through this in an educational manner; that "every cloud has a silver lining". I am really really happy to say that this is an extremely meaningful Christmas present from GOD.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Britain's Talent - Paul Pott

I was watching this on TV a while ago and was very impressed with Paul Pott's win in the "Britain's Got Talent Show". From a mobile phone salesman to a fast rising star. He has brought opera to the masses.

He has since performed to the Queen, received an award from the Prime Minister and became a celebrity in 15 other countries like the Europe, US, Australia and Taiwan!

What I found extremely amusing watching this clip was Simon Cowell's "gosh, let's get on with this bloke!" kinda expression and his complete change after Paul sang the Nessun Dorma in the first audition. This clip is probably the best I can recommend for anyone who wants to see an embarassed Simon. It is also one of the biggest Youtube hit I've ever seen too.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Trip to Windsor and Eton

I made a trip to Windsor and Eton today with Winson and his parents. It does rhyme a little reading it, doesn't it? Haha.

Windsor Castle is known to be the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world.

Apparently the Queen is in Windsor Castle today. The entrance fee cost us around 12 quid per pax and it included an audio guide and optional walking tours. I bumped into the walking tour by chance and followed through. The tour guide told us that if the "Royal Standard" flag is flying, that means the Queen is in residence. Other times, it would just be the Union Jack flag. Today, the Royal Standard was flying! I was really excited when I heard and saw that. I kept hoping that I would get a glimpse of her if she happened to come out or something. Unfortunately, she didn't.
The Royal Standard flag was flying today

The castle has a no-photography policy, so I couldn't take any pictures when I was inside. However, I took some of the castle's surroundings. It's a very large castle. But I also noticed Windsor is under a flight path of an adjacent airport. I suspect it's Heathrow since it's the nearest one around. I observed 5 planes within a span of 6 minutes flying on the same path. I can't imagine how could anyone continue living there. The roaring of the jets' engines were quite a nuisance. Well, I suppose the Queen's setting an example for others to follow.

Panorama view of Windsor Castle

We went into the castle and I was completely bedazzled thinking if all the stuff in the castle was real. The fine carvings, chinas, busts, paintings and rooms were so heavily decorated that it didn't seem real. How could anyone afford all these unless that person is a King! Erm...quite rightly so, that's why I am in a castle! Ah! What an idiot..

Group photo at Eton College

We ended our trip with a short tour to Eton College. It's just a stone's throw from Windsor Castle. Eton College grounds reminded me of Cambridge. There's a Porter's Lodge and its chapel looked like the King's College chapel in Cambridge. Felt like I've been there before but I haven't.

Winson and his parents

Joining Winson and his parents for the trip was also fun. Catching up on news about home was a great antidote to missing home.