Eating on public transport

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I do not understand why eating is allowed on public transport. It turns the train carriages into giant rubbish bins.

It was just on the bus I saw how disgusting it was; orange peel on the floor, gum smeared on surfaces wrappers everywhere. I felt that this bus was on its last legs. But it’s not. That is a 79 bus to Alperton and the fleet are relatively new buses.

I get on the tube, and I find that the person who comes sits next to me spills a can of coke. This gets all over my shoe and floor making it sticky. The wrapper? That goes on the floor… The guy that sits opposite me decides to have a sandwich. Crumbs go everywhere and the packaging goes on the sill behind him. Not to mention the offensive smell that assaulted my sinuses.

So it seems that with no air conditioning body odour is the fragrance of choice for commuters, topped with garnishing of litter and the occasional blast of egg sandwich. Not all bad though, you get to use the carriages as saunas in the summer.

Eating is prohibited on other public transport services I used and this makes it a much cleaner and happier place for everyone. Also it’s air conditioned; and it includes the platform! Ahh fresh air!

If eating is ok on the tube. Maybe I should eat some. I can have some Surströmming and maybe with some stinky tofu and some fruit to end the meal on. I’m sure if I can offend enough people, then eating will be banned on the public transport. Should start a movement…

Internet on the London Underground

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It was announced a few months ago that Virgin Media will be rolling out wifi services on the London Underground.

After hearing the news, it sounded like a hoax… But it seems that this was real. Excited I should be, but I wasn’t really. After all having been to Hong Kong, I have used the Internet and made phone calls while underground – 10 years ago!

So to me, news of this was like the UK was finally catching up to the rest of the world

Since the 2 June 2012, the service has started to become available at certain stations. I have not had the chance to try it, but from what I have read, it seems that the Internet will only be available at stations and platforms; not during the actual tube rides through the tunnels?

I had a little think about this and realised that it won’t be much use considering most of the time is spent actually on the train rather than waiting for a train or going through the ticket hall.

Virgin Media will be making this service free to everyone during the summer and will start charging for the service after the Olympics. I will take advantage of this and see how useful it is, but at the moment, unless they can provide a comprehensive service throughout the underground network, its not something worth paying for…

It’s not the first time that the UK is playing catch up. 9 years ago, the Oyster Card system was introduced to allow a touch and go system for quick and easy payment of tickets. A similar system called the Octopus Card had been used in Hong Kong for public transport since 1997. With this card, you can use it at parking meters, vending machines, convenience stores, fast food restaurants and others.

British Heart Foundation, London to Brighton Night Ride

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Never really thought about doing a bike ride from London to Brighton before. But as I did not do any charity runs this year, I thought why not sign up for the first London to Bright Night Ride…

I don’t quite remember how this came about, but it was certainly a spontaneous decision. I signed up to this quite early and it was in the back of my mind up until the last week before the ride. That was when I started to panic.

My main concern was riding on the roads, its not something I have ever done before, and certainly not through London. Maybe I should have done some practice rides before the big night. I figured running would suffice.

Bike, check

Helmet, check

Lights? err… Few of the last minute items I needed before being able to ride at night. I hoped to get some kick ass lights that will make my path to Brighton look like they were paved with gold. Alas, for those lights, I would have to pay with gold. I had to think of another solution, quick!

Cree LED torches saved my day. My dad had a few of these, but gave them away to stunned plumbers and electrician friends who never seen such a bright torch… So I had to borrow my brothers LED Lenser and strap that to my helmet.

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Initially used fishing wire to hold the torch in place, but couldn’t get enough tension in the wire to keep it steady. Being the problem solver that I am, I took a moment to think and used a piece of plastic that use to hold LED lights to the saddle. Could have just used elastic bands, but I wouldn’t have been able to remove the torch without getting stung by elastic bands,

It was a delayed start, I got to Clapham South at about midnight, and there was a sea of red flashing lights – little did I know that this was just the end of the queue. The start line wasn’t for another 50meters or so. Then it hit me how big this event actually was – but I still had no idea there was about 5000 riders that night.

I set off at about 0130, about 30 minutes later than my friends, at this point I did not know if they were still in the queue or not. so I just stayed with the pack. It was a fantastic start; most of it was downhill up until Croydon where there was a mad uphill dash to the first checkpoint.

This is when I realised the choice of bike will haunt me for the entire ride. For some reason, I thought the route would take me through fields, dirt trails and worn B roads. Instead it was all on the roads. So, the mountain bike should have been the last bike of choice. Now that I have done the ride, I didn’t read the advice the BHF gave on their website or do any research and leave my legs and butt to do most of the regretting. The roughest part was probably some potholes… Was fine at the start, but really wished I had invested in some cycling shorts with cushioning in the crotch area and a gel seat mid way through the ride.

The heavy frame meant I had more weight to carry, knobbly tyres has high rolling resistance, smaller wheels meant less speed, high profile tyres absorbed energy and had slightly different gearing? Yea. I has them all…

I had to stop at one point to change the batteries on my helmet light, as a result, I lost the pack and subsequently had to ride the rest of the way alone. There were other riders about sparsely dotted alone the route, but all were taking it in their own stride. Any motivation to keep up with the pack was lost

I had slowed down drastically as my legs started to burn around 0400. Pulling all nighters was a regular pastime but on this occasion, the deal was off. Feeling drowsy and trying to stay on two wheels was certainly a challenge – no different from trying to stand still whilst drunk!

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No idea what time this was, but took a rest on a bench in the middle of nowhere. Didn’t want to take a nap as I would probably been kidnapped or raped – Pain from an uncomfortable saddle was enough…

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Crossed the line at about 0910, Sunday 27th May 2012. Wasn’t as glorious as I envisaged, but was glad it was over.

When I crossed the line, I had an overwhelming sense of relief. I had a little cry before calling my friends who had crossed the line 2 hours earlier. Certainly one of the crazier things I have done and I hope to do many more. As I walk along the coast, I wondered what the London to Paris ride would be like…

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English breakfast. A champions breakfast

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One of many scars I got from the bike that night… This was before the ride even started! Absolutely no idea how the pedal swung back and dug its ridges in my shin.

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Chilling on Brighton beach after the breakfast. Was so tired I fell asleep. Really didn’t want to as sunburn was a real issue.

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Number and route. Considering there was about 5000 riders that night, I signed up pretty early! Next time I want number 0001!

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Korea Calling

I didn’t hear about this till quite last minute. I figured as I am in London early that day, I would make the most of it.

After some earlier arrangements, I didn’t get there until about 1700. I was worried that I wouldn’t get enough time as the Thames Festival had a lot to see.

I crossed the river via the Golden Jubilee Bridge and it was immediate that I had arrived. I had never seen the south bank so busy! I tried to shuffle to stalls to see what was going on, but that often took too long with disappointing results. I gave up and headed towards the OXO tower…Korea Calling was what I came to see.

It seems that by the time I had arrived, the party was pretty much over. There were a few stands, mainly tourist information, petitions and food stalls. The KCCUK were at hand to tell those interested about events held at the centre. The girl at the stand tried to convince me to come to the movie night to be held the following day, but I was not brave enough to go. If you are interested in going to a movie night, you should have a look at what they have showing and make a booking. Here

They had a open air stage, which unfortunately was at the mercy of the weather. It was fine when I arrived, I hoped to catch the last performance and head off home early. But the rain delayed everything and I got absolutely soaked waiting! After a mop up of the stage, the show when on. – A Taekwondo demonstration. We had lots of punches and kicks, which must have been rather difficult to perform on the wet stage… Then some planks of wood started to appear on stage, it was obvious where this was going.

I had a good time there, interesting and a nice insight. The festival has only fuelled my interest of the country and culture even more. I would like to learn more, maybe go there myself in future.

Sorry, I have been very lazy with the photos this time. I have included some parade photos too… Enjoy

 

 

 

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Therapy

Well, whaddaya know. Retail therapy actually works! I stumbled across some ads online letting me know that Zara are having a sale and after about an hour of rummaging through items of clothing, I suddenly feel happy… Need to do it more often… I think I will be happier with a session at apple store.🙂

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Trainee Veteran

I have not been posting as often as I should have, but I have been busy job hunting. I have been trawling through papers and various job sites to find a job.

It seems that Degree level education are only applicable to only a small handful of jobs on offer. It looks like that it doesn’t make use of what you actually studied either; employers just want a degree in…Whatever. The real kick in the teeth is experience. Most jobs, even retail, want to see minimum 1 years experience. Makes you wonder if people have their priorities right.

What I find most nerve wracking is how intimidating the job descriptions are. They expect XYZ from you, then some ABC and you also need to have RST. Makes me wonder if there are people who can actually provide all that, because it seems that I certainly can’t.

I don’t like to disappoint. I try my best, but I don’t know what is baseline.

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Gagarin in Britain

I first read about this back in April/May and I wanted to see it. I wanted to see it because I wanted more information. From what I know is that Yuri Gagarin is a Russian astronaut cosmonaut , who made the first manned flight in space. But why is this man so significant? What ties does he have with the British? – I hope to gain a better understanding into the relationship.

To be honest, I nearly forgot about this if it wasn’t for a Facebook post announcing the unveiling of a replica Yuri Gagarin statue in Trafalgar Square. I was made aware of this by a old friend, a budding interior architect working with Nick Coombes on the exhibition design.

It was a small exhibit, but was rich. Our exhibit guide, Nathan, guided us through life with the photo timeline, which beautifully told the story of Yuri Gagarin. The exhibit also showcased some artifacts from the spaceflight and some history surrounding the mission and a little about Laika.

It turns out, there was no real relationship between Yuri and Britain. He was celebrated and hailed a hero for the simple fact of outstanding achievement of mankind. He was invited to the UK by some foundry workers in Manchester, but received a hero’s welcome. His life story is a beautiful one, that sadly, ended tragically. It shows that people from anywhere and any background can achieve something amazing in life. From a humble background, he ended up meeting the queen, and meeting the US president, despite being in the middle of the Cold War.

If you have time, I recommend registering your interest and attending the exhibit. The times are a little odd, but it is means you can end your day early🙂

Gagarin in Britain

Tuesday & Friday 1600 to 1700

Admission – Free

Yuri Gagarin replica statue: On top of the world with infinite possibilities...

...No matter which angel you look from...

Yuri Gagarin was a small chap. He was about 5'2, and still, that space looks snug...

Everything else was controlled at command centre. Except this... Had he fallen unconscious, he would not have been able to deploy his parachute.

The photo timeline. You can see his turning point in life.

Doggie space suit. For some reason I was expecting the dog to be huge. Regardless, I was assured that there was space for the pooch to move in there.

Contemporary Russian space food. What Yuri had was almost all from toothpaste tubes (including meat). Quite fitting to put items in a dome cover like a space helmet.

I felt so important with this...

Personal space

I have had time. Time to observe other people, and one thing I notice is that everyone swing their arms when walking – its natural. But when walking up stairs, I am always nearly knocked out by the person in front of me bacause they swing their arms like they’re playing tennis. I’m not talking little movements. These are big. Is it really necessary?

I have noticed that its not only on stairs that this happens. Some people have an uncontrollable need to swing their arms when walking. I was hit on the thigh by someone that swung their arms while walking. Had I passed them a few cm closer, it would have been a rather different story.

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Results of my Scientific Research…

Well, this is a hard one to write about. I won’t be able to go into detail, because I don’t know it. All I know is that I must not drink anymore wine. Back to Gin & Tonic…

The results are conclusive. I did not go red, no headache, no nausea. But I did have recurrent emesis throughout the night.

I didn’t have time to isolate which of the 2 solutions stopped my reaction. My guess would be the lemon juice as it is a natural antacid. This makes sense as there are claimed cures for Asian flush flying about the internet stating that an antacid about an hour before drinking eliminates the effects.

Because I don’t go bright red to warn myself to stop drinking, I need to relearn my limit. I might not have good friends to take care of me next time. Thank you guys!

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