Tuesday, December 27, 2005


I have been sitting here at work for two hours already, and I have done one thing all day. Today is a UK bank holiday, and ironically, I am working for a bank. At least I got yesterday off. I spent the entire 25th at home lounging, as NOTHING is open in this country except for.. pubs. Tells you a lot about the culture here huh?

I think I've complained enough about working on bank holidays so I'll spare all of you the agony of hearing that again.

It felt a little bit weird this morning coming into work on my usual train, as the train was almost empty (compared to how packed it is normally). I suddenly felt a sense of tranquility, of being at peace with my surroundings. There were only a few cars on the road, and I've noticed fewer lights emitting from buildings too.

What I'm trying to say is, I think I need to get out of the house a little more to appreciate the world a little more.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Party (Part 3)

Merry Christmas! (or for those easily offended, Happy Holidays!) :)

Just got back from my third and probably last Christmas party. It was held by a bunch of students at their college hall (aptly named College Hall) near Shephard's Bush. It was rather organised, complete with loads of food, drinks, and even planned-out group games. You know those group games that people play at band camps?.. okay not "those" games, get your mind outta the gutter! Games like broken telephone, duck-duck-goose, etc. Secret Santa was fun too, except I got this.. lip gloss? Uh, thanks, but no thanks?

Had to come home rather early because buses stop running for the entire day on the 25th starting at midnight. I actually *ran* to catch the last tube home.. and then, got stuck at Canary Wharf. Called a cab and they charged this "season premium" given the demand. Ugh. At least I'm home and not out in the cold still.. This wouldn't have happened if I had a car!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Party (Part 2)

Well part 1 was already done in Toronto, and that was fan-tas-tic. Good food (so much food left though!) and good company.. loads of people from my university class, plus a lot of Lisa's friends which always adds to the mix. Yes, engineering class, lack of girls, blah blah blah, you get the story.

Anyway, just tonight I went out with a bunch of local Chinese "young professionals" for a small Christmas gathering. It was the typical "dine and K" parties, with some karaoke in the mix with a lot of eating. It was probably the best meal I've had all... hmm, week, given that I was just in Toronto. Great fun to meet new people in London though. Given the nature of my job, going out and meeting new people is not always an option. They seem alright though.. definitely a fun bunch.

The only thing I never seem to understand is the early closing times - we were kicked out at 11:00pm!? Oh well, at least this means I caught the last train back home without resorting to cabbing..

Friday, December 23, 2005

L'Etranger London

Another night out with the brokers, this time with ones from Paris. They picked a date right before the holidays and took us out to a restaurant called L'Etranger. It was a French restaurant with a bit of a fusion feel to it. The food seemed to have been influenced by Japanese (what isn't in London these days?!), as they served Sashimi platters and the like.

Nevertheless, the food was wonderful and the brokers were actually funny.. I actually ended up having mostly Japanese-style food except for the foie gras at the beginning. The dessert was really good too. I mentioned to them that I was looking forward to Olympic hockey (GO CANADA!) and they said they will sort something out for us. Now to find out when they actually play a decent team that I'd like to watch...

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Quick Turnaround

.. and I'm back in London. Thanks for the wonderful time everybody. Just a quick recap:

  • Business class is really *THAT* much better than Economy. Thank you Aeroplan!
  • Renting a car is much better done BEFORE arriving as it alleviates the agony of trying to find a car at 9:00pm from a company that doesn't try to rip you off.
  • Drove to Barrie to meet with my cousin, and then drove her to Toronto for some food with Tania.. and then, promptly drove her back and then return to meet with another friend.
  • I miss the food in Toronto - not just the variety but also the quality.
  • Karaoke: must-do activity, even when my throat hurts. Met Silvia for about five minutes, she seems like a nice girl.
  • Lisa's mom makes the best salad, period.
  • University friends are still the same, except I'm MUCH out of the loop in their daily gossips.
  • Poker is fun when you are playing with people whom you can trash-talk with. Meeting new people is always fun.

    I tried to meet as many people as I could, but those who I didn't have a chance to see.. there's always the next time I'm back!
  • Wednesday, December 14, 2005

    Quick Trip Home

    Just a quick note.. I'm making a quick visit back home to deal with some unfinished business. Just for a long weekend, nothing too spectacular. I'm also going to be at Lisa's party too.

    Sunday, December 11, 2005

    Driving Theory Test

    Woke up really early this morning for my driving theory test. I don't even know why I'm writing one again, given how long I've already been driving in Canada. I could just easily have converted my license and save the trouble, but it would also mean giving up my license back home. I'm not about to do that.. especially now with this graduated system, in case I do decide to move back.

    The test itself was pretty straight-forward, I spent about 30 minutes reading over the book and the rest were just common sense. Actually they have this hazard perceptions test, where they show you a video clip and you "click" every time you think a potential hazard on the road is forming. I think it was quite cool, because it really tested my attention at 9am. (which, btw, is not my prime time)

    Needless to say I passed :) Now on to more driving lessons!

    Saturday, December 10, 2005

    Company Christmas Seasonal Party

    Just to be PC, it is no longer a Christmas party but a seasonal party. I suppose that opens up opportunities for parties during other "seasons", like spring, or summer. Last night was my company's party, and it was held at quite a central location in the City. To be honest, I missed last year's party for the team party (coincidentally it was on the same day), and I am quite curious how the actual company party is given the rave reviews it got last year.

    Hmm I was told to wear a tie, and that people supposedly go "all out" on nights like these. When I got there - surely the ladies look fab and it is apparent that they put a lot of effort in, but the blokes.. well, sorta like me, just work clothes basically. A few did dress up a little more, but it didn't put me out of place.

    It was a rather big venue, with tables scattered all over the place and buffet-style booths situated around the hall. They had some interesting selections of food, mostly Asian-influenced (I say influenced because it's not really Chinese food but the kind you get at those $14.99 all-you-can-eat types back home). I was much more interested in the two chocolate fountains - a continuous flow of chocolate and an endless supply of strawberries, marshmallow, pineapples, and biscuits to dip in. I think I must have stood there for 20 minutes and gained 5 pounds while at it.

    They also had a stage with some performers (a bunch of girls dancing or something, wasn't really paying attention), a dance floor, go-karts, and indoor virtual golf. My company really threw some money into this event!

    Unfortunately I had to cut my night short because I had to be at work this morning, and the party ended shortly after midnight anyway (so that people can actually come into work). Needless to say, the office was a bit empty today.. Apparently "a lot" happened last night and I'm sure the rumour mills were bustling with activity around the coffee machines today.

    Thursday, December 01, 2005


    Went out with another broker last night to a restaurant called Cocoon. It was located right off Piccadilly Circus on Regent Street, so its location is already quite trendy. Turns out it was a Japanese fusion Chinese cuisine, which was a little bit strange to me. The decor is very circular based, with almost everything sphere-like and even the chairs look like pods. The food was quite.. unique. They have this blow-torched sushi, which is basically nigiri that's been torched slightly. We had the fatty tuna kind, which tasted absolutely fantastic. The other food was quite interesting too... and of course we had a lot of wine to go with the food.

    Wednesday night wasn't exactly a good "party" night, as I have another big day coming up at work. I'll definitely return to this restaurant though and try their different fusion food.