mcgillianaire: (Default)
Today is 07-07-(20)07, whichever part of the world you come from! For Londoners, this date will forever be remembered for the bombings of 2005. 52 people died in those attacks. But today promises to be one of the busiest and happiest days on the British capital's calendar. The 94th Tour de France kicks off later this afternoon in Central London. It's the first time the mother of all professional cycling events comes to the EU's biggest city, and only the 4th time it is visiting the Isles. More than 500,000 visitors are expected to attend the event and there will be 4,500 policemen maintaining the peace. In many cities, this would be the only major event taking place during the course of a single day, but not London. As I type, the London edition of the Live Earth concert is underway at Wembley. Eight other cities around the world are being treated to a day of entertainment to raise awareness for global warming and man-induced climate change. Madonna, Duran Duran, Metallica, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Black Eyed Peas, Foo Fighers, Justin Timberlake, Keane, James Blunt, the Beastie Boys and Snow Patrol are some of the prominent acts taking centre-stage here in London. How often does one get a chance to see all these awesome artists get together on the same stage and at the same event? Multiply that by 8 and you've got the most awesome display of musical entertainment ever witnessed in the history of humankind. And all for a good cause. Not bad humanity, not bad. (Side note: Only 60,000 fans will be be to watch the Live Earth concert in person)

But before we get carried away )
mcgillianaire: (Bedouin in Desert)
DID YOU KNOW? -- 55% of the London Underground network is actually above the ground!

The UK is/was under imminent attack this weekend, but you'd've found it difficult to believe the same on the ground. I traveled around the city by bus, train and even underground, but there wasn't any noticeable increase in security, or decrease in passenger volumes. If anything, the tube journey from Kings Cross to London Bridge on Saturday morning/afternoon, was busier than usual. Life goes on.

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The ATM celebrated its 40th anniversary on June 27th. What's really cool is that the world's first ATM was installed at a Barclays Bank branch in Enfield Town. And who banks at Barclays Bank in Enfield Town? Me and my family! As it happens, the first ATM my dad ever used (in 1980) was the same one installed by John Shepherd-Barron in 1967. (Well, not exactly the same ATM, but the updated version in the same location). I have also opened my first British bank account at the same Barclays branch and what's more, its historical ATM is the only one I've used since arriving here. Each time I use it, I feel like I'm a part of (its) history. (See pic below)

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Thanks to living in the UK now, I've been able to watch Wimbledon LIVE, online, and for free! And it's not just one match, but three separate live streams. There's even a separate stream for watching specific-day summary capsules. How cool is that? Apparently, the Beeb relays all its sporting broadcasts for free online, but it's a pity they don't have a monopoly on British sports anymore. That said, Channel 4 has a free online service as well but I don't think they show sporting stuff. Either way, with a new registration at UK Nova and the existing free services, I can delay getting a Tele and paying those damn license fees.

=====

Last weekend, I went out with some friends to Central London. We ate dinner at this American Steak House called Bodean's. I recommend it for anybody who loves meat and American sports. They show all major NFL, NHL, MLB and NBA games LIVE. It's just off Soho. Later that night we went to a nightclub off Oxford Street called Mo*vida. It's not your typical nightclub as entrance is either members-only or £20 ($40). Luckily for me, one of my friends saved the life of the owner's son last New Year's (no joke) and got a year's worth of free membership. The membership normally costs £500 ($1000). My friend can take one guest for free and it happened to be me that night! Anyways, usually when you pay such a high cover, you expect the drinks to be somewhat reasonable. Not Mo*vida. Heineken's are £5 ($10) each and a shot of tequila is £8.50 ($17). It's expensive but classy and very popular with celebrities. On the night we went, I saw Michelle Yeoh and Jesse Metcalfe. Stupid as I was, I spurned an opportunity to hit the VIP room just as we were waiting in line to get into it. What was I thinking? Prince William could've been there. He's known to hit it up from time-to-time!

And finally, as I had promised some weeks ago: the first installment of pictures I've taken from around the world. The theme for this post is Dubai which my family and I visited at the end of last year! In the next installment, look forward to some Shanghai!

Till then, Cheerio!

Pictures! )
mcgillianaire: (England 2006)
A major terrorist attack has apparently been averted in Central London today. Crikey!

I've also just discovered that two outta the 3 MPs in my London Borough are on Facebook. The third MP, Joan Ryan, represents the constituency that I am currently living in. She isn't on Facebook, but she lives in the neighbourhood and was an Undersecretary of State for the Home Office till yesterday. After growing up in Oman and paying closer attention to Indian politics, I'd almost forgotten just how accessible Western politicians were. Not that I expect to be getting in touch with any of them soon, but still.

Meanwhile, Wimbledon is underway and unfortunately for British fans, Tim Henman has crashed out once again. How long will it take local fans to realize that he is worse now than he ever was before and will never win the damn championship. Even his defeat of Moya wasn't totally convincing and I'm glad he's gone. It's great to see the home-boy support but the fact is, Henman hasn't won two matches in a row at a tournament since October 2006. He should consider retiring but apparently he has plans to play in three more Wimbledons. Why Timmy, why? Haven't you tortured us enough all these years?

In other significant news, London and the rest of England goes smokefree on Sunday. The non-cigarette smokers amongst us will rejoice, but shisha smokers like myself are bitterly disappointed. One of the reasons I had looked forward to moving to London was to enjoy evenings at Edgware Road's shisha cafes. Even an online petition will not make any difference though the good men at the British Department of Health could take a leaf outta the Montreal book. The Quebecois made an exception for shisha-dedicated cafes and so should we. People don't go to shisha cafes just to eat kebabs and watch ladies with boob jobs croon ballads on Arabic TV.

And finally, Big Brother. The reality TV show made global headlines earlier this year following the Celebrity racism row, but I'm talking about the other one, the real one, the one that really counts. Big Brother is a British institution. It's important to know what's happening in Britain's most watched and talked about house, because you may find yourself out of depth in a dinner party conversation. Everybody knows at least a little bit about what's happening, however much they try to deny it. I personally hope Billy and Charley get evicted, and predict one of the twins to win the whole thing. But what really disturbed me the other day, was the ignorance professed by one of the characters. I won't give names or ethnicity, but he honestly didn't know who Shakespeare was. His look of ignorance was absolutely priceless. How the heck do you grow up in Britain and not know who Bill Shakespeare is? Priceless, I tell ya. Simply priceless.

Till next time, Cheerio!

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