London It is! Day 1

I always try to be a good planner when it comes to trips, sorting out the transportation and hotel at least a month before leaving but being married to someone who enjoys doing things at the last minute, I nowadays find myself caught in a whirlwind of last minute events. The trip to London was decided upon a week before departure as it depended on whether we could clinch the Everton vs Chelsea FA Cup Final tickets. Hubby is Everton's No.1 supporter FYI. I managed to convince him to stay 8 nights rather than leave immediately after the game. I feel it's such a waste to spend so much on a flight to leave so early. Plus we've never been to Europe together before so this was our chance to do so.

Malaysia was allocated 10 tickets and so hubby, his friend, A, and I were allocated 3. As both of us were pretty much busy at work ,(me planning some events and tying up loose ends and him sorting out MyTeam's issues) we hardly could communicate about the trip. I decided that this would be HIS trip as I've always been the one planning our trips together.

He managed to do some research on the cheapest flights and discovered that flying from Malaysia to London direct was out of the question. He compared the flight rates and flight duration of Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Air Asia and Emirates and settled on Emirates via Dubai which cost us both RM4730 (two ways) with 2 meals each way, movies and blankets.

He booked our hotel a day before we left. I was highly strung by then and snapped at him when he insisted that I call a hotel then kept interrupting me with questions while I was talking. He believes that we have 2 ears for a reason. I believe that we need both ears to focus on ONE conversation at a time. Anyway, while I was sleeping ( I slept at 4am the day before we were to leave), he found that Holiday Villa at Bayswater(GBP74 per night, we stayed 4 nights in the hotel and 4 nights at A's place) was the best option and booked online using He didn't sleep at all!

We both had lots of things to do the day of departure. We had to leave for the airport at 3.30pm to check in at 4.30pm. Dropped off Smokey at the vet at noon after completing some work on the computer, exchanged our RM to pounds at RM5.77 (ouch!!!), did some bank transactions and some other errands. Had to make a last minute drive back home to collect my luggage back to hubby's parents place when hubby decided that he didn't have time to go back home to pack. Also, had to drop off my car at Grandma's place and bid her a farewell. Was 3 hours later than planned so Grandma was tearful when I could only spend 2 minutes saying goodbye before hubby's dad picked me up. My dad would flip if he found out how unplanned we were! He's such a detailed planner and simple things makes his blood pressure go up.

It rained so heavily on the way to the airport but we reached on time and checked in without any hassle. We had plenty of time while waiting at the lounge. Our flight was at 7.30pm and we reached Dubai after 5 hours for a 2-hour transit in the airport. We found the Dubai airport busy with activity despite it being 11pm there. We found shops selling really cool toys and a very nice "green" area and after strolling about a bit, waited outside the lounge. Note the carpet which looks like sand dunes. I napped while hubby did his work.

It took about 7 hours to reach London from Dubai. I entertained myself watching 2 movies. Managed to sleep quite well as the seat next to mine wasn't occupied.

We reached Gatwick airport at 7.00am and took the EasyBus to Fulham for GBP7.50 each. We should have bought return tickets to save money. Also, booking everything online saves you plenty of $ as we discovered later. We took the tube from Fulham to Bayswater which took about 20 minutes. Got lost for about 20 minutes as most people didn't know where the hotel was. Went the wrong direction before heading back to the Tube station and asking for directions again. Tried our luck and found the hotel which was just a 5-minute walk away. Lucky thing I brought my trolley bag. Hubby had to lug a long his heavy bag, though, as it didn't have wheels.

Checked into the hotel at about 10am and waited for our room till 11.30am. Showered, watched some TV, napped then we decided to meet A for coffee at Starbucks at Whitley's at Bayswater. Spent about an hour with A before he had to rush home to send out some urgent e-mails. Agreed to meet up for dinner at Bayswater at 8pm. As it's Summer, it only begins to get dark at 9.30pm. Something I've never experienced before and was pleasantly surprised by it. We got to stay out longer unlike my earlier trips to Paris and London during early winter.

We walked along the many souvenir shops and restaurants at Bayswater. We found out later that a lot of the shops and restaurants there were owned by Malaysians and so finding "halal" food wasn't a problem at all. We even found a Proton Wira parked at a property opposite Kensington Park!

We met A at 8.30pm for dinner at Taza ( where we had chicken and lamb kebabs. Super delicious!

We walked about till about 11pm before we decided to head back to the hotel & A back to his place at SW7 across Kensington Park.

Weather has been pretty cold it didn't feel like Summer. The only sign on the first day was the sight of flowers blooming everywhere.

Pix: Walking about at 10pm at Bayswater and flowers blooming in apartment gardens.


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