Road to London - All the Colours
Thursday, July 5, 2012
As far as London goes the city has always been the home to a myriad of people from all corners of the world. The big migration to London (England) actually started in a big way after the World War II, when many citizens of the former British colonies arrived in droves to fill the need of the industries in the manufacturing sectors and the rebuilding of the country as a result of the war.
Many came from India, and Pakistan (when they separated) and the West Indies among others. More recently however there is a surge in migration coming from the former Soviet and the communist states that are now part of the countries forming the European Union.
As such many of the workforce now are from countries like Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and also from the African continent. A visitor setting foot in London for the first time cannot be faulted if he wondered if he had come to the wrong place because he would find that wherever he goes he would be meeting more people from other parts of the world, in buses, on trains and on the streets.
I am not surprised if there are less Englishmen in London than the others combined. On that note United Kingdom must be given the credit for opening up the country to 'outsiders' who now occupy important positions in the government, as businessmen, traders, MPs, and the Local Council. There is no other nation other than the USA that is seen as more open and democratic in its system.
London is a such a vibrant city with a mix of colours, cultures, religions and not surprisingly a city of choice for tourists from around the world. And with the Olympic Games just around the corner London is set to welcome the biggest number of visitors and earn a huge amount of foreign exchange in the process.
The venues for the games are still frantically being readied for the opening and there is no shortage of publicity and promotional effort by the organisers through the various media channels.
Since arriving here about three weeks ago I have not done much cycling or going out touring mainly because the weather had been so unpredictable that it just puts you off. Some parts of the British Isles have seen storms, rains and flash floods that are not seen in decades causing a lot of havoc and loss to many people.
London, too, has not seen much sunshine but with frequent rains and cloudy skies the last few weeks. Nevertheless, I had gone out to see some of the iconic sights in London to overcome the boredom. Luckily there is no lack of sporting events aired on TV to keep one occupied. There was the exciting Euro Cup soccer, followed by tennis (at Queens Club) and now Wimbledon and Tour de France and then the Olympics.
London is a very expensive city and as a visitor, travelling on the buses or the trains and the Underground 'tubes' can drain your resources very quickly. Taxis are definitely out. To add to the costs many of the well known places charge entrances fees for a visit.
On the plus side, food is readily available no matter from where you come from. There are Chinese restaurants, Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, Italian, French; you just name it London has it, including fast food outlets like KFC, McDonald's, Nandos, etc. In mixed neighbourhood, cheap takeaway outlets run by Indians and Pakistanis are popular. Halal food is also not a problem.
Cycling in London or in the UK is not as easy as cycling in Germany, Austria or the Netherlands because of a number reasons. How and when cycling became a way of getting around for their daily needs in these countries is not clear but what is evident is the fact that the infrastructures needed for cycling in these countries are all in place making it considerably safe for everyone to cycle including young children and the elderly.
It is not uncommon to see individuals, groups or families out cycling together to the local stores, the supermarkets and the parks or during weekend outings for sports and recreation and the varieties of bicycles available are indeed amazing. It would indeed be nice to be here in the UK (and in Malaysia) when cycling is made safer. The London Mayor is aggressively promoting cycling in London but more needs to be done before the cycling culture takes hold here.
There are no shortage of interesting places to visit or things to do in London and even if you are here for a month you are not likely to complete seeing even half of London. Visiting the number of Museums and Galleries alone would take weeks and if you are into Theatres, Musicals and Plays, the choices are limitless. The least you can do is visit the famous historical sites and buildings or just take leisurely walks in the Parks.
I have yet to meet up with Malaysians who are in London or the UK so if any of you guys out there would like to do so please contact me through this blog or email me at: www. email@example.com. I would also love to meet up with those in Malaysia who have been following my journey through the blog when I return, God willing before the Hari Raya. Your support and encouragement had kept me going . I believe there are many things that we can share and learn from one another and I hope to continue blogging and of course embark on new adventures. Take care and God Bless You all.
The famous 'Rocket' the first steam locomotive
The 1916 Ford
Pioneer in Aviation
The Natural History Museum
The Cutty Sark
This guy started the smoking craze
Boris's cycling effort
The 'old' Knight
The 'Painted Hall' at the old naval college
The Greenwich Meridian
Olympic Games countdown
'Mee Goreng' at Greenwich market
If you wish to get in touch with Adnan Osman (his personal blog: http://oadnanxtreme.blogspot.com/), you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you can reach Adnan through his wife, Marina Wong (03-77856058 or email@example.com) or his son, Adely (firstname.lastname@example.org).