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Saturday, January 02, 2010

Random UK thoughts

I honestly feel that this visit to the UK (my first real visit since 1996) is a memorable one.

Perhaps the highlight of the trip is the nostalgic return to Glasgow. Aside from being able to revisit my place of study, I was also able to meet up with the Cunninghams who were very close to the Malaysian students back in the first half of the 1990s. Visiting the Cunninghams has allowed us to rekindle the good old times and also to catch up on each other. The Cunninghams were like family to the Malaysian students in particular those who were at Langside College.

I had a chance to revisit Edinburgh. When I was there, the city was preparing for Hogmanay (the new year's eve celebration). There were a lot of tourists coming up to Edinburgh despite the freezing cold weather in Scotland. I was told that Edinburgh is the place to be for Hogmanay. The city is as beautiful as I have remembered it. The picturesque view of the Edinburgh Castle, I believe, is something that all visitors will appreciate.

I was also able to meet up with a number of friends while in London. Ahmad Hakimi and Dr Hazlita are close friends from our student days in Glasgow. Both of them are now in London, and it was a pleasure to have been able to meet up with them at their home. 'Aisyah Ali was a part-timer at Yayasan Ilmuwan, and is now studying in London. Shamsul Anuar was a dear old friend whom I have not seen in ages. Being able to meet up with old friends whom you have not seen in a while is certainly something to look forward to.

Back in my student days, I did not really come down to London as often as one would imagine. The simple reason to this was that I simply did not like the city which I felt was crowded. Well, it is still crowded. But I think I have learnt to adjust to this city. Interestingly, there is not one single day when you walk down the streets of London that you would not come across a Malaysian. From CEOs of GLCs to actors to businessmen, all of them are here. There are times I feel like I was walking along the streets in Kuala Lumpur. The only difference is that it is much much colder here in London. But come to think of it, you would not find any CEO of a GLC to be walking down Jalan Sultan Ismail going into a fast food shop, would you? (I saw a well-known CEO walking along Edgware Road going into a kebab shop for lunch with his family).

There are many Malaysian restaurants in London. I went to a few, but I must recommend a newly-opened eatery situated at Craven Road near Paddington Station. The place was opened 5 months ago, and is called "Tukdin". Of all the Malaysian restaurants that I have gone to, Tukdin is perhaps the best in terms of food. Even the teh tarik here is tasty and classy. Tukdin is known for its nasi lemak, sate goreng and pisang goreng aiskrim. So, if you are down in London, have a stop at Tukdin. It is worth it.

Nine days in the UK. It has been nostalgic. It has been a trip down memory lane. But at the end of the day, truth be told, there is no place like home.

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