It’s been a few weeks since I returned from my maiden trip to London. Life has just gotten in the way of updating this blog. I started a new job the day after I landed back in Singapore, then did my PADI Advanced Open Water diver course* in Pulau Tioman, Malaysia, the following weekend. Now that the dust and I have settled, I’m ready to write about my exploits in London.
I wrote in a journal faithfully every day of the trip, because I wanted to be able to look back and remember my experiences, and also because I wanted to see if journalling is worthwhile. My verdict is that it’s tiring to write after a long day of exploring, but worth it. Although it’s been three weeks since I returned from London, I can still recall each day clearly with the aid of my journal.
My trip started a little eventfully, with a flight switch. I was booked to fly to London via Kuala Lumpur on Malaysia Airlines, but right before I entered the departure area, I discovered that the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur leg of the flight had been delayed and would land 15 minutes before the London-bound flight was scheduled to depart. There was no way I would be able to make the London flight, so I approached the airline counter for help. They took about 45 minutes to find me a seat on a direct flight operated by Singapore Airlines later that night, which would land slightly later than the Malaysia Airlines flight. I was quite pleased by the unexpected upgrade! Unfortunately, the SQ flight was also delayed by about an hour because a cart had gotten stuck in a service lift used to transport food between the plane decks.
It was nearly 1am by the time the cart had been extricated and the flight was ready to depart. I was wedged into a window seat with a male couple in the middle and aisle seats. I regretted asking for a window seat when they each swallowed a sleeping pill and proceeded to put on eye masks to sleep through the entire flight. They even asked a flight stewardess to hold all their meals. Since I obviously wouldn’t be able to move from my seat without disturbing them, I decided to join them. It was late so it was easy to sleep for at least two-thirds of the flight. When I was not sleeping, I watched Ip-Man 3 (again), and a random Korean movie starring Moon Chae Won.
We touched down at Heathrow just after 7am. It took nearly an hour and a half to clear customs and retrieve my bag. After that, it was time to figure out my transport to my AirBNB room in Bermondsey. I’d done research beforehand and knew that I’d get the best value out of a 7-day Travelcard for Zones 1-5 (£32.40), and two single-trip tickets to and from the airport (£6 each way). Buying the Travelcard, however, required some help from a Transport for London officer, as the option isn’t immediately visible on the ticketing machines’ purchasing menu – to me, at least. I loaded the Travelcard onto the Oyster card that my mother had lent me, and heaved my bag and myself onto the Tube for the hour-long ride into the city.
*I did the course with B&J Diving Centre and highly recommend them.