Arriving in London (Day 1)

Surreal. One word that could really explain everything that I've experienced since the moment I stepped inside of KLIA to the moment that the wheels of the Airbus A380 that I was in landed in Heathrow Airport London. What a surreal, bizarre feeling. I have to admit, all the briefings done weeks prior were all very informative and good but to be honest, nothing beats the feeling of actually being there. What I imagined prior to flying is in no way similar to what I am experiencing now because now. I am in London! Trying to tell myself the same thing, over and over again, every single time that I woke up from my sleep.

Alhamdulillah, the biggest of gratitudes to the awesome bunch of people who gave me this once in a lifetime opportunity to actually experience London. Several months before, my goal was to visit Europe at least once before the age of 30. Little did I expect that I am actually going in the same year! That awesome, incredible and fulfilling feeling. I know that I wasn't dreaming when I asked Seth to pinch me while waiting for a bus from Heathrow to Camden Town, where we're staying. It did hurt, meaning it was actually real!

OK, apart from all the amazement, the room is very cozy and beautiful. Beech wood flooring, double bunk beds, clean white duvets and sheet covers, everything about this room is awesome. The hotel was named Stay Club. It's a fairly new hotel here, in Camden Town. I could see a dozen of contract workers going about in the building. James, the hotel representative, told us that they are expanding the hotel and the development site is actually right beside the building. He did warn us that we'd be hearing some construction noises during the day. No problem for us students, I bet we won't even be inside most of the time during the day. Even if we do, that's what ear plugs are for!

After checking in, we (Seth, Ikhwan and me) went out to see what Camden Town could offer us. A lot of things to be exact. There's a Morrisons superstore nearby (something similar to Tesco in Malaysia, but a lot better in my opinion) and there's dozens of shops nearby. We stopped by Sainsbury, a small grocery store along the way just to look at all the foreign brands that we don't have in Malaysia. As a graphic design student, I love to pay attention to details. By details I mean how awesome their branding is, design wise. They're awesome. I could see a lot of great branding going on, the packagings are very nice too. Very attractive and competitive on the shelf!

Along the way, a friendly old lady stopped us and told us about a park nearby called Primrose Hill and how we could actually see the city of London if we were to climb up to the top of the hill. She was very friendly, it's such a rare thing to see back in Malaysia. Despite knowing that the old lady wasn't trying to trick us into anything, we stayed vigilant throughout the journey. There's a lot of things that we are yet to know about this foreign place. Some are good and some are bad. The least we could do is to be cautious about our surroundings and watch each other's backs.

We followed the old lady's directions and ended up at Primrose Hill park. What a beautiful park. There were dogs running freely on the grass and couples holding hands while walking towards the top of the hill. It was 12pm but it was very cold, cloudy and windy. If we were to be in a Malaysian park at 12pm, we'd be terribly sunburned! That's how different the weather is between here and Malaysia. We took photos, took some videos. went back to Stay Club and napped for a while.

At 4pm, Seth and I went out again. This time to Camden Market. What an abundance of people, food, culture, and stuff to buy and look at! We were very surprised to see a Malaysian food stall selling apam balik and many other Malaysian food there. The lady who might be owning the shop said hi to us and asked us which part of Malaysia we came from. It is very surprising to find another Malaysian here in a foreign place. She's very friendly too. We got to know her better, chatted this and that and I bought myself a nutella apam balik. Such a unique version of the classic apam balik that we all know. After that, we stopped by a few other shops and went back to the hotel.

What a day. Can't really dismiss the feeling that I might still be dreaming in my bed, back in Malaysia. We slept at 10pm and woke up at around 5am in the morning. Feeling very refreshed and ready for the next day! Piccadilly, here I come!