The Last Days In Europe
Our last few days in Europe was spent in London. We have done the city with Wan Hulaimi as our guide and we were extremely happy with his performance. After 3 years at the job and with almost 30 years of living in London, Wan Hulaimi is more than capable to do the job with information flowing like an encyclopaedia. Awang Goneng as he is known in the blogsphere, did his research well.
It was a free day on our last day in London. POTO travel had kept the slot free for us to do our own things in London. For those who were keen to explore the seedy side of London's Soho, they had ample time to see it.
My friend Nick Habgood of Azini Capital came over to the hotel to have breakfast with me. Who would ever think that a Pak Zawi from faraway Pasir Mas, Kelantan would have such a friend in London? It was a first meeting after knowing each other via the internet. Nick looked dashing and trim in a white shirt and grayish tie. A fine specimen of a fit and healthy person who loves to cycles. Nick will be holidaying in Italy on a biking tour at the end of the year.
Nick left us to go back to his office so we said our goodbyes and he took the tube. Even for a Londoner, Nick had to carry along a printed map of tube routes and location of our hotel prepared by his secretary. How convenient things are with the internet.
How Pak Zawi would wish to have a body like Nick. Some 20 years ago, Pak Zawi may have some semblance of that look.
We had requested Puan Zainida to arrange an outing to Madame Tussuad. This is the beautiful side of Puan Zainida from POTO Travel, she willingly obliged. Here she is collecting money to buy the ticket to Madame Tussuad.
We bought the tickets at the hotel counter at a discount of 5 pounds each. Despite the discount we still had to pay 22.5 pounds (RM135). Do you think you would pay such a price to visit a wax museum in Malaysia?
We walked to the tube satation quite a distance from our hotel. Again Puan Zainida bought group tickets for us.
Can't remember exactly how much the ride costs us.
The group entering the tube station.
We just follow the herds.
Ample signage. We constantly checked to see that we were on the right platform.
The train arrived.
Here I am infron of Madame Tussuad somewhere near Baker Station. I have to remember that station lest we get split and had to go back on our own.
Tell me which is the wax model?
How about these two? Would you make the mistake of thinking the man is the wax model?
The wife was so happy to have a picture with a singer, any singer will do and the singer turned out to be no less than Julio Iglesias as pointed out by Ee Lynn of Combat Loaded and Mission Ready!. Thanks Ee Lynn.
My friend Haji Fuad posed with the wax model of one of the most expensive actress in the world, commanding USD24,000,000 for the movie Mona Lisa Smile, Julia Roberts. As of this writing Reese Witherspoon is on top spot grossing a whopping USD29,000,000.
Just look at the crowd in one of the halls of Madame Tussuad.
The other half found her heartthrob Salman Khan from Bollywood.
Even the wife a Pee Em was overwhelmed by the presence of Shah Rukh Khan, what more if it was my wife. This is the nearest she could get close to him, a wax model.
Tommy Yew of Kangaroo Island, Australia pointed out that I was with Nicole Kidman, a doll like film star even in real life. She was so tall. Now you know why I won't date her, she was just too tall for me.
Whoopie Goldberg doesn't seem to attract much crowd. She was always available to be photographed with.
You have to be a bit aggressive to have a chance to photograph yourself with The Incredible Hulk, there were just too many people waiting to place themselves in the clutches of the hulk.
I told Audrey Hepburn to go easy on the cigarettes. Mentioned to her that Government of Malaysia always reminded the people of Malaysia that smoking is bad for health. The reminders seemed to fall on deaf ears thus wasting all the government's effort and money. I doubt that Audrey heard me.
Aha! Lewis Hamilton the F1 Champion of Team McLaren-mercedes. I wonder whether his dad was around in Madame Tussuad too.
The tennis legend Boris Becker. He is so tall. no wonder he could serve aces so easily.
Boxing geat, Muhamad Ali in his heydays. How else can I get close to him. Thanks to Madame Tussuad.
We didn't meet her Majesty the Queen when we visited Buckingham Palace. Our Guide Wan Hulaimi told us we could meet her at Madame Tussuad. Here she was in finest regalia accompanied by her husband Prince Phillip, The Duke of Edinburgh. The royal couple was gracious enough to have their photograph taken with my wife maintaining a discreet distance form the Duke.
The Beatles continued to attract numerous admirers who wanted to have their photograph taken with The Fab 4. I have to be contented with photographing them with other younger fans. The Beatles were of my age.
The lock of hairs were unmistakable of Farrah Fawcett who died recently of cancer. Mekyam of New York corrected me that this figure was of Britney Spears (Thanks Mekyam). In Malaysia Britney Spears appears in advertisements to promote Toyota Vios. I was so impressed that I bought one.
Margaret Thatcher better known as The Iron Ladies was once the prime Minister of Great Britain. Here she is seen with the iron lady from Malaysia
Fatthiyah with the 43rd American President George W. Bush. During his term he invaded Afghanistan and and Iraq.
Tony Blaire was the Prime Minister of Britain from 2nd May 1997 to 29th June 2007.
President Obama was amused when this girl perched her feet on his table while pretending to be a President of USA.
Fidel Castro of Cuba when he was healthier.
John F Kennedy or JFK as he is better known was the 35th President of USA.
Jiang Zemin was the President of The People's Republic of China from 1993 to 2003.
We skipped the Tunnel of Horrors but we did the Time Tunnel instead. We were transported through the Time Tunnel by sitting on a moving chair that will turn around to face the was figures wherever necessary.
William Shakespeare will not ring any bell if you didn't study English literature while in School.
When London was devastated with the plague, the figures of dead mean in bull cart, depicted the era.
I cant relate the above two pictures.
Charles Dickens wrote Oliver Twist but I remember him more for A Tale of Two Cities.
The above wax figures depict the modern psychedelic eras of the 70s from the film 'Goldmember' a movie by Austin Powers. Tommy Yewfigure figured that the girl with the afro look was of Beyonce Knowles the former lead singer of the once popular Destiny's Child group. In the film Beyonce played the role of Foxxy Cleopatra. (Thanks for the info Tommy)
The best seemed to be reserved for last. When we exited the Time Tunnel we were rewarded with the sight of the wax figure of MM or Marlyn Monroe.
Rumours had it that MM had and affair with JFK when they were alive.
My wife was more interested with Lady Diana. While in France we entered the tunnel where Lady Diana was killed in a motorcar accident while trying to escape the paparazzi hounding her for photographs. What a tragic loss for someone so loved by the public. Monuments in memory of her were found in Hyde Park.
It rained when we exited Madame Tussuad. Here the group was seen waiting for the rain to subside before we could proceed to Baker's Street Station to start our journey back to the hotel.
The Statue of Sherlock Holmes, a detective character created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was too attractive for me to resist. During my school days I have read most of the stories about this sleuth, well at least all the books about him that was available in my small school library. "It was elementary my dear Watson" was the popular catchphrase of Sherlock Holmes.
Going down the escalator to the train's platform.
On the train. Most of the members had the somber look knowing that we have just seen the last of London as tomorrow we will be going to the airport the first thing in the morning on our journey back to Kuala Lumpur.
At Bayswater we still find time for some last minute shopping for souvenirs. Things were definitely cheaper here than at Oxford Street. For those intending to go to London, save some money for shopping here.
Holliday Villa is a hotel chain owned by Malaysian owned ASB group. We only had fond memories of our stay here though I have read report of poor service at the check in counter when a roomed bought on the internet was deemed as not available. Make sure you double confirm your booking. Should you face any problem, do not hesitate to ask for the manager who is a Malaysian. He will help you out.
The Lagenda restaurant will make you forget that you were in London. Most of the food you missed from home is available here. You will wake up from your dream only when you have to pay in pounds at the cashiers.
We were transfered by bus to Terminal 3 of Heathrow airport. At that time the City of London was still asleep. Despite that, Terminal 3 was already alive with people waiting to board their plane to various parts of the world.
Here's the proof that we were really at Heathrow.
While waiting for our flight on Gulf Air to Manama, Pak Zawi befriended Phillip Smeed, a Briton going to work in Manama, Bahrain. Phil works for Commercial Management Consultants Ltd, England. I promised Phil I will include this picture of us together in this post. I hope phil will get to read this as i have emailed him about it. Who knows we may bump into each other again sometimes in the future.
We were on our next leg of the journey home after a 2 hrs stopover in Manama. We still had a long way to go. The ground speed of 527 mph done by the Boeing 777 seemed to be too slow as I have seen all the movies on board. I saw Slumdog Millionaire an award winning film by Danny Boyle twice. The film won 8 of the 10 Academy awards it was nominated for.
The plane's flight path showed we were close to home.
Some forms had to be filled upon arrival due to the H1N1 epidemic. The excuse of not wearing my spectacles allowed me to let my other half to do the form filling. All I had to do was sign the form.
Waiting for our baggage at the baggage carousel in KLIA. Thank you Allah, all our begs arrived safe and sound. The European trip will always remain fresh in my mind. It was an enjoyable trip.
The next trip to Europe will be to Eastern Europe.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
The Last Days In Europe