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Friday, April 21, 2006

This Stop is London

I took my copy of Air Babylon and boarded the plane. "All of the following is true" is how the book begins. After reading some 50 pages, a flight attendant saw me reading it. He told me nothing in that book about the airlines is true. 12 hours later, I was standing at the Heathrow airport. I remembered this scent. Close your eyes, take a deep breathe, you can tell instantly you are at London.

I went to the British Museum straight from the airport. The museum is showing the "Cradle to Grave by Pharmacopoeia" installation. It's quite a shock to see the amount of pills that we take in a life time. Stopped by the Asia Room to get ideas for the antique catalogue I'm working on. Leaving the museum, I grabbed some bagels from Sainsbury. Then I took the tube to Hendon Central to check in the bunk bed I booked at the hostel.

12 hours later, I was standing in front of Rachel Whiteread's installation, Enbankment, at TATE Modern. Winding my way through the giant white box structures, this maze of space is really amazing. TATE has a collection of 8 paintings by Mark Rothko. It's my first face-to-face encounter with his work. People say you have to stand 14.5cm away from the paintings to experience the intensity. Maybe I don't get it. All I had in my mind was a big gloomy window.

The Millennium Bridge brought me to St. Paul Cathedral. I made it to the Good Friday service at noon. The priest read "It was nine o'clock in the morning when they crucified him."

From Big Ben, I walked down to TATE Britain. The "Create Your Own Collection" pamphlet stand at the entrance is soooooo cool. There are pamphlets like "The I'm in a hurry Collection", "The I like yellow Collection" , "The rainy day Collection"... After a quick visit of the London Eye and London Aquarium, I finished my day at the five-storey Waterstone's bookstore.

I spent the next morning at Green Park, which followed by visiting the V&A Museum and National Gallery. While I was shopping at Covent Garden, I got a sms from a mate, who was happened to be at London as well. We dined at oxford street and went to check out Norman Foster’s Swiss Re HQ and the Sunday market at East End London in the next morning. The shops at Chesire Street are so nice. I like the Scandinavian accessories at Mar Mar and Co, and the reto kitchen and garden ware at Labour & Wait.

After a long walk at Hype Park, my London holiday also came to an end.