Sunday, December 13, 2009

Staying At Home Is Bad

So it's been a week and a half since my tumultuous attempt to enter the Gambia -- for those who don't know, I hopped on a plane to Gambia, got rejected at immigration and hopped on the same plane for the return flight back to London. How tedious, isn't it? To cut the long story short, the natives at Gambia immigration felt that my Singapore High Commission-issued temporary travel document, validated by the Gambian High Commission for right of entry, wasn't good enough for them. Guess that's what happens in developing countries like Gambia -- present something that looks more complicated than a one-plus-one-equals-two formula and they throw their arms into the air (minus the spears) declaring not knowing what to do at the top of their voice.

In any case, I have been utterly free and bored to tears since now I have an empty three-week holiday where I'm restrained within the shores of the great UK 'cos the Home Office still has my real passport. I did, however, make an impromptu trip down to Sheffield to visit Jinn, Robyn, Ikhwan and the rest of the guys. Which was quite useful for my psyche, really. Sometimes, spending a couple days outside London does the trick.

Four days later and I was back in London, and since this week started I've only been out of the house on three out of seven days. Not too bad, some hermits might argue -- but if you consider how terribly busy I was during the period leading up to the Gambia trip and all of a sudden, I can now afford to go to bed every night without having to set an alarm, three out of seven days isn't a lot at all. That means for the four remaining days, I did nothing all day but sit on my bum, watch loads of TV, play lots of Xbox 360 and basically just get fat.

And that started to bug me when I thought of how I bought a 7-day zone 1-3 travelcard on Saturday the 5th (the day I arrived back in London from Sheffield) and I just possibly might not have finished using the £21.10 worth it cost me to get the travelcard. Now, that would obviously suck because I wouldn't have paid for a travelcard only to stay in all day, whether by conscious choice or not. So, in all my glorious free time, I listed down all the trips I took within those seven days to see if I tallied up -- and since I was bored enough to come up with this comprehensive list, I thought I might as well just shared it with all of you.

Saturday 05/12:
Kings X Stn - Golders Green Stn [£2.20]
Golders Green Stn - Montrose Ct [£1.00]

Sunday 06/12:
Montrose Ct - Turnpike Ln Stn [£1.00]
Turnpike Ln Stn - Stoke Newington Stn [£1.00]
Stoke Newington High St - Angel Stn [£1.00]

Angel Stn - Golders Green Stn [£2.20]
Golders Green Stn - Montrose Ct [£1.00]
Montrose Ct - Golders Green Stn [£1.00]
Golders Green Stn - Stroud Gn Rd [£1.00]
Stroud Gn Rd - Golders Green Stn [£1.00]
Golders Green Stn - Montrose Ct [£1.00]

Monday 07/12:

Tuesday 08/12:

Wednesday 09/12:
Montrose Ct - Golders Green Stn [£1.00]
Golders Green Stn - Montrose Ct [£1.00]

Thursday 10/12:

Friday 11/12:
Montrose Ct - Golders Green Stn [£1.00]
Golders Green Stn - Camden Town Stn [£1.10]
Camden Town Stn - Russell Sq Stn [£1.60]

Russell Sq - Oxford St [£1.00]
Leicester Sq Stn - Golders Green Stn [£2.20]
Golders Green Stn - Montrose Ct [£1.00]

Blue, of course, refers to bus journeys and green for tube journeys. So, as you can see, my total PAYG equivalent for my week's travel came up to £23.30 -- close! But at least my (discounted) travelcard did not go to naught. Oh dear, now look what I've become. An obsessive hermit.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The "I-Can't-Believe-It's-Already-Christmas" Post

Wow, so I'm actually back at my blog doing a post. It has been a long while indeed. But definitely not long enough to make me wonder why is it already Christmas. True, it's twenty-five days away, but it might as well just be tomorrow to me.

Ah, yes, tomorrow. I'm heading off to Gambia with my colleagues from the Leadership course, under the Guildhall Professional Development Department. It's my first time to Africa, so you can imagine how bloody excited I am! Still, I had so much to finish up today before leaving tomorrow, it was utterly insane. I've had a couple of those big days where you traverse the entire Greater London throughout the course of one day, but I think today's itinerary has yet to be superseded by any I've experienced.

So, it was (in order):

- Croydon in the morning to get my biometric enrolment done at the UK Border Agency's Public Enquiry Office in Croydon.

- Lunch in Wimbledon -- great sushi at this place called Ta-Maki. And I took the tramlink for the first time from Croydon to Wimbledon. How exciting, right.

- Piano teaching in Fulham.

- High Street Kensington to drop by the Gambian High Commission to get my temporary travel document verified.

- Tottenham Court Road to get my hair cut. It's awfully short now.

- East Finchley for a quick rehearsal at Tyler's place for a recording he wanted to do with me.

- Muswell Hill for the recording session itself.

Amazing, huh! Now that's a real milking of my Oyster travelcard. Well, tomorrow it's hopping on the first 460 bus at 5:29am to Cricklewood to catch the train to Gatwick. Ho hum. Combined with the 2, 3-hours of sleep on average that I have been having every night since Thursday night, I think I am going to have a very interesting time in Gambia. Uh-huh.