Tag Archives: tourists

just a normal day in london, albeit rather a wet one. hang on that is normal too. haha.

8 Feb

london 7.17pm 9C monday 2016

i am unable to watch tv, the programs live. it says i have a weak or no signal. so i think our  aerial on the roof of the flats have been damaged,  by the storm last night, when it rained really hard for a hour or two, with strong winds.

we can still get the broadband programs on the bbc player, and other channels players. and i can get broadband on my chromebook so my internet access is still available.

added.  i realise i can still watch the live tv programs, on my laptop, because the tv guide allows me to see it live. hmm, it really shows why the license fee is becoming unenforceable, since anyone can now watch tv from their laptops. why bother to pay for a license? hope they will stop that and find another way to finance the bbc. 

so i was able to watch simon reeves travelogue of greece on tv, where he filmed the refugees coming in their boats to a greek island  which is 1 hr from the turkish mainland;  and filmed the conflicts between cultures, and the demonstrations of the young in athens against the older generation establishment who they blame for getting greece into such a bad debt and trouble it is in now. seeing all those trouble and strife, i cannot see anyone wanting to go there for a holiday.

i can understand that report saying most tourists are now going to spain… rather than hotspots like morocco, or egypt or practically every where else, where they can be bombed or shot at by terrorists who are targetting the tourists.

when tourists are not dodging bullets from terrorists, they are dodging  the zika virus in south america. it is really not a nice time to be a tourist… here in london, we are getting rain, it seems a storm is here. storm imogen. all i notice of it is that the rain is heavy but seem to come in bursts of 1-2hours. last night those celebrating chinese new year eve will be very wet. it was a wet night. today it had bursts of rain, so that the covered walkways in victoria are full of people trying to get out of the rain. people just go about doing their business or buy lunch, because that was when i was there. it was the lunch rush hour.

it’s quite a normal day really in london. 

added. 9.2.16 7.19am 7.3C tuesday seems like the rest of the south has got gales and such…

Tourist hotspots around the world are crowded with new visitors – but are they all welcome? | Business | The Guardian

26 Jul

Tourist hotspots around the world are crowded with new visitors – but are they all welcome? | Business | The Guardian.

a good account of the dangers of too many tourists.

it mentioned bad behaviour by the tourists.

it did not mention that the host is also guilty, of fleecing the tourists, and enabling such things as the pedicab rider in london recently filmed whilst asking over £200 for a short pedicab ride to a family.

it also did not mention the prices to eat in the restaurants, or to buy from the shops, will inevitably rise to the disadvantage of the locals, as tourists are more willing to pay the exorbitant prices.

and the locals changing their behaviour to accommodate foreigners , like learning to speak english , or creating some festival, and dressing up just to keep the tourists entertained, and selling international stuff, rather than local stuff , because international by definition has more appeal to tourists. or even changing the taste of their local cuisine to suit the tourists.

i think it is long gone those days when travel is an education, and broaden the minds.

nowadays it is getting to  cheaper places with lots of cheap booze and lots of sun.

personally i think it is just modern life, and though i dont like it, ( that is why i dont travel anymore) i think it is here to stay and i can see the advantages to everyone, as it keeps the economy rolling.

i think it sad that barcelona is banning nudity. spanish laws are liberal and allow nudity in public. i would have thought that is a nice local tradition to keep to distinguish spain from everywhere else, but i guess barcelona is so crowded, they are trying to find ways to stop poor tourists from coming. haha. they want rich tourists who stay a short while, and spend lots and create the least trouble, and then fxxk off. and that is what will happen more and more as towns and cities get overcrowded with tourists.

i think with airbnb, so many will be able to by- pass paying to stay in expensive hotels and crowd even more the cities that are popular to start with.  the authorities cannot manipulate the type of visitors they want to encourage, the rich ones who stay in expensive hotels.

yesterday i was in that stretch of london between trafalgar square and parliament square, and it was just full of tourists and foreigners. i would imagine practically everyone on the street was a tourist. i was a local who was just passing through on the bus. i bet there are very few british born people there. if i were british born, i would feel i am the odd one out. in fact there have been some complaints about that, some were saying they dont hear english spoken in the streets in these places, as there are so many foreigners talking their lingo amongst themselves. i would say to them, dont get upset about it, treat them like they are guests of your country whilst taking their money selling them some junk, haha.

its hard to be naked when you feel cold.

13 Jun

london 12.40pm saturday 2015

does not look very promising for the naked bike ride today. it is cloudy, the forecast is dry… no rain which is a good thing.

 it seems the thunderstorms have missed my area, central london. john says he felt unwell this morning and have diarrhea. hope he feels better to do the naked bike ride this afternoon, but i have a feeling he does not feel up to it, what with the wind and the cold and no sun, the ride wont be so enjoyable. the weather really is crucial here, as you will feel the cold more when naked. so it looks like we will miss joining in this year. ah well, nevermind. haha.

like i said living in these northern areas of the world, the naked lifestyle is really optional. much as we would like to be naked all the time, the cold will stop that. and even though we can put up the heating, it just seems wasteful to heat up the whole house just to be able to be naked, when just putting on a sweater is enough to keep warm. and when you feel unwell, it really puts a damper on things because u just cannot withstand the cold that much. 

i was on the bus this morning and a bunch of tourists boarded it at victoria station.  they asked the bus driver but their accent was so terrible even i could not hear what exactly they are saying. you would have thought it is not difficult to catch the english destination they wanted… i mean how different can u pronounce the london stops, without it being at least recognisable. even if u mangle the pronounciation of trafalgar square, for eg, it would be possible to recognise it…or lets say u pronounce leicester square as ‘lay -chester’ it is still possible to guess what u mean.  but i could not understand at all what they were saying. i was thinking it must be hell to be a tourist here and not know english. in the end, they have to leave the bus, because no one could understand them.

even an old lady who tried to help them could not. those tourists are doubly handicapped, 1) not being able to pronounce the english words, and also 2), not being able to understand the answers said to them. it is one of the many reasons why i dont fancy travelling now. not understanding the locals, nor be able to read the signs makes for a very frustrating experience. some might like it, as it is a new thing, but to me who am used to this life in london where i understand everything said to me, and can make myself understood, it is intolerable. 

added. i wonder how come no one have invented a machine that when u speak into it, will translate it into any language and speak it outloud. that way u can conduct a conversation through the machine. it certainly cannot be beyond the minds of man to invent such a machine surely. whoever invents it will earn a fortune. and they can simplify it to a machine that just translates any language into english and vice versa. i bet it can be used to teach a person that language too.

google can translate into any language, so maybe as a first step, they can invent a machine that simply uses google to translate into words so the other person can read it. nowadays computers can type words from speech, so that is a way to get a person’s spoken word to be written up, and then google can translate it .

friends come to visit

10 Apr


2 friends from florida here visiting london and europe. one of them was telling the other to keep the receipts saying VAT can be claimed back. Hearing him, brought to my mind this anomaly too. For those of us whou live here we cannot reclaim VAT but all the tourists can. it is surprising to me. it might well be that in europe u can too, but i dont remember any of those coutries advertising that and  telling their visitors about it and even giving them forms to claim and allowing them to hand it at the airport when they leave and getting the refund right away. here in the uk u can.

i wonder whether malaysia and thailand have sales tax that can be reclaimed by visitors? i doubt it. haha. if they do they keep it a secret.

i have a feeling the british do this and follow the eu requirements very carefully and even exceeds it in this case; whilst the europeans tend to fudge it. they wont go out of their way to lie to you, but on the other hand they dont make it easier for u to do it either.

in the past the british even spend money on interpreters, and give out many notices/leaflets with translations in all the languages that are spoken in the country but now they realise it is costing huge amounts of money and are putting a stop to it. it is obviously not a EU requirement because now the british govt is not providing all these translations and we have no EU official threatening us with fines for not providing it.

I read in a blog about GST(goods and services tax) in canada, and it seems visitors to canada can reclaim that too. i wonder if it applies to the US as  well. can visitors reclaim the sales tax in the USA? i have never done so and have never seen any sales assistant telling me i could when i used to go to new york for christmas shopping. it was in the early 90s so maybe things have moved on.

i just have a thought . if i were in a citizen of one of the eastern european countries that are in the EU that have recently been allowed unrestricted entry to uk, why don’t i come to uk, buy stuff and keep the receipts whilst i live and work here, then when i go back for a holiday, i shall reclaim all the VAT. sounds perfectly legal. it seems VAT on eating out in restaurants etc can also be claimed. 20% is a significant amount to reclaim back. don’t you think? what about hotel bills? is VAT reclaimable?

most nudists think the nudist movement started in germany and would assume germany is the most liberal in allowing nudity. but not so. it seems east germany is the liberal one, west germany is prudish still. this article mentioned that munich municipality has enacted rules to restrict nudity to certain areas. before u cannot go naked everywhere because of the rules imposed by the controlling authority which was the bavarian interior ministry. but those rules are going to expire and so nudity can be anywhere.

Munich has quickly enacted its new rules restricting nudity. but it seems other municipalities may not know of this and not enact any rules. ( I think as far as liberal laws on nudity are concerned spain still beats all of them).

Decisions about bathing areas were formerly the domain of the Bavarian interior ministry. But since the autumn of 2013, local authorities in Munich have taken over the responsibility.

Previously, bathers were obliged to cover up in all but a few areas. By default, as soon as the mandate of the interior ministry which introduced those rules expired, FKK (Frei Körper Kultur), or nudist, bathing would have been allowed in all areas. quoted from here.

a hot day in london

8 Jul

Its nice and warm now in London. There were a few blue bottle flies in the flat a few days ago. Now there are none to be seen. That is the good thing about London. We don’t get a lot of creepy crawlies. Now and then we get flies, but no ants, or cockroaches, or mosquitos… the latter is something I really am grateful for.

In Malaysia, we get mosquitos and it is really awful to get bitten by them, or to hear their whine near your ear in the dark when u are about to sleep and expecting to get bitten.

Those rackets that are electrified by batteries are something that I thought was a brilliant invention. U just wave them about your head and if there is a mosquito it will set it off crackling and zapping telling u that you got one of them. No need to catch them sitting on the walls and hitting them with a newspaper, or trying to clap them between your hands when they are flying about.

But I am glad I don’t need them , or mosquito coils or sprays here in London.

I was at the Trafalgar square yesterday, Sunday. It was a really hot day and first time I was able to walk around in sandals and shorts; and was surprised at the long lines of Italian students snaking their way all over the place and in Leicester square. One of them told me he was from naples.

Do Europeans organise school trips to bring students to London? The exchange rate must be very favourable for these students to do it for their parents to still be able to afford it.

added.20.7.13 read in a blog why there are so many of these italian students around. They come here for their summer camp staying with local families. 

I read in the papers that the top deck of the new buses with the open platform at the back which are used for the route 24 from Pimlico to hampstead heath are having very hot interiors in the upper deck, but I was on one yesterday, and it was fine. Quite cool, the temperature on the upper deck considering the back platform was open to the outside and allowing all the cold air to get out.

Added. 9.7.13 i saw a advert for bus assistants, who will be acting as conductors in these buses. maybe for now they are using drivers to alternate the roles, until they can fill it with these bus assistants. it is a cushy job, most probably the salary wont be as much. the best job in the buses is to be a driver, but it would suit people who are calm and collected under pressure as driving in london is a real hassle if u are impatient.

added.15.7.13 read today in this article about the advert for a passenger assistant. i dont recall the advert i read using the words customer-facing experience.  Maybe it did, and i am so used to this kind of double speak, that it is beginning to make a kind of sense and in fact may express what it want to say in a very effective way. it just goes to show george orwell has got it right that we can get used to double speak and prefer it to ordinary words.

I went into the waitrose recently opened on 2nd july beneath city hall in victoria st, hoping to get a free coffee. I saw they have reduced the prices for the sandwiches, 19p for a ham and cheese sandwich and even though I was not hungry I took one pack intending to buy it and eat with my coffee. When I went to get the coffee, the security guard told me it was not working, and then I saw a big sign over it saying it was out of order, being cleaned. Its rather soon to be cleaning it, but then maybe people were complaining of the coffee. When I drank it last time it was ok, but then I am no judge of good coffee.

Well if there was coffee, I would have bought the sandwich.As it is, I did not buy it.

Interesting that they would reduce the price of the sandwich to 19p. That is a low price.There were lots of people there buying things to eat. Do u think everyone knows that waitrose reduce its prices for these things at about 2pm on Sunday? It is news to me. I had the impression waitrose is an upmarket supermarket and those dont reduce their prices do they?

I think I may have confused them with marks and spencer because I read somewhere that M&S don’t do that, reduce their prices I mean.

But sandwiches are not really that healthy for you. Cheeses are not really that healthy for anyone. Really. Though of course, once in a while it is fine. Just as eating burgers are fine once in a while. But I was wondering with these prices it is no wonder people buy them, rather than vegetables.

Added.14.7.13 i re-read that last bit and realise i am being pedantic , saying this food or that food is not good for you. of course all foods are good for us, as it provides nutrition for our bodies. whether they are bad for you  depands on the amount you eat. any foods eaten in huge amounts at the exclusion of others (in other words, a balanced diet is what u need) will be bad for you. 

Murray finally won his first Wimbledon title. About time too, the poor chap had been thwarted in previous years by federer, but luckily for him, both nadel and federer got knocked out on the early stages by relative unknowns who were themselves gone so left the field clear for murray with only the previous holder to beat. I did not follow the matches. Just listened to the results as that was all I was interested in.
I suppose he will be in the queens birthday list next year for a knighthood. Haha.

entertaining friends

10 Jun

So today, Monday, all my guests have gone. They have come to stay for the naked bike ride in London on 8june, and now they have moved on.

My two guests from new Zealand are now in paris, staying with other naturist friends and continuing their European tour.

My friend john will have just caught his train to poole.

Yesterday, john and I were wondering where to go and decided on visiting Portobello street market, in notting hill, but we found out when we were on the bus 148 that the buses are not running there, as there is a huge burst water pipe. There was a similar incident in regents street some time ago, which disrupted bus traffic too.

So we ended up in shepherd’s bush, and decided to go to the Westfield shopping complex there. It is a pleasant place, with lots of chairs where a lot of people were sitting on and sleeping on it even.

I wonder if they might have made it too comfortable, so that shoppers become disinclined to visit the shop and prefer to just sit there.

It is tough to shop keepers to get people to buy your stuff, at least that is the impression I got, from the many shoppers there who seem to just enjoy the place without any evidence of shopping bags to show they are actually buying stuff.

That day, it was cloudy and chilly, so it was ideal to get indoors into a warm sheltered shopping complex.

I confess I find it difficult to recommend any place to bring visitors to in London. Maybe I am just jaded, or that my interests do not involve eating out and shopping, which are the biggest way (and sometimes seems to me to be the only way)to entertain yourself in London.

If u are not interested in those things, and not interested in seeing old pictures and furniture and things in museums etc you will find it rather difficult to find things to do.

I guess just wander around the little villages, like soho, Chelsea, hampstead, spitalfields, Camden, borough, etc just to see the people doing their thing and people watch.

Though even then, u might most probably find your fellow countrymen doing the same thing, and no locals in sight but lots of foreigners who have come to work here, or are visiting like you.

We met two Malaysian girls looking at the menu in a Malaysian restaurant , (named penang, they do a free cocktail class weekdays at 5or 6pm ), in the alley leading to the Westfield centre. They were visiting from leeds, (and come from penang in Malaysia) and when I said I like the curry laksa instead of the vinegarish penang laksa; they recommended the laksa in a restaurant in Chinatown. She only knows its Chinese name and wrote it down for me, but it is in Chinese. And she did not know its English name, but she did say it was in an alley off the eastern end of gerrard st. she said they do very good curry laksa there and will be there that evening.
It only occurred to me much later that I guess if I were straight it would be a hint to go there to meet them and make friends with some girls.Haha. But at that time, I did not really think of it that way.
I am sure the girls did not think of it as a come on either… they really were talking only of telling me of the restaurant so I can try the laksa there.

Later I googled it, and found out it was C&R restaurant in 4,Rupert Court. I have eaten the laksa there long ago and it was very nice. It cost £8.50 then, (about 5-10yrs ago I cannot remember exactly) but get this, the menu online now showed the price now is £6.50… Amazing, it‘s cheaper… but maybe the ingredients are less.

But it kind of illustrate that in London, u are more likely to meet your fellow countrymen than the locals.

I find it really hard pressed to recommend where to go for visitors.

My friends from new Zealand knew where to go, and have their plans, so thank goodness I don’t have to exert myself to entertain them.

They went to a afternoon coach trip to Stonehenge, costing £24 each.(reduced £5 because they book online) Includes entry fee. And they went on another day to the tower of London to see the jewels. Which when I saw it a long time ago, looked very fake, because they were so huge. Haha. If I did not see them in the context of the tower of London, I would have thought they were very good replicas. Haha. It is just that such huge diamonds are so rare, u just cannot believe they are real.

Actually for all we know, they might well be replicas, and the real thing is kept under lock and key in a security vault. It wont surprise me at all if that is the case.

I have a friend who is registered disabled, and he asked me to go see it, and do you know carers can get in free, if going with a disabled person. And u jump the queue too… but even that did not tempt me to go join the crowd to see it.

I know, I come across as a bloody jaded old man, and maybe I am. Haha. But just pottering around London, and my area is very pleasant experience for me, which I enjoy a lot and satisfies me . It is all the excitement I want. I am afraid as I go older, I find I don’t like excitement very much. Because I know from experience that ‘excitement’ means a lot of bother…
Like this latest excitement we are experience in the flat now… the old washing machine had conked out and cannot be repaired and we have to buy a new one… and it will be delivered in 18june. Such excitements I can do without frankly. I hope once we got the new one, I wont have to go through another one like it for another 10yrs at least, that is how long I expect any new electrical appliance to last me.

(my soul dont want to be bothered with it, because it was simon who found it not working, and he is the one who had to go through the bother of trying to repair it, took the whole thing apart it seems and found it could not be repaired…and he ordered the new washing machine too. i did not have to do anything.haha.)

So keep all that ‘excitement‘… give me a nice quiet life without them. Haha.

I happen to read this article in quartz, about how to make yourself employable.

Often u hear people say , I have years of experience and good at my job but nobody wants to hire me because I am too old, etc.
This article gives a very unusual take on that.

Quote an extract from it  ‘For example, if the problem is that I am being discriminated against because of my age, then I cannot fix that problem without changing the minds of billions. But if my failures are my fault, then all I have to do is change my own mind. This is one of those general rules I have come up with in my old age, even though I cannot remember the specifics of how I came by it.’ unquote.

read the rest here

added. my friends bought me carnation evaporated milk. 2cans. they are v expensive , double what the aldi, or tesco ones. i thought they will be nice and taste exactly like those evaporated milk that i tasted in my childhood in malaysia. but it is not so. they dont have that taste at all. i thought the aldi , and tesco milk dont taste like the malaysian ones because they were cheap, but if the carnation milk tastes just the same as the aldi, i dont think i shall bother buying the carnation at all. thanks to my friends, i am able to judge for myself the carnation milk without having to buy it. 

added. 12.37pm 2016 paddington library london 19.1C cloudy. saw this article on my wordpress recommend . it is 3 yrs now, and that washing machine is still going strong. but then i would expect it to, as it is only 3yrs old. at one stage it acted up and did not spin strong enough to dry the clothes. but after a bit, with us doing nothing to it, it corrected itself. at that stage we thought we had to replace it with a new one. but glad it got over itself and started working again.