UK Trip....Part II

Posted: Thursday, April 30, 2009 by Stained in

Sunday, 15th of March

We had to catch a train to Sheffield as 'D' wanted to check out the university there. It was a long 4 hour ride due to the multiple stops as the ticket we had bought was a cheaper one as we totally could not afford blowing as much as £55 for a one way ticket just for a 2 hour shorter train ride. Anyway I preferred the stop overs as we got to see more of the country side then we would have. Anyway we had to get to the train by 8:15am. We managed to get out by 7:20am but due to wrong decision regarding which train to take (basically we realised later that the train we wanted to take was not as frequent as the other train we could have taken), we managed to get to King Cross station by 8:13am. As soon as we jumped in, the doors closed behind us...

1) The first part of the train ride was us passing through the northern part of London that seemed a bit rundown in places. The only landmark that I remember passing was the huge Emirates stadium (for Arsenal). Anyway we got to a station who's name I conveniently don't remember(be prepared for me to mention lots of nameless places cause I suck with remembering names and I forgot to use a notebook).2) Over here we had to catch a bus that took us to Peterborough where we had to catch a train to yet another nameless place. Anyway we had about an hour to kill before catching the train so we decided to head towards the huge cathedral (picture below) that I spotted from the bus. Being Sunday, we could not enter the cathedral as it was time for the mass I think, so made do with roaming around as I clicked away.3) We headed back to the train station, picked up some food and drinks and made our way onto the train that to my happiness had FREE WIFI!!! :D
We got to the nameless station number two which was located in an industrial looking town.  A complete contrast to the beautiful town of Peterborough. We waited there for another hour and got onto a smaller, slower train to Sheffield. 
4) Initial impressions of Sheffield were somewhere between the second nameless town and Petersborough. It was pretty but had this industrial look to it also. I was hoping for it to be colder but was kinda disappointed. Here we were picked up by D's friend (lets call her Am) who made us walk through this totally inefficient way to her dorm (I figured that out immediately as I'm a genius when it comes to directions). Anyway we stopped over at the dorm for some time, were joined by her friend and made our way to have lunch. After having a decent serving of fish and chips, Am showed us around town which wasn't really too big. Basically the main city center comprises of three parallel streets full of shops of everything and anything. After doing some shopping, Am went off to her dorm as she had some work to do while we looked around for a decent hotel to stay the night in. We were recommended a shady cheap hotel but that is totally unacceptable for me.
I think this was an office building
Peace Gardens
Winter Garden

5) So after a few hours of walking around we settled for a newly opened hotel which was decently priced, clean and comfortable. D went off to Am's dorm for the night. Had Pizza hut in the night (Veg pizza...urgh!!!!), roamed around a bit, watched TV, surfed the totally expensive net and a comfortable night on a comfy bed. 

Monday, 16th of March

6) Woke up at 7:30am, checked out, walked to the other side of Sheffield, took some very cool shots (IMO atleast!!) and then made our way to the station where we had to catch a 10am train to Leeds.
Funky painting on the building opposite the hotel
Greenery on the other side of town that had some shady looking buildings
Stairs leading to the Train Station from the other side
Tallest building in Sheffield...under construction

7) It was only a 1 hour ride with free WIFI yet again. I wish we could have stayed on the train and made our way to Edinburgh to see some snow. But we had tickets for Leed so Leeds it was. 
8) It was a bit colder here than Sheffield and I had to get the gloves out. Anyway we made our way past lots of funky looking buildings(one of them pictured below) to reach the main entrance for Leeds university. Unfortunately there isn't a main gate as such, just a map showing us the 30+ buildings that constitute the university which are littered over a huge area among 100+ buildings. So feeling a little confused and with my genius skills of direction, we made our way to the journalism building that was on the other corner (READ: a few miles away). After lots of walking uphill and downhill while losing D's notebook, we did not manage to get to the building. We had walked a lot (READ:10km minimum) in Sheffield while looking for a good hotel which also constitutes lots of uphill's and downhill's, adding that to this long Leeds walk, the whole package of walking over two days had gotten to us, even me the champion walker was hampered by the cold. 9) So we somehow made our way back to the station stopping over to watch a chess match between a 7 year old and maybe a 25+ year old (the kid won btw). We had some time to kill before catching the train back. So we made our way to McDonalds where I had French fries and potato wedges...
10) The Train ride back had no stop overs and being a very Fast train with the 'oh so wonderful' free WIFI, we got to King Cross station by 4:30pm and we then caught the tube back home where exhausted, we simply chilled out!!!
NOTE: Ignore any bad spellings or grammatical errors as I didn't have the time to review this post. Netbook was not working which was the reason for the delay.

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UK Trip....Part 1

Posted: Wednesday, April 22, 2009 by Stained in

As requested by Zanzibar...I am going to try to replicate the Salalah Trip series of pictures with text for my UK trip also. Hopefully I'll be able to do it!!!

Friday, 13th of March

1) We reached the airport at 3:45am. I was driven there by my brother and sister. Got into line for check in that took ages and then got back out, said goodbye and then headed back in to make our ways to the main Terminal. We were flying Qatar Airways and our flight was at 7:30am. We hung around the Duty Free, I had McDonalds and prayed. After that we headed off to the boarding gate where they were making the last call so we were kind of late. Anyway we boarded our small plane for our 45min ride to Doha. We sat next to the Emergency Exit and I was tempted to fiddle around. Next to us, one of the Air Host (not sure what you call the guy) was seated during take-off and landing. his chair had a 6 point safety belt. Quite odd honestly seeing how that belt is safer than the belts we get. Anyway we landed in Doha approximately at 7:30am local time. We were served some orange juice and a spinach croissant/sandwich/whatever you call it on the flight. We got off the plane into a bus and reached the terminal where we got into line again to go to our boarding gate for our London flight. I forgot to mention that the security checks at Dubai are great. No removing belts or other stuff unlike Doha where I was required to remove my belt. The toilets are dirty also in comparison. Anyway I think after one hour we boarded our flight to London after some dirty looks from the guys checking our passports and wondering why we were going...urgh!!! Reminded me of the Visa application form where they ask questions like have you taken part in any terrorist activities or are you part of a terrorist organisation. Seriously will any real terrorist confess to being one...sheesh!!! Anyway we got window seats (Yaaay!!!!!) as the plane was quite empty. It was indeed one long flight but I was having fun watching movie on my faulty screen and taking pictures. My window was the only one open but then had to close it due to my friend...annoying. The ride was fun, with hardly any turbulence, plenty of clouds under us, saw lots of towns, snow capped mountains, frozen ice on water, other planes etc. I also used the plane toilet for the first time in my life (I don’t travel much and whenever I have, it’s been a max of 3 hour flights). The toilet experience was good. We were served lunch which was delicious (shame on you Emirates). I saw a few movies but my faulty screen was annoying so I was busy most of my time smudging my window whenever I got the chance.
2) We landed a little behind schedule due to the rush at Heathrow so we kept taking rounds in the air for some time. We landed at 01:03pm, got through the security quite quickly with the whole remove belt, getting felt up (aaaaaahhh!!) by an Indian security guard, speaking to a friendly passport control guy and getting our luggage almost immediately. Though we had to wait at the airport while some of my other friends got picked up by their respective people. So at about 2:15pm we made our way to the tube station with our new Oyster cards (bought by the friend we were living at, let’s call him Jes). We managed somehow to load our luggage into the tube and got some dirty looks from the other passengers. We had to change a tube which was a pain as there were no escalators and I had to carry about 35kilos of baggage up the stairs. I fell over my bags when we got on to the second tube as it started move as the tube is not smooth. It lurches and jerks all over the place and so you have to hold on to something. We reached Jes place at 3:30pm approximately. For the rest of the day, we chilled out, went to Liverpool station to buy tickets for Sheffield and ate dinner. Note that everyone apart from fud had slept on the plane and by 10pm they were all asleep or in the process of falling asleep while I was busy browsing the internet. I went to sleep at 12am on the two seated sofa that is just too small for a person of my height but there was no place. Woke up the next morning at 6am (jet lag I suppose) and so went for a walk with Jes who was also awake while the rest of the house slept. First proper day in UK and I’m freely carrying my camera without my bag, I must have lost my marbles then but I was just lazy to carry my whole bag. As my friend explains how the neighbourhood nearby is not safe, and how a guy got stabbed in front of his son at the spot we were passing, I was still freely taking pictures without a fear in my mind. But I think it was because the whole place was empty. It was a Saturday early morning!!!3) We headed off to do some grocery shopping at a place called ASDA. We took the tube called DLR which is not an underground service. Got to the see the east side of town. You can see the O2 arena in this shot.
4) A shot of Royal Victoria Dock where we stopped over on our way to get groceries. This was taken from the Bridge that went across it. It was very windy!!!
5) There were many Swans that kept followung us expecting some food from us. Unfortunately we were carrying none.
6) The others walking back to the station.
7) Shot taken as we headed back home. We didn't go out anywhere that night, had pasta for dinner and just chilled out generally.

More later....sorry for the long post!!!

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Sheffield stairs...

Posted: Tuesday, April 21, 2009 by Stained in

Shot of the stairs leading to the Train Station in Sheffield.Shooting Date/Time : 3/16/2009 09:55:27 AM 

Tv(Shutter Speed) : 1/160
Av(Aperture Value) : 4.5 
Metering Mode : Evaluating Metering 
ISO Speed : 100 
Lens : EF-S 10-22mm f3.5-4.5 USM 
Focal Length : 10 mm

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White Tower

Posted: Monday, April 20, 2009 by Stained in

Shot of the White tower at the Tower of London that I visited with my friends.Shooting Date/Time : 3/18/2009 01:25:50 PM
Tv(Shutter Speed) : 1/640
Av(Aperture Value) : 5.6
Metering Mode : Evaluating Metering
ISO Speed : 100
Lens : EF-S 10-22mm f3.5-4.5 USM
Focal Length : 10 mm

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Back to Dubai

Posted: Monday, April 13, 2009 by Stained in

Well I was back in Dubai on the 27th of March but haven't bothered making a post cause I've been kept busy by my hyperactive niece. The trip was nice, a good vacation from the everyday life in Dubai. Anyway hopefully I'll be back to blogging now...

Here's a shot of my friend who agreed to pose for me as I practiced my portrait skills.....Shooting Date/Time : 4/13/2009 06:33:10 AM
Tv(Shutter Speed) : 1/640
Av(Aperture Value) : 2.5
Metering Mode : Center-Weighted Average Metering
ISO Speed : 100
Lens : EF 85 f1.8 USM
Focal Length : 85 mm

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