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Welcome to “Oysterland”!

23 Nov

The worst part about living in the near-edges of Greater London is the lack of Tube service. With the introduction of the Oyster card years before I decided to live here, it looked like it was one card for all–Tube, bus, light rail, rail services–but not the case if you live in Kingston upon Thames or Surbiton.

To get into London the fast way, which is commuter rail, I had to do a tedious process known as purchasing a ticket at a machine. Not only was going to the ticket machine an inconvenience, but I had to accumulate paper tickets and watch them so I won’t lose them. Did I mention it’s bad for the environment as well?

The days of printing tickets will soon be over (well, almost) from January 2nd. Now all rail services in Greater London–all 607 square miles of it–are accessible for all Oyster Card user, not just weekly, monthly and annual Travelcard holders. Ta ta, paper tickets and hello to up to 30% cheaper fares!

A one-way ticket from Surbiton or Kingston upon Thames to Waterloo will cost only £3.20 off-peak. Quite expensive still, but better than paying £5 off-peak!

So rejoice, pay-as-you-go customers, you can conquer all of London without being beholden to the paper ticket, and welcome to “Oysterland”!

To access the map of “Oysterland,” click here.

I Was Lucky. Ben Gardner Wasn’t.

2 Nov

On the same night I was assaulted randomly, another man in London (Sutton to be precise), who was also celebrating Halloween, wasn’t so lucky. Ben Gardner, 30, was beaten to death by some random thugs after he confronted a thief who stole his girlfriend’s Halloween hat. Like what happened to me, this was unprovoked. And stupid.

If you have no reason to attack, then why waste your time hurting someone when you could just walk away? I don’t get it.

Random Thoughts While on a Night Bus

31 Oct

So I’ve come home the last couple of nights on the night bus, a long-winding contraption that zips through communities throughout London when the Tube closes for the rest of the night. Here are some stuff I’ve encountered while on a bus at the wee hours of the morning:

So many gostosas on the bus. That means Brazilian women. Hot, young Brazilian women. Too bad I don’t speak much Portuguese.

I had a conversation about Indie music and how Kings of Leon has turned too pop. I made it clear that it was unusual for me to listen to “Use Somebody” and “Sex on Fire” at a club. I admit I like those songs, but it’s awkward trying to dance to it.

That dude’s boyfriend that I encountered last night sure looks a lot like the Moz himself–Morrissey. I told him that his passed out lover/companion looked like Morrissey, and he didn’t know what the fuck I was talking about. He thought I was insulting him, but I insisted it was a compliment to the highest degree.

People smoking on the bus. They sure are baller.

NFL at Wembley Stadium: Will It Go Any Further?

26 Oct


If I didn’t have to go to Amsterdam/Utrecht over the weekend, I would have enjoyed a nice, cold evening at Wembley Stadium (provided I have money for tickets). Why do you say that? Three letters. N-F-L. As an American living abroad, it’s interesting that they try to play a season game abroad. There’s even talk about having a franchise here in London. However, as much as I’d like to see another football game play at Wembley, my gut is telling me that this would fail, and for many reasons:

1) American football is not engrained in the culture: It’s safe to say that the British are no eager to flock to the pub to watch Tom Brady score a touchdown just year.

2) Time zone differences: London is five hours ahead of the East Coast, so if there’s a Sunday afternoon game in London, many people would have to wake up early to watch it. Don’t get me started about Sunday Night Football.

3) Previous failure: The NFL did have a European league for many years: NFL Europa. However, that folded in 2007 because of heavy losses.

Roger Goodell can always dream of seeing a world full of NFL franchises. Until he understands the culture, it’s not going to work out.

By the way,  the Patriots saved the day at Wembley with their win 35-7 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

West End Weekend with Holly Golightly

12 Oct
The dazzling Anna Friel

The dazzling Anna Friel

I didn’t know until 30 minutes before the show that I was going to see “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” I haven’t gotten around watching the movie, nor haven’t bothered to read the Truman Capote novella, but watching the play has been on my mind ever since Anna Friel’s lovely face was plastered on the Underground.

It was my first time watching a play in a major theater district ever. I haven’t even seen a Broadway play, mainly because I couldn’t fork $100 or have the patience to wait in line at TKTS. And don’t get me started on Los Angeles’s theater scene.

The show was at the Theatre Royal in Haymarket, which is one of the oldest surviving theatres in London. Anna Friel dazzles as Holly Golightly, the fun, elusive gal who attracts the awe of nearly every guy she meets. Joseph Cross stars opposite Friel as the aspiring Alabama-bred author William (mistakenly called Fred) Parsons. The rest of the cast make up for a bubbly yet dramatic performance, which follows the mystery of Ms. Golightly.

It was a great play I tell you. Friel and Cross’s chemistry made for good entertainment. However, the downside of the play was mostly technical issues; James Dreyfus needs better practice at his New York Jewish accent. It didn’t sound convincing at all.

Mind you, nudity was abound in this play, but it would be too NSFW for you too see the incriminating shots. In my opinion, the nudity was quite tasteful.