Monday, 26 November 2007

Columbia Road Market

Yesterday, despite on the mend from a cold, I ventured out in the frosty air to Columbia Road street market in the East End of London, near Brick Lane to be precise. Columbia Road is an open air street market selling all manners of flowers, shrubs and trees, (yes, trees, young trees to be precise and of course, Christmas trees).

Its famous for its low costs compared to the supermarkets and gardens centres and there's always a bargain to be had, especially nearing packing up time in the mid afternoon. The stall holders shout out their best prices on the top of their voices in competition with their neighbours, and the cacophony of sounds add to the charm of the market.

Around the market there are wonderful gift shops and stalls selling art, decorative accessories, kitchen stuff, cools stuff and food.

Cupcakes.. they are everywhere I read..

There are pubs and buskers and full of tourists with cameras. Its a bustling area not unlike Portobello Road, but more East End, and definitely worth a visit.

This is a shop selling fresh olives and olive oil with free tasting too! I tried some Colchester oysters round the corner from here. They were fresh and tasty but a bit small. At £1.50 a pop, it was reasonable I thought.

The market is only open on weekend mornings and run till around 3pm, nevertheless it does attract the crowds to this little section of East London. Brick Lane is also a short walk away and that is another enclave of trend (and Indian food) to be reported on another weekend.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Autumnal hues

The northern hemisphere is experiencing autumn (or fall) and London is no exception. The British climate is a maritime one and therefore isn't as harsh in winter as in the US, occasionally the continental anticyclone systems do drift far enough eastwards and we get Siberia-like winter.

London in the autumn is my favorite season, due to the wonderful colours of the trees, the crisp chilly air and clear blue skies, like in the photo above. However, the drawback is that the sun sets early, about 4:30pm and darkness falls by 5pm. Photographically speaking, the bright sunshine and low sun makes for long drawn shadows (when the sun is out, that is!) which makes nice abstract images if one cares to look around. I intend to grab some Christmas shoppers and street scenes in this light soon. There is a seasonal ice rink installed by the Science Museum grounds in South Kensington with pretty Christmas lights illuminating skaters, which I might go take a peek one day!

Saturday, 10 November 2007

In solidarity with the Yellow March today

Saturday 10th November is the day when thousands of ordinary citizens of Malaysia are gathering for a peaceful march in Kuala Lumpur to present a petition to the King to establish free, clean and fair elections. Somehow, I figure the event will be thwarted by the police and FRU men, on the basis that the march is illegal as no permit had been given. The organisers, BERSIH thinks otherwise and have organised watchers throughout the march. I shall be there in spirit.

Let's hope the yellow march won't turn into a sea of red, and a successful outcome for all concerned citizens.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Hello from Penang..!

Managed to grab a couple of days in Penang after the book launch and press interviews in KL last week. It was a pleasant change to congested KL, although Penang is not exactly car-free either.

Did you know we have our own Malaysian Baywatch tower in Batu Ferringi! Complete with polo-shirt donned lifeguards with binoculars, but no Hasselhof or Pam Anderson lookalikes sadly.

Impressive isn't it! Why they name it Baywatch I really don't know, Ferringi Beach is not a bay as far as I know. I delivered some books to Teresa at Edelweiss Cafe in Lebuh Armenian, in Georgetown for her to distribute to several friends and tasted her top hats (below) which was a pleasant change from KL mamak stall food which I was eating the whole of last week! Do pay her a visit, for her German bratwurst and Swiss cheese fondue dishes!