April 23, 2004

Stornoway for a day

When people think about going on vacation, Stornoway is probably not on the top of their list. It's nice and quaint, but I wasn't able to find much to do. The cab driver said it rains at least once a day. I was there for work.

Elena and I left London Heathrow on Thursday at noon and stopped in Glasgow for a plane change. We had to get on a prop plane with about 20 rows, 3 seats in each row! It was actually a smoother flight than the one from London to Glasgow.

our prop plane

When we landed at Stornoway at 4:30, we were greeted by their daily shower. So, walking from the plane to the airport, was not pleasant. The airport, although small, was quite modern. It had only one gate and one baggage claim platform. There were only 4 check-in desks, and they were all for British Airways.

Inside the Stornoway airport

Stornoway Airport
** Let me also mention that no one checked my ID. Neither the trip to nor from Stornoway. Stornoway is in Scotland, in case you didn't know. Well, I didn't know until I found out I was going there.**

It was about a 5-minute cab ride from the airport to our hotel. We were originally going to stay at the Cabarfeidh Hotel, but it was full! So, we ended up at the Royal Hotel. http://www.calahotels.com/

The Royal Hotel is older with your typical european hotel rooms... small bathrooms. This is the view from my window. I wish I knew what castle that was.

view from Royal Hotel

The hotel was near the harbor, so I took a walk around. Everything was closed, except for a few pubs, restaurants, and the COOP (their local grocery store). It was incredibly windy that day, but I managed to catch a picture of a local pub... The HEB!
The HEB!

I'm so glad to be back in London. It's beautifully sunny today!

Posted by oneray at 11:11 AM

April 19, 2004

Herbal stuff

We read on TimeOut that Grooverider was going to be at Herbal on Sunday night. Since we haven't been there before, we found the Herbal website: http://www.herbaluk.com/. We got there around 9:30... pretty early, I know. But the reviews were saying how long the lines were, so we had to get there early. Fortunately, there was some good hip-hop upstairs. The dj's were spinning some good tunes... not your mainstream stuff.

I got a Smirnoff Ice. There's actually vodka in there! The ones we get in the States are malt liquor, which is like beer. See... things are different here.

Back to Herbal. Grooverider and other DJs form a Sunday night gig called "Grace". It's so nice to hear some good drum and bass mixed up by a variety of DJ's. Sometimes even Goldie joins them. Hope to catch a show when he's actually there.

We left early so that we could catch the tube back. Here's us on the tube. Somebody was obviously tired!

Posted by oneray at 4:26 AM

April 11, 2004

Buona Pasqua

Buona Pasqua! That's "Happy Easter" in Italian.

I flew back from London to Austin this past Monday. Guess who was on my plane? Guess... It was none other than Mikhail Boryshnikov. What's sad on my part was that I didn't even recognize him. Turns out he and his family had been in front of me in line at the airport checking in. I did notice his daughter, who is a teenager with that Avril Levigne/Evanescent chick look. I even looked at him in the line and thought, "Oh, that must be her father."

It wasn't until a friend of the girl who sat next to me came to our row and said, "Do you know who is sitting behind you? It's MB! In the row behind you, at the window." He sat diagonally behind me. I turned around to look then back to her and said, "No way!" I honestly didn't think that was him until I heard his voice. Yeah, that's Aleksandr Petrovsky's voice all right!

No, I didn't bother him to ask for his autograph or photo. Although, there were some college kids that did as we went through the long immigration line at Houston International Airport.

The rest of the week was filled with fun dinners and lunches... and a little bit of dancing here and there.

On Saturday, I went to Houston to see my parents. My mother had just returned from Taiwan and brought back some goodies for us. Gloria came to Houston too. My favorite Taiwan snack is this pastry thing called "nio shur bingh", which translated means "cow tongue cookie". It's only called "cow tongue" because of its shape, like an oval. "Oval cookie" just doesn't have the same appeal has "cow tongue cookie." This pastry originates in the southern central part of Taiwan. The best ones are from Lu Kang, where my grandparents live, where my parents grew up, and where I spent the first few years of my childhood. I miss Taiwan. Hope to visit soon.

On Sunday, I went to Houston Chinese Church with my friend Jenny and Gloria. Jenny is a regular there. She even teaches bible study classes to the little kids there. This was not the church I grew up going to, but it was still nice because of the music and the people. I saw several of my old friends there.

Posted by oneray at 10:37 PM