Thu 17 May 2007
After I left the Camera Cafe, I went back to the hotel and met up with Amish, Mahesh, and Professor Flowers and we went out to Brick Lane for some Indian food. We took the tube to the Liverpool Street station this time, and took shorter than getting off at Aldgate. We passed by the London headquarters of ABN Amro and the Spitalfields Market before getting to Brick Lane. Professor Flowers and I deferred to the resident Indians to pick a good restaurant and we finally decided on one. I went with Chicken Passanda, which ended up being really good. However, the service was slow and never gave us the discount they promised us out on the street, so we didn’t get home until about 9ish.
When we got home, I picked up a few beers for the guys, but since no one was around, I went to the lounge and watched some TV. On the BBC, there was a program called “The Human Footprint” which discussed all these facts about consumption and expulsion of human life. Go figure, I came in on the part that discussed farts. I figured the Brits might have a classier way of putting it (or not reporting on it at all), but nope.
If I remember correctly, the program struck a point in giving statistics that we fart about 25 times a day equaling about 3 litres of gas. But the most ridiculous part was when they decided to discuss what the fireball of 18 thousand litres of gas would look like if it was put out in a field and lit afire. Boom! Then, they started dropping feces from the sky onto a toilet in the middle of the field. It was interesting, yet very Monty Pythonesque. Additionally, people will have 10 sexual partners, average sex twice a week (how they came to that number was interesting), and as such, will have 4,823 acts of congress over the course of a lifetime. Hmmm….
I woke up relatively easily this morning and then went to Starbucks to grab some coffee. It is my belief that the coffee here is stronger than it is in the States – even for Starbucks. I find the caffeine hitting me a lot harder than usual. We went to class at 9 as always and prepped for the visitation to IBM’s London office near the Waterloo station. The lecture was interesting, but I don’t think any of us actually felt like it was lending itself to finance, but at least Professor Flowers’s anecdotes are interesting.
Since the visitation was at 1:30, we broke for lunch at about 11:00 and Tim and I decided to hit up the Pizza Hut lunch buffet. It was £5.99 for unlimited salad, pasta, and pizza, which wasn’t a bad deal compared to some of the places in the city. Also, the Pizza Hut here is more upscaled, so it’s not that bad to go out there.
We left for the IBM visitation and lost people and found them along the way, ultimately getting to the building just in time. Our presenter was Keith Saxton, EMEA Financial Markets director, who lectured us for about an hour and then fielded some questions on everything from trading transaction speeds and bigger banks to IBM investment in India versus China. Since the focus of IBM is no longer about personal computers as we’ve always envisioned, it was interesting to hear how IBM has shifted their focus to “business solutions” and just what exactly some of those solutions are.
The visitation ended around 3, so Tim and I ended up taking off, looking for some information on Eurostar (£59 for a roundtrip ticket to Paris? Forget it.) and then deciding to head to the Millennium Bridge. We started walking along the Thames River and ended up crossing halfway over the Golden Jubilee Bridge before realising that it was the wrong bridge. Instead we kept continuing along the Thames and ultimately found the Millennium Bridge. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any of the hydraulic suspensions functioning, so we missed out on that, but we did make a stop in front of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.
Tim needed to get some Cuban cigars, so we grabbed the London Bridge tube station and went to the little shop by the Bank station, then headed back to the hotel for a little bit before going out to dinner. We ended up eating dinner at the Spaghetti House, where Charles and I ate earlier in the week. It was a good conversation about everything from women, military and current events, our youths, and what not.
Meeting some different people on this trip with such diverse backgrounds has really been great for me. I’m the second youngest person here, yet it’s not that difficult to fit in, understand, and contribute relevantly to conversation. More so, these people have a lot of different experiences either in life or in work, that has been neat to compare stories and assimilate all the information that I’ve been taking. I’m leaving this city in a week from today but I can’t say that I’ve done anything but learn about this city and the attitudes around which it revolves.
Tonight we’re going out to our local meeting place – Night & Day and then we’ll hit the sack for a couple of lectures tomorrow. Luckily, there’s no visitations tomorrow and Tim and Mike are out with their visiting girlfriends, so this weekend should be opportune to take in a few of the sites I haven’t gotten to during the week (ie, Camden Market, Hyde Park & Speaker’s Corner, maybe Emirates Stadium) and do some of the souvenir shopping I haven’t yet done.