The London of My Heart (I)

"When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford." 

          Samuel Johnson


London has a special place in my heart.  I lived here from 1997 to 2002 when I did my Masters in Finance in London Business School and then worked as an investment banker in Dresdner Kleinwort Benson.  More importantly, my stay in London was a period of reflection and self-discovery.  My preconceptions of the world were challenged, and I had to confront facts in a more honest manner outside the many artifical confines of a rigid framework.


This was my second trip back to London after I left in 2002 (the previous was in 2007).  I spent 2 nights here, meeting old friends and visiting old haunts.  I rushed to Chinatown where I had a quarter portion of crispy aromatic duck at the Gerrard Street branch of the famous Four Seasons Restaurant of Bayswater, which I used to frequent.  I eavesdropped on Singapore accent uttered by some of the patrons while relishing on not just the food but also sweat memories. 


In many ways, London has remained the same, though I spied some changes.  Japanese and Korean eateries are now found in and around Chinatown and Bloomsbury.  The free magazine stands now have periodicals in Russian, Polish and Czech, which indicates the ever-changing demographic panorama of London. 


I had a shameful rampage around the bookstores of Charing Cross/Bloomsbury. I bought 6 books from Stanford's Travel Bookshop, 4 from the British Museum and 3 from assorted bookstores.