Wednesday, April 6, 2011

An eye opening trip - Oxford and Cambridge

I am indeed a fortunate person. Yes, I hate to be away from my family, but to be honest, I was quite excited to be chosen as part of the team representing my company in the assignment. What made me more excited the fact that I get to visit many high ranking universities as well as meeting Malaysians who are abroad.

I spent 12 days in UK. Started working the moment the plane landed at Heathrow Airport, what was told to be one of the most busiest airport in the world. Went straight to Oxford which was about 2 hours drive. Arrived late in the evening and took the opportunity to walk around the hotel area. This place is so lovely, with beautiful buildings and such elaborated architecture.

I woke up early, just to enjoy morning walk in Oxford. The weather was cold and the air was very fresh. To me, when you are in this neighbhourhood, sleep and eat are no longer a priority. It will be a great loss not to be able to enjoy the nature. And to top it all, it's spring. Flowers were blooming or about to blook which make the surroundings more beautiful. Snapped some photos and I was told I am lucky to be in UK in this kind of weather, where I can see the sun shining and no rain........

Many meetings were arranged that day, many people to meet, many engagement sessions to attend. However, in between, managed to slot 30 minutes to visit where they filmed Harry Potter i.e. the dining hall as well as the famous Alice in The Wonderland door. If only they remember to remove the fire extinguisher in front of the door.....Turn off!

After the meetings, our scholars took us around campus visiting many famous colleges and then proceed for dinner. Getting halal food is a challenge as Oxford is quite a small town, as opposed to London. We are lucky to have people to take us to eat.......

The next day, to check out and head to our next destination ; Cambridge. I just have to say I find it amusing for both universities to have this "fight" about who is being the oldest or the best. Just put one person each from Cambridge and Oxford in one room and you know what I mean. They will definitely try to outdo each other. Me? I am just lucky if I have either one to be in my CVs though I know I am not smart enough to even be shortlisted!

Cambridge, unlike Oxford, has a shopping mall. The day we were there, was the day Ipad 2 was launch. As always, I woke up early to do my morning walk and knowing I have to check out and leave for our next location, I was more motivated to wake up early. While I was walking to the morning market to get some fresh fruits, I saw the Ipad 2 queue has started and the time was only 7.30am! Perhaps I am not a gadget person hence I don't really understand the craze.

Between those 2, and not taking into considerations the academic achievements, based on my personal observation, I prefer Oxford better. Believe or not, I am not a shopping mall person and am ok to live in a neighbourhood that has no malls. I love to see people either walking or cycling. That to me, is so serene and such a wonderful place to be in.

I missed my family so much!!! I skyped with the kids while they are having breakfast, trying to give them a situation as if like I'm there. And of course, bbm MBH whenever I get the chance too........

We headed for London after our meetings, which I will blog about it later. Some points I wish to highlight :

1. While some people think, eee....bestnyer pegi UK. Well, memang best minus not having to do much sight seeing, checking in and out of different hotels almost everyday, by the time meetings ended the shops were closed and not to mention still need to attend to office work before going to bed
2. Food is an issue. Trying to get halal food in UK except for London can be a great challenge. Unless you are ok to eat Arab food everyday, be prepared to bring some maggie mee ;)
3. Jet lag is not an option. There's no time to regularise the sleeping patterns. It's a working trip so as always, hit the ground running!

For those who are still interested, Insyallah, tomorrow I will share the London's stories. Pictures? Susah nak upload ler. Steamyx is too slow.....

Signing off,


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