emspace thoughts

What's floating around in Em's brain today?

Friday, June 29, 2007

Homer Simpson Moment

I was heading to the in-law's for dinner after work today, so I had to walk down to the bus station instead of crossing over to get my normal bus home. So I headed downstairs from my offices, out of the front and then walked down the side of the building to the bus station before crossing over to the bus stand where my bus left from.

At that point, I looked out from the bus stand and what did I see staring back at me? Yup, in the same way that Homer Simpson drives for miles to get to work only to park behind his house, I had walked for a good 8 minutes only to end up straight opposite the window to my office.

Oh well, at least it gave me a chance to admire the company's shiny building whilst waiting for the bus...

I finally feel like I 'belong' to the new company now because I have my staff ID and got paid today! Woohoo!!


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

My Megabus Adventure & A Relaxing Weekend in London

One of the disadvantages of leaving my last job was that I missed out on a big company bash at the opening of 'The O2' (formerley known as the Millenium Dome) last weekend because I gave up my right to the free tickets when I handed in my resignation. However, as it also happened to be my friend's 30th on Sunday, I decided to make the trek down to London anyway. When I checked out the transport arrangements, I had a few choices.... my usual preferred mode of transport was the train, but they wanted something silly like £60 for the return fare, so I checked out the National Express site, which quoted a more reasonable £27.50 return on the coach. Just for fun, I looked at flying, which was a vast improvement on the 5 and a half hours on the coach and came in at a rather reasonable £70 return Manchester to Gatwick. As I was pondering what to do, I remembered that I had seen the blue and yellow Megabus on my travels in Manchester, so I decided to check whether the £1 fare to London was real or just an urban myth. After a few clicks on their rather efficient website, I didn't get anywhere for a pound, but it wasn't far off, with the return fare coming in for £7.50 and their journey time was an hour shorter than National Express because they don't stop in Birmingham and Oxford on the way.

I did a bit of checking on the review sites and found that people either loved or hated the experience with Megabus, with their reasons centred around the actual bus or coach that arrived. I also read that they had invested in a new batch of coaches, so after a little pondering, I decided to take the plunge and take on the Megabus adventure for the first time. (Anything to save a few pennies!)

After a few more weeks of checking out the Megabus vehicles whenever I saw them in town, I was relieved on Saturday morning to find that it was an executive coach that was waiting for me in Chorlton Street and it was on-time, the driver patiently waiting to check my entry code as I arrived at 8:40 am. I even managed to get a seat by the window and as the departure time of 9:00 am approached, no-one sat next to me. 9:01 and I was urging the driver to go, but unfortunately he hung around until 9:05, by which time a few more passengers had boarded and one of them had decided to sit next to me, which was fair enough I thought and she wasn't very big, it could have been much worse. The bus set off and I settled down for my 4.5 hour journey down to London. Then about 20 minutes in, my nose started burning on the inside - I looked over and the silly woman sitting next to me had decided it would be a good idea to paint her nails... with French manicure white paint (ie Tippex in a posh bottle). The smell was irritating my already irritated nasal lining, so I pulled out my bacon roll and chomped away in an attempt to mask the smell. I also revelled in watching her give herself the wonkiest French manicure in history as the coach bumped its way down towards the M6. Then I stuck my ipod headphones in my ears and read my magazine until we got to the services in Brum, where everyone got off for their nicotine, toilet or Costa Coffee fix and I stretched my legs and got funny looks off people for photographing the coach with my phone.

The break half way helped to make the journey very bearable and the second half was soon passed between napping, playing on my DS and eating. The bus finally pulled into Victoria at 13:40, just ten minutes behind time and just as it began to rain. My first stop in London was to meet with the Managing Editor of Squat Magazine, who I have agreed to do some translation work for, when their new project gets off the ground. The restaurant he took me to did some nice dim sum, which he kindly paid for and we had a good chat about our visions for the future among other things. Then I headed over to my friend Elisa's new house and spent the evening chilling with her, chatting, watching 'Legally Blonde 2', 'Little Britain', eating curry, chicken wings Toblerone and Fox's biscuits and drinking tea. It was great - it has been such a long time since I had such a relaxing time just chatting and feeling really at ease, not having to worry about stuff and just seriously chilling out.

After more dim sum the following lunchtime, it was time to say goodbye and embark on the return leg of my Megabus journey. Not before Elisa treated me to an Mint Aero & Vanilla Milkshake at the coach station, which was very nice! I'll have to try that at home sometime. It was a similar coach for the return journey (if not the same one)and as I was the third on, I managed to get a window seat again. This time the coach was more packed and a guy sat next to me, who tried to engage me in conversation about his homeland in Pakistan and how he is a student from Rochdale, but regular readers will know, I'm not really one to chat to strangers on coaches. My ipod went into my ears and I ended up sleeping for most of the journey back, waking up just to make my neighbour very envious by eating the sponge cake that I had picked up in Chinatown earlier. We were caught in a rainstorm somewhere between Brum and Manchester and the road was almost flooding in a couple of centimetres of water. Then the sun emerged and I looked backwards to see a complete double rainbow in the sky. I have a thing about seeing rainbows because they are so intangible and only last for a short time, so my phone was straight out to capture the moment - shame the pics don't come out very well. It was beautiful, and marked a great end to a great weekend. The coach arrived in Manchester 10 minutes earlier than expected and although I had a bit of a sore bum, the overall experience had not been a bad one! Moreover, thanks to the generosity of my friends, the whole weekend had totalled up at just £28.40 - that's less than I sometimes spend when I stay in and surf, because I inevitably end up buying something online!!

Not bad eh? Looks like I'll be paying the big pink Megabus man another visit sometime!!


Soo funny!!

I just love this clip...


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

One for the girls...

Bernie showed me this today, so I thought I'd share it with my female readers... thanks Bernie!! Roll on Mr Hong Kong 2007!!

New job means I have to get up early to get a seat on the bus, so I've been adjusting my body clock to try and go to sleep earlier. Well, that's my excuse for not blogging. The early rise and early nights seem to be doing wonders with my health though, that and the daily dash to the bus stop and playing Frogger with the traffic... and I am getting much more fresh (well, as fresh as it gets in the city) air on my lunchtime strolls.

Have been pretty good at resisting the urge to go shopping in my lunch hour, so far only buying a brown jumper from New Look, which was a bargain at a fiver. I think the fact that I am still getting used to wearing heels every day again deters me from venturing too far on the hard floors of the shopping mall that is 5 mins from my office.

It was my Grandma's 80th birthday yesterday, so the family went out for a meal on Saturday. As well as the usual lobster, scallops, duck, chicken, fish etc, we were also served these really cute (and tasty) Coconut Jelly Koi Carp. Pretty cool eh? Had to post the pic up as my blog is rapidly turning into a food blog! Hahaha!!

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