Thoughts of a geek

8 July 2010

London, part 1

I did say that I was going to write a blog post about London at some point, so here it finally is. I will just try to briefly sum up what I have done here so far. Photos are linked along the way.

First day exploring London: Musical plants at the Tate Modern

I arrived here on Saturday 15th May, flying into London Heathrow airport at around 7:00 pm BST. Tracy and Andrew, who are friends of my dad and moved here several years ago, very kindly picked me up from the airport and let me stay in their spare bedroom for my first week in the country. During that week I was kept fairly busy with interviews at youDevise, Maxeler and Future Platforms on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. I also looked online for a short term flat in which to stay while I was looking for work, and was fortunate to find a place in which I stayed for a little over a month while looking for a job. I also managed to fit in a little bit of touristy stuff. On the first Sunday, the day after I arrived, I saw the Tower of London (from the outside), wandered around the South Bank and visited the Tate Modern, then crossed north again to see some nice buildings. On the Wednesday of that first week, having a day free of job interviews, I wandered around Westminster and saw Trafalgar Square, the Horse Guard, St. James’s Park, Buckingham Palace, Green Park, the Wellington Arch, Hyde Park, Westminster Abbey, the Palace of Westminster, and more in that area. I also had the chance to spend a couple of hours looking around Brighton while down there for the interview at Future Platforms on Friday.

Westminster and surrounds: Trafalgar Square
Brighton: Interesting graffiti

On my second Sunday in London, having settled into my flat, I visited Holy Trinity Brompton for one of their morning services (they have 8 services each day, split between two locations). Afterwards I went to the Natural History Museum for a bit. I found their enormous collection of precious stones and minerals especially interesting. The have a large hall full of perhaps a hundred or so display cabinets, each of them full of all sorts of samples. It is overwhelming, like a lot of things here. It is just so big! The following work I had a couple more interviews: a telephone interview with Google on the Monday, and my second interview at youDevise on the Tuesday. Other than that it was not a particularly eventful week. I did a bit of baking. On Saturday I bought a bike, as cycling seemed like a good way to get around. Unfortunatly I was not able to ride it immediately as I did not get a helmet and lock until the following week.

Natural History Museum: It is a lovely building, like so many here.

That Sunday, the 30th of May, I went to one of the services at All Souls Langham Place in the morning, and then went to another church near my flat called All Saints Peckham in the evening. All Saints was a lot smaller and a lot friendlier than the other two I had visited, so I decided to keep going there at least while I was in the area.

On Tuesday I had my third and longest interview at youDevise, which was about 5 hours long including lunch. After that I visited the British Museum, which was interesting. They have the Rosetta Stone, which was cool to see. They also have a New Zealand collection, which amused me. It is interesting to see how other people see your country.

British Museum: Māori artifacts

The following day I had my in-person interview at Google. They have Douglas Adams’s bath in their foyer, along with a couple of towels. I also enjoyed sampling the food — they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner free for all employees every day. Afterwards I visited the Science Museum, which was (and still is) my favourite so far of the museums I have visited in London. I have been there several more times since, and still want to go at least once more as I have not yet seen everything there.

The next few days were fairly uneventful apart from lots of phone calls to and from my recruiter at Google discussing various details. That takes me up to about a month ago from today, so I think that it is best for me to continue from then in another blog post rather than delay any longer in posting this. I started writing this post several weeks ago, so it really is time that I finished it.


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