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I went to London to work some more, then I went to Hong Kong

Day 4 - Monday March 1st 2010

Working in Hatfield

Today I have to go to work in Hatfield near St Albans which is north of London. During days where im working there will generally be less to talk about here, so quit complaining and wait for it to be Saturday again.
Actually I will try and find something pointless to add each day with some random photos of a wall or something.

Unfortunately I woke up at 3am, that 10 hours sleep I had when I arrived continues to have a lasting effect, try as hard as I might, there was no more sleep to be had.
To get to Hatfield is a short overland train journey from Kings Cross, this is another impressive station, actually about 4 stations joined together including the one the Eurostar leaves from.

The screens at kings cross, they dont tell you until 1 minute before your train leaves what platform its leaving from, everyone stands in front of the screens waiting for the big announcement then theres a mad rush to the platform. I can only guess this is because they dont want hundreds of people waiting on the platforms to reduce the temptation of jumping in front of a train due to the depressing weather

Hatfield itself is brand new. Everything is still shiny and very neat and ordered. Its a commuter town which means people who hate London but need to work there buy nice houses for their 2.5 children and ride the train into work.
There is also a large university and the whole place is like a fake town you might have seen in an american movie in the 80s.
The shopping mall is even called galleria, it has many chain store restaurants to choose from, is open late, and is pretty empty.
My hotel is a Premier Inn, its a large chain, the room is actually quite large and the bed is fantastic, but as usual, the remote control doesnt work. As a seasoned traveller I have batteries of my own to stick in remotes, but the hotel has thwarted my plan by modding the cover with screws, so I go ask the reception guy to fix it.
This guy was a little too helpful, it was spooky, bounded up the stairs with a box of batteries, apologiesed 15 times, then also gave me a spare remote in case it stopped working again!

The world famous galleria, its purple (theres a purple theme in hatfield).

Heres my dinner from toquitos in the galleria, theres an enchilada under there somewhere, thankfully the portion size is very small.

Tomorrow I have to start at 3am, so my sleep patterns paid off!

Day 5 - Tuesday March 2nd 2010

Riding around in a truck in the freezing cold

I had a great sleep from 9pm to 3am without waking up, woke up to the alarm.
Today I had to ride around in a rubbish truck, it was actually quite interesting, like a tour of strange areas of northern London you wouldnt normally see as a tourist, but god damn it was cold, the sky was clear and it felt colder than the 1C the temperature gauge on the truck suggested.
I know work things are boring, but I was amazed at the truck drivers ability to miss things by less than an inch with great confidence, backing around dark corners at speed, turning out across traffic and missing the light pole, a number of times he had to fold the mirrors in to fit, then I have no idea how he could work out how to go backwards but he did.

Whilst waiting for my truck heres a pic of my hotel, note that like the galleria its also purple (upon viewing the pic, you cant really tell its purple but it is, I wouldnt make that up).

PROOF, I do sometimes do more than sit in an office reading the internet.

After work I set out for my usual thing of walking some place, but its just a bit cold for me to enjoy that, the weather today has been fine but that means the sky is clear and it gets cold fast at night, however I pushed on regardless.
Eventually I found the Asda store, which is the british equivalent of walmart I think, I went inside and enjoyed the heating. The aisles are wide enough to drive a truck down and they actually have little golf car things to use to get around the store, but they didnt really have anything worth buying it was all crap quality looking to me.
Dinner tonight was...Nandos chicken garden salad! the excitement, this is my main meal in Sydney, in England its a bit different, it has lots of olives and feta cheese, so its not healthy like the australian version.
Whilst I was there, I was sat at the long padded bench seat thing, and the table next to me, one of the girls couldnt find her phone. Since my jacket was between us on the seat thing they thought it was in my jacket, so they felt uncomfortable asking me to check (accusing me of stealing it), and of course it wasnt there, so I suggest they ring the number. Turns out it was in her handbag despite them emptying the handbag out on the table. Must have been hiding in there somewhere.
After my salad and being accused of stealing, I went to the local mini supermarket thing to buy a pepsi, there were kids in there buying beer which seemed to be no problem, I dont think they could have been any older than 15, they put their beers in backpacks and rode off on their skateboards happy.

Spotted this on the way home from work, the green movement is very popular here, much like australia, only in australia a lawn is considered the enemy of green, in england they combine polluting cars with lawn to advertise how green they are...pretty smart.

Heres my nandos chicken salad, even the nandos sauces are different here, creamier and not anywhere near as hot, which was dissapointing, although the salad itself was nice.

Day 6 - Wednesday March 3rd 2010


Today I went to Brentwood for work, I went here last time as well, its about an hours drive from Hatfield and is a similar type of place but less new and richer folks live in Brentwood than Hatfield.
However, I woke up early and had time before work to go for a walk, so I set off up the A something or rather road.
This went through a wooded area which you can see below and ended up at the mega tescos which is of course open 24 hours.
I wandered around in the heated mega supermarket/variety store and looked at things ive not seen before, the one that stood out the most was chocolate coated pop corn, I really wanted some of that but resisted.

This is where people in quaint english villages get murdered and then an old crazy woman arrives in town by chance and solves the whole thing by drinking large amounts of tea.

Behold, the mega tescos

Heres my breakfast and snacks, weetabix is the UK version of weetbix as we call it in oz. Weetbix is over 9000 times better than weetabix and thats a fact I have proven by eating both.

In the evening, I again found myself at the Galleria, its really the centre of anything in Hatfield, it was also the coldest its been yet, -4C apparently. The weather was actually quite nice during the day, clear blue skies, but clear skies means cold nights.
Because of frostbite I had to saw off 3 of my fingers which had turned black from walking in the cold, but instead of that really happening I bought some gloves. Ive never owned gloves before and will never need them again but they cost 4 pounds so thats ok (From one of the outlet adventure clothing stores at the mighty Galleria).
For dinner I went to Frankie and Johnnies, a New York style family restaurant in.... THE GALLERIA, I had a salad. This place seems to play old Sinatra tunes and pretend to be related to the godfather and or scarface in some way, the food was fine and the diet coke I ordered came out in a glass so large I could barely lift it.

Heres my awesome gloves, now im all set for kicking ass and taking names, no more fingerprints to give me away

Day 7 - Thursday March 4th 2010

Birmingham and many motorways

Today was a lot of driving up various M and A roads. It was pretty interesting, but would be so boring if you had to do it daily. Speed limits arent really observed, and the one single toll road is apparently unpoliced all together, I was travelling (as a passenger) at 100 miles per hour and was passed by nearly everyone on that section of road.
For lunch I had a chicken pasta layered salad in the roadside services pictured below, it was actually really nice.
Travelling on UK roads you notice all the cars are filthy dirty, even really nice ones like Astons, trucks are much higher than in Australia, and many are left hand drive, the Top Gear team that complain about road works constantly are actually underplaying it, Live Traffic on GPS systems is pretty awesome, even when its 4C outside cars still heat up on the inside if the suns shining.

These are 'roadside services', they are all along the motorways and branded differently. Each of the different roadside services brands has a different combo of stores in them. Inside each one is a mini shopping mall and they all seem to be mirrored on either side of the road with a bridge joining them. Prices of food in the roadside services is roughly double what it is elsewhere

I got home from work earlier than previous nights and there was still daylight, so I set off on a walk. I know I crap on about the cold a lot, but despite being roughly the same temperature as it is at night, because the sun was shining I didnt feel as cold, which makes me wonder how much of temperature sensitivity feeling thingy is mental?
I walked into the old area of Hatfield, constructed before the white folks came in and re built it...there wasnt much to see.

Heres the view from one of my stops today, its nothing special but very English with green rolling hills, and a Burger King just out of frame.


Fosters was actually the most expensive beer advertised on the pub window in dayglo yellow stickers.

This is the actual main street in Hatfield, its devoid of anything now apart from banks and penny stores and visa services for indian people. This is of course because the Galleria has taken over, which is actually on the edge of town.

Apperntly this is the global headquarters of T-Mobile, one of the worlds biggest cell phone networks. I dont even know that they are a big player in the UK, I thought they were bigger in the USA, but ive been assured by a number of people that all their top management in the world works in Hatfield.

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