April 9, 2010
Tag Archives: capa program
March 26, 2010
Last night I checked out Vapiano, an Italian style restaurant with a cool modern twist. The buddies I went with love this spot off Oxford Street (Great Portland Street Actually).
Vapiano’s system is wicked trendy. When you walk in, you are handed a card – much like a debit card, which keeps your tab until you pay before you leave. You order your food in designated areas, like a cafeteria, and watch them cook it in front of you while you are waiting. Vapiano definitely takes pride in their fresh food attitude.
The menu ranges from fancy drinks, to personal pizzas, to antipasti, pasta dishes, and cute desserts.
Make sure to grab your seating first though as you wouldn’t want to be carrying plates of food around with no where to sit – this place fills up fast with the hip and trendy crowds. It’s definitely a place where locals meet their friends and tourists enjoy their time alike.
Trendy vibe, cool people, and even cooler food.
I don’t know economics. That’s why I am taking an international economics and trade course. A lot of it is over my head. But I do understand politics and some law and governance and that sort of thing. I also understand aesthetically pleasing architecture, which was the highlight of my visit to Lloyd’s.
Lloyd’s is an insurance market. Or, according to their quick guide brochure, “The world’s leading specialist insurance market, conducting business in over 200 countries and territories worldwide – and is often the first to insure new, unusual or complex risks.”
It all started with coffee really. Three hundred years ago in London, the thing to do was go out and have coffee and watch other people drink it too. It was very much a social affair. These coffee houses were often associated with larger businesses. The Edward Lloyd’s coffee house was the place to go to find insurance for ships and boats. Or, according to the brochure, “A place where shipowners could meet people with capital to insure them.”
What happens at Lloyd’s is the process of negotiating and signing for the risk. “Brokers bring business into the market on behalf of clients, other brokers and intermediaries. As with any market, brokers shop around to see which syndicates can cover their specific risk – and on what terms,” according to the brochure. Lloyd’s has an approach in which individual needs are met, rather than one getting an “off-the-shelf” package.
The system is kept somewhat traditional in which a paper book of losses is kept and written in with a quill pen. But of course they have computers and all sorts of modern technology.
According to my guide, a quarter of the world’s ships are insured at Lloyd’s. And they insurance many other sort of items from antique cars to Microsoft to works of art to film stars to footballers to the 2012 Olympics to rock stars. I’d say the most fascinating thing they’ve insured is a pink water skiing elephant, which appeared in Honky Tonk Freeway.
What I liked most about Lloyd’s, however, was the architecture of the building. It was built by Richard Rogers and was constructed “inside out.” The buildings gears and cranks are exposed and are primarily on the outside. The inside hosts an open office space built with exposed steel and lots of glass. It’s certainly a gem that shimmers.
March 23, 2010
Space is hard to come by in London. Imagine six people living in one fair sized flat. They – I mean, we – have one large fridge and one small fridge. That’s not enough for our cold store foods or the supply of fine wine. But we do have plenty of cabinet space.
Portobello Road Market is definitely one London site hyped up by travel books and site seers, and I’d say it does live up to its reputation. People who want to see the whole market and road should start from the north at the Ladbroke Grove tube stop and make their way south east towards the Nottinghill Gate tube stop.
Starting at the top are clothes, clothes and more clothes, vintage and trendy. But here’s the thing – these clothes are cheaper than those down by Nottinghill Gate.
You will also find more artisans at this part of the road than at the bottom where most of the items tend to be specialized and shop oriented, as well as more expensive.
Further down, things get a little more trendy and mass-produced. A lot of these items can be found elsewhere than Portobello Road Market, so keep than in mind when spending money becuase it’s easy to do here.
Soon, one will start to see lots and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables stands, candy stands, paella stands, bread and cheese stands – all kinds of mouth-watering-food-stands, as well as side-street shops and restaurants at a somewhat affordable price. You just have to scout out where you want to score your bargain. One will also encounter some interesting characters and out of the ordinary street performers who will probably put a smile on your face.
If you’re lucky you’ll spot a cute unique tea set for under 10 Pounds, a vintage film camera, or a zebra skin.
And then you will notice how posh things are getting. Not only will you be paying attention to pickpocketers, but you’ll be gripping your cash.
And, if you pay enough attention and make it to the end of Portebello Road, you may be pleasantly surprized to find the house where George Orwell once resided.
March 11, 2010
My parents raised me to eat good food. Not necessarily expensive food. Not glutinous food. Just, simply, good quality food, made with care and whole, raw ingredients.
Naturally, when I went for dessert at my study abroad program’s spring dinner, I was displeased with the, clearly, mass-produced lemon meringue pie. Yeah, desserts are hard to make, and it’s cheaper to buy them from a box to-be-thawed. But, there truly is something special about a homemade dessert. Maybe I’ll bake some cake this weekend.
March 9, 2010
If you’re interested in history or war or both, London’s Imperial War Museum is an educational experience for adults and children alike.
The collection boasts exceeding numbers of artifacts from the 20th century. The major exhibits feature World War I and World War II. Not only can one see letters, weapons, uniforms, and read about the tactics of the wars, but a unique trench experience is set up for those who want to walk through the model.
While the exhibits are large, they also wind their way in circles. It’s easy to get a bit turned around, miss something, or look at things backwards rather than forwards.
Following the world wars are smaller sections on the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, and conflicts in the middle east. The most recent war highlighted in the Persian Gulf War, while even smaller exhibits highlight genocide and conflicts within the last few decades.
Some of the most ironic things about the museum is the British school children and teens touring around. While a light shined the words ‘Cold War’ on to a wall, a group of uniformed school girls took their picture below the sign; smiling in a line as if they were posing for a calendar. Around the corner at the Vietnam exhibit, a girl walked up to several TVs playing a montage of war and administrative footage to the music of Jimi Hendrix’s version of “The Star Spangled Banner,” and said, “Why do we have the same thing playing on three screens, and very weird music playing?” She turned away from the display and went on giggling with her friends.