Flying While Muslim? Let’s Do the Math

Flying While Muslim is a term, similar to Driving While Black, used to describe the discrimination many Muslims face while traveling by plane.  It is often manifested in the form of extra scrutiny at airport security.  During this election season, however, there appears to be an uptick in stories of travelers being inconvenienced by fellow passengers’ false accusations.  I jotted down some of the reports that popped up in my news feed:

But don’t take my words for it!  Google “Flying While Muslim” and see for yourself the number of unnecessary flight delays and interrogations.

“I go to the airport, I can’t go through security without a random selection.  Fucking random, my ass.” – Inside Man 2006

I have no personal experience with “Flying While Muslim”, because I neither practice Islam nor look like someone who does (more on this point later).  However, as a travel enthusiast who’s had my fair share of frustration with both the TSA and the airlines, the thought of also having to put up with random strangers’ discriminatory perceptions would drive me nuts.

Moreover, this phenomenon is not a bias rooted in historic codes of moral conduct, which can sometimes be hard to challenge.  It is merely bad math.

And bad math should be called out.


“But you understand statistics, right?”

A great deal of Americans who normally stick to political correctness are outspoken that Muslims should be subject to extra security scrutiny. The popular school of thought is that Islam (a religion that worships the same god as Christianity and Judaism) preaches hate and incites violence.  Because Muslims are more likely to pose threat to public safety, this belief asserts, it is a matter of practicality to devote more screening resources on them.

More than once, people have commented in conversations that since I’m a math person, I should understand the statistics of terrorism… and therefore agree with them on the risk of Muslim people.

Well, there is no denial that we see a lot of news coverage of ISIS-inspired terrorism, sometimes in what seems like an endless loop of replays.  But is it significant?  For context, let’s compare the proportion of Muslim terrorists to some other numbers:

1.6 billion reported by Pew Research Center.
ISIS fighter count reflects estimates by US-based intelligence sources for all regions of ISIS presence.

Total as reported in the 2010 U.S. census.
White supremacists include only KKK and National Socialist Movement membership, two of the largest groups.
FBI and Southern Poverty Law Center both recognize hundreds of other white supremacy groups.

Number of pilots estimated based on the 5,500 working for Lufthansa and 250 working for European Air Transport Leipzig,
pro-rated across the other commercial airlines of Germany using fleet size or total employee count.
Plane crash refers to the 2015 Germanwings incident.

* For clarity, all three red dots above are 10 times larger than their actual proportions.

Two takeaways

  1. There is one ISIS member for every 32,000 Muslims in the world – meaning that 100.00% of Muslims are not part of ISIS.  Also, because it is primarily an organization engaged in a war, its total soldier count is an over representation of the kind of terrorists that we discuss in the West (I don’t mean to minimize their actions in Iraq and Syria, but it’s highly unlikely that more than a tiny fraction of them will ever set foot in the U.S. or Western Europe).
  2. More likely than a Muslim being a terrorist is a white American being a white supremacist, and a German pilot being at risk for suicidal mental health issues.  We don’t go around assuming every white person to be a Hitler reincarnation because that would be silly.  Guess what?  So is expecting terrorism from a random Muslim.

Additionally, I find it helpful to be reminded that while acts of terrorism is sensational, its impact in absolute number of lives is modest:

Terrorism includes domestic terrorists such as Tim McVeigh.  Except 1995 and 2001, the annual death toll ranges from 0 to 20.


“Sure, not all Muslims are terrorists, but…”

As the popular saying goes, “… all terrorists are Muslim.”  I’d be the first to admit: when the word “terrorist” is thrown around, my mental image jumps straight to a Middle Eastern man wearing a scarf and holding a machine gun in the desert.  It’s like, when people say “mouse”, I picture the cartoon character with black circular ears.  Both result from watching too much TV.  And sure, when we narrowly constraint these words to our mental images, terrorists are Muslims and mice are the happiest creatures on earth.

The fact is, the Department of Homeland Security has declared right-wing extremists to be a bigger threat to America than ISIS.  On top of that, domestic terrorism also includes left-wing extremists and Eco-terrorists.  Altogether, terror attacks in our country are more likely to be made in the U.S.A than a Toys R Us merchandise.  We are just less familiar with the non-Muslim terrorism because while news channels love replaying the San Bernardino shooting for weeks on end, coverage is fairly bare on stories like the Kansas “Crusaders” plotting to blow up an entire apartment complex in America.

For argument’s sake, though, let’s play along with the rhetoric and pretend that domestic terrorism doesn’t exist.  Because all (of the very few) terrorists are Muslims, you might have heard people explain, we should focus our screening efforts on Muslims in order to effectively catch all terrorists.

This is called False Conversion, a type of logical fallacy where one says “all P is Q so therefore all Q must be P.”  Just because horseradish ice cream exists – and possibly is the only dessert with this flavor – doesn’t mean you’ll likely find anything horseradish walking down an ice cream aisle.  You don’t go into an ice cream party and say, “hey let’s double check to make sure we didn’t bring home a horseradish ice cream.”  It’s equally as silly to look at a random group of Muslims and expect that terrorists have infiltrated it.

Your chance of being killed by a random Muslim on the airplane is about the same as getting a horseradish allergic reaction from this refrigerator


What is Islamophobia?

Every time I hear politicians or self-styled security experts discuss issues concerning Muslims, I pause for a second to wonder how anyone spots a religious belief in public.

Can they pick out Catholics or Buddhists from a crowded airport?  Does TSA require secondary screening for the 20 million Chinese Muslims, many of who look more like Jackie Chan than Osama bin Laden?  As the “Flying While Muslim” stories indicate, the religion doesn’t actually matter.  People are being singled out based on their skin color, attire, and language – quite a few of the accusers even failed to correctly identify the other person’s ethnicity or language used.

So, when we say “Islamophobia”, what are people actually afraid of?

More than half of Arab Americans are of the Christian faith, and many turban-wearing men in the U.S. are Sikhs.  Attempting to identify a follower of Islam in a public place by merely relying on visual cues is bond to result in plenty of false positives and false negatives.

Left to right: Muslim (TV depiction of a historic character), Sikh, Christian

At the end of the day, is Islamophobia really just racism in disguise?


Final Thoughts

It’s unfortunate that so many in our society don’t realize that Muslims are people, like everyone else, who go to school, refinance homes, complain about commute, and take vacations.  They don’t belong in a political argument as a national security threat, and they don’t give cooties to fellow passengers on a plane.

There is no denial that 9-11 was extremely tragic to all of us old enough to remember, or that terror groups in the Middle East continue to threaten humanity around the world.  However, it is illogical and irresponsible to extrapolate the actions of few extremists onto 23% of the world’s population.

For those who thought Muslims were “dangerous” because of politician-cited “statistics”, I hope this article has demonstrated the hypocrisy in that belief.  Next time you see a Muslim on your flight, chill out and don’t be the asshole causing yet another unnecessary delay.


Dad vs. Disney Princesses – Part 4

Finally, part 4 of this series will bring us up to speed with the latest Disney Princesses in cinema history.  Before we bring it to conclusion, I’d like to mention a few Disney female characters who I feel deserve to be on the list as well:

  • TIGERLILY – Okay she’s a Disney original and officially has “Princess” as part of her name.  Why did she never make it to the list?
  • NALA – While never explained in the movie, I believe this lioness was a daughter to the king who ended up marrying a son of the same king… making her doubly eligible to be on the princess list, right?
  • JANE – She ended up with the male human who took the throne of the gorilla clan… yes, that’s rather stretching it to call her a princess.  But the same goes for Mulan and Tiana.

Alright, that’s it with that part of my whining.  Let’s turn our attention to…


Like Ariel, Jasmine, and Pocahontas, she wasn’t happy with her family’s arrangement for her future.  Unlike many of her predecessors who did stupid things that put her own loved ones in harm’s way, however, she went out of her way and sought to harm her own mother.  What the hell.  Okay I don’t plan on having a healthy dialogue with my daughters about this one, because they won’t be watching this movie.

“Just make me something that’ll get rid of my mom… don’t bother telling me the details, because why would I care?”




Consider how she had been locked up all her life in a room, Rapunzel was extremely intelligent, social, articulate, strong, and articulate.  She tamed bandits and a horse, fought like a pro with a frying pan, and used her hair to pull off Batman-styled stunts.  Her healing magic was also quite useful, unlike Elsa’s ice power.

Not even Tarzan could do this.  Nor Batman if he weren’t rich.



From what I can remember, no Disney Princess was worshiped by as many little girls as Elsa from Frozen, who technically was a queen for the majority of the movie.

I get her appeal: Elsa was a good-looking royal person with a badass power.  But that’s about it.  She was unable to control her power and struggled with fear all her life.  She refused to communicate with even her closest family member, and did not seek help for her problems.  She nearly killed her own sister three times: the first time was accident, the second time was negligence, and the giant snow monster was an inexcusable attempt to murder.

“Your sister loves you so much, that you must now drop down this cliff.”

Elsa abandoned her kingdom on the same day she was crowned, leaving her people (and more) to suffer in the “eternal winter”.  When confronted with the disaster that she created, the only thing she could come up with was “you just have to let me go”.  Finally, due to her personal issue with one person, she decided to end all her kingdom’s trade with supposedly their largest trading partner.  She showed completely no regard for the kingdom that she was supposed to rule, in bad times or good.  Wow.

“Look, I really don’t give a fuck that you and a million other people are cold, okay?  Let me go and I promise I won’t make the situation any better.”

Anna, on the other hand, was a far more likeable Disney Princess.  Despite her general cluelessness and “raised in a barn” manners, she was kind, loving, and brave.  The whole movie was about her risking her life to save her sister and the entire kingdom, so it’s a rather bummer that subsequent marketing pushed young girls to idolize Else rather than the younger sister.


The real good guy in the Frozen movie, hear me out, is Prince Hans of the Seven Isles.  He took care of the people in Arendelle when its queen and princess both abandoned it, managing to hand out blankets, firewood, and soup to the commoners.  He led a successful search and rescue party, defeating the giant snow monster himself.  He was the only person in the entire story who possessed any diplomacy, keeping Elsa from harming and being harmed by others.  He did more than everyone else combined to attempt restoring summer.  And, hey, he was more charming than many Disney Princes, too.

The 13th prince from a remote island cared more about the folks in Arendelle than their own queen

Prince Hans KOing the snow monster.  He’s among the very few Disney Princes who took on monsters without any magical assistance

Yeah, yeah, the movie painted him like an ass toward the end.  But was he really?  Let’s see what people would blame him for:

  • Having no true love for Anna – not a crime, is it?  His motives were quite understandable because princes and princesses marry each other starting with Snow White.  I mean, did Prince Phillip have any true love for Aurora?  They did decide to get married on the day they just met, too.
  • Leaving Anna to die – if his kiss wasn’t going to have the true love’s magical power, he couldn’t honestly have done anything anyway
  • Attempting to kill Elsa – well, nobody had any better idea for how to restore summer, so slaying the monster was the natural last resort.  Note that for the most of the movie, he had gone out of his way repeatedly to protect Elsa.  In fact, he understood that the unfortunate only way to keep the people of Arendelle alive was the death of both the royal sisters – since if Anna remained in power, she would remain unhelpfully idle rather than allowing anyone to take any action against Elsa.  Therefore, what he did to earn such a bad name in the end was out of true love for the people… and it was a shame that the story got spun against him

Hans saving Elsa’s life

Dad vs. Disney Princesses – Part 3

Part 3 of the series will be short.  It covers the dark period of Disney history when movies were made and watched, but not really liked or remembered.  The following three represent 75% of Disney’s non-Caucasian princesses, and coincidentally they often don’t make the cut into lists of Disney princesses.  The other thing they have in common?  They all reflect virtue above beauty, so I wouldn’t mind my daughters looking up to any of them as role models.



Aside from that Pocahontas looked to have been drawn in MS Paint, this Native American girl was awesome.  She showed true bravery and prevented a war (and stopped the Commonwealth of Virginia from being established… okay let’s not let real history interfere with our judgment of cartoon characters).  This was unique about her, unlike many other Disney princesses who were the cause of violence.  Also, despite disagreeing with her own father and village just like Ariel, Belle, and Jasmine, she voiced her dissent respectfully and made the tough decision to put family first.  Not to say that love has to take backseat to family, but her maturity and sense of responsibility was completely absent in all her predecessors.



Well okay, this girl brought honor to her family by single-handedly eliminating an invading army and saving an entire empire, using a combination of her brain and skills.  She deserves a spot next to Iron Man and Captain America, not alongside Snow White or Cinderella!

My only gripe is, by what definition does a villager’s daughter who ends in an ambiguous relationship with (i.e. not even married to) a general count as a princess?



Until accepting the financial proposal from the Nigerian prince actually makes anyone rich, I don’t think marrying a broke prince on exile from a no-name foreign kingdom makes anyone a princess.  But whatever, she’s marginally more legit than Mulan in that regard.

Tiana was poor but believed in the American Dream.  She worked hard (stand aside, Cinderella), learned several skills, and had a plan for her life.  Unlike those predecessors who were useless without their men, she kept on fighting even when turned into a frog.  Her dream of opening a restaurant came true by her own determination, not by any fairy godmother.  If I had any say (no of course I don’t) in my daughters’ aspiration to be like any princess, Tiana would be my top pick.


Dad vs. Disney Princesses – Part 2

If you’ve made it this far, I thank you for returning after I insulted your childhood idol.  Let’s make it clear – I don’t hate Disney Princesses.  Well, not all of them anyway.  I just prefer to see them as who they are, underneath their pretty faces and colorful dresses.  In the second installment of this series, I will discuss three of them from the 90’s.



Never mind that Ariel defied her father and went against her entire kingdom for a guy who she saw from afar for five minutes.  Sometimes this love-at-first-sight phenomenon just… happens.  It’s like my college buddy who was convinced that he would marry Keira Knightly (hi Brian), except that she didn’t know Prince Eric as well as my friend knew the actress.  Can it be true love when Ariel and Eric had no conversation for the entire duration of the movie?  Well she wouldn’t be the first Disney Princess to pull that off.

Stalking and true love are pretty much the same thing for a teenager, that’s for sure

What I do take issues with was Ariel’s sense of responsibility.  First she pretended that having her eyes closed while signing a contract would make its bad terms go away.  After the sequence of events that you can’t characterize as unexpected, her dad had to bail her out.  Lastly, her man murdered the contract holder in order to relieve everyone of the liability.  Way to go, Eric!  Take it to heart when your bride says “I do” down the aisle, when the same girl can’t be trusted to hold her end of a legally-binding document.

Kids who learned from Ariel to sign contracts with their eyes closed ended up causing the subprime mortgage crisis in the US twenty years after the movie premiered

You know who I’m with in this movie?  Ursula.  She was an honest small business owner who people despised only because she was fat and dark-skinned.  What’s wrong with wanting to be paid for the (perfectly executed) lung and leg transplant service?  Her fees may be high, but she went into great detail explaining the terms and conditions.  In Poor Unfortunate Souls, she spent more time warning Ariel of the potential outcome of the contract, than actually selling her service.  Yes, she and her debt-collecting eels intervened, but only after that crab and a whole band of sea creatures tried to manipulate the couple (note how Sebastian was hypnotizing Eric to make non-consensual sexual advances on a mute girl of an unknown origin).  She also went berserk near the end of the movie, but can you criticize her for that after Eric assaulted her and Ariel killed her eels?  Till the end, Ursula told no lies and harmed no one.  Yet we celebrate the selfish, irresponsible couple as “the good guys” only because they are better looking.

“Well I heard a voice say ‘possible she wants you too’, and, you know, she didn’t say no.”



In her introductory scene in Beauty and the Beast, this peasant’s daughter was goofing around town and ridiculing her hardworking neighbors.  She wanted to escape the “boring” life where everyone but her was being productive, and rolled her eyes when people needed to work rather than listen to her book report.  What was her contribution to the society?  She ate the bread that other people made, took books for free from a bookstore, and then fed its pages to a goat!  This village girl was no princess, but she was already acting like the most out-of-touch among them.

“I’m good at rolling my eyes at these illiterate baguette makers.”

Later on, she was held in the Beast’s mansion in exchange for her dad’s freedom.  It was noble of her to sacrifice herself, though it was soon revealed that she did not take her promise seriously.

While being kept in captivity was no fun, the Beast treated her with respect, sending servants at her service and giving her nearly unrestricted access in the giant mansion.  What did Belle do in return?  Immediately sneaking into the one room that her host asked her to stay away from.  Worse, she reached for the one thing that clearly was the reason for the room to be off limits.  Can’t blame her for not knowing that her action nearly killed her host, but there should be no doubt that she damaged something quite special that her host cared very much about.  Instead of apologizing for the incident, she got mad at the Beast for for being upset.  What an entitled bitch!

“Teehee I really want to poke whatever this thing is.”



Jasmine was the only Disney Princess who her movie wasn’t named after.  She was the first non-Caucasian Disney Princess, and the first to fall in love with a non-Prince.  Instead of instantly wanting to marry any dude living in a castle like her predecessors, Jasmine actually drove away some of her rich suitors.

She did almost have her hand chopped off for stealing an apple.  Beyond that, however, she was a pretty reasonable character.  She was smart and courageous, and she didn’t consider herself too good to hangout with a street rat.  Not a heroine by any means, but Jasmine was the first Disney Princess worthy of being a role model by today’s standards.

Jasmine pulling a Prince of Persia move

Dad vs. Disney Princesses – Part 1

Like most of you, I grew up watching Disney movies.  My earliest theater-going experience was of my aunt taking us kids to see Snow White.  I was too little to remember much of the actual movie, but the excitement lingered for a long time.  In the years that followed, I came to know and love the Cinderella in the blue dress, the Little Mermaid with red hair, and the Beauty who danced with the Beast in her yellow gown.  It was magical to see fairy tale characters coming to life on a colorful screen, and I loved them all.

Since then, however, I grew up.  I also became a dad – a dad to two little girls born in a world that spoon feeds little girls, foie gras style, everything Disney Princesses.  The Disney Princesses have become such a massive brand that they surround us in the forms of diapers, backpacks, and stickers handed out at pediatrician’s offices.  It’s now impossible to avoid them, and I’m not even kidding:

Disney Princesses smiling at me from a pile of NYC trash

The unfortunate thing about growing up is that you start to see the truth in things.  MacGyver now looks dumb as a rock and Santa Claus is a tale that defies basic principles of physics. My opinion of fairy tales changed quite a bit as well.  I think about how my daughters might look up to Disney Princesses as role models, and it’s a horrid thought.  I start to wonder if Rambo will teach my kids a better moral lesson than the Little Mermaid.  At a minimum, can’t we rate these movies PG and demand parents to provide proper narrative while kids take in all this colorful animation?

This is a series documenting my high-level annotation of Disney Princesses.  Bear with me, if you will:



It began as a sad story when Snow White lost her parents and had a stepmother who wanted her murdered.  Nobody deserves that kind of horror.  Though, the unfortunate events aside, her story with the Seven Dwarfs is all about her poor decision-making skills.

Every two-year-old knows that Snow White should not have eaten that apple.  Sure, her dad may not have taught her to guard against strangers, but Charles Darwin would argue that she needed some basic instincts for survival.  She nearly had her heart ripped out of her chest, yet despite the huntsman’s warning, she turned around to accept a shady stranger’s plastic-colored apple.  Every critter in the forest knew the old lady was up to no good, but it was sad that Snow White couldn’t be as smart as the turtle.  Frail cripples don’t take random long hikes and end up deep in a forest, and sure wouldn’t possess any “magic wishing” food item.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) Directed by David Hand Shown from left: Snow White (voice: Adriana Caselotti), the Queen/Witch (voice: Lucille La Verne)
“Please put this in your mouth while I watch!  I’m anything but suspicious.”

The most infuriating part of the story had to do with prince.  The seven dwarfs were her first and only human friends in the story.  They helped her when she needed help the most, providing her with food, shelter, and entertainment.  They gave her personal safety instructions (which she promptly ignored, because why would she take short people seriously?) and cared about her as more than just a tenant.  When she died, they risked their own lives to avenge her.  On the other hand, the well-groomed Prince Charming, a weirdo with no respect for a corpse (I mean who else kisses dead people on the lips?), did nothing for her.  When Snow White woke up, she immediately abandoned her seven true friends for the rich douche bag who she didn’t even know.  Ouch.  Good guys finish last, because girls grow up looking up to Snow White.

“See ya suckers!  I’m leaving you because he’s got a horse.”



Aurora was one privileged person who got an entire story named after her for doing absolutely nothing.  You can’t do wrong when you do nothing!  It wasn’t her fault to be cursed and then abandoned by her parents.  I just don’t understand why, having spent all her life in a forest oblivious to her identity, she didn’t behave more like Pocahontas and enjoy hanging out with her wild animal friends.  Instead, she was desperate to marry into the castle in the distance that she knew nothing about.

On the other hand, her dad was a real tyrant on par with Stalin and Hitler.  For a mere superstitious matter, he ordered the burning of all spinners, committing everyone in his kingdom to have no new domestically-produced clothes for sixteen years!  What was his game plan?  Massively export their crops and livestock in exchange for foreign fabric?  How much do you want to bet that entire communities starved to death after losing their main source of income?  But of course none of that was the king’s concern.

An entire sector of economy wiped out overnight



I’m not sure whether to feel bad for Cinderella’s situation.  Let’s recall how the movie began.  Her bird friends woke her up (took two tries), sang for her, and helped her get ready for the day.  Then she turned around scolding the cat for not getting out of bed immediately.  How hypocritical!  She whined all day long about being a servant to her step-mom’s family, but it actually made sense that people were upset with her sloppy job.  She spent her life supposedly cleaning the house, and yet there were still critters everywhere.  Let’s not kid ourselves – if my own daughter serves me tea with a rat in the cup, I’d freak out, too!

Cinderella’s story was all about how an entitled girl didn’t want to work, and spent her life dreaming about not having to work.  Her ambition was to marry rich so that some other peasant girl could be her servant.  Yay for no longer wiping the floor or doing the laundry!  Other suckers can suck it!  She had no idea what the prince looked like, but it didn’t matter, she wanted to marry him.  She was completely comfortable accepting a big gift (the pink dress) from her critter friends and subsequently using them as slave labor on her ride.  When she got what she wanted, she immediately abandoned all of them by speeding off in the royal carriage.  Ouch.  If Cinderella isn’t the textbook definition of a bad friend that you should avoid, I don’t know who is.

Fed up being a servant, but happy to make those animal friends slave over her party-going needs

With very limited screen time, the prince in this story managed to prove himself a complete loser as well.  Let’s see: (1) he was so disinterested in being hooked up that his dad had to round up every girl in the kingdom for a Tinder-styled party; (2) the girl wearing a huge evening gown and a single glass shoe outran him; (3) mice-drawn carriage carrying a girl in a party dress outran his royal cavalry; (4) he was too lazy to search for the love of his life… and rather just settle for whoever his men brought back based on shoe size; (5) his dad knew that shoe size wasn’t a unique personal identifier, but didn’t care as long as the prince got laid.

“Hold up!  How did you get up all these stairs so fast?”

“Please wait!  The king’s guards can’t possibly catch up to that pumpkin coach!”

I suppose it was a happy ending, after all, when the lazy, unfit dude got together with a girl who was clearly just after his money.  The end!

Europe 12/12 – Her Majesty’s Beverage in the Sky Again

01 – The Second Honeymoon
02 – Conquering Medieval Stairs
03 – Urinating in Brussels
04 – On to Paris
05 – Seeing Louvre
06 – A Police Story
07 – The Sun King’s Blingy Home
08 – Her Majesty’s Beverage in the Sky
09 – Hangin’ with Our Royal Neighbors
10 – Sending Ourselves to the Tower
11 – Raining on the Parade
12 – Her Majesty’s Beverage in the Sky Again


On our previous vacations, the last day of the trip was always reported as something like, “Okay we spent the entire 50-hour day to get home.  Made it alive.  The end.”  This one would be slightly different.

First, though, we had to get to the airport.  The underground station next to our hotel offered a straight shot to our terminal, so that was great.  Like the Chicago L to ORD and the New York subway to JFK, the London underground to LHR was by far the cheapest and objectively the fastest option to the airport, yet it was a little hard to appreciate the experience because the train made about 500 stops along the way.

Terminal 5 was enormous and seemed to serve exclusively British Airways.  We walked a long way from one end to the middle of the terminal, and had not seen a single sign for first class check-in.  We assumed at this point that the Brits didn’t offer such service, and turned to a kiosk.  I made a stupid entry error and was sent to see an agent.  Really sleepy and tired at this point, we just stood in the regular check-in line and waited.  When it was our turn and the agent found out that we were flying first class and came to his counter, he jumped in shock.  He explained to us that there were first-class counters even further down the terminal (can’t believe there wasn’t a horse carriage to take us over there), and probably while secretly judging our cluelessness, urged us not to miss the first-class security line and the Concorde Room.

Okay, of course I knew about the Concorde Room… British Airway’s flagship first class lounge, that BoardingArea bloggers overwhelmingly gave poor review to.  We walked in with mild expectations… and found ourselves jaw-droppingly impressed.

Concorde Room was quite spacious

Concorde Room bar & lounge

Table service dining in a private booth!  We had some doubts about the food actually being free

One of the best fruit salads ever, in a cute bowl that I regret I didn’t steal

Elemis Spa, where we each got 15 minutes of massage.
It was a rather mediocre massage, but let’s not be so snobbish.
A mediocre massage is infinitely better than no massage, especially at an airport

Morning cocktails in the name of sampling the Concorde Room service

This was another instance where I found myself completely puzzled by the reviews I’ve read.  What kind of out-of-the-world high standard must one have to be critical of the service at this place?  Everything was fabulous.  Okay, maybe the bartender gave me some attitude for not ordering my drink with the James Bond command of confidence, but I was too in awe with everything else to care.  Spoiler alert – bloggers also like to make fun of BA’s first class flight, but we loved it to death.

Our boarding gate, with a long line queue that we did not wait in

On board our first first class flight!  I was so excited with our space that I immediately started to hope that our flight would take longer

Gender-specific amenity bags, on a huge arm rest

The haves vs. have-nots problem… on United economy there’s usually not enough room for my knees; here I couldn’t reach the end of my foot rest

Media control, USB ports, and… RCA?  Should’ve brought my Super Nintendo

Cute menu.  Almost put it in my bag
From there I ordered a glass of Champagne named in honor of the Sun King Louis XIV

The fold-out eating platform was a full-size restaurant table for two.  On top of the nice tablecloth were shakers and butter that I never used, and some real utensils

I asked for soup instead of a lobster appetizer, mainly because the idea of having real soup aboard a flight seemed almost like a weird concept.  Delicious

Steak.  Not as impressive as the soup

Johnny Walker Blue Label (mainly because I could), and water

The cutest thing was that the flight served afternoon tea.  So British!  I seriously lost sleep over it as I wanted to wake up sufficiently before the end of the flight, to enjoy my tea.  No tower (duh, would’ve blocked the TV) but it was otherwise legit.  The tea was out of a fancy tea bag, and the food was not far off what we had at the Goring.  The tea came in a real pot, which was pretty much all I cared about.  I loved it, but at the same time I couldn’t fully understand this first class experience… wouldn’t silverware and fragile dishes be a hazard in the event of turbulence?

British afternoon tea at an altitude far higher than the Shard, accompanied by a rather silly but entertaining Tollywood movie (Loafer)

Nine hours later, we handed in DFW, our connecting airport.  We certainly did not prefer connecting on AA to go home, but that’s what the first class award availability limited us to.  The upside was that we got to use the Centurion Lounge here, famous for having a spa akin to the Concorde Room.  Each of us got another 15-minute mediocre massage… because, hey, that’s what you do before and after a first-class flight.

Centurion Lounge DFW

Shower at the Centurion

Then we went home.  The last leg was on a small plane operated by AA.  Still “first class”, but the experience warranted only two pictures.  I’d just say that it was a good thing we had gotten real tired by this point, and slept almost the entirety of it.

Left: a face of shock
Right: a sarcastic smile

AA first class magazine holder

Well that concludes our lovely and enriching trip!  Heading back to work from all this certainly isn’t expected to be easy, but we’re grateful for this wonderful experience.  To recap some unique highlights:

  • For us Americans, Western Europe isn’t as exotic as India or the Middle East, but the rich history can be equally fascinating
  • We flew first class for the first time, and finally grasped how it’s possible to enjoy being on a plane
  • We stayed at one of the legendary category-7 Park Hyatts, and I learned from my more sophisticated half that “turn down service” doesn’t mean refusing service
  • We ate good food, and for the first time in memory I experienced what people say about not being able to button their pants


=== THE END ===

Europe 11/12 – Raining on the Parade

01 – The Second Honeymoon
02 – Conquering Medieval Stairs
03 – Urinating in Brussels
04 – On to Paris
05 – Seeing Louvre
06 – A Police Story
07 – The Sun King’s Blingy Home
08 – Her Majesty’s Beverage in the Sky
09 – Hangin’ with Our Royal Neighbors
10 – Sending Ourselves to the Tower
11 – Raining on the Parade
12 – Her Majesty’s Beverage in the Sky Again


It rained in London today.

Which means, it also rained on the parade… the Horse Guard Parade.

The naming convention may seem strange:

This building is called the Horse Guard

This muddy plaza in front of the Horse Guard is called… the Horse Guard Parade

These folks and their royal four-legged friends are not the Horse Guard.  They are the Queen’s Life Guard

Lastly, the Horse Guard Parade is where the daily ceremony of changing the Queen’s Life Guard takes place
So… Horse Guard isn’t a guard and Horse Guard Parade isn’t an activity involving movement of people

I didn’t fully understand it, but it was neat watching two groups of men on horses making some very orderly maneuvers

We first came here two mornings ago, but the race event closed down many roads in central London and this ceremony was cancelled.  Determined to watch it during this trip, we came here in the pouring rain.  I wanted to bitch about the rain on our last day in London, causing us to cancel some planned activities, but watching these guys and horses do their thing gave me a newfound appreciation for how good life was on vacation.  We felt miserable enough under a giant hotel umbrella, but the Queen’s Life Guard had to perform as if it were a beautiful sunny day.  The discipline, especially for those horses who probably had no clue why they were there, was simply incredible.

Weather postponed our plan to see London Zoo and Regent’s Park to our next vacation in London, whenever that may be.  That sucked, but at least we had some other activities to kill time with, such as riding the double-decker bus:

Think this was my first time being on the second floor of a wheeled vehicle

The traffic jam that came with the rain didn’t help, but it was a comfy bus ride and the scenery on the way to Kensington was nice

Then we spent some time at Harrod’s, a famous, super high-end department store.

Its sheer size was like Macy’s in New York, but it was way fancier

I really wanted a frosted glass bottle with studs of sparkle, but 20 pounds for water was not just the usual kind of expensive

On our way back to the hotel to dry up, we took another picture of these sheep.  Our suitcases were kinda full at this point so we didn’t steal them.

The May Fair sheep

For dinner, we went to this small restaurant called Ffiona’s, near Kensington Palace.  It’s supposedly traditional British cuisine.  Prior to the trip, I sort of worried about this meal because you know British chefs don’t have the best reputation.  The food turned out excellent, and the staff had a great personality.  It turned out to be the highlight of the day, and helped us end the vacation on a high note.

Ffiona’s interior

Sitting right under this menu and having to read it wasn’t the healthiest thing that happened to my neck

Some Champagne cocktail

This avocado dish looked rather odd, but it was delicious.  The pesto and the raw green onion… I’d eat them straight up

The asparagus was among the most interesting things that we ate on this trip.  It was the largest I had seen served on the table, ever.  It looked like it was harvest too late and overgrew.  It was quite crunchy on the outside and the texture was firm, but it also tasted fresh and juicy.  Wasn’t what I expected looking at it, and didn’t taste like any asparagus in the U.S..  Wouldn’t hesitate to order again.
And that Welsh lamb was, holy moly, definitely the sweetest lamb I had ever tasted.  It was easily the best meat we had on this trip, and a rare lamb with no gamy flavor at all.

My main course was this venison steak cooked medium rare.  Like my pigeon and duckling on this trip, this was quite gamy and hard to swallow.  I enjoyed trying venison in a steak form for the first time, but gosh that lamb was so much more delicious.

Well that’s it!  Last day of the trip, plus the rain, left quite few pictures and little story to tell.  Bye London!

Europe 10/12 – Sending Ourselves to the Tower

01 – The Second Honeymoon
02 – Conquering Medieval Stairs
03 – Urinating in Brussels
04 – On to Paris
05 – Seeing Louvre
06 – A Police Story
07 – The Sun King’s Blingy Home
08 – Her Majesty’s Beverage in the Sky
09 – Hangin’ with Our Royal Neighbors
10 – Sending Ourselves to the Tower
11 – Raining on the Parade
12 – Her Majesty’s Beverage in the Sky Again


This morning began with the good ol’ Starbucks.

Except the barista got my order wrong and it tasted funny.

Then we went on to visit St. Paul’s Cathedral.  It was a beautiful church that unfortunately did not allow photography inside.  I’m always bummed out when not allowed to snap a picture of something cool I see, but above all else I respect such rule at religious establishments.  To some extent, it seemed intrusive being a tourist at a place of worship, so being allowed in was already a privilege.

I found it a bit odd that St. Paul’s had a heavy focus on glorifying war heroes.  Instead of Christian saints, statues along the walls were of national heroes, some of whom died in battle.  In the crypt below buried Horatio Nelson, Duke of Wellington, their lesser-known commanders, and Sir Christopher Wren who built this cathedral.  Nelson was placed in a gigantic stone coffin in the center of the crypt, in a shrine-like setup surrounded by his buddies from Trafalgar.  Seemed like the highest honor a person could get.

St. Paul’s

This large church and one of London’s main tourist attractions… had no working bathroom

One attraction of St. Paul’s was its staircase leading to the top of the building.  The 528 steps got us to the Whispering Gallery (inner balcony just below the dome), Stone Gallery (outer balcony at the base of the dome), and Golden Gallery (small circular balcony at the crown of the dome).  Although it’s taller with more steps, climbing this dome was easier than climbing Belfry of Bruges.

We got a lot of exercise out of this trip

View from the top

Shard yet again

While London didn’t have many tall buildings, the option to get a view from high up was surprisingly abundant.  We had been up the Shard, Sky Garden, London Eye, and St. Paul’s – two from the north side of Thames and two from the south.  It was an interesting contrast to New York, where you can get up to the 40th floor somewhere and still just be looking at an even taller building next door.

After the church, we went to one of the oldest buildings in the city – the Tower of London.

Built by William the Conqueror nearly a thousand years ago and expanded by later kings, this fortress has served many purposes in history.  While plenty of great kings called it home, the Tower was better known for its prison and as a symbol of oppression.

While overrun by tourists now, the Tower stood here for over 900 years and witnessed countless English royalties born, died, and executed within its premises

Traitor’s Gate

The White Tower, est 1078

When compared side-by-side, I found the English history much more fascinating than their French counterparts, because some of its kings were fabulous out-of-the-box thinkers.  Edward III of the House Plantagenet, for example, got sick of the French dude screwing his mom, and went on to declare himself heir of the French throne in revenge.  Even better was Henry VIII who, having such strong desire to make babies with women other than his first wife, gave the Pope his middle finger and started his own church.  The White Tower had these kings’ armors on display.

Henry VIII was a big man with large balls

The Tower of London, with its hefty admission price, was quite educational with its props and plaques.  We learned quite a bit just by casually strolling from one place to another.  Unfortunately the setup also lent itself to feel very much like an amusement park, taking away the seriousness I hoped for with a historic and royal fortress.  Its most popular exhibits were the crown jewels and torture equipment.  We skipped both due to the long lines.

Contact your health care provider if this happens

Doctors surgery

Tower of London Outer Ward, and the Shard in the background

Looking at old bricks made us sufficiently hungry, so we went on to lunch.  The Rock & Sole Plaice was a popular fish & chips place for tourists.  Like sour dough bread in San Francisco and deep dish pizza in Chicago, fish & chips in London was kind of a must on everyone’s to-do list.

The Rock & Sole Plaice

That’s a huge chunk of fish

Next up was one of my most anticipated destinations on this trip… the British Museum.

Being into Egyptian stuff as a boy, I had learned about and wanted to visit the British Museum 25 years ago.  It was a strange concept, however, that some of the best Egyptian treasures should be found in the UK.  The Brits looted from not just the pharaohs, but also from the Greek gods and Asian emperors, leaving this museum’s collections to be highly controversial.  The feeling was mixed to finally visit some of humanity’s greatest relics in a giant pirates’ bay.

The British Museum was surprisingly smaller than the Louvre

The British Museum lobby


Cleopetra… I was expecting a much fancier mummy wrapping for some reason


The Rosetta Stone, the Mona Lisa of the British Museum


The Parthenon Marbles were among the museum’s most controversial collections, and they were cool to look at too

Easter Island statue


Afterwards, we took a black cab back to the hotel.  It was one of the things to experience in London.

Black cab

Selfie in the cab

In the evening we checked out Fortnum & Mason, a high end department store that had been awarded a royal warrant.

The Queen liked their ware

It was doing a campaign with the new Alice movie

Flowery staircase

For dinner, we walked a few blocks to an Indian restaurant called Veeraswamy.  In the US when you hear Indian you just expect somewhere casual and lay-back, but this place had a doorman in costume, a hostess downstairs, a hostess upstairs, and someone offering to hang up our jackets.  Both of us were thrown off by how upscale it was.

First time having soup in an Indian restaurant and it kicked ass


Afterwards, we walked through Picadilly Circus, and got boba to end the day.



Horse fountain

Europe 9/12 – Hangin’ with Our Royal Neighbors

01 – The Second Honeymoon
02 – Conquering Medieval Stairs
03 – Urinating in Brussels
04 – On to Paris
05 – Seeing Louvre
06 – A Police Story
07 – The Sun King’s Blingy Home
08 – Her Majesty’s Beverage in the Sky
09 – Hangin’ with Our Royal Neighbors
10 – Sending Ourselves to the Tower
11 – Raining on the Parade
12 – Her Majesty’s Beverage in the Sky Again


Our plan of the day was to escape from the investment bankers that surrounded us, to stroll through the royal neighborhood nearby.

The United Kingdom (still) had a queen.  Hmm.  What an odd concept!  King and queens seemed like such a thing of fairy tales and history textbooks, but for some countries in the world they were still real people!  Life must be harder for the little Disney-loving girls in these countries who realized that princesses were actual people, yet they could never become one.

That’s me watching my better half braving those stairs at the Charing Cross underground station

Trafalgar Square, built to commemorate the Battle of Trafalgar, where Admiral Horatio Nelson kicked Napoleon’s ass by wiping out his naval forces for good

Left: Vendome Column from Place Vendome, erected because Napoleon won
Right: Nelson’s Column at Trafalgar Square, erected because Napoleon lost
You know you’re the shit when people commemorate both your victories and losses

Lion guarding Nelson’s Column

Note: slipping off the lion which you climb is prohibited

Next to Trafalgar Square, we found a Caffe Nero and had our breakfast.  I had a lot of trouble ordering my chocolate croissant: the label was in French, which I couldn’t pronounce but knew it meant “chocolate bread”.  I tried to pronounce it, which obviously didn’t go well, and then I said chocolate bread.  The barista was confused as hell.  Then I pointed and she was like, what, you want chocolate croissant?  Should’ve just stuck with my American English words.

Breakfast at Caffe Nero

First thing on our real agenda was to watch the changing of Queen’s Life Guard at Horse Guard Parade.  Due to some running events that blocked off many streets in the city, the guard changing was cancelled.  Bummer.  We just snapped some pictures of the guards and left.

A guard with a sword on a horse is like a girl in a mini skirt at a car show – no real purpose except to pose for the camera.

Oh and what trip to London doesn’t include a picture of the Palace of Westminster?

Selfie with Big Ben… or should we be factually correct and call it the Elizabeth Tower?

As we took the selfie above, two girls approached asking us to take their picture with Big Ben with their iPhones.  My first reaction was that if they were f**king scammy pickpockets again I’d swear to throw one of them over the bridge into Thames.  When I warmed up to the idea that they were genuine tourist like us, my thoughts turned to what f**king idiots couldn’t take a selfie with her own iPhone?  Oh excuse my inner angry New Yorker.  I obliged happily.

Elizabeth Tower / Big Ben wasn’t very tall, but we stood rather close to it so it was hard for the camera’s 4:3 photo setting to capture both the girls and the top of the tower.  I took the pain to position them several feet meters further onto the bridge, and to kneel down in order to get a good angle.  Did my job with what I thought was worthy of an amateur postcard, and handed the phone back.  The girls offered to return the favor, which I thought was unnecessary but hey, we could use a non-selfie from this trip.  So I handed her my phone.  And this resulted…


… f**king idiots couldn’t even take a standard photo properly…

Lesson learned on this trip was that we had no luck with bridges.  Moving on…

Westminster Abbey, the old church that people know as where “so and so got married.”
Fun fact: coronations over the past 1,000 years had taken place here

Statue of Queen Victoria, in front of Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace, a relatively modest building

The gate inspired our future home designs

The most kick we got out of Buckingham Palace was the mass of people peeking into its mostly empty front yard, as if a show was gonna take place

After walking by Buckingham Palace briefly, we headed to the Royal Mews.  It’s basically Her Majesty’s really elaborate garage.

Royal Mews entrance

Royal carriage-pulling horse

One of the many royal carriages

One of the many royal automobiles.  What a shame they put a mere Jaguar on display when RRs and Bentleys flooded the Mayfair streets just two blocks away

The high-tech royal carriage (with components designed by race car companies) pretending to be another wooden coach

The Gold State Coach, an art museum on wheels
It’d be my recommendation that the Queen takes this vehicle when invited to dinner at Chateau Versailles

After the royal palace and the royal palace garage, we were ready to drink some royal tea at a royal-approved hotel.  Our reservation was at the Goring, supposedly the only establishment to have ever received a royal warrant in the hospitality services category.  Exactly what that means, I have no clue.  It did sound important, though.

Awesome hotel if you like to hangout with wealthy 80-year-old ladies

The Goring lobby

Sheep at the Goring Lounge

Beautiful wallpaper, wall trims, and color choices that may be just a bit on the old-fashioned side for my grandma.  The royal beasts were proof that we chose the right place to hangout.

Food tower and tea.  Not sure why our two orders came with just a single food item of each kind.

Half of the Lounge were Asian tourists, and we did what Asian tourists do: Instagramming everything, edible or not!

This golden ball was a really interesting dessert, basically an explosion of sweet jelly in your mouth.  I wouldn’t call it incredibly tasty, but the sensation was so fascinating that I had ask for a second.
Hong ate the dessert that our waitress said was the Queen’s favorite.  Her taste bud did not agree with the Queen’s

The Goring bathroom

Once again, we were not too complimentary of the food at this afternoon tea.  The decor was also not to our liking.  However, the experience was a good one as we pretended to be upper class and enjoyed the luxury of a royal warrant establishment.  We ended up having such a leisure time and killed more than two hours there, eating sandwiches and sipping tea.

Taking a break from all the British royal stuff, we headed to the other side of Westminster Bridge and hopped on the London Eye.  When we bought the tickets online, we paid quite a premium for both flexible time entry and for line-cutting privileges.  Turned out to be a good call because it was the middle of a long weekend and the line queue was akin to Disneyland.  How can someone with royal desserts in the tummy wait in a long line under the sun?

London Eye

Our pod

More selfie in the sky.  London was a great city for bird’s eye views

After the Ferris wheel ride, we headed to the fun part of town.  Starting with Picadilly Circus, we ended up in Chinatown.



London Chinatown

We ended up having dinner at a Malaysian restaurant called Rasa Sayang.

Here’s the funny thing.  The British people supposedly sucked at cooking – there’s no shortage of jokes on that, and we had first-hand experience with the afternoon tea.  Yet the Brits conquered and colonized a lot of places that made really good food.  As a result, the food scene in London had quite a bit of diverse, authentic cuisines that were delicious, such as last night’s Indian and tonight’s Malaysian restaurants.

This carrot cake was supposedly better than what we had in Singapore

Nasi something or other

After dinner we had more tea… boba, that is.


Europe 8/12 – Her Majesty’s Beverage in the Sky

01 – The Second Honeymoon
02 – Conquering Medieval Stairs
03 – Urinating in Brussels
04 – On to Paris
05 – Seeing Louvre
06 – A Police Story
07 – The Sun King’s Blingy Home
08 – Her Majesty’s Beverage in the Sky
09 – Hangin’ with Our Royal Neighbors
10 – Sending Ourselves to the Tower
11 – Raining on the Parade
12 – Her Majesty’s Beverage in the Sky Again


After two nights each at two hotels, this type-A couple was done with Paris and ready to move on to our next city: London.

Gare du Nord.  Not sure if I should make a third reference to Jason Bourne at this point

It was here that we got an UK entry stamp on our passports, roughly 10 feet after officially exiting Paris

Non-participating selfie on Eurostar

Arriving at King’s Cross St. Pancras International, 2.5 hours after departing Gare du Nord

London was what I looked forward to the most on this trip.  It was the only one among GaWC Alpha++ and Alpha+ cities (meaning having the highest global economic importance) that I hadn’t been to.  For someone who loves big cities, this meant a lot.

Our first stop was the Borough Market, a “whole sale & retail food” market with a history of 1,002 years.  Think about all the dead fish that has traveled through here!  Wow!  Of course, now it’s overrun with tourists looking for a bite to eat.

Borough Market

Seafood stall

Pretty sure that “smell me” sign wasn’t intended to point at the lady’s head

From meat pies to Olympic-sized paella, the stuff looked good.  We love street food, but didn’t eat anything here.  In fact, the reason we hung out in Borough Market was that we were waiting for our afternoon tea reservation next door.  By next door, I mean the Shard.

The Shard.  At 309.7 meters, it barely makes it into the world’s tallest 200 buildings list.  However, it is the #1 tallest in the entire European Union.  It’s rather strange that the Europeans just don’t seem to like skyscrapers.

Ground-level reception at the Shangri-la Hotel, within the Shard

Shangri-la elevator lobby

Shangri-la security microwaving x-ray scanning our bags

Everyone and their grandma knows that the British are big on tea.  Therefore, the tourist-in-UK experience can’t start better than starting with some afternoon tea.  Hong booked us two opposite experiences: a traditional one tomorrow, and a posh modern twist today.  It can’t get any more posh modern than to have the drink on the 35th floor, far above the palaces and churches.  I could care less about tea, but being able to chill on a high floor by a giant glass window got me really excited.

Shangri-la Hotel lobby, on the 35th floor in the Shard
The restaurant Ting with the afternoon tea service was on this floor

Live music in the sky, to complement the tea

Urinals 150 meters above River Thames where I assume lots of excess tea got offloaded

Exceptional presentation kicked off our afternoon tea experience

Our two food towers

Let me pause here and say that, when it comes to this British thing, I was completely uncultured.  I understood snacks – some people eat more of it than others.  But taking half of an afternoon to sit down and pay $100 for some sandwiches was just an activity that I could not fully comprehend.  But Hong also introduced me to other cultural things that I find puzzling, like eating raw fillets of fish stuck to white rice.  Certain things in the world can seem completely illogical and yet people love them to death.  Well I suppose love is never about being logical, is it?

And for those of you who, like me as of yesterday, are clueless about this tradition, here’s how it works – you get (1) a pot of hot water with some dried leaves in it; (2) a plate of savory sandwiches; (3) some scones, which are really dry and crumbly bread that you’re supposed to eat with clotted cream; (4) a plate of sweet desserts.  Some or all of those can be refilled, I’m not entirely sure, but it seems to depend on how much the server likes you.  You are supposed to take time to enjoy these items, but some of them do dry out or get cold quickly and become less nice to eat.  There’s a long list of teas to choose from and you can switch in the middle of the service, but 2-3 seems to be the limit in a two-hour window.

Ting, this Shangri-la restaurant, offered two food menus.  On the left was a more traditional take on the afternoon tea concept, while the one on the right was an Asian-inspired set of food.  Ting was known for its Asian fusion stuff, and I suppose you can look at it as a hyper-glorified version of dim sum.

Getting ready for the first sip!

This view alone made it a very happy meal for me

Ready to go for my Asian fusion desserts
(if you have to know, they weren’t that good)

This pot of pu-erh was the best tea among the three that I tried

Let me pause again and comment on the food.  British food is known to be bad, and our first meal lived up to this expectation.  It wasn’t terrible, but it was just the least tasty food that we had had on this entire trip (except for two of Hong’s sandwiches, apparently).  I think it says a lot for a 5-star hotel restaurant to lose out by a wide margin to all the random Parisian cafes in terms of the tastiness it provided.  Don’t get me wrong, however – it was still a great experience.  Sipping tea leisurely like a modern royalty in the Shard was pretty awesome.  If Her Majesty gets by eating tasteless sandwiches in the afternoons, so shall we!

Moving on… since the Shard was quite close to the Tower Bridge, we walked to and crossed it.  Note: the Shard was even closer to the London Bridge, the Thames crossing that was both historically significant and boring to look at.  We preferred the aesthetically more appealing one for our selfies.

This isn’t the bridge that’s falling down

Selfie again!

In the late afternoon, we had tickets to the Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch Street.  We walked by the Monument to reach this white (and rather ugly) building that the Londoners nicknamed “the Walkie Talkie”, as featured in one of the afternoon tea pictures above.  The top portion of the building was designed into this awesome urban garden that doubled as an event space.

The Monument (to the Great Fire of London (of 1666))
This column itself was almost 340 years old

Sky Garden

Selfie in the sky – with Tower of London and Tower Bridge in the background

The Sky Garden was a fantastic way for lovers of urban jungles to temporarily pretend that we enjoyed real nature as well

Later on in the evening, we grabbed dinner at an Indian restaurant near our hotel.  Chor Bizarre supposedly was a top restaurant in New Delhi that also had this location in London.

Chor Bizarre

Interior decor was real fancy

The food was hands down amazing

For the remaining of the trip, we’d be staying at a hotel called The May Fair, located within Mayfair, London.  It was quite a posh establishment in a neighborhood that can hardly be overstated.  Our short walk from the hotel to the restaurant made me seriously question whether we could afford dinner, just by judging the average cost of cars parked by the sidewalks.

The May Fair’s black sheep

The May Fair’s white sheep, and me plotting on stealing it

Our room at the May Fair

In Mayfair, there were more R8’s than Accords and more Range Rovers than CRVs
Driving here must be stressful as any collision you may have was likely with a $100k car

Our drinks at the May Fair Bar