London, Covid

Two weeks ago, I came back from Big Bend and was catching up on work. When chatting with Nicole on Friday night, I realized that she would have some data discussions in London the week after. I just decided that I should go to London and join these discussions and bought a flight ticket for Sunday. Guess I still had plenty of desire to travel after Texas.

On the way to London, my phone showed me I visited London in the same week five years ago. The weather was ok on my last visit, but apparently this is not a great season to visit London as it’s often rainy and gloomy. This time I wasn’t so lucky, it was rainy throughout the whole trip. And I noticed lots of people in London wear waterproof clothes, often plastic and flashy. It reminded me of people in Tokyo often wear masks even before the pandemic.

Another different impression I had on London was the food felt better. It might be due to the neighborhood I stayed at, Shoreditch. Last time I was underwhelmed by food in London. On this trip I had several legit Asian meals, like Chinese Biang Biang noodles and Vietnamese pho. Also had an excellent Indian dinner and some decent European meals. The breakfast at the hotel was amazing; I was impressed by the scrambled eggs on the first morning. Even the fish and chips I had this time tasted better than I remembered. Shoreditch is a pretty hip area on the east side of London. Lots of graffiti, lots of bars, and lots of nightclubs. It’s easy to connect it to Lower East Side in NYC.

Right after landing, I learned there would be a “tube strike” from Tuesday to Thursday during the week of my visit, aka. most subways were not running for three days. People were mostly working from home these days, and the tube strike just made it an obvious for most people to stay at home this week. So I was facing a huge and mostly empty office most of this week. Good thing is there are still some people in the office, who either live nearby or use other transportation ways. But still… I wish I had known about the strike before booking the tickets.

The whole week was largely filled with meetings. On Friday night I went to watch a musical, Cinderella, and found there were quite a few little girls dressed as Cinderella in the audience, lol. It was a pretty entertaining show anyway, and it felt good to go back to a theatre after these years. On Saturday I had a lunch with a colleage, then went to the British Museum to see a Stonehenge exhibition. Triangle Strategy went out on Thursday night this week. So I poured quite a lot of hours into this game in the later nights and on the flight back.

Oh, covid. Yes, London is basically “100% back to normal”, just like Texas. No one wears masks anywhere. It’s not hard to forget about covid after staying there for a few days. It’s kind of funny that airports and flights still require masks and everyone switches to mask mode there, but once you’re out of airport, forget about it.

I started coughing two days after I’m back from London on Tuesday. I took an at-home covid test and it was negative. So I thought it was just a cold and thought I got it from Wen. But on Thursday I was still coughing pretty badly, which felt too long for a cold. I took another at-home test and it showed positive this time… the coughing was mostly gone on Saturday so the symptom lasted for about 3 days. On Monday I went for a PCR test to confirm it was indeed covid, and it came back as positive, too. So now I finally got my “covid badge” I guess. And it was probably omicron since the symptom is quite mild. Wen also started coughing since Friday or Saturday, and it last two or three days for her as well.

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