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My trip to Washington D.C. and London in Nov 2010

2011 May 2

At the Lincoln Memorial

Sorry for this long overdue post, but the recent happenings in Singapore have gave me the final push to put this post online. I spent a total of 2 weeks in the Capital City of 2 First World Countries in November 2010, namely Washington D.C. of United States of America and London of  United Kingdom. This experience has certainly made me appreciate Singapore a lot more.

 

Public Transport System in Washington D.C. and London

Van Ness-UDC Metro Station

When I was in Washington D.C., I was taken aback by the cost of travelling on the Metro. A 5-station trip between the hotel that I am staying in to the Metro Center cost me  USD$2.35 during peak period, USD$2.15 during regular time and USD$1.60 during off-peak hours. The frequency of the trains was about 3 mins during peak hours and 25 mins during off-peak hours. During peak periods, the trains were as congested as the ones in Singapore.

One of the London Underground Stations

Over in London, I was lucky enough to miss the London Underground (a.k.a The Tube) strike as it was scheduled to happen on the day after I have left London but the frequent break-downs have caused me to change my routes. Apparently, “a body was found on the tracks” is a pretty common sight in London. The Tube Map App was definitely a life-saver for planning my routes. The frequency of the trains are pretty high in London though, but given to the size of tunnels that were inherited from the 1800s, the trains are pretty packed during peak periods.

 

The Oyster Card (similar to our EZ-Link card) fare starts at £2.50 for peak hours, £1.90 for off-peak hours and the cap for the fares in Zone 1 and 2 is £8.00.  Thanks for the “7 days Travelcard” Oyster Card tourist package, I paid a flat fee of £50.20 which included a 2-way trip for Heathrow Airport.

 

UK Student Protest in Nov 2010

I was “smart enough” not accept the invitation from my friend’s classmate to attend the Student Protests which happened in London on 24 Nov 2010. I was told that “this is something that you wouldn’t get to see in Singapore” and I should take a look and experience it! Imagine yourself stranded on the streets for 9 hours with an unbearable temperature of Zero degree. Erm, not my cup of tea.

 

But why the student protest? Prior to the UK Election in 2010, the leader of the Liberal Democrats pledged that he would vote against any proposed increase in tuition fees if elected to Parliament. However when the Liberal Democrats and Conservative Party formed a coalition government after the UK Elections, the new government increased the cap of the tution fees from £3,290 to £9,000.

 

Safety in Washington D.C.

Given tat the cost of travelling is pretty high in Washington D.C., I did a lot of walking when I was there. When I was in Chinatown in one of the evenings, I was approached by a black man to buy him dinner and another to pay for his train ticket. I was in the state of shock as they do not look very friendly or helpless, but aggressive. My reaction was act blur, turn and walked off really fast. For the latter incident, I walked to the next metro station which is located in Metro Center. On route, I walked past the Public Library at about 9pm and a group of rowdy black men hanging out there got me worried. Reading about the high crime rates in this capital city prior to my trip had got me even more worried.

 

This short trip to Washington D.C. and London had reminded me not to take things for granted and the broken promise by the Liberal Democrats really got me thinking about promises made by politicians.
2 Responses leave one →
  1. WTH2011 permalink
    May 2, 2011

    UGH what a thinly-veiled blog entry! How can you compare these places to Singapore? It’s comparison that has no basis!

  2. Victor TAN permalink*
    May 2, 2011

    As in they are developed countries and we are not? Or?

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