Sunday, July 09, 2006


Summer in London

Summer in London is going fine. Let me share some of my experiences.

Food: London is great for the variety of food it offers. As someone who is tending towards becoming a vegetarian, you get so many choices in London. In Canary Wharf, where I work, there are lots of sandwich places which have plenty of veg choices. Even for other sandwiches, they know that putting some tomato and lettuce besides chicken or jamon is something that makes a sandwich more appetizing. Don't take me wrong, I like Catalan food in general, but I think some improvement can be done with the "bocadillos" especially at IESE where "bocadillo con queso (cheese sandwich)" was unfortunately the only choice for the vegetarians most of the time when we wanted something quick.

On the other front, as there is a big Indian community here, Indian food is very easy to find here. It is not uncommon to find sandwiches with "chicken tika" By the way, I forgot to tell that even at my work, there is a restaurant inside where you get a variety of food, including Indian food. They also offer good breakfast, cereals with milk , scrambled egg, different versions of potatoes, mushroom, and many more for a very reasonable price. For a student who is just making some money during the internship, it is a good deal.

Traveling in and around London is very convenient because of the extensive network of subway system, bus and train. Its interesting how a subway system is called differently in different places. Here it is famously called "underground" or "tube", in Boston it is called "T", in Barcelona, it is called Metro or FerroCarril (for certain routes).

But I have to say that it is expensive to travel in London relative to Barcelona (not a surprise, I guess). Basically, if you somehow travel through the centre of the city (marked zone 1), you pay a heavy fee. For a day travel card to use during the weekdays ( from the center to zone 2), it costs about 9 Euros which can buy you 2 day travel cards in Barcelona.

Work is going fine. For reasons obvious, I will not be talking much about work. For someone who had always worked for startups, I have found it interesting to work for a multi-national company. When I once went to Grand Central in New York, I used to be amazed when I saw hundreds of people in dark suits rushing out of the trains and heading out of the station. It is the similar scene here at Canary Wharf station except that I am also part of it.

Hanging Out: Its been fun to meet other Summer Associates from other MBA schools. On one Friday, we went to LBS to have some drinks on what they call "Sundowners". Sundowners is something similar to BOW (Bar of the Week) we have at IESE except that the drinks are free and the event is held on campus. At IESE, we have the event in one of the many bars in Barcelona and the drinks are not free but generally discounted. It was nice to see LBS campus and experience the hospitality of my LBS friends, especially Paul and Regina. It was also great to meet IESE friends working for other companies for the first time after the first year ended at IESE.

Last Friday, I met more IESE friends who are working for other banks in London at All Bar One, the bar right next to Canary Wharf Tube station. It was fun to share our experiences with each other. It was also nice to meet with variety of faces from other banks.

(By the way, I am watching World Cup Final as I am writing this. It was sad to see Zidane, on the height of respect from, I would say, the majority of football loving people all around the world, to hit one Italian player with his head in anger. It was so unexpected from someone like Zidane).

Will write more on my sightseeing activities next time.

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