Riyasat

A series of my writings and photoessays.


Leaving for London

An opportunity I couldn't refuse. I had received a job offer from Bloomberg all the way in London. This photojournal details my first move overseas, and the biggest solo trip I had ever undertaken.

Charing Cross Station

The most British photo I've ever taken.

Qantas Check In

The first stop on my move to London, and the last stop in Sydney.

Qantas Lounge

Flying business class gave me some pre-flight perks, such as access to the business class lounge, packed with refreshments, snacks and a delicious assortment of pastries.

Stopover in Tokyo

After a comforting 9 hour flight, I had a 3.5 hour stopover in Japan, land of rear-cleansing toilets and delicious fish. Everyone bows there, a lot. Also, they spoke to me in Japanese first, and then upon seeing the complexion of my skin, revert to English.

Sakura Lounge

As I flew business class, I got access to the Sakura Lounge. Plenty of food, drinks, a hot shower and noise dampening toilets.

City Apartment

As I was a new-hire from out of country, work set me up in a furnished apartment for a month. It was a short walking distance away from work, and came with a small welcome basket, a third of which was alcohol.

Paternoster Square

A plaza close by to St. Paul's Cathedral, where I walked through to get to work. Theres a cool monument, table tennis, and plenty of small stores and cafes scattered about.

St. Paul's Cathedral

The absolute unit of cathedrals, St. Paul's Cathedral is a magnificent piece of architecture, and pictures can't describe the feeling of awe you get when you look up at it. Although they have a "pay-to-pray" policy, and taking photos of the inside is a big no-no.

St Paul's Garden

A beautiful garden surrounding St. Paul's Cathedral.

Sculpture in Paternoster Square

Musuem of London

The street I walked down to get to St. Paul's Cathedral also houses the London Musuem (out of frame).

Middle Way

The street right next door to my apartment, just wide enough to fit a bicycle or two.

Anytime Fitness - St. Paul's

My Aussie gym membership at Anytime Fitness works here in the UK, and this is the closest branch to my work. Definitely has a different vibe to it, compared to the large warehouses I was used to back in suburban Sydney.

Telephone Box

There aren't just red telephone boxes scattered around the city, some are black too. These black ones have WiFi as well, although I've never tried them. Also, I wouldn't want to press that telephone against my ear either. Not exactly that clean.

Boris Bikes

Londoners are especially fond of bicycles, and there are tonnes of these bicycle share docking stations scattered across the city. Odd that the most London thing is sponsored by a Spanish bank and named after Boris Johnson.

Church Ruins

Everywhere in the city, you can find new buildings with remnants of the previously demolished building in its courtyard. London tends to want to remember it's history.

Museum of London

Climb up some stairs and you are greeted with a serene walled garden.

Strand Palace Hotel

Incredibly difficult to get a photo without an iconic red double decker bus getting in the way.

Royal Courts of Justice

Initially I thought this was another church, but this is in fact, a court house. Didn't get the chance to go inside, but there are people at the entrance protesting various policies, usually human rights related.

Marlborough House

Unrelated to the ciggy brand, Marlborough House has everything to do with every country in the Commonwealth (including my homeland, Australia). Not open to the general public, this was the only photo I could snap.

Path to Buckingham

Although there are multiple ways to get to Buckingham Palace, the only way to get there by vehicle is through here. There are usually mounted police patrolling in this area, as well as the occaisional ceremonious change of the guard for the neighbouring buildings closeby. Just imagine well trained British soldiers, dressed in funny costumes walking in sync.

Gardens at Buckingham Palace

Infront of Buckingham Palace are wide arrays of well-maintained gardens. Honestly speaking, everything there felt so vibrant, the grass so green, the flowers so vivid, it's like someone maxed out the saturation post-production.

Buckingham Palace

The main attraction, it was incredibly difficult to get a good photo. The area was packed with tourists, and it was hard to even cross the road. Police patrolled the empty roads, whilst tourists looked on from the footpaths, sitting on the massive stone fences. I was also scared of someone snatching my phone out of my hand, so I didn't take the best photos I could have.

Green Park

Right of Buckingham Palace is this vast grassy field, with perfectly aligned trees creating a sort of path. Not as packed with tourists, there was one small stall that sold icecream and coffee, at the usual overpriced tourist prices you would expect.

Marble Arch

A 19th century marble arch designed to be the entrance to Buckingham Palace, but was relocated to a largely isolated traffic island. It also gives it's name to the surrounding area, Marble Arch Station.

Teddy Bear

An art display for Burberry's Spring/Summer runway show, temporarily displayed next to the stone white Marble Arch.

Sculpture in Hyde Park

In addition to its vast grassy fields (perfect for picnics) and bicycle friendly lanes, Hyde Park is scattered with a number of sculptures commemorating special gifts or events.

Arch in Hyde Park

Borough Markets

Near London Bridge and The Shard, is Borough Markets, one of the oldest markets operating in the UK (some dating back to the 12th century). The present buildings however are a little newer, built around 1850's. There are plenty of stalls selling specialty goods, and you're sure to find something delicious.

National Gallery

How could I say no to free entry? Most of the oil paintings in the gallery were Biblical related, didn't expect anything less from UK, land of Churches on every block.

St. Andrew Undershaft and the Scalpel

One neat thing about London, that I haven't seen in other cities is the contrast between old and new. There are plenty of brand new, glass covered skyscrapers next to centuries old stone cathedrals. And if anything old was torn down, there's always a small memorial detailing its fate. London really cares about its history.

The Gherkin

London also has this habit of naming their skyscrapers, not by who funded it, or by its purpose, but by what it looks like.

Walkie Talkie

Another iconic modern building of London's skyline, with a truly London-esque name, the Walkie Talkie.

London Bridge

Fortunately, it isn't falling. One thing that did surprise me is that people fish in the Thames, and here you can see a couple of blokes fishing under London Bridge. It definitely isn't the cleanest river. Still isn't as bad as the Ganges, but I would prefer to avoid eating fish caught here.

Tower of London

Tower of London, right next to Tower Bridge, the ticket prices are absolutely astronomical. However, good for me, work has free tickets. This place is absolutely bustling with history, and houses the Crown Jewels, as well as some other royal artefacts.

Building housing the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London

Another Building in the Tower of London

And another one

Mock Execution at Tower of London

Packed with kids, mock executions seem to be a family-friendly way to enjoy the history of the Tower of London.

Tower Bridge

Situated right next to the Tower of London, this is one of many bridges that let you cross the Thames. Very fancy, very old, and very narrow, it has nothing on the world's best bridge, the Sydney Harbour.

Monument to the Great Fire of London

A massive column to commerate the Great Fire of London (not to be confused with the other Great Fires of London), in September 1666. Destroying the homes of 70,000 of the city's 80,0000 inhabitants, there have only been 6 recorded deaths, however that number is disputed due to the intensity of the fire cremating the remains of many people.

View from the Monument

After a tiring 311 steps up a narrow cylindrical staircase, and a 5 quid (cash only) entry fee, you're greeted with a beautiful overlooking view of the City of London. All the famous landmarks are visible, St Paul's Cathedral, the Gherkin, the Shard and Tower Bridge. Don't worry about falling off, theres fencing around the whole 'balcony'. It's also awfully narrow, so expect to squeeze past other tourists.

London Eye

On the South Bank of the River Thames, is Europe's tallest ferris wheel. Opposite to Parliament and Big Ben, it provides an amazing view of Westminster, but I haven't had the chance to get aboard.

Palace of Westminster

The meeting place of the two Houses of Parliament of the United Kingdom. Not pictured is Big Ben, unfortunetly under crucial maintenance until 2020.

Royal Guards

No London photojournal is complete without military trained British soldiers in funny uniforms.

Scotland Yard

A couple of minutes down from Big Ben is Scotland Yard, the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Service. They're responsible for policing the vast majority of London.

The Shard, from the Tower of London

Half a billion pounds went into this colossal glass pyramid, the tallest building in Europe. Plenty of amazing offices, restaurants and hotels here, but unfortunately, most out of my price range.

Red Double Decker Bus

A heritage service showcasing the red double decker bus of yore.

Royal Exchange

The Royal Exchange was founded in the 16th century and used to house Lloyds Insurance for 150 years. Nowadays it houses fancy cocktail bars and luxury shops. There's also a healthy amount of monuments adorning it's main entrance, paying tribute to war heroes who dedicated their lives to England.

Cannon Street Station

An awful lot of tube stations in and around City of London, but this was the one I'd get off at to get to work.

St George's Wharf

On extra fancy days, I'd take the ferry to Blackfriars.

Bloomberg London

Bloomberg's recently built new London office, built upon the ruins of the ancient Roman temple of Mithras. The ruins were recreated and opened as a museum for the general public.

Entrance to the Bloomberg Building

As soon as you walk in, you are surrounded by a whirlwind of hardwood, a little confusing to walk around in, until you realise there are only two exits, and you can't really get that lost.

Bloomberg Pantry

The main pantry, and one of many of the Bloomberg London office. Located on level 6, you get a clear view of St. Paul's Cathedral, as you relax and snack away. They don't serve food here everyday, to encourage employees to purchase food from neighbouring small businesses.