«Da isch ja mega, sehr geil!»
My favourite from the many Schmirinskis skits (of Swiss TV fame) was one involving one of these hors-la-loi skiing down an unauthorised path. After having cleared some distance, he let out a string of Alpine yodel-ish exclamations ending in «Da isch ja mega, sehr geil!», which literally means How cool is that!? in English…
Lea Bridge station came (back) to life in one — 31 years after it closed down. (For those of us born after 1985 however, it’d be the inaugural opening.) «Da isch ja mega, sehr geil!» was my first reaction, for not only was it my first-ever station opening (outside of Ji’nan West station of the Beijing-Shanghai HSR), but it was my first on non-Swiss, non-Chinese soil. I took the opportunity to take a fair number of pictures — mostly souvenir snaps, too.
My train to Lea Bridge departed at 20:08 from Ponders End (actually it departed a minute late. We pulled into Lea Bridge at 20:20:38 (that’s from my iPhone records), and I pushed the Door open button and the whole crowd erupted into wild cheer. ▶
Consider it Mac OS X Public Beta for London’s rail & tube network. Within a couple of years, TfL Rail will give way to the mighty monster we’ve all been dying for (felt the most when Oxford Circus is no different than Xizhimen in Beijing, or People’s Square in Shanghai, underground trains-wise) — Crossrail.
I have always had this manic compulsion, of sorts, of trying new trains the moment they roll out. Sometimes, I get interviewed; more often than not, though, it’s just a secretive little trip to test the new system. Now in the case of TfL Rail services from Liverpool Street to Brentwood and Shenfield, I actually cheated by taking an Abellio Greater Anglia train some time back straight to Shenfield (where the Oyster card reader happily feasted itself on my pay-as-you-go credit; I was dim-witted to cram in with other commuters — not the most pleasant ride, obviously; plus you pay more during rush hour!). So this time, I actually took a train out to Brentwood, and in the process, snapped picture of almost all stations enroute. ▶
Where do I get my car on Sundays? Heathrow Airport. Thankfully, you get to choose where you pick your car up — you in essence arrive at any terminal, then choose the desk of your car rental company. I decided to give the recently re-done Heathrow Terminal 2 a try some weeks back before I headed to my rental car company at the airport. The one thing that comes to you after 14 years in China is this perception that all airports have to be big. Chengdu’s Terminal 2 certainly stunned us, as it took us forever to get from the plane to our taxi rank at the exit. (Barcelona El-Prat was huge as well, but at least it was more compact.) So I was looking for Heathrow’s latest addition to be huge, certainly landside. After all, this came after Beijing Capital International Airport’s Terminal 3, so it had to be inspired by China, or aspire to be of similar dimensions. Right? ▶
You know, I’m on no account bashing the iPhone 5. It’s got a fair bit of technical improvements, and that’s always good when something neat gets better. But there’s a problem: the consumerism.
I mean, seriously, go into any mall in and around Beijing — it’s now more European than a Swiss mall — like the country’s largest, the Glatt Centre just outside of Zurich. I know it has a few weird-looking bars or cafés, but oh well…
When you take a look at it, Chinese consumers — Chinsumers — are just totally mad on every last new thing. Look at the extents folks will go just get their paws on an iPhone — kidneys on sale, tyres swapped for hard, solid cash — and I’m sure we’ve not even seen the tip of the iceberg yet. This is just outright outrageous crass consumerism that makes the US go green with envy. It’s capitalism on steroids. It’s getting out of control. ▶