Distractions, reflections

David Ing, at large … Sometimes, my mind wanders

There can be a difference between vacation photos and travel photos.  Seven days in the UK in five cities wasn’t a leisurely plan, and business called for a few more train rides than originally planned.  For a coordinated series of research meetings, I arrived at Heathrow from Finland, and Gary arrived almost the same time from the U.S.  We took the tube to Waterloo station, and dragged our luggage to our hotel along the scenic South Bank of the Thames, seeing Westminister Abbey across the river.

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Having already been away from home for week, I craved Chinese cuisine.  We rode the tube to Piccadilly Circus, and wandered to find Chinatown on Gerrard Street — an easy street to remember, since the Chinatown at home bears the same name.
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With the history of the Tavistock Institute at top of mind, we rode the tube up to Swiss Cottage to look at the Tavistock Clinic.  The Institute and Clinic used to be colocated, but are now independent entities.  On a late Sunday evening, the facilities were closed.

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As a change from riding the London underground, we decided to return to the hotel on a double decker bus to see more of the city.  We rode from Swiss Cottage on a path including Wellington Road, to Victoria Station.

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The next day, I acted as scribe while Gary conducted an interview with Sir Richard Bowlby, on the ties between the research between by John Bowlby and cybernetics.  Upon learning that the Bowlby archives are at the Wellcome Library, Gary and I decided to change our travel plans to reroute back through London for one day.

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Accommodating a tight schedule, Dav and LJ met us at Paddington Station a few hours before we caught the train to Oxford.  LJ found a pub and then a restaurant nearby, after consulting Internet reviews on her mobile phone.

August 22nd, 2011

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In Riverside (or South Riverdale), we live near one of Toronto’s Chinatowns. As with most Chinatowns, parking a car is annoying. It’s close enough to home for a walk, but bicycling is better: two wheels are speedier, and bike racks mean that that I can carry more than with two arms. The ride westbound takes me past the Queen-Saulter Library. When the boys were young, Diana spent a lot of time in the Queen-Saulter Parent-Child Centre behind the library.

At the northwest corner of Queen Street East at Broadview Avenue is the New Broadview House Hotel. The strip club on the ground floor marks the neighbourhood as ungentrified, although rumours of a renovation into boutique hotel sometimes appear.

On the southeast corner of Queen Street East and Broadview Avenue is a caribbean restaurant, The Real Jerk. The bright colours make it a landmark, and disguise the prior history of the building as former branch of the Royal Bank.

The 504 King streetcar comes from downtown, follows Queen Street East for a few blocks, and then turns north onto Broadview Avenue.

The Cai Yuan store at the southeast corner of Broadview Avenue and Gerrard Street always has large displays of fresh fruit outside facing north, and vegetables and packaged goods facing west.

On the south side of the Gerrard Street, as the next building east, is a branch of Trinity Supermarket. This building was renovated a few years ago, and I shop here often.

May 29th, 2008

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While the previous trip to Paris included my colleagues, the follow-up meeting was scheduled as solo to save expenses. Since I’m not a huge fan of French cuisine, I decided to see what Chinatown in Paris is like. The closest metro stop is at Porte d’Italie.

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To the north is the typical Paris traffic circle.

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Around the corner and walking south, the street mixed residential, with a typical neighbourhood places.

January 16th, 2008

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If I have a choice of hotel locations when I’m on business travel, I prefer one next to a Chinese “duck hanging in the window” rice-and-noodles joint. The menu is predictable, and these places survive on repeat business. In Washington, DC, one of the corporate negotiated hotels happens to be next to Chinatown, and a key Metrorail station at Gallery Place. I took the subway from the airport. Coming up from the subway platform, it seems as though the station designers took the Chinese neighbourhood theme seriously.

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Chinatown in DC isn’t more than a few blocks long. There’s probably fewer than ten Chinese restaurants there.

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October 18th, 2007

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The heat and humidity in Nara was wearing us down by late afternoon. Since we had a 3-day Kansai Thru Pass, we decided to take advantage of the air conditioning in the rail cars to rest up on a long ride across the region: from Nara in the southeast to Kobe in the northwest. The trip took us almost two hours, so we recovered some energy by the time we reached Kobe. The train station is the middle of high-rise towers on a flat plain. The hills to the north have prestigious residential neighbourhoods.

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The harbour is to the south, but we weren’t particularly interested in walking down to see the maritime museum.

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July 26th, 2007

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