09/11: Days 4, 5, 6 & 7 - Cardiff University

This post is a continuation of my previous posts regarding my trip to UK. Previous posts regarding this trip are:

Tea with the Queen
Day 1: Arrival at the University of Leeds
Days 2, 3 & 4 - University of Leeds

After a five hour journey, which we spent dozing in our seats and listening to music, we reached Cardiff University.

Cardiff Bay
Cardiff Bay

The first impression I got of Cardiff was a very pleasant one. It was sunny with sea gulls flying around the area cawing. The air smelled fresh and clean; typical of areas near any sea. We took our bag(s) off the hired bus and walked with them to the reception where we were given keys for our rooms. For the duration of the journey, we were given rooms in the Senghennydd Hall. We deposited our bags in our rooms and decided to explore the area after freshening up since our schedule was clear for the day.

Queen Street
Queen Street

Maps were provided to us and we made a trip to Queen Street in the City Centre near the university. It was a seven to ten minute walk away from our residence. The street was full of people enjoying the day and going around shopping. Shops lined both sides of the street and as had been the case at the City Centre at Leeds, the senior students accompanying me made a beeline towards Next and other stores around it. I was quickly bored with their activities and visited other shops in and around the area. We also saw the Cardiff Castle from outside since visiting times were over. We took a bus to Red Dragon City and I was surprised to see that Harry Potter and Order of the Phoenix film was being shown that day. I guess I totally forgot about my interest in the Harry Potter related stuff due to the trip! I got the schedule for Odeon but wasn't able to see the movie there since it was getting late. We further went to the bay and saw plenty of interesting buildings in the way. It was a fun day and my feet were sore by the time we made it back to Senghennydd Hall. We went out for dinner and being tired, I went to sleep in anticipation of the next day when we were supposed to start the official schedule. The nearby Church bells tolled at various intervals throughout the night which was rather pleasant. Compared to the bells I heard in other Churches later on, the bells I heard near Senghennydd Hall were positively heavenly!

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18/07: Days 2, 3 & 4 - University of Leeds

This post is a continuation of my previous posts regarding my trip to UK. Previous posts regarding this trip are:

Tea with the Queen
Day 1: Arrival at the University of Leeds

When we woke up the next morning, we had a tight schedule ahead of us comprising of visits to various university departments and labs.

After breakfast, we headed to the Agilent Lecture Theatre in the Engineering School for a welcome talk by Dr. McLernon (Post-Grad Research Tutor) and Professor Paul Harrison (Head of Engineering School).

Agilent Hall

We were then given detailed presentations on the research activities at the Institute of Integrated Information Systems (I3S). Research at I3S is concentrated in various fields like communications engineering, instrumentation and positioning, etc. We were told that research in communications engineering includes all aspects of fixed, mobile and satellite communications, radio wave propagation, signal processing and coding. A pretty vast field, if there ever was one! :-)

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15/07: Day 1: Arrival at the University of Leeds

This post is a continuation of my previous post(s) regarding my trip to UK. Previous post(s) regarding this trip are:

Tea with the Queen

This is some of the stuff I wrote for the blog. Yes, wrote, not typed. Well, it is typed now. Anyway, without further delay...

I am sitting in my room at Lyddon Hall at the University of Leeds after a full day of travel.

Our flight from Islamabad to Manchester had a stopover at Dubai. Emirates is a stickler for stopping at Dubai on long routes which is rather frustrating. All in the name of their duty free shops.

We left Islamabad Sunday morning, delayed by a security issue involving a man boarding the wrong flight. The aircraft was a Boeing 777-200. It's length was on the small side, sort of like an Airbus. The delay mentioned above in our connecting flight cost us our next flight to Manchester. The next Emirates flight headed to Manchester from Dubai was at 1430 (Dubai time) so we had about 6 hours to spare.

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14/07: Tea with the Queen

Tonight, I depart for UK. I am already giddy in anticipation of my flight since I love air planes and the queasy feeling at take-off. :D

This is my second trip outside Pakistan, first one being to Kuwait a couple years back. I would be accompanied by a contingent of fellow students and a NUST faculty member. The trip is mostly aimed at visiting various universities where various activities are planned for us. The thing I am looking forward most of all is interaction with different people and getting to know and share their point of view regarding topics of common interest. The exposure to a different culture would also be good.

However, I am already worrying about things like availability of Halal food, presence of Mosques where we are going, schedules of events and travel and generally missing Pakistan. I wonder if I will miss my country enough by the end of the trip to make me homesick. These musings are just a scratch off the surface of my mind as it is right now.

British Airways

This is just a starting post for this trip and if the facilities (computers/internet + time) are available, I would post updates and pics under the travel category (categories section on menu on right side).

Regarding the trip, here are some tips for prospective travellers regarding money matters.

- If you intend to get Traveller Cheques for British Pounds Sterling, they are only available from American Express branch in Blue Area, Islamabad. Alternatively, you can also get them from Riaz money changers, also in Blue Area, Islamabad. Travellers Cheques for American Dollars are available everywhere. you can get them from any bank or other money changers.

- Traveller Cheques cost more since the conversion rates charged are higher than the normal cash conversion rates. The difference I found was about Rs.1.5 for each Pound Sterling. Therefore, it is nearly always better to use credit cards instead of Traveller Cheques.

And about tea with the Queen, I prefer kaivah*! :P

* Kaivah = Green Tea.

Edit (04/08/2007) - I have returned home, finally and will post stuff about my visit as soon as I am able to write it to my satisfaction. Sorry but there won't be a lot of posts regarding my trip, just a couple posts, some of which I wrote on paper and some which I still have to write, summarizing the trip.

Next: Day 1: Arrival at the University of Leeds

09/02: The Trip of a Lifetime

Carla Allen

Pakistan isn’t the most obvious choice for a school trip, but that’s exactly where four students and their teacher from Moulsham High School have been, to experience a trip of a lifetime.

Four Year 10 students, Carmel Johnson, Hannah Utting, Becky Boyd and Lucy Davis and their Geography teacher Miss Allen got the opportunity to travel to Pakistan after Moulsham High became one of five schools to win a national competition to produce a 15 minute presentation about the country.

The girls won the first prize of a ten day VIP trip to Pakistan starting in Islamabad before going on to Peshawar and then Lahore. Organised by Harlow based IT company Ahkter Computers, the purpose of the trip was to give students an insight into a country which often receives a negative press and allow them to form their own opinions.

Miss Allen and Carmel outside a Mosque.


You can read the rest of the article on the BBC UK site.

This shows that when one is allowed to form informed opinions instead of one sided biased opinions, the viewpoint is much more balanced and beneficial for all involved.

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