Friday, December 26, 2008

Cambridge tour --- The Backs, Cambridge punting, Gate of Honour, King College Chapel etc…

The summer of 2008 (Sept the 18), I revisited Cambridge again, now well equipped with audio podcast tour guide and becoming a tour guide for my mate too! Haha…

First, I introduced the Math Bridge… The urban legend has it that it was built based on the theory of Isaac Newton (which was a Cambridge Uni graduate) and without any nuts and bolts. And some naughty students not believing it disassembled the bridge, and can’t re-assemble it back to the original form without nuts and bolts. Of course all these myths are not true, and I am amazed that there are actually some tour guide books take that fictional stories as facts! Haha!!!  More stories on wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mathematical_Bridge

math bridge

A visit to Cambridge this time will be fruitless if I didn’t visit this pub called The Eagle… You might asked why? Haha, It is because it was a place where Watson and Crick always hang out while discussing the DNA theory, maybe over a pint or two of the ales! Woot! Bring on the beer, er I mean the theories! And the best part is that the pub is just in front of the lecture hall! How wonderful!

IMG_0617

Me in front of The Eagle Pub.

king's college chapel

And I walked to the King’s College.. This is the King’s College Chapel.

I would personally recommend to pay a couple of quid to enter this chapel, as it has the world’s largest Fan Vault Ceiling.

inside king college chapel

See what I mean? Notice the human there as a comparison. The view is simply marvellous!

IMG_0051

People listened tentatively to the tour talk.

inside king college chapel2

And me sitting far right from the crowd. I am not part of the crowd by the way… Haha!

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When I came out from the Chapel, I bumped into this warden, he is the person who responsible for the grass in the college ground! Yeah, so don’t you dare to walk on the grass! You might get a penalty charge from him! Oh unless you are a professor in this university, which you can roam freely.(citation needed for this info)

the backs

And we purposely walked to the world famous scene of all time in Cambridge—The Backs, with wonderfully sunshine and clouds!

After this, we went to the Gate of Honour.

sun dial2

sun dial Wonderful summer breeze with clouds, produced a magical photo! Haha!

As it was a short one day trip, we quickly finished up the tour with a cam punting.

punting

For those who fancy a podcast and map for the Cambridge city sigh seeing, why not take a visit to the URL below. It is completely free and put them in your mp3 player!

http://www.stridedesign.net/ShapeWalks/tour.aspx?rid=2050978&p=4&ix=4&pid=1&prcid=17&ppid=416

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Have yourself a very merry Christmas

I just came back form the midnight mass. Had a fantastic dinner too. Well, what a year… many things happen and I learned through those incidents. I haven’t got a chance to review my annual resolution, but will do it perhaps on the Boxing day… Well have a merry Christmas every one and enjoy the holiday! Here are 2 funny pictures that will make you laugh during the festive season. Cheers!

 

http://www.crazy-jokes.com/Christmas-Cartoons/pics/farter-xmas.jpg

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Pathophysiology of acute response allergy

So here you go, a lecture for the hypersentivity I for you. Haha!

When an allergen is encountered for the first time, it causes a response in TH2 lymphocyte, and produced interleukin-4 (IL-4). (Types of cytokines). These TH2 cells interact with B cells, through MHC II and costimulatory molecules CD40, CD80 and CD86). Coupled with signals provided by IL-4, this interaction stimulates the B cell to begin production of a large amount of a particular type of antibody known as IgE. Secreted IgE circulates in the blood and binds to an IgE-specific receptor (a kind of Fc receptor called FcεRI) on the surface of mast cells and basophils, both involved in the acute inflammatory response. The IgE-coated cells, at this stage are sensitized to the allergen.

 

A later exposure by the same allergen causes reactivation of these IgE, which then signal for the degranulation of the sensitized mast cell or basophil. These granules release histamine and other inflammatory chemical mediators (cytokines, interleukins, leukotrienes, and prostaglandins) into the surrounding tissue causing several systemic effects, such as vasodilation, mucous secretion, nerve stimulation and smooth muscle contraction.

This results in the previously described symptoms of rhinorrhea, itchiness, dyspnea, and anaphylaxis. Depending on the individual, allergen, and mode of introduction, the symptoms can be system-wide (calliscal anaphylaxis), or localised to particular body systems (for example, asthma to the respiratory system; eczema to the dermis).

 

http://www.web-books.com/eLibrary/Medicine/Immunological/Images/Allergy.gif

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Allergist and allergy…

Yeah I know, this blog has been neglected by me recently. I am trying to get back to my feet again after being hit by the stupid Acute viral nasopharyngitis, and of course the bloody airline incident that caused me my pre-christmas holiday, not to mention my moo-lah…

Just as you thought life is starting to pick it back up again, guess what… I suffer another blow of cr*p… now in the form of allergy! Such ironic… As an allergist, I suffer this crazy, annoying but non life threatening allergy attack! Face swollen like the Numa Numa Kid, lips swollen like the German sausage ( oh hang on, it is suppose to be plural, because it is 2 sausages combined into one!). #*(&%#&$@

I have been on 10mg of loratadine for the third nights, and I am still try to pin down the source of my allergy… sigh… Anyway, I have ruled out food that I have, clothes that I wore, soaps that I used… Now only left out the air that I breathe. Ha!

Anyway, tonight feel much better (touch wood!), but still will pay a visit to the NHS to do some tests, just to rule out other winter skin diseases… Right, better get back to my bed now. Stay tuned for my summer trip photos. (yeah I know I am so slow on these. Haha!) AND a lecture on the pathophysiology of acute response allergy. (Hypersensitivity type I). Woot! How exciting… bring your pop corn!

Allergy flow chart. (Illustration by Hans & Cassidy)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Randomness… Enough said, Rome I will conquer you.

A series of unfortunate events has lead up to me still in the UK at this moment, where originally I should be holidaying in Rome and Vatican City. Enough said, not gonna elaborate anything, just wanna say I lost some money and time and sleep while waiting in the airport! >< Nevertheless! I will conquer you Rome in the near future, just wait you see!

As you might have known, it is mid winter now and my blog posts seems to be still stuck in the summer posts. I have to many things to blog about and it seems now it has been out of sync with the seasons. Ha!

Anyhow, here is something for you, just to recap what had happen…

wollaton summer

The summer in Wollaton Park, where people sitting around the park doing their own thing.

IMG_0183  Another shot of Wollaton Park

Then comes Autumn…

IMG_0114 By the street

IMG_0419 in the campus

IMG_0423 with me

And comes Winter…which is NOW!!!

IMG_0541  In my back yard

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Row row row your boat...

All the universities that I've studied have a lake which allow students to kayak or boat rowing and a skinny dip.
Some day in the past summer, I had my first taste of boat rowing, well in University of Nottingham of course!

Less writing now and more photos ok? Here you go!

IMG_0579

IMG_0591

notts uni lake

Monday, December 01, 2008

The real Air Asia X price comparison – London to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Return flight.

Amid all hype and whistles of the launch of the super cheap £99 one way flight from London to Kuala Lumpur, upon careful investigation, the published fees does not include the high price of airport tax, other standard services and facilities provided.** That is why I took time to write this blog post to do a price comparison and options available for Air Asia X passengers.

**(Updated 02.12.08 GMT, Mark leaved a comment on my post stating he indeed managed to book the GBP99.00 each way(tax and surcharges included) + all other in flight extras charges. GBP247.00 are the total price he paid for the return trip, which is really good! But of course, there are very limited places for this price, so better hurry! More info please refer to the comment page. Thanks Mark!)

Please don’t get me wrong, I do support Air Asia X effort all this while which is evidently proved by my blog posts on air asia since 2007, but I guess passengers do have their rights to know where are those hidden charges and the actual price to pay for taking the flight.

I tried to book a return flight from London to Kuala Lumpur return flight (a sample run), 29Apr2009, return at 27May 2008. And that is what I got in the end

Depart

London (STN) to Kuala Lumpur LCCT (KUL)

Wed 29 Apr 2009 D7 2007

Depart 1810

Arrive 1410 (+1day)

London (STN) to Kuala Lumpur LCCT (KUL)

D7 2007 - Depart STN 6:10 PM 04/29/09

Arrive KUL 2:10 PM 04/30/09

Return

Kuala Lumpur LCCT (KUL) to London (STN)

Wed 27 May 2009 D7 2006

Depart 0950

Arrive 1650

Return

Kuala Lumpur LCCT (KUL) to London (STN)

D7 2006 - Depart KUL 9:50 AM 05/27/09

Arrive STN 4:50 PM 05/27/09

Depart Total 229.00 GBP

Depart Total 229.00 GBP

1 Guest @ 171.00 171.00 GBP

Taxes & fees 58.00 GBP


Return Total 234.00 GBP

Return Total 234.00 GBP

1 Guest @ 221.00 221.00 GBP

Taxes & fees 13.00 GBP


TOTAL FLIGHT TICKETS PRICE(Included tax and surcharge): £463***

***A typical price for a return ticket if you can’t manage to grab the super cheap promo ticket.

Bear in mind that at this price, no checked luggage facilities, no seat allocation (free sitting, food and comfort kit (which comprise of eye shade, pillow and blanket) available to you.


BREAKDOWN OF THE EXTRAS(Options available):

check in baggage: 1 bag 15kg £4, 20kg £10, 25kg £20 (online price, which is 50% off original price); comfort kit £5(online price, which is 20% off original price)

aax_kit

The comfort kit

food: Choices: Malaysian, international, vegetarian or kid (£7)

seat allocation: standard 5GBP, with extra legroom 20.00 GBP

So I get myself a comfort kit, meals, checked luggage of 20kg, standard seat allocation. The breakdown of the price:-

Services and Fees

Total: 49.00 GBP

Comfort Kit Guest 1 5.00 GBP

Meal Guest 1 7.00 GBP

Checked Baggage 20kg Guest 1 10.00 GBP

Meal Guest 1 7.00 GBP

Checked Baggage 20kg Guest 1 10.00 GBP

Advance Seat Request Fee Guest 1 10.00 GBP


Total(Include extras,tax and surcharge): 512.00 GBP

So guys, this is the real price you have to pay for a return flight London- Kuala Lumpur, all inclusive of tax and surcharge. So how is it fared as compared with other full serviced airlines? Just check out the comparison table below…

Comparison is based on 3 airlines: Air Asia X, Emirates (which offer cheapest flight available to KL from UK before the emerging of Air Asia X) and Singapore Airlines. The comparison are based on the same/CLOSEST departure LOCATION, date and return LOCATION, date to make the comparison as accurate as possible


AIR ASIA X

EMIRATES

SINGAPORE AIRLINES

FLYING TIME

TO KL = 12HRS

TO UK = 15HRS

TO KL = 14HRS 10MIN

TO UK= 15HRS 15MINS

TO KL=14HRS35MIN

TO UK= 15HRS 10MIN

STOPOVER

non

TO KL=3 HHOURS 55MINS DUBAI

TO UK= 3HRS DUBAI

TO KL= 50MINS SG

TO UK=50MINS SG

EXTRAS

Food (£7)(online price),

On board entertainment system = (£7)*,

Seat allocation (£5-20), comfort kit (£5)

All included

All included

Baggage

1 bag=15kg (£4), 20kg(£10), 25(£20) (online price)

Economy class= 20kg allowance

Economy Class=20kg allowance

Total price (include tax and surcharge)

£519.00

£589.15

£675.80

*Thales group the manufacturer for flight on-board entertainment system apparently has a contract with Air Asia to build the system for them. And the system will be used on Air Asia X to Australia, and speculated by me to London as well. Read the details here. The price indicated for in-flight entertainment is solely my speculation as it is not indicated as an option while purchasing the tickets online. It might be FOC as well for this long haul flight.


The Verdict:

As you might have figured out yourself at this time, Air Asia X tickets is £70 cheaper than the cheapest full services airlines- Emirates. However, if you are taking account into time saved on flying and flexibility of having baggage and other amenities, Air Asia X stands out to be the clear winner for the Most-value for the money airlines.

Now, I just have to wait till the maiden flight and hope to get a free ticket which I am keeping on dreaming to check out the level of service provided. Stay Tuned!

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