A Yankees guide to good old London town

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London: A big city with a small town feel

I feel quite lucky to say that I have been living in London for three months now and I couldn’t be more pleased to have had this opportunity in such a beautiful city. After getting over the brutal truth that I nearly threw half of my savings account away after the conversion to GBP, I was able to fully enjoy this city and all that it has to offer. Although I have been here for three months, and have only a few weeks remaining, I can say with certainty that there are areas of the city that I won’t have the opportunity to see at all, for there are just too many bloody things to see and do! As author Samuel Johnson’s sums up perfectly, “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life itself.” However, I have taken advantage of the many sites and bites that can be found in London and here I share with you my thoughts of this city.

From the double-decker buses, to the iconic red photo booths, there was no mistaking that I was in London when I stepped off the plane. At first, seeing cars drive on the wrong side of the road was nauseating, but after narrowly escaping death while crossing the street for the first time, I quickly realized the importance of paying attention to those conspicuous “Look Right à” signs painted at nearly every crosswalk (thanks for looking out for us London!). I love how walkable this city is, and the pieces of history that are scattered along every street keep me interested and continuously exploring. The streets are not overwhelming and the buildings do not loom high over your head, as they do in the new cities of America. Rather, the city feels manageable and inviting.

Let’s talk lingo. Behind that infamous accent, which still makes me feel like I am on set of a Harry Potter movie, lies some of the most interesting words in the (British) English language. I have found that it is impossible to pass a day without hearing “Cheers,” and “Mate.” I am fairly confident that Londoners are capable of using these two words in any situation, from toasting in the pub to saying “thank you.” Confusion abounded when I hear the word “quid” for the first time. Excuse me, was that “squid” or “quid”? (A quick Google search provided that answer for me). One of the most important lessons I had to learn was that “chips” mean French fries, and “crisps” mean chips. It’s all quite confusing.

It seems that all cities are bursting at the seams with tourist traps, and London is no exception. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I spent my first weeks here touring the famous sites in the city, took my Facebook picture (even got a few nice profile pictures out of the deal), realized the dodgy scene that is Leicester Square on a Saturday night, and learned the hard way that the Tube closes at midnight (this aspect I will never understand). However, it’s safe to say that my time after these initial explorations was much more memorable. I embraced pub culture, and have taken quite a liking to hard apple cider (I’m still wondering if this can be considered one of my five daily servings of fruit). London’s food markets are fantastic on the weekends, as are the vast parks and lawns. Some of my favorite memories from my time here were from my random adventures wandering the city and popping into various cafés, shops, and museums.

London seems to me like a giant neighborhood, where I have come to know the people in the stores and cafés I frequent weekly. There is a laidback atmosphere that blankets the city (as well as a shield of grey clouds most of the time) and I have come to appreciate the Londoners’ sense of humor and way of life. I am envious that so many of you call this place home, but I know that I will be back later in my life to see this constantly evolving city. Cheers!

This has been written by Lucas Piazza , one of the marketing interns at umi Marketing . I think he has a great job and hope you enjoy his guest post!

Londres, un sueño hecho realidad

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Our new intern at umi Marketing give you a Spaniards Guide to London… In Spanish! Enjoy!

El 5 de abril cumplí uno de mis sueños que era el de poder hacer las prácticas en Londres y si tengo la oportunidad me quedaré a trabajar.

La atracción que tengo por esta ciudad me viene desde el verano del 2005 cuando estuve un mes en Eastbourne estudiando inglés, a partir de ahí siempre dije que mi sueño era el de vivir en Londres y por ahora ese sueño se está haciendo realidad. Los que me conocéis sabéis que aquí soy feliz y  aunque esté lejos siempre estaréis muy cerca. Os agradezco vuestro apoyo que es fundamental.

Llevo 15 días en esta magnífica ciudad y, aparte de seguir con mi racha ya que siempre que estoy en Londres no llueve, estoy encantado de estar aquí tanto por la ciudad como en el trabajo y con mis compañeros de piso, pero de lo que voy a hablar es de Londres.

Desde el 2005 ha cambiado mucho como es normal en una ciudad tan grande como esta, pero desde que estoy aquí la noto muy alegre, no sé si será por la boda del Príncipe Williams y Kate Middleton o si es por  la proximidad de la Semana Santa o por los Juegos Olímpicos pero lo que sé es que la noto diferente.

Hay un dicho que dice “Si estás aburrido de Londres, estás aburrido de la vida” y es verdad porque aquí puedes hacer muchas cosas de lo más diverso, por ejemplo desde ir a ver un musical hasta ir a un museo, o desde  ir de compras a estar en un oasis natural en medio de la ciudad como es Hyde Park; en definitiva que es imposible aburrirse.

Si me dan a elegir mi lugar favorito de Londres te diría que es todo Londres porque no sabría decirte un sitio en concreto porque depende del momento y de la situación te diría un sitio u otro.

Dicen que uno se siente londinense una vez vive aquí da igual el tiempo que esté, yo me siento un londinense más y eso que llevo 15 días nada más, eso es por la manera que ves la ciudad, ya que la ves como si estuvieras mil veces en Piccadilly Circus o si pasearas por el mercado de Portobello Road todos los sábados,… no la miras como un turista que va despacio paseado por la ciudad más bien todo lo contrario, vas a mil por hora para no llegar tarde a trabajar y para llegar pronto a casa a descansar.

Lo único que no me gusta y es porque están en reformas para las Olimpiadas de año que viene, es que los fines de semana cierran algunas estaciones y líneas de metro pero si se quiere mejorar hay que sufrir con los cortes y los retrasos que eso acarrea.

Para acabar, quería deciros que si tenéis la oportunidad de estar unos días en Londres no dudéis en visitar esta magnífica ciudad porque vale la pena ya lo veréis.


Charity Raffle for Cambodian Charities and a little Video

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Hey Guys. It has been a long time since Cambodia but last night we held a little fund-raising raffle at a party at the umi Hotel in London. All in all we have raised £200 which has been split between the 5 Charities I visited in Siem Reap! It was great and from my personal visits there I really know that the money will help the local people of Cambodia. We also put together a little montagey video of my trip to Cambodia which you can click on here —>Cambodia Cambodia. I hope you enjoy. If you forgot which charities they were … Here they are:

Sala Bai Hotel School www.salabai.com

Trailblazer www.thetrailblazerfoundation.org

Globalteer Sunday Football League www.globalteer.org/globalteer-soccer-league.html

ABC Rice School www.abc-rice.com

Grace House Community Centre www.gracehousecambodia.org

Off to St. Petersburg to visit a client of our with umi Marketing to take some snaps of the city and the Hostel so hope to share those with you next week.

Poster for our Raffle


A little TLC within Hospitality Management

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I feel fortunate to have learnt very early on in my career that it is extremely important for the manager of any team or business to help create an environment that staff feel a part of, which in turn, enables them to enjoy their time with you. The hotel industry is often seen as underpaid, overworked and lacking in enjoyment; basically a hard slog. I strongly believe that this stereotype can be broken and I really try and make sure that all staff, in all departments, are involved in the decision making. I give them ownership in the business by working with them to drive innovation. Read the rest of this entry »

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