London is a wonderful town to...
London is a wonderful town to walk around. I would take any first time visitor to the Serpetine. It is the most tranquil park I have ever visited. Swans and ducks float along the glassy water while children giggle and run along the shores. Spellbounding I miss the civility of Londontown. I miss the white townhouses in Chelsea/Brompton and the flowerstands that dot almost every corner.
Chris, me & the Tattoo story
There are loads of Burger King restaurants around London and they have far better tasting Burgers than the awful McDonald's do. Anyway, here is a little story about the first time me and Chris went to London together, back in the summer of 1991.
We were sat eating a Whopper, when this young French woman came up to us and was remarking on our Tattoos. She asked if she could photograph us? I said yes, just thinking that she wanted to photograph Chris, because he is covered from head to foot in Tattoos. But no, she didn't want a photograph of Chris, she wanted one of me. She said that in France it was very unusual to see a woman with many Tattoos; I only have 5, two on each arm and one on my left shoulder, but this fascinated her. So she took my pic, so now I'm famous in France! hahaha ;)
It's funny really, over the last 8 or 9 years or so, nearly every girl and woman are getting tattoos, and no matter what the weather, they've all got to flash them off! What posers & saddos. I don't particularly like my tattoos now, as nearly every other woman having them has made them so common, so no one ever sees mine, not that I was in the posing habit of showing them off all the time anyway.
I used to sit down on bench in Trafalqar Square while watching kids feeding pigeons (eventhough i think is illegal). Watching children laughing and playing with the pigeon's does relax me much and reminds me how simple is life is.
Anarchy at the bus stops - aaaaarrrgh!
Britain has a justifiable reputation for polite, orderly queuing. Usually, if a British person sees a queue (what Americans call a 'line'), they are tempted to join it, regardless of what it is queueing for ;-) And everyone without exception knows who-has been-waiting-longer-than-the-next-person. If you push into a queue, or try and queue jump, you will get... oooh... an angry look or worse!!
NOT SO IN LONDON - when it comes to queueing for buses London has declared itself an independent country with its own rules. People purchase their ticket from the machine, then hang around the bus stop in large disorganised crowds (the people 'in-the-know' hang around at the spot where the door to the bus will halt *wink*). When the bus arrives it is everyone-for-themselves as a scrum of would-be passengers pile towards the open door. Aaaaarghhh!!
No doubt this phenomenum is a product of many years of frustration about the public transport system and its inadequacies. And maybe the large numbers of the London population (and tourists) from more vulgar cultures who do not appreciate the fine art of waiting your turn ;-)
So my advice is if you are waiting for a bus with a large crowd of people, make sure you are first to the door and try not to get trampled in the rush :-)
Why am I writing this ? I must be sad or what ?
Don't forget it can still get quite chilly in the summer - bring a jumper and something waterproof for the infamous London drizzle. In Blairs rip-off Britain many over-the-counter medicines are stupidly expensive. Stuff like Imodium (squit relief tablets) are several pounds in the U.K but pennies elsewhere. Black and white film is difficult to find these days. Camping equipment is only needed for so-ho, pink shirts, studed leather jackets, berets etc..... In general it would seems rather pointless recommending anything for London, as in london you can buy just about anything that is on sale somewhere in the world.
The range of restaurants is also astounding - I believe it is true that every country on earth is represented by a restaurant somewhere in London.
On the other hand certain things like clothes and CD's are much more expensive than in the US or most parts of Europe - don't come expecting bargains.
Ciggarettes are also very heavily taxed in the UK - stock up before you come.