My Love/Hate Relationship with London

Oct 31, 2008

London is one of the most fast pace chaotic cities in the world, which clashes majorly with my relaxed and easy going personality.  For six months, I endured the grind of working in London and I stuck with it all the way through.   It might not appear to have been an ideal situation for me, but it wasn’t all that bad at times.  In fact, my 3rd summer in Europe was rather enjoyable and I made the most of it.  I did my time and I’m ready for the reward.  So here now are my thoughts of London, the city.

THE GOOD

For a travellor, London is perhaps the best place to base yourself out of.  With 3 major airports, flights to and from anywhere within Europe are both easy and cheap, so I took full advantage.  It seemed like just about every other week, I would be flying or training to somewhere for the weekend.  This worked out well for me and I saw new countries and vistied old friends.  Also flying to North America is a mere 6 or 7 hours away, and although I didn’t have time to visit anywhere in Asia or Africa, I’m sure the trip would be an easy one to pull off as well.  Australia is quite far away and expensive, but then again, it’s far away from pretty much everywhere.

The entertainment in London is endless.  As a music lover, there are almost too many shows to choose from.  On average during the peak of summer, I would attend 1 or 2 shows a week, and this does not even include all the rock festivals that you can easily take part in.  And then there are the regular broadway shows, musicals, and summer festivals.  If I was also into football or any other english sports, I would have zero time to sleep, not that I do much of already.  Needless to say, there is always something going on and you will never be bored.

But most important of all, the people are what make places, and having good friends in London always helps.  With an international collection of nationaties, meeting new and interesting people is also very easy.  On any given night, good times can be had with a simple get together for a pint.  The culture of London is quite festive and the pubs are very much a huge part of this culture.

THE BAD

Although I am fortunate to have met some good people, the majority of Londoners are some what different from what I am use to.  They don’t seem to pay much attention to anything except for what’s on their mind.  You can just see it in the way they walk into each other on the streets because they simply just aren’t watching where they’re walking nor paying attention.  And as much as I love to travel, I’m not a fan of tourists, which London has the most of anywhere.

The kids of London are some the worst behaved, as evident in all the teen stabbings that occur.  This is directly linked to the parents not taking responsibility.  I’ve also noticed how people tend to pass the buck a lot rather than accepting responsibility in this city.

The transportation is good and it gets you pretty much every where you want, but it is too over crowed, too stuffy and hot even in cold weather, and all these engineering works and signal failures that keep occurring.  You must also plan your day based on the routes of the transportation because it is the only way to get around town, as I would never imagine driving in London.

The media spends too much time reporting totally irrelevant news.  You have to go 20 pages deep into a newspaper before you actually read some real news.  People are just too into their celebrity news and must be up to date on what the stars are doing.  Amy Winehouse is all over the place.  They even follow the every move of footballer wives and girl friends.  And although I don’t normally watch tv, British televesion is just horrendous, with the exception of the show Top Gear, which is absolutely brilliant.

London shuts down way too early.  Many pubs close before midnight, which then forces you to pay the outrageous cover charges to get into the ones which are open late.  And then there is the underground, which doesn’t open late enough for a transportation system that is so heavily relied upon.  In general, the time at which most things close down in London, is usually around the time when people normally go out at in New York.

London has too many rowdy Australians.  My theory is that Aussies in Whistler are active, adventurous, and outdoorsy.  The Aussies in London are drunk, rowdy, and annoying.  And the Aussies in Australia are lazy.  It siezes to amaze me how much Australians love hanging out with each other, when they could do exactly the same back home. 

AND THE QUEEN

The Queen was once about 10 meters away from me, when she visited my university in Vancouver.  Of course there were a mere 500 people within those 10m.

Queen is what you think of when you think of Wembley Stadium.  This is what Dave Grohl said when Foo Fighters played 2 sold out shows at Wembley Stadium, while announcing that this was when they know that they’ve made it as a band.

Queens of the Stoneage fucking rocks and Josh Homme kicks some serious ass.

Queen Amidala was played by Natalie Portman, who is much better than Kiera Knightley.

The Sacramento Queens is what Shaquille O’Neil once referred the Sacramento Kings to, during an interview.

The Good, The Bad, and The Queen, are a great band from the UK, who actually don’t have an official name.  The Good, The Bad, and The Queen is just the name of their album.

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