Thanks to a badly planned transit, recently I got a chance to spend a day in London. While 24 hours is not enough time to understand or know a city by any stretch of imagination, it is ample time to form some ill-informed first impressions. Here is my list of empirical observations about London and Londoners.
English are awfully polite. Even when they almost push you under the bus. In my first hour in London, I narrowly escaped an English death. Not once, but twice. First I managed to jump out of the way of a speeding man only to end up in front of a speeding bus. But both the man and the bus were very polite and made sure that the experience did not bruise my ego.
Indians are now avenging the years of colonialism. By my rough estimation, there is one Singh or Kaur in BA ground staff for every two true blue British employees. The ratio gets better (for the Indians) when the sample under study is made up of immigration officials.
Innit is the wassup of London. It is used to fill the silences and as punctuation. And generally as a sign of Britishness.
London is a decompression zone between the west and the fareast. It is exactly midway between India and US and I donâ€™t mean just geographically. Londoners drive on the left side of the road but calculate distances in miles. Kids wear uniforms to schools. People in London drink tea but don't get it sugared already. On the road, they honk; they flash lights and give the driver in the next lane the bird. But when a pedestrian steps on to the road, they stop and become the epitome of virtue, patience and a crusader upholding the right of way. (See observation 1)
Cambridge needs to offer more faucetology courses and degrees. I used a lot of restrooms while I was there (All that tea I drank had to find a way out). But never once did I find a faucet that did not flash freeze my hands or boil them raw. Dear Brits, you can mix the hot and cold water before you it spews out of the tap, innit?
Londoners take their politeness to the shower. Bath tubs and showers have folding glass doors that only go half way across. I suppose they donâ€™t splash around much water.
Beer is for schmucks. If you want to get drunk, you have to order wine.
Day ends at five. After that there isn't much to do other than drink wine.
Five is the lucky charm. Shops close at five and legal age for drinking at home is 5!!! I bet London has the politest drunk 5 year olds in the whole world.
They love their brick buildings, wrought iron gates, ferris wheels and big clocks.
If you agree with my observations, pat me on my back and leave a comment. If you have more to add, leave a comment. If you disagree, send me a ticket to London so that I can go a verify your claims
(Photo Credit: Arthi Manohar)