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London Thoughts

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Thoughts on London

I've been to London before but that was 14 years ago. It is interesting to me how different yet familiar it feels to me. Some of the differences are due to the city changing (some technology updates) and some are due to my perspective changing as an adult. A big difference is the use of technology for tickets on trains and undergrounds. I wonder how much changed due to Covid specifically versus the change in common technology from 14 years ago. On the underground you can use contactless pay to get into the underground and use the same card at the exit then at the end of the day your total is calculated and that is what your card is charged. When I was here last we used paper maps to get around. Now with a smart phone Daron and I used Google Maps which is much easier. I still like the feel of finding a route on the map and walking it without the navigation guidance but it was still easier to reorient myself if I got turned around.

Some differences that are probably more due to my perspective being different now as an adult are how tourist friendly London is and how diverse the people I saw were. I say London is very tourist friendly because everything is labeled well and clearly, the public transit maps are very easy to use, the public transit structure supports traveling without a vehicle (very tourist friendly especially driving on the opposite side of the road). The variety of public transit options are amazing. Cycles, motor scooters, buses, trains, and the underground. There are signs and stickers on the ground with directions to tourist attractions, finding stores, post offices, certain restaurants are easy because everything is very clearly labeled. Also well labeled is the pedestrian, cycle, and road crossings. I feel London is very diverse do the the different types of people I saw and the languages I heard spoken. I don't know if the diversity is from tourists or immigrants, but it is there!

Some culture differences I noticed are the fast pace of people on the street, the normal behavior in restaurants, and how fast people talk. I believe the pace difference in walking and talking is not total different from America in general but different from the South specifically. I am a fast walker and talker in the South but being in London makes me feel like a turtle! The behavior in restaurants/pubs really through Daron and I for a loop as most places we went into were seat yourselves and order at the bar. Additionally most restaurants are very small and it is common for different parties to share tables due to space restrictions. There is a ton of outdoor seating here as well which is used a lot more because the weather is cooler than in the South.