Saturday, June 06, 2009

London is Now

I'm in London now and wondering how I haven't yet been run over by a taxi driving the wrong way. Step off the curb at home and you always look to your left first. Do that in London and you will be squashed like a meat pie on the subway tracks.

Actually people just sort of ignore the cross walk signs and play chicken with the taxi cabs and double decker busses. Sometimes they even use their baby carriages as improvised human shields. If they see a taxi coming and the crosswalk is red, but they think they might make it accross without being squashed, I have seen them lead with the baby carriage and use it as a method of forcing the taxi cab driver to slow down just enough. After all, running over a full grown Brit is one thing, but squashing a little baby Brit in a carriage is quite another matter.

The other day I went for a walk in the City district of London. It's the original London from Shakespeare's day when there were only 200,000 people living here. All the important buildings are there. The stock market is there. The strangest thing happened at about 6 PM. Suddenly there were hundreds of men swarming the streets, no actually, thousands of men swarming the streets and they were all wearing the same damn suit! I swear to God. I assume they were stock brokers because they all had the same sort of stressed out stern expression. All the suits, and I mean all, were either dark gray or dark blue - no exceptions. And all the shirts were white - no exceptions. Some shirts had stripes, but they were always white. Many of the men stopped for a pint at one of the hundreds of pubs in the area. It was as if I was in the middle of a stock broker zombi movie.

The last time I was here, about 10 years ago, there seemed to be a McDonalds on every street corner. Now, there are still plenty of McDonalds, but now Starbucks is king. Walk down any major street in London and you cannot walk for five minutes without seeing at least two Starbucks. It's absolutely amazing.

I went to the doctor today for a sinus infection. It was absolutely free. I didn't have to pay a penny. I walked out of the hospital feeling like I just got away with shoplifting or something.

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