Wednesday, July 18, 2007

An open letter to tourists of London

Dear Tourists in London,
I'm glad you're here enjoying this great city. It's awesome (except of course for the rain we've had every day since June 1, how hot the tube gets when the temperature goes over 75 deg F, and the fact that everything here costs 2x as much as it does anywhere else in the world). I love this city, I hope you do too.

However, I have a couple of suggestions/favors I'd like to propose to you today regarding London's public transportation system. It's easy, gets you where you want to go, albeit at astronomically high cost. So consider these the few freebies you'll get:
  1. As you get on the tube, please try to do so in something resembling the orderly manner that the British have refined down to an art form. It's not the Continent - we queue here. I like queuing - it works. (No cuts, no butts, no coconuts.)
  2. For example, your 3' x '3 x 2' backpack in which you seemed to have packed your entire life for a 2 week jaunt around England won't fit through the turnstiles no matter how much you try to pull it through like the Little Tortoise That Could. (Now un-wedge your backpack and step aside or I'll miss my train; that makes me grumpy. )
  3. When you race up to be the first person at the turnstile, don't choose that time to find your transport ticket. If it's not in your hand, you've negated your place at the front of the line. (Excuse you, now move over. )
  4. I realize London's streets are a total nightmare - I mean, it takes cabbies like 2 years of study just to qualify to take the certification test. The "London A to Z" (yes, I do pronounce it "A to Zed") is a wise investment. But I advise not you to choose one step past the exit turnstile of the tube, the bottom of the stairs exiting Victoria station (the single busiest station in London), or crowd the dead-center of the sidewalk just outside of the station to start consulting with your entire tour group of 18 over your "A to Z". (I happen to know where I'm going, so get outta my way.)
So, I hope these hints are just reminders of common sense that I'm sure all tourists innately possess, but may forget temporarily amid the excitement of this fabulous city.

Think of the tube entrances & exits as well as the sidewalks as our highways & interstates, since most of us don't have cars here. Anything you'd give me the finger for at home if I did on the highway, I equally would consider un-advisable when you're on the roads & public transport systems here. (And just as an FYI, road rash doesn't look good on you, so would you mind moving out of my way now?)

Best regards,
A fast-walking lady who's got somewhere to be that isn't Madame Tussaud's.

PS - for those thinking I've completely gone mental, I point out that there's not a little bit of sarcasm in this! ;)


Masque said...

Hehehehe that is SO exactly like my usual rants when I used to ride the Paris subway for my daily commute!

Do people also try to get in the car even though you're still trying to get out? Gotta love that.


Danielle said...

Ooh, yes, totally. I think the only difference is that the guy over the intercom chides people when they do it. And being "tsk"ed at here in London is the equivalent of like public corporal punishment.

Alex said...

I could have written that exact post for New York City. And many of them are Brits!
Although a fair number are from New Jersey.