Friday, March 25, 2016
Today was the first sunny day in a while and it finally started to feel like spring here in London. The temperature was in the 60s, there was lots of sunshine, the skies were bright blue and everyone was out enjoying the beautiful weather. I had been waiting for a day like today to walk around London with my camera and become a tourist for the day.
I’ve been in London for almost three months now and the more time I spend here, the smaller and smaller London becomes. I don’t mean that in a literal sense the city is shrinking, but more that my perspective of London is getting smaller. When I first arrived London seemed huge, overwhelmingly so. Now, I think I can find my way around the city pretty easily. I’m getting the hang of where I am in relation to other parts of the city. I don’t need to depend on Google Maps as much (although it is extremely helpful). And I even feel comfortable giving someone directions.
London really isn’t as big as I thought it was when I first got here; the more exploring I do, the more familiar I’ve become with what it means to be a tourist and a true Londoner.
So in case you find yourself in London some day here is a list of do’s and don’ts of how to act like a Londoner:
Do be polite: Kindness is key in England (personally I think that should be a general rule in every part of the world, but the Brits know best).
Do drink tea: It is not a stereotype! Stop in for afternoon tea or grab your “cuppa” on the go.
Do say ‘sorry’: Whether you did something or not, your best bet is to apologize anyway. ‘Sorry’ is probably one of the most frequent phrases used among Londoners.
Do stand on the right side of the escalator: Only use the left-hand side of the escalator if you plan on walking up.
Do wear black: I really don’t know what it is, but black never goes out of season here.
Do look right: Remember to look right, left, right because cars are moving on the opposite side of the road in London!
Do wait for the little green man: If you are nervous about crossing the street, just wait for the little green man to tell you when to cross.
Do let people off the train first: Common sense, but let people off the train first before you rush on. There is plenty of time before the doors close.
Do hold on to something on the Tube: Unless you want to fall on your face, I suggest grabbing hold of something.
Don’t talk on the Tube: O.K., you can talk, but don’t be obnoxiously loud. The only people who talk loud on trains are tourists and drunkards.
Don’t make eye contact on the Tube: Unless you want to be uncomfortable for the next five tube stops do not make eye contact.
Don’t stand in the middle of the street: People are moving on the streets. Don’t get in their way; pull off to the side if you need to stop.
Don’t lose your oyster card: Your oyster card is your transportation lifeline in London.
Don’t wear flip-flops: I feel like this should be a universal don’t, but seriously you will be doing a lot of walking so save the flip-flops for the beach.
Don’t tip: Although this might be weird for Americans to get used to, some Londoners find it offensive if they are given a tip since it is not a customary procedure in London.
Hope these tips come in handy if you are ever in London!