Moving halfway across the globe to a city a dozen or so times bigger than what I’m used to? Easy! Getting used to those little things? Not so much. So here I present to you a list, in no particular order, of the little things I’ve noticed about life in the UK…
- Pennies. I’m so glad I grew up in Australia after we got rid of one and two cent coins. Maddening! The coin system, in general, is rubbish – the denominations are barely visible on the coins; the twenty cent is smaller than the ten; and pennies!
- The infinite repeat workday. No, I don’t mean the radio. Automated messages are everywhere here! “Mind the gap. Luggage door in operation. Please swipe your next item. The next station is South Kensington. Insert coins, or select pay with card. Unfamiliar item in bagging area!” Get away, robots!
- Upside-down maps. I went for a walk to get a mobile phone yesterday, then I wanted to get to Oxford Street. I figured it’d be about three hours. Nup. Six hours. Why? I headed off without my own map, relying on my croc-dundee navigational abilities to get me by. Upon emerging from the underground and seeing a grey sky with no possible natural indicator of direction, I started down a random street until I found a map on a bus stop. Seeing Hyde Park to the left of where I was on the map, I headed west. Nup. Turns out the map was oriented to have south-west as ‘up’. HUH? So, yeah. I got a walking tour of Chelsea. It’s OK. Three stars.
- Holy multiculturality, batman! The Gold Coast is no monoculture, but the diversity of people in London is great. Clearly there’s a lot of tourists from everywhere, but people from all kinds of nationalities work here too. The impressive thing is that they manage to get by when English is so often their second language… hats off!
- Clean air, where art thou? Having just spent 4 months in Australia’s wilderness, then a couple of weeks on Ireland’s west coast, my first day back in London was a still one with low cloud. By the end of my six hour walking tour, I could have spat into a car’s fuel tank and charged them $2 a litre…
I can only imagine that there will be more of the little things, I just haven’t been irritated by them enough yet! What do you reckon I’ll be adding to this list in two weeks?