I'm back from London. I've been back for a week, actually, but have been mad trying to catch up on all my work (there was more than one day where socializing got the better of working).
So how was it?
Oh you know. It was London. A bit chilly, a bit damp, a bit strange, a bit familiar...
...in other words, MAGNIFICENT.
Over the last week, I've been quietly going over the trip in my mind, trying to work out exactly what made it so fabulous, and what, exactly, makes London so different from New York. After all, on the face of it they're both big cities, heavily reliant on the financial system for their livelihoods, with lots of good places to eat and to drink and to shop, some mightily impressive parks, and a predilection for porting black amongst their people...surely not so different, except that they are. Here's why.
London vs. New York - a definitive comparison*
Levels of politeness
In London, they are high. In New York, they are not. For more than a week, H1 and I were turning to each other on multiple occasions, jaws agape in highly attractive astoundment, murmuring, "Did you see that?" That could be anything - a door being held open, someone moving out of the way of somebody else instead of shoulder-barging them, someone standing up on the Tube so someone else could sit...anything at all that usually wouldn't be something worth noticing at all. It impressed us, and while I'm sure you get some rude people in London, and some polite people in New York, I'm giving this one to London.
Levels of anger
In London, they are low. In New York, they are not. I guess it would be impolite to yell at strangers and get involved in everyone else's business, so Londoners do not. I told this to an American, who laughed, then upon realizing I wasn't joking, asked, "So how do they deal with their anger?" I told her they pushed it all down inside themselves and let it fester. Which is better for strangers, but probably very unhealthy. I honestly don't think either city wins this one.
Would you rather be clean, or would you rather be on time? You can't have both. As predicted
, I ended up on a Tube that got caught due to the ever-shocking issue of leaves on the line, and sat, going nowhere fast. I've never got stuck on the subway, but then again, I pretty much never catch the subway because it's a total cesspit, and I'm afraid of the many, many communicable diseases I may catch while down there. Also, the known unreliability of the Tube is a good thing when you're not the greatest at being on time. London wins, for sure.
London. Hersheys is rubbish, everyone knows that. This doesn't even invite discussion.
Ooh! This is tricky. They're nicer in London shops...but that falls under politeness, surely...and they offered us champagne and beer and sweets...but New York has more range, and better prices, and as long as you steer clear of the tourist-filled main drags the shops are lovely. New York finally takes one out!
There's more, so much more...but I think I'm slowly realizing that this comparison isn't working at all. London, on the face of it, wins, but I'm happy living in New York right now, so I guess all the qualification is unnecessary, because New York is the default winner, by virtue of currently being my home. The real winner, of course, is Auckland**, especially now that pretty much every online store delivers there. But that comparison will have to wait.
*Which I've turned into a competition, because I enjoy competitions.
**Auckland, New Zealand, not the one in Canada - though I'm sure that's not bad also.