Some observations and moments from London that were too brief to turn into individual posts:
Londoners love their New York teams. The high number of Yankees hats I saw while walking around the city staggered me.
Among the other US sports teams I remember being represented: the Nets, the Blackhawks, the Bears, the Lightning (by people who spoke what sounded like a Scandinavian language), University of Michigan, the Carolina Panthers, the Bengals, the SF Giants.
Random humo(u)r on the District Line I: Seeing a Holmesdale Fanatics sticker on top of a door when I traveled from Wimbledon to Earl’s Court.
Random humo(u)r on the District Line II: A commuter’s choice of music took me back to middle school. As I stood beside him in front of a door, I could hear his loud music blaring through his earbuds. It was the Evanescence album Fallen, best known for “Bring Me to Life.” I heard that song in its entirety before I got off the train.
I went to the TARDIS that’s outside Earl’s Court Station. Didn’t bump into the Doctor or Clara.
In weird coincidences: the paint scheme for the South West Trains out of Waterloo share the same paint scheme used on Southwest Airlines planes — dominant blue with orange, red, and yellow in supporting waves.
Tube advertisements for Las Vegas: “Go where your accent is an aphrodisiac.”
I wore four layers most days and still froze my butt off because of the wind, and yet I saw many women in skirts walking through the same the cold conditions like it was nothing. I’m not worthy.
So many runners in shorts and thin long-sleeve shirts passed me as I walked through windy and rainy London, and they didn’t look bothered by the weather. I’m not worthy.
Sainsbury’s Local >>> Tesco Express. I’m glad Palace picked the right supermarket to shove into Selhurst Park.
As tweeted out on 22 February: The Tube spoiled me. I’d arrive at the station and my waits for a train ranged from nil to three minutes tops. Even on the weekends. Those eight minute waits for the subway at New York City will take some getting used to again.
I am addicted to Lucozade Sport. It got to the point where I went through three bottles of orange Lucozade Sport at Heathrow while waiting to board my flight back to the States.
I also drank a fourth bottle of orange Lucozade Sport during said flight back to the States.
Please bring Lucozade Sport to America.
One of my favorite moments on the Tube: watching two buddies my age, one black and the other white, laughing and eating their McDonald’s dinners after a day of work.
I didn’t see as many people with earbuds on when I was on the Tube or walking around, as I do when I’m in New York. I like that. The city is crowded and busy, but on an individual level, no one is trying to isolate him/herself with the earbuds. If anything, they’re all reading their free copy of the Evening Standard.
I was going to buy copies of The Guardian and The Mirror, but forgot about all that when my hotel provided free copies of The Times. The Sunday broadsheets are bigger in the UK than they are in the USA.
I bought a tin of biscuits (cookies) from Fortnum and Mason, a department store by Piccadilly Circus that holds a Royal Charter. The tin of biscuits I bought are what I would call chocolate chip cookies. Fortnum and Mason brands them as “chocolate pearl biscuits.”
Some tour company advertised Orlando as a vacation destination at the St. James Tube Station. The pictures they chose to represent Orlando depressed me: one photo was of the go-karts from Fun Spot and the other was an airboat ride. Those poor Londoners who get suckered into visiting Orlando…
I tweeted out that Harrods is a real life Celadon City Department Store. Menswear, Womenswear, Perfume, an art gallery with works by Dali, an ice cream parlo(u)r, a few restaurants, a massive food gallery (salads, deli, fish, desserts, meat, etc. all packed in a room), tea and pastries, books, Harrods gift store… the list goes on and on and on.
How professional is the dress code for Harrods employees? The employees at Harrods wear name tags that show their first name and surname. My company doesn’t even provide me business cards.
Harrods is so big that there is a concierge who provides directions and maps to wayward shoppers. Macy’s on 34th Street has got nothing on Harrods.
I ate a Cornetto in honor of the Cornetto Trilogy of films by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. They’re better than Drumsticks. Please bring them to America.
The receptionist who checked me in at the hotel asked where in the United States I arrived from. When he found out it was Connecticut, he told me that he lived there for a few months because he has family there. I asked for the town and it turned out to be the one I drive to for church. The world operates in weird ways.
The Piccadilly Circus video advertisement building is smaller than I thought it’d be.
I should have gone to St. Paul’s Cathedral instead of the London Eye, but at least I saw St. Paul’s Cathedral while on the London Eye.
I didn’t go to Baker Street, but I saw the façade on Gower Street that the BBC Sherlock uses for 221B Baker Street. Eat at the Speedy’s Café next door for cheap, plentiful, and delicious food.
King’s Cross, St. Pancras, Victoria, Waterloo, and Paddington Stations impressed me with how pretty, organized, and clean they are, despite the bustle of thousands of commuters rushing in and out each day. Then again, I have low standards with Penn Station.
Yes, I went to Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross. An eastern European kid and I acted as each other’s photographers because we were in line without a friend. The scarf thing is kind of silly, but it’s great that the station acknowledges the Potter series with this simple display.
The anti-Napoleon sentiment attached to many public structures is amusing. Waterloo Bridge, Waterloo Station, Trafalgar Square, Nelson’s Column. They all add to the immortalization of Napoleon in a weird way.
Aero bars are addicting. I’ll take the chocolate-filled bars over the mint-filled ones, though. Please bring them to America.
The woman at the Hampton Court Palace ticket counter kept a straight face when she explained to me, a 20-something, that I could meet King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. I tried to get her to break with a smirk, but she kept going like they were still alive. What a top pro.
Liberty should be a store in ‘Murica.
I couldn’t develop the accent in my week there, but it’s become easy for me to say “Queue” instead of “Line” and “Way Out” instead of “Exit.”
When I visited the National Gallery, a strike by modernization workers closed half of the museum — the half I wanted to see — in what’s probably one big attempt to get me to fly back and visit next year. (I’m working on it…)
Listen to a homily delivered in an English accent: check.
My friend and I went to a tea time at the Orangery in Kensington Palace. This was my first time drinking hot tea, and since I didn’t know what to do, I ordered a regular Palace afternoon tea, dumped sugar in it, and turned it into hot sweet tea. I still got a bit of the South in me, y’all.
Those Exit signs in London are precious. The images look like it’s depicting a spy running to escape.
Among the runners and bicyclists passing me, kids playing basketball and skateboarding, and people talking to each other while staring out into the Thames at Bishop’s Park in West London, I snapped the saddest park bench I’ve ever seen.
Remember: Mind the Gap.
*Edited for a lot of typos after I hit “publish.” Good job, me.