vendredi 4 juillet 2014

London, the good old days... Some common points and differences between London/Paris/NYC


Contrary to all my previous posts, I'm going to write this post in English,
not only to prove I really speak English (sometimes), but also because I know
some English-speaking friends will read this. As I speak French most of the time
and have only been living in the US for 4 months, there might be some mistakes... 
During my (business) trip in France, I had to go to London for some business meetings
and even if I actually only staid there less than 24 hours, it was a nice break in
this so French trip. Every time I go back to London, it reminds me so many things...
First my nice flatmates with whom I shared so many things
(from Korean/Chinese/Japanese history to Korean-speaking yoga classes in the living
room, including Saint Patrick's beers with black currant syrup in a pub near Waterloo
station) in New Malden, also known as Korean town ;-), then my internship which 
completely convince me to escape marketing and to become a lawyer -see what happened
then- but which allowed me to live my deeply-hidden passion: cheese and supermarkets. 
London also means for me some contradictories memories which helped me growing up too,
indeed. I remember discovering English people assuming colourful clothes in the
streets, and buying a lot of orange/red/purple stuff during summer after my internship.
My closet in Duerne is probably still full of them as a few weeks after coming back,
I finally ended up with my colourful fashion style (even if some people could argue I
still haven't even now). I remember discovering living in a capital as an open museum
(as everybody knew, I absolutely didn't want to go to Paris but went to London) and
visiting new monuments and neighbourhoods with my friend Sarah every weekend. It also
happened that sometimes we visited cities we hadn't exactly planned to (Newport, 30 mn 
by bus from Cardiff City). I remember travelling by bus and eating a lot of cheese
because it was cheaper (there's an history about becoming a #radinmalin) but spending
£150 once a month to fly to Aberdeen, Scotland. I have a lot of memories showing up 
each time I'm there. As I was in the underground yesterday evening, going to my 
friend Blandine's place, my nose also remembered... As you probably know I'm very
sensitive to smells and as I was going down in the station, there was this specific 
smell, mix of smell, human heat and train pollution... And I had this flash being in
Wimbledon station on a Sunday evening, waiting for my train at 11:00pm, coming back 
from a sailing trip in Scotland... And then as I seated in the tube, it smelled like
in India: spices and wet earth, complicated to describe but so recognisable once 
you've been there. Actually I didn't remember there were so many Indian people in
London. Shall I talk about this Indian guy seating next to me in the underground and
wearing this "moon stone" ring on the last finger of his left hand? Does this ring a
bell to some of you? In NYC people are so mixed, you cannot even recognise their
origins. There are so many different people (did I mention this blue-eyes Chinese guy?),
meeting each other... Communitarism vs (forced?) integration, I don't know what is 
the best way to deal with all the nationalities you can find in one place but I remember 
already trying to find an answer as I was living in London.

As I came from the US, I found some common points between London and NYC, especially
regarding food actually. Chipotle, Five Guys and red velvet cupcakes were all there in London.
I saw the three of them walking from Angel underground station to Blandine’s place!
When I was living in London, I did appreciate the fact that people, and especially girls, 
were wearing a lot of colours, but I could also be quite critical regarding their fashion tastes.
Now that I live in NYC, I haven’t got exactly the same analysis anymore. 
Yes, in the UK, women are wearing more colourful and flashy clothes and sometimes
weird pick & mix dressed, but I can say this now, at least, it was kind of rock’n roll fashion style,
and there was a kind of harmony finally. Whereas in NYC, during weekends, girls seem to
ignore the basics of fashion rules, mixing 5 or 6 colours, wearing flip flop and sport shoes all the time,
and this, without any sense of proportion. In NYC, I sometimes feel like it’s Carnival everyday!

We can also make a big difference for men, too. Of course,
British can be handsome, I know what I’m talking about and this,
this is very very very rare in the US (I sometimes wonder if Brad Pitt really
is an American); but they also know how to dress. Of course, not as well 
as French people, but for an English-speaking country, I would say “not that bad”… 
This is a major difference between the British and the American men!
And my younger colleague totally agreed with me!
In London and NYC, taxis are easily recognisable, with their shape and colours.
Arriving with the Eurostar in Saint Pancras station, I refused to get into a modern taxi
and waited to get an old-fashion style one. When I compare the price I paid to go to 
my hotel (less than £10) and the price of one single journey ticket (£4.70), it reminds 
me of NYC too. In NYC the subway is crap and a lot of people walk or take cabs to
move in the city. In Paris or in London, the undergrounds are efficient, quite clean
 and you can find a metro entrance everywhere, just need to walk 5 minutes. In NYC the subway network is poor,
dirty and noisy. But in both London and NYC, taxi are not that expensive and taxidrivers rather nice, contrary to 
Paris, where being in a cab for 15 mn will cost you a arm and a leg and for which you will have to suffer your driver’s
loud music and grumbles.
It happened to me again yesterday going back to Paris
airport; my driver was awful and arriving in the airport, told
me that he only accepted cash for payment…).
Because I don’t get a cab very often in NYC, I can’t say
I am used to it, but I find very convenient to be able to pay
with credit card in any cab here. In London, I also had to 
ask for an ATM, but the driver gently showed me the 
closest one. 
Contrary to NYC, in London there are many supermarkets.
Maybe less than in Paris, but obviously supermarkets are
definitely more numerous in London than in Manhattan. 
Do I have to say that staying less than 24 hours in the country,
I manage to visit 5 of them? 
If I want to visit 5 supermarkets in NYC, I will have to walk at least 5 or 6 miles!
Or even more!
Even if I visited 5 of them in London, I didn’t bring back any Scottish egg (I love them)
nor porridge (I have it every morning for breakfast!)…
I only bought squash (and apparently made a mistake by not choosing the 
original orange one) and couldn’t even find vanilla fudge. What a shame!

I just wrote down the main common points and differences that really catch my eye,
but I’m sure we could find a lot of others too!

4 commentaires:

  1. It took a while to find your blog actually, even if the name is brilliance. I'll add it to my feeds.
    Glad that you enjoyed your time in london, however brief, and interesting comparisons to ny. The tube price is £4+ if you don't have oyster but is about £2 if you do. The cash price is partially to prompt oyster use. Just saying in case people think the tube is even more expensive than it actually is!

    1. Yes I don't know how to make it easier to find in google serach :p I have to think about key words and things like that ;)
      Now that I read your comment, I remember using my Oyster card and not pay that expensive 4.70 pounds... and if you only pay 2 pounds for a single trip, I think it's better value for money than the $2.50 of the NYC subway ticket !

  2. Ce commentaire a été supprimé par l'auteur.

  3. I reaaly have trouble with fonts and everything !!! sorry about that !!!


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