Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Even More of My London.

Helpful things to know if one is a pedestrian in London...

  • "Look left!" is one of them.  You really want to do that before crossing streets. There is probably a bus or a car or a taxi coming, and you will want to see it before stepping off the curb.  The Brits have this mistaken notion of driving on the wrong side of the road and they have been doing it for so very long they have become quite comfortable with the idea, Louis Semple Clarke notwithstanding (he is the reason the rest of the world drives on the right; look him up, why don't you?). 
  • Gaze in some far off but indistinct direction when walking on the sidewalk, aka pavement.  You see, while the entire British nation drives on the left, they walk wherever they choose.  And are bound to run into you or play what could be called "Pedestrian Chicken".  You would think that this is a kind of human version of "Why did the chicken cross the road?" but no, it is all about seeing who will duck out of the way at the last minute when two approaching bodies wish to pass through the same small space of sidewalk.  Early on, I found that if the person coming the other way had the mistaken notion that you were not seeing them, they would almost involuntarily move out of your way and you could pass along the pavement as easy as pie.  Or is that pi? 
  • Don't ask for directions from The Dean of Westminster's guard.  Though he is more than pleasingly plump (look up "rotund" in the dictionary and you will see his photo there) and he ought to know where the nearest eateries are hidden, he will not divulge.  You are not simply on your own, you are at great peril of walking your feet off in search of pub grub that could be found nearer than you might imagine.  Let the tourist beware!  I talked about this in an earlier post, but I feel compelled to mention it again.  Suffice to say that if you do ask the guard for directions, you are sure to end up with bloody stumps at the end of your legs, having walked miles and miles out of your way and with a very light wallet, having spent a king's ransom for supper.  You can read about it; HERE.
  • The London Bridge is NOT in London.  It is in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.  The bridge many mistake for London Bridge is Tower Bridge (with the two Victorian towers and the part in the middle that moves up and down whilst staying horizontal, kind of like a magician's assistant who levitates off of the table).  The Tower Bridge really doesn't need a visit from you; just a look-see from The Tower or a tour boat on the Thames will do quite well, thank you very much.  There is absolutely no point in endlessly walking up and down The Embankment looking for a bridge that is in the U. S. A.  Okay?  I mean you may see Cleopatra's Needle in your wanderings, but other than that, it is a waste of a good day.

More of my London to come...!

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