Jun 29, 2008

The greatest city in the World

I've been to nearly all major, and several not-so-major cities in India. I've also been to Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Phuket, outside the country. But all that became irrelevant when I visited London. You can travel to hundreds of places - but you haven't truly 'seen the world' till you see it's greatest city - London, England!

You know you are in London when:

  • Your aircraft has to wait 20 min before one of the scores of 747's vacates one of the many boarding slots!
  • Even though many people are employed, and working at breakneck speed, it takes a whole hour to clear immigration!
  • The local train lines have names like 'Piccadilly' and 'Hammersmith' rather than 'Central ' or 'Eastern'!
  • A family on the train is eating carrot cake!
  • The ethnic mix of demography is by far the widest you've ever seen!
  • You overhear more Hindi and Punjabi on the street, than you'd hear English in most cities abroad!
  • The clock-tower has a name, and is famous!
  • Any building you see, has a history (something woulda happened there in the last 400 years)!
  • Any local passer-by would be nice enough to tell you about it!
  • A park in the city is 53 acres, and is one of the smaller ones!
  • On the bus, someone points to a building and says 'Will Smith and Charlize Theron will be here later today for a premiere', and it's not such a big deal!
  • Some soldiers still dress like this!
  • Some of them dont move a muscle, no matter how much of a commotion you create around them!
  • You can wear a business suit all day (outside the office) and feel entirely comfortable!
  • A 'gentleman's club' has gentlemen having a quiet drink, while being entertained by ladies on a stage, aided by a pole and Britney Spears' music!
  • While being entertained, you can strike up a conversation about football clubs with the next gentlemen at the 'gentlemen's club', and hear about his divorce and 5-year-old son very soon!

Some other random tips to my friends goin there for the first time (as tourists):

  • Plan a trip at least a week long, with at least 3-4 full days for leisure (if you are also planning business on your trip)
  • Be prepared to spend. Like big. DO NOT CONVERT CURRENCY IN YOUR HEAD
  • Don't go in a huge group. Preferably travel alone
  • Buy an Oyster card (pre-paid for local public travel) as soon as you land
  • Meet a good ol' friend asap. Let him/her explain how things work there, and your own dos and donts
  • If good-ol-friend is 'your type', try and coordinate your travel plans with his work schedule etc.
  • Read up before you go. Wikitravel is a good place to start (and not just for London)
  • Carry some food. Ready-to-eat, or microwave-able. (and I'm usually the one who insists on the local cuisine wherever I travel)
  • Carry plenty of formal or semi-formal clothing
  • Book the cheapest hotel, even if it's some distance away from downtown. Gettin around London is very easy, and is a lot of fun. And hotels, in general, are expensive.
  • Be mentally prepared to have the time of your life (else you might spoil it for yourself, and your companions)

I'm missing it already. Will visit again, as soon as I can :)


  1. May the sun never set on HER Majesty's empire-a humble servant

  2. Oye, even I had been to London in recent past. Amazing city for young people. I walked and walked and walked .. thats it! Went to Liverpool too and weekend in Matthew Street (Beatles' birthplace) turns into a drunken orgy on streets ... amazing vibrancy ...