Xavid (kihou) wrote,
Xavid
kihou

A Clint Eastwood Movie

In my time in London, I've been informally collecting a list of things I like about London, things I'm not fond of, and things that are just strange. I'll presumably add more as things continue, but here's where I am right now:

Good:
  • There's a huge variety of local markets, which range from farmers' market to flea market to arts and crafts to generally weird and wonderful. These are often along convenient central roads near public transit, and thus easy to get to.
  • Relatedly, there's a huge variety of delicious global street food.
  • Blackcurrants, juice and otherwise, are delicious.
  • The transit is great, frequent and convenient.
  • It's also actively expanding, with new stuff getting added while I'm here and major crosstown rail under construction.
  • Pasties are all over the place. And meat pies.
  • There are all sorts of deserts you don't get in the States (Bakewell tart, banoffee pie, treacle tart, trifle, Battenberg cake…)
  • There's lots of interesting green space, including some solidly foresty-feeling areas in Battersea Park, Victoria Park, and Holland Park.
  • There are cool little alleys and pedestrian paths that make you feel like you're wandering a maze of buildings.
  • Great theatre.
  • Local mini supermarkets with a wide selection of fruits and vegetables, as an alternative to big box grocery stores. (Great for when you don't have a car and thus a trunk to fill up.)
  • Lots of kinds of bacon and other meats you don't commonly see in the States.
  • A different selection of “foreign” foods. South African, for one, is common.
  • Interesting architecture from different time periods, with cool carved stone details and such.
  • Plants growing on old brick/stone buildings.
  • Arched vaults under train stations and tracks (see: Alice's Adventures Underground)
  • Free cash machines all over the place without needing to minmax bank affiliation.
  • Canals and the Thames
  • Orange juice machines. That robotically squeeze oranges for you in real time. Honestly, I'm totally spoiled. Ordinary orange juice is ruined for me.
  • Cloudy apple juice. It's better than normal apple juice?
  • Different hard ciders, including those with berries and such, though my favorite, Stonewell Cider from Ireland, did not need such a gimmick.
  • Seven Dials. I'm all over Seven Dials.
  • Red Leicester cheese
  • Bathroom stalls that actually provide privacy

Bad:
  • Ice cream parlors are, like, a mythical beast here. There are gelato places in Seven Dials, which are great, and there's Ben & Jerry's in cinemas. And there's a Baskin Robbin's near Baker Street. It's like, the anti-Boston.
  • Similarly, root beer is basically non-existent. There's Bundaberg, a sorta weird but not bad Australian root beer. And there's Square Root Soda Works in Hackney, which was okay. But I'm going to drink, like, ALL the root beer when I get back.
  • Smoking. Not in restaurants, thankfully, but outside pubs and also all over the place on sidewalks.
  • Cars don't yield to pedestrians. They'll maybe barely dodge you. Except in zebra crossings, where they'll yield with varying levels of aggressiveness.
  • No one seems to have figured out which side of the hallway/sidewalk to walk on. You'd think it'd be the left, because cars, but *shrug*. And half the train stations tell you to keep right and half tell you to keep left. It's annoying.
  • Things are pretty expensive, relative to Boston.

Weird:
  • Hidden refrigerators. Like, you'll open a cupboard, and it'll be all, "Surprise! I'm a refrigerator!" Or, "Surprise, I'm a washing machine!" It's like British people are too classy to have appliances.
  • Dryers you need to empty. I guess the water needs to go somewhere?
  • No bug screens in windows. Though mosquitoes don't seem to be much of a problem here. It does mean you have random moths flying in, though.
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