In the hour it took me to get from the airport, into the city and to my hostel I didn't once get hassled to buy something, have to dive out of the way of a motorbike or have to use wild hand gestures and a phrase book to get directions. Yep, I definetely wasn't in Asia anymore! I also couldn't help noticing the red telephone booths, red post boxes, red buses and black cabs everywhere! And did I mention it was really, really cold? Yep, I was definetely in London.
I must admit the capital of the mother country was entirely as I expected it to be. English people keep asking me how I'm finding the pace of the place, they endlessly complain about tube interruptions and have some weird obsession about London being really dirty. I'm not sure if my perceptions are skewed because I'm fresh off the boat from Asia but the city seems entirely calm compared to the frenetic pace of cities like Hanoi, Saigon and Bangkok. I think the longest the tube trains have kept me waiting on a platform is about 4 minutes. I'm posturing for a job doing PR for the London Underground, because after spending so long catching CityRail trains in Sydney, the whole system is amazingly efficient. And it's such a novelty to be able to walk on the footpath without having to dodge bags of garbage and food scraps, completely minus the smell of raw sewerage.
So my first days in London have been spent riding the tube, flitting between squares on the Monopoly board ... Mayfair, Park Lane, Marlyebone, Fleet Street, bulking up my winter wardrobe on Oxford Street, wandering through world-famous markets like Portobello Road and eating loads of stodgy english food. If I can just get used to the weather I think I'll really like this place!