Not a fan of London

Ok, I just came back from my trip, and I have to say that I am not going to be one of those people that gush and rave about London. Sorry Londoners, but your city SUCKS. It's expensive, it's dreary, the weather is depressing and everything shuts down way too early. Plus, food? Not your strong suit. I ignored the Black Pudding and the fish and chips, but low and behold even your McDonalds tasted like crap. You managed to make crappy MickeyD's taste even more crappy. And people still eat it. It's surreal.

But yeah, there are new rules of travel for me, if I ever go again back to london:

1) Don't Go to London.

2) If you have to go for work, demand that your per diem be given to you in British pounds. Don't take dollars. It's depressing how fast the 100 dollars shrinks there. And most definitely don't take egyptian pounds.

3) Avoid anything you don't know in regards to food. The general rule there is that food sucks. Wagamama is a pleasant exception.

4) Don't meet up and get drunk with an ex flame of yours that you haven't seen in 7 years. It's a bad idea. You will end up hhaving screaming matches at the London Tube at 11:30 PM (That's very Late London Time). 

5) Don't buy houses there and don't rent either. A 120 sqre foot apartment anywhere in central London is 1.5 million British Pounds and Up. A 3 by 4 room costs 2k British Pounds per month for rent. EXPENSIVE!

6) If you are a smoker, ehh, bring your cogarettes from home. Cigs (I refuse to call them FAGS) are expensive. I am not a smoker, but when I see a carton of cigarettes costing 60 british pounds, and a gram of cocaine costing 40 british pounds, ehh, I sense that there is something very wrong there!

7) An Umbrella is your bestfriend. The constnat rain thing? Not a myth.

8) Make sure you get your fill of the Sun before your travel. The No Sun thing? Not a myth either!

9) Don't expect your hotelroom to be big. Nothing is big in London. Not even teeth. 

10) Unless you are a stupid Egyptian tourist, avoid Oxford street like the plague. It's a tourist trap. Ditto for Soho and Piccadilly square. Stick to Camden. It's nice there.

11) Never Travel with co-workers. You will never get to do what you want and they will make your life there miserable. Try to ditch them as soon as possible. 

12) And last but not least, the Oyster card is your bestfriend. Get one asap once you are in London. You will save like crazy on transportation. 

But like, don't visit London. New York is much better, and the JFK security procedures are nothing compared to the Heathrow one.

One highlight though: The Duty free stores in Terminal Three. They actually had a Bailey's Bar set up that gave out free shots of Bailey's. Ahh…Heaven! Bought 9 bottles from there. 9! Just in time for New Years.

Party @ the Monkey's crib anyone? 

0 comment on Not a fan of London

  1. Lina
    December 10, 2007 at 1:24 pm

    LoL :) me wants Baileys!

    I guess I’ll have to go to London myself and decide if I agree with ya… but I’ll keep your tips in mind ;)

    Reply
  2. Rashad
    December 10, 2007 at 2:18 pm

    Dude, London has great food! None of it is British however. I had some awesome Indian food when I visited, and there was a pretty decent chinese restaurant too.

    Reply
  3. R.Elgayar
    December 10, 2007 at 2:18 pm

    SM, I feel the same way and people always look at me like I am crazy when I tell them I thought London was the most boring over hyped city I ever have visited. And the entire town shuts down so early, we are in the pubs and that stupid bell is ringing at like 10:45pm for the last drinks and we are like WTF, the night should just be starting. And NO SMOKING anymore in the pubs, that was it for me,an of course the dreary weather, I could care less if I ever step foot on that Britsh Isle again. And yes, NYC is definatlely #1 city in USA, never boring.

    Reply
  4. Hamed
    December 10, 2007 at 3:12 pm

    Not to mention, sub-par service at the Olympia Hilton bar…Deary me. Good seeing you sm.

    Reply
  5. John Cunningham
    December 10, 2007 at 4:57 pm

    Every once in a while I get to go to New York, though for me it’s for the purpose to transfer to another railroad or bus to continue on through to somewhere else. Not unlike during the 60s and 70s I would go there to party or for a while lived in New York, that only lasted for six months, couldn’t afford it. Yesterday was one of those passing through days from Philadelphia where I live to get to about 40 miles north of New York City. When my train got me back to Grand Central Station I wanted to take a detour to see the Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Center before I got to Penn Station to get the other train. Got in the cab at 42d street, went north to 55th street over to Fifth Avenue, was able to gaze at the tree for about five minutes. There was a private limo double parked so we were able to stall for a little time behind it. Then continued down Fifth Avenue to 33d street and over to Seventh Avenue and got out at Penn Station. Had one pint at Grand Central on the the way to the Christmas party, six dollars. Had time for one pint at Penn Station, eight dollars. But, every block along the way had a huge Christmas display. Forget all the religious stuff, As bright as New York City already is, during Christmas they really turn it up. Huge buildings covered with huge displays.

    I would like to go to London, but at the rate I’m going it looks like I’m not going to make it. I’ve always wanted to see the Trooping of the Color. I was always impressed with the Queen’s reaction when that goofball took a shot at her with a starter pistol. She didn’t even flinch. The horse did a little extra step but she just continued totally unphased on down the street. The British do weddings and funerals well. Maybe I’ll go over for her funeral. Though i hope it’s not for a while. She may even outlive me.

    Reply
  6. Brian the sailor
    December 10, 2007 at 5:10 pm

    You are just TOO funny, my friend.
    Visit San Diego when you get a chance. The devalued dollar makes things affordable here. Bring empty suitcases and leave with them full.

    Reply
  7. Adam B.
    December 10, 2007 at 5:24 pm

    unlike you, I love London…

    1. I disagree
    2. Of course the pound is strong compared to questionable currencies…
    3. London has great food – even the british stuff if you know where to look. As one of the most multicultural cities in the world you can of course get great food of any kind there.
    4. That is good advise, but hardly the fault of London, eh?
    5. Living in London is extremely expensive – a sign of the popularity and importance of the city.
    6. Who smokes anymore?!?!
    7. Yes, it rains in London from time to time. Same is true for Paris and Berlin and most other cities n Europe. It makes the land fertile and forces you to cozy up to eachother…! :)
    8. No sun in the winter? Well, duh…!
    9. Expensive hotel = big room. Cheap hotel = small room. This true all over the world.
    10. Cambden is THE biggest tourist trap in London! You pay tons for a cheap T-shirt just because you bought it at the ‘hip’ Cambden market. Avoid Oxford Street for the throngs…!
    11. Sound advice.
    12. Even better advice.

    Of course, I travel inside Europe, so there’s hardly any security checks at Gatwick Airport (never use Heathrow – THE worst airport in the world!) but unfortunately, this means that I can’t buy tax-free… Sob! :(

    But seriouly, next time you visit London (come on… sure you’re goin’ back!) make sure to stay with a friend who can be your guide. And make sure to visit the Borough Market under London Bridge for some tasty specialities…!

    Reply
  8. Nomad
    December 10, 2007 at 6:19 pm

    well, you don’t go to London for food sake but for shopping ;

    anyway that’s what we do in EU

    and finding a cheap residence in London is one keeps in his secret notes ;

    Reply
  9. anna
    December 10, 2007 at 6:29 pm

    Agree and disagree. Crap weather-check, early bedtimes-check, daylight robbery prices- check, higher than average no. of people sporting skinny jeans and silly hairstyles- check, generally quite pretentious and full of it- check.

    But……

    Parks!There are few cities in the world if any that can boast the vast amount of parks in a capital city, regent’s park, st.james park, green park, hyde park. NY eat your heart out.

    History! London prolly has more important old stuff per square mile than any city in the world. I mean most cities in Europe and the world, you just walk round and iyou gather names of historical figures/events that you have never heard of, didn’t care to hear of and will prolly never hear of again.

    Food!- Adam B is right, there is great food, just not british food. You can choose anything from mongolian cuisine to brazilian dishes.

    London is like supposed to be the highlight of the UK. If you think that’s crap then God help the poor mites who live in the rest of the sun forsaken country.

    Reply
  10. moryarti
    December 10, 2007 at 6:48 pm

    Terminal 3 is horrible .. the Virgin lounge is great though.. and I’ve eaten at some good places in London, but most were Cuban, Thai or Indian :) I know don’t why do you even come anywhere near a McDonnald’s..

    Reply
  11. charlie 316
    December 10, 2007 at 7:03 pm

    Sorry you didn’t enjoy London, but it sounds that you should have checked out a guide book first. Of course it rains in London in December – its winter you fool, that’s what happens in Europe above 50degrees north, when it doesn’t snow. Deal with it! The best time for London is spring or autumn, but Oxford Street etc are always full of tourists – a natural mistake I suppose, but now you’ve got it out of your system, you’ll know better next time and can explore the remiaining 98% of London that is far more interesting and welcoming.

    Just as well you were drunk at Heathrow. Anyone sober would have a different viewpoint. I am not sure if its the worse airport in the world, but its got to be close. The next time a plane with me on it leaves on time from Heathrow will be the first time ever. Gatwick’s much better.
    Gotta agree with Brian above though – if I was going to the USA San Diego, would be my first choice. No worries about the lack of sun.

    Reply
  12. yochanan
    December 10, 2007 at 10:11 pm

    my grand parents were from the u.k. (scotland) i loved my grandmom but her food was beyond bland.

    a lot more choice in food in tel aviv than in london, jews came from everywere and brought there food with them.

    i bet chicago (my home town) has a much wider selection of food choices than london and it is much cheaper too.

    Reply
  13. yochanan
    December 10, 2007 at 10:11 pm

    one of the effects of the weaker dollar is that it makes being a tourist in chicago real cheap.

    Reply
  14. Red Tulips
    December 10, 2007 at 10:57 pm

    I like London, and have been twice. I also plan on going back soon. That said, I am a New Yorker full time and prefer New York. London is a more expensive version of New York, with some unique things to do. (in my opinion) That said, I have friends there, so it’s all good. The tube shutting down at 11:30 is beyond crappy…the evening starts, and then the tube is closed! Londoners end up taking cabs, which is uber expensive.

    As far as England goes…

    1. See Oxford, it is lovely.

    2. The Asian food in London is some of the best in the world.

    3. The London tube is very reliable, when it is there for service.

    4. Random English guys can be fun to see a Radiohead concert with.

    Reply
  15. EgyPeter
    December 11, 2007 at 1:09 am

    Yes, come to Chicago…the greatest city on planet Earth (well except from Dec. to Feb, gets a bit chilly :)

    The food here is delicious and many pubs/bars are open till 4 am. No public trans is necessary, a cabbie can take you anywhere for 10 bucks!

    I could work for the Chicago Olympic Bid 2016 committee :)

    Go Cubs ’08

    Reply
  16. anonymous
    December 11, 2007 at 2:31 am

    U should have gone to the museum..there are more Egyptian artifacts there than there are in Egypt..no joke…those thievin’ Brits still haven’t returned your stuff…and u could have enjoyed some of ur ancient history instead of eating the INDIAN FOOD that now passes as British food…cuz who the hell eats BLOOD PUDDING? OR TRIPE? OR BOILED MEAT?

    U enjoyed Terminal 3? Ok u like free booze..but seriously i was stuck in that flippin’ terminal 4 12 hours…it’s shit beyond shit…and the internet booths that charges 3 pounds for 10 minutes..crooked…the entire city is a ripoff

    Frankly I didn’t c a lot of white people in London…where did they all go?

    Hey hon…never take Egyptian pounds anywhere outside of Egypt if you can help…that made me smile…

    FYI Chicago does rock…and safer than NYC

    Reply
  17. yochanan
    December 11, 2007 at 3:38 am

    chicago got parks a park along the whole lake front.

    not to mention tall buildings currently building one that is 150 floors unless some crazed islmo fascist flies a plane into it.

    Reply
  18. Kurt
    December 11, 2007 at 3:40 am

    To be honest, I was extremely disappointed by London the first time I went. It has a reputation as the unofficial capital of the world (which we all know is NYC, anyway) and Londoners all think they’re beyond hip. Whatever, it can’t even compare to the average American or European city, let alone a mecca like New York or Paris.

    In fact, London reminded me of my gritty, grey, riverside hometown of Cincinnati, only with terrible food, worse fashion, ruder people (and Cincy isn’t the friendliest of cities), overpriced crap, zero nightlife, and not nearly enough of those winding and narrow, off-the-beaten path streets with cool-but-not-trendy shops (AKA no college kids or gentrifying hipsters), clubs, and pubs that make Cincinnati more fun than it has any right to be; like an all-vinyl record store across the street from a two-story combo of headshop (first floor) and Celtic jewelry shop (second floor), built from a crumbling Victorian in the heart of an urban area.

    London is fine for shallow poseurs and snobs, but gimme a soulful American city any day.

    P.S.- I’m only knocking “Londoner” Londoners. The regular folks in London are just fine and very cool.

    Reply
  19. Kurt
    December 11, 2007 at 3:44 am

    Oh, and I just wanted to point out that I’m not glamorizing Cincinnati in any way. It’s a kind of a dull, grey ,rivercity that can’t even come close to a REAL city like Chicago or New York. Yet, I found London to be not much cooler and much less authentic.

    Reply
  20. EgyPeter
    December 11, 2007 at 4:15 am

    I LOVE Skyline Chili!

    Reply
  21. egyptchick7
    December 11, 2007 at 5:46 am

    I have only been to London on a stopover from Africa for one night. Did not go into the city and was terribly tired but my impression there based on that one day was that I never wanted to go there again.

    1) The pound’s value made me feel poor.

    2) The subway’s pay as you go system took be aback since I am used to lovely NY’s system

    3) I have to say tho, I had desi food at a pub which was great…but thats it…

    Reply
  22. Charafantah
    December 11, 2007 at 10:20 am

    stay in egypt…it’s almost mid december and it’s still hot and sunny and you know where to find good food :)

    Reply
  23. littleTinSoldier
    December 11, 2007 at 1:01 pm

    from a neighbour middle easterner…

    1) dont go to london at winter
    3) very true, british food sucks, (wagamama is a good japanese kitchen)
    12) oyster is your best friend

    90)got a sunny day? catch a train to cambridge
    91) all the museums FREE
    92)if you have to buy tickets to places (the eye, dungeon, tower, etc) buy on the internet, usually you will get 10-15% discount just for that.
    93) take a tour at hatfield house outside of london.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatfield_House
    94)greenwich planetarium is nice also…

    Reply
  24. Spartacus
    December 11, 2007 at 1:30 pm

    Only been thru Gatwick. I waited longer to get my tickets there (going Houston to Kiev) than any other wait the entire time, that includes customs on my return to the US. The smoking area is disgusting, and there were NO attractive white women to look at. None. Looking at hotel prices, it would cost a fortune to have an intentional weekend layover there.

    But what we really need is a report on any babes that you saw. It it truely the land of the overbite, snaggle-toothed, coarse bar wench, with the occasional contrasting stiff upper lip, stick up the butt society queens with flat chests and NO sense of humour? Enquiring minds want to know.

    Chicago is not safer than NYC, they average about 600 murders per year.

    But the museums in Chicago, and the blues bars on shoreline make it worth it.

    Reply
  25. Adam B.
    December 11, 2007 at 3:46 pm

    24. Spartacus:

    This is true for many british women, but remember that almost half the population of London aren’t british at all. London is the world capital of economy, (yes, more money handled per year than New York) and business people from every country in Europe and the rest of the world swarm to London to work. At any time there are 50.000 danes in London out of a population of 5 million! That´s 1 in every 100 danes! At any given second!

    London is probably the hotspot of the world of fashion as well, whether you like the style or not. Paris doesn’t come close and neither does Milan or New York, not when it comes to everyday fashion… Haute Couture? Sure, but not the kind of stuff that normal people wear on the streets.

    If you don’t mind paying for the cab or do a bit of walking, London is a great place to party in. Great bars and clubs in South Kensington/Chelsea, so I always get a hotel in the Warwick Way area, so I can walk home. Even if you live further off, London has night busses that’ll get you to your hotel with a minimum of fuss. Try a watermelon drink at Eclipse Bar – yummy!!! Fast and courteous service, very much unlike, say, Paris…!

    Reply
  26. Don Cox
    December 11, 2007 at 8:15 pm

    “Frankly I didn’t c a lot of white people in London?where did they all go?”

    We can’t afford London any more. We stay in the provinces.

    From when I used to visit London regularly, my recollection is that the best place is Kew Gardens – but not in December, of course. The National Gallery, Tate Gallery, V&A Museum, etc are all enormous and full of treasures that really should be seen.

    But I think LOndon was much better in the 1930s than it is now, to judge from what I read in books.

    Reply
  27. charlie 316
    December 12, 2007 at 12:41 am

    #18 Kurt – can you translate your PS into English please?

    As most of the views above seem to be based on minimal visiting time to London, my view on top American City has to be as valid and I am going for Chicago over New York. Not that I am impressed by a 150 story building – the one going up in Dubai makes that look like a pimple. I’ll defintiely be going back to Chicago, but I could take or leave New York.

    However, if you are taking a world view, it would have to be either Hong Kong or Rome as top city, but for entirely different reasons and a special mention for Dubai for trying hard.

    I would only nominate places I have actually visited, but by most accounts Sydney would have to be up with the others as well.

    So many places, so little time, so little money!

    Reply
  28. Eva, Canada
    December 12, 2007 at 6:12 am

    You had bad luck weatherwise, SM. I’ve been to London several times, once for 10 days during Christmas, and had sunshine through and through. To me, London is sunshine, good cheap East Indian food and great museums. Try again in May or June.

    My favorite European city is Barcelona. You can’t complain about short nightlife there.

    Reply
  29. Twosret
    December 12, 2007 at 8:47 am

    SM,

    You went at the wrong time of the year, wrong reasons :), and didn’t prepare ahead for your visit.

    Reply
  30. anna
    December 12, 2007 at 9:52 am

    Cairo needs a plug here as the city that truly never sleeps, without fear of being shot at which is the unfortunate downside of Chicago and NY. Not many places where you can rock up to a juice bar at 4am and expect waiting time of a half hour because of the sheer numher of people.

    Reply
  31. BuJ
    December 12, 2007 at 6:07 pm

    Funny post! Bas haram 3leik about the food!
    London is becoming known as one of the best capital cities in the world for food. I think you mentioned Wagamama so this tells me that you have only scratched the surface in terms of restaurants. If you want more feedback I’d be glad to offer you some tips on where to find some really good restaurants in The Smoke :-)

    Reply
  32. Ron Larson
    December 12, 2007 at 11:06 pm

    Yup…. London is expensive. I spend a month there this summer. My US and Aussie dollars didn’t go very far.

    I’d say the one thing that disappointed me in London was how poorly dressed the locals were in night clubs. I brought some nice clothes. But when I went to pubs and clubs, the locals were wearing dirty jeans, t-shirts, nothing special. Anyhow… I didn’t get the feeling things were as classy as there were the last time I was in London.

    When I got back to Australia I mentioned this to some London expat friends on mine. They too noticed that the dress in London has gotten much more casual over the last 5 or so years, approaching Australia style pub-crawl wear.

    Regarding eating in London cheap. I found the Telsa was my best friend. They sell ready-to-eat stuff that was fine for breakfast and lunch, cheap.

    And yes, your Oyster is your best transportation option.

    Camden was a tourist trap. Didn’t find anything real special there. Actually, Oxford St was great. Found everything I could possibly need there.

    Reply
  33. Isam
    December 13, 2007 at 10:57 pm

    Wagamama is amazing …

    and West End is the cultural junction … they always have a lot of galas and events … that’s worth it

    Reply

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