My Velocity Squared

December 12, 2010

Brain Dump: UK first impressions

Filed under: Uncategorized — smarmbeast @ 12:12 am

I’ve had lay overs in the UK before, and the odd lightning business trip. Never really had much time to spend here though and see it on my own terms until now. Brain dump as follows:

1. Heathrow immigrations. I don’t know why people moan about this. Terminal 1 passport control was amongst the best I have encountered. Who are you, why are you here, stamp, stamp done. The queue isn’t bad either.

A small rant on queues. In the US, we do it wrong. We set up flimsy windy strap queues that encourage people to cut in line. People bunch up and jockey for position, and then when they get to the window, they DO NOT HAVE THEIR SHIT TOGETHER.

In the UK, it’s a different animal most of the time. Solid metal corrals. No one rides your butt, everyone spaced evenly. And everyone has their shit together when they get to the window for whatever service they want. No one whines like an entitled ass because they failed to have their shit together just to take it out on the counter person. I have never seen lines move so fast in my life.

2. The trains run on time. As in, they actually run on time. Efficiently. On, off, etc. One can rely on them for a form of “transportation”. Fucking shocking, I know.

3. Watch your shit @ Paddington. Followed by one sketchy looking person before I dropped my luggage. I stopped, he stopped to look at magazines, I went, he started following again. Spun around and told him to fuck off. Prime place to pickpocket, etc I suppose, all the Heathrow trains connect to here.

4. Getting a SIM is easier than getting fish and chips. £10, 5 minutes. Phone number, text and data. Even prepaid in the US takes forever, sign fifty forms, wait an hour for activation….. then wait another hour, call, complain, be told to fuck off, throw phone out of the window.

5. The Underground is the new gold standard in my book for Urban transit. Much better than the swipe card systems on the Metro, etc. As well, it takes you places you want to go. I don’t mind a bit of a walk, but I swear, in NYC the MTA is always taking me to places that are just forever and a day away from where I need to be.




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