L O N D O N 2 0 1 5 - The Journey of Dreams....
This post was really fun to write! My experience in London so far has been a little bit of culture shock and a LOT of amazement. At any given moment I felt like I was on a movie set, akin to the ones we walked through in Disney World, only these are not backdrops or wooden sets down these foggy streets, but in fact they are real buildings! So here we go, for my friends back in Canada, here is London according to me (and for my new British friends please note most of these are just a bit of fun, not serious)
1. Men in London say “pleasure” or “my pleasure” or, if they fancy to make you swoon, they’ll say “entirely my pleasure, seriously” (instead of “you’re welcome”)
2. Mistletoe grows on trees here! This can be a very exciting discovery, until you ask a local about it and they tell you that it’s not mistletoe but “Holly” and that mistletoe is actually an ugly large blob of leaves akin to a tumble weed (but still alive) very high up at the top of a tree where you’ll never see it, thereby shattering your false image of mistletoe's appearance.
3. Half the people in London are French, if not more.
4. People in Britain say "let me have a think" rather than "I'll think about it"
5. Cars have the right of way to pedestrians, ALWAYS, no matter what. They’re likely to bump you with their front bumper if you don't run across the intersection fast enough (I'm exaggerating, slightly). It's just as hard getting used to cars being in the 'wrong' lane as a pedestrian, if not harder, as it is driving in the 'wrong' lane. When it says Look Left on the pavement, look EVERYWHERE, including right in front of you, behind your shoulder and basically in every direction possible.
6. Nobody that lives in London seems to know where any of the Catholic Churches are, even if one is just around the corner.
7. If you ask someone for directions, get a second opinion, then a third. Keep asking until at least two directions are the same, otherwise you’ll walk in a loop forever.
8. Early Sunday morning traffic is as busy as Friday night party traffic (akin to Vegas on a busy day), which is the same as 12am, 2am and 6am and basically any time. London never sleeps. The little grocery stores scattered at every street corner, called Tesco, are open 24/7.
9. It’s always raining in London, but it’s never actually quite raining. Take a hooded coat that you can put on and off your head every 10 min as it is impossible to discern if it's raining or not, and how that may or may not affect your hair.
10. Chocolate shops look like fancy jewelry shops, and the selection is amazing. Be prepared to pay lots, but it's worth it!
11. “Cheers” has 1000 meanings, some of which include: “No worries” “See you later” “Thanks” “Don’t mention it” “You’re welcome” and whatever the equivalent of a wink in your direction would be, if it were translated to words.
12. A car trunk is called a ‘boot’
London doesn’t have garage sales or yard sales. They have carboot sales, where owners sell trinkets right out of their car trunks!!!
13. A subway train is called the ‘Tube’ and the station is called a ‘Tube Station’
14. London buses DO NOT TAKE CHANGE OR CASH. And if you didn’t know that, the bus driver may not believe you and get angry at you for trying to get a free ride, despite any change you may be holding in your hand. There is an 80 pound charge for not using the Oyster card to pay to catch a bus. More people ride the top level of a double decker bus than the bottom level.
15. You don’t have to be big or strong to deal with ruffians, you only need to have the glare of a Frenchman and no one will mess with you.
16. Squirrels in London are French.
17. Little shacks down pathways are not someone's grandma's house in the woods, they are actually gardeners / grounds keepers sheds.
18. Some toilets are square not oval and you will feel like you’re 4 years old trying your best not to fall in, because they're massive.
19. Money: When people say quid they mean pounds, for example "10 quid" is 10 pounds. The 10 cent is a much larger coin than the 5 cent (logical, but quite confusing if you're Canadian). London still uses the 1 cent. There is no tax on anything, ever. The price you see is the price you pay.
20. There appear to be no homeless people in London. And there’s too much activity all day and night to ever feel unsafe in the city, with mass amounts of people around you all the time, anyone could help you should something happen.
21. Ambulance lights flash blue and an ambulance drives by every 45 minutes wherever you happen to be in London, every day. Their sirens are piercing.
22. It is very expensive to get into a London night club (like Fabric - not pictured here because I didn't bring enough money on my night out to actually get in) and you should buy your tickets in advance online, or you'll pay more at the door, that is if you make it down the lineup all the way to the door. Don't come early, they don't open until 11pm, and they close at 8am so the party doesn't really get started until like 3am anyway.
23. The beautiful red payphones don’t actually have phones inside. Don’t go inside…
So there you have it! If I could have a magic teleport transporter to anywhere in the world it would be to London (via a nice smelling, new model, red phone booth!) :)
I took all these photos myself, in the last 4 days, in the heart of London! I can only say that photos cannot do it justice. This place is magical and surreal.
It is truly a city where dreams come true. The British people are polite, friendly and all around fantastic, each and every last one of them.
Thank you London! From this starting point, here at the London Screenwriter's Festival 2015, I've begun to manifest my destiny!