A Visit to
By Wes Clark
It's wonderful to visit a place I've only read about since I was fourteen or so; I like this city a lot. And the history! So many things to see, so many things to know... We only spent a week there (March 10th-15th, 2008) - I could have easily stayed longer.
1.) Geez, is it EXPENSIVE! (
2.) This exchange rate is a killer...A Krispy Kreme doughnut is $2.20. At a small cafe, a burger and fries will set you back more than $20. A fridge magnet is about $6.
3.) We haven't yet seen a gas (petrol) station anywhere in the streets of
4.) In general, we haven't seen people walking pets on the street; we're told that this takes place in the parks.
3.) We stopped at a pharmacy (Boots) and were amazed at how few pain relievers and cough and cold remedies were available. Tylenol (acetaminophen) isn't available here; but Paracetamol, which I learned is the same thing, is.
4.) We say that
5.) Harrod's is the most amazing department store I have ever seen. Even the flagship Macy's can't compare. Unbelievable selection - but, due to the exchange rates, the costs are sky-high. Once again, we passed on souvenirs ($16 for a small tin of biscuits? I don't think so.)
6.) As in
7.) The public transportation system is wonderful; at least as good as the D.C. Metro.
8.) Beautiful dishy young blue-eyed blonde women everywhere. I wouldn't have thought I'd find the stereotypical "California Girls" (minus the tans) here, but it's so.
9.) We've been eating at budget places: Burger King and a sandwich place called Pret a Manger (which is surprisingly good) and bringing food back from the local Tesco (a supermarket). Food at restaurants and cafes just seems to be way out of line price wise. I am really unimpressed with the Tesco; it seems to have a very limited selection of goods compared to the usual U.S. market.
10.) Candy (chocolate bars) seem to be cheaper than in the
11.) Wireless Internet/Free Internet availability here really sucks, comparatively speaking. No comparison to the
12.) I see very few obese people compared to the
13.) I suspect many Londoners are partially dehydrated. I saw very few water fountains around.
What we've seen and done:
Greenwich Royal Observatory (site of the Prime Meridian)
Greenwich Queens House
Greenwich pedestrian tunnel (crosses under the River Thames)
National Portrait Gallery (I wasn't allowed to take photos indoors...)
Liberty of London (a glorious old department store)
Oxford Circus at night
National Gallery (I wasn't allowed to take photos indoors...)
Rode double-decker busses and the Underground
Had fish and chips at a pub in
Saw a Smart Car
I was planning to ride the London Eye (an enormous high-tech Ferris wheel with spectacular views of