Thursday, February 13, 2014

London, post 1

So, out of curiosity, I'm going to dip my toes into the realm of travel blogging. This seems less interesting to me than sports or music blogging, but more interesting to everyone else, so I'll give it a go. If you aren't familiar at all with my life, I'm currently studying abroad in London, the most populous city in Europe (by some measures). Let's see what I'm learning...




Public transportation is amazing

This is the most obvious thing you learn about London, especially when you've got an Oyster Card (basically a good to go pass for the London Underground). Connected through a series of easy-to-navigate subway stations, "The Tube" makes a walkable city smaller than it already is. Having only lived in LA and Tacoma, I had no idea what public transportation can do. You don't have to worry about parking! You can drink as much as you want without finding a DD! No fear about accidents or cost of insurance! The Tube is great. Except the last trains go out at midnight, meaning it closes sometime between 12 and 1. Meaning that if you're out late partying, you'd better know your bus routes, be ready to walk several miles, or stay out until the Tube reopens at 5 AM. That last one is definitely a goal of mine before the semester ends.

Football is king

Football, aka soccer, rules around here. Quick tangent - the English had several games developing in the 1800s, all called football. These would, after lots of movement and rule changes, become modern football, American football, rugby, Aussie Rules Football, etc. To separate modern football from the rest, it was titled association football. Now, the English love to nickname things, and, playing on the "soc" in association, came up with the nickname "soccer". But somehow, along the way, soccer stopped meaning "association football", and started meaning "Dumbass American who doesn't know the proper names of things". Whatever, Great Britain. It's your word.
Anyway, football dominates the sporting scene over here. The back page of every newspaper is dedicated to huge pictures of popular footballers and managers (coaches), or unpopular ones, like David Moyes. Interestingly, every town has a ton of teams, meaning that the supply is nearer to the demand, and many more fans than in the United States have season tickets. Take London: there are currently 6 London teams in the top league, the BPL (Barclays Premier League): Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, West Ham, Crystal Palace, and Fulham. With that many teams, it's not difficult to find tickets to your favorite one on any given day. Therefore, games aren't watched in bars the way they are in the United States. To the English, you go to the pub before the game, rather than during it. It can be challenging to even find a place to watch without tickets! But the pregame is awesome.

The pound sucks

I might say this one to myself every day. It's my least favorite thing about London. The exchange rate is currently .6. Yep. For every dollar I put out, I get 60 pence back. And everything costs the same here, just with the signs flipped. So ordering from a sandwich shop might cost 7. That's fine, in the US. A 7 dollar sandwich is normal. But, after factoring in the exchange rate here, your 7 pound sandwich is actually running you around $12. Whew! Better be a damn good sandwich...
I'm also anticipating myself going on a fat spending spree when I get home. Just because I'll feel like everything is so cheap. And speaking of expensive...

15 pounds for a cheap 5th

...Yeah...It's tough to get drunk here...

The weather

Is basically the same as in Seattle. I love the rain, so no complaints, but I have taken to wearing a jacket, which is a huge step for me.

Traveling

Is actually pretty cheap over here! I just booked a Spring Break flight to Barcelona, which only cost me 60 pounds. How can a flight to Barcelona cost the same as 4 cheap 5ths? I don't know. But I think I'm making the right spending decision here.

That's all I have the attention for at the moment, I'll blog again another time if anyone finds this even remotely readable.


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