Thoughts about Pounds, Pence, and People

It’s amazing to me to consider the sheer number of people in this city. Day in and day out there are more than seven million people that live solely within the city of London; and even more that come into work everyday.

The noise level is dramatically higher as well. I am enjoying my flat, and my roommates, but I find it difficult to sleep through the night without waking up several times due to the noise level that comes in off the street. It’s literally like having a garbage truck, busses, and large semi-trucks parked, and running outside of my window most of the day. I think the sound of diesel engines will be forever engrained on my brainpan.

I may have talked about this in the last entry, but the speed of this town is also staggering. I am constantly being passed up by gray haired old men (I’m talking in their late sixties to early seventies) walking in what I can only describe as a “gait” to go from wherever they were to wherever they need to be – apparently in a great hurry.

I also can’t get over the bravery/stupidity/craziness of London’s motorcyclists. There are hundreds of motorcyclists on the roads everyday that weave in and out of traffic, accelerating to better than fifty miles an hour to go around and between oncoming traffic, up onto the sidewalks, and in and around people walking on the sides of the street. And it doesn’t seem to be a phenomena restricted to those on burly harley-davidson-like motorcycles: even those on scooters and wee little machines seem to be of the selfsame less-than-sane mentality. Strangely enough, however, there do not seem to be all that many accidents. I’ve only seen the aftermath of one thus far.

I find I much prefer the English coins to American coins. The weight of a pound coin in one’s pocket (no pun intended) is so much more psychologically comforting than a dollar bill. You FEEL like you have money in your pocket. I find I actually prefer coins to bills.

We are going to see our first English play tonight: “Miss Melville” with Macaulay Culkin (the kid in Home Alone) as the lead role. Hopefully next weekend we are going to Belgium (we can get airfare, hotel, meals and fairy ride for 99 pounds, or about 150 dollars) and to Paris the weekend after that (take the Chunnel for about 80 pounds, or about 120 dollars).

I’m looking forward to them all! And to relating the experience back to you all – and myself :)