I am running breathlessly in Gard du Nord. I push my way forward. At this point, I don’t even say “Excusez moi“, I just want to cut the long line of Asian tourists and pass the police check. I am about to go toward the train when a woman says” Wait Miss, the train is about to leave”. I panic. My friend is in the train already, I am late and they don’t let me board. Then she uses her walky talky (which is BTW called talky walky in France) to signal that there is a late passenger. Finally, they hold the train and tell me to run and jump in any car. I get finally to my seat. My Adrenalin level is coming down and I start enjoying the sight of few handsome guys speaking in an attractive British accent. I had crossed the border from a nightmare to a dream!
My friend and I were looking forward to our trip to London for a month. We had reserved a Bed and Breakfast and we had planned to walk as much as possible in the streets and be “wild” at nights. We arrived to St. Pancras station, which was very nice and recently renovated. Bought our Tube tickets and went to the B&B.
The host woman was a nice lady. She showed us our rooms. Mentioned ten times that: “You have to turn the key to the right to open the doors”! (remember all is inversed in Britain). Few minutes later, my friend used the bathroom and after 10 minutes she came to me, very disturbed, to tell me that as many times as she tried, the syphon didn’t work well so “somethings are still in the toilet”!
These are situations that I love. So absurd, that you can only lough. After that incident, we found out that indeed most Londonian toilets have a suction problem. So, you stay there, looking at your turd in the bowl, thinking: “Gosh, I wish I hadn’t expelled this, now what do I do with it?”. Even if you think, in a surreal way, you could take your excursions with you in a bag (like the ones that dog owners carry with them), you would have an extremely hard time finding a trash bin in the streets. Those are scarcities in London!
One other bummer was that from the first day that we arrived I came down with a cold, which prevented us from being “wild”. It was also extremely cold, but … it didn’t rain and it was not “typical” foggy London weather.
Besides these minor problems, we had a very good time. We visited few museums. We walked for hours in “Wall Street like” streets! We ate in cute places. We even visited some non-touristic neighborhoods, called “residential” areas, where nonetheless, we had a hard time seeing people in the buildings anyway.
What is really amazing is that it only takes 2 hours 20 minutes to get from Paris to London, two very very different cultures and cities. This is why the idea of a “uniform, global” culture scares me. It would be a pitty to loose all these differences and become one blob of population who all drink at Starbucks and eat at Pizza Hut.