When visiting the historic city of London, one needs to get used to a lot of things that are different in the Bay Area, especially in the area of customer service.
One is the traffic flows on the left instead of the right. Naturally the cars and lorries (trucks) have right hand drive. Try driving one just for the heck of it and see if you get away without getting a citation. Give up the idea of jaywalking there.
The one attraction that daily draws over 5,000 spectators is the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. If this was in the United States someone would come up with a way to charge people to see this, someway, somehow. It is a very efficient, very colorful, very military show. the best part isit’s absolutely free to observe. Yes there is no charge.
Piccadilly Circus is always jammed with stores and traffic. Now if you get lonesome for USA businesses you can find McDonalds, Starbucks and other familiar places there.
Make sure you bring your credit cards to Harrod’s the English version of Nordstrom’s. Don’t expect a 2 for 1 sale there or and 10% off deals. But you will find lots of smiling faces.
The British Museum has relics from mummies to dinosaurs and once again there is no charge. They do have a basket as you leave asking for donations though.
When you order coffee at a coffee shop, you are asked do you want it black or white ? In other words with or without cream.
The Tower of London and Tower Bridge are over 1000 years old and yes this a a place that charges and also has a long line. The tour guides are called Beefeaters and are colorfully dressed. They have the knowledge and wit to tell you anything you want to know about the Tower.
There are also guided walks which takes one through the White Chapel section of London where Jack the Ripper performed his murderous deeds in the late 19th century. You can pay for this through various tours. Once again the service provided by the guides is outstanding with dates, stories and landmarks talked about.
Of course there are several Beatles historic sites. There are lots of paid tours available or you can wing it on your own with a map. There is the famous Abbey Road crosswalk leading into their recording studio. This is the one place where traffic will actually stop for you if you want to imitate their famous walk across the zebra striped crosswalk. The building which was their home for Apple Records is easily found on Saville Row. The Fabs are still loved over there, based on the merchandise you can get.
Fish and chips places can be found almost anywhere. This is the one meal that is their version of a burger and fries. You can always count on being called mate when you order.
The one thing to remember most is the catch phrase, “mind the gap.” That was barked every time you left their underground subway system ( their version of Bart) which has a little gap between the train and the platform, so one doesn’t trip over it. Like Bart you always are paying attention to the route and where you are at.
One big difference is in grocery stores clerks are actually seated rathing than standing. That is an incredible idea which shoud be copied over here. Take note of that Luckys and Safeway.