London has not been my least favorite place to live. While I haven’t loved it, there are some great things about it, which I will highlight in a later post. However, there’s also a lot not to like. It’s a major city, with a giant population. London ranks 22nd in the world for population (8th outside of Asia), and is a global city for sure.
While you find your own niches and places to hang out, there’s parts that are unavoidable and wear on you. That’s true of any city though. Below I have highlighted three of the major things I just couldn’t get over in London. In all fairness though, I will be doing a post of the three things I will miss, and love, about London.
Again, London is a major city, with a large, dense population. It’s bound to happen. However, when you’re confronted by it day in and day out, it’s a bit much. Trash cans overflowing with garbage, litter everywhere, even in the Thames. People will even pile up their household trash around public trash cans.
My office is near Tower Bridge, which has been great, however, it also means much more foot traffic. During the summer they set-up a cantina, and the winter a market, it’s great. However, it also means food-wrappers and plastic cups everywhere, every morning. If I do ever pull myself out of bed early enough to go to the gym, that stretch is grim. Not to mention the cigarette butts everywhere as well.
The Underground is pretty bad as well. When I first arrived, I relied on the Northern Line daily, and it was awful. After a few days into it my snot was black when I blew my nose. Now I’m no doctor, but I don’t think that is very healthy, especially long-term. I won’t even get into the coughing, sneezing and being crammed in so tight everyone is breathing on one another.
No, I’m not going to bash British food. I actually like a lot of it, and clearly I am a fan of pies. However, I am going to be the fat, stupid American here, and discuss their take on North American cuisine. It’s not good, at all.
Burgers are hit or miss for the most part, and I won’t even get into pizza. I watched a clip of a guy doing a two-minute pizza review in New York and my mouth started to water. They try with BBQ, and a lot of them think it’s just slathering a piece of meat in some type of ultra-sweet sauce.
However, the absolute worst is Mexican food. For a city full of cuisine from all over the world, of all flavors and tastes, they miss the mark on this one big time. It’s bland, or seasoned with who knows what. The other choices keep me busy but every now and then I crave Mexican food, and know it is but a dream.
THE LACK OF SPACE
Everything is tiny. I get it, space is at a premium here, but again, it just wears on you. You constantly feel like you’re in the way or running into things as you try to squeeze out of a table after lunch. Or the fact you eat right next to complete strangers who can hear everything you say.
The same goes for living space. The bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms, and everything is cramped. You never really feel like you have your own space. Even outside sometimes. When the weather is nice everyone goes to the park, and I mean everyone. So even outdoors, you only have a limited amount of space.
I know there was a ton of whining in here, but that was kind of the point. I had the idea to do a post about what I liked about London since I was leaving, but figured I might as well give the other side to it as well. Only fair.
I definitely relish my time here. It was a great experience. I saw a lot of old friends, traveled to a ton of new places, and learned a lot. I will carry my experiences in London for the rest of my life, the good and the bad ones. Stay tuned for the good side!