Monday, April 25, 2011

A hop, skip & a jump across The Pond

We've been in London just over 1 week now. We really brought the California weather with us - it's been absolutely beautiful so far with only one rain shower and that one had lightning & thunder - something we don't get in California that much. It was delightful, but only because we were at home relaxing and not out and about.

Here are my observations & what I've learned so far:
- Service at restaurants & pubs is very different. You have to know what you want and do most of the legwork. That being said, people don't work for tips here.
- The price is the price. Tax is already included!
- Women dress like they are stuck in the 80's. Sometimes in the worst of the 80's or slutty. I haven't seen a whole lot in between yet.
- I saw 26 flats before selecting the one for us. I am very happy with our selection.
- We can't get the keys to our flat until the landlord has 6 weeks worth of deposit and the first months rent.
- You can't get a bank account until you have a local address. Or at least, that's the easiest way to get one.
- A wire transfer from our US account would take a week to clear because of all the holidays we're celebrating right now.
- You can't get a mobile phone until you have a local bank's debit card.
- You can't get internet without a land line.
- Google Maps on my phone now cashes the tiles, so even though I do not have a mobile here yet, I can cash the maps and still get help to make my way around and feel secure while I'm alone running around.
- UK TV is awesome! Tons of nudity on over the air TV, not cable! Vogue UK even shows nipple!
- Men take their shirts off in the parks here. EW!
- The London tube system is very organized.
- Real Ale beers are amazing!
- Plugging your laptop into the 110v "Shavers only" plug in the bathroom will charge your laptop. Once. And then the plug doesn't work any more.
- You can't blow dry your hair the bathrooms here! With the voltage being 220, it's too dangerous to have something plugged in that could fall into water.
- Instant boiler kettles are my new best friend.

We have yet to really go sightseeing yet. We're waiting for our friends & family to visit so we can go with you! Up until now, we've been exploring a lot of the neighborhoods to help us get a good frame of reference for a place to live and also understanding when we here about places, what that means in terms of location, look & feel.

It's time to gear up for the Royal Wedding! The decorations & barricades are going up all over the city. It's a fantastic time to be in London. You can feel the excitement in the air.