I am obviously trying to avoid my “permanent” (note how I use these quotes) relocation to New York, by leaving after about only a week’s stay to visit one of my oldest friends, Teresa, in London.
This is actually my first time to the UK. Though I’ve now been to over 20 countries and territories now, I’ve hardly touched Europe. Before this trip, the only European country I’d ever been to was Austria for a ski trip in Innsbruck of all places.
But finally I am in London at long long last. I say finally because I had been such a big Anglophile through high school and college. I loved reading English authors (P.G. Wodehouse was a long-time favorite), loved BBC programming, Britpop, Royal history – basically all things English. MY undergraduate thesis was actually about the historiography of the famous murder of Edward II.
So given this history, plus the history I have with Teresa, I knew it was about time I came for a visit. So I organized a bit of a between-jobs break, and set down 20 days to spend in the UK with a side trip to Holland ((hopefully) more on that later).
I’m nearing the end of my stay and I have to say I totally see it now – London is a magical place. It is grand and majestic, vibrant, and full of culture and history. Just look around you and there is something interesting to see – no doubt full of history too.
Unfortunately, I must conclude this city is completely overpriced and there is no way that any ordinary person can survive and save a little tuppence for a future retirement. You will probably have to work all your life to make ends meet, and have any kind of indulgence along the way, but no savings, that’s for sure!
The Tube is incredibly expensive, with the minimum fare being just over 2 pounds. Unfortunately, you’re unlikely to have such a minimal commute if you’re going to live here, so multiply that by 2 or 3 or more! Rents are no doubt outrageous, especially if you want to be anywhere within the city confines. Then the food – though of nice quality – is always expensive. Most of my meals have averaged about 20 pounds each time (I admit, I won’t skimp on overall quality, and will indulge in either dessert or a drink to go with that). That is pricey!
Though there are plenty of free attractions (loads of quality museums), most pay attractions will cost anywhere from 9-22 pounds! It seems like highway robbery at some – like the Wellington Arch, where you pay about 9 pounds just to go up to the top to see a not-so-awe-inspiring view of the park, and check out a random collection of photos about something inane like gas stations (I am serious!).
So what can you do for fun if you want to some day retire? Stay in your far far away home and learn to knit perhaps?
It’s no wonder that in London I hardly hear a single British accent – international wealth has taken over and driven up the costs to an unrealistic level.
Fantastic city to visit (with money), but extremely limiting and wealth-depleting to live. Oh – and I did not even talk about the weather!