If you’re visiting London for the Olympics or maybe a conference and you’re looking around this charming city, there are a few things you need to know to enjoy your trip and if you value your safety:
1. Don’t be correcting us on the names of things. We call them pavements (sidewalks) bins (trash cans) boot (trunk) and the like. Most importantly of all, we don’t call our trousers pants!
2. London folk are very polite, if you step on their foot, they will apologise to you. Try it on a packed bus.
3. Nothing will get you stabbed more quickly than standing on the left of the escalator when on the tube / underground / subway. When I say stabbed, I mean people will tut loudly and huff and puff.
4. In fact just avoid the tube during peak hours altogether. You’re just going to stop in the middle to read maps and take pictures delaying everyone else trying to get to their next meeting.
5. We are not overly affectionate people. A simple handshake will more than suffice. No high fives, one arm or two arm hugs… ever!
6. Things are not awesome, rocking or mind-blowing. They are either good, or not too bad.
7. We don’t like to make small talk on any topic other than the weather despite the fact we get nothing but rain all year long.
8. A lot of places in central London are very close. Walk around and you’ll be amazed. For the more adventurous, try one of these walking routes http://www.walklondon.org.uk/
9. If you’re into cycling, you can check out routes and maps and even how those hire bikes work. http://www.tfl.gov.uk/roadusers/cycling/11607.aspx
10. Yes, we drive on the left hand side of the road. Look to your right when crossing. There’s a good reason for driving on the left. You see back in the old days when we had knights riding horseback, if they’d come across another knight approaching from the opposite direction, they had no idea if they were friend or foe. So they would draw their sword (predominantly in their right hand) and move to the left to better strike out if need be. As a result the horses nearly always ended up riding on the left of the road. When we upgraded to cars, we kept the same convention because you never know when you need to draw a sword whilst driving.