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david_west Jul 11th, 2005 05:39 AM

Ok: here's the real trutha bvout whats REALLY dangerous about London.....
Ok; there are a few threads about whether it is safe to come to London at the moment. These all revolve around the recent terrorist attacks; however none of them take into account the things that make London a truly hazardous place at all times – not just right now.

So in the interests of global peace and traveller safety let me warn you about the real dangers of London. In no particular order they are:

Psycho sociopath cyclists: These are the idiots that ride on the pavement (that’s the proper word for “sidewalk you know), and think that traffic laws don’t apply to them. They are swift, silent and deadly. Well, they’re silent up to the point that you complain about their behaviour. After that they’re not silent anymore.

Late night hot dog vendors: Not the vendors themselves, who are usually polite illegal immigrants. It’s the sausages that are dangerous. These are the sausages made from the bits that other sausage makers (even Walls) reject. However these fiends trap us every time by frying onions to disguise the smell of the sausages, and we fall into their trap every time.

Chuggers: (from Charity Muggers): These are the earnest, pierced, individuals in bright cheerful tabards who wish to enlist your help in righting all the wrongs of the planet. They do this by standing in your way when you’re in a hurry and asking you to save the life of a dying child. Don’t these people realise that I’m in a hurry?

Benjy’s Take away sandwich shops: I have not the words to describe the horror of these places. It would require Dante at the height of his powers to describe this particular circle of hell.

People who use mobile phones on the train/bus etc: Not in itself hazardous, but each one brings me closer to the inevitable rage induced heart attack.

Foreigners in Man Utd shirts: See above.

The sinner/winner man in Tottenham Court Rd: A preacher with a megaphone who preaches using sporting metaphors. The daft berk.

This is but a brief outline of the very real dangers of being in London. It is far from comprehensive. Can anyone add more?

ejkonz Jul 11th, 2005 05:50 AM

Your post gave me a chuckle ... the first this morning! I will, however, have to add that these "dangers" are present in just about any city ... even right here in Chicago! I would like to add to your list ... and I would contend that this one should occupy, perhaps, the #1 spot ... MONEY. London is expensive, expensive, expensive! The prices are (in pounds) what we Americans would expect to pay in dollars Stateside ... but current exchange rates actually nearly double the cost! Spent a few days in London at the end of a European trip recently and couldn't get out of the city soon enough! I love London, but was afraid that another day would mean re-mortgaging my house!

Kate Jul 11th, 2005 06:13 AM

GREAT idea. Travellers need to know the dangers.

There's a blind woman who gets the Jubilee Line. Don't EVER make the mistake of offering her your seat. The verbal abuse alone will leave you trembling for days. And don't ever touch her 'effing dog'.

There's an old man called Albert who gets the 98 bus. Don't ever make the mistake of answering any of his questions - you will never be free of him. I made the mistake of telling him my name once, years ago, and now whenever he spost me (from the back of the bus, on the tube, across the street) he shouts 'Katie, Katie' I love you Katie'.

Don't ever stop abruptly at the top of an escalator, when exiting a tube train or on going through a ticket barrier. A harrassed commuter WILL collide with you.

Don't ever try and helpfully suggest a better route to take to a London cab driver. You will be turfed out onto the pavement in an instant.

And in this hot weather, be careful not to take a tube seat that's just been vacated by a heavily set, sweating man. You'll walk away feeling like you've wet yourself. Why DO we still have cloth seats on the tube???

PatrickLondon Jul 11th, 2005 06:15 AM

David forgot to mention people like himself (and me) when confronted with any of the aforesaid, or in my case:

- people who stop in the middle of an exit to decide where to go next (especially if they come in a group and have a committee meeting about it)

- people (there's some sort of weird genetic programming that kicks this in between the ages of around 16 and around 26) who sit on staircases, particularly at the busiest exits and entrances to public buildings

Either of those could cause a nasty pile-up (or pile-in if I'm in a really bad mood).

Kayb95 Jul 11th, 2005 06:34 AM

<i>&quot;Don't ever stop abruptly at the top of an escalator, when exiting a tube train or on going through a ticket barrier. A harrassed commuter WILL collide with you.&quot;</i>

That's one of my pet peeves - along with people who stand in a walkway to chat, stop to look at a map, etc... <b>STEP ASIDE!!</b> :)

Holly_uncasdewar Jul 11th, 2005 06:48 AM

British humour. Gotta love you guys!

gertie3751 Jul 11th, 2005 06:52 AM

People who stand on the left on escalators. All Londoners know the left-hand side is the fast lane.

Patrick Jul 11th, 2005 06:58 AM

Good list, david. I plan to print this off and take it with me so my next London trip will be safer. I feel so reieved that I've never been accosted by a disquised sausage or been drawn into a Benjy's.

doonhamer Jul 11th, 2005 07:05 AM

1.People who try to pay for their early morning bus ride (Outer London only) with a &pound;10, or worse a &pound;20, note bleating &quot;It's all I've got&quot;
2. People in central London (or the 207) who try to pay CASH for their bus fare, saying &quot;The machine doesn't take notes&quot; [See 1., above]
3. Those unfortunates, mainly children, who, while crossing the road at a Pelican or similar, drop their book/teddy/sweetie/whatever, and IMMEDIATELY bend down to pick it up, resulting in half a dozen other people going A over T, just as the lights change.

david_west Jul 11th, 2005 07:16 AM

French schoolchildren in Carnaby Street: French schoolkids are unspeakable at the best of times (I blame the parents), once they get to Carnaby St they become even worse. There appears to be an ongoing competition to see who can put the most number of ludicrous things on their heads. It’s not unheard of to see a hat, alice band, earings, sunglasses, headphones, blue tooth ear thingy, and some facial piercing. Add to that the natural arrogance of the French and the general obnoxiousness of all tennagers and it’s not a pretty sight.

Japanese tourist following the lady with the umbrella: harmless as individuals, but you don’t want to get in the way of them once they’re on the march. They are in a hurry – they have to see ALL of Europe in a week. They don’t take prisoners.

Middle aged yanks in shorts: Not dangerous, but not aesthetically pleasing.

Pigeons: One is always wearing one’s smartest clothes when they decide to make their presence known.

Street Theatre: Especially those people who seem to think that standing still is a talent that should be monetarily rewarded.

Jellied eels: these really are dangerous. I have never fully recovered from my last encounter with these things (think fishy inner tubes in Vaseline).

Women (and it is always women) who get on a bus that they have been waiting for for 15 minutes and get to the driver and then, and only then, start to look for their purse which is at the bottom of a handbag that could house a family of angry rabbits (and from the frantic searching may well be doing just that)

m_kingdom2 Jul 11th, 2005 07:16 AM

I occasionally take the old routemaster buses with conductors on if I feel like a nostalgic journey, and I can't stand the attitude of the conductor when you present them with a 20 or 50 GBP note. They treat you with more contempt than if you'd refused to pay the fare flat out, and expect you to willingly accept a pocketful of change. How awful!

As for these self service ticket machines I see, I will never, ever do that. If I'm paying for a service I expect to be served by a person.

I'm really disliking London's evolution, I wish it could go back a few decades...even Mayfair will lose its charm in a couple more decades, if not sooner.

david_west Jul 11th, 2005 07:27 AM

Mayfair's just full of hedge funds and brasses these days old chap.

Only Trumpers retains any class.

Kavey Jul 11th, 2005 07:31 AM

Goshdarnit you made me snort tea and spew it out all over my keyboard!

Kate, I think I've encountered the Jubilee line lady and her &quot;efffing dog&quot;. She reminds of a Northern Line lady: quite a short lady this and on getting onto the train up in the quiet North London 'burbs, if she doesn't get a seat, instead of staying in the open area near the doors where she can reach and hold onto a vertical pole, she shuffles into the seated area and then, as it crowds up, starts swearing at everyone about how she can't reach the overhead pole. After that she starts stomping her feet to the point of kicking the poor buggers sitting behind her and then sort of mock-falling into their lap. I have to confess to snapping after a particularly brutal shinkick and shoving her so hard she almost fell into the lap of the person opposite me and shouting at her that if she touched me again I'd kick her head in. Which is the least likely thing a coward like me would do normally but highlights the biggest danger of London there is - Commuter Rage. The best bit was the smiles and thumbs up I got from everyone sitting anywhere near me!

On the other hand, some of the nutters are quite engaging. I do find myself smiling everytime I pass Nic and his amazing musical traffic cone or the didgeridoo player with the stripey socks.

aggiemom Jul 11th, 2005 07:35 AM

I don't know if anyone else here remembers but, 30 years ago (on my first trip to London), there was also a threat of bombs in public transportation. (Forgive the ignorance of a then-teenager, but I don't even know just WHO was doing the bombing.)

I was 19 and with a friend and we were warned to run like &quot;he**&quot; if we saw an unattended bag or box in a tube station, bus, etc. We came across one in a tube station and ran like the wind.

And you know, even back then this warning came before I went on my trip and it didn't stop me. Made me smarter, but didn't stop me.

Art_Vandelay Jul 11th, 2005 07:49 AM

- Italian families on Carnaby street who act even more obnoxiously than French teenagers
- Bus drivers who wouldn't stop to let passengers in, even if there is obviously room for a dozen more
- Restaurants: it's not your stomach that's in jeopardy, it's your hearing (and your wallet, but that's a general rule in London). Alcohol fuelled Brits speak at the top of their lungs.
- Serial vomitters on week-end nights all across the West End
- The smell on Sunday morning buses for routes going through the West End (see above item for reason)
- Pop corn munchers in cinema theatres

P_M Jul 11th, 2005 08:04 AM

My biggest fear of travel to London is the failure to mind the gap. That annoying voice on the loudspeaker has given me a major complex. I have visions of getting my foot caught in the gap, then the train speeds away taking me along with it. Or just taking off my foot!! :O

PatrickLondon Jul 11th, 2005 08:08 AM

It's not just popcorn munchers, Art, it's all those people (not just in London, it's universal, I think), who imagine they're still at home in front of the telly, talks about this and that and then stops to ask 'What did he say?'. Mind you, the people who do concentrate on what's on stage can include the one who keeps saying to their neighbour &quot;You'll like this bit, he's going to...&quot;, or worse still recites the lines a beat before the actors (or sings along half a bar ahead).

Not to mention noisy neighbours, people who drop litter and kids on monkey bikes. So I won't. Nor people with shopping trolleys or suitcases with wheels who cut across in front of you, just in time for you to trip over them.

It's too hot today, that's the trouble.

travelbunny Jul 11th, 2005 08:49 AM

..takeway coffee from small kiosks..usually served in styrofoam cups..this ghastly stuff will cause gastritis for a week..and they have the gall to charge a pound.

Kavey Jul 11th, 2005 08:52 AM

A pound? And the rest! ;) :D

flanneruk Jul 11th, 2005 09:08 AM

There is of course the trivial problem that, for the next six months, every dimwit leaving a used can of Coke on a tube train will bring the entire system to a halt.

And it'll inevitably coincide with the first day in the past month your connecting overground train actually left on time. Leaving you stuck on Paddington concourse trying to get your mobile to work while the 3,000 other stranded commuters are clogging up the system with their infinitely less important calls home.

To add to:

- the Metro newspaper abandoners, who were driving us all nuts with their slatternliness even before we could get all sanctimonious about the threats they posed.
- those tourists who insist on standing around the entrance to tube platforms, leaving hundreds of yards of empty space if only you could get through their bloody rollercases.
- those provincial visitors who insist on standing at the tube carriage door. For visitors who don't understand: <b> Move down inside!!! </b>
- anyone bringing luggage onto the Piccadilly line to or from the airport during rush hours. But, of course, we can all hector them now if they leave their bags at the end of the carriage. So at least we'll have the satisfaction of seeing them having to put their overweight cases onto their knees. Tee hee.
- Tourists who insist on walking along our streets at the same indolent pace they affect back home. This is a city, not a holiday resort. Speed up or ship out.
- Worst of all, of course, are those (usually British, always 18-30 and always male) louts who put their feet on the opposite seat. Dangerous because they encourage old farts like me to go on endlessly about how they tell the yobs they should be ashamed of themselves, and more grownups should do the same.

With all this, can't understand why any of you think it's worth coming here.

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