Three times a week I spend about 2 hours on the tube commuting to and from work. Starting the morning in northwest London, I transfer once at the Oxford Circus station and take the central line to northeast London.
For those who have never been on London’s Underground before, I’ll break it down for you.
- Tube Etiquette:
- Eating anything loud, sloppy or odorous is generally frowned upon
- If there is an elderly, pregnant or disabled person, you give up your seat for them
- If you’re having a conversation, keep it at a low volume
- If you’re playing music, make sure it’s not loud enough for others to hear through your headphones
- When riding the escalator into the overground, those walking down use the left side and those who are not stand on the right side
- Tube Mannerisms
- Everyone will glance at everyone in the tube car. That’s just normal here.
- During peak commute hours, you might be stuffed in a car where every possible inch is taken up by people sitting and standing. This is also normal
- On the commute home, there will always been one person sound asleep in their seat
- When transferring lines, there are 2 types of people: those walking fast because they’re 10 minutes late and those walking faster because they’re 20 minutes late
- Every once in awhile at night you will see some rats while waiting for your line. Again, this is normal
- At any given time it is possible to hear any of the world’s languages being spoken inside your car
- There will be random street performers inside the connecting tunnels from one line to another
- There are usually homeless people sitting in the walkways of the busier stations
If you want to understand the city of London better, the tube is a good place to start. For instance, take point #6 under Tube Mannerisms- I have actually heard more languages being spoken by sitting on the tube than all my time spent in Harrisburg and Pittsburgh combined (shocker, I know). This is very telling for the vibe of the city. Currently, the British are actually a minority in London. Read More Here.
This racial and ethnic diversity is reflected in many ways. My personal favorite are the neighborhood hole-in-the-wall restaurants with food from the respective cultures. It’s no secret I’m not a big fan of the British food, but some of these other spots have some of the best food I’ve had in awhile. For instance, my neighborhood is predominantly Middle Eastern/Persian. There are at least 5 different places to grab a killer Doner Kebab for £5-£7. Some of you might be asking, “Tuck what is a Doner Kebab?”. Essentially, its the Turkish equivalent to a Gyro – and it’s delicious. If you’re ever in London or Berlin/Prague, I’d suggest finding a Doner place (high percentage of Turkish residents in these places).
Another great spot in my neighborhood (Kilburn Park) is Spicy Basil. A Thai restaurant with only enough seating for about 30 people, there is always a wait out the door. This place has some of the best Yellow Curry I’ve ever had. And it’s only £6… which is a steal for the amount of food you’re getting. I like to go here on Sunday nights.
Check back in on my next post to hear about the traveling I got to do in March.