Since our time in London began I knew the biggest cultural difference I would see was transportation. As I look out the window on a rainy night at the local Pret a Manger I see so many people that use completely different forms of transportation. First of all, many, and I mean many people walk. It is beyond comparison from our part of the United States. It doesn’t take a tourist long to have sore legs from being here less than a week all together. For those that do not walk there are the famous double decker red buses that roam the streets. This design makes sense, just like the houses here. The only choice is to go up to hold people in order to make space mean something. Then there are the thousands of taxi cabs that are always being used to transport people through this busy city. They all have the typical look of something that many of us would call a “death trap” due to how compact they are. I have kept my eye out for the more so “American” style vehicles that are regularly found in the United States. So far I have only encountered three Ford cars, only because I was paying attention for those. For those who do not use either of these decide to get around on two wheels. Many people have their own motorcycles and bicycles. Personally, I would not want to use either in this busy city, as I would be afraid of getting run over.
There is an issue with all of the above mentioned means of transportation, and that is time. When we took a bus on the first day of our trip it took us an hour to travel 20 miles into the city. In response to this, the tube is a common alternative. The tube system is a series of mainly underground trains that run through different parts of the city. Each tube line has a color code and is given a name. Each individual line has its own stops that it makes at stations on its route. Some routes cross over at the same station where a person can get off and head a different direction. It is a great alternative to save money, and all it takes is an oyster card to gain access to specified zones. However, on a daily basis I could not use the tube unless completely necessary. It becomes extremely crowded in the morning and late afternoon when everyone is commuting back and forth from work. Many of the people that aren’t tourists look miserable at the end of an eight hour day. Their eyes are bloodshot and many are sleeping, about how I felt during the first couple of days here. I wanted to get pictures of us in a crowded tube, but it is so uncomfortable and hot in those situations to move around too much. I will take advantage of this opportunity before the trip is over.
Today was the first day we used one of the stations above ground.
The typical double decker bus.
This is the sign at every stop for the tube system. These become very important to recognize here.
The typical London cab.
I thought this picture symbolizes the what I feel is a problem for transportation in London. The grocery store chain Tesco delivering groceries. This is something we don't see in the United States and he actually just pulled up on the street sidewalk to park.