15 May 2013

Dear London

Dear London,

You need to change.

I know this isn't the best of opening lines, but we might as well get it in to the open. You need to change.

This isn't a case of "it's not you, it's me" - it really is you. Although it is (was) also me. An example...

Yesterday we discovered that we needed some passport pictures when we arrive in Turkmenistan - no digital photography for them at the border. Simple - we've found the local shopping centre and we'll just go there. Alas, no - none to be found.
So we wander the streets and can't find anywhere which does them, so Chris pops in to an electronics shop in the hope that they do them (small chance) or that there someone in there who knows where to get its done and, crucially, speaks English - or at least can understand our attempts to use sign language if the spoken word doesn't work out.

Now, London, pay attention to this bit...
Less than 1 minute later Chris comes back out of the shop with one of the guys who works there and he starts explaining to us where the nearest place is, as they don't do them. About half way through the explanation he realises it really isn't the easiest place to find and so, and London you really need to pay attention here, he walks us the 10 min walk to the place and then translates for us. He leaves work and takes a group of total strangers, tourists, to where they need to be and then helps them. Helps me. And then he offers to pay, if we didn't have enough cash.

Can you imagine this happening in London? No, I can't either.

You see London, you need to change. And it's not you, or me - it's us.