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“London. You know: fish, chips, cup ‘o tea, bad food, worse weather, Mary fucking Poppins… LONDON.”

[ from Guy Ritchie’s Snatch].

London is too big to really get to grips with. It’s an ancient city and you feel the age of the place as you walk around. You can feel the weight of the concrete and the place can be a bit overwhelming.

It’s impossible to walk many places as it’s so big and so you’re obliged to use buses and the Tube to get around. The latter is way faster and simpler but a one day pass costs around $10. It also means that you spend an hour or two underground every day.

London is home to Indian, Pakistani, Iranian, Egyptian, Spanish, Jamaican and Italian communities to name a few. In the East End you’ll see hundreds of sari shops in a row and around Notting Hill the Caribbean influence is strong and reggae is everywhere. Sometimes it’s hard to believe you’re in England…until you look up and see the weather and remember.

Portobello Road is one of the cooler markets around and one of your best bets for hooking up with interesting people. Here there are tons of head shops and you can buy smoking paraphanelia, India tat and anything alternative. Covent Garden is also a cool market but a little more upmarket.

It’s not too safe to be walking around London at night but taxis are extortionate. Learn the bus routes as the Tube shuts down towards midnight.