It’s that time of the year again… As most big cities, London is always full of tourists, but a couple of weeks before Christmas it’s like the whole world has to come here for a weekend. Tourists invade every single square metre of the city’s centre, the underground, the buses, the shops…
Londonders don’t need to hear them speaking to tell a tourist from a resident. It’s blatantely obvious. So, for all those who’re planning a short break in London and would like to remain “incognito”, I’ve devised the following:
ETIQUETTE GUIDE TO AVOID LOOKING LIKE A HOPELESS TOURIST IN LONDON:
1) Don’t stand on the left on the Tube’s escalator. This is a golden rule. Nothing enrages Londoners more than a clueless tourist chatting away to his friends while standing on the left as if escalators were made for social networking. Londoners NEVER STAND on an escalator, they always walk down or up, and in the rare cases when they do stand, (because they don’t feel well or have luggage), it’s STRICTLY ON THE RIGHT!!!… Finding a tourist blocking their way sends Londoners into such a fit of anger, the poor sod can only expect to be ungraciously pushed off the stairs by a voice intimating “EXCUSE ME!!!!!!”.
2) Don’t take the tube to go from Covent Garden to Leicester Square or from Leicester Square to Piccadilly, or from Piccadilly to Green Park. These stations are about 500 meters from each other, WALK!!!!!!!!!!!!!
3) Don’t say Lei-ce-ster Square or people will think you’re a thick American and pretend not to know what you’re talking about. Leicester is pronounced as if spelt Lester.
4) Don’t stop to look (or, worse, take pictures of) “living statues”. Londoners think anyone standing still in the cold for hours on end covered in silver paint is a moron
5) Don’t go to the Hard Rock cafe’ in Piccadilly. It’s SOOO eighties (and not in a good sense. It’s eighties like George Michael’s hairstyle in Careless Whispers)
6) Don’t stare hopelessly at an underground map in the middle of a Tube’s platform. You’ll end up on the floor, smashed by a crowd of Londoners eager to get on their train. In general, don’t stare hopelessly at maps anywhere.
7) Don’t point at English girls wearing no tights in January. Yes, they are insane, their skin is so red their blood vessels are probably about to explode, and they look awful. Still, it’s not theit fault they were born in a country with no sense of style, and they don’t appreciate being stared at, so live with it.
8) Don’t dress as if you’re visiting the North Pole (this goes for Southern Europeans). London ISN’T a cold city! Of course, it’s not Florida nor Tel Aviv nor Sicily, BUT, it’s milder than most European capitals. So you don’t need three scarves, gloves and puffy jackets so thick you can store a bear in their lining.
9) Don’t sit at a table in a pub thinking a waiter will come and ask you what you want to drink. Pubs dont have table service.
10) Don’t talk loudly about the guy sitting next to you on the bus because chances are he’s a foreigner like you and will perfectly understand what you’re saying.
11) Don’t take pictures of the punks in Camden, they’ve been placed there by the local council, punks went into exinction in the early ’90s
12) Avoid Harrods and Madame Tussaud.
I’m not sure these rules will be enough to make you blend into the crowd, but they might help!