Life in the slow(er) lane

Trip Start Sep 30, 2005
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Trip End Jun 04, 2006


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Flag of United Kingdom  ,
Sunday, November 20, 2005

London, heaving city of 12.5 million people from every corner of the planet. Of a morning it sucks in people from the surrounding counties via its ageing and overcrowded infrastructure and in the evening it spits them back out from whence they came. It is busy, and there are more tired, jaded looking faces of a morning than relaxed, cheerful ones. The counterpoint to this is often the enthusiasm and excitement of the most newly arrived tourists poring over their maps or straggling out across the city's thoroughfares in what resembles the uninhibited view of a conga.

I'm back at work, albeit in a very low key, pressure free environment, yet the thing that strikes me about being in London, is that for all that it is a global city, it is so slow, so quiet so structured, and that it is so easy to escape into personal space. This is of course a direct comparison with my experiences in Chinese cities, but it's the one thing I never thought I'd hear myself saying about London. The people who work and commute here every day would be incredulous and direct you to the nearest lunatic asylum if you told them it was a slow-moving, relaxed city, but really folks, it is. Enjoy it while it lasts, because in a truly global economy, the pace is going to get faster.
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