Things I found to be different in London

I had the opportunity to break away from work for a week and visit one of the most important cities on my I-Have-To-Go-Here list, London.

I found many similarities between London life and New York life, but as I went outside every day I tried to put together a small list of things that I found curious from the perspective of a 4 year old New Yorker.

CCTV, CCTV, CCTV! From the moment you step foot in the city there’s a very clear message put into your head. CCTV!, Big brother’s watching!. The scare tactic seems to work, all my friends seemed to tell me, don’t do this, don’t do that, they’re watching. I personally think it’s more of a deterrent than anything. Nobody can possibly be watching so many cameras, they are probably used for “forensic” purposes.

Pound Currency design FAIL. I understand having different widths for blind people, but they made them way too wide to fit on a wallet. Also they don’t have their denomination shown on all 4 corners, for the tourist, if you insert bills backwards you have to take them out to see how much each bill is, slowing cashier lines with tourists.


They just don’t fit on my “American Sized” wallet. I guess you have to either have a bigger wallet, or fold them twice. Notice how you can’t tell what bills are what (If you’re a noob with the currency of course), no numbers on all corners.

One thing I loved though on the 10 pound bill, freaking Charles Darwin is in it!

Now see the mighty dollar (Euros have the numbers on all 4 corner) how good the “user experience” is (at least for the non blind)


London.Underground = NewYork.Subway;
London.Subway = NewYork.UnderPass

What the New Yorker calls the “Subway”, the Londoneer calls the “Underground”. Whoever designed the Logo of their system was a genius, it’s a very versatile logo. Now, here comes a weird thing, Waht we New Yorkers call an “Underpass” The Londoneer calls “Subway”. This little detail had me J-Walking a couple of big avenues with all my luggage right after I came out of the “Underground” , and I couldn’t find for the life of me a pedestrian area to cross, and I kept thinking that some parts of the city weren’t that pedestrian-friendly… Me and other tourists just had gotten out of what we call “Subway” when we saw a sign for the “Subway” again we didn’t use it and we J-Walked it baby. Then it was easy to cross big avenues. In london Underpass = Subway.


Nokia > iPhone
Most people have Nokia phones there. Didn’t see a single iphone among my friends. Saw an Android though

The underground has no exits, only ways out.
The undeground has no "Exits", only Ways out

When you cross the street they always make you waste time on this buffer zone, many of the times lots of pedestrians end up waiting in the middle. Maybe its a combination of making car traffic flow faster, and also to help tourists remember cars are coming the other way.


It seems that the city is a very democratic place and that it has lots of issues, during the 6 days I was there I saw protests from very different groups. It also seems that there’s this love for Rollerblading like nowhere else, saw big crowds of Rollerbladers (wearing funny customs some times) in several occasions. Not sure if they were also protesting.




Maybe I’m just used to it, but I think the water in New York tastes 1000 times better than the water in London. There’s something in the London water after you swallow, it never seems to quench my thirst, it has to be extremely cold for it to feel the same way, and it was my experience that everywhere that I went I had to ask for a lot of ice. It must be an european thing (my wife doesn’t drink iced water either, nor does her family, they can even drink room temperature beer, yuck) drinking water at its natural temperature, maybe it’s part of the energy culture in America that we don’t give a crap to spend energy in cooling water?

Overall, I loved the experience, the night life seems very much alive and real. Heard some stories of pickpocketing and of areas that I shouldn’t dare visit and this made me think that it may be a city a little more dangerous than New York.

Maybe it’s the week dollar, I don’t know, but everything felt to me that it was double or triple the price than in New York. I only spent money on food, transportation and internet connectivity, other than that I don’t think it was worth it for someone who comes from New York to do any shopping over there and I certainly didn’t spend a “p” on anything outside my most basic needs.

Thoughts during my first hours in London

I’ve finally taken a week off from work, and I decided to go to one of the must-visit cities on my list while my wife does her Indian journey with her sister. I’m in London, and I must say I’m not that thrilled yet (I haven’t seen anything so far), maybe it’s cause I’m alone, maybe it’s the weather, maybe I’m tired, or maybe I’m too cheap for the freaking prices so far in this city. Here are some of the thoughts I’ve had so far during the trip:

  • American Airlines for the first time had really good food during the flight. Also the movies on demand rocked, I could watch Valkyrie and Yes Man.
  • As we started to descend I realized I would not see the sun again during the whole vacation. Anywhere from 10,000 meters to like 100mts from the ground there were layers and layeres of clouds and fog.
  • Subway cars are tiny
  • DSC00041

  • The subway system is a piece of cake
  • Every thing is twice as expensive as in New York, and it pisses me off
  • There’s a never ending drizzle
  • At first I thought the whole place would sound like I was in a harry potter movie, so far I’ve only heard Polish, German, Portuguese, Italian, and very little English with British Accent
  • Everything reminds me of my wife, traveling with her is 10 times more fun than traveling alone
  • It’s been only a few hours, hopefully I’ll get used in a couple of days on how crossing the street works, even though there’s signs in most places “Look right!” “Look Left”, I still have to think hard to figure out where cars are coming from on some streets. It’s all so crazy, they should switch.
  • DSC00043

  • I forgot my power adapter
  • Everything is too expensive, 20 pounds for the internet connection on the hotel is not good at all, that’s like $30 usd. In 2 days I’d pay my monthly ISP with that amount of money back home
  • I still think the US is the best fucking country in the world, no matter how much people hate it, I find everything in america so convenient it’s hard to change it for any other country, at least for me

In the afternoon after I walked more then I got more excited after I went to a few landmarks like the London Eye, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and Picadilli Circus (below). I finally got some sleep, but I still feel that I’ve some jetlag on me, so I’ll take more of this sunday to sleep it off, that’s what vacation is for, resting.
Me at Picadilli Circus

The conclusion of the first day, most things in this country are backwards. I’ll try to make a list of them, it’s not only the driving. The bread toaster this morning was backwards, you’d get the bread down by pulling a lever up… wtf.

Mas Impresiones de Paris

Ayer 2 de Julio de 2007 pise Paris por primera vez, estas son mis primeras impresiones:

– Les gusta experimentar en cuanto a diseno en su decoracion
– La comida es excelente, sobre todo la mantequilla
– Nunca habia visto tantos gringos fuera de USA juntos, a veces dudo que estoy en Paris porque escucho puro acento americano a mi alrededor
– La ciudad es hermosa pero esta bandalizada con mucho graffiti por todas partes
– El metro es demasiado arrecho, tambien los buses, el transporte publico es excelente.
– El metro es caro, pero se nota que mucha gente no paga (mas que todo en las afueras)
– Es una ciudad llena de jovenes (muchos gringuitos y canadienses en edades entre 15-21 por las calles, quizas en campamentos o programas de intercambio) que hacen lo que le da la gana
– En frente de la torre Eiffel hay un jardin donde muchos jovenes van (inclusive un lunes por la noche) a tomar vino y champana al aire libre, nadie dice nada si tomas en la calle, la juventud es muy libre
– Cuando camine por mi primera avenida me acorde mucho de partes de Caracas que tienen arquitectura europea. Caracas debio ser hermosa en los 60,70, seria bueno recuperar nuestra arquitectura y remodelar los edificios viejos.
– Caracas tiene Sabor a muchas Ciudades, a veces New York me recuerda a Caracas, y ciertamente Paris me recuerda a Caracas
– Los tickets del metro son iguales que los de caracas
– Tambien hay que meter el puto ticket para salir del metro, pero mucha gente sale, y hay aveces puertas abiertas. Si te agarran sin ticket, supuestamente son mas de 30 euros de multa.
– Estan invadidos de africanos y arabes
– No hay tantos asiaticos como en New York, pero hay
– Tambien hay gente de la india por aca
– Hay muchos franceses ostinados pero otros son amigables, como en todos lados. Al parecer no les gusta el ingles mucho, arrugan la cara
– Aun no entiendo como funciona la cuestion en los “Brasseries” para que te atiendan si te sientas afuera, vere hoy otra vez
– Es una ciudad en la que se disfruta caminar
– La avenida que esta pegada al rio Siena, en su parte sur, muy cerca de Notre-Dame, me recordo mucho a la avenida que esta pegada al banco sur del rio Guaire en las mercedes… solo que el Rio Siena es navegable y no esta lleno exclusivamente de mierda. Pero veo la similitud de esa avenida de las mercedes… la que esta del otro lado de la autopista Fco Fajardo antes de llegar al CCCT.

Nuevos pensamientos sobre la ciudad:
– Los telefonos celulares funcionan en el metro, inclusive en las estaciones mas profundas, y estando en movimiento dentro de un vagon.
– Hay muchos fumadores, y aun permiten fumar dentro de restaurantes y cafes. Ya habia olvidado lo desagradable que es comer dentro de un restaurant con olor a cigarro.
– Ahorran energia, aqui en el estudio donde me estoy quedando existen muchas luces que se apagan solas, supongo que utilizan timers con sensores de movimiento. Tambien tienen muchos carros “Smart” que deben ser bien economicos en cuanto a gasolina. Otro ejemplo son escaleras mecanicas que disminuyen su velocidad considerablemente cuando no hay nadie montado encima, pero luego aceleran cuando te montas.
– Es raro ver mujeres gordas. Creo que se debe a que la comida no es procesada, ademas de la cultura de que las mujeres se cuidan, se arreglan, etc. es Paris.
– Que aun ni estando en Paris las mujeres son mas lindas que en Venezuela. En Venezuela las mujeres se cuidan como en paris pero su belleza es natural. Hoy vi una mujer preciosa en Sacre Cour, y cuando le hablo al marido, era Venezolana 🙂 I rest my case.

En las fotos del dia martes, tome algunos detalles interesantes de sus diferentes vagones de metro, por ejemplo, las columnas para que se agarre la gente, se dividen en 3 sub-columnas, asi puedes poner mas manos sin que se solapen. Tambien tienen trenes cuyos vagones no tienen divisiones, hacen un gran vagon. Y lo mas curioso es que algunas lineas son hibridos entre rieles y llantas.

Igualito que en Venezuela

Estando en Vermont, entramos a una tienda donde realizan Vasijas, Potes, etc. todo muy artesanal.

Caminamos hasta adentro, y no hay nadie atendiendo.

Pero dejan un letrero, y un timbre:

Y algo de efectivo por si necesitas cambio 🙂

Que hay que hacer en Venezuela para que podamos vivir asi? Uno no puede entrar a una tienda cualquiera porque siempre hay alguien atras de uno pensando que uno se va a robar algo. No es mejor pensar que la mayoria de las personas no somos criminales?

De Vuelta a casa en 2007

Llegue hoy a las 7am a NY despues de un viaje de fin de ano a las vegas y arizona. En este momento estoy organizando mas de 300 fotos y algunos videos para blogear al respecto del viaje.

De antemano, los highlights del viaje fueron (en ese orden):

– Circ du soleil – O en el Bellagio
– El Grand Canyon
– David Copperfield

Si, maltripee full las slot machines y todo lo que es gambling, no me llamo para nada la atencion, solo jugue 3 dolares y no gane nada…

Hang on for the pics, o vayan echando el ojo en mi flickr account.

Venezuelans in New York, come on, let’s Flickr

Are you Living in New York and don’t know any other venezuelans? Lets come together through pictures at least.

Let’s see how many we are and lets share pictures.

We as Venezuelans need to start learning how to live abroad as fellows. Other cultures tend to help each other, I barely know 3 venezuelan friends here in New York, and that’s because I knew them back in Caracas.

Join the Venezuelans in New York Flickr Group

If there are more Venezuelan bloggers, it’d be great to start joining forces, just like Venezuelan bloggers do in Miami.