Thursday, October 1, 2009
London Turns it Around
Bob contesting the origins of Bangers and Mash with the Barman at Charles Dickens' local 'The Lamb and Flag'.
I've just returned from a two week trip to London. Last time I was there was 2002 and at that time I found the place staggeringly expensive. The exchange rate was around 30c to the pound and I distinctly remember the Missus and I buying 2 tuna sandwiches and 2 coffees for around forty fucking dollars and walking out in, respectively, a fury and an apologetic smile. Despite staying with friends in Maida Vale for the duration of our stay for the low price of nothing, we got out of London as quickly as we could: every time we moved it cost us.
This recent trip was for work, although I did manage to fit in enough beer drinking to satisfy even the hardiest among us. And I discovered this: in 2009, London is cheaper than Melbourne.
There, I said it.
Sure the exchange rate is much more in our favour (around 50c to the pound), but even so, things have changed somewhere. Either Melbourne has become very expensive, or London and the UK - as a result of the GFC perhaps - has become much, much cheaper. Beer was marginally cheaper than Melbourne (around 3 quid 30p for a pint), food was cheaper (perhaps 3 quid for a large, filled baguette), travel was cheaper, books were cheaper, petrol was cheaper.
I was most pleasantly surprised. Also, the sun shone, unlike during my previous 2 visits which had me believing London was a grey, morbid shithole.
On the flip side, London public transport commuters are the most depressed, rude and stupid group of people on the face of the Earth.