Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Reflections on a Trip To England

I am recently back from a trip to England and Wales for a conference. It was my first trip to Europe or GB and it was sensational. This is kind of a few comments and questions on the place and my experiences.

1. How is it that you can be out in the England sun for 6 hours in the height of their summer and not get sunburnt. Quite seriously in NZ, you can do 30 mins in the sun and get burnt worse than I did in 6 hours. I saw one sunhat in 3 days of walking through the streets of London! What is that about?
2. English people ride bikes all over the place. I saw this in Cambridge in particular. But few wear helmets! In NZ we have to wear them and you are kind of frowned upon if you don't wear one.
3. Speed! Rush! I was stunned at the pace of life in England that seemed to increase nearer London in particular. I drove from west Wales to Cambridge via the M4, M25 and M11. I drove about 65-70mph (app. 110-120km) and had to stick to the inside lane watching people fly past me at pace. So I drove with the trucks and oldies! And in the streets of towns, speed. What a rush they are all in. We have sped up over the years, but are slow in comparison, I like it!
4. Expensive! Everything is sooooo expensive. Gas was 1 pound 20 which converts to about $3.50 NZ. We moan at a cost just over $2, yet it is not expensive relatively. More than that, everything is relatively priced which makes the exchange worse. So, a filled roll was about 3 pounds! That is in reality about $8-9 Kiwi. I reckon a pound was in effect worth about $5 NZ in many instances. It seemed that I only had to walk past a shop and my wallet was drained! It is soooo expensive.
5. The Tube! Oh yeah! The underground is sensational. It reinforced to me that we have to develop some form of train system in Auckland, whether over land, underground. It was fantastic to be able to jump on a train, leap off another one, and get out right where I wanted to go! Bring in on Auckland!
6. Tolls. I noticed this in Australia recently. They have tolls on the Sydney Harbour Bridge for example. In England, there were toll stations as well. It is time NZ got back to them as we had them when the Auckland Harbour Bridge was built. We need to bite the bullet and find ways to get money to develop our transport system and eco-friendly transport options.
7. Amazing places. The places I went to were fantastic. Cambridge! Ahhhh! What a cool place! The buildings were amazing. Our oldest buildings appear young beside these. Cardiff Castle is amazing, a family home used 6 weeks a year but so creative. London was full of utterly sensational places like Big Ben, Trafalgar Sq, Westminster, The Eye, Hyde Park, Museums and more.

That's enough for now. Got to go... think more.

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