It’s been six days since I returned from Europe. I still feeling shaken by the glory of art and architecture that burns within me like a growing fever. While I was in London I bought an oyster card and really liked the way it worked. It worked very similarly to the Korean T-money card in that I could use it for both the underground metro system and the bus system. I had taken my i-phone with a case that has three slots for credit cards. I put the oyster card in the slot I used to have my T-money card. I felt completely comfortable carrying my phone in hand while in London, unlike the streets and underground full of pickpockets in Rome. It’s nice using a phone case that doubles as a wallet. My phone is usually at hand so it’s nice walking through the metro system without having to fish through my bag for my wallet. One thing I really loved about the underground Tube in London was the iconic red circle logo with a line of blue. It immediately draws the eye and the bold colors make it easy to find. Eye-catching visibility is a blessing when you’re wandering around in a new city. Not only is it convenient for when you’re actually trying to find the Tube, but it also serves as a point of reference when you’re trying to find something near it.
The inside of the Tube was snug and cozy. It was nice to have the Piccadilly line map above the seats so I could check it every now and then. The Tube was smaller than the Korean subway and didn’t have air conditioning. This wasn’t too much a problem for me, as I was only on for a few stops and it was rarely crowded. Also, I imagine that it doesn’t get nearly as hot in London as it does in Korea during the summer. London has been around 24 ℃ whereas Seoul has been hitting 34 ℃ this week. I do wonder what it would be like during rush hour when everyone is trying to get home. I don’t imagine it would be possible to fit very many people in each compartment. It was interesting to be immersed in the British accent while sitting in the Tube. Of course, now that I was the foreigner it would be the British who were speaking normally and I the one with the American accent. It wasn’t until recently that I discovered how different British English was from American English. The expressions are different in both form and feeling with a few I couldn’t understand without an explanation. Learning British English is like learning a foreign language without the difficulty of having to learn a new alphabet or memorizing thousands of words. The names of stations and areas are also very different from those in the US and obviously of those in Korea. Well, perhaps it’s just that I’m not used to them, but I still get the feeling that they are somewhat different. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a whimsical name like Piccadilly while in the US. I was looking at names like Gloucester Road and Leicester Square and wondering how on earth I was supposed to pronounce them.