Don’t talk about…


There are very many people who do anti-UK/London blogs and videos and who constantly complain that Londoners keep to themselves and will not engage in random conversations with random strangers. The implication being, of course, that in other places in the world they do.

So, first of all, let’s be clear. If you need help eg directions to “Lie sess sess ter Square” and you ask someone, you will probably get directions. If you are sitting next to someone in (eg) a theatre watching a play and the interval comes, it’s definitely possible, though unlikely, you will be engaged in a conversation about how good or otherwise the performance is. These things can happen regardless of whether you are a holidaymaker or not.

What the moaners mostly seem concerned about is talk on public transport, tubes etc. In general, travellers have a book or music or e-mails to look at, probably on the way to work, so they get their heads down and hope for a quiet time. This is their routine, a daily routine. It’s not fun.

Honestly, if you’re on a twenty minute tube journey and can’t keep your mouth shut for that time, you have problems. Others don’t appreciate the noise, the intrusive, loud voices that disturb their routine. They have had a long day, so why do we now have to have you?

But we have travelled to many places in the world, and really it’s the same. People generally don’t chat. Visitors do, but locals don’t. And if you’re on a train in New York, or London, or Paris or whatever, and someone engages you in conversation then you either assume they are vagrants or beggars or drunks or thieves or people with other problems, and you would be cautious, no matter what they looked like.

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