We have been here for nearly six months now.
This is what we’ve learned:
American eggs are white. There are thousands of egg-polishers employed to shine them up. This may seem silly, but they break more easily into two halves, and just look nicer. It is surprisingly difficult to find free-range eggs though, and this is sad.
I’m sold. All cities should be made on grids. It’s just so much easier to navigate. While we don’t have so many numbers streets and avenues as Manhattan, it’s still much easier to get around. Please bulldoze Europe and start again.
There’s an underground system here called the BART. It runs, but I don’t take it. We live close enough to the action not to need it, and for this I’m eternally grateful. While I’m sure the London Underground is a very clever system for moving millions of people from A to B and back to A again, it is also a sweaty smelly dirty hellhole which the average Londoner spends 2 unpaid hours a day in.
It’s not so much that the weather is better here (especially recently), but there is more light. It doesn’t get so dark in the winter, and the roads are so big that the sky just seems overwhelmingly huge. It’s not that the sky is bluer (though it probably is), but I can see so much more of it.
Americans are not fat. Not in San Francisco anyway. Sure, you’ll find a few living mountains in Las Vegas, but I’d say the average San Franciscan is 10% thinner than the average Londoner (whatever that is).
The English Breakfast is internationally agreed to be the finest breakfast in the world. But here you can also have pancakes, french toast, bottomless coffee, crispy bacon, maple syrup and a hundred other options, leaving the typical English Breakfast looking like a greasy pile of swill. Breakfasts here are taken seriously, and are a big deal.
Seems a bit funny to tip in a bar the first few times. But it’s the done thing. In London, you’re often served by a non-English speaking miserable mope, if they can be bothered. In America, the service is usually friendly, courteous and helpful. I wonder if there’s a connection?
So they ID everywhere. It’s not personal. Carry ID, flash a card, get over it. In London, you only get ID’ed if the bar staff don’t like the look of you. It’s inconsistent and infuriating.
It’s hard to get by in your first few months because everything from washing powder to face cream is branded differently. What’s good and what’s not? Who’s the Colgate and who’s the Crest? You don’t know. But really, it never mattered anyway, did it?
The beer here is tasty, cool, refreshing and generally excellent. There is hardly any Budweiser to be seen, nor the typical English Carling, Carlsberg, Fosters, Stella or any of the other weak-tasting identical lagers.
So what do we miss about London? The tube, the fireplace, the pubs, the gardens?
Just our family and friends. Hopefully they’ll come to visit.