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For British E-Hellions: How has London and the rest of England Changed...

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I'm American and have visited London every few years since 1970.  My last visit was in the autumn of 2012 so I think I'm fairly up to date.
London is more  expensive than it used to be but that's true of every major city.

Retailers associated with the USA are becoming  more prevalent but there are differences.  On our last visit, we stopped in at a 'Staples' to pick up a note pad.  I was delighted to find a brand of German pen that  'Staples' in the US doesn't carry.

Food was always decent in London.  Now, there seems to be more ethnic variety in restaurants. We visited an Indian restaurant and the owner took great pains to tell us that his place served 'authentic, Indian vegetarian food'.  He was proud of his menu and rightly so.     

  In the 1980s we took several trips to northern Scotland on Britrail. When the train stopped for half an hour, it was our habit to hit the local M&S food hall to take back  a cold tandoori chicken and a
trio pack of salads.  Perhaps it's because we're now older, but the food doesn't taste quite as good.  We do wish NYC had 'Pret a Manger'.  The food, especially the porridge and the soups, is delicious. 

Dirty, noisy, fast-- London is all that.  Every important city changes and every one who lives there
thinks the old ways were better but the changes are not always for the worse.  London is vital and
Historic and as much fun as ever.  We look forward to visiting it again next year.   



More brances of Starbucks, more of MacDonalds, but we haven't got a Walmart in London - yet.

More crowded. It seems to me that blocks of flats are being built on any spare piece of land big enough to accommodate a rabbit hutch, either that or office space is bing converted into living space, especially in the heart of London.

The food is definitely better both at the higher end and in terms of being able to get decent food at a reasonable price especially as there is such a wide variety of great ethnic restaurants (Indian, Vietnamese, all sorts of South American, Spanish, Italian, North African etc etc). Although that doesn't mean there is still not a contingent of overpriced, poor quality food offerings just that it is a lot easier to find better options!  Actually, in terms of becoming "more American" one of the big food trends right now in London is "American" food - lots of new hot dog places, all sorts of burgers from sliders to gourmet burgers, much more barbecue.

One noticeable change is all the new buildings - lots of big new tall buildings going up changing the skyline a bit with the "Gherkin", the Shard, the "Cheesegrater", the "Mobile Phone"... but there's still that great mix of the ultramodern right amongst the terribly historic.

Sometime in the 80s or 90s my mother visited her sisters in Frankfurt and sent me a postcard with a bird's eye view of a section of the city that had traditional buildings on one side of a street and new construction on the other.  When she came back she said "They're rebuilding the whole city; it's going to be more modern.  That's great." 

I asked her why she thought it great that soon it would look like any generic US city.  No answer.

Don't know why, but this thread reminds me of a conversation I had with an Aussie friend of mine many years back, when walking though the centre of London, she could understand why there were some ugly 20th century buildings next to the beautiful Georgian and medieval buildings. I pointed out that many buildings had gone up after the second world war, and she asked why on earth we'd go knocking down buildings in london during the war?

 .....um....love her to bits, but a definite brain burp moment :-)


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