Eat London!

Things have been fairly busy since I arrived back in London 10 days ago. Mostly my time has been taken up with my new job (which is going really well!) and catching up with friends (which has been great fun but exhausting).

What I thought I’d do over the next week or so is show you some snapshots from my London adventures so far.


The London Transport System

More on this guy a little later...



The day after I landed, I went straight in to my first day at my new job. That involved getting to grips with the London transport system again and it’s been interesting  to come back to it after such a long time away. Londoners like to complain about their transport system (I remember I always did). You know the kind of thing – it’s expensive, it’s overcrowded, there are too many cancellations, the trains are late. Basically all the things that everyone back in Rio says.

But having been away for so long I can see how amazingly modern and fast everything is. Sure, the underground (metro) is a bit creaky in places. And sure it gets hot as hell in summer. But it moves a huge number of people around each day and the overland trains I’ve been taking have been really fast and comfortable.


For those of you who haven’t been to London, this is what our ‘overland’ trains look like. Somewhere between a metro and a mainline train, these look pretty fancy to my Rio eyes. 


The thing I find worst/hardest about the London transport system is the unwritten rule that says speaking is not allowed. I find it really uncomfortable to be stood amongst dozens of other commuters in what feels like a mass awkward silence. It’s like everyone has unexpectedly found themselves sitting next to ‘that girl/guy’ that they ‘met’ that time at the Christmas party… It’s a far cry from hurtling around Rio in a bus crammed with chattering Cariocas!

Happily not everyone let’s the up-tight atmosphere get to them. A few days ago, the silence of the train was utterly shattered by the snoring of this rather rotund fellow:


Remember that time I risked life and limb to video that girl twirling her hair on the bus for you guys? Well I reckon this was at least as much of a dangerous mission. This dude was snoring really loudly, so I decided to grab a bit of footage. You can only really hear one snore (about 2/3 of the way through), but I was petrified he was going to wake up…


I know, it’s hardly war reporting is it? But if that guy had woken up it would have been a pretty tricky situation don’t you think? More soon!

6 replies
  1. Gustavo S.
    Gustavo S. says:

    “it’s overcrowded, there are too many cancellations, the trains are late.”. Everytime I hear people moaning about that here I feel like saying ‘mate, you don’t know what hell is’ and inviting them to come to S. Paulo..

  2. Brasilicana
    Brasilicana says:

    Wait, does the “no talking” rule apply to all talking in general, not just chatting with strangers? So for example, if you’re having a fascinating discussion with a friend, the both of you have to shut up immediately upon stepping into the metro??

    If you want to ride a really fun metro, ride it in Salvador! Oh wait… the 6-km Salvador metro is still under construction, as it has been for the last 12 years. I’m amazed by the fact that the entire city of Brasilia was built in a third of the time it has taken (so far) to put this thing in operation!

    Glad to hear the new job’s going well! 🙂

    • tomlemes
      tomlemes says:

      Ah thanks!

      Regarding the no talking rule, it’s not a hard and fast law exactly. But when there are two friends talking loudly on the way home, you can feel the atmosphere coming from all the rest of the silent commuters. Everyone is huffing and quietly grumbling… Well, that’s not 100% fair – some people don’t mind it and probably even some people like it. But it seems to me that a lot of people would prefer absolute quiet. Grumpy so-and-sos! 😉

      That is terrible about the Salvador metro! I’ve heard that you have to order your lunch just after breakfast if you want to eat before 4pm when visiting Bahia. Could it be the same kind of thing (lack of urgency) on a grand scale?

  3. The Gritty Poet
    The Gritty Poet says:

    I wonder if hammocks will be installed in Salvador’s future metro. They could use the one’s currently being used by the bureaucrats in charge of getting the thing built.
    I bet Tom has had many a beer since his return to merry London. This probably put the yuckiiness of Skol and some others in perspective. Once back in Brazil he will probably not mind just spending the extra real and always ordering Bohemia when available.

    How’s that punctuality shock working out is another question the begs attention.

    • tomlemes
      tomlemes says:

      Hey Gritty – yep, many a delicious beer has been quaffed. Skol is going to be pretty tough to come back to. But then there are a thousand other things that will soften the blow. Would you believe I’m getting cravings for arroz, feijão e farofa?

      As for punctuality, I’m loving it! People may turn up on time, but everyone leaves the office before 6pm!


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