It’s a bit different over here when the sun sets ….

I have not had that much free time while being in London.

I go to work.  Before i leave the hotel, I eat my body weight in bacon lathered in honey.  I sometimes throw in a croissant just to jazz it up a bit.

I am at work by 9am or before, and then I usually finish off and head back to the hotel.  I sometimes do a little walk around on the way to the hotel, sort of, but I am a bit nervous being alone. At night. Lost.

It starts getting dark around 6pm or so.

I am not sure how it works in your world, but in my world, when it gets dark you start thinking that you need to get inside and out of the city.  Well that is how it is in my normal life.

Cape Town is lovely.  Truly.  But there is a very slight chance I am going to walk around by myself.  At night.  And get lost. And keep pulling out a map book.

Seems unlikely, unless I want to get hit over the head with a giant stick and relieved of my possessions and normally some type A+ bodily fluid.

It is difficult to break this rather life-affirming habit.

The sun sets.  You quicken your step.  You head indoors where it is safe. (not dissimilar to the movie I am Legend!)

Kennith has assured me that London is a bit different and a girl on her own can wander around, map book in hand, getting herself lost without risk to limb or property.

Today after work, I headed to a museum.

Unfortunately I dawdled as you do, and wasted all my time on the crappy bits.

Museum closed, I had to get my arse out the door – because the friendly-polite-yet-exhausted looking staff aimed me to the door and in no uncertain terms told me to get my arse out.

As I shot to the “way out” sign I realised the museum had kept all the best stuff for the last 1/4 of the museum.  Sh*t I felt short-changed, and annoyed as it was too late to go to another museum, and my trip was nearly at an end.  (I adore looking at clothing and household items from the Tudor/Stewart period in history.)

Trying to make myself feel better, I decided that nothing cheers a girl up as much a little shopping in Oxford Street.

I shopped a bit. Shopped a bit more.  And then it was 21h00 and I really thought I had pushed the envelope of hanging around at night by myself long enough, and headed back to the hotel.

I got on a bus.  Had no real idea where it was going.  I sat with my mapbook and listened as the “bus announcer machine” kept telling me which road we were in, and reminding me which bus I was on and where it was going.

How clever is that?  Very.

The part that impressed/amazed me was that even though I was clearly much-in-need-of-a-map-book, and had no idea where I was, no one bothered me.  I did not have to shoo off beggars and small homeless people clinging to my leg and begging me to feed or comfort them.

If it was Cape Town, and I was a single woman ,alone, and lost, and holding a map book, at night, in the middle of the city, odds are I would be a crime statistic.

Sad but true.


<I really am impressed by how good the public system is.  That I can get from Point A to Point B reasonably easily.  No one seems to bother me.  And the weather has been jeans and t-shirt weather.  There is so much I would have loved to see, but time was not on my side.  But it has been way cool, and I have thoroughly enjoyed this week.>

Leave a comment


  1. Firefly

     /  October 15, 2011

    I’m in Boston for a year and the fact that I can walk around in the park alone amazes me (there are hobos around but all pretty harmless). Not to mention going out for a stroll all by myself at 10pm at night and still feeling safe. Would never do the same back home in Jhb!

  2. countesskaz

     /  October 14, 2011

    glad your’e having a good time. How long is your trip? So jealous of the Oxford Street shopping spree. brings back many memories.

  3. It is true. There is no way we could get away with just walking around like that here. Sad really. It would sometimes be so nice (now that summer is approaching) to actually take an evening walk. But alas, no such luck.
    Have a fab time!!

  4. Isn’t it so sad and depressing to think how brainwashed we are about danger and night time? I had the same experience walking around at night in Denmark. NO ONE BUGS ANYONE ELSE. The freedom of it!

  5. Scared & Imperfect Mother

     /  October 14, 2011

    I’m green. I was stuck on a train for almost 3 hours this morning and even then a beggar asked me for money!


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