Live from Luton, UK

I am writing from England, the land of the Queen's English. Before I begin, I should express my love for the quaint accent that the English speak with. There is something very unique about it and American English can never match the inflections and phonetics of the Queen's English. I was given small doses of the accent even in the airplane.

Alrighty then. I am in a small town called Luton, 35 miles north-something of London.

We (yeah there were 3 of us) landed in Heathrow around 7:30 and the sun was still up :-o. The sun is up until about 8:00 or later. That's why they have daylight savings (slap on the forehead).

First impressions were about the roads. I think we took the M1 (that would be a highway or maybe an expressway) and well what do we have here. It was a busy road, but the road discipline was so very apparent. Cars were always separated by a safe distance on road. People stuck to their lanes and moved lanes after checking their rear-views and switching on their turn indicators. If only we could get the people in India to behave on the road. Wishes!

Got to the hotel after losing our way a few times inside Luton town. Righty ho! Now for a more serious analysis of things English :-))

The People

I was shocked by the friendliness and cheerfulness of the people. People walking down the road would wish us and ask us how we were. Given our Indian roots, we obviously thought these people wanted something from us :-)) They were just being polite. Ofcourse there are the bad lot here too, but it is so great to see people being so cheerful and uninhibited and so polite. Awesome!!!! I am still getting used to the corridor or road hellos. I am getting there.

One unfortunate thing that I noticed is that there is a large proportion of overweight people here. It must be because of the food that they have. More on that below.

I have a Scottish colleague at work and he talks, talks and talks some more. You are always entertained when he is around. He would often move around to different topics in the course of the conversation, always managing to get back on track. I hear all Scottish are like that. Interesting. Alas, he will be leaving the project in a few days. We are sure to be bored without him around.

The Food

Food is usually non-veggie here with chips ('french' fries in Indian parlance) and carbonated drinks and beer or other alcoholic drinks. In other words, you have all the ingredients to put on a lot of weight. Water is at a premium, sometimes more expensive than Coke or Pepsi. Infact, they don't have a water jug in the hotel room. When I asked room service to get me some *plain* water, I ended up paying 3.5 Pounds for a litre. :-o

Potatoes, potatoes, potatoes. Potato chips, potato wedges, masjed potatoes, jacket potatoes, new potatoes and meat potatoes (kidding...)

We have been trying all kinds of food. Indian, fish and chips, Thai, brugers, sandwiches, Portuguese (I think it is). I don't have a problem with food. Infact I like it a little less spicy unlike my fellow Indians. Or very very bland. LOL.

People seem to be drinking (not water) around the clock.

Luton - the town

Small, very so. Everytime we take a walk, we end up where we started in less than 45 minutes (of an ambling pace). The roads are pretty good. Very little traffic around the place we stay. Oh yeah, our hotel is right in the town center adjoining the Arndale shopping center, which is a big mall. The mall is clean, airy and not congested. There are benches everywhere to sit down. Hurray!

In the evenings there are a lot of drunk people loitering around which makes it a bit scary. We haven't had any trouble so far, but we take extra care to avoid groups of people hanging on the road.

There appears to be a lot of crime. Police cars are sirening around quite often. My theory is that we don't notice the crimes in India cos the police never bother to break up small fist-fights like they do here. Yeah just remembered. My team lead in the project had his Merc broken into on Friday. Somebody had broken the passenger side window. Nothing stolen, fortunately!

That's all I have to say about that, yeah. There are few snaps from around Luton here -> Luton Pictures. Take a look at them, yeah.

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