Thursday, July 26, 2012

Planes, trains and double-decker buses in London

Double-decker buses look cute unless you step off the curb right in front of one, as I've done a couple of times already. Here's one I photographed from a safe distance near my hotel.

LONDON – Flying to London was easy. The rest of it is a little harder.

I arrived in London Wednesday on the one non-stop flight USAirways offers from Charlotte. It was a great flight. After that, the logistics have been a bit more challenging.

So far I’ve taken planes, trains, automobiles, the subway and several double-decker buses. London sprawls so much (it's a lot like New York with different accents) that you don’t get anywhere too fast. The best bet is to go below ground to use the “tube” (the subway) or the high-speed “javelin” train, which can get up to 140 mph.

While I’ve ridden several double-decker buses, I’ve almost gotten run over by several more. You just don’t realize how deeply ingrained it is to step off a sidewalk and look left first, like you do in America. This will get you plowed over in England, where they drive on the left and the double-decker buses always seem to be coming from the right.

-- Among the Olympians I’ve spotted here before their competition: French basketball player (and former Charlotte Bobcat) Boris Diaw. Diaw, who suddenly became a far better player when he joined the San Antonio Spurs for their playoff run, was walking through a subway station with some of his French teammates. His French team debuts Sunday against the U.S. in round-robin play (9:30 a.m. Eastern).

-- Have you ever seen a flying squirrel? You’re about to see two if you watch NBC’s coverage of the Olympics closely enough.

There are two different U.S. Olympians who have laid claim to the “Flying Squirrel” nickname – women’s gymnast Gabby Douglas (for her leaps) and Greco-Roman wrestler Ellis Coleman (for his signature move, which you can see here).

Although Douglas will get far more airtime, Coleman has embraced the nickname so thoroughly that he now has a pet flying squirrel, which he says costs him $500.

-- If you haven’t had a chance to check out The Observer’s coverage of the Olympics yet, I hope you will. We published a ton of preview stories today and you can see those as well as up-to-date coverage throughout the games at

No comments: