Post-Christmas dichotomy

A good thing about spending Christmas in the UK is that you benefit from an additional day off to recover from the stuffed turkey that tries to test the resistance of your belt. You don't have to pretend to have flue to cope with your dramatic hang-over. No. You are officially entitled to stay at home... And you'd better.

Boxing day or recovering day?

But we, daring French fellows, decided to face conventions... We left our flat to walk around London, and size the opportunity to discover the town which has been hosting us for a semester now. And what an experience this was. Now that the public transportation was back on, we headed up for Central London and more precisely for the City. The place were a handful of lucky cocaine-addicted brokers would share this year a nice and decent multi-billion bonus.

People say "money has no odour", we wanted to smell it by ourselves.

However we were not ready to face the post-apocalyptic experience we were about to live. Empty streets. Closed shops. Dark franchises. Switched-off signs. Not even cars were pacing through the streets. The only living soul we encountered was a fallen-asleep surveillance guy, apparently still struggling with the Christmas pudding slice he should not have had the night before.

This London district which is probably the most hectic on a regular Tuesday, was completely dead. Where were the traders? The brokers? The PA? The journalists? We could not fathom that such a buoyant city could suddenly be emptied overnight. And we were proven right.

Boxing day or surfing day?

Disappointed by boring City, we decided to go West. If the business district had nothing to offer, maybe the shopping streets would. Oxford Street here we come. And what a contrast!

The bus made a left at a corner, and the empty street we were in turned into a human wave. Millions of passers-by, shoulder on shoulder, trying to make their way on the two pavements. From the upper-deck of our bus, we had the feeling to surf on a sea of hats, scarves, steam and hair. It was as if the entire London population had decided to concentrate on a few square-kilometers...

We finally had our vivid image of Boxing Day. Every year French TV reports people rushing at dawn to grab price-cut goods from the British Department Stores shelves. And here they were. Interesting, but also quite repealing in a sense. In spite of the call for good deals, we were taken aback by the perspective to join this human flow. Everyone was queueing for some reason: to get in, to get out, to be able to queue...

Even at the bakery! It seems that on this specific day, not only the finance guys can make good dow...

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