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Short trip back to UK - observations

Short trip back to UK - observations

Old Oct 22nd 2010, 11:46 pm
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Default Short trip back to UK - observations

I'm in the middle of my first trip back to UK in about 6 years (2nd in maybe 10 years). Some random observations ...

1) traffic is heavy on the motorways. Getting from Heathrow to Manchester was a nightmare, middle of the day. Lots of roadworks on M1. M6-Toll was a God-send.
2) People drive MUCH, MUCH slower now. I guess due to all the speed cameras. I much prefer it.
3) I had a great dinner in central Manchester in the redeveloped canal district, a great lunch elsewhere in Manchester, and a fabulous dinner in Scarborough (not what I expected). There are finally restaurants that are 'lively', casual, and offer good food. And there are plenty of alternatives to traditional pubs, which I feel is a good thing.
4) Food (dining out) is expensive! And ... the payment is much more 'obtrusive' - someone comes to the table and wants to interact with you, get the tip documented right then and there. I much prefer the US way of just handing over the card, and then later, at my convenience, filling out the tip and total.
5) Manchester has been improved beyond recognition, at least the central canal zone. I have friends living there and I can really see the appeal.
6) The weather sucks ... after two glorious days of ... well ... some sunshine and no rain, it poured down torrentially and the forecast is for a lot more of the same.
7) Good coffee seems to be much more readily available ... every service station had either a 'starbucks' or a 'Costa coffee', and they did a passable latte. I even had a great Marmite and Cheese Panini at the Starbucks! Many establishments now seem to have an esspresso machine, and some even know how to use it!

I can't wait to get back to CA and AZ ...

Last edited by Steerpike; Oct 22nd 2010 at 11:55 pm.
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Old Oct 22nd 2010, 11:56 pm
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Default Re: Short trip back to UK - observations

6) The weather sucks ... after two glorious days of ... well ... some sunshine and no rain, it poured down torrentially and the forecast is for a lot more of the same.

I can't wait to get back to CA and AZ ...[/QUOTE]

...hate to tell you this but it's miserable in the Bay Area right now - I just got back from New York and thought they'd dropped us in the wrong state
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Old Oct 23rd 2010, 12:13 am
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Default Re: Short trip back to UK - observations

Originally Posted by Philgr View Post
...hate to tell you this but it's miserable in the Bay Area right now - I just got back from New York and thought they'd dropped us in the wrong state
Yes - it's cold and wet and Hwy 17 was the usual mess of accidents, skids and spinouts today ... :-(
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Old Oct 23rd 2010, 12:40 am
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Default Re: Short trip back to UK - observations

Originally Posted by Steerpike View Post
I'm in the middle of my first trip back to UK in about 6 years (2nd in maybe 10 years). Some random observations ...

1) traffic is heavy on the motorways. Getting from Heathrow to Manchester was a nightmare, middle of the day. Lots of roadworks on M1. M6-Toll was a God-send.
2) People drive MUCH, MUCH slower now. I guess due to all the speed cameras. I much prefer it.
3) I had a great dinner in central Manchester in the redeveloped canal district, a great lunch elsewhere in Manchester, and a fabulous dinner in Scarborough (not what I expected). There are finally restaurants that are 'lively', casual, and offer good food. And there are plenty of alternatives to traditional pubs, which I feel is a good thing.
4) Food (dining out) is expensive! And ... the payment is much more 'obtrusive' - someone comes to the table and wants to interact with you, get the tip documented right then and there. I much prefer the US way of just handing over the card, and then later, at my convenience, filling out the tip and total.
5) Manchester has been improved beyond recognition, at least the central canal zone. I have friends living there and I can really see the appeal.
6) The weather sucks ... after two glorious days of ... well ... some sunshine and no rain, it poured down torrentially and the forecast is for a lot more of the same.
7) Good coffee seems to be much more readily available ... every service station had either a 'starbucks' or a 'Costa coffee', and they did a passable latte. I even had a great Marmite and Cheese Panini at the Starbucks! Many establishments now seem to have an esspresso machine, and some even know how to use it!

I can't wait to get back to CA and AZ ...
4) This was done to try and stop the fraud where they make a copy of your card while they have it away from you. This way your card never leaves your sight and is therefore more secure. Seems like a good thing to me.
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Old Oct 23rd 2010, 3:03 am
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Default Re: Short trip back to UK - observations

Originally Posted by N1cky View Post
4) This was done to try and stop the fraud where they make a copy of your card while they have it away from you. This way your card never leaves your sight and is therefore more secure. Seems like a good thing to me.
And if this was happening at an establishment, why didn't the authorities arrest the people in question? In all the years I've been using my cards at restaurants, I've never had, or even heard of anyone who had, an instance of this happening. That's not saying it couldn't happen, but I'd be willing to bet that as soon as word got out that this happened at a place, they would lose their customers.

Hope you enjoy your trip SP.

Last edited by Bluegrass Lass; Oct 23rd 2010 at 3:14 am.
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Old Oct 23rd 2010, 3:43 am
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Default Re: Short trip back to UK - observations

Originally Posted by N1cky View Post
4) This was done to try and stop the fraud where they make a copy of your card while they have it away from you. This way your card never leaves your sight and is therefore more secure. Seems like a good thing to me.
Is this where they bring the little machine to your table, pop the card in, you enter your pin and you're done. I like it - and a darn sight more secure than the system here where any mickey mouse signature can authorise a cc payment...
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Old Oct 23rd 2010, 3:50 am
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Default Re: Short trip back to UK - observations

Originally Posted by sunflwrgrl13 View Post
And if this was happening at an establishment, why didn't the authorities arrest the people in question? In all the years I've been using my cards at restaurants, I've never had, or even heard of anyone who had, an instance of this happening. That's not saying it couldn't happen, but I'd be willing to bet that as soon as word got out that this happened at a place, they would lose their customers.

Hope you enjoy your trip SP.

There's been many reported crimes in the US of folk taking a 'run' of your CC when it's out of your sight. It happened to us about 9 years ago to the tune of about $12K...spanning several transactions. The FBI and Secret Service were involved because it turned out to be an international fraud ring...even though the run from our CC was taken from our local car dealership.

Originally Posted by Yorkieabroad View Post
Is this where they bring the little machine to your table, pop the card in, you enter your pin and you're done. I like it - and a darn sight more secure than the system here where any mickey mouse signature can authorise a cc payment...
Exactly. Your CC never leaves your possession in the UK.
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Old Oct 23rd 2010, 9:33 am
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Default Re: Short trip back to UK - observations

ohhh did you try this place...it's fabulous..

http://www.onionring.co.uk/restauran...o.asp?RID=5357
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Old Oct 23rd 2010, 10:14 am
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Default Re: Short trip back to UK - observations

Originally Posted by Philgr View Post
...hate to tell you this but it's miserable in the Bay Area right now - I just got back from New York and thought they'd dropped us in the wrong state
Originally Posted by md95065 View Post
Yes - it's cold and wet and Hwy 17 was the usual mess of accidents, skids and spinouts today ... :-(
That's why God invented Arizona! It's high 70s for the next 6 days, clear and dry ...
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Old Oct 23rd 2010, 12:38 pm
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Default Re: Short trip back to UK - observations

Originally Posted by Steerpike View Post
I'm in the middle of my first trip back to UK in about 6 years (2nd in maybe 10 years). Some random observations ...

1) traffic is heavy on the motorways. Getting from Heathrow to Manchester was a nightmare, middle of the day. Lots of roadworks on M1. M6-Toll was a God-send.
I've lived in the states about 20 yrs and go to the UK once a year on average, sometimes twice. I always used to rent a car at the airport, now I prefer to use the trains & buses.. because of the horrendous traffic. Man, it's bad everywhere, not just the motorways & trunk roads.

Part of the problem in England (as I see it) is that a high proportion of the population live in places that were built before cars. As recently as 1970 (say) many of these people did not have a car, or had just one per family. Now there are more cars on the road every year & used on a more daily basis. Roads are clogged, nowhere to park, terrible piece-meal traffic "improvements" everywhere (mini-roundabouts etc.) And some roads that are supposedly two lane are actually one-lane because of the fact that people are forced to leave their cars in awkward spots.

If bus services end up being cut in the next few years this will only get worse.
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Old Oct 23rd 2010, 1:31 pm
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Default Re: Short trip back to UK - observations

What is the point of berating British weather?

I think we're well aware how much you love Arizona.
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Old Oct 23rd 2010, 1:36 pm
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Default Re: Short trip back to UK - observations

Originally Posted by Steerpike View Post
1) traffic is heavy on the motorways. Getting from Heathrow to Manchester was a nightmare, middle of the day. Lots of roadworks on M1. M6-Toll was a God-send.

If you're travelling between Manchester & Heathrow - stay off the M1.

Use the M6 to Birmingham, then M5 South to M40 South to M25, and then
M25 West to M4 East for one exit into Heathrow.

An alternative is to take M6 South to M42 and then West to the M40.

There's always roadwork around Birmingham, though.

Jim.
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Old Oct 23rd 2010, 3:33 pm
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Default Re: Short trip back to UK - observations

Originally Posted by sunflwrgrl13 View Post
And if this was happening at an establishment, why didn't the authorities arrest the people in question? In all the years I've been using my cards at restaurants, I've never had, or even heard of anyone who had, an instance of this happening. That's not saying it couldn't happen, but I'd be willing to bet that as soon as word got out that this happened at a place, they would lose their customers.

Hope you enjoy your trip SP.
Whats with the attack? Google it if you don't believe it happened, it was extremely common only around 7 years ago.

I have a friend who had his copied at a gas station, it was tracked exactly where the fraud had taken place, don't know how, I should imagine it was quite a long and difficult process, when its happening to hundreds of people i'm sure they didn't manage to track even half of them.

It's a bit difficult to post to everyone in the country avoid the BP garage off junction 21 of the M1.....
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Old Oct 23rd 2010, 3:38 pm
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Default Re: Short trip back to UK - observations

Originally Posted by N1cky View Post
Whats with the attack? Google it if you don't believe it happened, it was extremely common only around 7 years ago.

I have a friend who had his copied at a gas station, it was tracked exactly where the fraud had taken place, don't know how, I should imagine it was quite a long and difficult process, when its happening to hundreds of people i'm sure they didn't manage to track even half of them.

It's a bit difficult to post to everyone in the country avoid the BP garage off junction 21 of the M1.....
A customer saw a cashier in one of the big stores in NYC (Bloomingdales I think) running her CC through a small device that she was trying to keep hidden. Sure enough the cashier was taking the details from her CC. There is absolutely no reason for your CC or debit card to leave your hands today and I prefer it that way. The US has to yet to get into the 21st century with this techology.
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Old Oct 23rd 2010, 3:38 pm
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Default Re: Short trip back to UK - observations

I know Chip & Pin is a different method to the one used in the US, but I don't only think it's a good thing - it's also just part of a picture in which the infrastructure underpinning the UK retail banking sector is light-years ahead of the US. (The only way in which I've found banking better in the US is the level of personal customer service I generally receive from the small-ish regional bank I use. Oh, and also the credit card companies that give me shit-loads of airmiles for sod all! ).

Also the UK is poised to invest in new north-south high-speed rail lines that will increase capacity in the network. While this may not actually bring down traffic on the roads noticeably it should go some way to absorb growth. Many of the current lines radiating from London to the north and west are now full to capacity which has been a contributing factor to aggressive capacity management and ridiculously high walk-up fares (vs. cheap advance-purchase ones). While public transport can be expensive in the UK, at least it exists...
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