The London Underground!

by Nadia Adusei-Boateng /
Nadia Adusei-Boateng's picture
Sep 25, 2012 / 0 comments

Everyone has either been or heard of the underground before. Americans like to call it the ‘Subway,’ and it’s just an easier way to travel throughout London.


On my way to Uxbridge (a town in West London), I had to get the Underground/tube to meet the rest of my family as we were taking my sister to Brunel University. I didn’t realise on my journey that I would discover how weird the tube is. 


Piccadilly line, London. Flickr creative commons:

Piccadilly Line, London



I left from King’s Cross St Pancras tube station. Going down the escalator, l felt the icy, bitter temperature from outside slowly fading away as the warmth and humidity filled the air. As I stepped off the escalator, a damp but warm smell wafted through the air, seeping through my nose. I knew I wouldn’t see daylight for a long time, as I had 29 stops to Uxbridge.  On the platform there were many eager people waiting for the tube - and I was one of them. As I looked at the time the next tube was due to come, I knew I had to get on the one that was approaching. When the tube came to an abrupt stop, the doors beeped open and a rush of people jumped on and started searching for a place to sit. Having 29 stops to ride, I made sure to position myself in the best place possible to be able to grab a seat when someone got up to leave.


The sound of the door loudly beeping as it closed made it known that the tube was leaving the station. The sudden motion of the tube caused the people that were standing to hold onto the poles tight. My hands also clutched onto the cold, hard mental that would keep me from falling.  I was surrounded by a whole bunch of people; the tube was packed. It is weird how on the tube you encounter a bunch of people briefly, yet you share a level of intimacy with them because you’re squashed up against each other. Packed tubes lead to strangers invading your personal space. As I looked around, I noticed people’s odd behaviour on the tube, the creepy person staring at me in the corner, the little toddler annoying his parents, the children on a school trip shouting across to the rest of their group, asking when are they getting off, and the loud people next to me having a conversation about peculiar topics of interest, like “how would you rather die?” and talking about their toilet experiences. Everybody turned to give them the evil eye, thinking in their heads that these people shouldn’t be having this conversation out loud.


When the tube stopped at the next stop (at this point I was thinking, yes one down 28 stops to go), everybody’s eyes were fixed onto the passengers that were sitting down, to see if anyone would get up. Fortunately the lady that was sitting down next to me got up; I quickly swerved around and jumped into the seat. I could feel glaring eyes on me; the passengers were annoyed that they didn’t get the seat. The tube started moving again and as it did, for some strange reason my ears popped like I was on a plane. As I ate my maltesers one by one to savour the taste, a metallic smell entered the tube; it came from the electronic tracks. As my journey continued, the ongoing computerised voice kept saying ‘this tube terminates at Uxbridge, the next stop is ......’ This started to irritate me; maybe this was a symptom caused by being on a stuffy tube and not seeing day light for an hour.


Finally the tube arrived at Uxbridge. Being on the tube for a long period of time got me thinking. How weird is it that you go underground to get into a tube, which has so many twisted routes, it’s like an underground city.  When you get on the tube all you see is darkness outside, and hear the rattling and the clattering of the electronic tracks. It is stuffy in the tube, you have no signal on your phone, and you’re just left with a group of strangers, some stranger than the rest. It fascinates me how tubes work, weaving in and out, above and below London!



Nadia Adusei-Boateng is a member of the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program.


Photo courtesy of flickr creative commons: