Like I said, I have been traveling the last few weeks (London and Paris) a few thoughts, London is MUCH cleaner then Paris. Paris has a real problem with graffiti. It is worse then in NYC, that and they have a big vagrancy problem. The sidewalks in Paris are an open sewer of human and pet feces and excrement. It was bad. You really had to watch your every step. It reminded me of what people say mardi gras in New Orleans is like.
I probably passed 3 or 4 big protests in one week. Sorry I don't speak French so I am not sure what they were about but the French police were ready in full riot gear at every one.
Oddly the thing that Paris has a bad rep for I did not find to be the case. The people were very kind and went out of their way to help when I got lost, was ordering food or needed about anything. They were all quite friendly. The food was what you would hope for in Paris. Awesome. I usually like my meat cooked medium well (or as my family calls it "Ruined shoe leather") For them I offer up my favorite meal in Paris
A little steak tartar. My dinner for 3 nights.
London was cool. The people were great and helpful. The food was a little more common but still tasty. The people of London (and some also in Paris) like to drink and they start early. Most people were drinking at lunch but I saw some drinking as early as 10:30 AM. Still, I did not see a real problem of public drunkenness. They like their pubs and by the way, they have the best names for pubs (the bag of nails, the boot, etc)
London had their protesters as well. They had about a dozen tents set up on the sidewalk across from parliament but I only ever saw 2 actual protesters with signs, They seemed as disorganized as he ones here. They were protesting some of the of the same issues but threw in some extra crazy ones as well ("The masons are committing mass murder", was one sign I saw).
London is big on fraud. They seem to really go after people taking advantage of the system. One of their big shows on TV I saw was all about exposing people who were getting state benefits who were able bodied, had assets, or people who were parking in handicapped parking areas and were not handicapped. The police would do 24 hour surveillance trying to catch someone riding a bike or dodging the system. They also went after illegal aliens pretty heavy. Things like that.
They even had undercover cops on the buses and subway to catch people trying to skip paying and they had cameras all over the place.
When I was there they were about to knock down their big public housing neighborhoods. Like many other dense use public housing cities they found it was not working and in many cases was actually making things worse.