I'm meeting a friend from college who happens to be in London today. But he's here fairly often on work, so he's done all of the tourist things, and he asked what else I could suggest. Obviously, I haven't been living here that long and get a bye on knowing things like that right now, but it made me wonder. How long do most people take to develop real local knowledge? I learned when I was taken on a tour of San Francisco by a life long native that my three years of accumulated knowledge was as nothing, but on the other hand, if I'd actually been living in the city I might have been able to match him. Right now, all I've got are the good places to eat within a five minute radius of the apartment and a few fancy places in the city and that's reasonable, but how long should it be before I feel foolish for not knowing a great place for lunch or a fabulous little shop or a traditional pub in most areas of London?

And more importantly, how long can I get away with having very little real grasp of what the names for local places are? It's amazing how specific they are-- Brixton Hill is the houses on Brixton Road for the mile long stretch between Brixton and Streatham. I've got most of the big ones in London at this point, St James, Mayfair, Covent Garden, but the tiny little ones? Killing me. People give directions mostly with reference to these little neighborhoods, and I just can't use it as navigation yet!
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