For the past two weeks, I breathed the crisp autumn air of London and Paris. Visiting London and Paris after not having gone there for so many years gave me a feeling of deja vu. London and Paris are truly a tale of two cities. Both have their own cultures and history yet share the same democratic values. The crisp air of London and Paris tasted fresh and free compared to the stifling air of Hong Kong. I will write more about this tale of two cities in future columns but will today focus on London, where I had previously worked as a journalist. The word "crisp" has many meanings but when used to describe air it means cold, fresh, dry, and pleasant. The word "stifling" means very hot and unpleasant but can also mean politically oppressive, such as living in a society without freedoms.
The French expression deja vu means a strange feeling that you have already experienced something that is happening now or experiencing for the first time. Although I have been to London and Paris before, returning there after so many years still gave me a feeling of deja vu. London has become so cosmopolitan that the streets are filled with people of many different races talking in different languages. The word cosmopolitan means containing people and cultures from many different parts of the world.
London is a city intent on (determined) preserving its past yet making itself more modern. I saw so much construction of new buildings it reminded me of Hong Kong. But the London Underground, nicknamed the Tube, is antiquated (very old) and run-down (in bad condition). It is the world's oldest underground railway. The first line was built over 150 years ago. Several times the line I wanted to use was shut down for repairs. But what I liked about the Tube is that all the escalators had signs asking passengers to stand on the right, allowing other passengers to walk up or down. Hong Kong should do the same instead of asking passengers to stand still on escalators.
法文習語deja vu直譯為既視感，就是你有一種奇怪的感覺，現在所發生的事又或第一次經歷的事，好像之前已經歷過。雖然我以往曾經到過倫敦與巴黎，但這麼多年後再回來，仍然給我一種似曾經歷（deja vu）的感覺。倫敦已是非常世界性的（cosmopolitan）城市，滿街都是不同種族的人，說着不同的語言。Cosmopolitan意即國際性的，滿載世界各地不同角落的人與文化。
倫敦是個熱衷於（intent on）保存舊有歷史，卻又要令自己變得更先進的城市。我見到那麼多興建中的新大樓，令我想到香港。然而，倫敦的地鐵，暱稱the Tube，實在非常陳舊（antiquated）兼破爛失修（run-down）。它是世界上最古老的地下鐵路，第一條路線是在超過一百五十年前建造的。好幾次我想乘搭的支線，都因為要維修而關閉了。但我喜歡倫敦地鐵的地方是，所有扶手電梯都有標示，要求乘客站在右邊，容讓其他乘客可以走上或走落。香港應該有同樣的做法，而不是要求乘客在電梯上站着不動。中譯：七刻