Deborah Ross: Must-read for tourists: the rough guide to getting out of London alive

If you ask me...

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If you ask me, I would like all the Olympic tourists still present in London, of which there appear to be many, as well as all those in-coming for the Paralympics, to print what follows, laminate it, and wear it on a lanyard around their necks for easy reference and as a constant aide memoire.

If such tourists do so, every single indigenous Londoner – easily identifiable as anyone not wearing cargo shorts or money belt and who would prefer to be shot in the head than ever voluntarily visit Oxford Street – would be extremely grateful. Here is what you need to keep telling yourself:

* Whoever told me it is OK to spend an hour pondering the self-serve Oyster machines when there are staffed booths available... they were wrong.

* Whoever told me it is fine to group in large numbers at the top/bottom of the Tube escalators and at the entrances/exits... they were also wrong.

* Whoever told me Londoners don't mind having their ankles severed by those little wheelie cases... wrongedy, wrongedy, wrong, wrong, wrong.

* Whoever told me I should hover at the top of the escalators to push in the handle of my little wheelie case and then hover at the bottom to pull it out again... wrong on all the levels there are. (Hard to know where to start, in fact.)

* Whoever told me it is clever to sit in the window of the Angus Steak House when Chinatown is round the corner... I was misinformed, perhaps grotesquely.

* Whoever told me no one has ever tried to make the guards outside Buckingham Palace laugh by pulling silly faces before... total lie.

* Whoever told me I must not leave St James's Park without photographing every single duck – rubbish; they are only ducks. (You may ignore this if you are not Japanese.)

* Whoever told me exceptionally slow families who walk exceptionally slowly in a barrier formation taking up all the street are the pride of this great city... pulling my leg, I'm afraid.

* Whoever told me bus drivers not only accept cash, but accept euros... so wrong it may well be wrongness personified.

* Whoever told me it's OK to wear a huge rucksack during rush hour on the Underground... no; just no.

* Whoever told me no one will mind if I lie down across the pavement at Piccadilly Circus so I can take an arty shot of crappy old Eros... bananas.

* Whoever told me Londoners are always happy to stop and offer directions... this is true although, wherever I wish to go, I must accept I will always be directed to Ripley's Believe It Or Not. (£26.95 for adults, £21.95 for children, believe it or not. To get the best value, I'd best stay all day.)

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