whereislondon
whereislondon
whereislondon
Eight geotag journalists exploring your city. This week: Contrasting London.

The city never sleeps

By Laura Geisswiller

Off licence shop workers, 24-hour supermarket employees, cab drivers, security guards are just some of the faces you encounter when night comes to life in London- these people keep it alive as everyone else sleeps.

Tuesday evening, Big Ben has just rung six times. Most people have finished their work and are on their way home, but for Asanka the day just dawned.

This father of two from North-West of London, climbs into his Minicab and begins searching for potential passengers.

As the sun declines the traffic in the busy streets of London begins to calm down. It is eight o' clock now.

"I don’t like to have the day’s traffic," explains Asanka. "Normally from Wembley to King Cross it would take 40 minutes, at night it is around 20 minutes. I can make more trips.”

Pleasure and Money

On the other side of the city, Sewak, guards the University of Westminster campus in middle of the night.

He ensures that every student entering the library has the student card and is not taking food inside.

A student at the Harrow College, he works three nights a week to help pay for his education.

He admits that while his social life is affected by work at night, it leaves him time to concentrate on his homework in the morning and afternoon.

At midnight Sewak takes off his neon yellow guards jacket; he has just finished his shift and Gyanem takes over. Employed at the university for one year, he appreciates the job: "It isn’t difficult and is better paid than a supermarket job. I earn 20 percent more," says Gyanem, who hails from Nepal. He admits it is easier to find a job at night than during day.

"I have an advantage," confesses the guard with a broad smile on his face. "I am Nepalese. My country has a reputation for this job, which is why 95 percent of the security on this campus is Nepalese."

Experience

It is four am, the university is quiet. The tube has been closed for around four hours, but an off license continues to receive new customers.

"People can be hungry at night," says Hassan, a 24 hour off licence shop worker. “When you work and you don't have time to make food, a place that offers something can help. I like working in the night; you meet different kinds of people than you do during the day."

Six am, Asanka has just finished his last journey. The call to hit the bed is becoming strong, his wife and his kids will wake up in one hour and his sleep-day will start.

"I don't feel weird or cut from the world, I just experience London in a different way, and I like that London is too crowded for me!"

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