This is just a general observation post. I’m going to write about work-related differences in a later post.
Coins/change add up much more quickly over here and weigh more too. I remember liking that about Euros as well (the adding-up part, not the weigh-more part).
The English seem to assume you’re responsible for your own safety and sell eyebrow/eyelash dying kits in the stores, as well as offering it in salons. The US doesn’t since it assumes everyone will blind themselves doing it and sue.
They refer to packages as “courses”– which sounds so much better. E.g. a course of laser hair removal.
They refer to programs/plans as “schemes” — which sounds much worse. E.g. join our hotel scheme and earn reward points.
Pubs are extremely popular and small. Most pubs have a huge crowd after work blocking the sidewalk. Some are smoking outside, most are simply standing and drinking.
I haven’t been carded once. I like that.
I’ve gotten totally ripped off by this shop that sold me an obscure SIM card and every time I went to refill it, they charged me 5GBP. I found another refill stop and was charged nothing.
Today I realized I’ve been writing GPB everywhere and it’s GBP. Wish someone had pointed it out earlier.
There are no trash cans in Heathrow after you pass through customs. None. Anywhere. No litter on the floor either. So you walk around carrying your own trash.
I’ve asked a native about specifics of waiter service here. You must ask for water refills — apparently an empty glass is a sign of absolutely nothing to British waiters. You must also request your check or they’ll leave you to sit the entire day. Then again, there are many American restaurants like this only in America it’s considered bad service.
Don’t look for street signs on the actual street corners. Instead, they’re posted (if at all) on the corners of buildings rather high up. The few streets signs I’ve seen tend to point off in random directions regardless of the actual road and are confusing.
There is no such thing as jay-walking. If you think you can beat the bus (or cabbie or cyclist), you can cross the street. It’s another sensible solution based on the assumption that you’re responsible for yourself. Of course, on major streets there are lights with crosswalks and most people use them. The crosswalk “go” has a little green man who looks like he’s lurching across — probably appropriate given the number of pubs in this country.
Since the traffic moves in the opposite direction, looking both ways twice is the best solution for an American.
Cabbies are indeed helpful and not surly, nor overly talkative (yet).
I feel sorry for the people who stop and ask me for directions.
I’ve seen all sorts of people here I’ve never seen in America. I like that. Doesn’t mean I want to talk with them or hang with them, but I like the seeming “live and let live” attitude.
It is cold and rainy, then sunny and cold, then cold and humid and overcast, or windy, overcast and cold (and rainy). Once it was warm, sunny and dry.
The men walk around in very nice suits that fit well. It’s certainly eye-candy because I’ve yet to have a suited client. (They all come to me for relaxation — imagine!)
The street/construction workers are generally attractive.
There are a few ubiquitous places: Cafe Nero, Bertolli, Pret a Manger. If you get lost don’t rely on these places as landmarks because they’re everywhere.
Don’t rely on bookshops as landmarks either. They’re also everywhere — which is a beautiful, beautiful thing.
In this country, a licensed sex shop means a store full of books (erotic literature and photo books). Or it might also have lingerie. I don’t think I’ve seen a porn DVD or dildo yet.
London seems very 60s mod. I understand Austin Powers a lot better now. I don’t think he’s quite the joke here that he is in America.
London eccentrics seem to be more sincere and more grounded in their quirks than American eccentrics — who often seem harsh, crazy or trying too hard.
I really like this article about the British people.
Have not yet spotted Eddie Izzard and probably won’t. Will let you know if I do.
One more: “circus” does not mean the same thing in English as it does in American. This can lead to disappointment.