Thoughts on the UK, now that I’m back in the US

I just got back to the states. You can read my first entry about this trip here.

Image from Wikipedia.

-How did I ever drink Heineken?!? It’s like beery water!

-British bacon is SO much better than American bacon

-I actually prefer roundabouts to traffic lights. Though it’s easier to get lost with roundabouts.

-There are KFC’s everywhere in the UK, so I had to try one. KFC in the UK is not as greasy or crispy. They also don’t have biscuits – possibly on account of cookies being called biscuits in the UK.

-Jet lag is real, folks. After the first night back, we haven’t been able to sleep past 5:30am.

-People in the UK are so much better at small talk than Americans. By a significant amount. It is generally very easy to strike up a conversation with someone out in public in the UK.

-Daily services, like buses, coffee and breakfast shops, etc seem to have enough staff that people aren’t running around to get their job done and they actually have enough time to do it well.

-Casual kindness to strangers was the rule rather than the exception, even in big cities. It reminded me of the midwest that way.

-“You can’t swing your dick in Scotland without hitting a castle.”

-Some Scottish accents will be so strong you’ll need a translator.

-Sodas are smaller in the UK. Same with the portions of essentially all packaged goods.

-The smallest paper money is a £5 note. They have 1 and 2 pound coins, and 1 and 2 pence coins. Also 20 pence coins.

-In Scotland, there’s no “e” in whisky!

First Impressions of London

Been in London a day, and thought I’d share some differences between the US and the UK that I’ve seen already:

-Even though they drive on the left, they walk on the right. Why is this?!?!?

-They aren’t called bathrooms, they’re called toilets. Which makes a lot more sense, since they don’t have showers or bathtubs. This is how it is for public restrooms anyway.

-If you’re paying in cash, it’s easy to end up with a pocket full of coins that’s worth nearly 10 pounds, since they have both one and two pound coins.

-The internationality of London is truly impressive. Being from the Bay Area I’m used to hearing different languages – but at the rate of about one a day. In London in one day I probably heard 12-15.

-Being in a country that doesn’t have the tipping culture that the US does has been surprisingly stressful. I didn’t realize that I viewed tipping 20% as a moral imperative until I tried to not do it…

-The crosswalks aren’t right at the intersections the way they are in the US. Though the lights aren’t right at the intersections either. In London all the parts of intersections are more spread out than in the US, and I imagine that makes them safer.

-It’s weird that all the news that happened in the US happened while I was sleeping, and most of the day has gone by before the news in the US starts up again.

-I was not prepared for the humidity. It’s humid like Houston or New Orleans here. For some reason I thought the air would be dry.

-An apartment building burned in London, and on the news last night the presenter absolutely grilled the Prime Minister about it. The Prime Minister!

-British Strawberries are surprisingly sour.