I can see clearly now, the rain is gone….NOT!

Hiya you alright? Like I said in my previous post- I continue my journey in life and I’m abroad again. This time in the land of tea with milk and honey. Where dentist sit in the pub all day with nothing to do. Where everyday the sun is shining except for 360 days of the year. Where the most famous woman is an 89 year old lass that likes to wear shiny hats. Yes my friends, I’m in Britain! So that this post shall be about the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland! (Minus the Northern Ireland part- I’ve never been there…. Or Wales…)

Full disclosure before we start: I’m here to work for the summer. If you count the months I’ve been in the UK in total it will add up to more than 12 months. Yes I’ve been here a year- actually I missed the spring but got 2 summers instead (same amount of rain by the way). Most of the time I was here I was working, not traveling. But I did work in different cities- Newcastle, London, Plymouth and more. And I did travel when I could- to Scotland for instance. Let’s say I’ve been to quite a few places here. The insights I have on life in the UK are a bit different than the insights I have from traveling 2 weeks in Greece (future post). So this time I’m in the north of England in a little town by a lake called Bowness on Windermere, in the region knows as “Lake district” in the county of Cumbria.

Bowness on Windermere on a cloudy day

Full disclosure number two: I don’t have any photos of my past time in England. Only from Scotland and from Bowness. Ok I managed to find one or two more… But that’s it so deal with it….

Another Bowness for you

So there- something to read while you drink your tea (or if you’re in the loo):

☻ My favorite thing in the UK:  My absolute favorite thing in Britain is the reduced shelf in the supermarket. It’s a small but an amazing thing. Especially amazing ’cause I haven’t seen it anywhere else in the world (why??). This thing is good in so many levels. The supermarket throws less food- one of the biggest world problems today people aren’t aware of! Also you save money so you feel like it’s your lucky day and you beat the system. And you get all the stuff you really need: “2 leeks, a pink spongecake and a Tzatziki- I didn’t even know it but that’s exactly what I need!”

Early evening- When it’s full

My least favorite the in the UK: The number one thing I hate but REALLY hate here are the bathroom taps. Actually the kitchen ones are also terrible but we’ll get to that later…

Who was the f*£#ing genius who decided to put 2 small taps instead of one proper big tap?? and it’s not one for hot and one for cold, it’s one for boiling hot and one for freezing cold!! This is NOT a way to wake up in the morning!!!

My brain-to-hand movements are slower in the morning and I have to maneuver fast between those two so I can wash my face and not get a second degree frost bite/heat burn.

It looks like someone back in the 19th century (could be earlier but the Victorian era just seems like an easy period to blame it on) thought it would be a brilliant idea to do this (no, even 200 years ago this idea was shit). And then the people were too polite to argue with the Royal British plumbing company. And so it stayed like this until today. Can you have a referendum to change THAT?!?!?!??!

Then you also have the kitchen sink where you have indeed one tap. Thank you. But! It’s also freezing and boiling water together. That’s so weird, you can feel the hot and cold combined. It’s not pleasant. I guess lukewarm water is just a fairy tale here…

Filtered water- get it?

 Food in the kingdom: Without a doubt in the UK you have the best food *sorry* Indian food (outside of India of course). And obviously- lots of it!

As far as the traditional British food- funnier and more eloquent people already said how shit it is so I won’t add. Just- Marmaite?? Really?!?! Congratulations you managed to invent a food that doesn’t look, smell, feel of taste good! Well it’s almost all the senses right there. Let’s just hope it can sing “God save the Queen” without Autotune…..

☻ Queues- If there were Olympic games for standing in a queue- Great Britain would have won the gold medal. They love queues, lines, rows of people. Whatever you call it- they’ll stand in it. I think it gives them sense of order which they like and they are just too polite to argue about it. Me personally I don’t mind. It’s kinda nice I think, especially because I come from a country where queues are just a recommendation. But when you come to a bus stop, the bus is scheduled to come in 15 min and there’s already a queue of people- well that’s just weird…. And sad- take a sit or go buy something…. Or start a conversation with the stranger next to you!

 

☻ Accents. What is a proper British accent? Is it the upper class one like prince Charles’? Or is it a working class like John Lennon’s one? answer- there is no such thing. They are all proper English. I can tell you from my experience that the first place I actually lived in was Newcastle. that’s way up in the north of England if you don’t know. The more north you go the heavier the accent becomes. It took me about a month to understand what they’re saying (there aren’t any subtitles when you’re talking to someone apparently….) but it was like a vaccine. I understood from there on all the accents! Well most sentences anyway…. I still prefer to talk to someone in person than on the phone though- when you see the lips moving it’s very helpful. People ask me what’s my favorite British accent. The answer is simple: The accent I can understand.

☻ Brits on holidays: Because it’s raining here a lot, most chances are you will have a rainy day when you’re on holiday. But that doesn’t stop them- they came for their holidays and they will enjoy it!!! I’ve seen many times people sitting on the beach when it’s windy and rainy, wearing their rainproof jackets and eating their soggy sandwiches…. “Damn it- we’re having fun!”

☻ It might sound a bit bizarre, but I like the English money. I mean the actual coins. Don’t get me wrong I’m a big fan of the value too- there’s a reason why I come back and work here. But after being in the States I realized that the pound coins are lovely. They’re big and heavy and distinguish from the other coins. And- like 99% of the world- they have their value written in NUMBERS! (Damn you United states of America with your dimes and quarters…). And the cool part is that Scotland have different notes but it’s still pounds! OK that shall be my last remark about money appearance in this blog or they’ll take my hippie permit….

But I will put a photo of some one pound coins and some Scottish notes.

Brig o’Doon – I hope we shall be good friends this summer.

☻ The London tube is one of the easiest and nicest underground trains I’ve ever been in. The map is so easy and there’s always a woman’s voice saying “mind the gap”. Sorry New York- but the subway is terrible! I was in London for 3 months and never got lost. One week in the big apple and I  got mixed up in the subway 3 times.

My friend Noam at Jewish Green (sorry) Golders Green station

☻ After saying this nice thing- the public transportation in the UK is ridiculously expensive. It’s a mitzvah to fool it at least once in your life. I have several stories but I won’t write them here (if you want to know- I’ll email some of them to you).
By the way, I don’t know if I get any points for this- but I peed in Waterloo station….. not in the toilet- next to the tracks where it says “mind the gap”…

 

.☻ ok, let’s add some Scottish maddness here.

I’ve traveled in Scotland with two friends for 4 glorious days. We saw some big urban life (Edinburgh) and some small town with beautiful landscape life (Pitlochry).

☻ Edinburgh is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been in. I never ever do these things- but we took a bus tour around the city. It was cool but I will never do it again… Not my vibe…

  
    

☻ We were wondering- a Scottish woman really needs to outdo herself if she wants to attract a man there. I mean- wearing a skirt and showing your legs doesn’t really impress them right?…


☻They have interesting names for places there. Mind you also in England- There’s a village there called “6 miles bottom”, really! It’s next to Cambridge.

☻  Pitlochry is a lovely town. We went to “The smallest distillery in Scotland” (please read it with a heavy Scottish accent!) and our guide was nice and looked like the rich dude from Jurassic park only with a kilt…


    

Yes, sheep are everywhere in the UK and they’re awesome!

It’s hard to summarize all the thoughts I have on this crazy island so maybe I’ll do part 2 in the future. But for now, that’s all. I did find a photo of me in London after all. I think it’s from the museum inside the tower bridge.

Don’t forget to send some postcards while you travel. Postcards are the best. Especially when you send them to yourself a day before you leave and then you get a nice surprise after you return home!

So remember- Don’t take life too seriously ’cause life doesn’t take you seriously. Trust me- life called and said you’re bumming them out…. Love, Peace, Harmony and a Smile!

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2 thoughts on “I can see clearly now, the rain is gone….NOT!

  1. Hi Anat – I love it and agree with most of your Loves and Hates. Having said that, we went to the beach on Saturday (Tom, our Icelandic friend Monika, and I), loved it and got sunburned – or tanned for the more pre-conditioned amongst us. Maybe you should try East Anglia next year. I noticed that you left out the bit about glamourous Skegness! I don’t blame you.

    Between us we came up with some more observations of typically UK things/behaviours:
    – Electricity-phobia. It expresses itself in the belief that it is fatal to have light switches in bathrooms. There are still bits of string hanging from the ceiling, which we have to pull to activate the switch in the loft (although whole populations have survived the switch in the bathroom in the rest of the world). All electrical appliances have plugs as big as fists to accomodate a fuse and 3 enormous prongs. Not ideal for travelling.
    – Windows opening outwards. How the hell are you supposed to clean the outside? Where I grew up I’d never seen a professional window cleaner doing ordinary households, but they’re doing a roaring trade here.
    – Being called “Love” by total strangers, Apologies & the Weather. You bump into somebody at the supermarket and they say: “Sorry, Love”. You enter a corner shop you’ve never visited before: “Hello, Love, what would you like?”. You go to a restaurant in a holiday resort: “Hello, Love. I’m really sorry about the weather, it’s been dreadful. Here’s the menu”.

    Lots of love, hope you surviive another English Summer up north. With the right clothes the Lake District is beautiful even in the rain – Kathy

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