British pop culture, community, travel

British vs. American: Part 5

We’re off to England again! So, after you’ve sorted out your passport, luggage and what it’s containing, currency conversion, a place to stay, ways to get around the country, and how long you’re staying for… You need to have a pretty good idea of what your average day is going to be like, and how to manage by yourself if a native isn’t available to take you to the pub/museum/park/building that sells books/fish and chip shop.

If you happen not to speak any language other than English, relax, because you’re covered there. Yeah, some of the phrasings are different, and you’ll have to get used to that (but hey, depending on where you live in your own nation, you could travel 100 miles away and be met by a completely different accent, dialect, etc.) But you won’t need a translation booklet to survive finding public transportation (or the restroom!).

Also, England is one of those countries that’s really used to tourists from all over the world, and most of the natives will be kind or at least polite to you, if you do need to ask for help in locating the Tube station or the nearest Waterstones. British courtesy is legendary, and generally, it’s true.

As I discussed in a previous post (, most of the food you’ll encounter will be familiar — pizza, Chinese, Italian, Indian, and there’s always McDonalds. (That’s one of the pluses of living in a global trade system.) If you want to have a very traditional English breakfast (fried eggs, grilled tomatoes and mushrooms, bacon or sausage, and baked beans, with of course tea), or a meat pie and chips, those are definitely available as well, and locals will certainly recommend their favorite spots.

In the summer, you could get a soft-serve ice cream with a flake (that’s the chocolate stick) — I recommend getting strawberry sauce drizzled on it as well. In the winter, there’s plenty of pumpkin soup, tea, roast chicken with mashed potatoes, tea, pizza with mushrooms and sweet corn, kebabs, tea…

Right, where was I?

Of course, if you’re here as a tourist, there will be certain places you’ll want to visit. For example, the beautiful and iconic white cliffs at Dover. Or Nottinghamshire, historic home of Robin Hood and his Merry Men, and the (real position) of the Sheriff of Nottingham. Or Liverpool, home to the Beatles. Or London, for a tour of the infamous Tower, Westminster Abbey, and where Benedict Cumberbatch was spotted having a cheese-and-pickle sandwich last week.

So, after you get used to the new time zone (when it’s 10 a.m. in New York City, it’s 3 p.m. in Oxford), you can grab a cupper (sugar and milk is optional, but really best), jump on the coach (the bus), the train, or hail a taxi, and you’re off to some fantastic art museum, or the actual 221B Baker Street, or somewhere a Doctor Who episode was filmed (like Cardiff).

After you take a ton of photos and swoon over replicas of Daleks and statues of previous monarchs and make it embarrassingly clear you are a tourist, you can buy tickets to a Shakespeare play in a real Globe Theatre, or a canal boat ride. Maybe you’re in Yorkshire, and you just can’t resist running along the moors shouting out, “Heathcliff, it’s me, Cathy!”

What next? How about a cat show? Dog show? Trip to the farm? The Brits do love their animals.

Maybe one of those amazing actual castles that dot the countryside from north to south. Or hit the beach. There’s lots of amusements and fresh seafood and lovely sunsets to be had in Brighton or Blackpool.

And if you haven’t had curry or a proper shepherd’s pie or cream tea with scones yet — shame on you, hurry up and do so.



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