Hello fellow explorers, this is Cagney Puddleton. Most of you know we recently traveled to England. After Peru and India it was less of a shock. No llamas galloping down the high street. No tiger pits hidden in the forest and nobody trying to sell me food that could send me to the bathroom for a week.
However England is still very much a foreign country and not like the US at all. For instance even though Americans speak English – let me tell you this – turns out, we don’t!
Of course everyone has heard British accents and I don’t mean the one Dick Van Dyke does in Mary Poppins. Our dads can’t go to a single restaurant without someone commenting on their British/Australian/South African accent – turns out Americans can rarely tell the difference. It also turns out everyone loves an English accent – especially here in Texas.
The English don’t only sound different but they use different words for lots of different things. Even though our dads are all English, words like pavement (sidewalk), knickers (underwear) and fringe (bangs) all confused us while visiting England. Cookies are biscuits, flats are apartments and a car park is a parking lot – who knew?
Something I also noticed while in England is that their sense of comedy is very different. If I had to use one word to sum up the British sense of humor I would say – sarcastic. Half the time we had no idea if people really meant what they said or if they were (as they would say) having us on, which means they were joking.
I’d heard people say the food was rubbish (as they’d say) in England. I may be biased after my time in India, but I thought the food was really good. While at the Googly Gherkin we had several amazing meals. Fish and chips (which is really fish and French fries) was Olivia’s favorite. Aidan really enjoyed the massive English breakfasts served each morning – even their bacon is different than ours and their beans far more orangy. Lissy liked the scones served with raspberry jam and something called clotted cream which is like the thickest cream you can imagine – like so thick you could stand a spoon up in it. Tess ate so many packets of the British crisps (chips) called Hula Hoops, we were scared she was going to turn into a hoop. My particular favorite was something called a Cornish pasty, which I will be petitioning to bring to the school cafeteria next year.
Another major difference, of course, is that the British drive on the left hand side of the road. That was a fun fact someone forgot to mention and almost caused me to have a heart attack while driving into central London. Their cars are also a lot smaller than ours and when you see the price of petrol (gas) you’ll understand why.
The British are also really into football, which to us translates as soccer – they call our football, American football. Instead of baseball they play cricket and basketball is not so popular, although girls netball is. Hockey is invariably played on a field and not on ice.
The Googly Gherkin
Also everything is older in England. Where in Texas something that’s more than a couple of hundred years old is considered antique, in England a couple of hundred years is nothing. Take the Googly Gherkin for example, built in the 15th century and still running as a pub and restaurant. If that was in America it would be a museum for sure.
England also has several iconic images that we were all happy to experience while visiting. The famous red double-decker buses, unlike in India, were really fun to ride on, as were the easily recognizable black taxi cabs, although not so many of them are black any more. Even though everyone and their mother has cell phones, those bright red telephone boxes seemed to pop up around every corner along with their squat red cousin – the mail box, or should I say post box?
Of course, England is arguably most famous for is its royal family, and even though our encounter with royalty got off to a bit of a rocky start (the chocolate biscuit incident will no doubt haunt us for the rest of our lives), but other than that it was absolutely the best!
If you get a chance to visit London or England I highly recommend you go, soak it all up and I guarantee, as the British say, you’ll be totally gobsmacked!