Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Grandma Updates & The UK

Quick Grandma Update: She is doing much better than expected. It turns out the initial diagnosis of heart attack + stroke was a little off. It turns out she had neither. Why she was found unconscious, with a dresser drawer on her back, and a broken hip, we're not exactly sure yet. In any case, and in spite of her broken hip, she's doing better. Tomorrow she goes in to have surgery to pin it all back together. This is a bit risky, due to her age and such, but it has to be done. I will post news as I get it.

(Our temporary office in the UK)

UK: So, yeah, I flew out to the UK for 5+ days. It was a fun yet baffling ordeal. England is a land of many different peoples and geography. In my mental preparation for the trip, I substituted Canada for the UK, so I'd have some idea what to expect. My thinking was: It will be just like America, only slightly, vaguely different. This assumption was incorrect.

My trip was essentially an exercise in learning how the business works, how to deal with the Brits, and whether or not I like them and they like me. At the end of the week, we were both mutually satisfied in the possibilities of a future relationship so they decided to make me a good offer and I decided to accept.

(Me, stuck in the Houston airport due to a delayed Continental flight)

In lieu of writing up a long explanation of my adventures, I have come up with something quick and easily digestible. A top 10 list. But, before I start, here's the obligatory Pulp Fiction quote.


But, you know what the funniest thing about Europe is?


It's the little differences. I mean, they got the same shit over there that they got
here, only there it's a just a little different.



1. Cost

They use pounds sterling as their standard of currency, but they don't readjust for its strength against the US dollar. Right now, the ratio of dollars to pounds is about 2:1. That means, if you brought a pound back to the states and converted it into American dollars, you'd get $2. Their pound is worth two of our dollars. However, everything still costs the same in pounds. In short; it is so friggen expensive.

Example: A t-shirt costs 20 pounds, just like how in the states it would cost $20. Except, the 20 pounds is really worth $40. A coke still costs 1.50, but it's 1.50 in pounds. So, it's really $3 when you convert.

2. No Ice-Machines in the Hotels

I thought my hotel had an ice-machine. It didn't. I asked several coworkers if this is odd. Their response was, "Ice Machine? As in... a machine made out of ice or a machine that makes ice?" To which I would respond, "I'll take that as a no."

3. No Clock in the Hotel Room

Same as above, except dealing with clocks and the lack thereof. No clocks in hotel rooms. That made my getting adjusted to the time change all the more strange confounding.

"'Ello, front desk!"
"Yeah, can I get a wake up call in one hour."
"In one hour, did you say?"
"Yes. I want to take a nap, but you don't have any clocks in your rooms."
"Ah yes! One hour it is. G'bye!"

4. Trouser-Press

While the Brits have no problems with their hotels having neither clocks nor ice-machines, they do find it neccessary to have trouser-presses in each room. This is a machine that lets one iron their pants. This should tell you everything you need to know about England. They don't care so much about arriving places on time, so long as their pants are ironed and ironed well.

5. Driving on the Left Side of the Road

Yes, yes. Americans always say it's strange. They always carry on about how it's bizarre and unnatural. For once, I completely agree with the status quo. It's so strange. Imagine riding on the left side of car, where the steering wheel is on a US car, while the passengers drives you at break-neck speeds down the left lane of a tiny highway. It would be unnerving enough, let alone being ridiculously tired and jet-lagged while it's happening.

6. Tea Not Coffee

It's true.

7. Everything is Old

I ate lunch in a pub that was older than the United States of America.

8. Everyone Manages to be Cheerful and Depressed at the same Time

Pink Floyd calls it, "Quiet Desperation." It's also true. I don't know how they manage to pull it off. It's very disoncerting and funny at the same time.

9. Everyone Swears

Nice old lady at the grocery store trying to using cash register, "Oh fuckin' hell."
Receptionist at the hotel, "There's not much 'round 'ere. You are in the fuckin' hills, aren't you?"

10. No food. Just Beer.

These blokes go out, every night it seems, drink 3-5 pints of really good beer, and go to sleep about 1-2AM. Then they're back at work at 7:30 bright-eyed and ready for work. This may give some insight into how they manage that whole cheerful-yet-depressed thing.

And to wrap up this post, here is a video I meant to post while I was in England, but forgot about it until I got back home. Enjoy!


Anonymous said...

Well, tickety-boo again my mucker.

Thanks for the insight to the mother-land.
You, of all people, should have gotten use to the driving..... being cuddywfter as you are.

Well, tally-ho for now.

P.S. I checked the weather.... you won't need your gamp this week.

Anonymous said...

so wait, the lights provide *light* in british hotel rooms? soooo strange...

Anonymous said...

Dolemite has been enligtened about

the lights....

that is a corker