It’s not like I have even scratched the surface of what England has to offer over the course of a six-day visit, but going to new places does open your eyes to differences you might not even think about being different.
1. There aren’t very many pickup trucks or mini-vans in the city.
2. London is not a semi-arid landscape; they mean it when they say it is rainy.
3. Black taxi cabs are easy enough to find, but they aren’t nearly as cool as they look on Sherlock.
4. Detours are called “diversions.”
5. London is like a huge commercial tourist attraction—the touristy places direct you to the gift shop, where there are bins filled with Oriental Trading Company-esque trinkets to go around; it’s kind of depressing. (But seriously. Does the Tower of London NEED three gift shops? I thought England was supposed to be classier than the U.S.)
6. People don’t seem like that they hate Americans that much to your face. People we talked to seemed curious but kind.
7. Mini-fridges are not a given in London or in Barcelona. Midwestern hospitality should punch them in the face.
8. There is a very large Muslim population, although no British TV show I’ve ever watched would ever suggest that.
9. There’s something wrong with the water, I guess, and maybe in all of Europe, because apparently they have to get you weird water from Norway in a jar. There are no laws about free tap water in every restaurant, perhaps? Maybe it’s like California or something…
10. All the prices are as written, which is super confusing for someone accustomed to calculating sales tax.
11. Alcohol isn’t as no-no-y. There was a bar in the Southbank Centre despite the large toddler population.
12. There is not a grid system, and it makes you want to throw up. Never have I been more glad for the Northwest Ordinance.
13. The Globe Theatre is WAY AWESOME and people don’t talk about it enough.
14. The Thames is kind of nasty.
15. It’s a lovely place, but I wouldn’t want to live there. Beyond the Globe Theatre, I’m not even sure if I want to go back.
I did have a decent trip, mind you, but I’m kind of glad I went under the circumstances that I did. I didn’t expect to be seeing the sights or doing things the way I would have if I had gone on an England trip as originally planned last year. But it felt very commercial and fake… less English than I would have liked, if that makes sense.
I’m still interested in exploring England again, but for now, my plans are to keep London to a minimum. There’s a whole rest of the country to explore, I’ll have you know!