9 Oddest Things About The UK, As Told By An American

I'm not one of those ignorant Americans who think that everything has to be the same as at home, I swear. Still, as normal a country as it seems to me, I wasn't at all prepared for some of the differences.

1. Public Transport

Yes, we have it in America, but this is oddly less headache inducing and very economical. Oyster Cards are 5 pounds (About $6.70 in American dollars) upfront and all one has to do is put more money on them when they run out. Plus, if you have one, they can't charge over a certain amount a day if you need to use a lot of public transport... Plus, the trains and buses are mainly on time...

2. Plugs

Okay, here there's extra wattage, so it's not surprising that the plugs are shaped differently, but for some reason, it just bothers me. Why are they upside down? Why are the prongs flat? Just... Why?

3. Plastic Bags

Apparently, you get charged extra for asking for a plastic bag while shopping. Well... kudos for trying harder than America to save the planet, I guess?

4. "Chips" and "Crisps"

I'd like to know how the Brits came up with these terms. Crisps I kind of understand, since chips are supposed to be crispy and crunchy. But fries as chips? I don't understand. Please, tell me how this got started.

5. The Food.

British food is really not as bad as the rest of the world says it is. In fact, it not being overloaded with god-knows-what does the supertaster and picky eater in me a favor. But maybe a little bit of spice wouldn't hurt? Or a little more sugar? It's probably an acquired taste, my American-born mouth is used to something stronger, I guess.

6. Added Sales Tax


7. How Big (And Clean) London Is

I'm in London, but not Central London, which is what most people think of when they hear "London." I'm actually between Twickenham and Teddington, which are about a 30 minute train ride away from there, but I've been there just a few days ago. As littered with tourists as it is, it's beautiful and surprisingly clean. I've never been to a big city in America with two of those qualities at the same time...

8. Professors on a First Name Basis

I've heard this is a European thing, but I honestly didn't expect it here in England. Back home, you'd get looked at funny if you called your professor something other than Dr. whatever-their-name-is. Then again, people here look at us Americans funny for doing just that.

9. People Like Americans?

I was under the impression that the rest of the world hated America. (Well... it's not like they have no reason to.) Yet, most people here to far haven't referred to me in a condescending way as a "yank" or passed judgement because of my very not British accent. Or are they just being passive aggressive? Or is it all behind my back. Will have to investigate for sure...

Maybe by the time May rolls around, these won't be as weird, or maybe I'll find weirder things around the UK, or maybe the rest of Europe.

Report this Content

More on Odyssey

Facebook Comments