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jet_noseover
22nd Nov 2013, 00:45
Inspired by the article I recently read.

I moved from Europe to the US and these are things I found "interesting:

•Fruits and vegetables are way more expensive than meat and poultry.
•That, generally speaking, the poor is more obese than the rich.
•A lot of couples adopt children, sometimes in spite of having their own, and treat them exactly like their own. (To me, this alone is a marker of a great people)
•By and large, people do not carry cash.
•That you address your boss (and some of your professors) by some abbreviated variation of their first name. And that applies to pretty much everyone, regardless of how much older they are than you.
•Parents can get arrested for physically punishing their children.
•Severe poverty, homelessness, etc, no matter how limited, actually exist. Even in America.
•A name as common and as easy to pronounce as mine is almost invariably incomprehensible to most Americans.
•America is literally HUGE. My home country is roughly the size of Florida, one of the fifty states.
•In spite of the society being openly hedonistic and liberal, the social norms and standards still have very strong conservative religious influences.
•People don’t really care about the FIFA World Cup even though USA qualifies.
•The importance of credit rating/ credit score.
•Return policy.
•The history behind Thanksgiving.
•Black Friday and the frenzy associated with it.
•Amazingly friendly, hospitable and helpful people. Yet, a very conveniently private lifestyle.
•That, American foreign policy is a very inaccurate reflector of public consensus.
•Grinding. The dance form.
•That you cannot purchase alcohol unless you are 21 but can purchase a gun if you are 18.

So true.

Anyone has had experience they did not expect or was surprised when moving to the foreign country?

Matari
22nd Nov 2013, 01:14
•A name as common and as easy to pronounce as mine is almost invariably incomprehensible to most Americans.

Down where I'm from they would pronounce your name "Yetsy No Sofer."

My wife was stunned at the whole concept of a "lost and found" in the states. Nine times out of ten, if you've forgotten something somewhere, the merchant or office will have a little box where your belonging can be retrieved from.

Last time we were in Aix, sitting in at Le Grillon on the Cours Mirabeau, the guy next to us left his sunglasses on the little table, and strolled away. Within 15 seconds another patron had grabbed the sunglasses, inspected them, tried them on, found them to his liking, and put them promptly in his pocket.

Dushan
22nd Nov 2013, 01:23
Matari, and don't even try to explain the concept of tipping in a restaurant to a European.

My sister was here with her family one Christmas. Five of them, two of us, plus a few other adults. We went to an Indian restaurant, her treat. When the bill came (about $200), she put it on her credit card and left about 75 cents tip on the table. My wife was so embarrassed when she saw that, she quickly pulled two twenties out of her purse and left it as tip.

Then there is charitable donations…

jet_noseover
22nd Nov 2013, 01:33
Matari:

My real last and first name has very few vowels in it. Most struggle with it here. The "J" is also pronounced as "Y" in my tongue.

In the US the concept of "lost and found" works. As far as my experience. For some reason most folks here believe in good dead. The disgusting experience I had was in Rome. Never going back.

Funny thing... I realized when moving to the US...The "How are you" greeting is just a friendly hello. They do not expect you to tell them how you really are. You should see the expression on the cashier's face at the local grocery store when I told him my entire week of suffering from the cold/flu. :)

500N
22nd Nov 2013, 01:36
" •America is literally HUGE. My home country is roughly the size of Florida, one of the fifty states."


I always knew Australia was BIG but it really hit home the first time
I went to the US and realised ONE state in Australia(Western Australia)
is as large as HALF of the US.

Cacophonix
22nd Nov 2013, 01:38
But remember that Alaska is huge and cold and a lot bigger than Texas...

Caco

jet_noseover
22nd Nov 2013, 01:40
Dushan,

That also goes for taxi cabs, hair dressers etc.. tipping. Just not being practiced in a lot of other countries.

"So I pay you for cutting my hair…..and then I tip you because you were gracious enough to cut my hair?!" :)

BenThere
22nd Nov 2013, 01:42
Despite the thievery, Aix is a most pleasant place.

Maybe the best day I can imagine would be doing the Saturday markets in the morning in Spring, then, loaded with bags of soap, veggies, knives, etc., taking in a lunch of salad Nicoise, then plat du jour, with a Pastis chaser (or two), vowing to meet again with the new best friend you made at the bar merely by saying, "M'excuse, Monsieur, s'il vous plait, un Pastis ou un whisky pour mon ami." Bad French, I know. I'm working from pure memory, which is bad, also.

Loved the plane trees, the markets, the climate - You simply can't improve upon Aix.

jet_noseover
22nd Nov 2013, 01:48
OK, this is lengthy but very observant. From an Indian lady about the USA:

•Dependence on GPS – I knew people who went to office everyday since the past 5 years and could not tell their way without a GPS. It was amazing! I made some friends there and they were so impressed that I could tell my way back to their home without help from a GPS.
•Cashless Society – Coming from India, where we just need cash because cards are not accepted at most places, I was really surprised by the cashless system in the US. Every place accepts credit cards. Even a small picnic I went to, which had an entry fee, had some sort of mobile app and a device attached to accept credit cards. It was amazing.
•EMIs for everything – It’s like the people there live on EMIs. Cars, phones, everything. And even the lower middle class can afford this stuff. It’s like everyone has an iPhone. Which also reminds me of the extremely bad coverage that AT&T provided. I’m used to better coverage in India. Almost forgot! Worst part was being charged for incoming. Calls and messages! It’s like a nightmare for Indians.
•Baby Car seats, Strollers – The extremely confusing rules and regulations that pervade America were already too much, but the emphasis on car seats and strollers was something new. I don’t think there’s any such thing as a car seat in India. And parents carry their children mostly, most people can’t afford strollers here. Also the cost of childcare in US is astounding because of these things that keep adding up.
•Tipping – Enough has been said about this, but I hated it too, so I’ll include it. Specially for services like a haircut. So I pay you for cutting my hair…..and then I tip you because you were gracious enough to cut my hair?!
•Public Toilets – Indian public toilets are usually in unmentionable conditions, and this was a refreshing change. Specially because half the stuff was automated. I remember thinking at first, that Americans are so lazy, they don’t want to flush their toilets.
•Cashiers talking to you – Every cashier will greet you with “How are you today? You find everything okay?” with a smile, and you’re quite thrown off the first few times. Also, I had this really great cashier at Harris Teeter give me discounts because I always checked out at his counter :) Really nice people! In general also, people were extremely polite, and many just complimented you too!
•The above point reminds me, that Americans find it very odd if people use different words than them, like British English for eg. people looked at me funny when I asked where the “Chemist” is (Drug Store). Biscuit (Cookie), Billing Counter (Cashier), Coriander (Cilantro), Petrol (Gas) are others.
•Awesome Traffic – Coming from India, I found it amazing the way traffic behaved without any intervention from traffic policemen. Just everyone following the rules. It was a bit bad in NYC, but not even comparable to where I live right now (Kanpur, India). People don’t try to cut you off. People let pedestrians cross. Also, the parallel parking is really efficient! The roads are so well maintained, and the scenery is always beautiful.
•Speed limits – The US has really high speed limits for us people following the metric system. The highest speed limits are around 75mph or 121 kmph which seemed like gross overspeeding to me. But it contributed to great drives!
•General Safety – I was travelling in Manhattan, late night Subway, when a group of loud, drunk people entered, and we were kinda scared. Immediately at the next stop, two NYPD officers entered, and stood at the doors until they were in the car. It was awesome! I felt pretty safe overall, which I didn’t even expect to.
•Quality of chocolate – It’s just not as good. Sorry folks, but a Hershey bar is the most overrated thing I ever tried. And the Kit Kat was horrible. The chocolate was oily. Yes, oily. I have no idea why. (This reminds of my trip to Walmart. I knew it was big. I just didn’t imagine it would be this big! The astounding variety of pretty much everything is just overwhelming)
•Incredible wastefulness – I was aghast at the amount of stuff people wasted every single day. Food, electricity, water, paper…in India, we reuse stuff until it can only be thrown away. But on the positive side, recycling is big there, so I guess it is mitigated in part.
•Obsession with fitness – I saw loads of people running/jogging on the sidewalks. A lot of people I knew cycled or ran marathons for 50 miles plus. This was a stark contrast though, to the average person I saw who was usually overweight. (I attributed it to insane portion sizes, as mentioned in an answer. I always ate the same sandwich for lunch and dinner)
•McDonald’s not upto the mark – This was a shocker for me. McDonald’s is like one of the best known brands of America, and the quality was arguably worse than what I get here. And I’m non-vegetarian. The burger doesn’t resemble it’s pictures at all. One (really bad) choice for vegetarians, and that was it. I went there once, and didn’t want to go again. On the other hand, Starbucks seemed totally worth the hype for me. They have great coffee.
•Patriotism – The flag was everywhere. Literally. I came to know students are supposed to pledge allegiance to their flag since Kindergarten.! (I can’t fathom how they pronounce allegiance). On the other hand, they are blissfully unaware of the rest of the world (A high school kid thought Taj Mahal is in Washington DC). But I loved how all students were involved in some sort of extra curricular activities or the other.
•The awkward public transport experience – It’s just so bad I can’t even say anything. (Not the big cities) My outings were severely cut short due to this. Cabs were insanely expensive. And I could kill cab drivers who asked for tips on top of that.
•Monotonous Cities, Cookie-Cutter Homes – This is my personal view, but the Downtown areas of almost all cities looked similar. Give or take a few things. The suburbs all looked the same. I was so weirded out by the Cookie Cutter Homes, which all looked like the same person had built it. Also, it was amusing to know that all the construction was wooden. Sound traveled too much. And I hated the weird landscaping. It seemed the whole country is sloped. Even apartments were built on slopes. I found it very funny. In India, each city looks different. Vastly different!
•Street Performers – The street performers around Union Square, Times Square were really entertaining. And I was amazed how much money they collected. I saw people give 20s. I doubt Indian street performers would ever see that kind of money.
•Religion – I always thought that America must be very laid-back about religion, like Europe, but that was not true. And one of the weirdest things I encountered was a Jewish person (in the black suit) preaching to us on the subway to believe in God, and Apocalypse or something, and giving us “Trillion dollar” notes with this stuff written on it.

Cacophonix
22nd Nov 2013, 01:53
Ben, it has bugger all to do with me but did you train in Toulouse...?

My family moved au Sud Ouest dans un village presque Bergerac...

J'aime beucoup le Francais.

Where is KAG when you need him?

Caco

Matari
22nd Nov 2013, 01:59
Things I didn't know about living in the Netherlands:

1. Supermarkets have specific opening/closing hours. Hence the Albert Heijn is absolutely packed on Saturday....wrist cutting madness.
2. Queen's Dylan is a great, fun day...not to be missed if possible. Bring your own orange hair.
3. Folks around Arnhem are very different from other parts of Netherlands. If they hear an American accent, they go out of their way to get to know you.
4. Dutch highways are very well built and maintained....some of the best in Europe. And absolutely covered in speed cameras.
5. Dutch police will fine bike riders for lack of basic kit like lights, fenders, etc.
6. Dutch police will stop and ask anyone for papers, including 10 year old kids biking to school (one of things that made me shake my head listening to Europeans moan about Arizona sheriff practices).
7. Nothing better that Friets met friets saus on a cold day on a windy North Sea beach.
8. Dutch really have learned how to get along...the whole consensus thing in decision making can be painful, but after understanding their history of wars it makes sense.
9. Windows should be kept clean. How else for others to see into your living room?
10. Dutch are refreshingly straightforward and practical. None of that southern European dissembling.

500N
22nd Nov 2013, 02:02
Jet,
A good list.
I definitely agree with the McDonalds comment !

Caco
I was talking about he Lower 48 !

Cacophonix
22nd Nov 2013, 02:03
Dutch are refreshingly straightforward and practical. None of that southern European dissembling.

I believed that until my (then) Dutch girlfriend became all huffy and possessive and attempted to kill us on the road to Hilversum... (no change from any other girl then)..

Golden Earring - Radar love - YouTube

Caco

jet_noseover
22nd Nov 2013, 02:08
500N,

One thing I noticed and is really evident in the US. The patriotism. Flags everywhere,, it does not need to be a holiday of any kind for the folks here to display it. There is a strict rule how to fold it before you dispose of it. Disposing it is another rule. I love it!

500N
22nd Nov 2013, 02:11
jet
Agree and I like it as well.
Most of what you wrote is true (those that I have experienced)
and I am sure the rest are as well !!!

jet_noseover
22nd Nov 2013, 02:15
Another thing is the public toilets.. I am truly amazed how clean they are. Including the portables. You can pull up to any Oasis on the highway and the stalls are clean, stacked with TP and you can actually sit on the toilet seat. If not comfy with that, they provide the film seat covers readily available in the stall.

In Europe, I found, you have to pay to use the toilets and it is rather gross experience.

Dushan
22nd Nov 2013, 02:15
France:

Different bakeries are closed on Wednesday afternoon, but there is a notice on the door indicating where is the nearest "emergency" bakery that is open.

Stores closed during lunch hour, not all, but some.

Very expensive daily newspapers.

Absolute chaos when it comes to parking between 7 PM and 7 am. Sidewalks, corners of streets, blocking exits, double parked. I guess they know who parks where and if someone needs to get out and is blocked he would sit on his horn for 5 minutes and the "offender" would come down and move his car.

The separate cashier wicket in a department stores.


Taxi fares are from the moment the driver receives your call. He could be on the other end of Paris and arrive with 10€ on the meter. Also refusal to take you a short distance.

Two hour lunches and not having a paper cup of coffee at the desk.


I'll think of a few more.

BenThere
22nd Nov 2013, 02:19
Ben, it has bugger all to do with me but did you train in Toulouse...?


No. I did no-fly zone duty, then was activated to fight the Kosovo war as a tanker pilot based at Istres. Over a 5 year span, I spent two total years in Provence, maybe the best time I ever had.

After that, I flew 747 freight carrying parts to Airbus in Toulouse. It was cool being the only Boeing in Airbus country.

Cacophonix
22nd Nov 2013, 02:20
I'll think of a few more.

Good looking girls with an unbearably bad attitude.;)

******* good cheese and lovely countryside with wine. Lots of friendship and some really good friends...

Caco

jet_noseover
22nd Nov 2013, 02:22
Taxi fares are from the moment the driver receives your call. He could be on the other end of Paris and arrive with 10€ on the meter. Also refusal to take you a short distance.


Ahhh, now I understand the charge. Was beyond me why I was charged an outrages amount, paid it since on the run to the airport and had no time to argue the bill.

Cacophonix
22nd Nov 2013, 02:24
After that, I flew 747 freight carrying parts to Airbus in Toulouse


Ah! :ok:

Caco

sitigeltfel
22nd Nov 2013, 05:08
I find the French have two modes of demeanour.

The first is when they enquire, "Etes-vous anglais?"
It rapidly becomes warmer when you reply, "Non, écossais"!

;)

Lightning Mate
22nd Nov 2013, 07:08
You lot should try Saudi Arabia !!

:mad::mad:

mikedreamer787
22nd Nov 2013, 07:19
Yes I must make some effort to get there one day.


http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/photo/24599088.cms

I hear the nude beaches along the Red Sea and those
Riyadh strip clubs are great places to check out.

Unless I've been misinformed..... :suspect:

Capetonian
22nd Nov 2013, 07:39
UK :
How beautiful some of the smaller towns and villages are, specially in spring and autumn.
The lovely countryside colours.
How helpful the police and HMRC are when you talk to them decently, as one should.
How cold and miserable it is in winter.
How unfriendly and suspicious strangers are when you smile or strike up conversation, specially in the south.
How incredibly varied accents and attitudes are in different parts of such a small country.
How long it takes to travel small distances because of the traffic and crowded conditions.

main_dog
22nd Nov 2013, 07:44
-One thing I liked, at restaurants they automatically bring you complimentary water, then ask whether you would like anything else to drink... in Europe sometimes the water costs more than the wine.

-On the other hand it drove me nuts that they expected a 15% tip minimum, regardless of the service provided.

-I was surprised to find that many Americans are very leery of their federal government, and that there is no national identity card as we have in Europe; they use a state-issued driver's license for identification, and the only national document issued is the passport (which most don't have as they never travel anywhere).

-Even after living there for a while I found it absurd that you needed to go through a learning/licensing process to be able to drive a car (which is designed for transport), while in most states anyone can just waltz into a gunshop and, with no training/background check, buy a firearm (which is designed to kill).

-I loved it that generally speaking their cops can't pull you over unless they have "reasonable suspicion" or evidence that you've done something wrong... in my EU country they can stop you whenever they feel like it for whatever reason. On the other hand they were not very friendly when they did pull you over...

Lightning Mate
22nd Nov 2013, 07:53
...and that there is no national identity card

What's that ? We don't have them.

tony draper
22nd Nov 2013, 07:58
When I am in charge of he Earth no one will be allowed to travel more than ten miles from the place they were born.
Solve a lot of the worlds problems that will.
Only local wars will be possible,very local.
:rolleyes:

Lightning Mate
22nd Nov 2013, 08:01
That will keep you norvern buggahs oop norf then.

main_dog
22nd Nov 2013, 08:07
What's that ? We don't have them.


I'm assuming we means UK? I did not know that. Anyway in continental EU I believe every country issues a national ID card...

Lightning Mate
22nd Nov 2013, 08:09
Yes, UK.

However, maybe it's good idea considering the number of illegal immigrants we have here.

beaufort1
22nd Nov 2013, 08:19
When I was a youngster in Guernsey a friend of mine whose father was a Doctor related a true story that he had made a home visit to see a patient in one of the more rural parishes on island and advised this patient that the next time he was in town to pop into 'Boots the chemist' to pick up some medication. Said patient replied that he hadn't been to town since Liberation on May 9th 1945. This doctor's visit took place in the mid 1970's.
For people not familiar with Guernsey it occupies approximately 25 square miles and the distance would have been about 4 miles.
I don't think it was unusual for people to stay within their own parish boundaries up until fairly recently, say 75-100 years ago. There is a definite difference in the local patois between the lower and higher parishes. Lower and higher in this case refers to the geographical height between the parishes in the North of the island which are low lying and the Southern parishes which are approximately 300 feet above sea level. :)

tony draper
22nd Nov 2013, 08:34
Buggah ID Cards, Chip everybody.:suspect:

main_dog
22nd Nov 2013, 08:40
You can chip me when I'm dead. :=

Tankertrashnav
22nd Nov 2013, 09:01
Ben There - I can understand why you were embarrassed by the 75 cent tip, but tipping has gone to ludicrous lengths in the US where I understand that 20% is now the norm in some restaurants (I'm out of date here, not having visited in many years).

When I had a collectors shop I was quite used to people haggling over the prices. One day I asked a guy who I knew was a taxi driver why he expected me to knock 10% off the stated price, but when it came to riding in his cab he expected people to add 10% to it. He didnt really have any answer!

Fox3WheresMyBanana
22nd Nov 2013, 09:52
I'm now living in Canada, and will be a citizen shortly. Contrasts from the UK.

*I've not been insulted, slighted or even looked down on by anybody, ever. I do not think Canadians even know how to.
*Officialdom helps you. They'll find a work-around if you've forgotten documents, fill the forms in for you, and not even mention that you're paying 3 months late for legally required permits.
*My cousins were over on my side of the continent recently. They suggested meeting up for a day. The round trip would have been 20 hours driving, but nobody thinks twice about journeys this short. Less than a day's driving one way is nothing.
*It's 6:15 in the morning, and we are halfway through "rush hour" (6 vehicles, I'm rural). Canadians work hard.
*Garages don't rip you off. They'll only do the work that's necessary, give you the choice of the cheapest, longest-lasting or highest quality solution, and the mechanics' estimates of part life have been bang-on every time.
*The weather can be extreme-a guy in my village got stuck in a snowstorm less than a kilometer from home last winter, and never made it back. Nobody thinks about work hours or payment for helping at such times,it's just humans vs nature.
*Taxes are lower, so help for the unfortunate often relies on charity. This works! People are very generous. If they're poor, people give time/expertise.
*Old people are generally happy. There are many social groups. People will often just hang around where they used to work, make themselves useful by getting the coffees, and chat. Never saw this in the UK.
*Canadian politicians are just as arrogant, corrupt and lazy as any other country's politicians. Somehow this doesn't affect the rest of the country.
*At half past midnight on New Year's Eve, in 20 below, a large group of teenagers (boys and girls) are still playing a scratch game of outdoor hockey. Now you know why Canada keeps winning.

Ancient Mariner
22nd Nov 2013, 10:21
I can make it in less than 10.
Philippines: Loved it!
Singapore: Hated it!!
Per

SOPS
22nd Nov 2013, 11:25
The Dutch eat lunch 3 times a day....once you realise that you get along fine:ok:

dead_pan
22nd Nov 2013, 12:45
That, generally speaking, the poor is more obese than the rich

That's a bit harsh, singling out the single poor person like that. I'm sure he/she is very happy.

dead_pan
22nd Nov 2013, 12:51
You lot should try Saudi Arabia !!

Good things about Saudi:

1. Its hot
2. They have lots of money
Err, that's about it.

Limeygal
22nd Nov 2013, 12:53
20% is now the norm in some restaurants

You are correct. However their actual wage is around $2 per hour. A good server can make great money though. Talking of restaurants, one thing that still annoys me is that in a lot restaurants you only get one set of cutlery for all your courses. I find that really yukky. Having to "wipe" your cutlery before you start. In cafe type places only plastic forks are provided. I need a clean bog, enough cutlery, and yes I want a glass with my soda/beer/whatever

Lightning Mate
22nd Nov 2013, 12:55
2. They have lots of money

One other good thing is leaving after five years with some of it in your bank account.

Dak Man
22nd Nov 2013, 12:58
How crap the driving standards are in Ontario.

Dushan
22nd Nov 2013, 13:00
Talking of restaurants, one thing that still annoys me is that in a lot restaurants you only get one set of cutlery for all your courses.

All you have to do is ask for a fresh set between courses.

dead_pan
22nd Nov 2013, 13:05
One other good thing is leaving after five years

Thread drift, but reminds me of a joke about the best thing to come out of Manchester - the M62.

(bizarrely, in double-checking my facts, I've just discovered Wikipedia has its very own entry on the M62 motorway, replete with photos etc. It beggars belief who would spend their precious and limited time on Earth putting this information up on the web)

Limeygal
22nd Nov 2013, 13:06
All you have to do is ask for a fresh set between courses

I shouldn't need to. One has standards!! :)

Dushan
22nd Nov 2013, 13:18
I shouldn't need to. One has standards!! :)

But at least you'd get them, unlike in UK when iIasked to have my toast buttered as it comes out of the toaster I was told "no". Talk about standards.

Lightning Mate
22nd Nov 2013, 13:24
One has standards!!

One certainly does and they include correct use of a knife and fork, not talking with ones' mouth full, and always drinking ones' beverage from a glass.

Oh, and saying "have a nice day" when leaving a restaurant at night and it's dark outside.

Tankertrashnav
22nd Nov 2013, 13:30
After my last weekend visit to London I commented to my wife that the standards of service had improved hugely since we were younger. All weekend we had met with nothing but politeness and willingness to serve which would have been unheard of 30 - 40 years ago, when I associated London with rudeness and indifference.

Then I realised - at no time all weekend had we come into contact with anyone who had an English accent - ie all the service was being done by non-indigenous people - call them immigrants or what you will. Certainly puts us native Brits to shame.

Lightning Mate
22nd Nov 2013, 13:34
Wossa native Brit these days ?

Curious Pax
22nd Nov 2013, 13:41
Things I didn't know about living in the Netherlands:

1. Supermarkets have specific opening/closing hours. Hence the Albert Heijn is absolutely packed on Saturday....wrist cutting madness.
6. Dutch police will stop and ask anyone for papers, including 10 year old kids biking to school (one of things that made me shake my head listening to Europeans moan about Arizona sheriff practices).
8. Dutch really have learned how to get along...the whole consensus thing in decision making can be painful, but after understanding their history of wars it makes sense.
10. Dutch are refreshingly straightforward and practical. None of that southern European dissembling.

1. Was like that when I first lived there in about '94, but the time we went back in 2005 things had improved - open 8am-10pm Mon-Sat (may have closed a bit earlier on a Sat, I forget). They had even started opening on some Sundays (1 a month I think)
6. Never came across that in 7 1/2 years living there in total
8. They're not so good at dealing with the concept of ethnic minorities as you would expect, and seem to regard Turks as inferior.
9. Ain't that the truth! They know that you know too, so if you challenge a Dutch guy for being rude they just smile and say it's just Dutch bluntness. (No it wasn't, it was just you being bl**dy rude!).

I enjoyed my 2 stints in NL, even though they were very different experiences (1 without a kid, 1 with), and like the people. However I did used to tell my Dutch friends that I thought they had the greatest PR agency going, as despite their international reputation they drive like the Belgians, have the arrogance of the Germans, and the queueing abilities of the French!

er340790
22nd Nov 2013, 14:05
Canada (Top 10):

1. How stupid Americans, especially American hunters, are.
2. Hockey is not a sport, it is a religion.
3. If you break-down, everyone stops to help(!)
4. How stupid Americans, especially American hunters, are.
5. Good-natured banter/p155-taking can cause major bemusement/offence.
6. Tim Hortons coffee definitely contains crack-cocaine.
7. NEVER order food in the Tim Horton's early morning drive-thru'. The closest thing Canada has to a Capital Offence!!!!!
8. How stupid Americans, especially American hunters, are.
9. Nod quietly whenever someone describes something as a 'world class event' - just do it, it makes life SO much easier.
10. If, after 10 years, you find yourself saying 'Ayyy' after anything, immediately take yourself out into the bush and shoot yourself.

Dushan
22nd Nov 2013, 14:40
er340790

11. How sanctimonious, self righteous, morally superior Canadians are when describing Americans, especially American hunters.

jabird
22nd Nov 2013, 14:55
You lot should try Saudi Arabia !!

OK, based on two stints visiting dad, rather than actually living there.

1) The airports - wow! Coming in via JED, out via RUH - and only got to go past the amazing Hajj terminal in a taxi.
2) Women's toilets absolutely disgusting, overflowing with %$^& (obviously not a direct observation or I'd have been whipped).
3) Utter disgust and mistreatment of arrivals from Africa - pouring food everywhere.
4) The waste - flashy new hospitals, but vaccines went off in airport hangars trying to clear customs.
5) The roads - like above, amazing road built 3 years before the hundred year flood, never repaired. Lucky everyone had a disposable 4x4 vehicle!
6) Prayer time - great excuse to get out of a hard sell corner, locals beaten into the mosques, everyone else into the Philippine restaurant for pork rice and beer, where the generals were too.
7) Officialdom - as a doctor, dad had to tell some people they had AIDS, but that wasn't possible, because as unmarried men, there was no way for them to catch it.
8) The "Olympic" stadium in Riyadh (and other fantastic modern buildings). So the anecdote went - "Your excellency, what will the women wear when we host the Olympics in Riyadh?" "What women"?
9) Thomson Originals and Bruno Armani jeans. A favourite was Nirvana's Nevermind with baby in nappies on cover!
10) Incredible hospitality - few times we got to meet "real" locals, including when the not-quite-so disposable 4x4 broke down! We were towed ~200 miles, fed, and so on. The only difficult bit was whether to offer them money as thanks at the end - can't remember if dad did or not, but certainly wouldn't have been taken.

ShyTorque
22nd Nov 2013, 15:05
How helpful the police and HMRC are when you talk to them decently, as one should.

You're obviously often in trouble, even when abroad! :cool:

Tankertrashnav
22nd Nov 2013, 15:23
Wossa native Brit these days ?


As far as I can tell L-M its someone who cant be arsed to get out of his/her bed in the morning to do the menial jobs he/she feels are way beneath them (in spite of being functionally illiterate and innumerate in many cases).

Hence my remarks above.

OFSO
22nd Nov 2013, 15:26
In Europe, I found, you have to pay to use the toilets and it is rather gross experience.

Catalunia: cleanest public toilets I have found anywhere. Pay ? yeah, if in a café you have to buy a drink if you use the wc.

France - just an hours drive away: filthiest public toilets I have ever seen. Italy: pretty bad. Germany: not good. The UK: worse.....

Lightning Mate
22nd Nov 2013, 15:29
Ah TTN, two like minds. :ok:

radeng
22nd Nov 2013, 15:47
For a long time, when going on my regular trips to the south of France, I would email the taxi firm - one man and his wife, who, for tax reasons, are separate taxi companies. I would be met at the airport, and at the destination, the meter would be ignored and up to €15 knocked off the bill and any tip rejected!

Having retired and thus stopped going, I had a friendly email from them the other week asking how retirement was going.....Although I figured that I had so many trips from Nice to Juan les Pins or Mougins and from there to and from Sophia Antipolis that they were getting around €2500 a year from me....

toffeez
22nd Nov 2013, 16:14
They take advantage of the fact that it's the only place in France where the government doesn't control what you do.

main_dog
22nd Nov 2013, 16:21
Whereas in the USA, the NSA is probably monitoring you there too :}

OFSO
22nd Nov 2013, 17:59
I have to withdraw the suggestion that ALL public toilets in France are always filthy. The ones in Perpignan TGV station are spotless until 09:29 as the doors are kept locked until 09:30.

OFSO
22nd Nov 2013, 18:04
the standards of service had improved hugely since we were younger.

Sometimes it's still appalling. After we finished off a bottle of Chateau d'Yquem '98 at the *** last month, the waiter didn't even change his gloves before serving the '01, although he had plenty of time to so do. I nearly spat my fake bicuspids into the Brown Windsor.

Um... lifting...
22nd Nov 2013, 18:43
Cutlery not required in Florida, limeygirl, as everyone knows. Ersters are meant to be slurped by hand, and steamed shrimp are meant to be peeled by fingers and the Everglades seasoning remaining on fingers removed by tongue. Spiny lobsters to be whacked with a mallet and eaten by hand, stone crab claws to be picked apart and dipped into the mustard sauce by hand.

Should you order key lime pie or a side of black beans, a spoon is acceptable for the hoi polloi.

Anything else is unacceptable barbarism.

BenThere
22nd Nov 2013, 18:50
I require a small fork to get the oyster onto the cracker, and to spread the horseradish and cocktail sauce on top before adding a splash of Tabasco. This is a ritual with me and never, ever done any other way.

Capetonian
22nd Nov 2013, 18:57
Quote:
How helpful the police and HMRC are when you talk to them decently, as one should.
You're obviously often in trouble, even when abroad! http://images.ibsrv.net/ibsrv/res/src:www.pprune.org/get/images/smilies/cool.gif

Which implies that in your view one has to be 'in trouble' to communicate with the authorities. To me that implies that you have a criminal mind set, maybe you can convince me that this is not the case, otherwise it's an absurd statement.

Um... lifting...
22nd Nov 2013, 18:58
What kind of savage eats an oyster on a cracker? Despicable. Clearly you were never at Eglin. Everyone knows that they are to be slurped from nature's little serving dish with the liquor. A dollop or horseradish or cocktail sauce is acceptable.

Most places provide 1-2 of those little forks per dozen oysters, which is more than enough for anyone.

500N
22nd Nov 2013, 19:15
Um ..... lifting .....

Smoked Oysters are normally used on crackers with other pieces of embellishment, not fresh oysters (although I am sure some do, just
never sen it). And I first knew of it in the UK.

Agree with you re should be eaten from natures dish provided !


May I add to your post #65

You strip the meat off a Python by hand and to get into a Long necked
Turtle, you rip a leg off and eat it like a Chicken Drumstick !

Um... lifting...
22nd Nov 2013, 19:28
Smoked, Rockefeller, baked, fried, stewed… while diverting and occasionally tasty, are not actually oysters. An oyster's oyster nature can only be divined au naturel. To prepare an oyster in any of these ways turns it into something other than an oyster.

I have it from no less an authority than the legendary Willie Brown, at whose counter in Mobile I have occasionally been seated.

Pythons, as a non-native species, should be consumed any old how.

Turtle… never developed a taste for it.

BenThere
22nd Nov 2013, 19:30
Au contraire! Eglin was my oyster Mecca. I remember the $1/dozen happy hour apalachicolas at the High Tide before the hurricane blew it away.

Sure, I could dish them out directly from shell to gullet, but the cracker gives foundation, a dash of salt, and a convenient and tasty way to gracefully consume.

Tolerant individual that I am, I concede everyone's right to take their oysters in their own way. But my ritual will remain as is until I'm convinced of a better way.

500N
22nd Nov 2013, 19:34
Turtle

Nor did I, but on that particular "New Years eve" get together a whole
range of culinary delights had been prepared and was always wiling to
try something new. Only problem was the Aboriginal lady hadn't cooked
it that well so the the after pulling the leg the juices filled up the cavity :rolleyes:

BTW, stay away from Roast Fruit bat !


"Cutlery not required in Florida,"

Cutlery is not required in quite a lot of places in Australia either :rolleyes:

Nervous SLF
22nd Nov 2013, 19:40
Why do you want a change of cutlery as the new food goes into the exact same place as the lot before it ? Do you have
a mouthwash between courses then ? ;);)
Oh yes and I drive SWMBO up the wall as I reuse my favorite mug for tea and then coffee, sometimes I do give it a quick rinse.
I keep telling her it improves the flavour but SWMBO insists on a fresh cup every time.:ugh:

500N
22nd Nov 2013, 19:47
It is done by the English to put visitors on the spot ;) :O
and appear superior !!!

Loose rivets
22nd Nov 2013, 20:07
Barbarians! My DIL made comment about my use of a knife and fork to eat crispsUK/chipsUS. One likes one's crisps with bubbly, but wouldn't dream of putting fingers into a packet, or even a bowl.

I'm longing for my fist shipment of these. I declare I have no vested interest in this company, except to say I buy 5 packs of these a week in the UK. Now here's a thing. That photo is ideal for a caption competition - he said, with an ulterior motive. Ideal for Ppruners I would have thought.

https://www.google.com/shopping/product/16747180183575180796?q=tyrrells+crisps+usa&bav=on.2,or.r_qf.&bvm=bv.56988011,d.b2I,pv.xjs.s.en_US.dtklyhSMdi0.O&biw=1920&bih=902&tch=1&ech=1&psi=bMaPUuW6L8me2wXSvICgAQ.1385154154161.5&ei=fMaPUquoHPLO2QW92oHoBg&ved=0CPsBEKYrMAo

seacue
22nd Nov 2013, 20:12
Any respectable people serve a small ball of sorbet (say lemon) between main courses. Separates the taste of the main courses.

lomapaseo
22nd Nov 2013, 20:34
When in the USA please adapt on just a few things

I saw my whole life pass infront of me today whilst driving my golfbuggy on a two lane clear view street with no traffic except another car, I noticed the car heading twoards me from the opposite direction and felt it was going to turn wide down a side street. Instead to my horror it continue straight at me down my side of the road. Having only curbs to my side I just stopped and threw my arms over my head prepared for the head-on. At the last second the car veered back into its own lane and the driver yelled through his open window sorry mate.

I expect to read about him in the morning paper

OFSO
22nd Nov 2013, 20:41
Is there still an oyster restaurant called the "Oyster Boat" on Highway 45 leading NW out of Houston ? Was built in the shape of a shipwrecked galleon (think an earlier version of the "Costa Concordia"). Anyone know ?

ExSp33db1rd
22nd Nov 2013, 21:13
USA Tipping.

Having lived in Singapore, where tipping was (then) not expected and usually refused, and then moving to New Zealand, where the same philosophy endured until the America's Cup a few years ago, after which the influx of rich American visitors "educated" the locals to the delights of receiving a tip ( i.e. ruined if for everyone ) I have great difficulty in keeping my blood pressure under control on my trips to the USA. In my opinion my US wife gives more in tips than our Gross Annual Income, whereas I give nothing, unless it warrants it, which does occasionally happen. So far I have not had a fire-axe embedded in my skull by a restaurant waiter, but I guess I'm lucky !

I'm not against tipping as a thank you for service over and above what I am paying for anyway, but not as an expectation regardless, it's not my job to address USA employment contracts regarding a proper wage for the job, and yes, I guess I'd pay anyway as prices would rise to meet the deficit if tipping was banned.

Screwed if you do, screwed if you don't I guess.

It's as bad as not showing the "proper" price one has to pay for goods in the shops - i.e. adding tax after one has decided. ( but don't start me on that again ! )

Dushan
22nd Nov 2013, 21:25
It's as bad as not showing the "proper" price one has to pay for goods in the shops - i.e. adding tax after one has decided. ( but don't start me on that again ! )

The shop is showing the "proper" price they are willing to sell the goods for. The fact that the government is intruding itself into the transaction is not the shop's fault. They should always emphasize the confiscation of money by the government.

It is often said that there would be huge tax revolts if people were paid cash at work, then on payday, on the way out of the office, were required to hand over the tax money to a government tax collector. Pitchforks and torches in short order.

Fliegenmong
22nd Nov 2013, 21:40
my use of a knife and fork to eat crispsUK/chipsUS

I can't understand this? How can you do this?, doesn't the chip/crisp shatter into pieces when you 'fork' it??:confused:

Matari
22nd Nov 2013, 21:41
OFSO,

Yes. Captain Benny's (http://captbennys.com/)

Fliegenmong
22nd Nov 2013, 21:46
Oh yeah....$50 a packet of chips???? :eek:

jabird
22nd Nov 2013, 21:48
The shop is showing the "proper" price they are willing to sell the goods for. The fact that the government is intruding itself into the transaction is not the shop's fault. They should always emphasize the confiscation of money by the government.

Yet, afaik, sales tax in the USA tends to stay below double digits, even when state, county and city have had their dibbs, whereas standard UK VAT is 20%.

Sunnyjohn
22nd Nov 2013, 22:01
I've lived in Spain for six years. Here's ten things I've learned about where I live, other parts of Spain my differ.

1 - Nobody, but nobody, talks about the Civil War.
2- Overt racism is non-existent. Here we have a number of South American communities, Chinese, west Africans and Gipsies. All are tolerated.
3 - Unlike the UK, there is no Supermarket cartel. This means that all are in true competition with one another and so basic foods are cheap. Examples, butter 80p, milk 55p, bread 20p.
4 - If you try to speak Spanish, everyone will help you, and have fun doing it.
5 - Ordinary people in the street and in small businesses do not rip you off.
6 - Contrary to the cliche, the Spanish work very hard.
7 - Public transport is clean, roomy, cheap and reliable.
8 - The Spanish Royal Family, alas, is rapidly losing popularity.
9 - Just under 50% of the population do not like the current right-wing government because they didn't vote for them.
10 - Corruption in high places is even worse than most people realise.

Gertrude the Wombat
22nd Nov 2013, 22:04
The UK: worse.....
Depends where, it varies.

One major reason for charging for public toilets is not actually the money that's taken, it's that criminals who like to entertain themselves by smashing up public toilets will mostly refuse to pay. So what you get for your 20p or whatever is a greater chance of finding a toilet that hasn't been smashed up.

Another way to deal with such criminals might be to put CCTV in the public toilets, so that they can be observed smashing the place up and identified and caught and locked away, but nobody seems to take that idea seriously for some reason.

jabird
22nd Nov 2013, 22:15
1 - Nobody, but nobody, talks about the Civil War.

Cycling around Cordoba once, I paused briefly to look at a map. Local guy came up, he was also going back to Cordoba, and he suggested we went along the main road (what would be a suicide road in the UK!).

He kept saying "el aire es moy bien" => the air is better? I assume he meant we get the slipstream.

As we approached the city, I asked his name and he said Fransico, to which I said "like San Fransisco" and he said, no, nothing to do with that, we don't go there.

So does that mean I mentioned the war, but didn't get away with it?

jabird
22nd Nov 2013, 22:16
put CCTV in the public toilets

For better or worse, we already have enough CCTV.

I think those who indulged in Co-op bankers' habits might "draw the line" at CCTV inside toilets ;)

aspinwing
22nd Nov 2013, 22:17
I will assume that most governments impose some sort of tax on various services but will one of the non-tippers please explain what is the difference between tipping and a FIXED percntage "SERVICE" charge, added to a restaurant bill. At least I get to choice the percentage of my tip and can give it directly to the staff thereby bypassing management's grubby fingers and they - somewhat - avoid the taxman.
Don't get me started on the Europeans, realizing I am a North American, expect a tip on top of the service charge. :ugh:

jabird
22nd Nov 2013, 22:28
they - somewhat - avoid the taxman

Can speak neither for US nor current UK, but when I used to work in restaurant, there was assumption from (then) IR that you would earn x + a small amount for tips. IIRC, being in the UK, it wasn't a lot, but this was a busy pizza restaurant at a popular spot in Edinburgh, and yes, a good few Americans ;)

Once I completely screwed up and forgot to put an order in, but told them the truth and kept them posted. That got be my biggest ever tip - a nice screwed up (still no crips ones then either) fiver!

I imagine that would be standard for lousy service for a party of four in the US, and this would be factored in by those who need to know, but what would the treshhold be for income tax anyway?

Same way HMRC today know roughly what a hairdresser / minicab / chippy should turn over in a year - with a bit of give & take of course!

rjtjrt
22nd Nov 2013, 22:31
Re tipping, I am speaking from an appallingly ignorant position on this, having never been to US.
I was surprised at the reported expectation of tipping in US, but recently it was pointed out that the average restaurants are so inexpensive because of the astoundingly low wages paid to staff (reported in a current affairs programe to be $1 or $2 per hour) and this is evened up by the expectation of tip being paid, otherwise they can't survive on the base wage. So the restaurants aren't really so cheap - it is a bit of an illusion, as patrons have an almost compulsory tip to pay.

ExSp33db1rd
22nd Nov 2013, 22:57
The shop is showing the "proper" price they are willing to sell the goods for.It's more a minor irritation than a rant against the US Economy ( and of course it's not just the US )

Walking around the US on holiday, I often fancy an ice cream, or candy bar, and find that I have exactly the $1.80 or whatever shown on the price ticket, hand it to the cashier only to be told that I need another 9.75% tax, i.e. 17c. I no longer have the right change, have to find my wallet, change a $20. bill - and, Oh! stuff it, I don't need this, and walk out empty handed.

If the price sticker had said $1.97 I wouldn't have even bothered, knowing I didn't have the right change, and not willing to end up with a pocket full of shrapnel from using a $20 bill. I don't 'need' the ice cream, it's just 'nice' to have - sometimes.

It's not too difficult to mentally add 20% ( UK VAT ? ) to everything, but every US State, and City even, set different, variable, tax rates, and the stores know what it is, so they can easily price the tickets accordingly, and show the break-down on the till receipt - if one is interested. Their policy of not doing that is just a marketing exercise of course, fools one into thinking that one is buying something at a great price.

Gets me every time, and of course I'm not going to change anything by moaning about it - I just feel better !!

Here in NZ one is supposed to identify on the price tag whether or not the printed value includes tax (incl. or excl. GST ) or not, so even if one can't work out the precise amount you know if you are going to have to fork out extra cash, or not. The US retailers never do (in my experience) and I suppose full time residents just know that any marked price is only indicative, but it catches me every time, especially as some items are tax exempt, so then the sticker really is the true price.

Why must Life be so hard !!

Matari
22nd Nov 2013, 23:05
I'm always astounded by well-traveled Europeans who seem to know so much about everything else, including the secret inner workings of the US government and economic system, yet cannot seem to grasp how to add a percentage of tax to a simple transaction.

racedo
22nd Nov 2013, 23:14
One major reason for charging for public toilets is not actually the money that's taken, it's that criminals who like to entertain themselves by smashing up public toilets will mostly refuse to pay. So what you get for your 20p or whatever is a greater chance of finding a toilet that hasn't been smashed up.

More like to keep the junkies who use for shooting up out...............

Aware of one supermarket chain who used purple lighting in toilets.
Apparently cannot see the veins and after a year of doing this they had no more problems.

G-CPTN
22nd Nov 2013, 23:15
Almost all (retail) outlets in the UK are required to declare their prices inclusve of VAT, but 'industrial' outlets that sell predominantly to the trade will display prices without VAT. Some have both prices on display.

Buying goods online (from trade suppliers) will almost certainly be listed excluding VAT.

Restaurants, however, sometimes claim a 'fixed' service charge that will be added to the bill unless you challenge it. I've seen 22½% quoted on posh menus.
Some (usually the cheaper ones) don't mention the subject.

Gertrude the Wombat
22nd Nov 2013, 23:37
FIXED percntage "SERVICE" charge, added to a restaurant bill
Should be illegal, like quoting tax-exclusive prices is in the UK.

The price you see should be what you pay, end of.

Dushan
22nd Nov 2013, 23:47
So first the government includes itself in the transaction, then prohibits the merchant from disclosing that little fact in order to hide the rip-off. And you condone that? You should run for office... Oh wait....

BenThere
22nd Nov 2013, 23:47
The price you see should be what you pay, end of.

Nothing wrong with knowing what government is costing you. The price + tax should be itemized. You still see what you pay for both the product and the government pinch.

ExSp33db1rd
23rd Nov 2013, 08:22
...........yet cannot seem to grasp how to add a percentage of tax to a simple transaction. So, you can add 9.75% ( the tax rate in Santa Monica, CA ) to $3.45 in your head ? Clever you, I can't, and no, 10% isn't correct, so I still don't know how much change I might need from my pocket ( in this case the difference would be just the 1c that one is always short of !!)

I like the idea of many US shopkeepers. who keep a bowl of 1c coins on the counter, with a notice that says .... " if you're one short take one, or if you get one back, leave it" Enlightened, and User-Friendly

The price + tax should be itemized.The price you see should be what you pay, end of.
Precisely. Where's the difficulty ?

I can see that ordering Online, or from a Catalogue creates problems in the US, 'cos goods sent across State lines attract different tax rates, but the corner shop in any given city knows exactly what the tax is, and there is absolutely no excuse for not printing it on the shelf sticker.

None.

Gertrude the Wombat
23rd Nov 2013, 10:36
prohibits the merchant from disclosing that little fact
Not at all, normally the merchant prints it on the receipt, and in fact is required to give you a receipt with the tax itemised if you care enough to ask.

beaufort1
23rd Nov 2013, 11:38
Still have no VAT/GST.
I like not having to lock my car/house.
I like the lack of traffic. There is not even one set of traffic lights on island.
I like the peace and quiet and lack of light pollution.

vulcanised
23rd Nov 2013, 11:38
Should be illegal, like quoting tax-exclusive prices is in the UK.



Better inform the cash-and-carry outfits then. They all price excluding VAT.

BenThere
23rd Nov 2013, 13:03
I agree about the hassle with change. That's why I use a credit card for everything, even a cup of coffee. I can go through a five day trip with no cash expense, and no change in my pocket, except for the tips to the hotel van driver and hotel maid, for which I carry a stash of dollar bills.

Except in Mexico, where I always use cash pesos since my American Express card was compromised at an established Mexico City airport restaurant, which should have been trustworthy. I came home to find I'd been billed for airline tickets to Bangkok.

There are several credit cards available with no foreign transaction fees. The exchange rate commissions still bug me, though.

Exascot
23rd Nov 2013, 14:11
We split our time between a very remote island in Greece and a remote bush area in Botswana. We knew both places well before settling there so very few surprises but extremely diffferent to the Cotswolds!

Re. tipping. We are often asked by our clients about this. As far as our guides in Botswana are concerned we advise to only tip if they gave a service 'beyond the call of duty'. To be honest most do. Likewise for restaurants in both locations only tip for exceptional service. Having spent a considerable time in the USA I appreciate the reasons for tipping regardless. I must say that our people here working in the travel industry love American clients! Unfortunately they don't tip the office wallah :{

Re. public toilets. Here in Botswana DO NOT EVEN GO IN :yuk: Do as the locals do - pee behind it or the nearest tree or even car.

ricardian
23rd Nov 2013, 14:27
Before we moved to Orkney 10 years ago we knew what to expect, not least because we'd read this humerous article in a magazine (apologies if you've read it before):
You are an Orcadian if:
* You park your car facing into the wind to prevent door damage when you get out.
* You take it as a personal insult if you have to show a card when writing a cheque.
* You refuse to acknowledge the existence of a Shetland version of Strip the Willow.
* Ferry journeys should be spent reading a book or sitting on a comfy seat rather than freezing outside.
* You understand that 'cla thee hole' can be an affectionate tribute to your wit.
* 'Reed cans' contain McEwan's Export.
* Scotland is NOT the mainland.
* You understand the merit of choosing your words carefully, then not saying them just to be on the safe side.
* You know there is no difference between a 'ruckle o stones' and 'archaeological evidence of ritual practice'.
* You eat Kettle Chips because the way they hurt your gums reminds you of Orkney Crisps.
* You find trees fascinating and stare at them in amazement.
* You feel faintly uncomfortable when there are no kye in ear-shot.
* 30 second pauses in the midst of a conversation are normal.
* You can hold a conversation for well over an hour consisting only of the words and phrases: "aye", "u-uh", "weel", "beuy", "this is it", "grand day fir it", and 30 second pauses.
* Whisky is Grouse or HP.
* You know exactly what "3rd cousin, once removed, on my mother's side" means, and exactly to whom it refers.
* You are reduced to an incoherent spitting rage by gaelic language TV.

Cacophonix
23rd Nov 2013, 14:38
You can hold a conversation for well over an hour consisting only of the words and phrases: "aye", "u-uh", "weel", "beuy", "this is it", "grand day fir it", and 30 second pauses.


Sounds far too talkative to me! ;)

I have never been to the Orkneys but if they are anything like the Shetlands (they clearly are) then you are a lucky man indeed. Great way of life...


Caco

ricardian
23rd Nov 2013, 14:41
Cacophonix said I have never been to the Orkneys but if they are anything like the Shetlands (they clearly are) then you are a lucky man indeed. Great way of life...

The difference was once described to me thus:

A Shetlander is a fisherman who does a bit of farming
An Orcadian is a farmer who does a bit of fishing

jet_noseover
24th Nov 2013, 02:34
this from the girly that moved 30 years ago to the UK...

Living in the UK...

Languages
We have a reputation for being monolingual. Not true, we have several languages in the UK, including:
English, Welsh, Scots, Scots Gaelic, Irish Gaelic, Cornish, and BSL (British Sign Language).

Yn ni’n gallu siarad myw na un iaith, t’mod. ;) (Welsh for “We can speak more than one language, you know”). Unfortunately languages are not taught well in the UK, so our reputation is not entirely unfounded…

British Cuisine
…also has a terrible reputation, but in fact we have loads of delicious food, and our strength is our openness to other cuisines. We love all world cuisines and adopt many aspects into our own cooking. Almost all British households regularly cook curries, stir-fries, and pastas (particularly Spaghetti Bolognese), as well as more traditional British cooking. Did you know the Balti was created in the UK? We don’t see British food as something static but very dynamic.


We got a bad reputation thanks to rationing during the war where Brits had to do their best with powdered egg and spam, but really…it’s time to move on guys. Our specialties include:
•Pies of all kinds, including Cornish pasties and Melton Mowbray pork pies
•Sausages – every town has its own type and they’re all awesome
•Cheeses – including Cheddar, Wensleydale, and Stilton
•Welsh Lamb
•Scotch Whisky
•Beer / Real Ale – almost infinite numbers of awesome beers (Badger Brewery is my favourite)
•Mead and yes, we have good wines too (some of our land is on a level with wine growing regions in France)
•Sunday Roasts
•Fish and Chips (yeah, every country thinks they do these best…I know!)
•Full English Breakfast
•Cream teas: tea with scones, Cornish cream and home-made jam:

And so on. We also invented almost all the classic biscuits. We are a little bit biscuit obsessed. Why? Why else? They go great with Tea!

(They’re also incredibly cheap over here)

Enough! We have a duck race to get to.

Eccentric Traditions
In short, we have them.
What to do this weekend…race a rubber duck?
Pancake race that dates back to 1445?
Wang a welly?
Or just chase a cheese down a hill.

The UK is Not Just London

You might know already how breathtaking Scotland is..

But did you know about Northern Ireland?

And what about the mountains, valleys, castles and music of Wales? The Welsh for Wales is Cymru.

Still think we’re all just London? :)

I could go on, but it’s time for tea

Loose rivets
24th Nov 2013, 05:49
Got some terrible news from the homeland yesterday. Having spent the first summer in my adult life, not going into the Red Lion at Kirby le Soken, I have been told the Ship, in Walton on the Naze, is likely to close after Christmas. It is the heart of the town. Totally bewildering, but it seems folk like my old class mate ****, having whisky'd himself to his grave, are not being replaced. Some of these guys are serious drinkers . . . erm, were serious drinkers, and their demise is showing in the company's books.

It is a pub that was not overly affected by drink-driving laws - being in the centre of town most folk managed to stagger home on shoeleather.

The point of all this is, some of the best meals I've ever had were served in British pubs. Indeed, the second best steak I've had anywhere was served up in the Ship.

Since being in southern Texas, I've not had one meal I've enjoyed other than at home. I can cook a great shrimp and mushrooms, followed by a nice steak, for the price of the tip in an 'eating house.'

Some of the big-name eating houses have closed. Not surprised. Drab, and really not offering anything new for 30 years. Just a dull experience.

Great meal at the Cherry Tree this summer. Place booked up solid on Sundays. No comparison, but wait! I hear rumblings about the sale of the freehold. One only hopes one's lifespan will contain the era of the pub meal - if only just.

KAG
24th Nov 2013, 10:06
Countries where you give tips versus countries without tips.

When I arrived in Canada it was a real nightmare for me when I had to pay the bill.
I was not used to pay tips, in the country I come from service is included in the salary and waitresses have a regulated salary so there is no need to compensate with tips extremely low and non regulated salaries. You actually pay the tips in fact, it is included in the bill that's all. It helps to keep stable people who are waiter as a career instead of paying very low wage whithout medical to very young people forced in addition to smile and be friendly more than what I would like to see.

First they thought I was greedy. I was so ashamed, I asked how much for the service then. They told me it was up to me. I was lost.
Then I paid. They told me I had to pay the taxes too!!!!!???? So I asked how much for the taxes then. 15 percent for the provincial taxes... I had to calculate, once more.
Sometimes you have to pay the taxes, sometimes it is included, depending where you go.
Sometimes you have the bill, then you add yourself the taxes, then pay with your card, then pay the tip in cash directly because the waiter wants it that way :eek::eek::eek: How difficult!!! When you are just a customer!
I got use to it, but I admit at first it was hard, I just want to see a number, and I ll pay for it. This is so dramatic and complicated to pay at restaurant (and many other places too) there!!!
In addition people will first think you are greedy, when you just want a simple life and avoid to do maths after eating! I will pay the bill, whatever the amount! Just keep it simple!
Why don't you include service and taxes in the initial bill???? It would be so faster and simpler, and at the end of the day waiter will be as rich (poor) anyway. They will only have a more stable job. Is it wrong?
I just don't want people to smile at me for money. I cannot stand it.
Do your job normally and properly and I will enjoy my diner and my wife smile. I don't want anything more than that.



My move to China: everything was worse than expected.
10 points are not enough.

One example: prostitution is forbidden. Hookers are EVERYWHERE. They will call you in your hotel room (any hotel, ALL of them!) KTV is a place to sing with... Hookers! Hundreds of hookers in EACH KTV (I have 5 KTV downstairs within a range of 300 meters).
Saunas are very popular in China, saunas everywhere, it is full of hookers inside!
Millions of hookers everywhere, and prostitution is officially forbidden. What a cynical country!


Pollution? This is not called pollution at this stage. This is living in a toxic garbage bin full time. Air purifier in all my rooms.

We keep speaking about China economical health (growth). I am a foreigner who lives a bit like a local chinese: I have my car, I speak chinese, I go outside the big cities center where no tourist go but where most basic chinese workers live: workers are litteraly miserable. Really. Dirty and everything. What is this economical health?

China (mainland)? Worse, much worse than expected.

Cacophonix
24th Nov 2013, 10:10
Ah the Kraken awakes... All hail KAG, master of the Gallic shrug.... ! :ok:

Caco

KAG
24th Nov 2013, 17:42
Hi Caco!

I have just re-read my post above, it was written after a long flight, I was quite tired, I apologize: it is so badly worded :O:O:O

sitigeltfel
24th Nov 2013, 17:56
You are an Orcadian if:...the word "mañana" indicates a sense of urgency.

Dushan
24th Nov 2013, 19:38
Mon Cher KAG,
let me educate you on how the restaurants, taxes, tipping and such work, here in the Great White North.


Your menu price will show you what the restaurant owner is willing to sell you the meal at. That price includes the cost of basic service. When you receive the bill (l'addition SVP) it will show you the amount for food, the amount for alcoholic beverages, the alcoholic beverage tax (10%), and the goods and services tax on the entire amount including on the ten percent alcohol tax. It is conveniently totaled for you and all you have to do is pay and be on your way. You will also be called a cheap bastard if you don't leave a tip. If you were very unhappy with the service you can leave a minuscule tip, say 10¢, to let them know you didn't forget, or that you are a cheap bastard, but that you are making a point.

It is generally accepted that 15% - 20% of the pre tax amount be left. If you leave it on the credit card the waiter will get it, but it will also appear on his year end tax reporting by the employer (restaurant) so your after tax dollars will be taxed one more time. If you leave cash the waiter may forget to report it at tax time, and I am fine with that.

Now if the tip was included in the price or itemized on the restaurant bill when you receive it the restaurant would have to add the tax to it. Is this something you prefer over giving a few extra bucks to a young kid working as a waiter during the summer to earn enough money to go to university in the fall.

And while we are at it, I sure as hell prefer to have a young kid be nice and try to "earn" a good tip than a French "professional" waiter who couldn't give hoot whether I am happy with the service or not and looks down on me because my French isn't at level of Ecole Souperieure de je nes sais que.

Oh and whether the kid works for just a few hours on weekends, the summer or is a full time employee he has full health benefits, not because he works (or doesn't) but simply because he is a resident of a province.

wings folded
24th Nov 2013, 19:53
my French isn't at level of Ecole Souperieure de je nes sais que.

There was no need to demonstrate the inability. A simple affirmation would have sufficed:E

Gertrude the Wombat
24th Nov 2013, 20:11
Your menu price will show you what the restaurant owner is willing to sell you the meal at.
Yeahbut, I want it to show me the price I'm willing to pay. The internal politics of how the restaurant owner pays his staff and what taxation arrangements his trade association has managed to negotiate with government are none of my business, I'm just trying to have a night out.

If I see "£10" on the menu but I end up paying £25 then I feel as if I've been conned, which ruins the evening out. If I know there's a factor of 2.5 because I understand the local customs about charging for water, charging for bread, charging to use the loo, adding on tax, adding on the waiter's wages, etc, then OK, if my budget is £10 I can look for something on the menu that says "£4" and I know I'll be OK.

The problem comes when travelling and one isn't accustomed to the particular specific way of lying with respect to menu prices in a strange locality.

KAG
24th Nov 2013, 20:32
Thanks Dushan. Your post would have been very helpful years back before my move to Canada, it would have prevented me from looking greedy while I was only ignorant of the local process to pay the bill.

Concerning your eager young waiter, it cannot work for a career during 40 years. You are use to deal with smily over friendly waiters, alright. Me I just don't need it. I want to have a good time with my familly and have a non event good meal with a discret but efficient waiter. I feel unconfortable with over friendly one especially if the waiter is a waitress. I cannot stand this half-sexual behavior in order to get money.
Waiter is a job like any other one. Efficient quiet service should be the key, not a mouth full of teeth and compliments on my wife hairs.
Your system can only work for young male students who dream to get a "real" job, or low level single mother without skills and forced to smile while being very poor. This is so fake. I don't like when this is fake.

Waiter should be a career, not a low level job without medical surviving with tips. There is nothing to smile so much at if you think about it.

SpringHeeledJack
24th Nov 2013, 20:39
Waiter is a job like any other one. Efficient quiet service should be the key, not a mouth full of teeth and compliments on my wife hairs.

Amen brother KAG, Amen!



SHJ

KAG
24th Nov 2013, 21:08
HAHA! you experienced it too Spring hey? ;)
Well, this is a culture difference anyway. It is fine to speak about it openly here, but in reality I try my best to adapt when I travel.
When I arrived in China from Canada, I tried to tip a waiter, his face became read purple, he was so confused that I got very confused too. A Chinese friend told me at that time it could be seen like corruption!!!!!!!!
But later I thought, why a Chinese would be confused because of corruption anyway? The whole country works like that... Then I understood later: corruption concerns a big amount of money, nothing like a tip. The waiter would have maybe taken my money if it were a big amount, not in view of the other customer and workers... :ugh:

In Many European countries the bill is very easy: what you have to pay is written on the bill. Final point. And if you want to give a tip, a very small one, a big one, or nothing, well you are welcome too. Very easy indeed.


It makes me think about 2 Broke Girls on CBS. Anyone watching this TV serie? Quite funny. But it really shows this job is not a real career.

Dushan
24th Nov 2013, 21:09
Yeahbut, I want it to show me the price I'm willing to pay. The internal politics of how the restaurant owner pays his staff and what taxation arrangements his trade association has managed to negotiate with government are none of my business, I'm just trying to have a night out.

If I see "£10" on the menu but I end up paying £25 then I feel as if I've been conned, which ruins the evening out.

There are no taxation arrangements and negotiations with the government. It imposes its confiscatory taxes (you, of all people should know this) and we the consumers have to pay them. The merchant is unwillingly stuck in the middle and forced to be the governemrnt's tax collector. And yes it ruins the evening out, and you have been conned, but it is the government that is ruining it and conning you, not the merchant.

KAG
24th Nov 2013, 21:13
Dushan: ALL countries have taxes. But not all the restaurant make a bill as complicated as the ones I have seen in some part of Canada (Which is basically the only negative point I have to say about Canada by the way).

Dushan
24th Nov 2013, 21:17
Waiter should be a career, not a low level job without medical surviving with tips. There is nothing to smile so much at if you think about it.

Did you miss my last bit? Having medical coverage in Canada and having a job are not related. You have full coverage (albeit very inefficient and poorly delivered) whether you are unemployed bum, a part time waitress, a student, an airline pilot, or anything else under the sun as long as you are a full time resident of a Canadian province. You also cannot buy insurance to have non-government supplied healthcare which would be better. There are only three countries in the world that operate this way. Funnily enough we were just talking abou them in another thread. Can you guess which are the other two, besides Canada?

Dushan
24th Nov 2013, 21:23
Actually there is a very simple way to figure out what your bill will be at the end of the evening. Regardless of what you order take an average priced main dish as the guide and double its price. With all the taxes and tips this will be the amount per person at the table. If you order expensive wine you then need to triple it.

Works every time within a few bucks.

KAG
24th Nov 2013, 21:26
Yeah possible that I missed that bit...
Between 2 Broke Girls I watch each time, my restaurant experience in Canada, in the US, in Europe, and in China, well sure my patchwork viewpoint might miss some bits. But I am still against tips being part of the salary. The salary is given by your boss, this is what I beleive. If you want to be an independant worker so be it, but waiter is nothing close.
However I perfectly understand that you are use to it since you were born and like it that way. That's fine. Really.

Dushan
24th Nov 2013, 21:29
It makes me think about 2 Broke Girls on CBS. Anyone watching this TV serie? Quite funny. But it really shows this job is not a real career.

You are right a waitress job in a diner is not a creer and should not be. Earlier you called it "a low level job". Why would anyone want to aspire to a lifetime of a low lever job? It is a transient job for students, unemployed actors, and people between other jobs, or maybe in addition to other jobs that are not paying very well.

KAG
24th Nov 2013, 21:34
Earlier you called it "a low level job". Well I don't think it has automatically to be a low level job. I personnaly believe waiter is a real career, but in some countries, yeah sure this is only a step job for young people or students or for people waiting for something better.

Gertrude the Wombat
24th Nov 2013, 21:42
take an average priced main dish as the guide and double its price ... If you order expensive wine you then need to triple it
Yeah, which is sort of where my factor of 2.5 came from - I was trying to be realistic!

Dushan
24th Nov 2013, 21:52
Yeah, which is sort of where my factor of 2.5 came from - I was trying to be realistic!

The point is not go take each and every item and double it. Just take one main dish mid way on the price scale and that is a god guide. Just because in other parts of the world the menu price is the price you pay, you still don't know what the bill is going to be unless you order just one item and yiu are alone. As soon as you start orderig a number of items and there are several people your method would be a lot more complicated than mine to arrive at the final tab.

G-CPTN
24th Nov 2013, 22:19
I am still against tips being part of the salary.
What about self-employed workers or those who work for commission only?

Straighten Up
24th Nov 2013, 23:11
I've enjoyed the last 4 months travelling through the Americas and particularly on tipping I've found the following for restaurants:

UK (home): standard service 10%, poor none, good 12-15%. Change in a bar unless complicated or big order the. 10%
USA: standard 15, poor 10, good 20+. Also learnt the $1 a drink in a bar rule only to find that if you order a cocktail - that's not a $1 drink...very confusing. Worst of all mrs SU gave a 10% tip in a nail place and was told by the worker that wasn't enough!
Mexico (city and coast): 10% ok but lots of US tourists has pushed expectation to 15%. One waiter brought me change having taken a 10% tip out of it!
Peru: officially nothing (change only) expected but as with mex waiter in a touristy place gave himself a tip.
Bolivia: no expectation, grateful for any tip
Argentina: generally awful service - not rude just don't give a toss, from airlines to restaurants. However exceptional service in a couple of places. No tip expected but very grateful for it.

We get a bad rap for tipping in the US but it's just we are not used to it outside of restaurants. We pay for a job and expect it to be done to an acceptable standard. If it is exceptional we tip but balk at tipping someone for just doing what we've paid them to do.

JeroenC
24th Nov 2013, 23:11
What I notice here is a general unwillingness to pay tax. I happily pay tax. I get a good road system, public transport, health insurance, unemployment benefits etc etc. Countries need tax. Whats the fuss?

Fox3WheresMyBanana
25th Nov 2013, 00:02
The fuss is whether one considers some or all of the tax wasted. Most people in most northern countries don't.

Dushan
25th Nov 2013, 00:19
What I notice here is a general unwillingness to pay tax. I happily pay tax. I get a good road system, public transport, health insurance, unemployment benefits etc etc. Countries need tax. Whats the fuss?

Tax should be for infrastructure (roads, bridges, airports, power generation and grid, protection - fire, police, army). I don't have a problem paying for those. What I have a problem with is paying taxes that support countless feel good social programs and expansion of the bureaucracy that implements them.

Edited to add: As per Mr. Fox's post, I guess I am not most people in a northern country, or maybe Toronto is too far South. After all I am part of there FORD NATION.

ExSp33db1rd
25th Nov 2013, 00:46
Worst of all mrs SU gave a 10% tip in a nail place and was told by the worker that wasn't enough!I trust she took it back then ?

In the days when the flagfall for N.York taxis was 25c, one of our crew racked up a fare of $1.88c. gave a dollar, got the 12c change back, which he then gave back as a tip. The cabbie promptly threw it out of the window and told him to pick it up as he, the passenger, obviously needed it more than him ! Claimed that a Quarter was minimum tip.

I don't care what I eventually pay as part of the bill provided, but want the decision to leave a tip entirely in my domain, not the province of some arrangements with Jimmy Hoffas gang.

Again, a million years ago, when the tip for the baggage porter was 25c, a N.York porter held up the crew bus departure as he claimed that some cheapskate hadn't paid his 25c baggage tip. Eventually one of the crew advised that he had carried his own bag. No matter, said the porter, you still have to pay the tip.

That's what's wrong. ( but then said crew member had been paid the 25c to meet the tip, by the company, so he was wrong, too !! )

mikedreamer787
25th Nov 2013, 01:02
Originally Posted by JeroenC http://images.ibsrv.net/ibsrv/res/src:www.pprune.org/get/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://www.pprune.org/jet-blast/528335-10-things-you-did-not-know-could-not-believe-about-country-until-you-moved-there-7.html#post8171020)
What I notice here is a general unwillingness to pay tax. I happily pay tax. I get a good road system, public transport, health insurance, unemployment benefits etc etc. Countries need tax. Whats the fuss?


I haven't paid any taxes whatsoever (except for
unavoidable indirect ones eg VAT) for the past
22 years. Last time I did was in Singapore and
that was at 8% which I paid without complaint
as Harry, despite his dictatorship faults doesn't
waste it on socialist garbage programs.

Tax is simply government robbery and extortion.
To argue otherwise is to demonstrate naivete. To
reduce one's tax bill one simply arranges to get
people like JC here to pay one's own, through
either leaving the country or taking full advantage
of tax avoidance arrangements to the utmost. In
these cases those who are 'happy to pay tax' get
wacked with higher slugs of tax (direct/indirect)
as the years go by and they don't complain, at
the same time one's bill slowly gradually lowers
as new legal loopholes become gazetted as well
as the dilating effects of inflation.

This differs from tax evasion which is punishable
in many countries. In my country of residence its
pretty rife but one can legally arrange one's finance
situation into being avoidance and not evasion.

JimNtexas
25th Nov 2013, 01:53
In a prior life I had the happiness of leaving my native Texas and living in a number of different countries. Off the top of my head:

1) New York City:

People screaming at each other on the sidewalk. Rude people in service positions.

Texans tend to be very polite. I think because we are so well armed.

Lots of good food, but portions tend to be on the small side.

2) U.K. :

Signs over doors that say 'Way Out'. To an American ear that sounds like something a stoned hippie would say.

Banks advertising 'schemes'. In the U.S. the word 'scheme' is a pejorative.

Use of the word 'cowboy' as a pejorative.

In the unusual case of finding edible food the portions are too small.

Cops are needed to control the mob trying to eat at a new McDonald's.

Strangely, the whole Royal thing didn't seem odd at all. I think because Texas women take the British Royal family more seriously than a lot of Brits.

You don't have the right to remain silent, the cops don't need a reason to stop you, you can be held for weeks incommunicado without charges.

Proportional to the size of the country, the military has a lot more freedom to drive around at low level than in the U.S.

RAF airplanes flying ridiculously low.

3) Japan:

Turning on Japanese TV for the first time and seeing an incredibly violent cartoon in which high school girls are tortured for losing a volleyball game.

Getting a speeding ticket for 10mph over the limit, and thus entering a Kafkaesque bizzaro world legal system. We make less of a fuss over murder here in Texas

Dunk'n Donuts that are just like those at home, except what looks like chocolate is often bean curd.

Lots of good food, but the portions are too small.

4) Phillipines:

Beautiful women, everyone is friendly, heart breaking poverty.

Jeepneys and sidecars on 100cc motorcycles are the most fun public transportation in the world.

Lots of good food, although commercial kitchen sanitation is.....well, just don't think about that. And the portions are too small

5) Taebek Korea (I spent a year here):

People are really friendly. They aren't used to Westerners, I got dragged into two weddings just by walking past them on the street . I was greeted like the prodigal son, even though I spoke almost no Korean and they spoke almost no English.

Anytime I rode the bus I made 20 new friends.

Incredible degrees of sexism directed toward women.

Nobody questions the pilot in command if he is senior in rank and/or age. Ever.

Surprisingly good, if narrow, roads.

Elaborate dinner rituals, no personal plate, sitting on the floor is hard on Texas knees, and feeling awkward because I don't drink or smoke.

Dried minnows served as appetizers rather than bait.

Food is good to excellent, but portions are way too small.

California:

Cancer warning signs on everything.

People with no regional accents.

Crappy road maintenance that is a national embarrassment.

Fantastically high housing prices.

Everyone is a victim.

In & Out burgers aren't really very good, inferior in all respects to WhatAburger (http://www.whataburger.com/).

Lots of good food, but portions are too small.

mikedreamer787
25th Nov 2013, 02:17
Food portions way too small in California?

Jesus things must've really changed in LA.
At TGIF and Aunt Kizzy's Back Porch as
well as the Soup Plantation, 10 bucks gave
you such a huge portion you had no hope
in hell of ever finishing it.

Even that English pub on Santa Monica fed
you as if you'd been starving for weeks.

I never been back since AKBP got closed.
No one can survive that state without huge
doses of daily 'soul food' to cope.

Never moved to Texas only visited for one
week. Liked the locals, liked their politics,
liked their attitudes, liked their steaks, liked
their no bullshit to life, liked their gun laws,
liked their cops, liked their justice system,
liked their women. I'd fit in very well there
if I didn't have to pay their bloody taxes.

meadowrun
25th Nov 2013, 05:30
Meat pies were $0.21 - $0.22 for meat and potato
Ciggies were $0.40 a pack
Crossing the major bridge on a motorcycle was $0.02 - first time over I tendered a $ bill.
Rent was cheap.
Wages were poor
Workweek was 5 days plus half day on Saturday
People were great - learnt how to shout a beer.
Sun was horrendous on N.country English type skin.
Water could come flooding down streets to the docks 2 foot high.
Buses were mostly re-war ex- London Transport types.
Best beach was Palm and you did have to swim between the flags.

Capetonian
25th Nov 2013, 06:10
What I notice here is a general unwillingness to pay tax. I happily pay tax.Most people will pay what they consider to be a reasonable level of tax where there are tangible benefits and where the system is transparent and manageable.

A classic example of where this is going wrong is France, where people are questioning the legitimacy of certain taxes/social charges under the recently installed communist regime. I get this directly from friends who have tried to work or run businesses in or from France. There are so many taxes on businesses, many applied retro-actively going back several years, that it is very difficult to forecast. You think you you've paid your taxes for 2011, then here we are in 2013, and suddenly you get tax bills for all sorts of odds and sods which you weren't expecting and don't understand, or they've re-assessed and taxed you at a higher rate on the same income, retroactively applied and payable the day after tomorrow. This is the cause of the high failure rate of new businesses, typically after three years when it all catches up.

There are so many different departments and offices, none knowing what the other is there for, that it is impossible to get any explanations or redress, even where they are wrong. All the bungling employees are supported of course by taxes and social charges, so that they can retire at 50.

There is also the iniquitous 'wealth tax' which they call a solidarity' tax where global assets are taxed if you are fiscally resident in the Soviet Republic. Where these assets neither derive from French sources nor reside in France, taxing them is nothing but expropriation of assets (= theft = communism).

Capital gains tax is 39.5%. Need I go on?

ExSp33db1rd
25th Nov 2013, 06:36
Food portions way too small in California?I agree, you must be joking, I'd willingly pay half the price for half the volume, but then the places would go bust I guess.

Even that English pub on Santa Monica fed you as if you'd been starving for weeks.but they still give you the option of "Queen" size or "King" size fish and chips, tho' even the Queen size is larger than I was used to in Lancashire, and way too much, most of the chips get left - or given to the marauding seagulls.

Early date with Mrs ExS-to-be, of Californian origin - was on the beach, then into a smart restaurant, so smart as to have damask tablecloths - at lunchtime - whereupon us, in beach wear, albeit dry, were barely accepted, and I think had there been more potential customers we would have been turned away. Mrs ExS-to-be looked at the menu, then declared that we would have one hamburger - and split it !!

I nearly died, "splitting" orders had never entered my UK World, but the waiter never batted an eyelid, delivered the order with two plates, and in fact there was more than enough food for two.

Mrs. ExS-to-be then left too large a tip, in my opinion, but we've been there and I guess we did cheat them out of one order !

beaufort1
25th Nov 2013, 07:29
What I notice here is a general unwillingness to pay tax. I happily pay tax. I get a good road system, public transport, health insurance, unemployment benefits etc etc. Countries need tax. Whats the fuss?

You don't need to pay extortionate amounts of tax to get all the above and more. Where I live there is no Government deficit (in fact there is a surplus known as the 'rainy day fund) there is also no company tax, personal income tax is capped at a maximum of 20%, no capital gains tax, no VAT/GST, no inheritance tax or death duties. If the books are balanced you don't need to over tax everyone. I personally have taken advantage of the local tax breaks and have arranged things so I don't pay any personal tax. All quite legal and above board. :ok:

bcgallacher
25th Nov 2013, 08:28
JimNtexas-
What gives you the idea that we do not have the right to remain silent?Also if you are detained for long periods - Prevention of Terrorism act etc you are not held incommunicado.We do not have an equivalent of Guantanamo.-

Tankertrashnav
25th Nov 2013, 09:19
jimNtexas - Here is the arrest caution as used in England and Wales (Scotland and Northern Ireland may be different wording, but the essence is the same). This has to be spoken to the individual by the arresting officer.


You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.


The police may request your attendance at a police station, but unless they arrest you, using the above formula, you may decline the invitation.

OFSO
25th Nov 2013, 10:14
Here's a little example of the way things are in France.

International Civil Service pensions have already been taxed at source but are taxed again One More Time by individual national authorities. Most countries then refund half that amount to the pensioner (so we are very happy to pay 150% of the normal tax instead of 200%).

Logically the refund would be paid out of the tax already collected. But in France the tax is collected by one department and the refund is paid by another. The two departments don't communicate with each other, and there is some bitterness on the part of the department which has to shell out but receives nothing from the other department.

JimNtexas
25th Nov 2013, 17:33
It's my understanding that within the UK it is true that if one refuses to speak to a police officer they don't torture you or put you on bread and water.

What does happen is that your silence can and will be used as evidence in court that you are guilty.

visibility3miles
25th Nov 2013, 18:10
Visiting England:

I asked a shopkeeper if I could use the bathroom. After seeing her incredibly confused (and slightly aghast) expression, I asked to use the loo.
(I suspect it was still considered rude.)
------------------
Who knew there was a public and private entrance to a pub? Aside from the wildly gesticulating owner, how can you tell them apart?
I don't understand the difference.
-----------------
Years ago, I was in England when the Pound was dirt cheap relative to other currencies. I was looking at clothes at an open market in Oxford alongside a group of French women.

An Englishman standing nearby said to me, "I hate these damn foreigners, don't you?"

There was no way I could mimic his thick accent; I merely grunted.
------------------
When leaving the Shannon Airport to bicycle to Dublin, forget about the route numbers shown on the map. Ask for the Dublin Road. :ugh:

Sunnyjohn
25th Nov 2013, 18:33
When leaving the Shannon Airport to bicycle to Dublin, forget about the route numbers shown on the map. Ask for the Dublin Road.That reminds me of when we stayed in Donegal Town for a week. We used public transport and asked the hotel receptionist what the bus number was for the bus to Derry. "Ah, sure, you'll not be takin' notice of the numbers - ye just ask the driver if he's goin' there."! Lovely town, lovely county and wonderful people.

mixture
25th Nov 2013, 19:44
I'm assuming we means UK? I did not know that.

His lordship warmonger fat tony made a hard attempt at trying to introduce them, hiding them within all of his knee-jerk post-911 measures.

Fortunatley the public revolted.

Nothing wrong with passports, after all, most people carry a driving license in their wallet which is more than sufficient as a secondary form of ID. No need for an additional piece of plastic on top of that.

radeng
25th Nov 2013, 20:36
My (admittedly very limited) experience of Eire is that no matter what Republican opinions and tendencies they have, to the individual Englishman, they are courteous, hospitable and friendly if he doesn't try to antagonise them.

Even more so if they are railway enthusiasts and you want to talk about Irish steam railways....

Plus it is one of the few countries outside the UK where you can get a good cup of tea and decent black pudding.....

G-CPTN
25th Nov 2013, 21:06
most people carry a driving license in their wallet I don't, but I do carry my bus pass.

Lonewolf_50
25th Nov 2013, 21:08
Japan: ten things I didn't expect

1. To find a good Korean barbecue joint.
2. To find an incredibly friendly old fireman in the Ginza district at the Sapporo beer hall, a guy who had lived in Tokyo when the firebombing happened. We ended up buying each other beers. It was a great evening. My wife still remembers it, fondly.
3. The price of road tolls
4. The trains and subways.
5. How much it rained.
6. How sluggish the helicopter was as we flew over Mt Fuji. :E
7. How much I'd miss Japanese beer out of a tap.
8. How awesome sushi can be. What I get here in the states really isn't the same thing. Not really a sushi guy, but in Japan it was pretty good.
9. Could not get over how expensive everything is.
10. Watching men grab at women on the subway. I was not ready for that. Not sure if that has changed in 20 years, but seeing that got my eyebrows wrinkling.

BenThere
25th Nov 2013, 21:12
One thing to note for those of us in tipping country is that those who get their income in cash, like waitresses, hair stylists, house painters, drug dealers, et al., are not paying their share of taxes if they don't declare all their cash income - and do you think for one minute even ten per cent of them do?

Guys like me, with every cent of income showing up on my pay stub, and taxed at ever-increasing rates, are picking up their tab.

Gertrude the Wombat
25th Nov 2013, 21:43
Jamaica:

Discovered that the warning not to drive at night was worth obeying ... but not for the usually stated reason, that you'll end up being shot by some drug gangster: it's because you can't see the potholes in the dark and will end up breaking the car.

Tankertrashnav
26th Nov 2013, 09:58
What does happen is that your silence can and will be used as evidence in court that you are guilty.

Not quite jim. However if you refuse to answer a straightforward question at the time, a jury may be less impressed by the smart answer you and your defence lawyers have cooked up before the court hearing. I suspect American juries would take the same view on this. But the same principle applies, we dont have a 5th to plead, but neither are we obliged to incriminate ourselves.


most people carry a driving license in their wallet


I carry a driving licence in mine ;)

Exascot
26th Nov 2013, 13:30
most people carry a driving license (sic) in their wallet

I do but it in about 10 pieces. DVLC or whatever they are now will not issue a new one as we do not have a UK address. The police here in Bots have kittens every time I produce it at the frequent road blocks to check for poaching. British sense of humour not apprecated last week when I told them that I'd had a poached egg for breakfast. In fact it got decidedly nasty :eek:

Solid Rust Twotter
26th Nov 2013, 14:10
Never forget you're nothing but a source of income, Mr Ascot. If there's a way to intimidate you into parting with cash or goods, it'll be found. Leave no openings where that becomes likely.

OFSO
26th Nov 2013, 17:19
DVLC or whatever they are now will not issue a new one as we do not have a UK address.

What, and not have any friends/acquaintances/etc there ?

It is illegal for non-UK residents to obtain a new UK Driving Licence, but it is possible to get replacements for current Driving Licences that have been damaged and still have some life in 'em before they expire.

ExSp33db1rd
26th Nov 2013, 20:42
.......but it is possible to get replacements for current Driving Licences........

Not sure of the rules, and don't really care now, but when I left the UK some 30 years ago, I "maintained" my UK licence at my sons' UK address, including renewals and changes of his address, tho' I had an inkling that one is only supposed to 'own' one driving licence at any time ?

I kept this up until I had to renew to the new photo type licence, with medical, and decided then that I couldn't honestly anwer all the questions about address and residency, so gave it away.

If I ever need another UK licence doubtless I will now have to sit a driving test,being without a current licence, despite being able to quote the "authority who holds my certificate of competency to drive a motor vehicle" - in 1951.

But then - I could copy the example of an Aus. wife of a friend, who emigrated to the UK, went for a driving test, failed, but promptly showed two fingers to the examiner and drove off - using her Aus. licence that was still within the allowed period of foreign validity for temporary use in the UK !

I've just insured a different car, and had to tell a new insurance company how long I've held a driving licence - it took some time for them to believe me !

In NZ the medical ability to fly a microlight is predicated on the 75 yr.old car drivers medical ( an age requirement) so if the doctor lets you drive home you can fly a m/light, so I guess if I failed the UK driving test now, I could just fly off !

Must remember to get one of those new-fangled Flying Cars.

meadowrun
27th Nov 2013, 04:03
If one moves abroad one should get an International driver's licence as a matter of course.

Failing that get a Mexican one - no test - just fill out an application.

ExSp33db1rd
27th Nov 2013, 09:18
When I was sent to Canada, for the RCAF to teach me to fly, I did indeed get an International Driving licence but failed to read the small print - until I needed to ... not valid in the USA and Canada. Maybe they are now ?

Accordingly, a few of us attended the local licence authority in the small town near to the Air Base, to exchange our UK licences for Canadian ones, and to arrange a driving test for a couple of the guys who had no licence.

We had been primed to attend on a Saturday morning, for the examiner and licence issuer was also the local butcher - I said it was a small town - and he was very busy on a Saturday morning. He 'suggested' that we all had UK licences, didn't we, and we all nodded, so he just passed out the forms, which we all signed, and he ignored the necessity of a driving test, and just issued us with Candian licences.

We then took the two novice guys out and taught them to drive. One returned to the UK and converted his Canadian licence to a UK one - I don't think he has taken a driving test in his life !

I kept my Can. licence with me for years, 'cos in the days before personal, photo, ID's were the norm, it was the only document that I had ( passport excluded, but one doesn't cart that about all the time ) that showed my age - as 21. That got me into many bars in my yoof.

Exascot
29th Nov 2013, 07:32
In actual fact as a Boswana resident I should have a Bots driving licence. It is free and no test requred with a UK one but an sbsolute pain to aquire including a medical. I just carry around the application papers and tell the cops that I am doing it.

Nervous SLF
29th Nov 2013, 08:48
In 2001 which was 10 years after we emigrated to NZ we brought our private UK pensions into NZ as a lump sum. That money
will be spent in NZ, we only get a pittance of a NZ pension as the UK Govt. pay our UK pensions direct to the NZ Govt. who
make up the small amount so we get the equivalent of a normal NZ pension.We have never ever claimed any benefits whatsoever
but we have just heard that the NZ Tax people have decided to go back 14 years to 2000 and tax the money we brought into NZ.
I have now heard of a couple of medical people who were thinking of staying in NZ for the rest of their lives have decided that
they have no wish to pay this new tax and so are going to return to the UK.I can see that when they return to the UK and tell
about this the number of medical folks wishing to emigrate here will just dry up. This will also no doubt apply to others who were
thinking of emigrating here as well. Congratulations IRD you have just underdone NZ hopes of getting required skilled people
to come. I also suspect that IRD will want to tax the money that people used to start a business as well, these people were only
allowed in as they were starting a business. I can see those people closing their businesses and so more out of work people will appear.

mikedreamer787
29th Nov 2013, 08:58
Try Singapore SLF. Bit more expensive to
live in but no taxes like NZ's and a warmer
climate too. The place encourages wealth
and wealth creation capital. What you bring
in you keep.

No sheep there neither.

rgbrock1
29th Nov 2013, 14:58
things I didn't know about living in Germany:

1. From Christmas Eve until the 2nd day after Christmas you can forget about buying ANYTHING because EVERYTHING is closed down tighter than a snail's ass.

2. White bread, the kind Americans eat, is not at all commonly eaten. There are more varities of bread in Germany than people. (Well, not really, but you get the point.)

3. Beer. Some brewers are almost religious about their brewing methods and the quality of product.

4. Elders are never, ever referred to in the familiartive (du, dein, etc.) but always with the honorative (Sie, ihr, etc.)

5. Many germans put up their Christmas tree on Christmas Eve and take it down on 6 January. :eek:

6. German train schedules are of the type you can set your watch by. To the millisecond.

7. Germans are highly efficient but can be obnoxious in being so.

8. Germans love hiking in the wood.

ExSp33db1rd
29th Nov 2013, 21:38
No sheep there neither.

Not easy to get P.R. in Singapore tho'. I'd have stayed at retirement but it was 'work permit finish ? on yer bike, sunshine'.

Just been back for a look-see, could hardly find my way around anymore, just one large, expensive, shopping mall - how much Prada, Louis Vuitton, Rollex, crap can the world absorb ?

Fortunately the Cricket Club verandah lunch was still a haven of peace in a swirling mass of humanity.

Great public transport system tho', correctly named Mass transit sytem, "My Dear, all those people" !!

mixture
29th Nov 2013, 21:43
7. Germans are highly efficient but can be obnoxious in being so.

You obviously haven't heard of the delays on the TXL replacement. :E

mikedreamer787
30th Nov 2013, 01:53
Things are easier there these days ExSp33d
since the bad old days of Harry when you
had a better chance of going to Mars than
getting a Singapore PR.

Nowadays it can be obtained relatively quickly
as long as one's in local employment at the time
of application. Using it after retirement entitles
one to the same perks and discounts as all the
locals lah.

I haven't looked at the immig regs for quite a
while, but if you were to prove you worked
there and/or have a bunch of money to bring
in (which will be untaxed) they would probably
say yes. If you plan to use said money or part
thereof as a capital base to start some form of
business one would be home and hosed far as
PR is concerned.

PRs can also purchase landed property except
for HDB digs. Rents are astronomical as usual
including any dog kennel in Geylang (a tiny two
bedroom furnished min S$1200)

The MRT is excellent and still cheap but cab
fares are starting to get silly. Buses still ok if
you have the time and you're not 6ft 4in tall.

Still its a bloody expensive place to live and I
only go there for business reasons nowadays.

ExSp33db1rd
30th Nov 2013, 05:02
.......787

Bit late in the day now. Stayed at Bugis Junction last week - Ghosts of the old Bugis St.still around - and Mrs. ExS disovered the equivalent of the $2 shops, so stuffed the suitcases with cheap plastic stuff, and found the $6.00 curry buffet in Little India - close to the old Banana Leaf Apollo in Racecouse Rd. Happy Days !

Sold my old banger 20 yrs. ago for the Certificate of Entitlement with 8 years to run, cost around $500 then, told the CoE is now around $70k. - just to get a licence to allow one to then spend megabucks to purchase a vehicle - and run it.

Still managed to buy a camera for about half the NZ price.

OFSO
30th Nov 2013, 06:53
9) If you were born on April 20th and get pulled over by Bavarian police, they will let you go no matter what your original offence was.

Blacksheep
30th Nov 2013, 09:32
I find it's best to travel with an open mind and be surprised when you get there.

Most engaging was Brunei where I lived and worked for 27 years; strangest and most mind stretching, Nepal where I worked for a few months; most fun, equally Singapore in the 60s and Thailand; my favourite and most fascinating was - and still is - Malaysia; I found the Philippines crowded and sad and Vietnam chaotic and delightfully weird.

My travelling days are over now, settled back with family in UK but of all the places in which I've spent time, the only places where I would choose to live apart from here are Brunei and Malaysia - especially the "Haven of Peace" that is Brunei Darussalam.

racedo
30th Nov 2013, 12:11
I kept my Can. licence with me for years, 'cos in the days before personal, photo, ID's were the norm, it was the only document that I had ( passport excluded, but one doesn't cart that about all the time ) that showed my age - as 21. That got me into many bars in my yoof.

You mean they had age requirements to get into bars in the 19th century :E

Babaleka
30th Nov 2013, 12:43
I thought someone would have posted an entry but now but I'll have a go. 13 years in the country.

· It is a very small country – could easily fit in to Kruger National Park
· The northern most point of the island of Ireland is not in Northern Ireland . It is in Southern Ireland / the Republic.
· When you try to tell people you live in Northern Ireland to them it means you live in the north of Ireland. Trying to explain that you don’t live in Ireland but in Northern Ireland which is not part of Ireland is an exercise in futility.
· People are generally very friendly if not a tad overly inquisitive
· The “Troubles” are a very sensitive subject. I was warned not to discuss the troubles with anyone (“because you never know who you are talking to”) but have found that with a foreign accent I can get away with it and folk are keen to talk.
· It is very difficult to make sense of Northern Irish politics and even more so to understand the reasons why people keep rioting – almost as if it is a social event .
· It never seems to stop raining and or is windy, overcast and cold.
· Nothing is perfect but generally speaking we get very good service from the NHS , Civil Service and other Government bodies.
· Belfast is officially the most (traffic) congested city in Europe – a nightmare to drive through.
· The public transport system is not at all complicated, relatively inexpensive and will get you to most places with ease.

racedo
30th Nov 2013, 13:59
Baba

You forgot

- Best time to take holidays is early to mid July.

Pitts2112
30th Nov 2013, 16:44
A few impressions I remember when I first moved to the country:

British engineering is generally ingenious but heinously overcomplicated, as though maximum complication is the mark of achievement for engineers.

There seems to be a national law against heating in pub toilets.

All shops (at least in the 90s, not so much now) are only open during business hours when their potential customers are all at their own jobs, and they sometimes close for lunch, too. It was immensely infuriating to not have access to any goods or services until Saturday each week.

I lived in the UK for 15 years and never did come to understand domestic water systems.

Central heating boilers the size of a kitchen cabinet, instead of the size of one's entire cellar, are standard technology and seem to do the job just fine.

Sink faucets with hot and cold water coming out of the same tap is new black magic only discovered around 2003.

The UK is the UK, Europe is Europe, and the two are never to be confused. (coming from an educational system that puts the UK firmly in Europe)

Pubs are the most fantastic places on Earth and serve an extremely important social and cultural function. There is no parallel institution or concept in the US.

The UK is deathly afraid of electrickery (none in the bathroom except right there in the shower with you), yet mains power renders a toaster a deadly weapon.

Making friendships in a new neighborhood is 180 degrees out of phase with the US. Americans will chat to the newcomers right off the bat but then fade away as they realize they have nothing in common. Brits will watch you for six months to get the measure of you, by which time they've already decided you're not too mental or boring to get to know, and only then break the ice. Once the ice is broken, chances are they are friends for life.

The best way to get to know folks in the village/neighborhood is to get to know the local publican. Once he susses you out, he'll give the locals the high sign, and then you're in.

The British aerospace industry managed to build some of the most beautiful aircraft in the world, then denigrate them with the silliest names imaginable.

By and large, British people have much more global awareness than Americans, and a greater sense of their role in the world, such as it is today.

Britain is still actively winning the Second World War as though it was their last great moment of glory or achievement.

The UK is an eye-watering expensive place to live by comparison, but worth it in my estimation.

The weather really IS as bad as it's made out to be, but that makes the good days so much better. It's not unusual to wear the same clothing in August as January.

Despite the predilection for garden fences and personal privacy, Brits are incredibly social people and have some of the best clubs and social groups.

There is nothing in the world so satisfying as a Sunday ramble punctuated by a pint of bitter and Sunday roast at the halfway point.

There are more but these are the ones that come to mind this afternoon. All in, I loved my time in the UK and would probably still be there if the economy hadn't tanked.

racedo
30th Nov 2013, 17:19
There seems to be a national law against heating in pub toilets.

Done to prevent people spending much time in them and also to prevent dogging.

Pitts2112
30th Nov 2013, 17:28
Never heard of dogging until moving to the UK! :)

mikedreamer787
1st Dec 2013, 02:10
then denigrate them with the silliest names imaginable.

Yep. The Spitfire was originally going to be called....the Shrew!


British engineering is generally ingenious but heinously overcomplicated,

Anyone who's worked (or tried to work) on a Morris 1100 would completely agree.

Mr Optimistic
1st Dec 2013, 08:16
How is it that no-one has mentioned the British sense of humour? Must be the best in the world as I am the funniest person I have ever met. There is also our self-deprecation too.....

Pitts2112
1st Dec 2013, 12:17
An old RAF mechanic I know at Popham once summed up British Engineering brilliantly in describing working on the Hunter:

"It didn't matter what part you needed to get at - you could see it or you could touch it, but you could never do both!"

Winch-control
1st Dec 2013, 12:37
Central heating….. Whats that?
Double glazing….. Whats that?
Plumbing……………. Whats that?
Roads………………… Whats that?
Bridges…………….. Whats that?

Education…………. Superb!
Quality of life…… Superb!
Standard of living..Superb!

Looking forward to NZ staying behind the rest of the world for the next 20 years…. Priceless.

ricardian
1st Dec 2013, 13:28
When we moved to Orkney 10 years ago a chap on the ferry said "Throw away your watch and buy a calendar"!

Babaleka
1st Dec 2013, 14:03
· The marching season which lasts about two weeks in mid-July with the biggest bonfires I have ever seen lit on the night of the 12th . Wooden palettes , piles of furniture and goodness knows what else piled two stories high. For info on the significance of the 12th wiki is your friend : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Twelfth (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Twelfth)
· The Ulster Aviation Society which I only found out about a few years ago has an excellent display of (amongst other things) classic jets and rumour has it that they will soon be getting an F4 Phantom. Very friendly aircraft enthusiasts keen to show visitors around and if you join the Society you can volunteer to assist in rebuilds .
· No matter how bad the weather folk will turn out to watch sports events not least Ulster rugby at the newly revamped Ravenhill stadium.
· Central heating – I had never heard of it before and the thought of having to “bleed a radiator” disturbed me somewhat.
· Going back to when we first arrived in Northern Ireland (coming from Southern Africa) ;It sounds silly now but the idea that anyone would travel locally in trains was scary . When we were told our “kids can take the local buses to school” thinking that "these people have lost their minds".

Dushan
1st Dec 2013, 14:06
9) If you were born on April 20th and get pulled over by Bavarian police, they will let you go no matter what your original offence was.

They must be just following orders.

racedo
1st Dec 2013, 14:47
Looking forward to NZ staying behind the rest of the world for the next 20 years…. Priceless.

Well they have been staying behind the sheep for a long time :E

Gertrude the Wombat
1st Dec 2013, 15:34
the idea that anyone would travel locally in trains was scary . When we were told our “kids can take the local buses to school” thinking that "these people have lost their minds".
My wife got a similar reaction from the locals when she refused to hire a car on business trips to the USA (mostly west coast and Chicago) and always insisted on using buses and trains. Most of the locals didn't even know such things existed, and the ones who did thought they were somehow unsafe.

In fact they worked fine, she told me, just like buses and trains anywhere else.

Fox3WheresMyBanana
1st Dec 2013, 16:17
NI - The significance of the 12th
Whereas in England it's completely different.
The Glorious 12th is when the local hierarchy go and take pot-shots at the native inhabitants and...
maybe it's not that different:(