Sunday, November 25, 2007

Postscript... Cultural Experiences

Just for fun…a few episodes that were forgotten in other entries.

Episode 1—Lines and more lines
Government bureaucracy is really entertaining, in a stupid way. When we were stuck in the LONG and slow-moving customs line in London (our halfway point from the Munich-Edinburgh flight), we were chatting with several ladies a little ways behind us, who were panicking that they would miss their soon-departing flight. We invited them to go ahead of us in line and they thankfully did so. They inquired of the people up ahead in line if they could go to the front, since the plane was leaving so soon. Everyone was glad to oblige.

HOWEVER! When the customs agent found out that the ladies had CUT IN FRONT they were properly shocked at such disorderly conduct and flatly refused to process them until it was THEIR TURN. Tsk tsk! The ladies were sent back to their original place in line, like naughty little 3-year-olds who had tried to cut in line for animal crackers. It didn’t matter that everyone in line was willing to let the ladies go ahead. Da rules are da rules. Bah.

Socialism…gotta love it.

Episode 2—How DO you say it?
While in Germany, Gramps began a bit of philosophical musing as to how the Germans would say 888. “Ocht, ocht, und ocht,” he snickered and the rest of us started snickering too. It became a bit of a standing joke when we discovered words later in the trip that we weren’t sure how to pronounce. Oh that word? It probably goes ocht ocht und ocht.

Episode 3—Ain’t like over here
We explored the most interesting little pharmacy in Bath. Actually, we visited several pharmacies over the course of the trip, in quest of things like nose drops or antacids. What was surprising was that a “pharmacy” didn’t necessarily carry the typical medications we’re used to finding here—but they did carry a whole line of natural and herbal remedies!

Anyway, the pharmacy in Bath was fun because it was retrofitted into one of the old buildings. We were in quest of some batteries and were told they were downstairs. The upstairs of the pharmacy was EXTREMELY small and very crowded—about ¼ the size of a small gas station convenience store. The “downstairs” was really like a basement. A narrow flight of stairs led us down to a small and dusty cave-feeling lower floor, which housed the batteries, some purses, lotions, shampoos, and all that stuff. A small basket of on-sale lotion proved to be tiny little bottles of the stuff in a basket at floor level (a concrete floor) that were COVERED in dust and cobwebs.

Altogether, nothing like your typical CVS or Walgreens.

Episode 4—Do you speak English?
On one of our first days in London, Grandma and Heather boarded the hotel elevator to go the lobby. A bell-boy joined them on the elevator and inquired if they were headed down. Except his thick Cockney accent made it sound like “Ye-gown-dayown?”

“Yes, we’re going down,” Heather replied.

Grandma hadn’t processed the Cockney at all. It takes a little getting used to. “Do you speak English?” she asked him politely.

Ah well…he should have heeded the advice of the dastardly villain in the Crown Jewels skit at the Tower of London and said it slowly—for the Americans.

1 comment:

Bethany Grace said...

Oh my word, this cracked me up! We had moving men from Liverpool help us with our furniture when we moved to England, and although they were there for three days, we never understood one word they said. Not one. They thought we were complete idiots. :P