Friday, July 01, 2005

Some Observations in UK

Last year around this time I made a stop over at London before going to Chennai, since my SIL lives there. I was not so much for UK, though I did not travel much, since I had a 6 mth old with me. There were few things I observed while comparing to the US or may be stuck me.

1. Hot water and Cold water taps are separate.
2. There is no dryer, all the places I saw did not have one.
3. They pay a permit fee every month to own a TV.
4. All the houses are identical. They told me that the govt builds it and then sells it. Is that right?
5. There is absolutely no censor to any of the programs. (May be I saw too much of Big Brother, UK folks would know about it). The ____ word is used just like any other word.
6. The “ROUND ABOUT” as they call it, was making me go crazy.
7. The small buggy cars.
8. People talking with a raagam “AAre uu sure”, for everything using “Bloody”.
9. Here in US people generally smile and say Hi in dept stores. Oops not in UK.
10. The cashier in the dept stores sits on a high stool while billing.
11. The London Airport check in lines is crazy.
12. Unfriendly airport staff, no one to help. Very slow service.

The UK folks should enlighten us more on this.


Blogger ammani said...

LOL!! Did you really feel this way? The TV License is my biggest bugbear. We pay it annually :( And yes, post-watershed tv (post 9pm) is quite howdoIsayit relaxed. And BB is hardly indicative of people/life here. It's a freakshow. Good obs!

1:39 PM  
Blogger Chakra Sampath said...

1. yeah.. but not everywhere.

2. do u mean the dryer in the loo? in that case, i wd say that the places u hav been to are exceptions.

3. Bloody hell.. yes... we pay the bloody tv licensing fee annually. (i hav confirmed the 2nd part of pt. 8 now)

4. Most or sometimes all the houses in the same street are identical. That too, this would apply to London and not throughout UK. I still am not able to get the reason though.

Government doesn't build all the houses... they build what are called "Council Houses". Usually these are apartments. But certainly, government doesn't build all of them.

5. hahaha.. obviously, you had seen BB. As Ammani says, its a freakish show. "F" word wd be freely used after 9 pm just like Maane, Thaene, Ponmaanae..

6. Why? Whats the problem with the round abouts? btw, how do they call that in US??

7. hmmmm...

8. Thats British accent very much unlike American accent. I hav already confirmed the bloody second part.

9. Britishers are known to have a tight upper lip. They would be very courteous but wouldn't go out of the way to be friendly. In some super stores (ex: Sainsbury's), whatever be the crowd, however be the person - they would smile, say hi before serving. In general

10. This is weird. Before I type any further, I paused to recollect the ppl behind the counters. I have a feeling that you have met some really, really short people. :))

11. Agreed. Thought that is a global phenomenon with all busy airports.

12. Well... it depends on the airline and the individual. I have seen a fair share of both friendly and rude staff.

In all, very good observations though you hav encountered some exceptional circumstances like pts. 2 & 10.

> The UK folks should enlighten us more on this.

Hope you are enlightened AF. :)

2:18 PM  
Blogger AF said...

Thanks to both the UKer's.
@Chakra: I meant the clothes dryer..
Also there are no ROUND ABOUTS in US.

2:23 PM  
Blogger Vijay Ramamurthi said...

First time here..
According to traffic engineers round abouts are supposed to be one of the best ways of controlling traffic, in Tampa bay in Florida they were able to cotrol excessive traffic by using round abouts.

and in India we used to have a license fee for having radio long back..
Thanks for dropping by..

2:40 PM  
Blogger AF said...

thanks for the info Vijay. I thought their were no Round ABouts in US.
Chakra sorry my bad.

2:42 PM  
Blogger Suguna Purushothaman said...

hmmm, that was an info as i have not been to both these places

4:10 PM  
Blogger capriciously_me said... sis is a uk-vasi & she has a list of observations like this abt ppl in the US! she was surprised when we asked the policeman in newyork for directions...she says that u dont talk to strangers in uk! & she sings when she talks :)) its more like "aare you there deeear!!" we teased her a lot :))

4:40 PM  
Blogger Narayanan Venkitu said...

Read yours and then comments from ammani an chakra.

Interesting indeed. Now I know why we have Round abouts in India.! Why we call them so..!

FYI - Berkeley has a lot of Round abouts..thanks to its cosmopolitan nature.! and usually people watch it like a museum of some sort.!

TV license - Just stands out.! Wonder why?

5:02 PM  
Blogger Vani Viswanathan said...

tv licenses...people in singapore pay it too...thank god we don't have them in india!!

9:25 PM  
Blogger ioiio said...

what Are these round-abouts? btw

9:57 PM  
Blogger Chakra Sampath said...

ioiio - what we call roundtana, firangis called round abouts :))

I think accent is something ppl everywhere are amused about.. we guys used to wink when we hear the american accent with vazha vazha kozha kozha style of talking.. in fact, i do like that accent coz i dont get to hear it much in real life.

CM -

> she sings when she talks -- is your sis living in Scotland? When I visited scotland last year, my wife & I tried hard to suppress our laughter when we heard them talk. :))

CM -
> u dont talk to strangers in uk

Again, I find this strange.. compared to US, I think UK ppl are somewhat reserved.. but its not that u don't talk to strangers... for the last 3 years, i hav been talking only to strangers..

TV Licensing - yes.. we had Radio Licence until late 60s in India. Even abt 2 years back in India - during NDA regime, they thought about introducing TV licence, but felt that there would be severe public backlash against the move and dropped the idea.

In UK, we pay £126.50 towards TV License. Check out this one.. This money goes to BBC-1. As a law, BBC 1 doesn't air any commercials.. if they have to, Parliament has to amend the law. I dunno the reason behind this. I have a feeling that they don't stand to gain anything by this TV licence. Its better they get away with this stupidity.

10:51 PM  
Blogger Chakra Sampath said...

> I meant the clothes dryer..

- hehehe.. got confused with the other dryer.. :)

10:54 PM  
Blogger perspective said...

Oh tell me about it....
I've never been to the US...and trust me i have a strange sort of fear about travelling there!

But UK.... was cold..
the climate and the people both...
Everyone wears black and blue...the climate is always black and blue...harldy ever is there the sun...
you can sit in the trains next to an English man for hours, and he'd never talk to you!

Suppose the English were always a very uptight culture! fearful of being themselves. Far too much discipline and hard-headedness.

Is that not one of the reasons why USA formed?

4:18 AM  
Blogger perspective said...

Talking of observations. I was amused to see a man standing on the traffic junction for the pedestrians light to turn green at 4 am in the morning, when there wasnt a single car or vehicle for long distances. No sound no sign...
I already couldnt sleep well, after seeing that i didnt sleep at all...

How honest can citizens be! i wish indians were as responsible and honest.

4:24 AM  
Blogger PVS said...

Good Obsevations and nice comments...

Like Vani said, in Singapore too we have to pay licence for the TV :(

Thot it was only in Singapore, happy to know that UK too has it.

4:17 PM  
Blogger Twin-Gemini said...

I was talking to Chakra about almost all of these last weekend, when I met him, and he mentioned to me that you had written about exactly these.
Here's my take on them:
1) I think the newer places have a single tap. I stayed at a hilton 4 years back and that had two sep. taps, now I am staying at a Marriott and that one has a single tap.
2)True. They havent seen the other side of the world yet :-)
3)Dont know about this. But really funny.
4)Maybe true, many look similar.
5)Very true. I have heard expletives in the Radio shows during peak times!
6)I was also confused during the first few days, but now that I got a hang of it, it's really cool. They are supposed to reduce traffic pile-ups and help in the smooth movement of traffic. I will get a picture of the very famous Magic-Roundabout in Swindon, UK. It's got 5 roundabouts next to each other. One extra and hidden use of them is, if you are sure about where you are going, you can go around it, study all the signs and then make a decision! Thats what I do, when I hit an unfamiliar round-about.
7)And the smaller lanes!
8)Damn right about that! Every word is like a word from a song set to a tune.
9)But during my first few days, I was totally lost with the roundabouts, and people were really willing to help. The minute I open my car window to talk to someone, they understood it was for directions and were more than willing to help!
10)Not sure about this.
11)Will find out soon.
12)Will find out about this too, soon.

3:54 AM  
Blogger AF said...

Thanks all for the comments..Special thanks to Chakra...

10:22 AM  
Blogger TJ said...

Nice Observations.
I flew into this assignment directly from Portland,Oregon last year.

The Lights there, are repaced by round abouts. Roundabouts and more importantly the exit count put us in a chakkar. And when u loose the exit we generally do Rounds about :D If there is a marathadi pillayar in every Roundabout, i wud have done so much pradakshanam enuf for rest of my life.

More than the TV license the ADs for them are highly detering. A huge hoarding in full black in the heart of the city with words in bold "Pay your licence fee now or face 1000£ fine and a criminal record -"

The ppl not saying Hi, and being courteous, i found that in all major cities. But traveling TheNorth, people are so nice. I was enjoying my Christmas weekend in remote Snowdonia national park in north wales, when news of Tsumani attack reached me. The locals there were very helpful to get me connect with my folks. I was really amazed at their courtesy and empathy.

Small cars?? yeah its a small country after all :)

10:39 AM  
Blogger TJ said...

abt what 'Perspective' told abt waiting for pedestrian signals. I am surprised. In UK ppl donot bother to wait for signals at pedestrians crossing. [In portland we had a 123$ jay walking fine ;)]

In germany, come rain or shine, any time of the day, ppl would always wait for the pedestrian signals, for there are no speed limits on the roads. :)

10:51 AM  
Blogger G3 said...

Looks like the comments are much more elaborate and longer than the post itself :)

7:52 PM  
Blogger Adaengappa !! said...

Thanks Folks....Visa illamal UK poitu vantha feeling !!

4:49 PM  
Blogger Me said...

hahaha seems like lot of research went in here... heard couple of those before from my friends topic blogrolled u hope its fine...

10:34 PM  
Blogger ioiio said...

next post plz

10:53 PM  
Blogger Vivhyd said...

af and chakra.. thnx.. for the enlightening description of life in UK.. the only thing I always liked abt UK is british accent.. :)) .. and cricket ofcourse.. looks like US is better uh? unless someone comes up with a comparative note of observations in US.. I find it ok thgh.. :))

12:51 PM  
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