« Home | Modulation » | Circuitous » | Peculating » | Concours » | Cynosure » | Cadger » | Abasement » | Misapprehension? » | Incommensurate » | Discern » 

Friday, February 09, 2007 


I love when friends and family come to visit me. It's not only a blast to see them since I miss them so much, but also a riot when they check out my life here. Things proclaimed upon immediately are usually my location ("holy crap, the river's right there! And that giant ferris wheel!"), my living accommodations ("dude, this really is a dorm room!! Are you the oldest person here?!?"), my transportation options ("I can't believe you don't have a car, you seriously walk everywhere?!"), and of course their condition ("I am so jet lagged that if I don't sleep soon I am going to kill myself and/or others.")

Once I've got them settled and take them out to show them my new world, the real fun begins. For some of them, not all but some, it is their first time abroad. It's good for them as they have a built-in local at their disposal. I thoroughly enjoy watching their discoveries and frustrations, and then helping them through the process. One of my favorite moments comes usually near the end of the first day, after some pints and a meal and maybe some shopping. They've either bought something or are cleaning out their pocket and they hold out two handfuls of unfamiliar British change.

"Hold on to that!" I cry, "It's worth a lot!"

American change is, for all intents and purposes, worthless. The largest amount is 25 cents. We have paper dollars, unlike here where the largest amount is 2 pounds sterling. It's not uncommon for me to be able to purchase a decent sized lunch with my change, or even groceries. Every time I buy anything, I check my change purse first because you just never know! When an American grumbles to me about all their "damn change" I have to convince them to hold on to it, because at today's exchange rate that's at least twenty dollars they're lugging around. It's also the sheer numbers that confuse them; while we only have four kinds of coins, here there are eight (1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, 1 and 2 quid).

Once they realize this I am then usually challenged with the inevitable question, "So if five pounds is the smallest paper note, and that's worth ten bucks, and one pound is a coin.... What do they give strippers?"

Unfortunately I still have no idea. It's a riddle that puzzles me to this very day.

Wow, you really do portray Americans as extremely stupid;

a) Holy crap, dude – does anybody actually speak like that?
b) You seriously walk everywhere – are your friends/ countrymen so fat/lazy that they cannot walk five minutes unless it is to their petrol guzzling, environmentally unfriendly square cars?
c) Their first time abroad – are Americans so ignorant that they do not travel further than their own doorstep, unless you they want to steal another countries’ oil?
d) British change – it is not that difficult, the coins have the monetary value on them, can’t Americans look to see the value?
e) Strippers – you change your pounds into “club money” and give that to the strippers, a fact I am sure most Americans know as they seem to be our number one customers!!

Wow anonymous, you really do a hell of a job as portraying yourself as an extreme prick.

I read recently that the U.S. is going to again try to introduce the $1 coin. Since Americans hate spare change, this strikes me as the sort of thing that will cause a sort of devaluing of the dollar and things will suddenly cost even more.

yeah bud, american's travel a whole bunch, all over the world. sure they do...probably why when we first started trying to 'fix' iraq, almost 50% of these worldly travelers had to apply for their first visa. ps. cancun, mexico and canada don't really count as worldly travel adventures so don't post a picture with your wicky wacker straw hat.

Anonymous, I'm not sure what you're trying to say, but you do indeed come across as a humourless tit.
As for the whole change thing. I truly wish we could ban coin in denominations below five. Ban the coppers! That way we could do without that annoying (but somehow still effective) '2.99 is a lot better to buy than £3' psychological trick. It seems to me that's all they exist for. No-one reuses coppers because they're too fiddly and vending/ticket machines don't take them. I end up putting them in a jar or actually binning them. Also, I would have a wallet that would weigh less that a kilo.

I never understood the whole jar thing - I always reuse coppers and I've never had a heavy wallet.

Basically, I worked out that if you combine the various low denomination coins, you can use them to buy goods and services. It changed my life.


I unravelled your stripper concerns during my visit. The strip club that I went to in Soho was very different from the American version, and was set up much like a diner juke box. You pay a LOT of money up front to get "your" girl to dance, and after she does, you kind of wait until someone elses "selection" dances, and you get to watch that dancer "for free". There was no small tipping as far as I could see.

I will be posting my "American in London" review to my blog soon...stay tuned!

Sorry Monica, can't help myself: the phrase is "for all intents and purposes" not "for all intensive purposes".

The former is a cliche, but at least it makes sense!

Daddy was going to try to straighten you on "all intents and purposes" before some rude stranger did, but he was too slow on the trigger . . .

-- Luv, Poppers

Huh, I had no idea, and never even thought about it. But thanks for the heads up.

I just can't win with this post, can I?

Well done for posting anonymous' rant about americans. Funny that he(she?) would mention how Americans speak "like that", especially considering how badly people in the UK speak. Not to mention spell! And as for driving everywhere...well, all I can say is...if you live in a large country, driving makes sense. So does public transport, but I think people in the US are more into their cars. Except perhaps NYC. I don't think New Yorkers drive if they can help it.
What are you studying in London?

Hey !

I just discoverd your blog. I m gonna have a look.



I noticed how much the coin purse that you gave me for my birthday came in such good handy when I was over in Ireland, yet I completely forgot about it when I came back home.

For the strippers, "if you go to The Griffen in Clerkenwell, you just put a £ in The Pot".

Don't ask me what it means, but whenever stripprs come up in convo, that is always said reverentially (a word?).

quote-" Americans speak "like that", especially considering how badly people in the UK speak. Not to mention spell! "

British people can speak and spell however we like IT'S OUR LANGUAGE!! Fine speak it however you like but NEVER act as thought WE got it wrong, it'd be like telling the French "Look you spelled Louve wrong it's spelt Love now because we decided it was simpler."

Post a Comment

Cool chick

Torrid Travels

In deep freeze

Powered by Blogger
and Blogger Templates

Locations of visitors to this page