While living in the UK appears to be less of a cultural re-adjustment than living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), things are sometimes done just a little differently here and it can feel a bit like youre living in an out-of-focus picture. You dont quite fit in and what comes naturally to the locals is often something of a steep learning curve for you.
There are of course plenty of guides for visitors touring the UK, but I'm yet to find a book explaining some of the wonderfully quirky aspects of British life...
Another 'British-ism' is to replace the -ng sound at the end of a word with a k. So 'nothing' becomes nothink and 'something' becomes somethink which is easy enough to follow until I had a person ask me if we were 'floor free?'. We were waiting for an elevator and I thought it had something to do with the type of lift the building had. After telling him that I didnt know, he repeated the question a couple of times over until I worked out that he was asking if we were on the third floor floor free?
The trust that is placed in the public comes as a nice surprise though. More and more supermarkets now have an express till or self check-out sale point, where you can swipe your groceries under the scanner, pack the goods yourself and pay the machine. Or you can carry a scanner with you and scan the groceries before you place them in your trolley. Petrol stations have a similar set-up where you fill up with petrol and then walk into the kiosk/mini-supermarket and tell them the number of the pump you were at.
Of course, its all backed up with miles and miles of closed circuit television cabling, but its nice to think that its just your clear conscience guiding you.
Article by: Renay Pattinson - travel.iafrica.com