So, I'm finishing up a 2.5 week trip to the the UK and working in the Stratus office there. Tonight is night 17 of 18 nights ... I think this is the most time I've spent in the UK at once. It's been since InterthingyI or a business trip in 1985 (!) that I even came close at about 2 weeks. Geez, I'm probably at risk for not being able to give blood anymore. (The Red Cross / US FDA has rules about if you have spent more than M days in the UK or N days in Europe you can't give blood anymore.) Well, given the fact that I don't eat red meat in Europe has damaged my brain so that I can't count that high, I guess I'll just keep on giving blood ...
Some things have hit me on this trip. I don't know if that is because the UK has changed, I've become more observant, or what.
1) More people in and around London take public transportation. Way more than Boston and even more than New York. New York has this definite class stigma about public transportation. That doesn't seem to be the case here. Of course there is real public transportation here (as opposed to Boston; NY sort of has it). On the other hand a bus fare here costs 1.50 BP ~= $3.00 given the sad state of the US dollar (another thing to thank Bubba for) and the underground / tube fare from the airport to downtown London costs about 4.00 BP ~= $8.00. There are discounts for various passes and an ezpass style system called Oyster.
2) The UK is more integrated than the US. I'm seeing a lot more inter-racial couples than I remember from 10 years ago and a heck of a lot more than in the US. Also housing seems more integrated. Etc.
3) Privacy is even more of a joke here than in the US. There are signs everywhere that say "CCTV (closed-circuit) TV cameras in use". They should just put up signs that say "CCTV in use everywhere in Britain" when you enter the country.
4) The British are killing themselves
4a) There is a campaign to get the British to have no more than 6 grams of salt a day! The US recommendation is no more than 2.3 grams of salt a day (2300 mg). No wonder why everything tastes so salty to me. I see a lot of blood pressure problems down the road. Sigh.
4b) The British seem to be into tanning in a big way. I don't remember this from 10 years ago. While it is nice ot look at (especially given the current "heat" wave), I see lots of skin cancer down the road. Double sigh.
(I say "heat" wave in quotes because I really can't call 80F and < 50% humidity all that hot by Boston or New York and certainly not Phoenix standards.)
((OK, I've used British / English and UK / England somewhat interchangeably. I'm just an ugly American at heart.))