Canadian expat learns China and Asia are vastly different
WARWICK: A China-based Canadian expatriate has learned his adopted country and the United Kingdom are vastly different nations.
“Who would have known,” he said, “There are places in the world where English is readily spoken.”
The shocked traveler can now muse about the cultural difference between Asia and the UK, as well Asia and Canada. His friends, speaking off the record, now live in fear of his return, and the mundane and pointless conversation that are sure to follow.
Okay, I’ve been in England almost two weeks. I’ve seen castles, churches, old cemeteries, and a pub or two. I still haven’t had bangers and mash, or been knighted. I’m sure both will happen next week. I’m sure mine is the only residence in China with a photo of Queen Elizabeth II hanging on the wall. For that alone I should be made Sir Stevo.
What have I observed so far in my English sojourn?
- The English are polite people. I do like being called “luv” or “boss” by random store clerks. I’m waiting to be called “guv.”
- I am no longer the center of attention. When I walk into a store heads don’t crane to track my movements. Old women don’t root through my cart to examine my purchases.
- I have not once been called “foreigner” in any language.
- People are daft to live this far north of the equator. The sun doesn’t rise until 8 am and sets at 4:30 pm.
- When converted into Chinese currency, everything in England is expensive. My crosstown bus ride yesterday would have paid for a generous, beer-soaked meal in China.
- There are in fact countries in the world where cheese is readily accessible. Dropping to your hands and knees in the supermarket dairy aisle to thank the cheese gods does draw attention.
- Cats aren’t as bad as I have made them out to be. After living with one for a week I can say they are actually (sort of) cool. Well, this one is.
- Spending an afternoon helping your wife make a dentist appointment is not as gratifying as seeing the local sites.
- It is impossible not to make noise while in the kitchen of your host’s home at 5 am.
- Like China, old people travel in packs. This must be an international rule, or something deep in the collective unconscious.
- Chinese food is readily available but not very good. Curry is everywhere, but knowing little about Indian food makes ordering problematic.
- Relaxing is difficult after months of Type A GO GO GO behavior.
- Everything is easier when you can understand the language, but not nearly as fun.
- Exploring history is cool where ever you are.
An incomplete list, I’m sure.
I have shot a lot of photos but because my wee computer is lacking Photoshop I cannot process the RAW files and post them for your viewing pleasure. I have yet to take a self-portrait. I’m certain Ron is quivering with anticipation.
I discovered Asian Ramblings is a finalist in the 2009 Bloggies. Please give me your vote and I’ll send you shiny Chinese trinkets upon my return to the Orient.
That’s all for now. Ta, Cheers, and all that.