When in Britain... a guide for the American Tourist!
The Brits have peculiar words for many things. Money is referred to as "goolies" in slang, so you should for instance say "I'd love to come to the pub but I haven't got any goolies."
"Quid'' is the modern word for what was once called a "shilling", the equivalent of seventeen cents American.
Underpants are called "wellies" and friends are called "tossers." If you are fond of someone, you should tell him he is a "great tosser"; he will be touched and show his appreciation in a typically fulsome British manner. The English are a notoriously demonstrative, tactile people, and if you want to fit in you should hold hands with your acquaintances and tossers when you walk down the street. Public nuzzling and licking are also encouraged, but only between people of the same sex.
Ever since their Tory government wholeheartedly embraced full union with Europe, the Brits have been attempting to adopt certain continental customs, such as the large midday meal followed by a two- or three-hour siesta, which they call a "wank". As this is still a fairly new practice in Britain, it is not uncommon for people to oversleep (alarm clocks, alas, do not work there due to the magnetic pull from Greenwich). If you are late for supper, simply apologize and explain that you were having a wank; everyone will understand and forgive you.
University archives and manuscript collections are still governed by quaint medieval rules retained out of respect for tradition; hence patrons are expected to bring to the reading rooms their own ink-pots and a small knife for sharpening their pens. Observing these customs will signal the librarians that you are "in the know", one of the inner circle, as it were, for the rules are unwritten and not posted anywhere in the library.
Likewise, it is customary to kiss the librarian on both cheeks when he brings a manuscript you've requested, a practice dating back to the reign of Henry VI.
One of the most delightful ways to spend an afternoon in Oxford or Cambridge is gliding gently down the river in one of their flat-bottomed boats, which you propel using a long pole. This is known as "cottaging". Many of the boats (called "yer-I-nals") are privately owned by the colleges, but there are some places that rent them to the public by the hour. Just tell a professor or policeman that you are interested in doing some cottaging and would like to know where the public yerinals are. The poles must be treated with vegetable oil to protect them from the water, so it's a good idea to buy a can of cooking oil and have it on you when you ask directions to the yerinals. That way people will know you are an experienced cottager.
British cuisine justifiably enjoys a well deserved reputation as the most sublime gastronomic pleasure available to man. Thanks to today's robust dollar, the American traveller can easily afford to dine out several times a week (rest assured that a British meal is worth interrupting your afternoon wank for).
Few foreigners are aware that there are several grades of meat in the UK. The best cuts of meat, like the best bottles of gin, bear Her Majesty's seal, called the British Stamp of Excellence (BSE). When you go to a fine restaurant, tell your waiter you want BSE beef and won't settle for anything less. If he balks at your request, custom dictates that you jerk your head imperiously back and forth while rolling your eyes to show him who is boss. Once the waiter realizes you are a person of discriminating taste, he may offer to let you peruse the restaurant's list of exquisite British wines.
If he doesn't, you should order one anyway. The best wine grapes grow on the steep, chalky hillsides of Yorkshire and East Anglia -- try an Ely '84 or Ripon '88 for a rare treat indeed. When the bill for your meal comes it will show a suggested amount. Pay whatever you think is fair, unless you plan to dine there again, in which case you should simply walk out; the restaurant host will understand that he should run a tab for you.
Public taxis are subsidized by the Her Majesty's Government. A taxi ride in London costs two pounds, no matter how far you travel. If a taxi driver tries to overcharge you, you should yell "I think not, you charlatan!", then grab the nearest bobby and have the driver arrested.
It is rarely necessary to take a taxi, though, since bus drivers are required to make detours at patrons' requests. Just board any bus, pay your fare of thruppence (the heavy gold-coloured coins are "pence"), and state your destination clearly to the driver, e.g.: "Please take me to the British Library". A driver will frequently try to have a bit of harmless fun by pretending he doesn't go to your requested destination. Ignore him, as he is only teasing the American tourist (little does he know you're not so ignorant!).
Speaking of the British Library, you should know that it has recently moved to a new location at Kew. Kew is a small fishing village in Wales. It can be reached by taking the train to Cardiff; once there, ask any local about the complimentary shuttle bus to Kew. (Don't forget that buses are called "prams" in Britain, and trains are called "bamboo shoots"; it's a little confusing at first. Motorcycles are called "lorries" and the hospital, for reasons unknown, is called the "off-license". It's also very important to know that a ``doctor'' only means a PhD in England, not a physician. If you want a physician, you must ask for an "MP" (which stands for "master physician").
For those travelling on a shoestring budget, the London Underground ("Tube") may be the most economical way to get about, especially if you are a woman. Chivalry is alive and well in Britain, and ladies still travel free of charge on the Tube.
In summer, London Transport run special Open Top Sightseeing Tube trains. Not all stations are open at all times, though. Some of the lesser used ones have to be opened by appointment. Therefore, should you wish to use Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road or Victoria Stations (or Leicester Square during the late evening) you should apply at least 24 hours in advance to any underground station asking to have "Oxford Circus Station opened specially for me tomorrow".
Admission to the tube system is by token. Simply take some tokens from the baskets at the base of the escalators or on the platforms; you will find one near any of the state-sponsored Tube musicians.
Once on the platform, though, beware! Approaching trains sometimes disturb the large Gappe bats that roost in the tunnels. The Gappes were smuggled into London in the early 19th century by French saboteurs and have proved impossible to exterminate. The announcement "Mind the Gappe!" is a signal that you should grab your hair and look towards the ceiling. Very few people have ever been killed by Gappes, though, and they are considered only a minor drawback to an otherwise excellent means of transportation. (If you have difficulty locating the Tube station, merely follow the signs that say "Subway" and ask one of the full-time attendants where you can catch the bamboo shoots.)
One final note: for preferential treatment when you arrive at Heathrow airport, announce that you are a member of Shin Fane (an international Jewish peace organization; the "shin" stands for "shalom"). As savvy travellers know, this little white lie will assure you priority treatment as you make your way through customs; otherwise you could waste all day in line. You might, in fact, want to ask a customs agent to put a Shin Fane stamp in your passport, as it will expedite things on your return trip.
As the British so often say" "Bollocks to your mum!" ("Farewell and good health to your family!")
XDDD Dates from the late 1990s I think, but anyway ;)
Top 10 reasons to be...
TOP 10 REASONS FOR BEING DUTCH
1. You can get arrested for growing plants, but not for smoking them.
2. You can make jokes about the Belgians and still drink their beer.
3. You can legally
a. kill yourself
b. be killed
4. You're exactly like the Germans, except that nobody hates you.
5. You think you are a world power, but everyone else thinks Copenhagen is your capital.....
6. You get to insult people and defend yourself by saying it's a national tradition.
7. You can put your finger in a dyke and it will save your country
8. You live in the most densely populated country in Europe, and still you've never seen your neighbours.
9. If the economy is bad, blame the Germans. If a war is started, blame the Germans. If you lose your keys, blame the Germans.
10. Bikes are public property. Locks are a challenge.
TOP 10 REASONS FOR BEING BELGIAN
1. You get to speak three languages, but none of them intelligibly.
2. If other countries want to fight a war, they will do it in your country.
3. You can brew drinks out of fruit, and still call it beer.
4. You are either
a. like the Dutch, just less efficient
b. like the French, just less romantic
c. like the Germans
5. Decent fries. Real mayonnaise. Great chocolate. The best beer.
6. No one knows anything about you, except for the Dutch and French and they .make fun of you.
7. More scandals in a week than any other country in a decade.
8. You can drive like a maniac on the road and nobody cares
9. All your famous countrymen are either imaginary, or sex-offenders
10. Face it. It's not really a country, is it?
TOP 10 REASONS FOR BEING FRENCH:
1. When speaking fast you can make yourself sound gay.
2. Experience the joy of winning the World Cup for the first time
3. You get to eat insect food like snails and frog's legs.
4. If there's a war you can surrender really early.
5. You don't have to read the subtitles on those late night films on Channel 4.
6. You can test your own nuclear weapons in other people's countries.
7. You can be ugly and still become a famous film star.
8. Allow Germans to march up and down your most famous street humiliating your sense of national pride.
9. You don't have to bother with toilets, just s**t in the street.
10. People think you're a great lover even when you're not.
TOP 10 REASONS FOR BEING AMERICAN :
1. You can have a woman president without electing her.
2. You can spell color wrong and get away with it.
3. You can call Budweiser beer.
4. You can be a crook and still be president.
5. If you've got enough money you can get elected to do anything.
6. If you can breathe you can get a gun.
7. You get to be really obese.
8. You can play golf in the most hideous clothes ever made and nobody seems to care.
9. You get to call everyone you've never met "buddy".
10. You can think you're the greatest nation on earth.
TOP 10 REASONS FOR BEING NORWEGIAN:
1. You get to pay the highest taxes in the world.
2. You can kill baby seals and eat Rudolf the Reindeer.
3. You live in total freezing darkness half the year and get 24 hour ozone-hole radiation the other half.
4. You can get capital punishment for smoking dope.
5. You can go skiing in your knickers.
6. You get to hate the Swedes and beat the Brazilians in football.
7. You have to be a woman to get anywhere.
8. You don't need to worry about land prices rocketing - its fairly spacious.
9. When abroad you can impress people you meet with stories about killing polar bears and shagging penguins - and they believe you.
10. You can actually get bored with blondes.
TOP 10 REASONS FOR BEING ENGLISH :
1. Two World Wars and One World Cup.
2. Warm beer.
3. You get to confuse everyone with the rules of cricket.
4. You get to accept defeat graciously in major sporting events.
5. Union jack underpants.
6. Water shortages guaranteed every single summer.
7. You can live in the past and imagine you are still a world power.
8. Bathing once a week - whether you need to or not.
9. Ditto changing underwear.
10. Beats being Welsh.
TOP 10 REASONS FOR BEING SCOTTISH :
1. You ain't English!
2. You ain't English!
3. You ain't English!
4. You ain't English!
5. You ain't English!
6. You ain't English!
7. You ain't English!
8. You ain't English!
9. You ain't English!
10. You ain't English!
TOP 10 REASONS FOR BEING ITALIAN :
1. In-depth knowledge of bizarre pasta shapes.
2. Unembarrassed to wear fur.
3. No need to worry about tax returns.
4. Glorious military history prior to 400BC.
5. Can wear sunglasses inside.
6. Political stability.
7. Flexible working hours.
8. Live near the Pope.
9. Can spend hours braiding girlfriend's armpit hair.
10. Country run by Sicilian murderers.
TOP 10 REASONS FOR BEING SPANISH :
1. Glorious history of killing South American tribes.
2. The rest of Europe thinks Africa begins at the Pyrenees.
3. You get your beaches invaded by Germans, Danes, Brits, etc.
4. The rest of your country is already invaded by Moroccans.
5. Everybody else makes crap paella and claims it's the real thing.
7. Only sure way of bedding a woman is to dress up in stupid, tight clothes and risk your life in front of bulls.
8. You get to eat bull's testicles.
10. Supported Argentina in Falklands War.
TOP 10 REASONS FOR BEING GERMAN :
Give them a second chance
7. On a highway you can travel at a speed that would bring you to jail in any other country of the world.
8. You do not have to learn German as a foreign language.
9. You think Sauerkraut is delicious.
10. Contrary to common belief laughing is not forbidden by law (yet).
TOP 10 REASONS FOR BEING INDIAN :
1. Chicken Madras.
2. Lamb Passanda.
3. Onion Bhaji.
4. Bombay Potato.
5. Chicken Tikka Masala.
6. Rogan Josh.
8. Chicken Dopiaza.
9. Kingfisher lager.
10. Aggravate everyone else by shaking your head when talking.
TOP 10 REASONS FOR BEING WELSH:
1. You've got to be having a laugh, haven't you?
TOP 10 REASONS FOR BEING IRISH :
2. 18 children because you can't use contraceptives.
3. You can get into a fight just by marching down someone's road.
4. Pubs never close.
5. Can use Papal edicts on contraception passed in second Vatican Council of 1968 to persuade your girlfriend that you can't have sex with a condom on.
6. No one can ever remember the night before.
7. Kill people you don't agree with.
9. More Guinness.
10. Eating stew and drinking Guinness in an Irish pub at 3 in the morning after a bout of sectarian violence.
TOP 10 REASONS FOR BEING CANADIAN :
1. It beats being an American.
2. Only country to successfully invade the US and burn its capital to the ground.
3. You can play ice hockey 12 months a year, outdoors.
4. Only country to successfully invade the US and burn its capital to the ground.
5. Where else can you travel 1000 miles over fresh water in a canoe?
6. A political leader can admit to smoking pot and his/her popularity ratings will rise.
7. Only country to successfully invade the US and burn its capital to the ground.
8. Kill Grizzly bears with huge shotguns and cover your house in their skins.
9. Own-an-Eskimo scheme.
10. Only country to successfully invade the US and burn its capital to the ground.
TOP 10 REASONS FOR BEING AUSTRALIAN:
1. Know your great-grand-dad was a murdering bar steward that no civilized nation on earth wanted.
2. Fosters Lager.
3. Dispossess Aborigines who have lived in your country for 40,000 years because you think it belongs to you.
4. Cricket captain not afraid to cry live on TV.
5. Tact and sensitivity.
6. Bondi Beach.
7. Other beaches.
8. Liberated attitude to homosexuals.
9. Drinking cold lager on the beach.
10. Having a bit of a swim and then drink some cold lager on the beach.
TOP 10 REASONS FOR BEING GREEK
1. You get to shout about your culture although the only real culture most Greeks have is what is growing between their toes.
2.. The police are even more corrupt than the criminals they are supposed to be chasing.
3. You can blow your nose in the street by pinching it between the thumb and forefinger and trumpeting forth without everyone around wretching their stomach contents up at the sight.
4. Old women can sport moustaches.
5. Young women can sport moustaches.
6. Men can be hairier than the average grizzly bear and not get put in a zoo.
7. You get to call the bouzouki a musical instrument when the rest of the world sees it as an instrument of torture.
8. You are the only nation to have lost its marbles and still wants to let everyone else around the world know about it.
9. Ridiculous bureaucracy.
10. Nana Mouskouri and Demis Roussos