22 December 2004

Why is everything different.... in England?

So we're getting ready to take a short trip to England to see some friends and use some of the massive amounts of vacation we get working in Germany.

Before preparing for this trip, I had often wondered why things were needlessly different in the USA from the rest of the world. Usually I tell myself it is the relative isolation of America by the Atlantic & Pacific oceans, which often meant separate development efforts for things like TV and mobile phones.

While getting ready for this short jaunt over to the Great Britain, I wonder how is it that it is so different from the rest of Europe? Granted, it is an island that was isolated for a long time, but for a few ceturies now ships have reduced that isolation and more recently planes have made England seem even closer to the mainland. Much more so than the isolation of the US.

So, in case you are wondering, here is my short list of why England is weird compared to Germany (and this is before I have even arrived there).
1) They drive on the left. I'm sure it is a hard habit to change, so much so I am not even going to try it.
2) They don't use the Euro. Man, changing money bites. It was only a few weeks ago that we could stop worrying about it in our new home, but now we get to do that again.
3) Different shaped electrical plugs and voltage. I'm sure the weirdo plug is because the voltage is 10-20 V higher than Germany (the books aren't consistent), which was probably a good thing back when most electrical items couldn't handle something different. But the battery charger for my camera can handle anything from 110-240V, so I'm covered, except that the plug won't fit in the darn holes, with either the US or European plug converters. So we have to try to track a new one down before we leave. Woo Hoo!
4) They speak English. After hearing all mostly German for the last 3 months, I have to dust off the ol' brain and try to remember English, and remember that the English people, unlike Americans, say things like lorry, tube, quid, colour, tyre, rationalise, hoovering, and Bangers & Mash. Heck, bitter is a noun there. They probably don't say things like 'heck'.
5) Their comedy shows are 5000% better than anything coming out of the states in recent years. (This is a separate rant... How the hell can Fox create such good shows and cancel them after just a few episodes? How can they throw away greatness when it is the palm of their hands? Are they just blind to the fact that they have had some excellent, non-reality show, programs in the last few years that they didn't properly give a chance to? I swear they wouldn't keep the Simpsons after the 1st season if it started running in this day and age. Rant off)

Of course, this reminds me of some of the silly questions people ask me about Germany. But I'll save those for a later date.


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