I told my kids on the eve of our recent trip abroad to the UK – “don’t worry, I am fluent in the language.” The fact that my kids looked at me like I was a complete imbecile (a mastered skill) did not for one second daunt my laughter (which was about on par with the reaction received when in London, after asking specifically for “lots of ice” in his coke, my husband received five – count ‘em – five cubes of ice in his glass).
These experiences are all the things about travel to other countries that I love. And even though I invariably return home with an understanding of the culture and life in the countries visited, I also always return with some burning unanswered questions – The kind that will in all likelihood, always remain a mystery.
Here are 5 from the recent adventure.
1. The Barber Shop. There are an inordinate amount of Barbershops in the UK. Not beauty salons mind you, but barbershops everywhere you turn. Why is this? Do the English have an aversion to unwanted hair? Does the rain stimulate unnatural follicle growth? Even our English friends were at a loss to explain this phenomenon. However, this particular Barbershop in Salisbury really had us baffled. I suppose it is possible he was just trying to stand out in a sea of Barbers (better than the Sweeney Todd approach, I guess).
2. The Statue. Naked man statue on roof of building in Oxford – I think he wants to jump.
3. The Language. You know you are in Wales when you begin to see names of towns like this:
Tyywsdllopyddefghjkmnopqurstyz (ok, this isn’t one, but a Welshman could probably pronounce it anyway).
But hey, they do have some pretty cool castles – and you don’t have to know how to pronounce the name to enter.
4. The Cows. “Here in Amsterdam, we like to let our milk cows walk on the ceiling. We are just bovine-friendly that way.”
5. The Fountain. Bird bath or water fountain? Only the true Amsterdammers know for sure. We stood and pondered for a long time, but in the end, survival of the fittest was the name of game that day.
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