“You know what the funniest thing about Europe is? It’s the little differences. I mean, they got the same shit we got over here. But over there it’s just a little different.” –John Travolta as Vincent Vega in “Pulp Fiction”
After only a week of living in London, we’re quickly becoming acclimated to the “little differences” of our new life in Europe. For example, everything is smaller in Europe. We live in a tiny flat in a tiny building, with tiny rooms and a tiny bed and a tiny kitchen with a tiny fridge, stove and microwave and a tiny all-in-one clothes washer/dryer that never actually dries.
(See Flickr photo blog for photos of our neighborhood and flat!!)
Some things are bigger: Prices.
A quick look at what things cost in London:
--Pizza lunch for two including two beers: 14 pounds ($25 USD)
--Dinner for two with four drinks: 26 pounds ($45)
--One pound of chicken breast: 2.99 pounds ($5.38)
--Fresh baked baguette from Sainsburys: 42 pence ($.75)
--Non-stick frying pan from Woolsworth: 5.99 pounds ($10.78)
--Head of Romaine lettuce from farmer’s market: 40 pence ($.82)
--One tomato: 15 pence ($.27)
--One CD: 9.99 pounds ($17.92)
--Shampoo, store brand: 99 pence. ($1.78)
--One adult movie ticket: 8.50 pounds ($15.30)
--One-way Tube ride: 1.70 pounds ($3.06) *Reflects reduced price with Oyster Card, London’s version of Washington Metro’s “SmartTrip” card.
--One-way bus ride: .80 pence ($1.44) *Reduced price with Oyster Card
--An ‘80s style, chunky leather women’s belt that are all the rage here: 25 pounds from Marks & Spencer ($45), or just 4 pounds ($7.20) for a decent knock-off from the Chapel Market. Guess which one we bought.
--TV License: 120 pounds ($216)
--All-day parking garage fee: 12 pounds ($21.60)
--“Congestion Charge” to drive your own car into downtown London: 8 pounds per day ($14.40)
--Six months of water/sewer: 140 pounds ($252)
--Gallon of gasoline: 78 pence per liter ($6.05 per gallon!! And you think gas prices are bad in the US?!)
P.S. The pound is often referred to as “quid” and pence is just “P”. Example: A pint of milk costs 1 Quid, 20 P.
And then there’s the little differences in what things are called in UK vs. US:
UK phrase: Washing powder
American translation: Laundry detergent
UK: Washing-up liquid
US: Dish detergent
UK: Catering foil
US: Aluminum foil
UK: Current Account
US: Checking account
US: plan. (i.e. Under the “Kid for a Quid” scheme, children can ride the Tube for 1 pound).
UK: Push Chair
US: Baby Stroller
US: Convenience Store
US: Young woman under 30
UK: Candy Floss
US: Cotton Candy
UK: For hire
US: For rent
UK: Take away
US: Take-out food
UK: Mind the gap/Mind your head
US: Watch the gap/Low headroom
US: Cell phone
And my personal favorite: