Things I notice in the UK 1

I’m spending a few days in England, the culture of my birth, and seeing quite a few things with fresh eyes. I’ll write about differences as I go.
– in public places almost no-one talks to you – in fact you can behave how you want, look as odd as you want – the assumption is that no-one will bother you and no-one will know you. This solitariness in a crowd isn’t entirely negative and you can see people are often having a good time but with members of the nuclear family. If people do appear to be speaking to strangers it’s either because they’re mad, or more likely, they’re speaking on a hidden phone.
– people seem obsessed by their own history – so much energy is devoted to history, and this is far from an elite activity. I was surprised to learn that my youngest brother has a National Trust subscription, which means he can visit old great homes at low cost. On television, there are programmes on restoring historic houses and news reports on protecting historic sites, while in the newspapers the front page on my local newspaper discusses a new extension to my home town with houses built in a style several centuries old.
(As someone who studied history at university I find this quite interesting myself, but it is something completely alien to what I know of Ivorian culture. It may be because of the young age of Ivory Coast and the fact that you rarely see a building older than 50 years old that wasn’t built by Europeans. This in turn might have an impact on construction cultures; why think about building things to last a long time when your environment includes few things that have lasted? Of course, the temporary nature of much building work in Ivory Coast is also a symptom of the tropical climate, which quickly attacks buildings with wood worm, mould and insects.)
– the cold water tap is really cold – cold showers in Abidjan feel uncomfortable, but not miserable. In England the water in the cold water tap is so cold it actually hurts to wash your hands.
– I’m amazed to see that you can leave a bowl of sugar out in the kitchen all night and not only is it untouched by any insect or animal of any description, but it is also as fresh as when you left it there (lack of humidity). Nature really abounds in Abidjan.
– people here have a different set of problems – an exaggerated emphasis on giving the perfect education to children, work place, stress, attention-deficit and hyperactivity disorders.

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1 Response to Things I notice in the UK 1

  1. Pingback: Things I notice in the UK 2 | DROGBA'S COUNTRY

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