Thursday, August 6, 2009

some welcomed challenges

Here are some things which are different here:

• The way the traffic works here is definitely going to take some getting used to. I'm super paranoid about crossing the street. And, unlike north America, pedestrians don't have the right of way.

• The street names along one continuous street change every few blocks. Very frustrating for someone who doesn't know the city, but we're getting the hang of it.

• Phone numbers that start with 01, 02, 03 and 07 don't have extra charges, while 08 numbers have a charge that varies. Also, the price you are charged changes depending on if it's a land line or mobile. We learned this one the hard way. In it's defense, there's so much competition for mobile phones in the UK that you can get good deals if you know what you're doing.

• The process for the letting companies seems over complicated - if you want to rent a place, once you've viewed it you have to be the first to show up at the letting company's office with the deposit in hand. In our case, we viewed a place at the same time as another couple, we both wanted it so it was a race to see who would get to the office first. Since we don't have a car, it was a 30-40 minute speed walk across town.
It would have been so much better to pay the letting agent and have him write up a receipt, or to even be able to call the letting company, say we wanted the place and have them hold it until we showed up with the cash, but give us a window of time. (We ended up getting the flat and will be moving into it next month - it's small and cozy and cute).

• Their buses don't have transfers so when you change buses you have to pay a new fare.

• The Scots use the British pound, but they also print their own currency which has the exact same value as the British pound but it's only accepted in Scotland and not in other parts of the UK.

• They use a slightly different size of paper. It's about an inch longer than 8.5 x 11 and it's slightly more narrow.

• Their toilets are also very different from north American ones and will take some getting used to. They flush differently and it takes a long time for the tank to fill up. The one in our flat requires a lot of muscle to flush too – if you don’t push hard enough on the lever, nothing happens.


Clement said...

Pedestrians don't have the right of way in Montreal, either!

Jill said...

Found your blog through Lynne
Chapman's, it is always so fascinating to read about your own country through someone else's eyes - well i'm in England, but that's close enough. Best of luck.