Today, a sampling of British bobcat eggs that I found while travelling.
If you are an American abroad, Great Britain's not the place to go for culture shock. It's pretty easy to shrug off the most blatant differences, like having to look right instead of left as you step off the pavement, or signs that say "Way Out" instead of "Exit," or inexplicable urges to visit Florida, or Morris dancing. The subtler ones, like the vestigial influences of the class system or the (in comparison to Americans) general social reserve come across more as "annoyance" than "shock."
The most I have ever been shocked in Britain was when I went to buy a sandwich. "Prawns and mustard? Eggs and cress? Pickles and cheese? What is wrong with these people??!?" I said. Also, Marmite.
Britain's not more prone to strangeness than anywhere else. Quirky knows no bounds. Quirkiness is everywhere. (Alaska, I'm looking at you and your gold-painted moose poop.) With that disclaimer, I just have to ask, really...what is going on here, UK?
Found these babies in a...oh, I nearly said Marks & Spencer's. (Wait, does M&S even sell food? Ah yeah. That's where I found $20 per lbs cherries once upon a time.) Waitrose. Waitrose. I can read it in the picture. I'm not sure what tickles me more about these - the fact that they are what they are, or the fact that they are so CLEARLY and HONESTLY labelled. I wish all grocery items were labelled this way.
"A Creamy White FAUX EGG Sandwich Spread"
"Crunchy Puffed CORN Delightfully Coated in BRIGHT ORANGE CHEESE POWDER"
"Carbonate BEVERAGE Lightly Drizzled With SWEET BROWN COCAINE"
It would really take the mystery out of shopping.
One slow day in London I was trying to take a close look at every statue, plaque, and monument I passed, figuring that if someone had taken the time to make the darn things, I should make the time to appreciate them. Because of this I got to learn that so-and-so defeated someone at the battle of something, that what's-his-name and his company built this section of the embankment, that Lord Sir Edwards Ballingham Tippory Roo Fairchild His Excellence donated this plot of grass to the common people, and so forth.
I was especially touched by the words on this statue:
In honour of over 2100 men and women volunteers who left these shores to fight side by side with the Spanish people in their heroic struggle against fascism 1936-1939.
"They went because their open eyes could see no other way."
But...what? What...what is...? Is that a horse? ...With a melon?
I looked at this thing from every possible angle, but it never turned into brave men and women volunteers. I'm sure it's fraught with deep and meaningful symbolism, but five hundred years from now when the words have rubbed off, bemused foreigners like myself might mistake if for a celebration to ménage à trois.
No. What? No, Britain, no. There is nothing remotely Californian about this coffee I just had. This coffee was distinctly non-Golden State. I could understand if you wanted to market a bag of CHIPS this way, but...I mean, look at the size of the cup that lady's holding. Is it a European espresso? Haven't you heard of the bottomless pot? We Americans drink such large cups of coffee that I can't even get a short here anymore. They give me a tall, and I buzz around on the sides of the walls for the rest of the day. People who try to drink teensie cups of sophisticated coffee here are beaten up by roving gangs of biker-patriots who snap off your pinkie finger if they catch you holding it out.
Also, when I hear "California" and "coffee" in the same sentence, I tend to think of free rest area coffee. No. That was not the sensation I was going for when I came in here for a drink.
Yes it is! Because ten is a sin and thirty is dirty. (But forty is sporty, and fifty is nifty, and sixty is sexy...Seventy just makes you hit pedestrians and veer off the road in a spectacular fireball.)
Oh, sorry. This one's all mine. It seemed like a waste to throw out all those perfectly good toilet paper tubes. So instead I created an installation piece that forces the viewer to confront one of life's more difficult questions.
My American friend and I had a strange craving for Jello. We wanted to make it. We needed to have it NOW. But in the UK "jelly" doesn't come in powder form. It comes in these alarming jiggly blocks that, and I can't stress this enough, do not taste good eaten as-is no matter how much they look like the finished product. Before we started making the jelly, we entertained ourselves with the blocks by poking them, wiggling them, stacking them, and seeing if they would bounce. I'm actually kind of sad these aren't a US thing.
I had to include a picture of the Tardis, of course. It was well camouflaged.