This week we have mostly been experiencing culture shock (Beatriz), reverse culture shock (me), and spending three days in hospital where it was learned that in certain circumstances, eating a dodgy yoghurt
can lead to fluid being drained out of the elbow (also me). So that explains why I haven’t been blogging a lot lately then.
The hospital story, which I think is worthy of an episode of Doctor House, will have to wait though. Until then, let’s get back to this blog’s primary stock in trade: cultural differences between England and Argentina.
To put it mildly, Beatriz and I were both completely blown away by England. Here are some of the things we’ve experienced this week.Weather
With the (possibly mythical) 35 degree heatwave now well in the past, we were greeted with humid yet overcast conditions, which I found quite pleasant, and which Beatriz described as “crap” - a comment that she promptly followed up with: “Poor England. It doesn’t have a summer.” She has been forced to admit though, that all the rain does make the countryside a lovely shade of green. And also that hot, cold, rainy, sunny and cloudy all in the same day, and even all at the same time, is kind of exciting.People
One of the more tiresome things that the Argentines couldn’t get enough of telling me, was “the English are much colder than we are.”An assertion that seems to rest entirely on the observation that Argentines kiss each other upon meeting, while English people don’t. And in truth, I did find myself wondering if I would return home to find that the English were
in fact reserved and uptight, but that I just hadn’t noticed it before.
However, after taking careful note of how the people here have interacted with us over the past few days, ranging from my family, to shop staff, to people in the street, to the doctors and nurses in the hospital, Beatriz and I are in full agreement that the view that English people are cold is a fucking myth. Unless by “cold” you mean “very friendly and polite.”Food and drink
“There are too many different sauces here! Why do you need so many?!” In Argentina there are three sauces: ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard. Not real mustard, mind. Only American hot-dog style mustard. So the sheer variety of sauces, dressings and pickles on offer here came as something as a surprise.
Without even making any particular effort I’ve managed to introduce Beatriz to cranberry juice, crystalised ginger, oyster sauce, pickled beetroot, plain unsweetened yoghurt, stilton cheese, cottage cheese, carrot cake, brie, brown bread, coleslaw, Danish pastries, baked beans, basmati rice, coffee and walnut cake, sparkling grape juice and many other fine delicacies that she’s never seen before. She’s also willingly embraced the concept of drinking about ten cups of tea a day. In short, we’ve been living the good life and it’s a good thing I lost all that weight after my dodgy yoghurt-drinking experience, because it means I can indulge with a clear conscience.Next: The National Health Service Experience