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From Bristol, with love March 20, 2009

Posted by Alt.L in Bristol, călătorii, Ob/lia.

I’m spending this week in Bristol, UK, visiting my better half. We didn’t go out much for reasons too boring to explain, but I compiled some observations from this week and last November, when I also visited for a few days. In mid-July I’ll move here for good (oh, well, maybe not “for good” but rather for God knows how long). I start to like this feeling of having two left hands (and not in a dexterous way) when new to a culture, so I’ll probably try to hang on to it a bit before everything will start to look normal 🙂

But for now, it’s all about the tourist gaze (photos here).

• The buses come from the wrong direction. This also means that I’m still not looking in the right direction when I cross the street.

• All stores close at 5pm on Sunday and at 6 pm on weekdays.

• I found Redcliffe Way in a rather nice neighborhood. My dopplegänger must live nearby (in New Jersey I live on Redcliffe Avenue in a rather nice neighborhood).

• Extreme politeness from the pizza boy to the border officer continues to perplex me. “Madam” is me.

• And when not formal, everybody loves you here: “What can I do for you, love?” So hard to choose between love and hon/hun!

• You can buy wine from the grocery store. And awareness advertisements encourage you to count the bottles in your recycling bin at the end of the week.

• All pubs are open late and full of joyous people, especially on Friday night.

• Young men drink beer on the street while walking where they have to go.

• Everybody smokes.

• Punk is alive and well.

• Walls are palimpsests on which vivid graffiti magically replace each other every few months. A wall without a mural is a silent, worthless wall.

• Women fashion pure randomness as their clothing style. By way of contrast, most men are stylish (in an old-fashion, classical sense). Men must be new at the fashion game and not yet bored with its arbitrary but strict rules. For the record, I still believe the handbag should match the shoes and follow some color & pattern coordination scheme but I hope not to pass this gene on.

• One doesn’t do laundry at the laundromat but at the launderette. And one doesn’t yield in traffic but gives way. Erasers are, in fact, rubbers. A mysterious new world of linguistic wonders!

• You can actually park your car facing the opposite way along the sidewalk (pavement, if you wish). Such wild unruliness would cost you $50 in the U.S.

• Public libraries allow their patrons a limited time of two hours per day for Internet access.

• People actually hang out in parks. Sunday afternoon everyone seemed to be out. I haven’t seen outdoors gatherings of teenagers in a long time.

• Malls are places strictly for convenient shopping not for entertainment or teenage socialization. They have nothing of the hallucinatory abundance and diversity of stuff and activities going on in the Jersey malls.

• Someone on the street tried to steal a book from L. I was deeply touched. LE: Ironically, the book was Watching the English by Brit anthropologist Kate Fox. It is our official hitchhiker’s guide through the English galaxy 😉

• I found the country where cats live happily ever after (it’s true, they invented the cat). I will like it here.



1. Pinocchio - March 20, 2009

Felicitari ca ai ajuns acolo. Imi luasem si eu un zbor, anul trecut, sa imi vizitez Prinzessa, si cind m-am dus linistit si plin de incredere la aeroport am ramas cu gura cascata ca pe tabela nu scria nicaieri Bristol. Mai mult, nici avionul care mergea la Bristol nu mai exista. Ah well, enjoy Heathrow… and all the other things. Si da, salutari Prinzessei: Daca pe a mea n-o gasesti, macar uneia din familia Windsor 😉

2. calatoare - March 20, 2009

O, doamne! A dispărut aşa, fără explicaţii? Ce urât… 🙂

Am mare noroc că există un zbor direct la Bristol. În noiembrie m-am dus prin Heahrow şi am făcut două ore cu autobuzul… Deci Prinzessa e în Bristol? How exciting! E de mult aici? Îi place?

3. Pinocchio - March 20, 2009

Nu acolo, la Bath. Se pare ca ii place, hm, daca a stat pina acum. Dar se pare ca nu mai sta multa vreme.

Avionul meu nu a disparul chiar fara explicatii, o explicatie am primit pina la urma: BA vinduse compania care zbura de la Bristol la München si inapoi. Ei au sustinut ca mi-au dat de veste cind au anulat zborul, dar in fine. M-au mutat pe un avion de Heathrow cu vreo 5 ore mai tirziu si m-au dat drept despagubire un voucher de 8 euro sa maninc de prinz pe aeroport. Si eventual o calduroasa stringere de mina (in usa). Povestea in detaliu e aici: http://pinocchiomuc.blogspot.com/2007/04/soacra-in-vizita_08.html

4. Mor - March 22, 2009

“You can actually park your car facing the opposite way along the sidewalk (pavement, if you wish). Such wild unruliness would cost you $50 in the U.S.” —

That’s because everything is facing the opposite way!

5. vera - March 23, 2009

Peripatetika – m-am amuzat si nostalgizat de povestea ta albionesca. Acum 2 ani, mi-am vizitat prietenii din Londra si am stat vreo 2 saptamini.
Am avut intimplari similare cu sensul de deplasare, pina la a lua autobuzul in directia gresita, desi eram PROFUND atenta sa fac invers. M-au attendrisat the Brits care-mi ziceau ‘love’ si care, in general, sint mult mai draguti decit se spune.
M-am stupefiat de cantitatea de oameni care ies din circiuma sa fumeze si toti nefumatorii ies dupa ei, sa converseze. Si am invidiat femeia britanica, careia i se filfiie si se imbraca cum ii tuna. De la divin, la monstruos. Dar se simte bine asa cum e si nu se sinchiseste de ce crezi tu. I wish I could. (Pantofi, geanta, etc – colour coordinated, of course. I passed that gene. Si nu imi pare rau).
Personal, lasind clima si preturile la o parte, gasesc Anglia infinit mai dezirabila ca loc de vizitat si sper, de trait, decit Jersey-ul dumitale. The understament. Bunul simtz. Autoironia larg si relaxat practicata.

6. vera - March 23, 2009

Pardon, am uitat experienta cea mai totala: Kew Gardens, dupa ora inchiderii, golita de oameni, numai eu si D., cu toti pomii, florile, bancile inscriptionate. You absolutely MUST!

7. calatoare - March 24, 2009

@pinocchio: am auzit ca la Bath e foarte frumos (data viitoare sper sa ajung sa vizitez si eu baile romane) si ca acolo mai sunt banii vechi si floarea intelighentiei… ti-am lasat comentariu si la link-ul pe care mi l-ai dat. mi-a placut mult descrierea vizitei tale.

@mor: “everything is facing the opposite way!” — apparently, not according to them 🙂

parking rules were very odd to me when I first came to the US, because, at the time, people at home used to park in wherever spot their car fitted in or could have climbed to. Jersey highly disciplined me (parking wise). A friend got a fine for parking too far from the curb. After less than a year of living here, when I went back home I kept asking “Can you park here?” and my friends looked at me with a strange grin 🙂

btw, nice to hear from you – thanks for coming by!

@ vera: yep, that’s how I felt too 🙂 o sa-mi placa acolo, although, I’ll greatly miss Jersey. Kew Garderns s-a notat. daaa, autoironia & the understatement: scurt si la obiect. si ti-ai dat seama de asta doar in doua saptamani, wow!

8. vera - March 24, 2009

Merci, merci, blush.
Dar, sincer, nu mi se pare o asa de extraordinara performantza, caci e foarte evident. Si, desigur, depinde si cu ce compari. Asa ca, daca vii din Romania, unde toata lumea se ia in serios intr-un hal fara hal, iar pentru understatement nici nu exista conceptul, chestiunea devine un mic exercitiu de recreatie, nici macar de curs/class.

Mai bine imi spui ce o sa-ti lipseasca din Jersey, in afara de unii oameni.

9. calatoare - March 24, 2009

vera, întrebarea ta despre Jersey merită o însemnare separată.

cât despre simţul observaţiei – mai ales să-l observi pe *celalalt*, antropologic vorbind (sic) – da, este o performanţă remarcabilă. cel puţin, eu aşa cred.

10. vera - March 24, 2009

peri – bine, astept(am). Va fi interesant, sint sigura. Si o sa-mi zdruncine ideile fixe despre locul ala (stii cum spun newyorkezii mei: Jersey=the armpit…)

11. Alex - March 24, 2009

Thanks a lot for this post! I’m planning on studying abroad in Bristol next term and this blog has really gotten me excited about going! Nice pictures as well!

Thanks and great job,

12. calatoare - March 25, 2009

Welcome here, Alex! It’s wonderful you’re going there (I’m back in Jersey, meanwhile) and I think you’ll find the city exciting. The two universities there, Bristol University and UWE are great, too.
Look up for the book I mentioned (Watching the English)- it will make a very fun and instructive read.

I plan on writing more about the adjustment to the new life and culture when I’ll move over there in July, so I hope to hear from you again then.
Good luck with your trip and study!

13. WE - July 1, 2009

in bristol te/va mut(at)i? misto oras.

14. Alt.L - July 1, 2009

elful calator calatoreste: bine ai venit pe la mine! 🙂

da, acolo ne mutam (de fapt, celalalt L s-a mutat din octombrie acolo) in mai putin de trei saptamani! am fost si eu de doua ori si imi place.
in plus, prind si expozitia lui banksy 🙂

15. WE - July 1, 2009

gata defense-ul?

16. Alt.L - July 1, 2009

nope. sunt doar post-qual… o sa mai dureze probabil un an.

17. we - July 13, 2009

plecasi? se pare ca da, ca esti incommunicado.

18. Alt.L - July 13, 2009

plec vineri seara. acum impachetam de zor [insert *sigh* here] 🙂

19. Wandering Elf - July 22, 2009

Sunt shameless, asa ca imi fac reclama:) mi-am dat drumul la blog.
din nou. si again.

20. calatoare - July 22, 2009

Yay! Mi-a parut rau cand l-ai inchis dar mi s-a parut ca nu vrei sa vorbesti despre asta asa ca nu te-am mai intrebat si eu. Ma bucur ca mi-ai spus!

Pisica ai luat? 🙂

21. Wandering Elf - July 22, 2009

nu am luat, ca e mai complicat:) o anumita factiune se opune pisicii si ar vrea caine. eu ma cam opun cainelui si vreau pisica. loc de amandoi nu e, asa ca suntem in tratative.

te mutasi? cum e?

22. Wandering Elf - July 22, 2009

as vrea sa iau un british short-hair. aia mai mopsi si albastrii:)

calatoare - July 23, 2009

Ha! Happy cat?! Cool!

Dilema voastra imi aduce aminte de o caricatura din The New Yorker cu o doamna într-un pet shop care se opreste in fata unui ogar şi îl întreabă pe vânzătorul care o însoţea: Do you have this in a cat?

Of, cred ca trebuie să vă mutati la casă ca să (unintended pun) vă luaţi şi-şi 🙂

Sunt în Bristol acum şi un pic dezamăgită că în majoritatea rental-urilor nu ai voie să ţii animăluţ (“a fish, maybe?” mi-a replicat agentul când l-am întrebat despre asta) 😦 Şi asta în ţara celor care se laudă că ar fi ‘obssessed with small furry animals’… Altminteri, e mişto 🙂

23. Wandering Elf - July 23, 2009

“specialistii spun ca cele mai noi descoperiri in genetica le-au permis sa produca pesti miaunitori si latratori”.

mai exista si posibilitatea inversa: arunci intr-un bazin cateva matze si zici ca sunt pesti cu blana si coada – vezi mai sus argumentul cu genetica.


24. calatoare - July 24, 2009

specialistii germani, presupun LOL

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