Yes it’s different; heck in some countries they drive on the wrong side of the road and some don’t even speak English.
Money, Money, Money
You won’t find a Dollar, a Quarter, or a Penny. You will find a Pound, a Franc and a Euro. Great Britain and Switzerland still use their own currencies (the Pound and the Franc) but pretty much the rest of the continent is on the Euro; not to be confused with the Greek sandwich (the Gyro.) It is worth a bit more than a buck, so when the wife wants that $300 leather jacket, remember it’s costing you about $390.
Ice, Ice Baby
Good luck getting some ice in that coke you just ordered. For some reason, having a glass of anything with ice is purely American. If you ask nicely they’ll give you 2 cubes. Ask for more and you might get 2 more. Ask for even more and it becomes an international incident.
They don’t sag over there. They are known for some pretty strange fashion statements (every male in Italy is required to wear a fashionable scarf) but sagging pants is pure American. Oh joy, of all the things to be known for.
Food for Thought
There are no English Muffins in England, no French Toast in France and no Italian dressing in Italy. While the food in Italy is outstanding, you are not going to be happy if your idea of pizza is a Meat-Lover’s from Pizza Hut. Relax though; all your other pre-conceived notions are true: Great Pasta in Italy, French onion soup in France and crappy food in England.
Great Big, Honking Trucks
You won’t find anything Ram Tough across the pond. They are into little cars with good gas mileage. Whether due to Government subsidies, gas prices, or the fact that parking spaces are rarer than ice cubes, they seem to prefer their own vehicles.
If you enjoy the loud thumping of Hip Hop emanating from a car you will be disappointed. Maybe it’s because their cars aren’t big enough for sub-woofers bigger than about 8 inches. If this is a problem, take your sagging jeans and thump away in America cuz it ain’t happening in Europe.
Hardly any Harleys.
Just like big pickup trucks, you won’t see many Harleys. More pleasantly, you won’t hear them either. Nothing is more American than a bone-rattling, smoke spewing, oil leaking contraption that spends more time in the back of a pickup than on the road. Besides, that stylish Italian scarf just doesn’t fit in on a Harley.
If you need to take a nap, try a cricket game. Otherwise you’re out of luck for baseball in Europe. You may catch an occasional Football game over there but it is a novelty. It’s also called American Football because their football is actually soccer. They get pretty worked up about it too. You have to wonder about a culture that considers word of David Beckam’s retirement more news-worthy than where Peyton Manning had lunch yesterday.
Tips and Taxes
They don’t tip like we do. Okay, like some of us do. Tips are usually included as are taxes. Some sales tax can go as high as 19% in Italy, but you do get some of it refunded if you spend enough and show your passport. You can always tip extra for especially great service but if you have to ask more than twice for that ice, I would just walk.
I want my American TV
Sure, you can watch CNN International or the BBC channels to get English language news but there is no way to find out what Kim Kardashian is up to. Heck you could go a whole week without one word on Justin Beiber, J-Lo or which NFL player just got a DUI.
Michael is a full-time musician and freelance writer residing in Morrison, Colorado. He enjoys downhill skiing, traveling and attempting to play golf. He excels in the sport of extreme napping so if you must call, make it afternoon.