The nation of really nice aliens…

I have lots of memories connected with my first stay in Great Britain. Most of them positive. However, to be honest, I must tell you my primary impression was that the British were strange… or should I say – original? To be politically correct, lets stick to ‘original’. Before I continue, I must emphasize that what I’m going to write here is probably very stereotypical, but still it’s based on my own experience and on some articles and books I have read – mostly ‘How to be an Alien’ by Geroge Mikes. By the way, I do recommend reading this book. It’s hillarious! You can find it here.
Coming back to the topic. What conclusions did I draw after my first stay in the UK years ago? Well…

funny-taps1. They like to have things differently than the rest of the world, even if it means less comfortable. I still cannot understand why there are two taps in England – one with cold and one with (extremely!) hot water. So washing your hands requires a quick decision – you either want to have your hands frozen, or boiled:) The choice is yours! And can you imagine brushing your teeth without using a cup? Mission impossible!

2. Even though in whole Europe some products have typical brand names, in the UK the names must be different! For example: Opel = Vauxhall, Rexona = Sure, Lays = Walkers, Axe = Lynx, Elseve = Elvive, Algida = Wall’s. There are probably many more, but this is all I remember at the moment.

3. British windows can’t open normally, to the inside. They open to the outside. Why? No idea! I wonder how they clean them!

4. Queues! They love them! What happens when you are in Poland, waiting at the bus stop, and the bus arrives? That’s simple. Everybody starts getting into the bus, using their elbows if necessary. Nothing of this kind in the UK. All the passengers stand in a line and one by one get into the bus. It might make you angry if you are in a bit of a hurry, but forget it. Be polite.
(the picture taken from ‘How to be an Alien‘ by Geroge Mikes)

5. Everybody loves you and everything is lovely! Don’t be surprised when a shop assistant asks you “How can I help you, dear?” or “Anything else darling?” It seemed really strange to me at the beginning, then I just stopped paying attention.

6. You will never hear from a British person their real opinion about the food you’ve cooked. Even if they absolutely hate the dish and they can hardly eat it, they will swallow it somehow, smile and at worst say something like: “It tastes interesting, dear.”

7. Their knowledge of geography is well… not very impressive. I went to a post office, I wanted to send a postcard to my granny. “Can I have a postcard stamp to Poland, please?” The woman looked at me, confused, then asked: “Is it in Europe?” No additional comment here;)

BritHumourTour_intro8. The British sense of humour is not something you can hear only in movies and TV series. It may strike you in the street. I couldn’t find a museum I wanted to visit. So I came up to a guy in the street and asked him politely: “Excuse me, can you tell me how I can get to Madame Tussauds’?” “Walk.” – he replied with a beaming smile on his face. Yep. Extremely funny, wasn’t it?

Well, there are probably many more oddities like these. But I don’t want to spoil your own first impressions when you happen to visit the UK. Or maybe you have already been there and noticed something peculiar too?
To finish the topic – a song I can’t get out of my head, as I am writing this post…
YouTube Preview Image

Pictures sources:; How to be an Alien;; 

14 Responses to The nation of really nice aliens…

  1. I think that originality of Great Britain is impractical. Maybe they have two taps, one with cold and one with extremely hot water, because nobody washes hands and this is the way of saving water in Great Britain 🙂 During the summer my friend’s cousin from London was in Poland. She said that most people in Great Britain have a charwomen, so they don’t worry about windows which open to the outside 🙂 I like the fact that in this country “Everybody loves you and everything is lovely! “. In Poland we can notice the lack of these positive feelings. People are usually rude.

  2. I think about “Everybody loves you and everything is lovely! “ is feigned. In Poland people are frank and take care of themselves. Two taps in England are to waste resources, because they have too much money. They have different brand names because they want to be original. British people like taking risk because their windows open outside. If ladies can’t cook, gentlemen must say:“It tastes interesting, dear.”

  3. I was in London four years ago. I was feeling very strange. The reason was not the language, but the people. Everyone was very nice to me and they wanted to help me with everything. I did not expect this. Next thing I remember was breakfast. For breakfast my cousin eats: eggs, bacon, sausages and drinks tea. I always start my day only with a cup coffee. Britain is very strange for me 😉

  4. In my opinion English people are interesting. I like London and the area very much. These people are wonderful, great and friendly. They are strange, but each person is different. I think ” Everybody loves you and everything is lovely! ” it’s a good motivation in life. It’s better to be happy than to be very sad. Life is beautiful!

  5. I think that English people are very intresting. And in my opinion their culture and habits survive because they aren’t inspiried by alien culture and habits. I know that many people from Poland think Englishmen are stupid. Despite they have unique customs (for you maybe stupid ) THEY HAVE THEM!!! For me it is important that they have had their own customs for a long time. And we?! We have culture and literature which disappears and is replaced by American films, foregin books. For me is very sad because we have really great literature, movies and culture. Remember this please !!!!

  6. That’s true that the English people are so friendly – I was feeling very strange when I was in Ireland, as a matter of fact ,there is the Irish have the same mentality as the English people. There were interesting and polite people who were always willing to help you when you have a problem. Noone says anything impolite to you, furthemore everybody says ”Hello” or ”Hi” to each other, and they smile at you for no reason 🙂 Even the atmospehere in the street is very laid-back. I want to add that this note is very interesting and shows us the beatiful side of the English people, and gives so much to think about our Polish culture.

  7. I believe that the British are more cultured than the Polish nation. In England people speak culturally, try not to use vulgar words, and in Poland…?
    We often hear ugly words that offend or hurt in our surroundings. I think that Poland should follow the example of England and frequently use phrases
    ‘Please’ , ‘Thank you’ , ‘Sorry’ and not just on holidays 🙂

  8. Polish people are friendly when they can earn some money on you. I think you can hear it only this time.

  9. Wow that’s very funny to read about the windows which open only to the outside 😀 I also can’t understand how they clean them, it must be very risky because you can fall out of the window! And most impractical I think are the two taps, one with hot and second with cold water, it doesn’t make sense. Hmm about getting into the bus…I think at the beggining it would be very funny for me to watch how people get one by one, but after some time I would be very annoyed and break that rule! Despite of all these different customs I’d like to visit UK, I have never been anywhere else beyond the border of Poland…oh sorry, I was but only in the Czech Republic and once in my life. So my dream is to visit some further country. I think England is most possible place for me to go, because my aunt has been living there for 8 years. She moved there to find some work..

  10. This is great post! 🙂 This was very interesting and funny. I always wanted to visit Britain. I heard a lot of stereotypes about England and many opinions. The English people always wanted to be different. So I understand their customs. I can’t imagine taking a bath there or waiting for the bus . It’s terrible.
    I think that the phrases ” How can I help you , dear ? ” Or ” Anything else darling ? ” are very nice and polite. I think that the shop assistants in Poland are rarely polite.
    Otherwise, my cousin lives in England. She loves bread and so do I. Bread isn’t tasty there. I was in Italy this year. Bread wasn’t tasty there either. Other dishes also weren’t always tasty for me. Is it normal? This is strange. Or only in Poland everything is so delicious?
    I want to go over there . I want to see the sights , Big Ben, meet people and many others.

  11. I was reading this post and i learned a lot of interesting things

  12. I was in London one year ago and it was an amazing experience. I stayed with a British family which was very nice and helpful for me. On the street when I come to someone they apologized to me, not I to them. It was really strange for me.

  13. Well, as a person who has never been to Great Britain I must admit, I’m pretty shocked by this information. I would definitely never expect that they have two taps and that windows dont’t open to the inside. However, I’ve heard some of these things earlier – like the one about British kindness. In my opinion, Poles could learn a lot from them in that respect. However, we shouldn’t copy those habits connected with normal life like taps and windows. It would only make thing more difficult.

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