John "The Gneech" Robey (the_gneech) wrote,
John "The Gneech" Robey

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Hey, Yankee Anglophiles! (Or Anglo Yankophiles, For That Matter...)

tr_wolf asks...

Gneech, my boyfriend and I are going to Florida on holiday/vacation next October, and Im trying to find a guide to American customs etc that UK Tourists might want to know before visiting etc, any ideas where I could find one? Or any advice yourself? :)

You can see my answer below, but if anyone else out there has input, feel free to jump in!

My first suggestion on where to find a guide would be W.H. Smith's, or ;) Does Britain have public libraries? (Something I've never heard, actually ... does it?)

For my own tips, let's see...

First, don't get anywhere near Miami. (Actually, I would suggest avoiding Florida all together; there are lots of much nicer places to go in the U.S. But I'm probably biased. I've been there many times when I didn't have a choice -- now that I have a choice, I'm not going back again.)

Hmm, what else?

For the most part, Yanks love Brits, and even any faux pas you make will be seen as adorable. Especially in the south ... the cliché is that every woman in the south believes herself to be secretly descended from Mary, Queen of Scots. All you need to do is speak poetic nonsense at most people and they'll be eating out of your hand.

However, there are the occasional yahoos who think anyone who speaks with a British accent (even if it's one that would be "dead common" back home) is some kind of snob, and will get all huffy about you putting on airs. Alas, there's nothing that can be done about said yahoos, except to avoid them if at all possible.

Yanks who are not anglophiles don't know the subtleties of "British" vs. "English" vs. "the U.K." so don't get stroppy about them. (I don't know if you would, but I've met a few who did.) FWIW, in Florida, you might get similar grief about "Yank" vs. "American," although that's a lot less common than it used to be. (In the south, "yankee" referred to Union types during the Civil War, and there are extremely small pockets in the south where they're still trying to fight it.)

Drive on the right side of the road. ;) Watch speed limits -- they tend to be slower here than they are there, and they can be vigorously enforced. Also, if you're renting a car, you'll probably get an automatic rather than a stick unless you specifically ask for one.

Remember that everything in the U.S. is Very Far Away from everything else in the U.S. You won't be making any day trips to see the Grand Canyon, for instance. ;)

Don't snigger when somebody asks you if you like their pants. ;)

You'll have a tough time finding any decent tea, but if you can cultivate a taste for iced tea with sugar and lemon, you'll be in great shape.

Keep your eyes open and ask lots of questions, particularly of hotel concierges and restaurant managers. If you have any local friends, pump them for information. :) If you get what seems like a condescending tone in response, don't take it personally -- when explaining the everyday business of life, most people revert to "teach a child" mode out of habit. They don't think you're stupid, they're just trying to keep things simple.

I can't think of anything else off the top of my head, but if you have any more specific questions, I'll be glad to answer 'em as best I can!

-The Gneech
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