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What to visitors to the UK think.....

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Durham
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What to visitors to the UK think.....

of us as a country?

I ask because a woman I work with has just come back from Dubai stating that the people were ignorant and didn't even speak English (!) I find that a lot with people from Britain who travel abroad - they seem to expect everyone to speak fluent English, surely that would make her ignorant and not the people in Dubai? Anyway I know when I go to NYC I find the people busy but friendly and the shop assistance/waiting staff etc to be polite and smiley (obviously not all of them but the majority).

So all this got me thinking as to what visitors to the UK think of our hoteliers/waitressing staff/shop assitants and people they come across in general......

ALJ
Cambridge, United...
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1. Re: What to visitors to the UK think.....

Interesting question. I was in France a couple of weeks ago and we got talking to this French waiter who spoke English and he said he visited England some time ago and enjoyed it. However, whenever we go abroad we try our best to speak French, Spanish, etc and we found the people to be friendly because they appreciated us making the effort to learn their language. After that, they'll have a conversation with us in English!

I find it hard to believe that no-one spoke a word of English in Dubai.

Durham
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2. Re: What to visitors to the UK think.....

I always try to learn the basics - hello, goodbye, thank you that kind of thing and find that people always appreciate the effort and most speak good enough English for us to get by - although I have to admit to getting round parts of Budapest by pointing and gesturing lol!

I too find it hard to believe that 'no one' spoke any English esp with the amount of Ukers and American's that visit there.

ALJ
Cambridge, United...
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3. Re: What to visitors to the UK think.....

Yes, especially since quite a number of British people are buying properties out there.

london
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for Nile River Valley
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4. Re: What to visitors to the UK think.....

May I ask if the lady from Durham had a strong regional accent? I'm from London and I find some regional accents very difficult. Like the others, I can't believe nobody in Dubai speaks English. I understood there were lots of workers there from Egypt, Pakistan, and other places where they definitely would use English in the tourist industry.

London, England
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5. Re: What to visitors to the UK think.....

were off to Dubai next Wednesday :) We too also like to attempt to use some words in the countries we visit, and the kids seem to remember phrases pretty well, my daughter picked up quite abit of Swahili it's all part of the fun of travelling to different places. Failing that a nice big smile and politeness goes along way.

london
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6. Re: What to visitors to the UK think.....

legions of people in Dubai speak English. Dubai is principally a tourist town and as such English is a major language.

Lara, if you have a spare evening there is a restaurant at The Dubai Creek golf club that has a huge wooden platform outside and over the river so the views and atmosphere are great. Leave plenty of time for browsing Dubai airport duty free it's the best i've seen

Prittlbach, Germany
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7. Re: What to visitors to the UK think.....

Phew, difficult question, so this answer is prone to generalization which may not fit the bill for everybody.

I've been touring England, Wales, Scotland (all in all 3 times for 3 weeks each). On one of the trips my husband and I got married in Scotland. I've been to London 3 times and to Edinburgh 4 times, I've stayed for 6 weeks in Stoke-on-Trent for a practical training as a vet student in a mixed small and large animal clinic and I stayed in Sheffield for meeting people of a life science lab working on a joint project. So I can say I've seen a fair bit of the country and met people both as a tourist and on a working base. From the fact that I came back time and time again you can draw that I liked it very much, and in fact, I love the island and (most) of its people to pieces.

Pros:

-The politeness of people, it's not a stereotype, it's genuine and overwhelming. They even made nice comments on my 'good english'. Luvely, really. In contrary to the tabloid press the people are much more sensible and never aired any anti-german feelings. Got to think it's all made up by the newspapers, just an old game they are playing.

-Folks really got an enormous sense of humor, many times I marveled at their skills in story-telling and laughed until I had tears in my eyes.

-They certainly know how to do a garden, and they most certainly are mad about their pets / horses / animals in general and would spend their last shilling for them. Even people who start off being a bit reserved literally melt away as soon as you start a conversation about their pets (my best trick for UK so far)

Cons:

- If you go out with them, you don't get away with a beer or two. You just can't. Period. You have to drink until you have to crawl out. The older I get, the more annoying it is, the standard of a night out is getting to (or over) the brink of ethanol intoxication.

-In parts of Sheffield and Wales (and certainly elsewhere as well) people living there complained about the high crime rate and had their cars broken into several times. Never happend to us, though.

- Outside the glitzy capitals, the variety of food served in pubs and restaurants is poor, as is sometimes (not always, mind you) the quality. Although I've seen thousands of sheep, lamb chops were rarely on the menu. (I was told they all go to export).

-the plumbing is, well, err, pitiable. There must be about 500 different ways to get warm water out of a shower (I know about 50). Two ridiculously short taps protrude an inch into the washbasin, ejecting either freezing cold or boiling hot water. The joys of mixing hot and cold water in one tap are unknown to wide parts of the UK.

Will I be back? Most certainly! See you there!

Columbia, SC
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8. Re: What to visitors to the UK think.....

I spent two weeks in England last month, a couple of days in Surrey, a couple of days in Oxfordshire and more than a week on the Kent coast. I can recall exactly one less than helpful server in a fast food place. Borderlline insulting, actually. Everywhere else the service I encountered ranged from "competent and businesslike" to "friendly and extremely helpful". Then again, on vacations in the USA I tend to mostly encounter pleasant and helpful service personnel.

On average, I'd say the standard of service in the English establishments I visited was probably slightly higher than I typically encounter in the USA. A few of the people I did business with in England had what might be described as "English reserve" which I suppose could come across as a bit standoffish but for my part a store clerk or restaurant server who is polite and efficient does not need to act overly familiar or chummy to avoid offending my sensibilty, if you know what I mean.

Sydney, Australia
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for Sydney, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Islands
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9. Re: What to visitors to the UK think.....

Couple of thoughts on this one.

1. I have extreme difficulty understanding someone who speaks with a heavy brogue,(it takes me two weeks of watching certain TV programs eg ballykissangel, to be able to tune in and understand)

2.On Most of our visits to London in particular a large number of hotel and restaurant staff were of NESB (non english speaking descent) and therefore i found it no different to being in an eastern european nation....or even in downtown Sydney suburbs!

Somerset, England
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10. Re: What to visitors to the UK think.....

kwenga,

I agree with almost everything you say, but I must say that I don't fully agree with:

"Outside the glitzy capitals, the variety of food served in pubs and restaurants is poor, as is sometimes (not always, mind you) the quality."

In the Country Pubs and Restaurants in Somerset, the variety and quality of food is often superior, in my opinion, to anything in the glitzy cities I have visited. Maybe the range of different cuisines isn't as high as the Cities get, but in individual pubs, in my opinion, the variety and quality can be better.