On neighborhoods and the Local

I walked home from work tonight via a route I’ve been meaning to try since I moved into my new digs… it takes me through a very multi-cultural neighborhood and via some foot-paths that are not on the map such that my total trip home is not much changed from the usual 2.3 miles. And I can stop at the M&S food hall on the way and get nice things for dinner.

Good thing one from my perspective, in this adventure, is that I found a great Asian grocery store. And here we meet US/UK language barriers. I say Asian, as an American, and mean China-Japan-Korea. In the UK the term “Oriental” is still PC (not in the US) and “Asian” means Indian or related sub-continental. So let’s re-phrase and be more specific. I found a store that stocks Chinese, Japanese and Korean food items and this (especially the latter) is good. What I still need to find is an ethnic grocer that stocks Indian ingredients, which at the moment I have been getting from Tesco, such as Chapati flour and Besan.

Whew, this expat thing is extremely complicated when you add in the differences in other expat cultures….
But the most interesting part of my journey was the walk down a long street of identical (identikit?) Victorian houses, where each was two floors, had a window and door on the main floor and one window above, was made of brick, and literally numbered in the hundreds down a single street. In the midst of this, I found a pub.

A pub, which is known as a “local,” is not something I’d normally associate with a typically suburban neighborhood full of houses and not what I normally see on my way home. My “local” is not that close to me, but I live in a strange suburban neighborhood on the edge of a shopping complex. Seeing this tiny tucked-away pub in the midst of rows of identical houses was a real eye-opener in the campaign to save the British local pub. I have some thinking to do on this. I suspect, that when I hear about the “Campaign to save the British Pub” that it is this that people are trying to save, not the gastro-pub in the city centre. I suspect, although I cannot know, that the pubs I passed tonight are actually the “locals” of a number of people in the neighborhood. I was interested, and fascinated.

These “locals” are really LOCAL and do not mean the same thing as the “locals” in the city centre. I hope that I can find my more local “Locals” and keep these alive as opposed to the big pubs in my local area….

2 responses to “On neighborhoods and the Local

  1. I remember when I first arrived in Australia I would ask for “pins” in a shop and be sent to to the stationery section for “pens”. I came from a country a 3 hour flight away but they thought I sounded South African.

    Yes, although we all speak English, there are definitely language barriers. If I, as an Australian, say to you, an American, “Be a love and chuck a slab in the esky and throw it in the boot” you probably have no idea what I am talking about – well living in the UK, you might have an idea. 🙂

  2. I really miss our village pub, I felt fine going there in the evening (with my dog) and waiting for my friends to arrive – if you tried the same in America you’d be hit on and called a lush!

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