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Florida Guide > Miscellaneous

Two Countries Separated By A Common Language And Other Differences - Part 2

I once wanted to buy some cotton wool at a drug store and completely confused the assistant who asked me if I wanted cotton or wool. I had to describe what I wanted, which is apparently cotton. I said that we sewed with cotton, to which he replied, we sew with thread. You can see what I mean.

Never, ever sunbath topless, it is strictly forbidden in Florida, even by your own pool, if you can be seen by the public passing by, Americans will complain to the police and you could be arrested.

At your villa you will find light switches are reversed and table lamps turn and not push. Voltage, I am sure you will already know, is lower. Because of this low voltage, electric plug sockets are permitted in bathrooms and not just shaver points. It is quite safe to use hair dryers, washing machines and tumble dryers in bathrooms. If you have booked a villa that as a half bathroom, this means there is a room with just a lavatory and hand basin.

On the subject of voltages, do not buy anything electrical you want to take back to the UK without it being either dual voltage or without buying a voltage converter. If you do not, the appliance will blow up when you plug it in, back in the UK.

Other differences in language:
There are so many words in our language for a lavatory; toilet, loo, ladies/mens room, powder room etc. In America there is just one acceptable word - Bathroom.
Holiday – Vacation (They assume you mean Christmas or Easter if you say holidays)
Cot – Crib
Buggy – Stroller
Nappy - Diaper
Flannel – Wash Cloth
Bill – Check
Shop – Store
Dustbin – Trash Can
Wardrobe – Closet
Bath - Tub
Boot – Trunk
Bonnet – Hood
Estate car – Shooting Brake

If you want a manual car, you will have to ask for a stick shift. The majority of their cars are automatics. A Mini is any small economy car not a brand as we know it.

NB: When you drive for the first time, do be aware that the traffic lights are set on THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE CROSSROADS. It can be very dangerous if you arrive at night and drive for the first time and think you drive up to the lights then stop – you would have gone over the crossroads. Another difference whilst driving, is that it is acceptable to undertake on the road as well as overtake, although it is preferred if you drive slowly, that you keep to the right.

Vive la difference!

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Page added on: 19 January 2012
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