Sunday, 5 May 2013

Of The Hot and Cold in Int'l Relations

Recently I was hosting some Russian friends and spent a good two days showing them around Northern Ireland. What I always enjoy about hosting friends from abroad is that you can learn a lot from them about what is different here to what they're used to at home. This is most easily done by the questions they ask. This time around I must say there were quite a few random ones. They included "Roughly, how many sheep does each farmer own in Ireland?" "Why is there a wall right in front of your neighbours front window?" (I've wondered about this one myself) and also"Why are there lamas in that field?" (yes a field in Antrim too!)
Having entertained Russians, Poles, Spanish and French in the last few years if pushed to state the stop four always asked questions I'd probably say as follows :

1. Why is the food so bad here?
2. Why do the houses have carpets everywhere?
3. Why do you have light switches inside the rooms and not on the wall before you go in?
4. Why do you have separate outflows for your cold and hot water? Why not run them together so you can choose the right temperature before it gets to your hands?

This last one I've been asked countless times and I've never really had an answer. So yesterday  I Googled and still found no answer. What I did find however was an interesting article on Churchill's visit to Moscow to meet Stalin in 1942. Apparently, Churchill returned remarking that among all their many problems the Russians had a damn fine system where the cold and hot water taps ran into one outflow over the basin. Strange world isn't it?

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