“Meals are definitely bigger and cheaper in Texas,” one man remarked as a waiter brought him three small venison slices with a squirt of puree.
Avoid eye contact.
In common with many big-city residents, Londoners scrupulously avoid acknowledging strangers on the street. This is especially true on crowded buses and subways.
Exceptions: Buses, trains and subways full of people who have had a few drinks will often be full of boisterous but generally friendly banter. And during travel disruptions, camaraderie will triumph over social awkwardness, unleashing a latent “Blitz spirit” that can be unexpectedly jolly.
Enjoy the wordplay.
North American visitors will quickly learn that many common, everyday items have different names in Britain – fries are chips, a sidewalk is a pavement, pants are trousers and underwear is pants.
“Pants” is also slang for bad, rubbish, lame – just one example of the delight Brits take in coining new words and phrases.
The Olympics has added a trove of new phrases. They include jubilympics – the period from the queen’s Diamond Jubilee in June through the Olympics, which end Aug. 12 – and omnishambles, a word first applied to government screw-ups that has been used to describe the crisis-prone buildup to the games.
Yes, that man really is the mayor.
Above all, Britons love an eccentric. That may explain the popularity of London Mayor Boris Johnson, a disheveled, bicycle-riding, Latin-spouting figure with a shock of blond hair who was re-elected to a second four-year term in May.
Johnson’s behavior at Friday’s opening ceremony is one more unpredictable element in an evening of surprises. Bookmaker William Hill is offering odds of 33-1 on the mayor accidentally setting his hair on fire with the Olympic flame.
Associated Press Writer Paisley Dodds contributed to this report.