Before I left England, I made a list of what I thought I’d miss, which you can find if you scroll down my blog. I’ve been here for almost a month now so I guess that’s long enough to say what I actually do/don’t miss etc.
Here’s what I miss about England:
1. The thing I miss the most is Nando’s, I’m not even joking. It’s an INSTANT hangover cure and for some reason I drink more often in foreign countries (including here) so there have been a couple of mornings here where a Nando’s would have come in very handy. They don’t cater to vegetarians as well here as they do in England so there isn’t really a restaurant here that I get excited about eating in, whereas in England I definitely look forward to Nando’s and other restaurants. When I go out to restaurants here I just eat pizza, which is nice from time to time but nothing too exciting.
2. I miss English supermarkets like Tesco, Sainsburys etc, for 3 main reasons. Firstly in England you can always pay by debit/credit card to buy your food, but here nowhere takes card so you always have to carry cash. This in itself isn’t too annoying but I often find myself realising that I have no money and I have to go to the island’s only bank, which isn’t too advisable after dark and sometimes it runs out of money meaning you literally have no way of getting cash. The second reason I miss English supermarkets is because of the variety they have. In England there are low-fat or normal fat options of almost everything, loads of sizes and flavours of everything, organic or non-organic of everything and wholemeal or white of everything. Here you can’t be so fussy, for example there is only one shop I’ve found so far that stocks wholemeal pasta! The final reason I miss English supermarkets is because of the prices. Island prices are high because of shipping costs so a loaf of bread is $2.45 whereas in England you can get normal bread for £1 or less. Cheese here is ridiculously expensive and it’s one of my favourite foods, so I’m still finding that hard to get used to.
3. I miss being able to drink tap water. In England I drink tap water all the time in restaurants and clubs because it’s free (and I like water), but here it’s both annoying (you have to remember to buy water before the shops shut otherwise you’ll wake up thirsty in the night with nothing to drink) and expensive (a $6.50 pizza meal turns into an $8.50 meal because I also buy water in the restaurant). If you’re smart you can fill up your 1 gallon bottle for 50c from a filtered water machine (when they’re working…) so it isn’t so bad if you do that, but still.
4. I miss (like I said I would…) Hot Wuk Wednesdays SO MUCH. If you haven’t read the other post, Hot Wuk Wednesdays is a weekly dancehall party in London with good DJs, good vibes, and pure fun and dancing all night with a casual dress code. What more could you want?! On my island there aren’t any regular dancehall parties so I have to cross to Isla Bastimentos, which is fine but you can’t really cross by yourself in the night and I don’t know anyone here who goes every weekend so it’s a bit difficult.
5. I miss being able to walk around without being eaten by insects! Read my post about “insects seem to like me”. No more needs to be said!
6. I miss having friends!!! I’ve met a couple of nice people here but I don’t really have anyone who I can call up and say “let’s go to this party tonight” which sucks. I hope I’ll meet some girls soon.
HOWEVER, Isla Colon also has some good points (I guess this is the same as “things I don’t miss about London”):
1. Here, the forms of transport are walking, bike or, if you need to go to another island, water-taxi. Taxis do exist but you wouldn’t really use them on a regular basis. There’s also one bus (minibus) that goes every 2 hours from one end of the island to the other. Personally I only really walk (you can reach everywhere in town by walking) and take water-taxis (to volunteer on Isla Solarte every day, and to Isla Bastimentos to party or hang out). Compared to hot, busy tubes and buses stuck in traffic jams in London, this is amazing. Gliding through the water in a water taxi in the night is one of my favourite things to do here (except it’s not so much fun when you’re drunk and feeling sick, as I discovered this weekend).
2. I love how batidos (shakes) are available here in almost every restaurant/bar. In England we’d probably call them smoothies because they’re frozen fruit blended with water. In England you mainly only get smoothies from smoothie bars and they cost like £3.50 (or from the supermarket), but here they range from $1.75 to $3 and they’re great at all times of the day and night, especially when you need something to cool you down.
3. I don’t miss England’s obsession for shopping/consumerism. Here the only adverts you see are big posters for phone companies, and unprofessional flyers stuck to posts for upcoming parties/events. The only non-supermarket shops (except the tourist ones with souvenirs) are little clothes shops with mainly flip flops, jeans, denim shorts, summer dresses and tshirts with stripes or other bright patterns on them. It’s impossible to buy designer clothes here, and I LOVE that. I really don’t miss seeing Hollister branded clothing being worn by over half of the population of London, and I don’t miss the sweaty Westfield shopping centre.
4. The police here have quad bikes. How cool is that?! I don’t have any particular complaints about the police in England but here they seem more fun/friendly.
5. I don’t miss the formality/security etc involved with almost every process in England. Let me give you an example of how it’s different here… The other day I went to the library because reading has become one of my favourite things to do here since I have no friends! When I walked in, 2 children were at the staff desk playing on the computer, which would never happen in England even though it would cause no harm to anyone. I had a look at all the books then approached the group of people at the table in the middle asking if they knew how I could take out a book. It turns out one of them worked in the library and she told me I just have to tell her what book I want. I went and picked one, brought it to her and she opened a massive book and told me to fill in my details in the columns (name, address, book title, date). For the address I literally just put the name of my hostel and she said that was fine. I asked if she needed to see any ID or proof of address but she said she didn’t need either, I simply had to come back within 5 days and either give the book back to her or tell her I want another 5 days to keep reading it 🙂
6. This is really obvious, but I don’t miss English weather. I’ll happily admit that the weather here is not perfect and sometimes it’s too hot to do anything, especially in the middle of the day, but I definitely prefer this climate over England’s, and we don’t have those depressing overcast days here.