So here I am, back home. Back in England and back to Western culture. India is wonderful of course, but there’s only so long you can go before you start craving the Western vices (like beef burgers). Last year I managed 12 months, this year I didn’t do so well and had to come back after just 10 months.
Well, I say had to come back, the words of my father are still echoing in my ears “son, if you don’t come back for your mothers beep
So I have come from one country which by all accounts is utterly random to another country which I firmly believe has lost its marbles.
Anyway. The first thing you notice moments after walking through arrivals is how stupidly expensive everything is here. When you are used to paying £3.50 for an excellent two course meal, coming to England is like diving in to a pool of ice; you become numb with shock.
In my first day back in England, I got the train from Heathrow Terminal 5 (which is amazing by the way, even my Dad, the man that could find fault with the Sistine Chapel begrudgingly conceded that they had done a fair job with T5) to South London which cost £10.
From there I went and had a pint (from landing to first pint in 90 minutes is not bad going) which cost £3 and then it was off to buy a Pay As You Go sim card, (topped up with £20 – enough to last you three months in India) and some toiletries.
Three hours in the country and the total cost so far was £35.
That evening, I went to a pub to meet up with some old uni friends where we had dinner and many drinks. Dinner was £9 and drinks came in at around £15. By the time I got to bed I’d managed to spend nearly £60 since landing.
The next day I went and had my first McDonald’s (you honestly don’t realize how much you miss Quarter Pounders until it’s no longer available!) before catching a train up to my hometown.
Now in India, you can travel the length and breadth of the country for about a £20. This will get you a nice air-conditioned carriage with a full length bed since the train journeys can last for days (and not because the train gets lost like in Darjeeling Limited!).
England, on the other hand, seems to think that everyone is as rich as Mr. Monopoly, so a basic 1 hour train journey costs £39 if you want a single or £41 if you want a return – simply proving that someone, somewhere failed their maths GCSE.
Having been in the country less than 24 hours, I’d managed to spend a grand total of £100 (and a bit more). Utterly ridiculous, I hadn’t even gone very far or bought anything of any value, simply ate to stay alive and took public transport to get from A to B.
Back in my adopted country (which doesn’t want me back), £100 lasts you a month! And you get to live like a King!
But rip-off Britain gets worse – and for any Brits reading this, you don’t know how bad it is until you go to other countries – once back home, I had to get a hair cut which ended up costing £8.80 for a quick buzz round the back and sides and cut short on top. Admittedly, there were no hair raising experiences (pun intended) this time, but honestly, £8.80 for a haircut! We’re in the middle of the worst recession since the 1930’s, people can’t afford to go around spending £8.80 for a bit of cranial topiary!
The world has gone mad. And Britain has become ridiculous.
Oh. And it’s still bloody raining here!