To the UK and back with Kreinik thread

"No, we are not from Scotland." This was our response to the Pakistani cabbie during our recent trip to Birmingham, England. (I did not realize that my accent was so strange.) We shared a laugh about it, but the conversation epitomized how culturally diverse any trip abroad can be in our times. We were quite surprised that most people recognized West Virginia when we were asked, "Where are you from?"  While they couldn't place it on a map, they could sing a song about it (John Denver's reach is still far and wide…).

Traveling overseas can be an adventure, and traveling overseas for a trade show can offer incredible challenges.  Finding your way, eating the food, walking down the correct escalator, making sure that your product arrives on time and learning new words can add to the experience.  A favorite word was travelator, which means a moving sidewalk. Polite is how we found the Brits. I asked about a "flapjack" and the clerk pointed and said the fruit ones and the chocolate ones. Actually they were rolled oats with sweets. If we looked lost, everyone made sure that we knew the proper direction, and then we had to figure out what was said. 

Often we would head for the escalator and realize that everything is on the opposite side, down was up and up was down, right was left and left was right from that which we were accustomed.  We learned to watch for oncoming cars from a different direction and listened to the charming British lady (a recorded voice) reminding us that the lift doors would be opening or closing. Riding in autos was a little unnerving, especially sitting in the "driver's seat" without a steering wheel.

The food was quite good and diverse. We had Balti (Indian food originally from Punjab), piri piri in a Mozambique/Portuguese restaurant, fish and chips with mushy peas at a cute little English pub, plus sandwiches and crisps, and one night Italian food.  At the Italian restaurant, the food was great, but since we were very tired and not the most willing customers in ordering the full course (no wine, no salad, no after dinner drink, no coffee), the owners took a particularly lengthy time to bring the bill.  Basically we were told, when you come back to town, do not bother shopping here.  As a time traveler though, you sometimes feel like falling asleep during and after dinner, so we were watching what was consumed.

We were treated well at the border, almost did not get my product through Customs for the show, and the attendees were again polite. We met people from all over the UK and from other countries. The stand next to us was a Ukranian company selling ribbon embroidery. Other vendors exhibited decoupage; maybe Mod Podge® will cycle back to the States.

Overall the trip to Birmingham was fun, interesting and added to our knowledge of British hospitality. This week we head to Nashville, Tennessee, for another trade show and another adventure no doubt. Have thread, will travel!

Cheers,
Doug

To see more photos from the Birmingham trip and show, visit the album on www.Facebook.com/Kreinik.Manufacturing.Company

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