Surprisingly different

This is the third post in the “Christa in the UK” series – stories from the year 2009 and 2010 during my time living, studying, working and traveling in a small beach town called Bournemouth in South West England. 

Moving to another country of course made you have to deal with differences. Especially when you are moving to a city which in size is a lot lot smaller than where you previously lived. Bournemouth – as I mentioned several times before, is a small town. It’s not even half the size of Jakarta. So when I moved there from Jakarta, I had to deal with differences. Here’s some surprising and memorable ones.

Public transportation are reliable

Unlike in Jakarta, People in Bournemouth use their public transportation –  in this case, bus,  to get around town. They are not the best, I have to say, because sometimes they got delayed. Sometimes it’s hard to get from a point to another without having to change buses.. but in overall, the public transportation works well. There were clear schedule which you can access in every bus stops and you can also find it online.

This was not the case in Jakarta (although there are improvements as we speak). Okay I was considered lucky because I had options, but I tried to avoid using public bus in Jakarta. Why? I just could not work out how they operate! One day the bus could show up at 7, the next day show up at 7.15, the next day show up at 6.50! Come on.. how should I work out my schedule then?

That’s why, moving to Bournemouth made me have to learn how to use public bus. There are two major bus companies in Bournemouth, one being the Yellow Bus and the other one More Bus, so you can conveniently choose which one suits your travel needs. The buses were clean, comfortable, although you might have to be careful with drunk lads if you took the bus on Friday/Saturday nights :O

The Yellow Bus
The Yellow Bus –   Image from
More Bus
More Bus – Image from

Most shops close at 6PM, and they close on Sundays!

It’s either labor and operational cost are so expensive in England, or people just don’t like to shop.. but when I first got there, I found it very weird that most shops close at 6PM. They close even earlier on Saturdays, and fully closed on Sundays… especially in a small town like Bournemouth. Some big supermarkets like ASDA do close a little bit later though, probably around 8PM.. but that’s it. Don’t expect to be able to shop after 8PM, and forget about midnight sale, hehehe.

In a way, this was good for my wallet as I did not have the chance to shop after finishing my classes, and.. some bakeries or grocery shops tend to have 50% discount for fresh items between 5-6PM, right before they close – just the time when I was going home! Hooray!

Image from

I think the condition is different in bigger cities like London, for example. When I went there, I could shop in Oxford Street until at 9PM, similar to shopping experience in Jakarta.

People do things on the grass!

Oh, this is one thing that really surprised me. Though moving to Bournemouth was not my first time going abroad, but I never really noticed this. In Bournemouth (and almost everywhere else I’ve noticed after I lived in Bournemouth), people are able to do things on the grass! Why is it so surprising to me? Well.. because..

Image from

I bet those of you in Indonesia has seen this sort of picture before! Yep, I don’t know why but we are not allowed to step on the grass! Especially in parks! This messed up my logic because I thought we are supposed to do things on the grass? Like, I don’t know.. having a picnic? sitting around? studying? relaxing? Yet we are not even allowed to step on it.

In contrary, Bournemouth has a really nice garden right in the middle of the town centre, en route to the beach. It has a tourist attraction as well, called the Bournemouth Balloon.

Image from

As you can see in the above image, the garden looks really nice, right? It’s also very nice to sit there, on the grass, just enjoying your day. Of course it can get really cold during winter days (bear in mind we’re talking about British weather here!), but I loved going there any other times of the year, especially during summer days, just to relax and unwind. I went there for picnic with my friends too. Now that’s what the gardens are supposed to be there for! For the people to relax! Now I really don’t understand why we are not allowed to step in the grass here in Indonesia.. Why is it there, then? just for aesthetic purpose?

Disposable BBQ do exist!

Speaking about summer, there’s a particular tradition that the Brits love to do, and I personally really love as well. It’s BBQ! Since Bournemouth has a pretty nice beach, people often do BBQ on the beach. Or the garden. Or their backyard. Basically everywhere, during sunny summer days.

But what about the props? Do we have to carry BBQ grill everywhere? Worry not, there’s what they call Disposable Instant Grill! I haven’t seen this everywhere prior to coming to Bournemouth. Really. You can purchase it on every supermarket, even mini markets, for as cheap as £2 when I was there. Me and my classmates love to do BBQ on the beach, we simply purchased the instant grill, the meats, condiments, etc, en route to the beach.

This is what it looks like. Have you seen it before? I asked my boyfriend in the US and he said he never even heard of this kind of thing. I think it’s a British thing?

Image from
Image from

People eat in Pubs!

Prior to coming to the UK, all I knew about Pubs or Bars is beer. Hahaha. I mean, I think it’s just a place to drink and get drunk. Little did I know that British pubs serve food! Some are actually delicious, I must say.

Image from
Image from

Have you heard about Sunday roast? It’s a traditional British or Irish meal and is commonly served in Pubs, on Sundays. I was a bit confused when I first got my first Sunday roast invitation from a friend. She told me to meet at our local Pub at noon for lunch. I thought, “wow British people really love to drink.. they even drink on Sunday afternoons!” Hahaha. But I was wrong. We did not come there to drink, instead we had a nice and proper meal.. Sunday Roast. It became a sort of tradition for me and my friends almost every Sunday, to have lunch together in our local Pub. Again, something I did not expect before, having meal in a Pub! 😀

Image from
Image from

So that’s about it. Some surprising differences I found during my first months in in Bournemouth. At the end, I became accustomed to them and at the moment, while writing this, I’m craving for a good Sunday roast… or BBQ at the beach! (I don’t miss not being able to shop after 6PM though.. Hahaha)

Have you lived abroad? Or simply, when you are traveling abroad, did you find any differences from your hometown? Please share in the comment box below! 🙂

18 thoughts on “Surprisingly different”

    1. iyaa.. bisa banget lho begitu 🙂 Dan ngga cuma di taman itu doang, di taman kampus juga orang2 pada duduk2 belajar.. diskusi2.. basically bebas ngapain aja di rumput hehehe

  1. 1. Karena aku terbiasa selalu tertindas sbg pejalan kaki, biasanya nunggu jalan bener2 sepi kalo mau nyebrang. Mendahulukan kendaraan bermotor.. Di Belanda pejalan kaki itu raja. Nah, aku ga tau dong kalo kendaran bermotor pasti mendahulukan yang mau nyebrang. Pas aku mau nyebrang, dari jauh aku lihat ada mobil ngebut. Reflek aku berhenti ga jadi nyebrang. eh ga taunya itu mobil ngerem aja. Dan nungguin aku nyebrang. Jadi kami saling nunggu, sampai dia ngasih tanda baru aku nyebrang. Ih takjub banget

    2. Di Belanda, makan besar dan lengkap itu malam hari. Pagi dan siang cuman roti ama sup2 gitu. Karena aku terbiasa makan pagi sama siang yang besar, walhasil kelaperan pas nginep rumah mertua hahaha

    1. Iyaa kalo di luar negeri pejalan kaki tuh raja ya rata – rata, seneng deh jadi mau jalan kaki tuh berasa aman, ngga penuh rasa deg2an kayak disini. Btw aku baru tau kalo di belanda biasanya makan berat pas malem.. bisa kelaperan during the day dong hehehehe

  2. Di jakarta harga rumputnya mahal kali ya dan perawatannya susah. Hahahaha. Kalo soal public transport mah emang. Untungnya commuter line udah lumayan oke jadwalnya sekarang. Membayangkan hidup di sana kok kayaknya nyaman banget..

    1. Iya untung commuter line sekarang udah mendingan banget.. daripada ngga ada sama sekali ya hehe. Iya betul, hidup di Bournemouth emang nyaman, karena kota kecil kali ya, semuanya simpel dan slow paced. Kalau di London atau Birmingham sih mirip Jakarta sebenernya, hectic juga.. tapi ya dengan sistem transportasi umum yg juga lebih bagus..

  3. People eat in Pubs or bars is beer ini pengalamanya juga sama dengan aku waktu awal tinggal disini,,bars disini malah bisa buat ngisi pulsa, bayar tagihan listrik, beli tiket kereta dll,,

    1. Oyaa kalo di Inggris perasaan ngga nemu yg sampe bisa bayar2 tagihan dan beli2 gitu sih hehehe. Seru juga jadi one stop ya, makan bisa, minum bisa, ngurusiun perintilan bisa hehe

  4. everytime i read christa di england kok berasa makin sakau kunjungi England yaa? huhuhu

    nyaman banget ya kalo public transport mumpuni…disini mah transjakarta ga kebanjiran aja dah sukur

    1. Mudah2an bisa main kesana jo.. akupun lagi sakau pengen balik lagiii… hehehe..

      Iya betul, tapi udah lumayan lah ya ada commuter line skarang. Mudah2an kedepannya bisa terus improving! 🙂

  5. hi christa, salam kenal.. hehe. kota lu itu sekecil singapore ga? haha.. gw lg tinggal di singapore nih kebetulan.. masalah public transport sih bener bngt.. at least walopun bus ga sampe tepat waktu bngt. tapi at least 10-15 mins bakal ttp dateng.. apalagi MRT. tiap 2-5 mins pasti dateng.. hehe.. tapi kalo soal duduk2 di rumput sihh.. dsini rumput.nya masih bnyk semut dan insect lainnya.. jadi msh agak jijay gt kalo duduk di rumput.. msh selalu pake tiker kalo mau picnic.. disana tuh rumput.nya jarang ada binatang ya? haha..

    1. hii jenita, salam kenal juga.. thanks udah mampir! 🙂

      Nggaa.. lebih kecil lagi dari Singapore hahaha. Kecil banget deh.. ampir desa kali ya kalo dibayangin hehe. iya ya public transport singapore juga enak banget, walau MRT kalau rush hour rame benerrr.. tapi masih nyaman lah dibandingin jakarta. Ooohh tapi di sana sebenernya boleh juga dong duduk di rumput? Kayaknya cuma di Indo doang yg ngga boleh ya hahaha.. kalau waktu di Inggris kayaknya jarang deh binatang, mau tidur2an juga ngga jijay jadinya hehehe

      1. iyaa. dsini sih boleh kalo duduk di rumput.. tapi yah tetep aja semut.nya msh ada.. jadi aku ttep ga gt berani klo duduk d rumput. hehe..

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