• The London conundrum...

    Do you know the difference between a city and a country?

    It seems that every time I travel to my beloved land, the locals have a slight issue differentiating between the two, but this it seems, is just another little quirk I have grown to love, albeit recently and after many years of fightback dwindling.

    "Com'e' Londra? Bella, no?"
    Place yourself in a chemists, butchers, coffee shop. Now, imagine one of the regulars has noticed you, or even that you are not from around there. (This happens a lot). You will be greeted with a smile, a curious look, and then the "you're not from around here are you?" question.

    "No, I'm from England"

    "Ahhhh London, London's beautiful isn't it, I bet you must like living there. What's it like? Is it good living in London?"

    To the untrained ear, you will not instantly notice the mistake, but after time you come to realise that the person, the one has been so forthcoming with greetings has just asked "how's London?" to your face.

    "E' bella, beh, e' una citta del sud... "
    There are two ways to answer "the London question".

    1) Do as I did for 12/13 years "I'm not from London, I wouldn't know. I live miles and miles away. Tell you what; How's Rome, it's beautiful isn't it, I bet you must love living there. Is it nice living in Rome?"

    This answer is met with shock, awe, disgust; swiftly followed up with "I don't know, I don't live in Rome, I live in Nola, why do you think I live in Rome?"

    2) The grown up answer "It's lovely, well, it's a city in the South of England. They have a lovely palace and big parks, the things you expect from London. Queen Liz, yeah she's alright".

    Met with a smile, a nod, a "ha, interessante".

    The answer, it seems, lies in a football!
    There's no point saying where you are actually from unless you are either from London, or have a big football team near you. The whole, "it's north, about 200 miles away" doesn't compute. But say "It's near Manchester United/Mancini/Balotelli" and the look of confusion dissipates, the answer "not near London at all" is subsequently muttered. The look of disappointment is heart breaking.

    You can't help but feel that with all the modern technology and maps, there shouldn't be any confusion, but alas the country and city confusion rambles on, even to this day.

    It is now part of a repertoire. One I look forward to every time I go over, it's all part of that absurd beauty that makes Italy, Italy.

    2 comments → The London conundrum...

    1. Gino, this is so true and ALWAYS happens to me!! "Sono inglese" is almost always followed by "ma Londra, che bello!". Aargh! Or every time someone goes to London they come back and tell me all the ins and outs, "you know, round the corner from Leicester Square!" (I just smile and nod, I don't have the heart to tell them that I have no idea what they are talking about...) Luckily I was born in Manchester so I can tell them that, not that anyone really knows where it is geographically in comparison to London. I might try your tactic of the Rome thing from now on! :-)

    2. Being a (Man)Chester boy myself I know what you mean whole-heartedly! Thanks for your comment Holly!

    Post a Comment