I have now been in Spain for 2 years. Do I like it? Yes. But there somethings I just don't get.
Driving: Spaniards have no concept of the different between red and green traffic lights. It could be green for you to walk, but I urge you to check for cars before you step foot off the pavement. Spaniards have no idea what indicators are for, and worst of all, they make no difference in their speed during bad weather. (yes, I generalize, but so you get the fact it is the case for the majority)
The UK are more controlled with their driving, they use indicators although road rage had started to be a bigger problem - media hype?!
In Thailand the roads (if they existed) were in a bad state, a lot of dirt track type roads, or tarmac roads needing repair. The driving was awful, a common site was upto 6 people on a moped (scooter)!!
Shopping: shopping is an issue in Spain for me because of the damn 'siesta'. It's nice to have a nap in the afternoon sure, but if you are out shopping and its 2 in the afternoon, suddenly all the shops close and you have to return home and finish your shopping 3 hours later at 5pm. This drives me crazy! It is quite an expensive place to shop and buy property.
In the UK they open at 9am and start to close around 6pm - this is alright unless you have to work - then you have to skip lunch or worse you all shop at the same time: Saturdays! What a nightmare that is. It is a very expensive place to shop and buy property.
The only place that really works to my clock is Thailand. They open their stores around 12ish (noon) then they stay open till 2am and there are markets everywhere and you can haggle etc.
It is SO cheap to shop and buy property.
Gastronomy: Spain, well if you dont like seafood or you are a vegetarian it aint so great. Personally I find Spanish food bland and not exciting. I like spice and curries, Spain does neither :-(
The UK has maybe the best variety of options I have experienced so far. Not only does it offer curry houses of all descritions but you can also buy foreign ingredients from supermarkets to make yourself.
It's funny that the UK national dish is NOT Fish & Chips but Chicken Tikka Masala.
Thailand has wonderful aromatic food and excellent curries - also a lot of seafood, but there are plenty of options and good for vegetarians too.
The weather: Spain is very good in general - nice sunny days, clear skies.
Whereas the UK we are famous for rainy days and grey clouds - to be honest I think their rainy days aren't that bad, but the gloom of grey clouds makes it seems much worse.
The weather in Thailand, wow, like an oven door was opened everytime you step outside. Lovely hot weather, when it rained within 5 minutes you would have never known.
Sport: Spain has bullfighting, personally I have never seen a bullfight and have no intentions on doing so, this is a dying art and less popular with the younger generations mainly because the killing of the bull.
The UK, if you don't count drinking it has football. I have never really being a footy fan, a lot of trouble occurs with football matches whether your team wins or loses.
Thailand of course has Thai boxing. Now this I like! The music, the style, the open gambling - Thailand has 2 main stadiums Lumpini and Ratchadamnoen, the latter is the best.
Important point to mention: people may argue about violent sports, but rarely do you have trouble after a boxing match, yet after football it's almost a guarantee: why is that?
The people: Spaniards are friendly and will try to help you as much as they can, about 32% speak English, the second language is French. English is now becoming more important due to multinational companies and international business.
In the UK the people are generally too serious, in a rush and not pleasant to speak to. They have far too many accents (about every 40 miles in any direction and the accent changes), the further North you go the harder the accent becomes. The second language is French, not many speak Spanish, in fact not many speak a second language, unless you are foreign.
In Thailand the people smile a lot! It is called the land of smiles and you can see why. The people are very friendly, always talking to you (in order for you to buy something mainly).
They also speak very good broken English. One thing that impressed me was the fact they would assess you as you walked up the street then change their accents when speaking with you.
An example of this would be - if I wore a baseball cap: I was an American, and they would use a bad American accent, if I wore board shorts and sandals I was an Aussie and they would typically say G'day mate in bad Aussie, if however I looked average they would guess British and greet me by saying 'lovely jubbly' or other things like this. (lovely jubbly was an expression on TV by a cockney character: Dell Boy. We don't say that, honest!)
The thing is they are adaptable and have to be to survive, I admire that.
CONCLUSION: I like Spain in general, I don't miss the UK; just somethings, but overall I love Thailand.
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