People have been clamoring (yes, clamoring) – if not even haranguing – which is a great word by the way. It makes me think of a gorilla holding a banana about to go all monkey-crazy on a hunter holding a big blunderbuss and wearing one of those goofy big African pith helmets. What is pith? And why is a helmet made of it?
Anyway, people HAVE been clamoring (well, two of you) about my family vacation to London recently completed. That’s right – we ventured outside of the Continental United States of the Americas and invaded the English capital. How would it go? Would we make it out? Those questions will soon be answered by reading my series of ‘English Vacation’ travelogues. I’m not sure how many of these I’ll write – but honestly if I keep digressing like I just did in the first paragraph it could last months. I’ll tease the final one however – in that installment I’ll introduce you to the “Most Interesting Man in Great Britain”. You won’t want to miss that one.
The first omen – a good one. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 6:40pm. It was scheduled to arrive in London at 6:40am. Once we got in the air – I swear that this is true – guess what the captain announced that our flight time to London would be? 6 hours and 40 minutes. I’m not making that part up. It was the perfect trifecta of numerical oddities so how could ANYTHING go wrong on this trip? I stood up and applauded the captain’s obvious grasp of digitology. OK. I didn’t – but we’ll get to random applause later on in our journey. But it was a great start to the trip.
The only thing ‘wrong’ on our flight over was (and this will be a recurring theme) the food. Some of it was OK. But do you know what they served me and expected me to eat? Something called ‘a muffin top’. I have never once wanted, desired, was encouraged to, or attempted to eat something called a muffin top. In fact, by eating muffin tops I bet most people would DEVELOP muffin tops. So is this what I am to expect for the rest of the food? WHERE IS THE REST OF MY MUFFIN? Does someone south of the Equator have a little package with the label “The Rest of the Damn Muffin”??? I guess no one would eat Muffin Bottoms though.
OK, flight arrives, customs, immigration, car ride to the hotel (I won’t mention the near death caused by the taxi driver as he nearly plowed over a middle-aged English woman)….we get to the hotel and decide to walk around the immediate area. For a while all is going well, and it’s time to go back to the hotel. We then enter the “Joey-Conundrum” phase of the journey. We don’t know where we are and we don’t know what direction we’re heading. What did Joey from Friends do? He got IN THE MAP! He literally puts the map down on the sidewalk and goes INTO the map, standing on it and figuring out where he was. We did the same thing – although it’s not quite as easy with an iPad. Thank goodness we didn’t just have the iPod.
We got back to the hotel and the rest of Day #1 passed uneventfully. Went to the London Eye and had a wonderful time ferris-wheeling over the top of London. A peaceful night of slumbering is had by all with visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads.
Day #2 – My wife notices that we are “lucky” enough to be able to catch the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. Yay! No. I’m REALLY excited about it. We get there just in time to get a perfect spot in the shade right at the wall of the palace. For what? The most horrible, awful, boring experience in the history of the British Empire. As my son said (don’t know where he got such a sarcastic sense of humor from by the way), “I know why America beat England in the Revolution – it takes them a stupid hour to just change two guards”. Even my wife had had enough, and she and my daughter decided that it would all be better if the guards just dropped their guns and started a flash mob – best accompanied by “Don’t Stop Believing.” I whole-heartedly agreed. This location was also the first experience with the mob mentality of pushing, crowding and cutting. A theme by the way that reoccurs several times during our stay. But we all mentally and dutifully checked that task off our list.
Next….Westminster Abbey. As Joey puts it, “All right! Westminster Abbey! Hands down, best Abbey I’ve ever seen.” It was pretty awesome – I even got to throw an apple at Isaac Newton’s memorial without anyone noticing. And you know what? It fell straight down to the earth as if drawn by an unseen force after hitting the stone! Which is doubly odd because I asked for a simple portion of apple juice on the flight over and they didn’t have any. So there must have been some conspiracy going on between the airlines and Westminster Abbey. See the connection? They WANT you to think there’s not one, but there is. It’s gravity. And flight. Area 51 stuff.
I have to go ponder that for a bit. The next edition of the travelogue? You’ll get soccer. You’ll get more cutters. Monkey Nuts. Macaroons. Macarones. And people who spit blood. It’s your one-stop shop for London news.