Saturday, June 11, 2011

London Part 1

Most of our time in England was spent in London.  London is a nice city from what we saw.  It has a river (the Thames) running right through the middle which is always good.   I have found I prefer cities that are built around some geology.  We saw the London eye, Westminster Abey, Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, the city of Bath, Hyde Park, Big Ben and the London Bridge among other things.

Sorry about Slough
Our stay in London started out poorly.  I had booked accomodations at the last minute online (5 minutes before the flight) at a place called the airport guesthouse.  I had assumed it would be right next to the airport but found when we got there that the address made no sense to me (or anyone else) and several information desk people had different ideas of where it was.  After a bus, then taxi ride we arrived at the hotel which was right on the bus route in the first place.  This place was tiny.  Even smaller than the NY hotel, only room to stand our luggage upright.
     The next day we bought a cell phone in Slough (Carphone Wearhouse is great) and everyone we talked to apologized for the city.  The city of Slough wasn't actually that bad, that it was even farther away from London than the airport and difficult to get to and from was the real problem.  
     We stayed there for 2 nights before finding new accommodations.  We stayed in the new Studio apartment for 12 days and it was awesome.  If you plan on going to London you should check in with Rob at  This studio had plenty of room a nice shower, washer, etc.  Basically it was fully furnished for living and close to central London (in Vauxhal).  They didn't need to make it such a nice place but then did so thanks guys. 
     Now here's a first.  I rank Los Angeles as better than Slough, but to be fair I think Slough was really like the San Fernando city of London.  I'm going to stop mentioning how cities compare to Los Angeles unless I find others where LA is better.  

 The only house we saw in this style in England was this strip club on our terrible walk between Slough and the airport.  We meant to take a bus but as we walked down the street a bus stop never came.  I was not fun.

I literally blame it on reality TV
Before we left LA I had noticed 'literally' was the new it word.  Everyone was using it in every sentence and always to add emphasis to something that it literally didn't work for.  "I literally died when I saw it...My head literally exploded, etc.  Our friends across the pond have also caught this bug apparently and after exhaustive research I have tracked it back to reality TV.  In their never ending quest to make every hour of peoples lives none of us should care about on all their shit shows seem interesting the producers are having to constantly ratchet up the rhetoric.  If I leaned anything from Hollywood it's that the only way to eradicate such a highly contagious disease is to drop a bomb on the infected areas or track down the original monkey and then all drink it's blood or something.  

Something they have that thankfully we don't is 'brilliant'.   They will use brilliant in any and all situations.
'hey lets get some breakfast'
'brilliant, lets'.  
'I just finished watching every Tyler Perry movie back to back' 
'that's brilliant, why didn't you let me know'
Then you'll get this.
'did you see that special on Stephen Hawking last night?'
'Yeah, that guy's smart but my cousin went to college and he's literally twice as smart.'

Complete strangers will call each other love ('would you like a pint with that love?').  Which makes you reevaluate every song a Brit has wrote about love. 

Val's quotes of the day
'I don't hate children, I just don't want to be around them.'

'It wasn't real right?'
About a guard standing post at the Windsor Castle.  Just after she asked this the guard turned and walked his rounds.

It's been confirmed, London taxis suck
Taxi's are not the same everywhere.  We all know they will try to take the long way whenever possible and will basically overcharge you any way they can but most cities have some regulations on their taxis to ensure some order and fairness.  London seems to be lacking in some areas.  Our second day in London we were heading back to Slough around midnight.  The train only went as far as the airport and the last bus had gone already so we found ourselves needing to get a taxi from the airport to our hotel.  Anyone who has traveled knows airports and other travel hubs are the worst places to pick up a taxi.  You are always better walking a couple blocks and getting one off the street.  Luckily we had gone through this before and new it was only a couple miles.    It's a couple miles away from the city though (not toward) and the taxis all refused to take us there.  One said he might for 60 pounds, it is a 5 minute ride!  I thought how are they even allowed to line up at the airport if they are going to refuse a fair.  Shouldn't the first taxi have to take whoever comes, and since when do they get to dictate the fair.  The guy running the line said at this time of night they all want fairs going into the city where they will be able to get more fairs.  FUCK those guys.  We ended up calling a taxi service in Slough and having them send someone to pick us up.  It cost 12 pounds total. 

One for the road
We were having a burger and a beer for lunch our first day in London and overheard the following conversation.
'you want anything to eat with that love?'
'no, I'm on to work now so just the pint'
I thought he might have a little drinking problem then hoped he didn't work in construction or drive a tour bus.  Later in the trip we were having dinner with some Londoners and brought this up.  Apparently it's not an isolated incident and is actually considered very normal to have a pint or two during or before work or for students before going to class.  Teachers of all grades can have a pint at lunch and nobody thinks anything of it.  Can you imagine if a school teacher cracked a cold one at lunch in the states, it would be a scandal. 

You know what they call a hamburger in London?
They don't call it a hamburger?
Would I mention it if they did?  Anyway hamburger aint made of pig, so they call it a beef burger.

Part 2 coming soon.
For photos go to and check out the London event. 

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