Sunday, June 26, 2011

London Part 2

Trying to catch up here is part two of our activities in England. 

Lets go to England for a taste of Brazil
We have found so far that wherever we travel we find that consistently the foreign restaurants have the best food at the lowest price.  I was out drinking one night and was surprised to find out that bars in England are required to close at midnight.  The bartender told me about a bar down the street that stayed open all night.  It was a Brazilian bar with a big bouncer standing out front.  First he told me they were closed then he looked both ways and said to go around back.  Apparently you can stay open after midnight but are not supposed to serve alcohol and can't let people in.  Your supposed to just shut the doors and people who are there can stay as long as they want.  It was great, they had live Brazilian music and people were dancing and drinking.  Apparently they do this every night and are open till 6:am.  I only stayed a little while but a couple days later we went back there for dinner with some friends and the food was amazing as well.  For 9 pounds we got a whole sea-bass with another whole plate of rice, beans and salad.
     We also ate at a couple Indian places that were great and very affordable.  On the other side there was the fish and chips and meat pies at English restaurants and pubs which never really impressed and were always a bit pricey.     
I shot some pool with some guys one night that were out on a stag party (British version of a bachelor party).  They have snooker in Brittan but this was not snooker it was regular bar pool.  The British have three noticeable differences in their pool though.  In US bar pool the cue ball is slightly larger than the other balls so it can be separated when you scratch and come out the cue ball hole.  Because bar tables need to have the balls only accessible when you put in quarters their is a bar inside the table along the path that the balls role which is just low enough that the 15 solid and striped balls can fit under but the cue ball hits it and is redirected to the cue ball hole.  This difference in cue balls also killed a guy once when he was showing off with his bar trick of swallowing a pool ball then coughing it back up.  He used a cue ball instead of a regular ball once and because off the size difference it got caught in his throat and he choked to death (credit to 1000 ways to die for that story).  If this guy was British he would have been fine because in Britain the pool the cue ball is smaller instead of larger.  It may seem like this wouldn't really matter but if you shoot pool you know the difference in the radius of the ball would throw all of your angled shots off.  Needless to say I sucked at British pool.
      The second difference is that when you scratch in British pool the other player can put the ball anywhere on the table they want and gets two shots.  It doesn't matter if they miss their first shot or their sixth shot they then get another shot.
     The final difference is they do not bother with numbering the balls (except the 8 ball).  There are only Red and Yellow balls. Guess there's no playing 9 ball in England. 

Small victory for Terrorism in England
There are almost no public trash cans in England.  Trash cans have always been the first casualty in the was against terrorism.  I guess you could say they are an indicator species.

Small Notes
  • Travelers always seem to know what to do and see in a city better than people who have lived there for years.
  • The door from some house in the movie Notting hill sold for 100k+ pounds.  Just a normal door.
  • There is no consistency in street signs in London, if and where they are displayed and when they are if they are even the correct street name.  Anyone who has been there will back me up. 

Your my hotspot
Val and I found the solution to overseas phone issues.  I purchased an unlocked smart phone and sim card (no small price tag there) and Val has her iPhone and a $20 throw away phone that takes a sim card.  We can call each other on our sim card phones and both have a local number.  My phone has a hotspot function that when on allows Val to connect to my wifi with her iPhone.  This way we can both use apps like skype and directions but we only had to buy one expensive unlocked smart phone.

Snickers (your not yourself when your hungry)
Val gets grumpy when she isn't fed.  Lets hope she reads this after a good meal or I'm in the dog house.  You all know those Snickers commercials where there's a group of people and one is acting like a diva or pain in the ass and their being played by Rosanne or Betty white.  Well that's Val if she gets hungry.   

Keep out
We have barbed wire and razor wire but they get serious with their wall/fence climbing deterrents in London.

They do have the plain barbed wire.

Here's a nice variation of the impale you spike.

Now we get into where they really excel, the hamster wheel topped walls.  
This is a series of wire mesh X's mounted so they can individually spin on a central bar.

Some particularly nasty spinning spikes.

And the same type again but multi-tiered this time, guarding nothing more than a flat spot on a bridge support. 

Designed to slice dice and stab.  I'd like to see the security footage from that camera. 

Another variation designed to do some damage.

This is the cheap ass version made of sections of  pipes that have been cut then bent back and slid onto a bar. Looks like it would still work for the most part though.

Here's an ornate one on a wall at Westminster Abey.  Looks a little like the chariot spikes in Ben Hur.

I wish I could have seen the testing process when they were deciding how to make all these impeding and impaling devices. 

Grave robbing anyone?
We traveled down to Stonehenge one day and also saw ancient burial mounds (burrows) in the same area.  I was surprised when the guide said there were dozens of burial mounds in the area and only a couple of them had been excavated.  They figured they knew everything they would find out from these first couple excavations and left the others alone.  One of the mounds they excavated was of an ancient bronze age king and the treasures recovered there are so valuable they have been locked in a bank vault and never put on display.  The remains of the king himself were left in the burial chamber and remain there as does who knows what treasures in the many untouched burial mounds.
     These mounds are spread through out the fields all around the Stonehenge with only a sheep fence separating them from the road.  Of course my first thought was why hasn't anyone gone out with a shovel and dug these up?

Camilla the gorilla
This is the affectionate name the British people have given to Prince Charles' wife.  Wonder what they have against them?  Prince Charles in next in line for the royal throne but for some reason the Brits and not thrilled to have him.  The openly hope he has a short reign and the newly wed prince William then becomes king. 

This is not the London Bridge

This is.
Yep, the London bridge is not nearly as cool as you'd think.

But the London Eye is.

Even on a cold and drizzly day they put our hundreds of lawn chairs in Hyde park.

Hot Fuzz in front of Buckingham palace. 

They had to make some incentive for guys to come to church. 

Valerie finds a mall.

You can now take terrorist training in the malls in London.

Just for Rose.

You can take a crap in Westminster Abbey but no photos inside.

The Socialist party has an office in London.

And so does Scientology.

To see all the photos go to and look at the London gallery.

Update on Iceland
Forgot to tell you, wood is very scarce in Iceland.  They had no trees until they started planting them in the last decade or so.  Originally there were some trees but they cut them down and burnt them all up for heat over the first couple hundred years.
Also the punishment for people found guilty of murder used to be they were exiled from the country and if they did not leave or came back anyone who saw them could legally kill them.
If someone broke into your house you could legally kill them as long as you did it with their own shoes.  This is why I did all of my breaking and entering there barefoot.

Now on to Scotland.

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