Saturday, November 8, 2008

London Calling: Train in Vain (Stand by Me)

Sign of the times? Houston IAH

I found my arrival to be very unceremonious. Heathrow, as far airports go, was pretty dilapidated and anti-climactic. Where was my fanfare? Where was the pomp? There was plenty of circumstance, but no pomp anywhere. The trip was much quicker and painless than previously anticipated. The flight was only eight hours from Houston to London, and we were hauling some serious ass.

The in flight display that kept us appraise of our speed, distance traveled, time until arrival, and outside air temperature, kept me intrigued as I plugged away at novel writing, drinking, and movie watching. We cruised over the entire Eastern U.S., Quebec, Nova Scotia and then the Atlantic at about thirty-seven thousand feet, at speeds that were just around seven-hundred miles per hour. I couldn’t believe that we were going that fast, or that we were that high. It was crazy.

I had a few drinks, got bored of typing, and what not, dipped into the movies that I brought along, despite having free in flight entertainment on the touch screen display in the headrest in front of me. My purchase of the plane power converter was unnecessary, due to the fact that the in-seat power outlet was a 110 volt, no adapter required affair. I watched High Fidelity, and a few hours later, I followed up with the equally melancholy, and uplifting Rushmore.

The flight went quickly, and soon I was at the customs desk getting my stamp of approval for entry to the U.K. It was off to the tubes, where I sat for an hour before my first stop at Leicester Square (pronounced Lester?), and switched from the Piccadilly Line to the Northern Line, waiting another forty-five minutes or so until my stop at the Hendon Central Station. I phoned Sian, having some difficulty with the wonky British pay phones (no cell service, oh well!) and she called the pay phone back, telling me that she would be on her way shortly.


Tube tube.

There was a little cafe right there, which is where I decided to take refuge from the grey, drizzley skies of London. I ordered some coffee, and breakfast, sitting down to read one of the high quality rags that seem to be everywhere here. I got the scoop on some U.S. celeb’s that I otherwise wouldn’t care two shits about. The coffee was great, the breakfast was so-so. The bacon kicked ass, it was more like ham than the bacon I’m used to. The eggs were definitely mircowaved, and failed to compare the ones I’d eaten from the taco window on Manor prior to my departure. There were the gratuitous sliced tomatoes, and toast, that I know from English tradition from my Bahamian fam.

Intro to British food.

Sian came, and I we went back to here Mom’s pad. They have the biggest fucking dog, I’ve ever seen. I delivered Sian’s birthday gift from Cory safely, a beautiful Tiffany & Co. necklace, that I helped to figure out the logistics of.

Happy day. 

After a quick rest and a shower, it was off to the St. Pancras train station, well actually it was off to the pub across the street from the station, where I enjoyed two well pulled pints, and some proper chips. The pub was packed. The Manchester United and Arsenal football match was on, and the tensions seemed high.

The train station was gorgeous, both inside and out, and I’ll be sure to get some pics when we get back on Monday. I’m currently on the train, headed out to Nottingham to see Liz and Vicky. The countryside is very beautiful, and is reminiscent of parts of Texas between Austin and Houston, near Roundtop. Rolling hills, forests, pastures, farmland, and quaint villages. The train is fucking sweet, and makes me angry at the lack of infrastructure back home. It’s hauling ass, and it’s modern as hell, with a bunch of push button sliding doors, and fancy gizmos. It’s time to destroy that automobile lobby and build some fucking trains already! I mean, really, it’s absurd that I can’t take a fast train somewhere in the States. Amtrak blows, and I’ll leave that to the Joe Vice Presidents of the World.

I haven’t slept in like twenty-six hours, and have been riding the caffeine/alcohol roller coaster for the past several hours. Tired one minute, wired the next. I’ve nodded off like three times while writing this blog, and am starting to feel like Jerry. What ever. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.


Shadd Scott said...

I've never been to jolly old England.
Please take many pics and post them.
I am also curious about the ales and pub scene.
What do they drink?
How much and how often?
Pitchers, English pint glasses, cans?
Fill me in.

Flapjacks said...

They drink a lot. A LOT. of pints. mostly. slightly chilled, non carbonated, but delicious.

if you want to get weird looks in Nottingham, be hairy and heavily bearded.

quote of the night: "where'd yah shavah go?"

ratso said...

Damn right the pub was packed, that's a huge game (we lost). Why are you trying to pass as a Hasidic Jew? Upload more pictures and have fun. (I have no idea who "ratso" is, but I may steal the nickname)
Ratso Ralf

Laurie said...

Look Mummy! A terrorist!

That's why the weird looks, right?

Flapjacks said...

pretty much.

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