More From Us In The Uk

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 12:55 pm

We got into Jersey about six hours ago, after an agonizing wait at Gatwick airport for our flight. (Turns out we had it soft; some folks had been waiting for three days to get to Jersey. The airport here had been socked in by fog for that long.) Tomorrow we head out for the Jersey Zoo, the brainchild of Gerald Durrell (still overseen by his wife, in fact) and the subject of Margaret’s Great Britain travel fantasies since she first heard of the place. Me, I go look purty aminals. And maybe buy a T shirt. 😉

Here is the second installment of photos from our trip, taken mostly at or around the London Eye (which is quite a cool little tourist attraction, lemmetellyou. Pity the cars don’t detach and ply the Thames like they did in that Simpson’s episode. Ah, well.), plus some at Trafalgar Square and the nearby, um, Something Cathedral (Margaret’s asleep or I’d ask her for the name).
I’m not quite as loquacious as my darling Wife when it comes to this trip–I’m really not getting enough sleep for one thing–but I thought I’d share a few random observations with you all regrading my experiences here:

Flying into Heathrow Airport, the modern steel-and-glass towers seem to rise up like futuristic mushrooms from a rich loam of antiquated red brick and stone.

While the President of the United States backs the “theory” of Intelligent Design and can only grudgingly admit to the possibility of global warming, the Brits like science so much that they put a strand of DNA on the back of their two-pound coin.

In England, there are lots of interesting physiological and physiognomic perplexities among the human populace. There is a manner of stentorian female figure here, a woman of a type that brings to mind the description “handsome”, big matronly women in their late 60’s hulking statefully down the sidewalks. There are people with weird planes and angles of the face where Americans don’t even have places; jawlines designed to admit dentata never meant to fit in the human face; faces like horses, faces like pugs, faces like Siamese cats. But there are virtually no truly obese people over the age of ten; if you see one, chances are super-good he or she has an American accent.

In the UK, a can of diet soda measures its energy content in kcal, or kilocalories, rather than calories as is the case in the US, which, in the case of the US, happens not to be the case.

The transit system here is to die, kill, rape, pillage and (more to the point) pay out the ass in taxes for. Our host at the B&B was lamenting to us the other day how Maggie Thatcher had butchered the rail/bus system in England, reducing it to a pale shadow of its former self in the name of her backers in the automobile industry. If this is the pared-down version, I think the real thing might be enough to send me into diurnal emission.

Despite popular lore to the contrary, beer in the United Kingdom is not universally served piss-warm. We have eaten out every single day of our stay, at pubs, bistros, Mediterranean restaurants, tandoori and fish-and-chips joints, and I have yet to be served a beer that was not refreshingly cold. Unless local comestabularies maintain a separate “stupid American” fridge of ice-cold brewskis, this piece of common knowledge about the beer-imbibing habits of the British would appear to be completely inaccurate. And it should be noted that, were it actually true, I would still quaff my Brit suds with nary a hesitation, because truth be told, the beer here does not have to be cryogenically prepared in order to be drinkable. I chalk it up to the preservatives–primarily nitrites, that jaw-tightening bitter aftertaste that seems to be the hallmark of domestic brew–that most non-American beers manage to do nicely without. Even a beer from, say, Holland, brewed and bottled in Holland for the American market, is brewed to American standards for shelf life. Which means the average imported beer contains enough nitrites to preserve a hundred strips of bacon….three hundred, if it’s a dark beer.

That’s all for now. I’m sure we’ll have just a royal shitload (or is that a metric shitload?) of Zoo photos for y’all to see in the coming days. Until then, cheerio!

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