Eurotrashcation: Part Three

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Click here Part One and Part Two.

We woke up when the sun hardly a flesh wound, only slightly bleeding over the horizon. If there was such a thing as a sun in the U.K., that is. We headed over to the nearest convenience shop and slightly bled our bank accounts for cash, as though they were inflamed (they were decidedly not).

We made our way to the train station, catching it minutes before it choo-chooed out of the station. Three changes later, noticing old women wearing old clothes and worn shoes, bejeweled wrinkled fingers entwined in a husband’s and we were at Newcastle.

One of our cards, the one that actually had money on it for things like food and transportation (you know, conveniences) and we were stuck making calls to people across the pond where they were fast asleep. After the fifth call, the card was unfrozen.

We got on the bus we needed, in time for it but almost late for the next transportation. I asked the driver when the bus would move, and he said “soon”, which immediately made me feel like an ass. An Idiot American, and that wouldn’t be the first time. It drove us to the harbor, and we boarded.

This was my first time on sea, that is, if you neglect the ancient, primordial sea that is the Eastern Plains of Colorado. Our room on the ferry reminded of a brig. I lay on the bed very still and remembered stories from Maryland about kids using scopolamine patches to trip out and wished I had but one. Then the boat actually started rocking, and my stomach joined. I felt it sloshing inside my abdomen. I laid there until I grew accustomed to it, like I was having a bad trip by myself, trying to help myself with a repeated mantra. We went to the on board restaurant for lunch, walking with bow-legged steps. I ate the salmon, because I figured it would be fresh. I don’t actually know anything about the life of a seaman, so I shouldn’t say anything.

We puffed on cigarettes on the deck and watched the smoke signals disintegrate behind us. Some heady motherfuckers walked by, laughing in the Dutch language. Despite my landlocked origin, it was actually Hoss that was got a little sea sick. We spent a good hour in our holding cell, with me rubbing his tummy, trying to coax him back to life.

We went up to the ferry’s bar, rolling our eyes as we passed a Tina Turner cover band. I ordered a margarita, the first I had in months, and he ordered a club soda. The bartender, seeing our age, was rude and curt. Or maybe that’s just how it was. We watched a Dutchman get really drunk, holding his phone up and banging it down. I ordered another and asked Hoss to tip the man really well.

We went back to the holding cell and told each other secrets, secrets too private to be written here.

For lack of better entertainment, we went to the movie theater, and watched that James Bond movie where he clearly has a tentacle fetish. We laughed, we rolled our eyes, we made Archer jokes, we slept. The ferry passed through the sea.

Eurotrashcation: Part Two

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Click here for Part One.

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In the morning we threw ourselves out of bed, threw our shit into our bags, and threw our feet out the door.

The next stop was the city of Norwich, where I was studying for the semester. I was not terribly excited for this stop, if I’m being completely honest. I had spent four months there already, stumbling from pub to pub in search of margaritas and rowdy people to party with. The city was sleepy, and I wasn’t ready to go to bed again. Hoss wanted to see what I had been up to, so we went.

It was Easter when we rode in that coach to Norwich. Couples were returning to town, holding hands and complaining about in-laws. A kid’s head rolled against the seat as she slept.

We checked out the campus, first. The design is rooted in the ’60’s, but the colossal cement glacier has slid through the decades. Walk paths crossed over ground floors, cut underneath with flights of stairs, like the campus was folded up on itself. In conjunction with the grey sky, the ambiance was something desolate. The sun flirted with exposing herself, but the foul air she used as perfume made her unappealing.

Then we headed into town. The town was closed for the remembrance of its Lord and Savior’s resurrection. The Norman castle loomed on the hill, its white stone burning to assert its authority. We stopped going into the churches after we accidentally interrupted a second Easter gathering. Cobbles of the road clunked beneath our steps. Men laughed at drunk passed out in some trash in an alley.

We ate some Indian food. It was simultaneously the most vegetables and most flavor I had eaten in one sitting for four months. We were short on cash, and had to give a shitty tip.

Norwich was the vacation from our vacation.

 

Eurotrashcation: Part One

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During the spring, I traveled through Europe. This is a recitation of the events which happened.

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Early in the morning, I went to Heathrow.

I bought some coffee, and bid my time. The croissant was tasty. I bought a ten pack of camels, which was ridiculously expensive. As usual. Someone was being a dick to the Sikh salesclerk. As usual.

The plane took forever to land. I tapped my feet and waited around the flight board. Families and couples reunited around me at the international arrivals. Like that goddamn Hugh Grant movie. An eastern European woman sobbed. An old Middle Eastern man sobbed. Children screamed as they waited for their parents to come home.

The plane landed, but took another hour to get its shit together. I was getting nervous that I had gone to the wrong airport. The luggage claim of for the plane went through, and another hour passed.

Then he was coming through the door. We hugged and kissed, and, yeah, it was like that Hugh Grant movie, okay? Except an Arabic man scoffed at us. Not every moment is perfect, though. Hoss remarked that I looked like a little leather daddy.

We struggled to find the underground towards our hotel. A woman joked with her husband that “Cockfosters” were two of her favorite things. There was an accordion player on the tube. Several people panhandled in the car.

The hotel was very nice and very gay. The table was a sort of pink glass, which matched the pink highlights of the room. There was a pink lotus blooming in a painting. I cannot stress enough how pink this room was, but it matched the dreary London sky.

We relaxed after Hoss’s eight hour flight. When we emerged from the room some four hours later, the sun was down. We decided to go out anyways. We caught the underground to Piccadilly Circus, which Hoss was not as impressed with as I was when I saw it the first time. I like the lights and the noise and the energy of the place. It buzzes.

I showed him Big Ben. I showed him Trafalgar Sqaure and the National Gallery. The streets were dark and quiet, but spooky is more our speed. We saw Westminster Abbey. We saw things we didn’t know the significance of. We recognized names but not the sights. We walked down the Thames and held hands. With shoes echoing against the pavement, we walked to the Tower of London and saw Tower Bridge, which I maintain is campy as fuck. We pointed at the umbrellas shoved into the trash bins.

We got lost and had to ask a tourist where we were to get home. She pointed us out on the underground system map, and it was clear we were lost in a machine we didn’t comprehend.

When we made it home later after grabbing a bag of KFC, a drunk, homeless, Irish man told us some jokes.

“What do you call dairy from Israel?”

“What?”

“Cheesus of Nazareth. What’s the difference between an envelope and the Queen’s vagina?”

“What?”

“I wouldn’t want to lick one.”

We both gave him a couple pounds. He deserved it.