Well, I finally got to go to the U.K., and it was badass. I just got back on Thursday, and have been there since last Saturday. I got to stay in York, which happens to be the major British town that William Wallace sacked as seen in Braveheart. Quite cool; the entire city was still encircled by the remnants of the original city wall that he had to contend with. It actually used to be the capital of England – back during the feudal times.
There were, however, a few quirks over there, but I have come to realize that some of them were associated with York as a small town and not the U.K. as a whole. York, as I understand now, is very similar to St. Augustine in the U.S. It even claims to be the most haunted city in its respective country. Anyway, resturants, for example, were quite different. They closed from like 2 to 5 in the afternoon, and very few seemed to be open after 10. The pubs, however, were quite open; those folks do like to drink. They also didn’t like to bring checks in the resturaunts. You basically had to ask a few times in order to convince the waiter/waitress that you were serious about leaving. Food was also very expensive. We were spending close to 80 pounds per meal out there between the 4 of us, which is like 40 dollars a piece. And for the most part the food was equivalent to roughly half that in worth in the states. There were also no free refills, and the glasses were micro-mini. So for the cost of roughly $2.50 you’d get like half of a standard U.S. glass of coke or juice. Then of course, since it was such a small glass you’d naturally want more. After getting a couple refills you will have just spent around $8 on beverages. Oh, and don’t expect to get salad or bread free either; that’s all extra. To add insult to injury, they have some sort of perverse obsession with putting lemon wedges into perfectly decent glasses of coke. You’d think I’d catch on and tell the person at the next resutraunt that I didn’t want it, but I don’t think I was hit with the reality that every single resturaunt could be so severly maligned as to think it was a good idea. I was wrong.
Another major bonus was all the food I was able to try. I had my first Indian, Greek, and Bangladeshi food, and they were all awesome. I liked the Indian quite a bit. Luckily for all involved, I didn’t have any English food other than breakfast – which is basically the same as it is here.
The highlight of the trip (without question) was the trip to Scotland. My goals were simple – eat haggis and drink Scottish beer. I made good on both accounts and I am better for it. I now look down on mere mortals who have not done so. My ultimate goal was to reach the highlands and swing a Katana on a mountain, but alas it was not to be. I need Tim there for that one anyway.
Overall the trip was a success on a massive scale. I’ll be posting pictures shortly.