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Wednesday, 29 December
London (II)

Well, might as well finish this out. There really isn't much to tell, but hey . . . it isn't football either.

Our train back to London from Bath was relatively event-free, and mercifully did not include any drunken, amorous fumblings from fellow passengers. I confess I did briefly feel an urge to experiment with screaming at the public address messages: "SHUT UP! CHRIST HATES YOUR GONE-OFF SANDWICHES!" But I confined myself to periodically dozing, occasionally waking up to hoarsely whisper at the wife, "WOTSITS?"

We arrived without incident at the hotel, if one can rationally consider a London cab ride a non-incident, for London cabbies are a voluble, lurching lot that think nothing of erratic lane changes and rundown bicyclists left screaming in a tangle of twisted hollowcore metal, all the while calmly expounding on the relative merits of dead junkies. "They's a lot of mass, them junkies. Hell on the landfills. On t'other hand, they's dead, which is good." "My God! You ran over that delivery guy!" "Snapped 'is femurs, I did! Bloody cunts."

You people who cycle around London are fucking crackers, is all I'm saying.

We arrived at our hotel presently, which was in the alarmingly tony-seeming and thronged Kensington neighborhood. Various luscious-looking shops were everywhere, and filled with people with cell phones screwed into their ears. An H&M beckoned at the wife to come besmock herself, and on a visit the next day, we found it typically swarming. I noted a certain non-American disregard for rack sorting: in the US, pants are all over there, shirts over here, and so forth. H&M doesn't give a fuck, really. It's just fashion salad: suit jackets next to jeans (AND here's a shelf of ugly hats!) and then a couple parkas tossed in like croutons. We didn't have any fucking money anyway.

But I get ahead of myself. Checking into the hotel, we were met at the desk by a pleasant young woman. I gave her my name. "Kurruk . . . Skot? Yes! Two rooms, then?" We stared at her. I felt something knot in my bowels. "No . . . " I said, knowing what was to come. "One room. We reserved one room." She looked down at some paperwork. Specifically, two sets of paperwork. Then she went and got a manager. Who, yes, told us that we had two reservations.

I stifled a moan. In Bath, we had made reservations via a website called [REDACTED ON ADVICE OF PRETEND COUNSEL], a . . . . "last minute" website offering discounted hotel rates in "London." (There! Nobody could possibly piece those hints together!) The rates were indeed good, but the interface was fucking horrifying; I literally was able to smoke a cigarette before the fucking page load completed to give us our confirmation. I have bought thousands of dollars of crap online, so I also know better than to (despite mounting fury) pound the "Submit" button over and over and all that crap.

And yet we got nailed twice by the "last minute" website for hotels in "London." (I AM BEING GOOD, PRETEND COUNSEL!) The real clincher in my mind that I had not done anything wrong was the fact that I got only one confirmation email regarding the transaction, specifying only one room. If I had somehow fucked it and inadvertantly made two, I should have gotten two confirming emails. We called them, and they promised to make restitution, minus some fucking fee to the hotel, them being out for reserving a room and all that. Well, eat me, because we didn't do anything wrong, and it seems to me that we shouldn't have to pay a cent for an error we never committed.

Good God, I don't even want to go on about this, because it's so fucking stupid. And it's not even my place, since we were using the unlucky wife's card on the whole deal, and she's been the one having to deal with it. Suffice it to say that there was chargeback wrangling, and then bank complaining, and much confusion, and it is still not resolved, and all I can say is, when at the "last minute" in "London," be wary of which "dotcom" you engage to make your bloody reservation. [PRETEND COUNSEL, AM I NOT SMOOTH?]

Our last couple days were spent frugally, as we were getting a bit on the lean side--thanks, lousy crumbling dollar! I did note that a week after getting back that the dollar dove even further into the septic tank versus the pound. We kept to the hotel bar and restaurants (which played, mysteriously, freakishly loud Trans-Siberian Orchestra-esque music; nothing like eating carbonara while baffling guitar sprays keep getting tangled in one's noodles). We ventured a couple times to a pub called the Prince of Wales, which was obviously no stranger to travelers; its menu prominently featured a HOW TO ORDER block of text, advising befuddled Americans that sitting down at a table with worried expressions was never going to result in a waitress.

(It's actually kind of fun trying to spot Americans waiting for service rather than going up to the bar. They usually end up either disgustedly leaving, feeling affronted, or they corral some poor bastard who was on his way to unclog a toilet. Just who you want handling your comestibles.)

What else? Not much. The flight back was unextraordinary, and we glumly stared at the same fucking movies we flew over with, horrors like Troy and Dame Edna Eats It All For You or whatever.

Soon we were home. And now we're done with all that.

I'll try and cool it on the football too. No promises.

Roam | Skot | 29 Dec, 2004 |

Note: Comments are closed on old entries.

Comments

I for one loved the travel stuff. Thanks for taking the time to write it out. Then again, I'm now taking small groups of clueless never-traveled-before yokels to Europe for week-long trips a couple times a year just to make them feel uncomfortable for my amusement. This is what I've been waiting for! ; )

I took Sammi to London, Wales and Paris this spring, and after two short weeks, I had to remind her that she can't say "cunt" in junior high the way they can in the UK.

Merry Xmas. :)

Comment number: 004855   Posted by: Candi on December 29, 2004 03:41 AM from IP: 207.69.137.205

You bloody wanker, where's my football column?

*gnaws knuckles*

Comment number: 004856   Posted by: 6y on December 29, 2004 06:32 AM from IP: 24.75.116.128

And did your house smell funny when you got back? Like, unfamiliar? Mine always does.

So yeah, agreed, thanks for writing all that out. I actually learned some stuff. Any time I can come off as less of an American Assface. :)

Comment number: 004857   Posted by: Melissa on December 29, 2004 09:43 AM from IP: 24.28.5.44

Son of a BITCH! Sorry bout the double post. :(

Comment number: 004859   Posted by: Melissa on December 29, 2004 09:48 AM from IP: 24.28.5.44

Easily fixed.

Comment number: 004860   Posted by: Skot on December 29, 2004 10:51 AM from IP: 66.150.9.2

You know what? If people can't take the occasional column about football, they should take their whiny bottoms to Kenny Loggins' blog, www.sensitiveguy.blogspot.com and stop complaining.

Comment number: 004861   Posted by: Joe on December 29, 2004 01:33 PM from IP: 207.69.138.12

(don't try to go to that site. I made it up. for all I know, it's an erotic site.)

Comment number: 004862   Posted by: Joe on December 29, 2004 01:35 PM from IP: 207.69.138.12

hey, hope you don't mind me commenting on your (very funny) blog. you can talk about football if you want, so long as you end it with a 'WOTSITS!'

Comment number: 004864   Posted by: bushra on December 31, 2004 05:04 AM from IP: 195.10.45.217

If you can act like you write, you gotta be one funny son of a bitch...looking forward to 2005!
Happy new year!
Rob n Ann

Comment number: 004865   Posted by: el robbo on December 31, 2004 05:38 PM from IP: 69.91.92.5

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