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The Great Fire of London burns in my pants.

We got to London in the early afternoon. We went to our hotel to drop off our bags. We mostly stank of seawater and various venereal diseases but we wanted to get as much seen in London in the next two days as possible so there was no time for showering.

The Tube system in London is obscene. There are branches of branches of routes and colors (colours) for lines that range from green to forest to lime. We managed to find our way to the lower west side of the Thames to see the Parliament building, Big Ben, and a statue of Wilt Chamberlain that makes him look like Kingpin from the Marvel Comic Universe.

We went into Westminster Abbey to see the grand cathedral. The inside is very impressive and grand, but there are so many memorials and statues to the departed that it looks like they were thrown there by a violent behemoth working on a short deadline. That being said, holy crap there are some rich people in England.  We then journeyed to Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. We did this mainly so I could mock him and his supposed accomplishments, but the theater is actually cool to see. We then went to Wimbledon but were too late to see anything.

The next day we got up early and set off for the Tower of London. It is an impressive sight but there is almost too much to see. The armories are really neat even if you don’t like guns. My favorite moment was when I asked one of the beefeaters if they had bear baiting there and he immediately started laughing. He also guessed that we wanted directions to the dungeon area two seconds into our conversation. I guess Jay just has that look about him.

After the Tower, we still had time to kill so we tried to make our way to the Saatchi Gallery on recommendation from Florida. He neglected to mention that it was closed, as in gone. Neat trick, buddy. It turned out to be okay because they had Dali Universe on the other side of the buidling and it was open. We went in and took in the sights. There weren’t many paintings, mainly etchings and drawings, but they did have Spellbound which is incredible. The whole experience was very surreal. /rimshot

We then made our way to Matt’s place in Oxford. It turned out here landlady’s nephew was in town at the same time as us (with family) so we would be sleeping on Matt’s floor instead of the common room couches. Jay shows remarkable adaptability in situations like this and suffered without complaint. I am basically a masochist at heart.

We went out for a few pints the first night and turned in. The following day, we did the awesomely unthinkable and rented a car in England. Yours truly got to drive in England since I am over 25 and Jay is not. Matt had to work so we took the entire day and went to see Stonehenge and the Avebury rock formation. Stonehenge is very clean and roped off, but it is still pretty impressive to see. You get fairly close to get a good perspective on what it was like and how impressive building it must have been. The Avebury rock circle isn’t as impressive, but it isn’t roped off, you don’t have to pay to see it, and there is also Silbury hill close by. The rocks are in the middle of sheep pastures so the only trick is avoiding their leavings.  There is also a burial mound close by but we ran out of time and had to get the car back to Oxford.

A word about driving in England, the only real trick is shifting with your left hand.  And I don’t drive manual normally so it took a while for me to get the feel down again.  I left a significant portion of the tires in the Stonehenge parking lot.  Also, I drove on the right side for a portion of the trip.  It was an empty road with no lines painted.  I would argue that it was entrapment.

We returned to Oxford for dinner and a few drinks with Matt and Andrea.  The following day Matt showed us around Oxford.  The University is composed of a loose alliance between 36 different colleges.  Many of these are significantly old and have a lot of history to them.  It is pretty neat to see all of the old chapels and such.  Matt’s friend Heather also took us up one of the towers to get a cool view of the campus.  Overall it was pretty cool.

It was our last night of our trip so we went out for a traditional English meal (bangers and mash, actually better than it sounds) and then got tanked.  Matt, Jay, and I stumbled back to Matt’s place in a drunken stupor.  Jay called Valerie on the street and we proceeded to have the conversation every group of friends has with their buddy’s girlfriend.  At some point along the route home Jay got in the quote of the night:

Old English Slags: Where are you guys from?

Caleb: Chicago.

Old English Slags: We love your accent.

Jay: First of all, we don’t have an accent, you do.

Good times.


One Response to “The Great Fire of London burns in my pants.”

  1. Oli Says:


    I’m glad you had a good time in England, that you met some of our English slags, drank some pints and navigated the Underground.

    About the Underground: you know the plume of dust matter that bursts forth moments before the inbound train arrives, well, it isn’t just dust, in-fact, it is a combination of rat/pigeon shit, human skin and dirt that has united together to form an entirely new life-form. It has achieved sentience and has developed a sense of shame for itself and compassion for those with whom it comes into contact.

    Stone Henge really is a marvel to see but it actually never formed part of a greater structure. It is a Neolithic and Bronze Age megalithic monument which some believe is a tribute to the sun god. Allegedly, on the summer solstice the stones are aligned perfectly with the sun’s rays. It is on this day that hippies, new-age travellers and such spend the night there and celebrate the longest day of the year.

    See you soon!

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