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A Travel Guide by Ken Downs
I found out that I am an Aztec assassin. So was my great grandfather before me. For some unknown reason, the Aztecs love the number three; and assassins. And white people!? Aztassins are real! I then got a cool pig pokémon keychain.
22.08 Berlin (airport)
So hungry. Madness sets in....
Girlfriend busy on facebook. Maybe I should eat some of her.
Meet five British folk. One of them was gay. Ergo, 20% of British people are homosexual. A fairly low percentage.
Our plane comes in and we wait. And we wait. We wait some more. Eventually, an ambulance drives up to the plane. We're told not to worry, it's "just" a medical emergency. And to set our minds at ease, they announce that it was JUST a passenger. Not someone important like a crew member. A bad case of low blood sugar. They should carry an "in case of emergency" cookie tin or something.
5PM London time
London smells of squash. Strangely foreign and familiar at the same time.
I transferred some of my sweet, sweet euros into big, fat pounds. A purple Queen Elizabeth stares back at me. England is a different beast.
The train from Stansted seems pretty posh, and at £30 a ride, I would hope so.
8PM London Standard Time
Fried Chicken! All around me there are more varieties of fried chicken than I ever thought imaginable. That's something no one ever told me.
I grabbed a soft drink labeled as Mountain Dew Energy. It was just regular Mountain Dew.
9AM The Next Day
I come to an impossible decision. Yesterday I exchanged my old shoes (which consisted of a piece of rubber harder than the tarmac I walked on and a pair of strings to attach them to my feet) for some sandals. The fiancee thought it was a great idea. To be fair, it started out that way. But by 10PM, I learned that one should "ease" into a new set of footwear. So on to my impossible decision:
Should I continue to wear these sandals, hoping that the constant rubbing on my blisters will give them the kinetic energy needed for budding giving myself multiple, albeit miniature, versions of myself, OR; do I wear socks with my sandals?
Tough choice. Tough indeed. I always wanted a miniature army and Me's would make great pets!
Somewhere between 9AM and 5PM
We walk the streets to get a feel for the city. Somewhere between the Thames and South something Cathedral, as we walk we pass a caravan of harlot-ed up mini cars. Not Mini's, but miniature cars. I thought to myself, "It can't be: there's a circus nearby?" But alas. Clowns were nowhere to be had. These painted distractions of automobiles were actually taxis. What in the name of Haiti? Or rather, who had thought that seemed stylish or good in any sense of the word? The only positive aspect, I could think of, is that they are nearly impossible to miss. Which from a business point of view is kind of important.
As we continued to meander towards the river Thames, another, more garish sight became more and more common. And it has a name......I believe it was Wenkel, and a brief internet search while I type this tells me that THEIR names are Wenlock & Mandeville. He/She/it They were the Olympic mascots for the London games. And throughout the city you can see statues of these things doing various Olympic sports. These things are anthropomorphic Gumby/Cyclopes. The best part, of course, is that it is nearly impossible to distinguish what sports they are mimicking. Dressed as a Beef-eater? Long Jump? What IS This... My Mind, So Full of......FUCKS!?
A few more "What in the.....?"'s, some disjointed trailblazing, and the help of an old man, we found The MILLENNIUM BRIDGE!
At the beginning of the bridge was a tiny placket that called the Millennium Bridge "An art exhibit that transcends sight and sound". Neat-o thought I. Surely there must be an exhibit on the other side of the bridge. You know, by all those museums and stuff. That, or the bridge had become a "Piece of art" by the standards of the government. Oh how wrong can a man be?
First you must ask yourself a question; does explaining or describing art belittle it?
If you agree with the previous statement, than this exhibit is for you!
Along the bridge were a series of speakers that had a woman whispering various terms and statistics I assume involved the bridge and/or it's construction but I can't be certain. "12 million tons.... oil and petrol.... A British masterpiece" all whispered with new age-y hippy synth in the background can only be interpreted in so many ways. As I crossed the bridge I left thinking that my only interest in art must be in paintings because those seem to make sense to me.
Along the course of the bridge I ran into what always makes me wish I carried a pair of bolt cutters with me; Padlocks. Locked on various links and whatnot along the bridge, they fill me with an inner rage. Nothing makes a national monument look like shit of detracts from it's splendor like a hundred idiots attaching padlocks on something. I have no proof, but I believe this trend originated in Germany where this heinous act is most prolific. If you are reading this and you know someone or you yourself have done this, shame on you. Die in a fire.
When we crossed we walked along the riverside. And then crossed the river again, This time over the Tower Bridge. A much nicer bridge, and one without all the sultry and confusing whispers of the other. Across the bridge lies the London Tower. What appears to be some kind of citadel structure thing. It was then that I came to the startling realization; All of London's "antiquity" looks as if it was made in the 60's in an attempt to ape the previous centuries. I don't know the exact dates for sure, but I was hard pressed to find buildings that I was sure had been originally erected and maintained prior to 1900. Which is probably a good thing from a historical restoration point of view, but left me feeling as if London is in some sort of quasi-state, where if you remove the people and shops, could be any decade from today to 1950. It just failed to "transport me in time" if you will. So much history but no real historical identity. To be fair, a world war and wonderful urge to be in the forefront of industry since time immemorial will do that....
To be continued...