Saturday, September 17, 2011

uk trip 2011, day one-- sea -->kef -->lhr -->reading -->cardiff, aka planes, trains and automobiles

how do you make a trip as odd as possible? well, you can schedule a flight from the us on a major terrorversary date (which was intentional as i didn't want to experience national mourning again.) about a month after major riots in a city that you'll be visiting (linky) during some major upheavals in your own life (don't ask. if you needed to be informed, you already have been.).

you could also have sushi with tomato in it for breakfast at the airport.

tomato. i ask you.

so it was with the weirdness in full effect that we once again routed through iceland

(seriously. that and the tarmac

are about all that i ever see of iceland. i need to rectify that situation soon. airwaves 2012, anyone? we can see the garage from "næturvaktin"!)

and back to the uk.

you better believe that once i cross that border at heathrow that my heart grows 8 million sizes and not in that concentric hypertrophic way either. it means that i am (adopted) home!

our first day back in the uk was a grueling one. on top of the two flights (one 7 hour, one 2.5) a coach to reading (30 min) and the train to cardiff (2.5 hours) i had developed some really nasty bruises on my right hand and arm from improper backpack usage that made it difficult to do things like, oh, i don't know, handle cutlery properly, open doors. you know, insignificant things like that.

honestly, you can't take me anywhere.

but on to reading! those of you who have read  last year's recap  know that leff and i were based out of reading in 2010. (thanks again, groc and kev!) in the week that we spent there, however, we somehow didn't manage to see the miawand lion in the flesh, er, i mean iron. it has now been seen by me. hooray!

it's got sherlock holmes significance which i learned from "robinson in space".  (those of you who have seen that movie might be amused to know that i spent about five minutes trying to find robinson's parking garage before just giving up and sitting on a park bench to listen to the band that was tuning in the park.)

one brief aside while we're still in reading. fellow american travelers, it's the "redding coach", not the "reeding bus". older british gentlemen will adore you if you get this correct. the coach driver will also be extra nice to you and kid you about a coffee tax. seriously, call it the "redding coach". that is what it is, after all.

anyway, moving on.

the train to cardiff was uneventful (other than my hitting my head against the wall while washing my hands in the loo. seriously, cannot take me anywhere.). no, wait. it was starting to get blustery as the hurricane remnants that we'd outrun on the plane were starting to effect an area the size of wales. (*ba doom ching*).

i should mention that something extraordinary was happening in cardiff on the day that we arrived: philip pirrip and the occasional shed  (hereafter referred to as bubble and shredder, respectively (hee! they will hate me for that)) actually met in person!! i was honestly expecting the world to explode or something but, no, they were just hopping up and down and waving like mad when we got to the turnstiles. (which, aw, guys! :D)

we had some time to kill before our reservation at the cinnamon tree where we were going to meet al so shreds and bubble waited on us in the lobby of the central guest house while we checked in. (highly recommend if you're staying in the cardiff/ponty area. (no, not a paid endorsement.))

we also checked out the old bridge. which, ok, let me make sure that i get this right, is where ponty gets its name because pont-y-tŷ-pridd ---> pontypridd. right? right.

it's an incredible bridge. the river taff ain't no small shakes either!


bubble freaked out a bit because i picked up two all sorts that were on the steps but i honestly thought they were chalk pieces and i felt like doodling.

which brings this up:  british kids don't use sidewalk chalk? pip said he'd seen kids drawing on sidewalks on tv shows and such but had never done it? is this true or was i just jet lagged? WHO KNOWS?!

we also had time before dinner to meet j and j which was one of the highlights of the trip! this is not a picture of them below. i mean, obviously.

anyway, DINNER! a proper curry! the cinnamon tree has * delicious* food! (a++ to shed for recommending it!) i had, well, a chicken dish that starts with a b. (what? you travel for 17 hours in one day. see if you can remember things.)

edit, 9/20/11-- chotda has correctly guessed that this is chicken bhuna!! THANK YOU, CHOTDA!!

leff had a chicken vindaloo which, he wishes to inform you, had the only three heat rating on the entire menu. he says that, and i quote "it made my nose run a little. that is all." but, you know, boy lived in new mexico so your milage may vary.

i had a difficult time hearing al at the restaurant as he was on the opposite side of the table from me. you'll see his jacket next to shed in this photo.  i had difficulty hearing his jacket as well but that is because it does not have the ability to speak.

so this picture? i think that shed and pip were growling at each other? what? were they? (leff says yes but we don't know why it was happening.)

i failed to get video of that moment but this one suffices, i think.


after we closed down the cinnamon tree we had to bid farewell to poor bubble. shed dropped him at the train station while al drove me and leff to the otley arms.

thankfully, i could hear al here (although not his jacket) while we drank a 4% cask ale brewed by the Otleys. SOOOOO GOOOOD! i'd never had cask ale before but now i never want to drink anything else again.

sadly, al had to leave shortly after shed arrived but we continued drinking by switching to a 5% ale. guess which one of us had a hangover the next day. a hint: the answer is not me.

after closing down the otley (it's this thing we do on holiday, this closing down of places), we hiked up the huuuuuuuuge mother of a mountain on which the central guest house is located and, oh my god, it's wearing me out to think about it so i'm going to have to stop this recap here. what? do you really need to know about how i couldn't sleep and how i knocked the towel rack off the wall at 1 am? (cannot. take. me. ANYWHERE.) you do? ok, i couldn't sleep and i knocked the towel rack off the wall at 1 am.

coming up on tomorrow's recap: we haunt caerphilly castle in the middle of a hurricane. visit another pub where i still cannot use cutlery. tea! the barrage illusion in cardiff bay! st. fagan's! and more tesco stores than you can possibly imagine! WE NEVER STOP WITH THE TESCO!!

leff is also recapping. click here for more uk action!


Irregular Shed said...

Yay! It's the Taff but I won't hold it against you (because it may well dissolve your arm)

r4kk4 said...

changed! that was daft of me. OR IS IT DAFF?!?? ;D

Irregular Shed said...

Bah dum tish!

wastedpapiers said...

Thoroughly riveting read! Looking forward to the next enthralling episode of your trip!

r4kk4 said...

i'm not sure that riveting is the exact word that you're looking for but thanks! haha! :D!

santos. said...

judging from what i can make out from the photo, i'd say that was a chicken bhuna, a sort of thick curry with veggies. or um, a bharta? a biryani?!

yay! all the people i only know through avatars on flickr!

r4kk4 said...

YOU ARE CORRECT!! it is that chicken dish! i'll correct it now. THANK YOU!!

i love meeting flickr peeps. :D