on day six, leff and i were all set to accomplish something that we had never done before. we were going to go to cardiff without being jet lagged and/or without having a hangover.
yes, the day seemed full of promise. the sun had its hat on (hip, hip, hip hooray!)
and we were able to locate the trash chute so we could dispose of kebab evidence. yes, things were looking bright when we bid adieu to the 10th floor of the strata.
LITTLE DID WE KNOW what was about to happen.
i should preface this by saying that it normally takes about 2.5 hours to get from london paddington to cardiff central station. HAHAHA! this is not possible on a morning when everything that can go wrong DOES.
leff and i had planned to take the very first northern line train to paddington from elephant and castle in order to catch the very first train to cardiff. we had not considered 1) my oyster card idiocy 2) the fact that EVERYONE WHO HAD BEEN OUT ON SATURDAY NIGHT WAS NOW IN LINE TO TAKE THE TRAIN OF SHAME HOME.
so, the station opens. i swipe my card, "seek assistance". ugh. which i do and guy tells me that i need to put money on my card (which was wrong because i had 10 pounds left on it but WHATEVER). the ticket office was not open and the line to add money to cards was out the door. we were going to miss the crucial first train. argh! what to do, what to do...
ah! get a cab! you know how elephant and castle is usually crawling with cabs? HAHA! yeah, not when you really need one. thankfully, i kept my head and we went back to the strata where the lovely front desk lady was able to put in a request for a car through their service.
and so we waited. and waited in the lobby. with 15 minutes to spare, the car pulled around to the back of the building so runrunrun and OF COURSE he does not take cards because we had spent all of our currency on kebabs. ARGH!!
still, we had luck on our side. while we were stoppped at the side of the road for leff to run to a cashpoint, i explained to the driver how important it was to get to paddington. he just smiled and said, "no problem. traffic is light this morning. LEAVE IT TO ME!"
it was actually kind of fun speeding through the deserted streets of westminister like we were rally drivers. our guy dropped us off right at the automated ticket dispensers AND YOU HAD BETTER BELIEVE THAT WE TIPPED HIM (even though this is not done in the uk).
there was a slight hiccup as leff could not find the code that we needed so things were frantic for a few minutes until the printing process was over and then we RANRANRAN to our platform stopping only long enough to ask a train attendant if the train we had leapt onto was, indeed, heading to cardiff central. YES! IT WAS!
we chucked our baggage into the bins and as we sat down, the train left the station. holy. fucking. shit. we laughed and laughed.
yes, things were definitely looking up! that is until we reached reading. were you aware? there was engineering work being done in the area.
that meant that this was my view for the next hour. stalled. not even 20 minutes outside of london. *face palm*
still, we rallied. i texted our deets to shed while leff got us coffee.
after the hour of waiting, we were on the move again. HOORAY!! only....something was different. normally, the train to cardiff goes through a series of tunnels? (they are an engineering marvel but i do not feel like googling it for you right now.) um, we were not reaching the tunnels? WHY WERE WE NOT AT THE TUNNELS?! HOLY SHIT IS THIS STROUD?!? WHAT WERE WE DOING HERE?!?!
the conductor kept apologizing at each stop for the tardiness of the train. he also kept mentioning that it was terminating at swansea so, yeah, it was the right train. BUT WE ENDED UP AT GLOUCESTER?!?
WHERE...ADSFLKFADL;KJFDA; THE DRIVER TOOK A 10 MINUTE BREAK?!@#?!@#?!@# THE FUCK1?!??!
whatever, whatever. we eventually left the station and rolled past the cathedral where some of harry potter was filmed.
when we FINALLY reached the welsh border, i couldn't help it! i cheered "WE ARE IN WALES!! HOORAY!!" and some of the other passengers laughed and quietly cheered too.
meanwhile, in cardiff: at the same time as we were having train issues, shed was stuck in two separate traffic jams. WHAT DID I TELL YOU ABOUT EVERYTHING GOING WRONG?! at least i was able to read incoming siri texts without having to do too much translating. heh. (ed note: shed is not scottish. that is just my favorite siri v british accents video.)
ANYWAY! it was wonderful to see the panda pull up to cardiff central! PAAANDAA!! SHEEED!! LUUUUNCH!!!
yes! lunch!! lunch was accessed via a dawn of the dead parking lot.
and guess where we went. THAT IS RIGHT!! WE WENT TO NANDO'S!!!!1
this is the first of many nando's sandwiches that i ate on this trip. hello, you delicious little bastard!
i cannot lie and tell you that i hate nando's. heh.
do you know what else was in the same shopping centre as nando's? A LEGO STORE!!!!
shed made a dalek scorpion.
YOU CANNOT ESCAPE DALEKS IN THE UK!! DO NOT EVEN TRY!!
we had a few hours before we could check into our hotel so we walked past the banana man of cardiff
to national museum cardiff. THEY HAVE NATURAL HISTORY THINGS!! YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS STUFF, RIGHT?!
lookit! IT IS A WHALE IN WALES!!
and this turtle kept making me laugh. it's *so* thinking "yay! i am stuffed! wheeeeeeeeeee!"
sooooo, there is this scott exhibit at the museum? and it is not marked that you are not allowed to take photographs? so, um, we did? and then this attendant told us three times in a row that we couldn't take pictures? and i was like, dude. I GET IT! SHUT UP!
i should have taken HIS picture.
anyway, here is an illicit welsh flag photo! enjoy!
and here is a predictable lobster photo. (well, predictable for me, anyway. heh.)
omgomgomg. so. there are dinosaurs?!?
AND ANIMATROINC MAMMOTHS THAT HAVE BEEN IN "BEING HUMAN"?!?
which are all some of my most favorite things in the world. i mean, it was SO MUCH FUN and then this happened?
me: OH! LARGE DEER!
*pulls luther from pocket, takes photo*
shed: hand me the deer?
it is now official. eye sockets are the best repositories for small plastic deer.
well, unless they are wearing impressive head gear that day.
okok, soooo. in addition to all of the straight up animal and dinosaur stuff, there is also an anthropology section? !!!! aaaaaand...they have neanderthals?!??!? go ahead and guess what we did. YES!! SEXY NEANDERTHAL COUNTING!!!!!!
here is a refresher video if you should need to know why.
THEY ARE SO MUCH FUN!!
they also usually have a siop shop where the light is good.
i'm for serious, national museum cardiff DOES NOT QUIT!! there was this exhibit that was put together by the national portrait gallery in london? and it was sooooo gooood!
before reaching it, however, there was a magnificent install of menus. omg! illicit photo!
actually, none of these photos were supposed to be taken but shed had his phone safely ensconced in his book book (leff screaming: "book CASE! the pun should be CASE!") so he just pretended like he was reading in front of the best images? AAAAAH HAHAH! *dead*
anyway, queenie exhibit. SEX PISTOLS!!!
QUEEN MADE OF DIANAS! (admired by a partial diana)
FREUD'S QUEEN PORTRAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
holy flipping hell, it was such a great collection of images. IF YOU ARE IN CARDIFF, YOU MUST MUST SEE THIS!!!
erm, don't take pictures though. shed can only get away with it because he is a bad ass (from badington).
right! museum finished (well, not really. it's so BIG! and SO MANY THINGS HAVE BEEN FILMED THERE! ("doctor who", "being human", the new "upstairs downstairs". bbc wales keeps that place BUSY!) we headed to a cafe nerd to kill the remaining time until check in.
we did NOT look this gift house in the mouth but leff and shed did disagree about an architectural term. heh.
we also watched the sexy neanderthal video on shed's phone. (it is hiding in the book book.)
sooooooo, did i tell you that shed got us a room on the top floor of the blu?! i mean, ONE, TWO THREE, RAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!
they have free mineral water. (i love free mineral water.)
oh and also, you know, FLOOR TO CEILING WINDOWS THAT GIVE YOU THE GREATEST VIEWS IN THE WORLD!!!
i just. *jaw drop* i will not lie to you. i fell asleep while curled up in front of those windows. i couldn't stop staring out of them!
okok, in straight up "mystery train" fashion, here is the loo at the blu.
i am being absolutely truthful when i tell you that this is what leff and i did for the rest of the night.
well, ok, we went to the tesco express and bought pot noodle and beer so that we could eat shit food in a posh place and we watched tele but, you know, THE VIEW!!! it was too bad that shed had to leave so early and couldn't gape out the windows that day with us.
TOMORROW on rakka and leff do europe: we tackle all of the shopping arcades. two pubs in one day! 6music! BUTTONS!!! WIGS!!! all of these things were for sale!