God Save the Queen
Trip Start Aug 01, 2006
35Trip End Dec 29, 2006
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Leaving Rome was not too bad: a subway to a bus in the predawn still, a two-hour flight, a forty-five minute train ride, and finally a half hour ride on the tube. After seeing my cousin Colleen at the stop light she had to make a few passes until we could load our colossal luggage into her car and head for the house
Colleen asked us what we wanted to do in England and I replied that we just wanted to rest up. She asked again so I had to come up with a few items:
1) see the queen 2) see a punk rocker 3) eat fish and chips in a pub 4) drink beer in a pub with the name of the pub being two distinct words that can stand on their own, like the Broken Lance or the Haughty Blacksmith. 5) see some coolly dressed young people with really bad teeth. Colleen laughed and asked us what we wanted to do again. I narrowed it down to the pub and some fish and chips. It dawned on her that we had no grand ambitions to see the "big" sites such as Westminister Abbey or the London Bridge. Christy and I had both been to London before so we felt justified in our slothic schedule.
Colleen and Eric have two kids: Calvin, who just turned 7, and Kennedy, who is about Collette's age (3)
This was exactly what we were looking for and we were free to relax and plan our next phase of the trip. Colleen took us around to a local bangers and mash restaurant that we would have never found on our own. The food was simple but immensely pleasing and I got to listen in on some young people who were coolly dressed but their prominent teeth were jutting out at strange and obscure angels. I couldn't understand what they were saying because of the thick accents but I did get to cross a site off of my list. We also had the exciting new pleasure of being able to buy coffee in a portable cup and walk around. In Europe, for some unknown reason, this is frowned upon and is impossible to get. In the US it's taken for granted, like shoelaces.
Sporting our warm cups we smugly ambled down the street looking at vendors, and I browsed a vinyl-only record store and thought of my friend Dan
One evening Eric and Colleen took us to a local pub. It was crowded, dark, the ceiling was low, and it was full of rich dark wood tones. I loved it. We squeezed past a small doorway to sit outside and I finally enjoyed my fish and chips. Later they took us to a gaudy and trendy bar for some expensive and much needed cocktails. Cozily we sat next to the fire, people watched, and chatted. It was a very adult evening and contrasted greatly with the evenings we have had trying to grab forks and pepper shakers away from Collette. Thanks to Colleen and Eric's immense and seemingly endless hospitality we had a fantastic evening.
Up until we arrived in England it had been difficult to have open and in depth conversations with other adults. We are constantly on the move and it's poor taste to unload your personnel problems onto strangers. Except in Santa Cruz where this behavior is widely accepted. It's not uncommon to have someone bag your groceries and tell you how their niece does not fit in at Thanksgiving and that's why they have been having these headaches.
When we first arrived we unloaded on Colleen all of our personal concerns for our financial situation and our troubles at home
Sometimes I felt I was like a kid because our financial situation limited our freedom. However, if I was being generous to someone else and they could not accept it at face value I would think that they are petty and immature. We showed up with no gift (we never try to buy anything bigger than a fist) and no ability to pay them back except for our anemic thanks. It was a heartfelt thanks because their generosity and thoughtfulness gave us a relaxing and much needed rest in England.
I cannot be more sincere in saying, thanks, Colleen and Eric. Also thanks to Camille for watching Collette. At this point we have built up a colossal karmic debt and we are afraid of being reincarnated as a newts. Collette would be exempt due to innocence and age.
Rested and ready for more action, Eric again displayed his kindness by driving us to the airport. Waving goodbye we boarded the plane to start the surfing part of our trip. I didn't see the queen but we sure liked her country.