Monday, September 04, 2006

Mostly more crap about my trip to England

Been awhile since I posted anything. Not sure if anyone noticed but me, what with the holiday weekend and all. I'm sure you were all out galavanting, if not actually tearing it up. Whatever that means.

I booked my flight and reserved my hotel for the first week in London. So I guess I'm all set. According to some research I've been doing, there's a Pizza Hut and a McDonalds right by the hotel, which I wish was more surprising. I kinda doubt I'll be eating there.

My hotel, the Lincoln House, says it was built "during the reign of George III," so I'll be staying in a place that's about as old as my country. Like every other hotel I looked at, it has a picture of the London Eye on the home page, even though none of the hotels I looked at are within a mile of it. The room is extremely tiny, but with the bed only being 3 feet wide and exactly as long as I am, it might seem spacious. Reviews I'm finding of the place range from glowing to ones with titles like "Beware the Lincoln House Hotel," which tells a harrowing tale of discomfort, steep steps, and rude staff. These people hated the place so much that they apparently paid the $500 bounty to be let out of their reservations and go stay somewhere else. I noticed that each of the negative reviews has an individual response from the hotel manager. These are largely snarky. One actually cites the customer's "limited experience with lodging," and then goes on to forgive him for his ignorance. The complaints I'm most worried about are about the "ensuite" bathroom facilities, about which one reviewer wrote "Let me try to explain how small it was/is. You know how you sit on a toilet? Well when you sit on the toilet your feet are in the shower stall. Take a shower in the stall and the toilet seat is getting wet. Get me? Not ever seen that before. Hope I don't ever again."

I like the "get me" part. Never seen that before, see? Nyaaah! She may have written her review in 1937. She provided this picture, as well. There's a shower curtain in both of her bathroom pictures (a lot clearer in the other one), so I kinda wonder why the toilet seat was getting wet.

Nobody mentions finding a severed head, bloodstains, or travelmates mysteriously disappearing in the dead of night, never to be seen again. So that's nice. The majority of the people reviewing it had no illusions about what kind of hotel it was, and the overall ratings seem more than adequate. I need to be as frugal as possible, and I'm not planning to spend that much time in my room anyway. I booked what it apparently a very cheap room for London, and it's in a pretty nice part of the city. Apparently just making coffee or tea in my room will save me $6-8 a cup. Free internet and free actual breakfast. And a trouser press! Even if it is truly terrible, I guess that'll just encourage me to spend more time elsewhere, which is kinda the point. And it'll give me something to complain about, which I dearly relish.

Lincoln House is also only a block or two from where Sherlock Holmes was headquartered, and I can't recall him bitching about the neighborhood in the books. Of course, he was a wildly eccentric heroin addict with plenty of friends on the police force. Plus that was over a hundred years ago. And he was fictional. I think my point is still valid.

And it's within easy walking distance to Madame Tussaud's wax museum, where I could find myself paying almost $40 to see the wax Beatles from the Sgt. Pepper album cover, if they're even still there. Seems weirdly overpriced, especially since there is a huge Cezanne exhibit absolutely free elsewhere. Not likely to see any real Beatles, though. And if I do, it'd just be Paul or Ringo.

I can also walk to Buckingham Palace in less than a half hour, to fuck with those famous guards who can't fight back or acknowledge you. I have a bet with a friend about whether they'll arrest you if you lick them.

The hotel also says "Please note that our tariff is competitive and includes a Full English Breakfast, tax and service. For the last three out of four years we have been awarded the first prize for our outstanding floral displays." They say tariff instead of rate. How adorable. The part about including tax is no small thing, though. Apparently everything you buy or use in England is subject to a Value Added Tax of 17.5%, which you're not liable for if you're not a subject of the crown, but you have to pay it on everything first and then ask for it back when you leave. Assuming you've filled out all of the forms correctly. So that's at least one reason why everything in England is freakishly expensive.

But just who is awarding them first prize for their floral displays? And why do several of the reviews (even the good ones and the management comments) tell you that you absolutely cannot drink the water from the tap in the rooms? Only time will tell...

4 comments:

Dirk Diggler said...

Maht,

Just a couple of thoughts on your upcoming voyage.

First, I see on your map that you'll be very close to Paddington. I'm pretty sure that's where Paddington Bear lives. You have GOT to go see that dude. He's AMAZING! Get me an autograph if you can! Don't get tricked into entering the nearby strip club, The Paddington Bare. From what I hear, it's a dive - and the girls are, well, kinda "furry" if ya know what I mean.

Don't forget to try the English Muffins while you're there - they should be REALLY fresh. Also, the Toffee. ...and in London, for dinner, just order the Broil.

Oh, and if you go to a bar and people are playing pool - excuse me, "BILLIARDS" (limey bastards) - find out if they use "English" when they try to put spin on the cue ball, or if they call it something else. I'm betting on "Danish."

DON'T FORGET:
You'll be in Europe, which I understand uses the "Metric System" for most units of measure. Even their clocks are base-10. So if you THINK you'll be staying a half-hour from Buckingham Palace, you better find out if that's in "Metric Hours" - which is 1.2 "American (or REAL) Hours." A half-hour over there is like 36 minutes here. Some digital watches let you change over to London time, so that would be a good way to keep yourself on schedule. Remember, 10:00 P.M. is noon, 10:00 A.M. is MIDNIGHT!

Just a few tips to try to make your trip more enjoyable.

Dirk

Moon Topples said...

Dirk,

Wow! I sure have a lot to learn, I guess. Paddington (according to my guidebook) won't grant you an audience without a gift of orange marmalade, so I'll have to rustle some up.

Thanks for the food tips, too. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to find a McDonalds, and that I might starve!

I do know, however, that they do not put spin on the cue (or queque) ball in England. That's considered "cheeky."

I think my phone has metric capabilities, so I should be good on the time changeover. Hadn't thought about that, though.

So, again, thanks!

Anonymous said...

Where have I been? Lots of catching up to do here on Moon Topples. Um, London? Huh. I am very happy that you are making it work.

Speaking of work, thanks for avoiding me the other day. That made me feel good.

Hope you are well, Boomer.

David

Moon Topples said...

No one was avoiding you David. I was there for less than a half hour and stopped by your desk twice. The only time you were actually there was while I was leaving, and you had someone talking to you in your little office there, so I went without saying hello.

Besides, your shirt wasn't funny, so what was I gonna say?

And who the hell is Boomer?