Saturday, March 04, 2006

travel: recovering, highlights

Landed yesterday around 3pm, and thanks to the genius of unnamed individuals who put US Customs in Dublin, I was able to breeze through, collect my bag, and order a cab. The ride home seemed to flash by - in part because I was thumbing away (via the evil Treo) at the stack of email ("all urgent") that had accumulated in the last day.

There is something odd about how "distant" your point of origin feels by the time you get home. Yesterday morning, I was looking around at the frosty fields and hedges around Stretton, Cheshire, but it might as well have been years ago.

After you've been on the road for a non-trivial amount of time, it takes time to recover and get your legs back underneath you. You're neither here, nor there, but in some state of permanent transit, your circadians all confused.

Some highlights:

There is a world of different between a "real" pub and a "chain" pub. The former was wonderful; the latter, where I had dinner Thursday, was a disaster of glossy menus and indifference.

You can't buy more than two boxes of fizzy aspirin at a time. The fizzy aspirin (Panadol) was one of a list of stuff my wife wanted me to bring back. For those of you who don't get away much, Panadol (active ingredient: paracetamol) is one of the strongest analgesic brands in the world, but is utterly unknown in the states. Apparently, there were some unfortunate events with teens over there who tried to kill themselves by overdosing on it. This led me to wonder: was it a drug overdose they wanted, or to blow themselves up with a excess of effervescence?

British TV is. . .is. . .very good. They didn't have 100+ channels of crap, and that was OK with me. The BBC had all manner of interesting stuff, and there were not one, not two, but three SkyTV stations on around the clock, one of which introduced me to. . .

Cricket is strangly hypnotic, much like Curling. England was in India for a Test Match (which means they play for 5 whole days in a row), and there was both live coverage in the wee hours of the morning and taped coverage late in the day. There is something truly delicious about watching a game whose rules you don't understand, but thanks to computer graphics and some surprisingly understandable commentary, I began to figure it out. When last I checked, the score at the close of day four was England 393 & 297-3; India 323.

Nearly all of the newspapers are "tabloid" format, as opposed to "broadsheet" format. At least the ones I was able to get my hands on.

A "full English breakfast" is like nothing you've experienced. Ingredients include: grilled tomatos (pronounced toe-MAH-toe, not toe-MAY-toe), button mushrooms, baked beans, black pudding, grilled sausage, fried egg, hash browns, toast/butter/preserves, and gallons of tea. I was able to do it once, then cried no mas and settled for fruit and yogurt in the morning.

There are traffic cameras that will track your speed in designated areas, and will, if you go too fast, actually earn you a ticket.

The biggest highlight was that everyone I met was very nice, generous with their time, and eager to make a travelling Yank feel comfortable. I'm looking forward to going back.

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