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I have been asked to write about Britain by severalpeople, many of whom exist only in my mind.
My family and I went to theUnited Kingdom last summer. The flight there was very uninteresting, mostlybecause the entertainment was "Miss Congeniality." This is a finemovie, but I had already seen it, and since airlines do not want to offendanyone, they edit out the funny parts.
When we finally got off the plane,we stared in awe at the different food items in the airport. Several had nameslike "Stippled Gumbley and Brie Roll-ups." We weren't exactly sure whatthese were, or if they were even food, so we decided not to eat at all. We took atrain and a bus to where we were staying, had a tour of the whole place, and thentook a siesta. Since we were rather hungry, we celebrated our first meal there byhaving some authentic British Chinese food. We looked around the town a bit andthen went back to our flat to hit the hay.
After that, the trip involved alot more doing, and a lot less sleeping. One of the most memorable outings was toHarrod's, which is probably the most amazing store in the world. There was anentire, gargantuan room devoted entirely to meat with dozens of plasticsculptures of decapitated pigs. What mall can boast that, huh?
Aftergoing through the meat room, the salad dressing room and the threerefrigerator-magnet rooms, we came to the toy room. This was, I dare say, prettydarn groovy. One of the most fun things was the evil mechanical bunny thatstalked my sister. All too soon we left Harrod's, but it was an experience thatchanged my life forever.
After a few days, I started to notice someinteresting things. For one, some of the names in England seem a wee bit bizarre.Seriously, do you think the old kings of England had straight faces when theynamed towns Limehouse and Dorking? You could assume there are reasons behindthese names, but when you see pubs called The Elusive Camel and traffic signsthat actually say, and I quote, "Humped Pelican Crossing," you reallystart to wonder.
Oh, and the history of England is a little odd, too. Letme tell you a story which has to be true, because the guy who told it to me waswearing a fur hat: A long time ago, in a continent far, far away, there lived aprince. This prince tried to rebel against the king of England. He didn't succeedand so he was beheaded. Then he was buried. Later, the royal family realizedthere had never been a portrait painted of him, as was customary. So - and thisis the weird part - they dug him up, sewed his head back on to his body, andpainted a portrait of him. True story. So, as the guy said, if you ever see thepainting of this prince, you'll understand why he looks a littledetached.
This tale was told at the Tower of London. The Tower is nice,but it's not Buckingham Palace. And to be quite frank, Buckingham Palace isn'treally Buckingham Palace either. I mean, it's okay, but it's not the Taj Mahal.We're going to India next.
When we left, I made the most excitingdiscovery of the whole trip at the airport. They had ... ketchup-flavored potatochips! I think the main problem with America is that we don't have nearly enoughsnack-food flavors. Sure, we have the Funyun, and the potentially deadly pretzel,but we don't yet possess the champagne-flavored potato chip, which they also havein Britain.
I want you to know that if you have ever wanted to go to aplace where they call Sprite lemonade, a place with the biggest clock around, aplace with fish and chips aplenty, people with English accents and trains thatrun on time, then London is the place for you.
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