Hell Hath No Ice Water; Nor Does Great Britain

September 5, 2012

I have come from the land of Robert Pattinson!

I have seen it! I have seen the grass! I have seen the hills! I have seen the trees! I have seen the rivers! I have seen the… COWS! So many cows. And they’re all MAD! MAD I SAY!

Yes, the collective known as Great Britain is filled to the brim with natural resources like timber and grass and rain like I’ve seen a million times over here in these great United States. Yes, yes, yes. I’m being extra cynical about it. It is quite beautiful, but I have seen grass, hills, trees, rivers, rain, cows, farms, small towns, and the rest. It’s again, quite lovely.

But yes… The country, nay series of nations, that stole our beloved, our most enchanted mistress’ heart away… I HAVE SEEN IT. … … … and Scotland. I have seen that as well. I have seen the North of England and I have seen the inside of every bar in Edinburgh.

I have imbibed the local liquors. I have feasted on the masses’ meats. I have interacted with the Anglos.

Specifically, my trip was a flight into Manchester two Saturdays’ ago, a 4 hour train ride to Edinburgh, a bar crawl through the streets of Edinburgh from Saturday to Thursday, a 2 and a half hour train to York on Thursday, a day wandering the streets of York on Friday, a wedding in the fields of surrounding York on Saturday, more wandering on Sunday followed by a 2 hour train ride back to Manchester, and a flight back into the inviting arms of Newark, New Jersey on Labor day.

In Scotland, more or less my trip was dedicated to a scotch and a beer as long as I was awake until it put me to sleep. The first thing I drank in Scotland was appropriately scotch after the 4 hour train ride. My friend who lives in Edinburgh greeted me with a flask of scotch from a store, Robert Graham’s, on the Royal Mile and we shared that immediately. From there, it was to our first bar of many for a shot of scotch and a beer – Tennents beer which is pretty much their PBR – and to a Gregg’s for a steak and gravy hot pocket basically. I will miss Gregg’s. It’s a convenience store of baked bread with various meats inside for you to snack on while on the go presumably to drink more.

Long story short, the first two days in Scotland were completely dedicated to drinking as much as we could. I’ve never been anywhere where it is so acceptable to drink scotch – always. Nowadays, most bars in the US will have a decent enough selection of scotch. They over charge you for it as expected, but it’s really not something people just drink all the time. It’s something that men in suits drink or old distinguished cigar smoking drunks drink. It’s for special occasions and such. In Scotland, as expected, they’re overflowing with scotch. A shot of a fine scotch is the same price as a shot of shitty tequila here in the US. They simply have too much of it that they’re like DRINK IT ALREADY! A glass of beer and a shot of scotch is about the same price in Edinburgh, so why not drink scotch all the time? And in that regard, I FUCKING LOVE SCOTLAND. I don’t know if this is good or bad, but I love scotch more now than I did before and I loved scotch before.

Monday, I was reacquainted with @_dharv, heyyybrother, Danielle… and my friend, his wife, Danielle, and I went to the Edinburgh zoo to see the giant pandas. First thing first, the Edinburgh zoo is excellent. Secondly, I’m bigger than a giant panda. A lot bigger! Seriously, they’re “giant”? I guess “giant” for a “panda”, but I’m the size of an offensive lineman in the NFL, so I think I could take giant panda in a fight. The zookeeper was like, “they’re going to grow to be 240 pounds!” And I’m staring at him thinking, “I wish I was 240 pounds!” I would need to cut off my right arm and leg to make it to 240 pounds. So, I did fantasize about hugging the pandas, but also potentially Greco-Roman wrestling them.

Tuesday and Wednesday, we walked around Edinburgh some more and drank some more. Tuesday was a gorgeous day and spent the day outside, while Wednesday was a torrential down pour so we spent the whole day inside. Both great days though. Did a couple touristy things on Tuesday, but on Wednesday we spent most of the day inside the Innis & Gunn bar, which was built specifically for the Fringe festival. As for Scottish beer, Innis & Gunn is probably my favorite. I have seen their beer already in New Jersey and it’s good stuff.

Thursday started off with haggis and scotch in Edinburgh and ended with red wine and rabbit in York. I had haggis a couple times in Edinburgh and it was pretty good. If you fry anything then it’s edible, so haggis was too. I might lose some English on this, but “black pudding” isn’t much compared to haggis. I’ve had black pudding a few times and it’s whatever. I’m not that into it although I would eat it again, it’s just boring for what it is. Haggis is a staple and served in a variety of ways and I thought tasted much better overall.

Friday, I walked and drank my way through York’s “shambles”, which is a nickname they use for the damn town. Have you seen the “shambles”? The “shambles”? Hmmm… well, I walked around the town of York for 4 hours, maybe I saw the “shambles”. Oh wait, what? You just call the town “the shambles”? Ok, that’s stupid, but yes I saw “the” “shambles” then. It was nice. I had a few nice beers there and met some bartenders and watched a street performer juggle knives while on an 8 foot tall unicycle. That’s the “shambles” for you.

Saturday, the wedding was incredible. Plain and simple. It was miraculous actually. There are a million pictures of the wedding on facebook and it illustrates what a lovely wedding it was, but it does not show that we were being attacked by wasps during the cocktail hour and no one got stung. As over 100 people drank Pims on the front lawn of a farm, 100s of wasps wanted to join us and were severely attracted to the Pims, but no one got stung by a single wasp, which was absolutely wild.

Sunday was mostly traveling and Monday I got back.

That’s for the most part my trip. The abbreviated version of it. I ended bringing three full bottles of scotch home as well as a couple small bottles. But what I really want to say about Great Britain is thus….

– The UK needs ice, has no ice water, possible water shortage

Beer, liquor, tea, coffee, juice et cetera is all present, but clean drinkable water is just not offered to you. Even if you ask for it, you’ve got a 50% chance of receiving it. It was like I was living in “Mad Max” and all the currency is in clean drinkable water and gasoline… minus the gasoline and instead wifi. But the water shortage or just lack of giving you water was so odd. You really have to forage for your own water over there.

The ice situation is borderline epidemic. They have no ice. Someone needs to send a relief mission to the UK just with frozen water. It’s not that they don’t know what cold things are, but they don’t know how cold we as human beings with technology can make it. Soda can be served so much colder. They have coffee over there, sure, but ice coffee? NOPE. Why? Because they have no ice. They have the coffee, but the little amount of ice they have just cannot be spared on a cup of hot coffee to make it cool.

If the British have any feelings of inadequacy about the United States, it isn’t about losing the Revolutionary war or us stealing their thunder in the World Wars… it’s about how flagrantly we dispense ice. I give ice free to my dogs! There’s a limitless amount of ice over here. It’s got to be an enormous slap to the face of how we run around using and wasting ice without a thought in the world. It’s not high priced cars, big homes, flashy clothes… they have all that, but what truly shows America’s decadence is our ice. Truth bomb… boom.

– Pudding is never pudding, rarely anything that resembles pudding, probably would call pudding “gelatin”, Bill Cosby wasn’t singing about congealed blood or dinner rolls

The British are thoroughly confused at what Bill Cosby was advertising for decades. PUDDING is not BREAD. That’s not what it is. I don’t know when I first heard the term “Yorkshire pudding”, but up until 3 days ago I was completely oblivious to what it meant. I assumed it was “pudding”. It’s not. People would mention it and people would ask if I had it and I would think about it and I would say no. I assumed that Yorkshire pudding was possibly a custard type pudding substance. I pictured in my head rice pudding or oatmeal. That’s what I thought. That was my guess. Do you know what “Yorkshire pudding” is? A fucking dinner roll. A DINNER ROLL. BREAD. IT’S BREAD! Have I had a dinner roll before? Yeah, I fucking have had a dinner roll before. I have had loads of them. If I had to calculate how many dinner rolls I’ve consumed in my life time it would be a frightening number. But “Yorkshire pudding”? Who the fuck or why the fuck would you call it that? Anyway, “black pudding” is hardly pudding either. It’s just congealed cooked blood, so I thought the “pudding” bit was kind of a joke. Nope. It’s because the British have no fucking clue what “pudding” actually is.

We need to send ice and Bill Cosby to the UK.

– They’re weighed down with change, carrying a coin purse has psychological effects on men, Freud may liken it to carrying around a vagina that handles all of your money

All true. They have a 1 pent, 2, 5, 10, 50, 1 pound, and 2 pounds. That’s a fuck ton of change. If you buy anything – anything – you’re going to receive a pile of change that weighs several pounds. I was only visiting and was spending money as freely as I was taking it out of the ATM. But if I lived over there, carrying a coin purse would be a necessity. It just has to happen. And with that, I believe there are damaging long term effects that happen to heterosexual men by carrying around a coin purse. Heterosexual men have a purse aversion. I’m sure homosexual men have somewhat of one as well, but if you’re a dude and you like women’s boobs and butts then you’re damn well allergic to purses. Now, if you live in the UK, you have been born into a world where your DNA will be challenged by forcing you into a world of carrying a purse and that’s got to play some mind tricks on them. Could be why they lost the Revolutionary war. Could be.

– No dancing, it’s like we collectively were Ren from “Footloose”

England is the mid-western town in “Footloose”. They don’t dance. But once they are forced onto the dance floor, THEY LOSE THEIR FUCKING MINDS. At the wedding, there was a live band. They played for nearly 3 hours. For the first 2 hours, it was half a dozen Americans and one English girl who danced. The other 100 people at the wedding? No dancing. Finally, the third hour or so when we physically had to pull the Brits onto the dance floor it became psychotic out there. Literally, they were running and jumping and flailing around violently with no ability to control any of their movements. We liberated them from the chains of dancing ignorance. I fear we may have started a revolution over there that will only be quenched with a visit of Kevin Bacon and his shuffle step.

Send England ice, Bill Cosby, “Dancing with the Stars”.

– If you wear a kilt – the British will question it through and through, but seem to love it, stop questioning and just allow yourself to love

I ended up in a dozen or so unprompted conversations which began with complimenting my outfit and then turned into an interrogation about why I’m wearing it and why I’m wearing it and why I’m wearing it. I was the only person in a kilt, so I was expecting some questions, but they are crazy curious about the kilt and the wearing of it, but whatever answer you provide them with is just not enough to satisfy their insatiable appetite for questioning it.

I get that it doesn’t make too much sense to them that a non-Scot would wear a kilt, but I’m American. We do whatever the fuck we want. We have a robot on Mars! ON MARS! A ROBOT! Just out there taking pictures. That’s the country I was raised in. Wearing a kilt because I feel like it is completely understandable and natural to me.

I was asked on numerous occasions what “clan” I was from. I almost responded and had to stop myself from saying “Ameri-clan”. I don’t know if they would’ve got that.

What clan are you from?

The Wu-Tang. I come from the land known as the Wu with my fellow clansmen the RZA, the GZA, Method Man, Inspectah Deck, Golden Arms, of course the late great Ol’ Dirty Bastard aka Big Baby Jesus and so on. Almost too many to name of us.

Last… but certainly not least…

– NO MOZZARELLA STICKS!

Devoid of ice, pudding confusion, gender confusion via purses, zero dancing, kilt obsession? All terrible afflictions indeed, but the worst of them all is that they do not have mozzarella sticks. None. For a fact, I saw none. I saw some ice, but not much. I saw not a single mozzarella stick nor a place to purchase them in any capacity. HOW DO THEY LIVE?!

Before I went to the UK, when I thought about Rob Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, when I thought about their highly publicized relationship problems, when I thought about their ruined privacy, I thought how terrible it all is. How they should really be given a chance to not be scrutinized over everything they do and be allowed to handle something that is really only near and dear and not to have it trivialized by people who simply read a book or saw a movie or who have a website that makes fun of those books or movies.

But now… NOW that I’ve been to the UK… I can only think about how all the time they spent over in England together was MOZZARELLA STICK-LESS! And that is an atrocity that I don’t know if I can deal with it. I’m not saying that mozzarella sticks would have saved their relationship or would help them through these sad times… well actually I am saying it. MOZZARELLA STICKS WOULD HAVE HELPED!

The next time America sends an ambassador or high ranking politician to the UK, we shouldn’t talk politics. What we need to talk about is how we can get these people ice, actual pudding, dance lessons, and boat loads of fried mozzarella sticks because they will be forever grateful at how their lives are so much for the better.

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3 Responses to “Hell Hath No Ice Water; Nor Does Great Britain”

  1. Kim said

    MOST EXCELLENT POST!! Thx for sharing.
    Your vacation – drinking your way thru Edinburgh – sounds like a trip to Heaven!
    Unfortunately, the lack of ice and mozzarella sticks will forever keep me from making the journey!
    Thx for the tip!

  2. PWG said

    I wish you wrote travel books for a living. I think I would like to send you to Romania next. I bet it’s like the Wonka chocolate factory except full of tiny Nadia Comenrcvgshdjiiiiis instead of Oompa Loompas.

  3. Welcome home, I missed you! Glad you had fun even with the lack of rudimentary survival items such as ice and mozzarella sticks. I’m sure you have consumed both in extravagant quantities since arriving back in civilization.

    Baked congealed blood? You’re kidding, right? Rolls are pudding? How much butter did you put on them to make it so?

    It was nice of you to teach them how to “Dance with the wasps”-new show?

    Why were you wearing a kilt? My ancestors are from Applegirth. Scotland…did you wave “hi” for me?

    so yeah…i’m glad you’re back!

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