Traditional British leisure activities

I arrived in London yesterday afternoon and soon met up with Raj (against all odds, the authorities having undertaken a massive renovation of Victoria Station so as to utterly remove the landmark at which we were to meet, whilst simultaneously brainwashing all Londoners to stare at me blankly when I asked for said landmark's last known location.) Anyway, after dropping my luggage at his brother's flat where we are both staying (our old place in St. John's Wood), we headed for his parents' place, where I stuffed myself with homemade Indian food until I was unable to move without the assistance of heavy machinery. In return for their hospitality, I allowed the Patels to use me* as the target of their well-meaning-and-entirely-justified-concerns about the excessive spicy-ness of several of the meal's constituent dishes. The rice alone rated "Magma", even after cooled with yoghurt/ice cubes/novicaine applied to my tongue.

I thought that things couldn't get much better, but this morning Raj had a huge surprise for me: that's right... a day of traditional, British...

Parking Tickets and Cheese!!

In order to run a couple of errands, we borrowed Raj's brother's very nice car. Before he let us pry the keys from his clenched fist, Sanjeev gave us the following helpful advice: "Don't get a parking ticket, don't get a parking ticket, DON'T GET A PARKING TICKET." Off we sped to Marylebone High Street...

marylebone high street

... where -- of course -- we promptly got a parking ticket. Apparently, the practice of "feeding the meter" is illegal in the UK. Even if your total stay at the meter is less than the posted time limit, you can only put money in once. It seems odd to me that in the most heavily state-surveilled city in the world, the authorities are unable to accurately determine how long your car is at a meter, but Raj (ever the optimist) assures me that it's purely a revenue generating tactic. Did I mention that the ticket was for 50£?*** In order to salve the pain of the massive pecuniary hemmorhaging, we went into a grand cheese shop (with it's own climate controlled cheese room) and spent an ungodly sum of money on some of God's own cheese.


As we were checking out, the (American expat) man working at the shop tried to impress us with his encyclopedic cheese knowledge by telling us that the name of the cheese that we had just purchased, tete du moin, meant "monkey's head." This would have been highly impressive if it were true -- but it is not, a fact that both Raj and the man's other coworker pointed out immediately.

Bemoaning the sad state of American foreign language education, which dooms graduates to jobs in the coal-mine-like conditions of the British boutique cheese shop industry, we headed back to the flat where we enjoyed our cheese and hid the parking-ticket from Raj's brother.

* I was the token white person, required by British law since 1951 at all meals of 5 or more brown persons**.
** This is an imperialism joke.
*** The current exchange rate is 1.89 USD to the GBP. Do the math.


Post a Comment

<< Home