Day 9 of the trip was an interesting. We were planning to take the ferry back, then train to Cardiff to see the castle there… but it took a lot longer than we had hoped.. and in the mean time, we met an Irishman named Morris. He was an interesting one, and stuck with us for a good chunk of the day. We did indeed make it to Cardiff, and had a few more random adventures while walking around the city that night. Pictures tell the story as well.
6/11 Ferry to Holyhead
We’re on the Ferry to Holyhead. An interesting morning: We got up at 6:30 , and took the train/tram to Don Laoghaire, where the ferry harbour was.. so we arrived at about 7:30… only the dude at the train/tram stop said it didn’t open til 8:30, so we were stuck sitting for a while .. and it was really windy therefore cold… So we were sitting around outside… and Robb went walking around town for a short bit trying to see what he could , while we just kinda sat around waiting. At some point this guy came walking past asking when the thing opened.. and we said around 8:30… .. at that point he remarked about my teeth, and how white they were… and that lead to a conversation on American teeth, and how important having white teeth is to Americans, and how Irish/English teeth were nasty… at which point he references the Simpsons episode where Burns build a Casino with Brit-land, filled with ladies with Nasty teeth. So we talked to him for a while about everything: Bush and the War, what we’re up to (He seemed quite disappointed that we hadn’t gotten laid on the trip… he asked about it 3 separate times… apparently Scottish women do it rough… remind me to return to Scotland.) We also talked about what we did for a living, and he was filled with stories, so he kept right on going… Turns out he was headed to england to live. He was moving in with his girlfriend, and leaving his hometown in Ireland for good. Thus he was “shitting a bit about it”. After a time his brother-in-law showed up, and pulled him aside and tried to get him to not move… to no avail.. it was at that time that we found out that the ferry wouldn’t be leaving til 11:00. That was a problem.. as we were trying to get to the castle in the capitol of Wales before afternoon.. and that ain’t going to happen now. Anyway, finding out that, we decided to go get a bit to eat.. and headed off to a breakfast cafe across the way, and all had wonderful breakfasts of scrambled eggs, ham, sausage (with some tomato – ketchup “relish”) and Coffee [big-ass espresso] We sat there for about an hour, talking about all sorts of everything.. a lot of movie quotes and so forth… He’s a pretty funny guy. We talked about Irish history, and the European Union, and the switch to the Euro, and all sorts of stuff.. It was kewl. After that, he was going to head back to the boat harbour, and we were going to head off to the shopping mall he pointed to, so I could look for a gift for Rachel… it was her birthday on the 7th.
That mall kinda sucked… it had plenty of things I could have gotten at Rivertown… but sadly nothing distinctively Irish, that would make a crappy gift seem somewhat less crappy. (“Oh, it’s a crappy necklace! oh wait, it’s from Ireland… so suddenly it’s a nice necklace.”)
We left the mall early and headed to the harbour.. got our tickets and got into the waiting room…
Morty. (his real name) [He was talking to me as I was writing this, so I stopped and talked to him for a while, and occasionally jotted things down that caught my attention as being kinda kewl or funny:]
“knobheads” “cute”, “bollocks”
[“knobheads” I think is more or less self explanatory, but “cute” was interesting… He was talking about Ashton Kutcher, and said “he’s a cute guy… you know what cute is, right?” So I made the obligatory gay joke… and he eventually explained that there “cute” was used to describe someone who is clever, or particularly savvy (smart and able to make money at it.. that kinda thing). At that point I noted my disdain for Mr. Kutcher. And I just like the word “bollocks” cause I think it’s funny.]
6/11 Train to Crewe
Well, so we’re on the train to Crewe now.. Morris is with us.. He’s anxious about moving, and pretty much wants to blow time until he has to show up in England.
So.. back to the story.. .We were in the waiting room of the Ferry boat, and then we were let on, and found a good spot to sit, and I toured around the boat for a short bit, looking around for a better spot… but didn’t find one, so I returned to the spot, and Morris was there with Joel… So I hung out there for a bit, hit the gift shop to use up the last of my Euros, then hung out at the table with Morris as Joel and Robb took off for a bit.. Joel returned, and Morris bought us 3 a beer.. which was awesome. So we hung out some more , talked about movies (I’m Richard Dreyfuss.. I was in Jaws!). every once in a short while Morris would take off to smoke, then return.. (Andrew McCarthy was the dude in Pretty in Pink… Morris saw him once, and the dude that plays Dr. Cox… oh.. and everybody from the states is “Your man [so-and-so]”.])
Eventually we pulled into the harbour, and Morris was a bit nervous about everything and all, so he joined us… eventually joining us on the train to Crewe….
So we played a few card games… A game just like Uno, but with a deck of playing cards… then a game he called “Greedy Neighbor”, which was just Egyptian Ratscrew without the slapping… so I added the slapping part, and then I kicked some ass… So then we took out the slapping part, and I kicked ass. I rule at that game. [Hurray for amazing skill in a game of complete chance!]
There’s no smoking on the train, and Morris is going slightly crazy about it… [so he ended up smoking in the corridor]
It looks like we’re not going to have time to hit the castle at Cardiff before it closes today… which throws a bit of a wrench into our plans.. Now we’re thinking about hitting the castle tomorrow morning, then Bath, then end up in London.. Then on Sunday we’d hit Oxford, then Stonehenge.
6/11 Train to Cardiff
Okay, so we’re finally on our way to Cardiff.. We are now without Morris, who left us at the station… weird happening, that. We were running around trying to find where the train to Cardiff was, and he was following behind us.. then we went down a flight of stairs to see the TV monitors with all the train times on it, and he stayed at the top.. and at one point he apparently motioned something to Joel, then took off.. so that was it for Morris I guess. Anyway, a pretty kewl guy, all in all.
So now were [supposedly] on the train to Cardiff.. I’m not yet completely certain that that’s the train we’re on, mainly cause it’s really small, and they haven’t mentioned the word Cardiff yet. Perhaps I just don’t understand the Welsh accent well enough, but I didn’t think I heard it when the conductor was mentioning stops on the loudspeaker… Admittedly, everything sounds like the teacher from Peanuts cartoons, but still, you get the idea.
So we finally figured out that our train would be leaving at around 17:20.. and it was about 16:20ish, so we sat around the station, and all got some food… Also, When we were on the train before, Morris said he’d paid for his ticket.. only they didn’t accept Euros, only pounds… Well, his bill was 21.50, and I had a 20, so I gave it to him, and he gave me 25 Euro..so I got the short end on that one.. but he paid extra for breakfast, and bought Joel and me beer, so I think it all works out alright.. only now I’m stuck with 25 Euros that I neither need nor can use. I’m assuming I’ll just trade it in back home for real money. (Zing on the E.U.)
So I opened the door for this lady, and she said “Thanks, love.” It was one of the most fulfilling relationships I’ve ever had with a woman.
Seriously… too many New York Yankees hats.
An addendum to the Morris story: Turns out he’s not really moving to London… he’s just surprise visiting. He said he hadn’t been to England in years (since grade school, or 13 years ago, or something like that) and his girlfriend, who lives in London, and visited him a bit in Ireland said something about him coming out to London… So he kinda spur of the moment decided to head out to London to surprise her and stay with her… but had no idea for how long, and she had no idea he was coming… That’s… either ballsy or really, really stupid. But, as we said in conversation before he took off, Love makes you do all sorts of stupid, stupid things… and even after being kicked in the nuts repeatedly, you still find yourself trying again. And with that, Valentines Day gets the finger yet again.
It would appear that many pictures have been taken of me either while I am sleeping or when I’m huddled over for warmth. Nevertheless, I am a very attractive man.
Thus far , Wales looks quite a bit like Ireland, only a bit more organized.(Like, square fields verses fields that wind around all over. Straight roads versus winding meandering roads) Lots of green, lots of hills, lots of sheep, lots of cows… The houses look a bit more modern, and look like houses from the states, really.
6/11 Train to Cardiff II
Morris told a few jokes:
I’ll nutshell one of them for you: An Irishman saw information about the Zulu tribe on TV, and decided he wanted to become one.. so he heads out to Africa, and searches all over, and is eventually captured by the Zulu.. He says he wants to join the tribe, and they say in order to do so, you have to pass 3 trials. 1st, you must drink 12 pints of their strongest liquor, [this stuff was just plain toxic, and a glass is enough to kill a man], Next, you must go into a cage with a hungry lion that hasn’t eaten for 4 weeks, and pull out one of its teeth. Then, the final trial, you must take the lovely princess of the tribe, and have sex with her for 4 straight days. “Right,” he says, and heads into the tent. He drinks down the first pint, and nearly dies… but he keeps at it, and drinks them all down… then comes staggering out, and heads off to the lion. He goes in, and you can hear him struggling with that thing.. hour after hour…and for days he’s struggling, fighting, screaming….. finally, he comes out, and says “Right… so where’s the girl with the sore tooth?”
I thought that was really funny.
6/11 Hotel in Cardiff
I’m lying on the floor at a hotel in Cardiff. We did indeed eventually make it to Cardiff, though the train ride was quite long, and tiring. When we arrived, we saw a map of the city, and there were two fairly straight streets leading towards the castle, with a number of hotels on these streets. Now the castle was closed for the day already, so our main goal was to find a place to stay. We had already decided we’d be going with a hotel today, perhaps as a reward to ourselves for surviving 3 days with the Russians…. Anyway, that was the plan…
When we got off the train, and started walking towards the castle, I noticed that there were an unusually high number of fairly attractive women made up all fancy like walking the streets… This trend continued, with girls appearing pretty much everywhere. and ranging from somewhat pretty, to very pretty, to not pretty and dressed like whores, to kinda pretty, but dressed like whores. Walking down the street, there were bars and clubs everywhere.. The atmosphere reminded me of a really lively downtown GR on a Friday, with all your “dudes” and hoochies headed down to the clubs to look popular and be jackasses. Eventually we spotted a hotel, and Robb and Joel checked out prices while I searched the lobby for a map of Cardiff.. We were given a pretty good rate, and decided we’d try a few more, then head back if nothing better came up. We made it down to the castle, saw nothing better, and headed back to get the room.. Robb tried to get us a better deal, but apparently she had already spotted us a price less than half the normal rate, [and quite frankly, I believe her] So we took the room…
We were given a key and headed to the place.. Room #6. Joel tried the key, but couldn’t get the door open..so Robb gave it a shit, and had troubles as well… but Robb was determinded… so he kept at it for quite some time…. make some slight progress, it seemed… .. until Joel read the receipt, and advised us to head to our real room, Room #9. Woo!
We found that room, and I walked right in.. it was unlocked. the room was gorgeous… TV, Coffee pot, closet with additional linens.. nice looking gbathroom… Ironing board and fan… Quality. We set down our stuff, and decided to go out to see the city.
first stop was the train station, where we grabbed schedule times for departure, so we’d be sure to get the right train to Bath tomorrow. Then we headed on back, and the number of scantily clad women just continued to increase, as did the number of packs of dudes, dressed in what can best be described as “boy band” type clothing (We would have also accepted “gay”). The girls were occasionally pretty, but more often than not just kinda slutty (e.g. a group of girls dressed as little devils, with one dressed as an angel.. each girl having to constantly tug on their skirts to keep it covering their asses. ) Many, Many girls failed the Rule of “if you don’t have the stomach for a stomach exposing outfit, please don’t wear an outfit that exposes the stomach.” Honestly, no one wants to see that.
We walked by what I guess was a strip club, and some lady clad in leather invited us in for lap dances… What a country!
We made it past the club scene, and noticed there was also a decent population of people dressed in highly formal wear (tuxes and fancy dresses) We wondered why…
We saw the castle again, and walked past that to see the City Hall building, and a number of parks. The first park featured what we assumed to be a group meeting for a coven of witches that seemed to have strange powers over our cameras, and most of the photos I tried to take surreptitiously were blurry to the point of being unrecognizable. Lousy witches with their blurriness spells.
We eventually made it to another park, where the formally dressed seemed to be congregating… we walked on in, and found there to be a giant tent with music loudly playing. Inside seemed to be a giant banquet of some type. Then some weirdness.
6/11 Hotel in Cardiff II
As we approached the tent area two guys around our age yelled out to us: “Hey..you there… come here… come here.. come on, it’ll be worth your while.” We reluctantly walked over there. “You guys want charlies?”.. Whuzzah?” “Charlies… you know.. Coke?” “Oh, no.. thanks. Sorry.”
Yes, that’s right, I apologized for not purchasing illegal drugs all of 10 feet from some cops. I’m ever so polite.
Shortly there after (read like, 45 seconds) we came upon a scene of an obviously pissed of girl in a formal gown approaching a fairly detached looking guy in a tux. the girl was p-i-s-s-e-d!. We walked on past, and I continued to crane my neck to watch the girl remove a necklace she was wearing, and hand it to the guy. this was obviously not a good night for that happy couple. they continued to stand near each other.. the girl with arms defiantly folded at her chest, while we walked further into the garden.
Soon thereafter we realized (well, Joel and I realized.. it took Robb some more convincing..) that the park’s other entrances/exits were closed, so we’d need to head back to where we came from… so we began to walk back, and eventually passed that same girl (some ways closer to the exit now) standing, in tears complaining through sobs to the guy that he was obviously angry at her” I didn’t catch any more of that conversation, sadly.
We waked out of the park, and had a long conversation about how to make scrambled eggs, and omelets, and now I’m very excited to cook some of that stuff up again. (well, omelets again, and scrambled eggs for the first time. with HAM!) eventually we made it back to our hotel. but grabbed some food (fast food chicken sandwich type place… and Pepsi tastes absolutely amazing!) Then we headed on up.. watched some UK COPS!-esque show (they were in York, and Edinburgh.. we thought that was neat.) Also, I guess you can say Fuck on British TV.
And speaking of that, in the last 2 days I’ve heard 3 cell phone conversations end in “Fuck off!”) And the F-bomb abounds here.. you can’t go more than 4 steps without hearing it somwwhere… and morris was certainly a fan of it.. It flowed in and out of conversation like the letter E..
Tomorrow we get a free big old English breakfast thanks to this snazzy hotel… so with that, i will go to sleep, as it’s 1:00 am,an now ROBB is snoring…. what is the world coming to?!?