• [Adventures Across the Atlantic]

    S&M Files, Episode 2: November 27, 1999
    Continued Price Shock

    Hearing price shock from me is not surprising. What is surprising is how it continually sneaks up and waps me upside the head.

    Mini Doughnuts: Remember those little doughnuts that float about the deep fryer on little conveyer belts and pop out fresh and hot at $2 bag or 3 / $5. Well, surprise! The Toonie-sized wonders are here for a reasonable pound note ($2.60). Oh wait, that’s £1 for 3 donuts. Count them: 1-2-3. Ha! Ha! Three little donuts. For those that can’t afford that kind of extravagance they can be purchased *singly* for a mere 35p (86¢).

    Coke: Needing my fix, I hit the local Safeway and found cans of Coke on sale. Say, that’s pretty reasonable: a pack for about $4.50. Safeway normally discounted a 12 pack to $4.00 back home. It wasn’t until I tried to pick it up that I found out it was a 6-pack.

    Long Distance Savings

    5 ¢ a minute to Canada. With the help of the local Tandori and Bangers shop, we acquired a dubious looking card offering 5¢ a minute to Canada through some wierd invisible Internet routing. My first call home was a bit noisy and it clipped a bit if both people talked at once but soon, I believe, the volume of porn traffic on the net decreased. Lo and behold: Clear conversation!

    Maybe it’s not actually real. Maybe the conversations I have at this rate are not *true* conversations. It’s like the Matrix movie. I only think it’s a low-cost conversation. It’s just an illusion or lesser reality. Or maybe I’ve been eating too much fish and chips.

    Actually it turns out it’s not real. Two calls on the card have almost wiped it out. Must call technical support, get my questions answered and offer proper design.

    Found a cell package that gives me cheaper daytime calls than [missing text here. -ed]

    Visiting The Brighton Pavillion

    For those that havn’t seen this pseudo-palace, it’s sort of the Graceland of 19th century. Indian on the outside – Chinese on the inside. Well, not actually Chinese. The Prince received a gift of some Chinese wallpaper one morning and was so inspired he created a Chinese fantasy palace. The fantasy part is his; this is what Chinese looks like to a proper Englishman. Except the classical British architecture keeps seeping through. Think English stiff chairs on a backdrop of red dragons.

    Actually the whole thing is pulled off rather well and certainly says more for good taste than some modern wonders that come to mind. (Atchoo WEM atchoo! <cough> pardon me)

    Garbage Collection

    We have a backyard. Really, we do. I can see it out the window. We’ve never been there. It is not for us. We are denied. The house just does not go to it. Apparently the fish and chips shop does.

    We asked them where to take our garbage. “Oh,” they said, “just put it on the street by the bin like everybody else.” She pointed happily out the window to a wastebasket the size of a small chair. She suspected this was in fact legal because the waste did get taken away. “How often?” we asked. “Oh, I don’t think there’s a schedule. They just sort of come by.” Apparently, this is true but they do just sort of come by three to four times a day, most commonly at about 2 AM when they take great care to crush the glass on the spot and scrape the pavement clean with large iron bars wielded by drunken stampeding elephants.

    More Tourist Fun

    The Pier: I normally picture piers as places to dock small boats rather than a place to house large, heavy amusement rides and a rollercoaster. Apparently, the Brighton Pier also contains amusement machines that are exceptionally gifted at removing 10p pieces from your pockets.


    Visited the center of the financial universe but was barred entry. Apparently to leave the train station, one must feed one’s ticket into a machine which determines if you are worthy of passing. I wasn’t. I watched the throngs of worthy gifted people pass through but had to throw myself on the mercy of London security.

    You know you’re in England when the local Macs-like convenience store offers magazines, candy and fresh bread.

    On the way back discovered an opportunity for a scenic tour of Sussex and area in the dead of night by boarding the right track and wrong train.

    Well, apart from being terrified of choosing between rent and food, having a great time!

    Cheers lads!


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