Boat to taxi to Gatwick & now at the gate next to Air Montego Bay...
Mobile Email from a Cingular Wireless Customer http://www.cingular.com
A spirit with a vision is a dream with a mission...
Yup, smoking kills and if that is not enough, check out what is in a typical cigarette:
So, does the presence of formaldehyde and benzene stop the average Brit from smoking? Apparently not...
As I try to assimilate into English culture, one thing I have worked hard on is the holding of my utensils. At home, we typically place the knife down after we are done cutting our food and then place our left hand in our lap. The right hand is then used with the fork to pick up whatever it is you want to shovel into your mouth. Over here, the left hand is assigned the knife and the right hand is assigned the fork and neither the two do part until your plate is clean. As I observed, it is much easier to shovel food into my mouth if both utensils and hands work as a team (No comments KL). I can now use my knife to ram food onto my fork which makes eating a much more efficient operation.
On the way out, I spied a list. Yes, it is a dessert list and not a list of village ailments in case you noticed that they offer Spotted Dick. Instead of the disease that no one speaks of, it is actually a pudding with currants (raisins). I have had it before...the dessert that is, not the disease. You can get it in the can at Meijer...once again, the dessert, not the disease...although in this case at Meijer it might actually be both.
Here is a shot of Wetherspoons as I descend the stairway. Hey, what's that guy looking at! You can readily tell that it is quite different that most of the other pubs I have talked about. A lot of purists do not like this type of pub, although the pub itself has gained good standing because of their choice of beer and their embracement of local culture. I have been told that Wetherspoon is the name of a local Ryde supporter of CAMRA.
This evening was nice, because it gave Zoe and Paul a lot of time to catch up and talk about growing up. In the UK, Sam gets a year off for maternity leave, 6 months paid and 6 months not. I am sure with the twins, that time will fly by.
Paul, like Bob, works as a letter carrier for Royal Mail (The UK equivalent of the USPS). It is funny hearing another public employee talk about his experiences with people. Paul's route is at one of the dodgy ends of Ryde, so you can only imagine his stories.
After Wetherspoons, we walked to the Yelf's Hotel. I had never been inside the Yelf's, but found it to be quite nice and a little posh. After getting drinks, we sat by ourselves in a conservatory off the rear of the building. Seeing that my bladder is the size of an overgrown peanut, I ventured to the bathroom three or four times through the evening. Here's a question for you: What is the last thing you want to see when you head to the bathroom and go through the Gent's Door? If you answered, "The stairs", then you are correct! Yup, I rounded the corner after opening the door, almost tripped after I realized that the urinal was not as close as I thought it was. Rest assured that I won't fall for that surprise again!
After spending some time at Yelf's, we walked down to Joe Defloes. For those music buffs, Joe Defloes was started by Isle of Wight native Mark King who is a member of the musical group Level 42. Level 42 was popular in the 80's (surprise, surprise) and is still recording today.
At Joe Defloes, Paul wanted me to try a new White Ale from Kronenberg. It was quite nice although I am not too sure about the word "fruity" on the top of the pint glass.
It was wonderful hanging out with Paul & Sam. It is nights like tonight where we realize that it is unfortunate that 3000 miles separate us.
To end the evening, we stopped at the Kebab shack so I could pick up a "Large Donner Kebab"...whatever the hell that is. All I know is that it is damn good. It is basically a Gyro on steroids. As with all things international, the Kebab shack is run by foreigners to the UK, in this case, Greeks. So, you can only imagine trying to give a Greek an order with an American accent who is used to speaking to the Brits. After the careful construction of my Kebab, he asked me something that I didn't quite understand. When this happens, I do one of two things. I go with the last thing I heard or I refuse politely whatever it was that I was being offered. In this case I refused. Well it turns out I refused any kind of topping for my Kebab. We got home and I found a slab of lamb in a pita with nothing else. Oh well...it can always be worse and afterall, it was still really good.
Funny, I always thought this is what happened after you ate the food.
This is as we walked from Zoe's parents house toward the town center. Notice the church is the highest structure in the town.
A view down the High Street toward the sea as we left a pub. One of the nice things here is that you can have a pint, or two, in the middle of the day and you don't have to hide your face and find some seedy joint where nobody knows you. Notice how Zoe is walking away from me. For some reason when I lug out my 25 lb 1999 digital camera she tends to want to distance herself from me.
A picture of the Ryde Pier. The Pier was finished in 1814 and was built because at low tide, ships cannot reach shore. On the photo on the bottom, you can make out the yellow catamaran leaving for Portsmouth. That is how we will leave the island on Monday.
This is a picture of the seafront. There are a number of pubs and hotels that cover this stretch of the town. This is a prime tourist spot for the English in the summer months. All though we have always been off season, I am told that the place is packed.
Here is the third way off the island, or fourth if you count swimming, the Hover Craft. It is about a ten minute ride across the Solent. You can see the Ryde pier in the background.
Our conundrum brought Wendy to tears...from laughing too hard. I think Wendy realized that once my phone came out, this would all be posted on the blog. Fortunately, the waiter offered to do the dirty work in the kitchen and when he returned, he wrapped the food in aluminum foil and then placed it in the bag. Shheww...
Wendy, Zoe and ran a few errands today and drove into Newport, which is the capital, or county seat, of the Isle of Wight. I learned something new this trip about English roads...before I just thought they were stretches of asphalt that led to pubs. All roads are graded according to type. If you are on the M25, you are on a motorway...the equivalent of our interstates. After motorway, you have a dual carriage way which is kind of like Riverside Drive. You have two lanes each way, that are divided. After that, roads are like typical two way streets that are graded by type...A or B. A12 or the A21...you get the idea. The road above is supposed to be a B road, but after driving on the mainland, it is more like a D road. The roads literally cut into the lay of the land. Because of the uniqueness of the English countryside, the construction of new motorways take into account the scenery. To avoid being an eyesore, most new motorways are constructed at a lower grade so that someone looking across a field would never see it. There are no motorways and only one dual carriage way on the island.
Once in town, we did some quick running around. We grabbed lunch at the Wheatsheaf Inn and Wendy snapped a picture. You will notice the rack of heads above me. Nice.
While the ladies did...well lady things, I perused a few shops. I found this product in a drugstore. The name says it all...I'm fairly certain WalMart wouldn't stock this. Although, Zoe thinks she has seen them in the states before. Bob says I should make my own brand and call it Ashol.
The morning was wrapped up with a quick stop at Tesco. Tesco is the English equivalent of Meijer...albeit on a smaller scale. One of my biggest problems with Tesco is their shopping carts. Study the picture and let me know what you notice about the wheels. If you guessed, hey they all can spin different directions, than you are right! I managed to use muscles I never knew I had just trying to keep the damn thing going straight.
Outside of running into things, the other funny part was trying to take this picture. I was trying to find a cart in motion and for some reason, I didn't think people would be too thrilled of me snapping photos. This was like the 6th attempt and only because I found it parked. Sorry there is no video...maybe next time.
At home, we just leave the legs. Apparently the English, who are always in for a good joke, like to leave the shins too and opt to only lop off the feet. I'm surprised the head wasn't still attached.
Bob took pride in supplying some beer for me and indicated he had assembled a fine collection:
Wait a tick...is that Coors Light!! After about passing out, I questioned Bob on his purchase. He told me that he was looking for something light and weak so he got an American Beer. That British wit...