Sunday, October 31, 2010

Intoxicated Travel

My husband and I returned from our vacation in London yesterday. I would love to tell you all about it- the sights, the food, the history- except I don't remember anything.

I was drunk the entire time.

London has pubs. Lots and lots of pubs. See, over here in Denver all we have are bars. Bars containing a few beers, some plastic tables, and a television in the corner blaring some game. But pubs in London? It's a whole different story.

"There are different types of beer in London," my husband informed me, flipping through our London guidebook. "They have lagers, and bitters, and stouts." His eyes gleamed in anticipation.
"What's the difference between them?" I asked. We were sitting on the plane in coach, and I was struggling with opening the plastic bag wrapped around the pillow and blanket provided to us.
"It's based on their-" my husband stopped short, noticing that I had managed to get my head caught inside the plastic bag and was suffocating inside it. "Dear god, honey!" He freed me from the bag frantically as I gasped for air. "What-how...?" He read the warning label on the side of the plastic: TO AVOID DANGER OF SUFFOCATION, KEEP THIS PLASTIC BAG AWAY FROM BABIES AND CHILDREN.
I coughed and sucked down more air. "You just saved my life," I wheezed to him.
"Um...." I could see the confusion on my husband's face, as he silently registered that he needed to keep plastic bags out of my hands. "I guess I should get electric outlet covers for the house as well," he mumbled, dryly.
"Good idea," I said, thinking about the week before, when I tried to shove a metal fork in one of them, just to see what would happen.

We landed in London and checked into our hotel, excited to see the big sights- Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, the Clock Tower, Big Ben! Touring down the streets of London, though, we suddenly stopped.
"Look, a pub," I pointed.
"I guess we could stop in for a quick pint," my husband said eagerly.
Four hours and five pints later, I was telling the bartender my life story and hubby was discussing Deerhunter's latest album with a group of guys from Clerkenwell.
"You mean you almost suffocated inside a plastic bag?" The bartender asked me, amused. "Isn't that how babies die?"
"I know, right?" I rolled my eyes, like it was the bag's fault. Suddenly serious, I reached out and clutched his hand. "Oh, and thank you for letting us borrow David and Victoria," I said, referring to the Beckham's move to Los Angeles. "We are taking VERY good care of them."
"Um- thanks, mate," he said, shaking his head and laughing. I really appreciated his good humor.

This happened again and again. "Look, a pub," was said by either my husband or I at least 8-10 times a day, followed by a pint (or two). Which means London started to get real fuzzy.

"Excuse me....sir- where's the Rosetta Stone?" I slurred to one of the security guards in the British Museum, trying to remember how many drinks I had downed that afternoon.
"It's on the Ground Floor, to the left," he informed me.
"Oh, thanks- so it's just a stone's throw away," I joked, unable to resist the pun.
He raised an eyebrow as my husband dragged me away. "You need to read your information guide,” he said. “That guy probably gets asked that question a thousand times a day.”
“But I’m listening to music right now,” I protested, gesturing to the headphones around my ears.
“That’s your audio guide, sweetie,” he replied. “Not a CD player. You type in the number for each of the displays and it will tell you about the object.”
“Right.” I thought it was weird that Lady Gaga was giving me an informational talk on the Sutton Hoo Treasure, but I just assumed she was just being avant garde or something.

At the Tower of London, famous for imprisoning and executing traitors back in the day, I ended up falling asleep (read: passing out) on the lawn. I came to when I felt my husband shaking me awake.
"Oh god, I know exactly how Anne Boleyn felt," I moaned.
"Honey, she was beheaded. Aren't you being a little dramatic?"
"Please. An axe to the neck about sums up the amount of pain I'm in. At that last pub, the Lamb & Goat? Was I singing, 'Lagers and Bitters and Stouts, oh my' to the tune of that similar song in The Wizard Of Oz?"
My husband squinted in thought. "I think the pub was called Goat & Lamb- and yes, you were singing that. I think at one point you even tapped your shoes together like Dorthy."
"We're not in Kansas anymore," I said, my head pounding.

We went to see the Crown Jewels, but I felt nauseous on the moving walkway staring at them, the gem's colors swirling together behind the bullet proof glass.
"That diamond is 105 carats," my husband informed me, pointing to the Crown of Queen Elizabeth.
"Imagine how many pints that could buy," I mused.

A few hours later, I was vomiting into the Thames River and my husband mentioned that he was concerned with the amount of time we were spending in pubs.
"But I don't wanna stop drinking in pubs," I whined, coughing up the last bit of bile. "I love the pubs here. Every time I walk into one...." I searched for the words. "It feels like Britain is giving me a hug. The pubs are warm, welcoming, sparkly and happy. And we're only here for like a week," I finished.
"I know," he agreed, and handed me one of our travel wet wipes to clean myself off. "We'll just have to keep going, I guess." He opened the guidebook. "Want to figure out what to see next- in a pub?" He looked a little sheepish.
"Hell yes, I do," I replied.



  1. Pubs ARE like a nice warm hug. With food. And good beer.
    I'm sorry you had to vomit into the Thames, London is awfully short on the rubbish bins to people ratio, isn't it?

    There's a nice pub right along the South Bank probably near where you were feeling ill. Hope it served you well!

  2. also, my verification word for the last comment was 'matie.'

    Even the google computer thing appreciates your london tale.

  3. This sums up what I plan on doing this summer, except for all around Europe instead of just London. I'm pretty sure I'll end up spending two weeks in Amsterdam...

  4. Welcome home. I predict the bars in Denver are about to undergo a transformation.

  5. HAH Yeah that would about sum it up fro me & my Fiancee when we travel.

  6. I was actually in London last weekend as well (didn't notice many puking Americans fitting your description, unfortunately), but we only went to one pub. Because my parents are kinda lame.

    Luckily, I'm going with my college friends in a couple weeks, so our experience should be closer to yours this time around.

  7. Once upon a time I travelled to Ireland ... or so I've been told because I definitely don't remember. For the exact. same. reason.