Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Scot Free

I suppose we'll start at the beginning, though that seems boring. Linear narrative. Bah.

On both my flights between LAX and London, I traveled with rock stars, though their current standing in the world of music was illustrated quite clearly both in their appearance and seating. I noticed Tom Delonge right away, his new band Angels and Airwaves (worst. name. ever.) headed for a European tour. The group sat in first class. The road crew had me surrounded back in aisle 38. On the return flight, a grizzled and emaciated fellow seemed familiar to me while we waited at the gate. It was Leif Garrett. He sat a couple rows in front of me, minded by a big gorilla of a handler/bodyguard who liked to stand up and look scary and important once every half hour.

Being a sketchy flyer anyway, I figured the return flight was going down since Leif hasn't made the best choices in life and probably deserves to die. Fortunately, that karma didn't visit on this day.


My stop-over in London was only an hour and twenty minutes, which is way too short a time if you've ever been to Heathrow. It's this massive, spread-out place and to get from one terminal to another, you usually have to take a bus or a subway. This in addition to having to walk a couple miles on either side of that ride, a jam-packed security area and a crowded airspace/tarmac that generally results in some kind of delay getting to the gate. I had navigated most of it okay and had some time to spare when I got to the passport check-in and found myself behind a swell of elderly Asians.

I was not alone, however. A young Aussie chick in front of me was also sweating making her connecting flight. She had ten fewer minutes than I. But we got to talking and she was nice and pleasent and coming from Marrakhesh(!) and if she didn't have that sloppy body and those horribly yellow, over-bitten teeth, I might have tried to have a little sex with her right there. It's been a while for me. I had plenty of time. But I passed.

I dozed the entire hour to Glasgow, hemmed in my window seat by a rugby player who liked to spread his broadsheet wide. I've been working on being more assertive lately, but this was not situation where I felt it prudent to speak up.

Div graciously ferried me from the airport and after I got checked-in at my hotel, he and I headed out into the city. I was centrally-located and we walked to a nearby cafe for some food. I went with the bacon, avocado and mixed greens salad, blaring my California-ness, while Div had black pudding and I was remiss in asking him what the hell is black pudding, since I still don't rightly know. After the food (and a Scottish Ale), he asked what I wanted to do.

"Let's go drink."
"Okay, what do you want?"

So he took me here:

(Picture, if you will, an image of a drinking establishment entitled "Beer Cafe." 'Cause that's where we went. 'Cause I have a picture of it. but FUCKING BLOGGER WON'T POST IT.)

Here I am, all set with the jokes, the visual prop comedy you've all come to know and love from me and Carrot Top and today, of all days, blogger decides to be ineffective in the photo posting department. It was called "Beer Cafe!" Beer! Cafe!

Ahem. I was surprisingly not jet-lagged. The last couple times I made the trip to Europe, I had a rough time with it. Well, once I got brutal jet-lag. The other time I got deathly ill, an occasion which allowed me to experience the "model" socialist health care system of Sweden, which was neither model, nor the slightest bit effective, so next time somebody holds their system up as some kind of ideal, just remember that their doctors suck and they pay half their salary for the privilege. Yet, I digress.

I had no jet-lag, partly because I had a solid 5-hour block of sleep on the flight. Undisturbed, deep sleep. Also unusual, but I bought one of those travel pillows for the occasion and it was the best 15 bucks I ever spent. It kept my head from lolling forward (or to the side) which is what generally wakes me up during travel. That I had an aisle seat (my preference) and an empty seat next to me was also of great comfort.

So we're plowing down pints of Guinness in various establishments (some of them not named "Beer Cafe") and I'm able to get the gist of what Div is saying, despite only understanding 70% of the actual words. Div talks fast. And he's got a funny accent.

We called it around midnight. I was up and at 'em early the next morning for a bus tour of Glasgow while Div had a family function. The tour was a little underwhelming because I was cold and a little hungover tired and hungry and my camera battery (freshly charged) ran out almost immediately, so I didn't get any good pictures of the cool things I did see (the University of Glasgow had some great architecture). I did see two pigeons fucking in George Square, which made me momentarily lament not ravaging the Aussie when I had my chance to hit the under on my meaningless sex with meaningless women in meaningless queues prop bet.

I had some lunch in my hotel cafe and prepared to head out for the Cincinnati Club for some poker. Div got a lift (not the elevator kind) from his lovely wife, who I got to meet, along with his gorgeous giggling daughter. It must be said Mrs. Div was quite permissive with the hubby that weekend. Not only that, on Sunday night, she kept texting me updates of the A's-Twins game. I would say that is the very definition of a "keeper." Cheers to Mrs. Div.

(In your mind's eye, imagine a wrought iron and pillared facade, a black sign hanging above spelling out the club's name with a neon yellow "Poker Club" below, weak and ineffective in the afternoon light. I have a picture of that, too.)

I met the whole crew: Rod, Tank (who I would later introduce to an exotic dancer as "Tank," causing him to say, "You don't know my real name, do you?"), Dave, Laz, Stephen, Billy. Most of us eventually settled into the first of two 20+1-pound (that's about $40, Larry) SnG, winner-take-all. I made nary a dent in either. My cards were so fucking crappy that when I did raise, everybody folded to my "aces." I actually had 64o. "I'm really not this tight!" I continued to assert.

The best part was watching them all have a go at one another. The table talk was fast and furious. Steven asked me if I could understand their accents and I mostly could, but not when they were all talking at once. I was having such a good time, in fact, that Div and I missed our dinner reservation, realizing the fact far too late. No haggis for me.

The club was cool. Tank and Rod were running a charity heads-up tournament to send a Scot to a UK-wide competition later in the year. The owner or manager or whatever he was, a Middle Eastern guy with a sketchy squint, began to get a little perturbed by all of us hanging around since he had a $10K guaranteed running soon and his "big" customers were showing up. Other than that, I felt right at home. Perhaps the coolest feature was the three computer terminals set up in the room, on one of which a guy was four-tabling.

The rest of the'll have to wait for this month's edition of Truckin' for that. I'll pick up next time on Sunday morning, where I toured Glasgow's most hallowed cathedral, Celtic Park, nursing a wicked hangover.


At 12:39 PM, Blogger Doog said...

Is pigeon sex anything like marshmallow peep sex?

At 1:27 PM, Blogger littleacornman said...

Great write up but I'd substitute "hallowed cathedral" for "large meccano set" ;-)

Btw you really don't want to know what's in a black pudding...

At 4:25 PM, Blogger facty said...

Dear Sexy,

I tried the black pudding. It is foul. it is made by killing a pig and leaving it on its back while you get the good eatin's out. Then you take all the blood that has pooled at the bottom of the carcass and spice it up and let it dry into a hockey puck.

Do. Not. Eat. The. Black. Pudding.

The white pudding, however is lovely.


At 12:12 AM, Blogger Div said...

Sshhh Facty, you are making me hungry :p

At 7:37 AM, Blogger Drizztdj said...

And I thought the description of haggis made my stomach flip.

At 11:12 AM, Blogger Div said...

The fun with haggis isn't the eating, it's the hunting.


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