Since our initial plan of getting to and from Sorrento by car had backfired, we woke up at 4:30 in the morning, took the Circumvesuviana to Naples, paid an extra 45 Euros to take another train back to Rome Termini, enjoyed another bus ride back to Rome Ciampino, and barely made it in time to board our flight to London at 10 am. All of this hassle was worth it, however, because the name of one of our flight attendants turned out to be Ambigay, which I thought was quite humorous. She seemed like a very nice Indian woman, her name just implies that she’s a bisexual hermaphrodite. I can tell you one thing- if I ever have a child who is a hermaphrodite, I will most certainly be naming him and her Ambigay.
After we touched down in London, we took one more bus ride into the city, my sisters showed me their flat, and I left to check into my hostel. I don’t remember much about my stay in London, so from this point forward I’m abandoning the chronological concept seen in the previous installations of Ryan’s European Adventure. I’ll just give you the highlights.
There was a lot of walking around. I saw some of the major sites- St. Paul’s cathedral, Big Ben (from afar), Trafalgar Square. I also spent a lot of time in museums like the National Gallery, the Tate Modern, and the British Museum (all of which were free). One thing about museums- if I lived in a major city, this is where I would attempt to meet women. There are plenty of cute girls milling about. Sure, they’re all probably smarter than me, but… Wait a minute, no one’s smarter than me. Nevermind.
Pret A Manger is a big thing over there. It’s like the Starbucks of London, but instead of serving coffee and pastries, it specializes in healthy foods of all sorts. One day I was sitting outside and eating my lunch at Pret (as they’re abridged over there), when I looked down the street and saw another Pret. Despite its overwhelming prevalence in the city, I actually like Pret. Their food is delicious and their locations are not crawling with hipsters, like Starbucks. I highly recommend the tomato and mozzarella croissant.
Another food I thoroughly enjoyed in London was actually a drink: Samuel Smith’s Organic Strawberry Ale. A fruit beer, not a beer for fruits (if anyone from Samuel Smith’s is reading this and wants to use that as a slogan, you have my permission to do so). I first encountered SSOSA while meandering through an organic grocery store I stumbled upon. I briefly glanced into the beer cooler and there it was, calling out to me like a siren amidst the rough seas of organic groceries. Despite having no place to drink it (you’re not allowed to bring alcohol into the hostel and you can’t drink in public), I bought it. I poured the beer into a baggy, then crammed the baggy into my anal cavity and gingerly walked by the hostel’s door guard. Luckily, he didn’t suspect anything, so I proceeded to my (empty) room and enjoyed the brewski by my lonesome. While drinking alone is usually a somber affair, this time it was a joyous occasion, as SSOSA is one of the best beers I’ve ever tasted.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with hostels, you share a room with random strangers. There’s a lot of turnover, so if you stay a few nights, it’s not uncommon to have different roommates every night. Up until my last night in London, I had had fairly good luck with hostel roommates. I returned to my room that last night to find three new roommates- two fairly good looking German girls and the biggest buffoon you could ever imagine. This guy was unbelievable. First of all, he looked the part. He had beady little eyes, a huge nose, giant ears, disheveled hair, and a lower lip that protruded out at least an inch from his upper lip. It’s difficult to describe, but he was easily one of the ugliest people I’ve ever seen. He was also about 45 years old, whereas the rest of my roommates were no older than 25. He breathed heavily, inhaling and exhaling in short bursts as if he had just finished running a mile. He smelled like he had spent the day rummaging around in a pile of garbage. He was constantly looking in different directions, moving his head in a quick, jerky manner. He was also always grunting and making odd noises. He reminded me of Chris Kattan’s Mr. Peepers, only uglier. It wasn’t until he went to sleep that I found out he was French. How did I find out he was French after he was sleeping, you ask? Because he talked in his sleep. I should rephrase that. Every twenty minutes or so, he took a break from snoring and grumbled loudly in his sleep in a language that I could barely make out as French. And his snoring was outrageous. His short breaths, which were very much audible when he wasn’t sleeping, doubled in volume when his eyes were closed. In the time it would take a normal snorer to inhale and exhale once, this guy would’ve inhaled and exhaled at least three times. To him, sleeping was a race- and he was not going to lose. Just being in the same room with him made me anxious, and I don’t get anxious easily. Needless to say, I got less than a half hour of sleep that night, and even though I had to wake up early to catch my flight back to the States, I was just happy to get out of there.
My final morning in Europe, I met my sisters at the station, and we took the Underground (mind the gap) to Heathrow airport. As I was waiting to go through the security checkpoint, I saw a rather stocky black gentleman in a red velvet jumpsuit and his crew being escorted through a priority metal detector. When he turned around, I recognized him immediately as Cee-Lo Green, singer of the megasmash “F*** You” and one half of Gnarls Barkley! I watched as the TSA (or whatever it’s called in the UK) checked every one of their carry-ons, and even though there were about 25 people ahead of me in the plebeian line, I actually made it through security before Cee-Lo. “Sometimes it’s good to be an unassuming white guy,” I thought as I boarded a plane to America, “But not very often.”