Saturday, February 05, 2011

Back, back in Cali, Cali

I just got back from my ten day excursion to the UK and Amsterdam.

Holy cow, what an experience! I spent most of the time overwhelmed and lost due to constantly cloudy skies. It's amazing how much I depend on the sun for my sense of direction!

Anyway, here are some quick observations before I start posting about my trip for realz:

  • Both London and Amsterdam were full of people who were very nice whenever I had a question that needed answering immediately. Nicer than what I've come to expect in LA. But then again, I don't talk to many strangers in LA.

  • I hardly saw any fat people. Even in LA, the land of plastic surgery and the brutal standards of the entertainment industry has more fat people than I saw in London and Amsterdam. Is that ratio different when one gets out of the metropolitan areas of London and Amsterdam? I'm sure it is, but still, because of all the walking people have to do to get around, they're thinner than people here. Food portions are smaller and more expensive, as well.

  • Speaking of food, I was intrigued with the Pret a Manger chain in London. When in doubt about food choices such as a British pub that contains a Thai menu, grab a sandwich at Pret.

  • Driving looks more frightening there than here. And that's saying something. Also, no SUV's. That was pretty cool!

  • It's apparently a local law that women in London don't wear pants, even in January. Leggings were the hip, happening thing. Not for me, but for everyone else.

  • Amsterdam coffee is really good.

  • UK roller girls are as polite on the track as they are off the track. Which means they're very, very polite. The leagues I visited were very nice, and put up with my yelling very well. I ended up training more than expected, but I still got to hit strangers, which is always fun!

  • I was easily the loudest person in all of Europe while I was there.

  • Searching for a decent salad was akin to searching for the Holy Grail. Well-nigh impossible most of the time.

  • Mexican food in Amsterdam isn't too terrible.

  • Staying at a hotel where Arab fancy people frequent is a surreal experience.

  • Walking constantly for almost ten days is kind of a workout, kind of not. But my feet are killing me. I didn't lose weight thanks to my eating an English breakfast on most days, which I don't do here in the US. English bacon is DELICIOUS, btw.

  • Wearing athletic shoes out and about when one is not actually working out is a sure sign that one is an American.

  •  Not having a cell phone for ten days was a pain at times, but for the most part I adjusted. Not having reliable internet access was a different story!

  • The Jack the Ripper tour was pretty cool, though most of the actual locations have been updated with new high-rises and such, so it's difficult to imagine how it all looked "back in the (gruesome) day".

  • The branch of the Hermitage in Amsterdam needs more stuff. The Van Gogh museum gave me new appreciation for his drawings. Rembrandt's house gave me a HUGE appreciation for the art of etching.

  • Watching news that actually contained news as opposed to merely gossip stories about actors and celebutards was eye-opening. America is really full of spoiled whiny brats. The anti-intellectual bend the US has taken is horrifying in light of how other countries cover the news. 

  • Both London and Amsterdam were way more environmentally conscious about energy usage and recycling than the US. We have a long way to go, baby.

  • I wish I lived in a city with reasonable public transportation. I get that cities such as London, Amsterdam, and New York are compact compared to LA. But DAMN, it'd sure be nice to have an alternative to driving every once in awhile.

  • LAX is the most ghetto airport I've been to. Really, LA? Get your shit together, people are looking at you.

  • The exchange rate between the US and the UK was brutal on my pocketbook. Thank goodness the Euro was much kinder to my budget. 

  • I hope that I can go back, especially to do some derby training. If there's a way to offset the airfare, I'd totally do a derby training tour!

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