England, June 1, 1998
I loved sailing through my Cool Britannia experience
|Britain! Wow, what a country! Or was it two? I spent a week and a half
gorging on the wonders the English Isles had to offer. I have to say I
was impressed that everyone spoke English, and the shopping was endless.
My Anglican adventure started innocently way back in January, when, via an odd charge on someone's staff account I couldn't explain, I found out that PW has a regatta every summer in England, the Windsor Winch. As one who is know to wander into odd things, I jumped at the chance to go sailing. What else am I gonna do with a few hundred buck and three days of my life? So after a bit of BS, a well placed usage of the word 'jib pole,' and a bit of begging, I got on the invitee list. Joe-cool! I was going sailing!
Before I wound up on the boat, I went on a little South Island Odyssey. I flew into London (of course) and went to stay with an old housemate from DC, Danny. She lives in Wimbledon, a section of London strangely devoid of tennis courts. I looked all over, but I didn't see a single one! She was good to catch up with. I got the latest gossip from DC, and her take on the American Experience.After spending time with her, and shopping like mad in London, I went to see another ex-DC housemate (well more like house crasher) Richard. We had a great time, driving to Cardiff Wales, which might be an independent country, but I'm still a bit confused. There, we packed up his University apartment and drove it back to his home in Huntingdon with his stuffed animals staring out the back window the whole way.
I rested in the English countryside for a few days before it was off to London again. This time it was more of a bar crawl, with a dinner at the posh National Liberal Club as the climax. I promptly got food poisoning from the spring rolls (I knew the English cooked bad, but food poisoning too?!).
The next day, as I learned all about the many toilets of England, I made my way to Southampton, where the regatta was going to be held. I met up with our crew, and of we went. A boat ramming, impromptu swim, a broken jib pole, and a wind burnt face later, we came in 6th, 5th, and 3rd out of 25 boats who sailed on a regular basis. For a close to novice crew with a world class skipper, we did pretty good and collected two bottles of champagne, if not a trophy.
All in all, I really enjoyed my time in Britain, and London is now on the short list of cities I definitely want to live in.