Friday, June 06, 2008

Odd Signs while abroad

We encountered a few odd signs while we were in England and Ireland.
They seemed odd to us as 'Stupid Americans' but probably make perfect sense to the Brits.

No Nothing at any time
This sign seems to say No doing anything or nothing at any time. It doesn't exactly tell us what we aren't supposed to do. There is nothing in the circle that the line is crossing out. Are we to do nothing? Or make sure we aren't doing nothing?
We eventually figured out it meant no parking, but again - confusing at first.

Great Tastes of America

We loved this one. Mostly because at Mickey D's in Ireland they were having a "Tastes of America" campaign where you could buy burgers that were supposedly from various areas in America. It gave great insight into what they thought America's tastes or flavors supposedly are.
The Miami burger - 100% beef, bacon, monteray jack cheese, lettuce onion and cheese sauce on a chili-chive bun (Doesn't that just scream South Beach to you!!?)
The New York Supreme - beef, mayo, bacon and american cheese on a sesame seed bun
The California Supreme - beef, bacon, monteray jack cheese, tomato sauce on a sesame seed bun
Arizona Grande - beef, bacon (they sure think we like bacon huh?), monteray jack cheese, mayo & peppers on a chili-chive bun
And the best was the Oreo Toffee Flurry. Labeled as a great taste of America, it's a flurry flavor you can't even get in America.

Children on the Rampage
This sign was posted outside the Old Mill in Lower Slaughter I believe. I love the word rampage. Not unruly, not disruptive, but children who are rampaging through the center will be removed. Great choice of words!

Humped Crossings/ Humped Zebras
These signs were everywhere. "Humps - next 10 yards" or "Humped Crossing".
Our favorite were the humped zebra signs. We learned that zebras were pedestrian crossings (those zigzagged lines you see on the roads). And if they were raised, they were considered 'humped'. Still, in our perverse American minds it gave way to all kinds of jokes and innuendos.

Recycled Teenagers
It's a bit hard to see in this picture, but on the chalkboard sign it says "Recycled Teenagers - over 50's" This particular pub was calling senior citizens (or the over 50's set) recycled teens. So over course, we had to get our very own recycled teens to pose in front of the sign.
Also, not so much a sign, but you could hear over intercoms and such at the train/plane stations about 'super citizens' instead of senior citizens. It brought to mind a kind of ultra-patriotic, super hero kind of Brit. Someone wearing the Union Jack as a cape and calling themselves "Britain Man".

Stonking Good!
We ran across this sign in the theater district. We don't what stonking is, but we sure do want to have some. I do think we had a stonking good time in jolly ole' London.

Mind the Gap
Seen all around at Subway Stations (or the tube or Underground as it is called there) We know it means watch your step, but we saw various versions of this all around England. "Mind your head" when going through a small door, "Mind your step" when walking over rough terrain. But it brings to mind the idea of obeying the gap or step "Mind your mother, Mind the gap".
Maybe we're just weird and overthink things.

Riding with Hitler
This was a sign in the British war Museum and apparently part of a campaign during WWII. But can you imagine the same sign today? When you ride alone you ride with Osama Bin Laden?

Sunday, June 01, 2008

June 1 - Paris


I have dreamed since I was a little girl about going to Paris. About the Eiffel tower and all it's romance, the city of lights, the city of love. But somehow reality never lives up to the dream and that was the fate of Paris.

We woke up at a ghastly 4am to catch the train to Paris. We had just a few hours to tour the city and we wanted to make the most of it.
May I say that the train was the best form of transportation I have ever been in. I think we were in business class, but still, it was so clean and comfortable and they served us a really good breakfast. If I ever get back to Europe, I'm going everywhere by train.

Of course, the worse part about Paris are the French. I'm not one of those 'freedom' fries kind of people, but honestly, the French need to chill out a bit. I know very little French and tried to use that as much as possible and be polite and not come off as a "Stupid American". But some people can't be pleased. I was trying to buy a piece of gum at the station and the lady was chattering away in French. I asked her "Parlez vous anglais?" and she rolled her eyes and sighed heavily and then replied in English to me. I'm sorry I'm not fluent in French. Please forgive me and my stupid education. But thankfully, she was the only really rude person I ran into during my short time in the country.

First stop into Paris was of course the Eiffel Tower. And it was everything I dreamed it to be.
The only problem was that we didn't get to stay there long enough. I could have spent a whole day looking out at the city and then having coffee at one of the cafe's inside. The tower is supposed to be (in my mind) a romantic experience. The problem is, you can't get very romantic with your inlaws standing next to you. I don't fault them, it just changed what I thought my first visit would be. But the views were great.

After the Eiffel Tower we had just enough time to see Notre Dame. But because of time we had to do a rush through tour. On the way we stopped at a cafe and I got some crepes (yummiest thing ever) and bought a beret from a sidewalk vendor. And yes, I wore it. How can you not have a real live french beret and then not wear it?
We barely scratched the surface of Notre Dame. Just enough to take a few pictures and hang out for a bit in the gardens.

And then we had to bit adieu to Paris. A very brief 4 hour visit. I hope I can return someday and give it more time. We didn't even get to the Louvre or Arc D'Triomphe.

The train ride back was better than the train ride up. They served us a nice dinner with complimentary wine and champagne (Yay french!). If your glass was even partly empty they would come by and fill it back up without asking.
We had a good share of alcohol and probably acted more like stupid loud Americans than we had the whole trip.
We realized that business class actually meant that because we were surrounded by people in suits and working feverishly on laptops. And here we were, foriegn tourists acting like fools.
Oh well. We had a good time.

It was our last night and I had one last thing I had to do before I could go home to America.
Our train let us out at King's Cross station and for any Potterheads out there, you know what I had to do.
I couldn't find it at first probably because I'm a muggle and have no business looking for it, but I asked a station worker and he pointed me in the right direction. And there it was, Platform 9 3/4. The way into Hogwarts for all you non-Harry Potter fans.

Earlier in the week I had run across a Hog's head pub, and found Charing Cross road (and what I suspect is the hidden entry into the Leaky Cauldron, but of course, I can't see it, because I'm a muggle) but Platform 9 3/4 is the climax.

And so concludes our whirlwind but wonderful European vacation. Another 12 hours on a plane and we are home.