Tuesday, July 29, 2008

England Trip - July 29th 1983

We checked out of the Onslow Court Hotel and boarded our tour bus for Canterbury. Gordon the coach driver greeted us on the street in uniform. He helped us stow our luggage in the lower boot. He was about 40 years old, tan, with straight brown hair, well groomed, like Roger Moore. He liked to watch the ladies like 007 too, but not necessarily this morning as we were all in a hurry to begin our bus coach tour of England. Farewell to Kensington for a couple of weeks.

We stopped at Greenwich on the east side of the London metro area and hopped on board the Cutty Sark. No free samples, har! They liked their cats in Greenwich. I saw a pensioner who strolled by with his feline friend cradled in his arms. Another furry friend guarded the magazine rack in a nearby tobacconist shop.

We ate lunch at a place that featured a missile command video game in the corner by the front door. Video arcade machines were a rare commodity on this trip, not counting the slot machines in the pub, and I threw a couple of 10 pence pieces in the old Atari game. 10 pence equated to be about 15 cents, but perhaps more importantly, the 10 pence coin was close to the American quarter in size, and therefore a better candidate to use in the coin slot. Say, where have all the ladies gone? I gotta start hanging out with Gordon more often.

We reached Canterbury by mid-afternoon. We took a walking tour of the central district and saw remnants of Roman mosaics and ancient buildings. We toured the cathedral as well. Marc and I walked down the street from our hotel after the group dinner and joined the action at the pub. A number of rowdy guys were chugging beer near the front door. The British don't care if you stand outside the bar door with your drinks. These guys looked to be Navy vets, they had tattoos, a popular requirement for British sailors, especially since this was less than 18 months after the Falklands conflict. One bloke grabbed a girl's skirt as she walked by. Another guy pulled down his pants and underwear and did some push-ups on the sidewalk. Maybe that's why we don't allow the sidewalk drinking here in America.

I listened to the BBC radio service in the hotel room after pub time. One of the channels featured a live recording of Lynyrd Skynyrd. I didn't realize there was a British audience for southern-rock American style, but why not. They are keen observers of American culture if nothing else.

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