Sunday, February 8, 2009

November 8, 2008 - Roberto's England - Vol. 2, Ch. 7


Did I keep you in suspense for long enough? I meant to write this continuation of my previous entry sooner, but life kept getting in the way.

First I had this work-related drama that I don't particularly want to go into. Everything is ok, but it is simply too long a story. Then I had to review a show for class and then proceeded to stay up all night for the elections. I'm so happy that America was smart enough to put Obama in the White House. On the other hand, I'm completely ashamed to be from California. The passing of Prop. 8 disgusts me. This is all I'm going to say on the subject because I will get very heated on the topic and this is not the place to rant about my....hmmmm, how to put this lightly... hate of religion and the Church. So yes, as I was saying, I stayed up all night and then went to work completely exhausted. I expected to have a short day and then "work from home" (i.e. sleep), but ended up being sent out to review a show at the last minute (Round and Round the Garden at Old Vic, in case you were interested). I got home hoping to take a quick nap before going out again to celebrate Guy Fawkes (this is another long story that I won't go into. I'll just say that, due to poor planning, it was a complete waste of time), but someone (you know who you are) drew me into a draining phone conversation that did not help my weakened mental state. Then on Thursday I had to review a show and write up a pending one. And, finally, yesterday I went out to a rather mediocre Mexican restaurant (Mestizo in Camden). Ok, the food was pretty good. I was really only upset by their god awful drinks. I ordered a caipirinha and was given something that barely resembled that oh-so delicious Brazilian drink. First of all, it was weak beyond words and tasted of sugar and lemon. On top of that, it was mostly crushed ice. There is no crushed ice in a caipirinha! It resembled a frozen margarita. But what really offended me was that their mojitos were similarly disgraced. Mojitos also should not look like a frozen margarita. We only planned on going out for dinner, but decided to keep the party going by to a "New York bar" that our friend Karl suggested. It certainly was a Manhattan-style bar, but it had a fun Brooklyn-vibe to it. A bit silly perhaps, but it played good music and the drinks were surprisingly cheap. Four drinks later (do I really need to say what I drank?), we left feeling a lot happier... and warmer. So that is why I didn't write yesterday. And I almost didn't write today because I was feeling rather lazy after coming back from Salisbury (I had to review another show), but I decided not to postpone it any longer.

But enough excuses. On to the point of the story. The Cardiff trip I took last weekend.

Our little group (Ellen, Pri, Brittany, and myself) met up with Ellen's friend, Laura, and left London early in the morning. I'm not actually sure how long it took to get to Cardiff by bus. I guess I could check online. Hold on........

4 hours later we arrived in cold and cloudy Cardiff. The bus dropped us off right in front of Cardiff Castle, so we started our trip there. It was a neat castle with a keep and a moat. We explored the grounds and then took a tour of the owner's ancestral home. The house and castle belonged to members of the Stuart (as in relatives of Mary Stuart) family. I really liked the house because the original inhabitant decided to make his house look like a Medieval estate even though it was built in the 18th century (or was it 19th?). Anyway, the house was amazing and our tour guide was really funny.

We had a private room with 6 beds at the hostel Ellen booked, so that was pretty sweet. Unfortunately, we had rowdy and loud neighbors. One group in particular were a nuisance. They were a group of Scottish guys that were getting ready to go out. For some reason, the shower became an extension of their room and, therefore, the private became public. They hung out in the bathroom while one of their buddies was showering. They would stand around naked (in the hallway, mind you) toweling off in front of each other. These guys were clearly very comfortable with each other, especially since it wasn't considered a big deal that one of them was standing naked (while the others just stood around talking) in front of the mirror and admiring.... himself. People are, um, interesting creatures.

We actually didn't do that much the first day. We settled in and went out to find some dinner. We ate a pub called The Goat Major. Why The Goat, you ask? Well, I'll tell you. Turns out the Cardiff army was so confident that they would take a goat into battle with them as a mascot. The goat is now on display in the castle.

After dinner we went back to our room, watched a movie (Stranger than Fiction... I wasn't happy with the ending, but generally I liked it), and passed out.

The next morning, after breakfast, we got a start on our day. Our first stop was a farmers' market. I love farmers' markets because they always give free samples of their goods, and this once was particularly excellent. We made our way through all the stands and proceeded to walk the long road to Cardiff Bay. After a very long walk, we eventually made it to the bay. We checked out a bit of the Millennium Center. Took in another farmers' market. Took many a picture. And then went back to the city (this time by bus).

Once back in the center of town we checked out the Cardiff art and natural history museum. The art portion was not terribly exciting, to be honest. I did, however, enjoy the natural history part. Seeing stuffed animals and such is always fun. There was one thing in particular that stood out. During the prehistoric section of the museum, they had this cave display with a really creepy stuffed hyena lurking in the shadows. There were bones strewn around and it would emit that scary laugh of theirs.

From there, we had lunch and then travelled back to London. Cardiff is actually pretty small, so 1.5 days felt like enough time. It was really cold, but we definitely had our share of fun and adventure.

And so ends my tale.

I hope it was worth the wait. If so, then I thank you for your support and continued readership. If not, too bad. I'm not about to make stuff up just to entertain you.

Goodbye for now. May the Force be with you.


- R

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