Well, heading North was my intent at least. To be entirely honest, I left Heathrow without any clue whatsoever as to where I was going. Without GPS I was left lost and alone in a foreign land where almost nobody spoke English. Okay, they all spoke English, but they refer to soccer as football over there so things could go haywire in an instead if I didn’t watch out.
As I departed the airport I fell back on my oft used technique to get myself out of any jam – follow the crowd. It works maybe 74% of the time. Wherever the most amount of cars seem to be heading – I will head there too. At the very least you should end up somewhere safe (and maybe fun). Amazingly enough the strategy worked as I got out of Heathrow and ended up heading North on the Msomething…….M1? I think that was it….
Regardless I was on my way!
Now, as I mentioned in my earlier post, that was just the beginning of my disastrous trip over to the UK. I actually reached Huntingdon fairly easily, but from there I spent about 3 hours driving around in circles trying to find the Marriott. And Huntingdon is not that big.
So, you may be wondering, “Ronniedigital, what was your first impression of Huntingdon?”
It was something like, “holy Mary-Mother-of-God, these roads, what’s wrong with these roads? They’re clearly one way, but cars are going both ways……Why are cars parked in so many different directions? Why are they parked in the street on a road that is not wide enough for two cars as it is? Why is this car so effing big? Oh, how cute, a fox. Is it British? I bet it is. Shit this road is too small. I need a smaller car!!! WWJD!”
After three hours of this and two stops at a Tesco, multiple stops to ask for directions, and having passed some locations up to 48 times I finally made it to the Marriott (by accident). I also ran a red light at one point, and entered almost every roundabout in the wrong lane.
Yeah, that sums it up. A disaster.
But wait, there’s more. After my extremely exhausting trip I went to check into the Marriott and just as I arrive the power goes off. This delays the check-in process slightly, but soon enough I was up and sleeping in my room.
Or so it seemed. 😦
About an hour into my stay someone entered my room using THEIR key car and quickly snuck out after realizing the room was occupied. Although this was a bit unsettling, I was too tired to bother with details, and went back to trying to nap. After about another hour a nice man in a suit also entered and came in far enough to say hello and apologize for interrupting my nap. I then went downstairs and asked the front desk to cease and desist from sending strangers into my room. Apparently due to the power outage they couldn’t log the key card in, or something like that, and decided the best tactic was to have everyone just check in to my room.
Apparently the country I now call home is properly called by one of three names; England, Great Britain, or the United Kingdom. It’s very confusing, but I’m sorting it all out as we speak.
From what I can tell, if you include Ireland and Scotland and some other place (Greenland or Iceland probably….maybe Denmark?) you have Great Britain. If it’s just the country I’m in, it’s England. Finally, if you include Canada, South Korea, and West Virginia it’s the United Kingdom. At least that’s where I am at the moment.
I planned on updating more often, but for the most part I spend my days heading into roundabouts, and very rarely exiting them. I tend to go into a panic and just circle them endlessly. I’m quite good at it – and I think it’s such a unique maneuver that it impresses the locals.
My first experience driving started straightaway after a disastrous flight experience thanks to United and my drive from Heathrow to my hotel ended here – in this field. And my hotel was not in a field….I eventually worked up the courage to leave the field, drove around in utter frustration for 3 hours (never being more than 5 minutes from my hotel and eventually found my way to the Marriott). As you can see the field was quite nice.
You may be asking yourself a question right now, and that question is more than likely, “did the Bronx Zoo ever have people in their cages as an exhibit you could visit?” Well, great question, and the answer is YES, yes they did!
Poor Ota Benga.
Okay, so that may not be the question you were asking right at the moment. The question you are probably asking, or should be asking, is…….”what the fuck is this? A new post? Where you been RonnieDigital? Okay, that’s like eight questions, but you get the point.
Well, my point is – I am here to say sayonnara USA! RonnieDigital is leaving the United States of America for greener pastures! Or at least cloudier skies. For the next 92 days I will be living it up in the United Kingdom of America! Or the UKA for short…..Or as Deb calls it, “the place where all the good books come from.” Or as I call it, “that place that gave us ‘Top Gear’ and toaster ovens.”
Or as my mom calls it, “the land of my overlords.” (Note: She’s Canadian)
Be afraid United Kingdom’ians…..be very afraid.
Since I have spent 100 of the last approximately 420 days with various rental cars, I figured it was about time that I reviewed my rentals. This is also meant to serve as a public service announcement of sorts in the event you have the good fortune step foot in a rental agency yourself!!
1. Mitsubishi Gallant – This one is certainly large enough to carry a few suitcases, and passengers, but the interior was a bit strange. I also surrendered my ride to my car-mates after two days to switch over to a different car due to the fact that my fellow passengers were insane. Drove fairly well, kind of an odd boxy shape, slightly off-putting interior. Overall, 5/10.
2. Ford Fiesta – Piece of crap. Maybe the world’s worst car. The rental person explained it has some sort of dual-transmission that makes it seem like it’s sucking while in fact it is doing some extremely awesome sh*t. Well, it wasn’t extremely awesome – it was the farthest thing from awesome ever (assuming you exclude the ‘Twilight’ films). It also felt like the car was going to blow up at any moment. 1/10!
3. Chevrolet Malibu – Eh, spectacularly average. 4/10.
4. Hyundai Elantra – Magnificent! It had some pep, the steering wheel was so loose it felt like you could spin it and it would go
around and around forever like the big wheel on the ‘Price is Right’ (Note: I tried this several times and it will not spin around endlessly – no need to try it for yourself). The interior was nice, and the only reason it loses points is because the sight-lines on that car were horrendous. Maybe you get used to it, but over a week or two you pretty much were changing lanes without knowing if anyone was in your massive blind spot. Since it was a rental though I’m not taking points away for this – I’m not all that concerned about blind spots, or accidents in a rental. 8/10.
The next stop on my tour of the country was Atlanta. Atlanta is perhaps best known for being in Georgia, and, ummm, I think that’s about it. Peaches, maybe?? I always thought Georgia was one of those states that never gets cold – it isn’t. It was cold. Very cold. And by very cold I mean like 40 degrees. I was guessing it was going to be about 80.
As a result, I did not bring the proper attire to deal with the frigid temperatures. I also did not have the necessary clothes for scraping off my car when I returned to Syracuse and almost froze to death in the airport parking lot. It did not help that I was wearing Chuck Taylor’s and stepped in a puddle prior to having to stand in the snow brushing my car off for 15 minutes…..Luckily I have two scrapers and was able to cut down the time spent scraping considerably.
So, what did I think of Atlanta? Undecided. Driving was less difficult than I figured it would be, but I never really got a feel for the city at all. The city itself seemed clean, kind of small though and it feels very spread out. Like one super-gigantic suburb.
I did find driving about was a tad strange, their on-ramps curve in all sorts of nonsensical directions and roads seem to criss-cross for no reason whatsoever. It kind of just feels like a big clusterfuck no matter where you are – or where I was at least. Since I had a rental car though, and I don’t care at all if I crash the aforementioned rental, it was pretty easy going for me. The traffic admittedly seemed a tad insane, and once you were nearing the city it seemed like you were stuck at each light for about 45 minutes. That was rather annoying.
I had my first visit to our nation’s capital this weekend. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I did figure at the very least I would get to see the White House and maybe some of the cast from ‘The West Wing.’ Honestly, the White House seemed a bit smaller than I thought it would be. Otherwise, it was a pretty nice little city.
The one thing nobody told me about DC though (not that I asked) is that every single wrong turn you take feeds directly into Virginia. I’m not sure why they want you to end up in Virginia so badly, but they do. Not that there is anything wrong with Virginia, it’s just not where I want be. Pretty much ever.