Wednesday, September 14, 2011

And now for something completely different…

One of the perks of my job is international travel.  I get to meet interesting people, learn about different businesses and industries, and immerse myself in new (well, actually old) cultures.

One of the fallbacks of my job is international travel.  I have to stay up for days on end, eat the stuff they call “food” on airplanes, and hold my pee for inordinately long stretches of time thinking the Chinese girl who fell asleep in the seat next to me and is now leaning on me may wake up on her own in the near future.

My most recent trip was to London, and I thought getting around in England would be a piece of cake, me knowing the language and all.  Plus, I get British culture.  I’ve been a Monty Python fan since the age of eight (NOTE: Thanks Ken, for bringing home The Life of Brian on Betamax!).  I can even fake the accent, mate.

I went to the ticket station at the London Underground (NOTE: This is the subway system, also known as The Tube.  It is not a terrorist cell, as I once suspected.  Good to know.  Mind the gap.)  I asked for a ticket to a station near Southwark Bridge Road.  I said it like it looks: Southwark.

“You’re wrong, it’s Suthick, mate,” the ticket guy said, disregarding many letters in Southwark and compressing the word into a single syllable.

Oookay.  Point taken.  I don’t really know English.

I took the tube to downtown London.  I had reviewed directions from the station to the hotel online and knew the general direction in which to walk (NOTE: I really didn’t do that, but I don’t want to let you know how dumb I can be so I’m changing the story to save face.  Don't tell anyone I told you.  Thanks!).  The simple fact that no London street other than a bridge goes more than 10 meters without curving broke my internal compass.  That is to say, I got totally lost deep within in the winding cobblestone roadways.  I did wander through a nice market that smelled of fish and curry, and after I asked directions several times I found my hotel.  (NOTE: For the record, pulling wheeled luggage across block after block of old cobblestone street sucks.)

I was laughed at for being a silly American when I confused London Bridge with the Tower Bridge, but earned a point back by knowing that Big Ben was actually the bell inside the tower, not the clock.  I earned an additional point for having a real Yorkshireman compliment my accent when I let out a few Monty Python quotes.  For me, Monty Python quotes just kind of slip out, like farts.

I did get some time to walk through the streets of London with two Dutch colleagues.  Every now and again they would start talking in Dutch, and I would tell them to stop talking about me.

We saw the main tourist attractions: Big Ben, Parliament! (I did a Chevy Chase impression for my colleagues, but apparently European Vacation was not popular in the Netherlands, as they just started talking about me in Dutch again), and I also  saw Westminster Abbey and Piccadilly Circus.

When we got to Buckingham Palace, I had to take advantage of the moment to capture on film the unshakable thought that ran through my head all afternoon as I walked the twisted streets of London.  Let me sum it up this way...

Question: If you were in front of Buckingham Palace, could you resist doing your best Silly Walk?

Answer: Me neither!

The trip ended as I prefer them all to end: with me arriving safely home.  Maybe next time I’ll tell you about my epic trip to Chicago to see The Dave Matthews Band…  


Laurel said...

Excellent! I bet your Southern accent isn't as good as you think, either! ( one with a phonetic understanding of English yet non-local would ever get this one).

Taliaferro County. That's TALIA, like in Shire/Godfather/Rocky, and Ferro, like iron. How do you say it?

WRONG! (I don't care what you said, it won't have any resemblance to how you say it.)

It's pronounced TOLIVER. LIke Oliver starting with a T.

I read in my History of the English Language class that Southern dialects were the closest to British English to be found on this side of the pond. Guess that's true. A wholesale disregard for how something should sound based on how it's spelled seems to have followed us over.

Bane of Anubis said...

Ha, that's a great pic! I lived in London when I was 6. My sister was 3 at the time and picked up a british accent... very cute.

Sounds like that Southwark needs to get together with the Gloucester people and figure out a way not to confuse us all :)

Rick Daley said...

Laurel- I do a great Savannah, GA accent. Ask my wife. But I did get your iron-Ardian county wrong.

I heard is was Appalachia that preserved Shakespearean English, and I long to see a production of King Lear put on by the cast of Deliverence. "Me doth think his mouth is purty"

Bane- And I always stumble with Worchestershire Sauce from some bloody reason.

Steph Damore said...

Great story and love the pic.

"Me doth think his mouth is purty" Have you been to West Virginia :)

Sharon said...

I do hope you have that picture framed somewhere??!! It is awesome!

Rick Daley said...

Steph- My in-laws are from WV, I've been there many a time!

Sharon- Screw the picture. I have a bronze sculpture on order.

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Hehe, thank you for sharing that! I didn't know about the bell. :)

Sher A. Hart said...

Susan Quinn referred me and I enjoyed your humor as much as your description of how you arrived at the self-publishing decision. I didn't remember to check if you're in Rachael Harrie's campaign because I end up pinging all over the place when I see something that interests me, especially MG fantasy and humor because I do both too. I'm still trying to get enough followers that agents won't laugh theirs heads off when they see my query. The campaign is helping more than my chocolate blog follower contest.

Rick Daley said...

Sher- I'm not involved with Rachel's campaign but I'll look it up. Promoting a book is a never-ending project, and it's important to do everything possible to reach more readers.

Thanks for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

I hope your book becomes available on Kobo soon. I'd like to read it but I have a Kobo e-reader and only know how to download from Kobo. I know there are ways to download to kobo from amazon. I just don't know how to do that.

If the book isn't going to be on Kobo, maybe you could do a post about how to download from amazon for the tons of people who own Kobo e-readers. Thanks...

Rick Daley said...

Anon- I'll look into that. At one time I was investigating Smashwords, but was not impressed with the quality of their conversion tool. The version I uploaded to Barnes & Nobel for Nook is actually an EPUB format, which can be read by a Kobo as EPUB but I don't know if B&N changed the file to make it specific to the Nook.

I also tried to add it to the Apple iBook store, but do use their special iTunes software to upload something you need a Mac, and I'm on a PC so their software won't run for me.

Anonymous said...

Thanks...I know kobo takes epub. It's one of the reasons I went with kobo. I just have to figure it out. I love kobo, no complaints. All I do it push a button and order. But unless I figure out how to download on amazon I'm stuck with their choices.

But I have seen a lot of indie authors on kobo, so it might be worth your while checking it out. I would imagine it's a chunk of the e-reader audience.


Rick Daley said...

Anon- I'll let you know when I have a format that will work with your Kobo, hopefully sooner rather than later! I Googled for some solutions on buying books for Kobo through Amazon but didn't find any obvious solutions.

I may be able to get tricky, though...I don't like the Smashwords ePub converter, but Barnes&Nobel has a free on I used for the Nook version, so I may be able to use that for Smashwords.

Where there's a will there's a way!