September 27, 2019. London, England.
Sountrack: The Clash – London Calling
No one was open carrying. What the hell is a “prime minister”? I needed to get out of this ridiculous country.
In the wasted days of my youth, Rocky Road to Dublin had left a real impression on me. In the days before Uber, before dependable bus schedules, before driver’s licenses or smart phones, my grimy street urchin friends and I would walk from town to town along the railroad tracks, just like Kerouac always cosplayed, and that was one of our favorite songs to howl atonally into the junkie-haunted woods.
The doofy farm boy protagonist arrives at Dublin and gets robbed. He asks around, and the Dublinites tells him that whoever robbed him was definitely back in London (Connaught) by now. This schmuck believes it and stows away on a ferry from Dublin to Wales. He arrives at the port and some Liverpool Englishmen make fun of him for being a dumbass. Our protagonist, in a fit of druidic rage, casts shillelagh and calls upon the sacred rite of donnybrook. A few absolute lads from Galway heard the call and were honorbound to hurl themselves into the melee. The song ends here, at the zenith of this fun-size race war.
Well, I was already in London. Just work backwards. A train to Holyhead, then a ferry to Dublin, whack follol de rah.
I left my hostel and hoofed it across London. All told, the walk was about an hour. I could have got a bus, but this was my only chance at exercise for the day, and I figured it would get me a look proper at the city, in case I was selling it short. Besides, walking was good enough for me back then.
It was like any other city, but the inhabitants are even more adamant about avoiding incidental eye contact.
I tried to get a cheeky Nando’s, but they were closed until ten minutes before I had to catch my ridiculous $80 train. I wasn’t going to roll those particular dice.
I had this gross hard pierogi, instead. It filled the void.
We cattle-carred into the first train, the Britons and I. There was an arbitrary savesies system in effect that was not explained. I picked a seat that may or may not have been reserved; European politeness would prevent them from chasing me out anyway, and I was good until Manchester, where I had to jump ship onto a much cheaper $20 ticket to Holyhead.
Everything England lacked aesthetically, Wales made up for. I stopped reading and stared out the window for most of the two hours.
And then, finally, Holyhead.
Little did I know, it’s not actually a tourist destination.