WALES WARNINGS

Exciting news! No, I’m not in Wales yet. I leave Thursday evening, so I am still in frantic prep mode, without any real justification for panic. As my traveling companion pointed out, we are going to a destination that DOES HAVE stores. If we forget something, we simply purchase it.

This is why traveling with Sandy is going to be such a pleasant experience. She can be so REASONABLE and patient. It’s almost like traveling with my hubby, except it’s not at all like that. For instance, when traveling with Sandy, if we get lost or even THINK we MIGHT be getting lost, we will slow down, or stop to regroup. We will do this while maintaining calm breathing and a dignified demeanor so as to not let everyone around us know we are on the verge of hysteria. In fact, the quieter and calmer we get, the more worried we are.

When traveling with hubby, if we think we are lost, our speed tends to increase, as does his tone of voice and the volume of the car stereo. It’s like a bad sound track to a nervous breakdown.

Side note while we’re on the hubby topic: Hubby actually suggested I purchase pajama jeans to wear on the plane. I looked at him in horror, as though he had suggested I wear blackface and a tutu while juggling kittens. Seriously?  I wouldn’t wear such things INSIDE my home, much less risk being seen in them. In public. If I’m in a fiery plane crash and paramedics are deciding who to save, I don’t want them seeing PAJAMA JEANS and deciding, “We’re doing her a favor. Let her go.”

Anyway, I have buried the lead. Exciting news! (She repeats, aware that she is indeed losing her mind.)  Chances are quite good that Sandy and I will be able to post videos to this blog during our travels. We are thinking of doing a Welch word of the day – perhaps with guest instructors. There is also a strong possibility of some ruins making an appearance, a castle or two and some lovely scenery. Oh, and Sandy is well-known amongst a select group for photographing her food while on vacation, so you’ll be seeing a variation on fish & chips, no doubt. And the Cheese Festival has serious potential for entertaining videos. After all, THERE’S CHEESE TOSSING!

So, as I prepare to go radio silent as I finalize my travel details, I leave you with some interesting tidbits I found while researching travel tips for Wales:

If I am requesting 2 of something, such as signaling for 2 pints, or 2 ciders, I need to use my thumb and index finger, rather than making the “V” with the index and middle finger, which is the equivalent of flipping someone off.  Although I CAN do that (make the “V” sign – not flip someone off) if I make sure my palm is facing the bartender I am signaling.

I like this one best: “Avoid offering money unless the change is handed over on a small tray.  Instead, when you pay, ask the server to ‘have one for yourself’ or ‘get a drink on me.’ They will add the price of a drink but may take the money instead of the drink. Do this with your first order and you will get noticed sooner next time you go to the bar. Further tipping is generally not needed, though it is well received if you make the offer of a drink on your last purchase of the evening.”

I can only assume most bartenders in Wales are pretty plastered by the end of the evening.  Oops, not “plastered,” “pissed.”

Also, (and I had heard this before) tennis shoes (trainers) are not so popular. In fact, the website says you’ll often see “no trainers” listed in the dress code of clubs. Personally, I think they should exclude personal trainers as well. Those people who don’t let you have any fun, or eat or drink anything yummy. 

Oh, and a friend recently in Wales advises to watch for cars when crossing the street.  Apparently, we Americans look the wrong way and tend to get squished on occasion.

Alright. That’s it for me (I think) until we reach Cardiff. Pray to the gods of the navigationally challenged on my behalf, and send up prayers of support for Sandy, the person in charge of me for 9 whole days.

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WALES WATCHING

It’s time to prepare myself. I am actually leaving the country. And amazingly, it’s not because of the impending elections of 2012 and my inability to comprehend how on earth ANY of those people can be for real. I believe our political system has been hijacked by a BRAVO TV series, and the whole thing is just an experiment to see what it takes for us all to pack up and move to Canada.

But I digress. The point is, I am flying to Wales in a month, where I will spend approximately 8 days touring every nook and cranny possible. Then, I fully intend to find Excalibur and become the ruler of Great Britain. Just so you know

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I am only concerned about one thing, or maybe a million. It’s hard to tell. First of all, I am not a good traveler as far as planes go. I don’t fear them falling out of the sky or a crack ripping open and sucking me out into oblivion, or even an engine imploding and basically eating itself, resulting in a noise that makes all the hair on the back of my neck stand up and my stomach drop like a stone as I realize death is the only thing that can occur after a noise like that at 30,000 feet. (Okay, that actually happened to me once, but it turned out there was an alternative to death that involved an emergency landing in Memphis.)

No, none of that worries me at all. What does worry me is sitting for 9 hours in a plane, which probably means at some point I will have to use that tiny airplane bathroom (ick). Also, despite traveling with one of the most intelligent and entertaining people I know, I will either have to sleep or entertain myself for much of that 9 hours.

I don’t like sleeping on planes. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s the fear of people watching me as my mouth droops open and I begin snoring like a feral hog. (Very unladylike.) Maybe it’s because I want to be awake if something terrible happens that requires my assistance and quick thinking.  (Let’s face it, the only emergency I could really help with would be the mixing of a superior martini, or opening a bottle of wine without a corkscrew.)

I am  very excited about actually BEING in Wales. I have never been out of the country before – other than a trip to Mexico, which doesn’t count. And I am really extra excited because there’s a small chance I may be able to understand one word out of every ten or so spoken. I have also been assured by my traveling companion that the Welsh are NICE.  Really, really nice.  Plus, the best thing EVER. There is a cheese festival occurring at Cardiff Castle on one of our first few days.

I get very excited about cheese. Unnaturally so.

I am NOT excited about shopping for the trip or packing, and I’m sure I’ll have some other travel concerns pop up over the next few weeks, but for now, I am going to go purchase some Breathe Right strips and practice sleeping attractively.