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Hello journal. So it has been a whole week, hasn't it? Oh well, you know that I was just saving up some good stories to share with you. I've just spent the last week in the UK, and it was a good trip, but now that I recently had an apartment, it felt a little wierd that I would have to go back to the road. I wanted to stay in my apartment and get used to living in Stockholm a bit more, but I know that I will have plenty of time for this later.


Anyway, I was traveling to Portsmouth, UK...a little place that I like to call "Chunky Acres". Not because the peopel there are fat, but because of the fact that I usually work out a lit more when I am travellling by myself. Coming over to the UK, I thought that I had weighed in at 270 lbs (122 kg). Speaking of the trip over...that begins a whole other adventure....


So I arrive in Heathrow Airport. For once, the flight departs and arrives on time, or on time enough for Europe. So I am thinking that with things going so well, nothing that possibly go wrong. To understand something essential, you have to know that Heathrow Airport is in London, and I was supposed to drive town to Portsmouth. So after landing (and picking up soe more CK Crave -- the new fragrance by Calvin Klein...more on this later), I get into my rental car and go go go!


Following the directions (partially as it would turn out) that I was given, I began driving on the M25 highway, known as the M25 Orbital. So I was driving on this road for an an hour, and all of the sudden, I begin to see signs showing directions to the Chunnel (the tunnel that England and France share). At the toll (this is another bad sign since tolls aren't supposed to be introduced into the UK until February 2002), I ask the toll booth guy if I am in the direction of Portsmouth? Nope, he declared, and then proceeds to make me pull over to the side of the road so that he could give me directions to get back onto the right side of the M25 orbital (I was going North when I should have been going South). With a lot of thanks for setting me in the right direction, I set back out on my journey, knowing that I had just added 40 miles to my journey. So I am going on the M25 Orbital South, and after about 90 minutes, things begin to look awfully familiar. "Oh wow" I say to myself "they have the same gas stations and road set up on this side of the M25 orbital as well. Interesting. I finally arrive at another toll booth. This seem interesting, so when I pull up to the toll booth window, the guy looks very familiar. He gives me a look and I ask him "oh my goodness, are you a twin? There's another toll booth worker who looks just like you." "I AM THE SAME GUY" he responds back. Jesus Christos! This is more than I can bare, so he pulls me over to the side of the road again. The first thing he says is "DO YOU UNDERSTAND-O THAT 'ORBITAL' MEAN IT IS A CIRCLE-O?" "Oh, that's makes sense, because everything looked the same after awhile" I responded. He was less than amused. So he told me to wait while he want to get me the map from his car (what a nice offer, eh?) so that I would have a map. Little did he know that I already had one. And when he came back his map, I showed him my map. At which point he responded "OH BLOODY HELL. YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN. FOLLOW THE BLOODY MAP!" And then he left. And low and behold, the map had the exact directions that I needed. Who knew? To make a longer story short, what should have been a 90 minute trip turned out to be a 4 hour and 30 minute trip. Sigh...why I am sooooo directionally challenged?


To continue on with my week, it was a great learning experience, but not really eventful. I realised during the week that while the Brits and the Yanks might both speak English, I will be damned if I understand them half the time. Most of the questions that they'd ask I would respond to with a "oh wow...I'll have to get back to you on that." Even I understand the Swedish better than the English (even if the sentances are not always complete).


And true to my word, I was able to work out regularly at the hotel. And when I stepped on the scale, I found that I didn't weigh 270 lbs (122 kgs) as I had feared. However, not all was well in hefty-ville, I still clocked in at a robust 240 lbs (109 kgs), which means that I put on 10 lbs (4.5 kgs). Sigh...I am going to ship myself off to a Swiss fat farm. Speaking of which, I had an emotional moment. I was at a display in a musem. During which there was a Dutch couple behind me pointing at the picture we were all staring at. However, I wasn't really paying attention to them, except when they said something like "yadda yadda Prince of Wales" and pointed in my direction. I thought that they were calling me the Price of Whales and I got offended (I had realised that the exhibit had a small picture of the crown). There I was, imaging myself like Willy the Whale, jumping out of the water, doing tricks for fish. Sigh...but then I realised and I felt better.


Friday saw me make the trip back from Portsmouth to Heathrow airport, where I was dropping off the car because I was going to stay in London for the weekend (and London doesn't require a car really). Driving back to the airport area was piece of cake. However, I couldn't find the airport to save my life. Which gives me the opportunity to share what has become the bane of my existence...the British roundabout. It is terrible and tries to destroy my life. These roundabouts have a simple concept...it's a circle and different exits in the circle point you in different directions, and people in the roundabout always have the right of way. However, the signage leading to the roundabout was not always as clear and robust as one would have liked it to be. As a result, got lost very easily, but always managed to find my way eventually. I am definately not a fan of the roundabout. So to make the a long story short, because I kept on getting off on the wrong exits in the roundabouts, what should have been a 90 minute trip to the airport took about 2 hours and 30 minutes. I really need a compass and to create a book called "Directions for Dummies"


Over the course of the weekend, I was as lazy as possible, which means that I went shopping. I bought hats, gloves, and shoes because you know darling, you can never have enough of any of these items. I also went to a few nightclubs and pubs. They were interesting, but certainly nothing spectacular.


Anyway, that's all for now.


Ciao, Rodney

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