If You Can't Find It On The Internet, You Don't Need To Know It


Since I'll probably be traveling to the UK in a couple of weeks (current probability: 85%, unchanged from last report), I'm looking on the net for travel advice. I imagine a couple of things have changed since the last time I was there 23 years ago. So I hit Google with the phrase 'traveling to the UK', except I left out the quotes. It didn't matter, though, as I still found this excellent page where I got all kinds of inside info:

"Underpants are called "wellies" and friends are called "tossers." If you are fond of someone, you should tell him he is a "great tosser"-he will be touched."
Funny how language changes -- when I was there, 'tosser' was slang for 'chronic masturbator.' It must be one of those juxtaposition things like the kids do nowadays, where 'deaf' means 'really loud and excellent' and 'stupid fat' means 'very very good and actually thin.' But there's more:
"Few foreigners are aware that there are several grades of meat in the UK. The best cuts of meat, like the best bottles of gin, bear Her Majesty's seal, called the British Stamp of Excellence (BSE). When you go to a fine restaurant, tell your waiter you want BSE beef and won't settle for anything less. If he balks at your request, custom dictates that you jerk your head imperiously back and forth while rolling your eyes to show him who is boss."
We'd call it 'prime,' but I guess "different strokes" applies here. And if I have any free time on the weekend I'll be there, this little recreation looks like it might be satisfying:
"One of the most delighful ways to spend an afternoon in Oxford or Cambridge is gliding gently down the river in one of their flat- bottomed boats, which you propel using a long pole. This is known as "cottaging." Many of the boats (called "yer-i-nals") are privately owned by the colleges, but there are some places that rent them to the public by the hour. Just tell a professor or policeman that you are interested in doing some cottaging and would like to know where the public yerinals are. The poles must be treated with vegetable oil to protect them from the water, so it's a good idea to buy a can of Crisco and have it on you when you ask directions to the yerinals. That way people will know you are an experienced cottager."
Finally, there's this little secret, which I'm sure will let me skip the regular customs lines (which is a good thing as I've heard they can be quite long):
"One final note: for preferential treatment when you arrive at Heathrow airport, announce that you are a member of Shin Fane (an international Jewish peace organization-the "shin" stands for "shalom"). As savvy travellers know, this little white lie will assure you priority treatment as you make your way through customs; otherwise you could waste all day in line. "
Do you think it'll matter that I'm not Jewish?


OK, I admit, I didn't get the British Stamp of Excellence at first... I like this guy, and think we owe him a "traveling in America for Brits" page in return. :)

I actually believed him up until the last sentence of the first paragraph, even though I know what 'tosser' means. I figured it was the kind of abuse you give your friends, like "this group of delinquents I hang out with." Oh, wait, that's my neighborhood. Never mind.

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This page contains a single entry by Chris published on August 24, 2003 3:55 PM.

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