Tag Archives: Humour

How to NOT Look Like a Tourist in London

And how I failed miserably in this respect…DSC03418

Hello friends! And welcome back to another instalment of Hailey’s travel tips. Today I have a simple life lesson that stands no real purpose other than perhaps making you feel slightly better about yourself, but in actual fact, will have little difference and no one will really notice. Because let’s face it…it’s a crazy, complicated, ever-changing world, and no one really knows what the fuck they’re doing.

I’ll also have you know, I am basically an expert in what NOT to do…as every single one of these things…I have done. Perhaps repeatedly.

Let’s get started shall we!

-Avoid taking pictures of literally everything…tube stations…street signs…pigeons….bits of writing on the ground.  It can get out of control pretty quickly. Next thing you know you’ll be snapping photo’s of empty restaurant tables and what’s on the television. Then eventually wondering why you did so several years later while trying to write a blog post about it.

-Also avoid selfies in front of national monuments and playing in red phone booths. The local consensus is to just use them for public lavatory’s.

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-Ordering a white tea, will get you a black tea with milk in it…for some reason.

-A tartan scarf and Chelsea boots isn’t enough to mask your thick Canadian accent; which until recently you didn’t realize you had.

-Stand on the right for christ sakes….escalators are your friend, but if you stand on the left, you’re going to get bowled over by am unapologetic solicitor on his way to work.

-Don’t try to pull a suitcase through the paddles at tube stations. You  may think you’re quick enough, and that your luggage is small enough…but it WILL get stuck, and a scary security guard will have to free a very embarrassed you who holds up the line, while strictly instructing that in future use the doors designed for prams and wheelchairs.

-Don’t deliberately try to speak with an accent. Nine times out of ten you come out sounding like an Australian. Dead giveaway.

-Dress in layers, sensible footwear and have an umbrella with you at all times. Tourists are generally wetter than locals.

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-When walking, if you’re very serious about blending in, walk briskly and look where you are going. Gentle saunterers who are staring at the sky are nearly always mocked by passers by…not necessarily for being a visitor, but more likely because the lack of attention paid to the walkway caused them saunter right into a post.

-Standing and looking in a confused manner at the wall-mounted spaghetti factory that is the Tube Map, is a beacon of your touristy origins.

-The NUMBER ONE way to let the world know that you’re just here to visit, is after you’ve mastered the ‘queue’ and patiently waited your turn, bought your train ticket to the destination station of your choice, and are asked by the attendant for..say… 6 pound 40, you fail in all entirety to sort through your change to find the correct denomination. A pocket full of strangely heavy, oddly shaped currency baffles you and you eventually just throw it all on the counter and hope it’s enough to cover the fare and escape the judgemental eyes of the Londoners behind you. Unless of course you were smart enough to get an oyster card…But you weren’t.

Seriously though…what on earth is the point of a tuppence! And why is it so huge if it’s not worth anything!  In a world where 5p look like dimes, 10p look like quarters and a pound is smaller than 50p, I seem to have no idea which way is up anymore.

Don’t even get me started on the inappropriately sized paper money.

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Do I blend in yet??

Thanks for stopping by, I hope you all enjoyed my rendition of how to avoid looking touristy in such a fabulous place.

xx

-Hailey Jane

(Who misses London terribly and would really like to go back again…)


I Have Now Explored Diabetes With Owls…

So there’s this book that I found….or rather, that found me. It was just staring at me at work one day, I work in a bookstore, so that’s really not all that unbelievable. What makes this an interesting occurence is that this particular book, out of the MILLIONS I literally trip over all day, was special enough to have me pick it up and investigate it.  I am going to say that the reason for this unlikely investigation may or may not be entirely because of the clever title, and that I may or may not be extremely guilty of harshly judging books by their covers. But hey, it’s worked for me so far.

Turns out…it was freaking amazing!  Though there is not a word in it about diabetic owls which is slightly upsetting..

Hoot Hoot!

This book so good that it has become my new Staff Pick at work. Sedaris has done it again, it’s hilarious, strange in that lovely and comforting kind of way, and is familiar enough that you can…or at least I could…relate to it, maybe a little more than I should have. I blame the mix of England, dead animals and the judgement of complete strangers; that gets me every time. The chapter called ‘Understanding Owls’ was my favourite by far, with ‘Mind the Gap’ being a close second. I don’t know what it is about taxidermy and popular modern literature, but it always seems to be there.

The reviews I read seemed unimpressed with the few small fiction entries, but I think they build on the work and add a little extra flavour. If you are easily offended, particularly by anything Liberal, non-religious or at all culturally diverse, I really wouldn’t recommend this book for you…and I’ve steered one or two of these people away from it and back to their Christian Fiction or Crossword Puzzles at the bookstore. Everyone else will most certainly LOVE it, I promise. If you like Augusten Burroughs or Jenny Lawson (which I do…deeply, and almost creepily), this will be right up your alley.

Now…I must find a way to acquire more!

Toodles!

-Miss Hailey Jane


Typhoid Hailey

OR : That Awkward Moment When You Visit England and Bring Canada With You.

On my first visit, following my Ron Howard experience, it quickly became evident that I was not blending in with the natural fauna as seamlessly as I had hoped. Being a native of Canada (not to be confused with a Native Canadian) I innocently and unknowingly carried with me micro-organisms that  were not at all familiar with the locals either.

Having the immune system of a gutter rat, I had no inclination at the time that I even had a cold, or was in the process of getting over one.  My health throughout the entire endeavour was peachy, if not ideal. Over two decades of Canadian winters plus their accompanying flu seasons, had prepared me for just about any pathogen life could throw at me. Would that the poor people of Britain had been so lucky.

And thus my hitchhiking  super bugs were having a field day.

Over the course of two weeks I managed to infect several individuals with my special foreign brand of plague, that hit them harder than they ever could have expected. These included my friend and host, her roommate, the man with the lovely shoes, my other mate who I was visiting as well as several other acquaintances along the way. I’ll never know, but I’m sure not even Ron Howard could escape the oncoming storm that was Typhoid Hailey.

To make matters worse, I also carried with me the forces of Storm, and rained (or rather snowed) bloody chaos on the whole of Southern England overnight.

Being the end of November at the time, this madness wasn’t entirely expected and the country’s snow removal service was dire to be as generous with the word as humanly possible.  Many operations were shut down, including schools, trains, buses, libraries (why exactly the library was closed due to weather conditions I’ll never know) all because of no more than three or four inches of fluffy white loveliness.

Cars without snow tires (which is all of them) spun their tires on the roads, slipping and sliding up and down the hills of small towns. Roads weren’t cleared, and people were frequently inclined to get out and push their tiny, snow-tire-less vehicle out of the way. Shop owners who were ‘brave’ enough to face the weather and open their shops were pushing the snow off the front steps with an inverted broom. Eventually the city began to sprinkle a muddy reddish-brown combination of sand and salt in random areas so people wouldn’t slip, but it really just looked like a very large incontinent dog had a run-in with a truck full of baked beans and subsequently ran all over town in search of a loo. I couldn’t help but laugh at the entire situation.

If I get around to visiting again this winter, this time I’ll remember to pack a few extra shovels, snow tires and a whole bunch of Advil Cold and Sinus. See, I care. xx

Thanks again to everyone who keeps up with me and my (now slightly dated) adventures! You’re all really awesome people!

-Miss Hailey Jane


Hilarious Things That Happen in Greece

In 2006, while I was young and very much impressionable, I went on my first international adventure! It was the beginning of a life-long, obsession with world travel and the exhilaration of worldly cultural experiences. And it started in Greece. 

As an introduction, and in no particular order, here is a brief taste of the hilarity I encountered on my first adventure. Enjoy!

1. Our tour guide at the Acropolis in Athens was Edna from Disney’s ‘The Incredibles’. Voice and all! 

2. Wandering around in the shops surrounding The Plaka, or the “Neighbourhood of the Gods”, a jewellery shop owner took too much of a liking to my friend and I as we shopped for Grecian jewellery. So much so, he gave me his business card with a written personal phone number on it, asked me to come back and go on a date, while verbally expressing his admiration for the shape of my friends butt. 

3. Two of my friends decided to have an epic ‘beard-off’.  A challenge of manliness and pure testosterone, to see who could grow the best beard over the course of the trip…We were 17. The results were less than ‘epic’.

4. On the Island of Hydra, my companion and I wandered off like we do…and decided to climb up the side streets of the beautiful, picturesque U-shaped port. We went up, and up and up. Past the squished plaster homes with terracotta roofs and blue painted shutters. I was filming on my handi-cam at the time, through the cobbled paths behind the houses and looking out over the sea. All of a sudden, coming full speed up behind us was a frantic donkey with a load on it’s back  and no owner in sight. The animal was reeling towards us at full bore and with determination and a vendetta in its eyes. We did all we could to escape certain doom on the narrow streets of this not-so-innocent island and leapt into action, turned and ran. We jogged in a frenzy up tiny uneven stairs, fumbled around bricked corners and tripped over tiny white fences until we were sure we had lost this demonic donkey who was clearly out to get us.  Once we were completely sure we were alone, we took a moment to breathe and look around. We found ourselves at the top of the hill, overlooking the port in all of its’ Saronic splendour. Success! I felt an overpowering sense of personal achievement at that moment in time; as well as a stomach cramp. 

4 1/2. On that same island on the way down from our existential precipice, we were asked by a lovely blue man cleaning someone’s pool, if we would do him the honour of to staying for dinner. With a powerful sense of impending regret, we gracefully declined, as we had a boat to catch. The Fates disliked this decision, and decided to punish us later on that same day (see 5.). 

5. Visiting the Island of Aegina, with only a few hours to enjoy the delicious pistachios and olives from the market before we had to make it back to the ship, my friend and I wandered into a church courtyard and parked our appealing butts on a park bench. While getting sideways looks from an old man in religious garb we could hear the bellowing of a boat horn. I check my watch, and firmly believe we have lots of time. We meander along, munching on our snacks and then to our surprise, hear it again. After checking the clock tower we realize in a moment of fierce panic that my watch was, in fact, not at all correct. We leap into action, pistachio shells flying in the air behind us, as everything seems to go by in slow motion.

We run in the direction of the booming noise coming from the awaiting ship, with nothing but the fear of being left on a foreign island in the middle of the Mediterranean with only our filled pockets and  ugly orange and blue tourist backpacks to sustain us. We run through the tiny winding streets until we reach the main drag. We can see the giant boat, we’re yelling, moving as fast as our feet can take us, whizzing past tourists, locals, donkeys, bikes, carts and other things we don’t take time to notice. With little breath left in our lungs, we reach the boat in the nick of time, before it departed. We fly up the ramp and find the rest of our tour group and classmates who were even more afraid for our well being than we were. Lesson learned. I adjusted my watch. In hindsight though, there are much worse places to be abandoned than on a Grecian island in the Mediterranean. 

6. While wandering through the Plaka on a cool breezy afternoon, our group passes the aforementioned jewellery shop, and the man shouts out the front door at the top of his Grecian lungs “I LOVE YOU!!”.

7. One evening in Patras, a town on the Peloponesian border next to Western Greece, we wandered off to explore once again, causing distress to our tour group. On the other hand, the two typical Grecian men in the red sportscar that kept stopping and asking us to join them for the night, didn’t seem to mind at all that we weren’t where we were supposed to be.

8. Throughout the trip, street vendors in Athens constantly approached us with fake Louis Vuitton bags, Gucci sunglasses and shabby roses in the hopes they would make that fabled sale. They are also about the pushiest people I’ve ever met, keeping in mind I deal with North American telemarketers on a regular basis.  One night, while sitting at an outdoor cafe’ having a drink, a rose vendor walked up next to my friend, said nothing (assuming he didn’t speak a word of English) and held the rose up to my friend’s face. After saying no sheepishly several times, we all had to chime in and shoo the persistent vendor to greener pastures. Needless to say, the following nights at dinner were used to poke fun at this rather embarrassing public incident. 

9. At the Theater at Epidavros which had some of the best natural acoustics in the world, we took turns singing in front of a large crowd of tourists. Personal renditions of of The Beastie Boys, Sinatra and ‘I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts’ by four of my friends was a particular treat. As well as the ‘Braveheart’ William Wallace Speech by “Hot Dave” from New Jersey (Who, after a few years of ageing on my part, seems no longer that hot…).  

10. Keeping to the musical theme, on the night of our departure, on the bus ride to the airport at 4 in the morning while everyone else was fast asleep, myself and the two beard-y boys decided it was a good time to practice our vocal talents by singing several Bryan Adams songs. Riddled with drowsiness and sleep deprived inhibition, it was the most enthusiastic and acoustically pleasing performance I’ve ever done! Now that’s a way to make friends! (Not so much…)

11. There was an innocent competition between us girls and a few of the guys on the trip, as to who could “pick-up” the most. It was an overwhelming win for the women.  The score was as follows:

Girls: Jewellery store man with phone number and date proposal and an over-enthusiastic, very public “I LOVE YOU”, Blue man from Hydra asking us to dinner, Sports car men attempting to steal us, and finally a “You have beautiful eyes” from the Greek Christian Bale doppelgänger working at a cafe’ in Athens.

Boys: One less than successful ‘get laid’ attempt by a local man at a night club in Tolon called “The Gorilla” which, much to everyone’s surprise, turned out to be a gay bar. If only we had learned this before my friend climbed up on the scaffolding inside and took his shirt off in an “I’m too sexy for it” sort of way.  Or maybe it was better he didn’t know…

So that was the humourous aspect of my Grecian Adventure, filled with life, learning and unending hilarity. With any luck I’ll be able to go back again to re-live the experience, and with a bit more freedom perhaps say yes to an invitation to dinner…ahh screw it…I’m going to watch Mamma Mia.

-Miss Hailey Jane