A Special Kind of Hell: The £5 Bus to London Victoria Coach Station
Day 9 - Monday, September 16 Manchester & Buxton
This morning was super funny. James didn't come home until 9 o'clock in the morning from his Sunday afternoon date, so when we woke up at 11 and stumbled into the living room (where he was sleeping) he was still rough as fuck from the night before.
We ended up hanging out with him for a couple of hours and having a super lazy morning since he was blowing off work. And again we watched British reality T.V. and made fun of it - particularly - that dating show where three girls make dinner for the same guy and then he rates them. So totally sexist and hilarious.
We bought James a blanket the second day we were here because he gave us his blanket and he was sleeping with some shitty mattress cover. Such a dude for you. But it turns out he totally fucking loves the blanket we bought him - it's like Kris with his little blanket "orangie". Every time we see James on the couch he's snuggled up to it - eating, watching T.V., sleeping - it's so funny.
Eventually we made our way to the train station and went to Buxton - a nearby town that James recommended exploring.
We passed so many other cute looking towns on the way with cute little names like Chapel-en-le-Frith.
Once we arrived, it was cold, rainy, and we were super hungry. First order of business was finding somewhere to have afternoon tea. We ended up going to the #6 Tea Room and it was super delicious - traditional finger sandwiches, huge scones with a big dish of clotted cream, and some yummy little pastries on the bottom. And a big pot of earl grey.
Afterwards we bundled up and walked through a big garden that was super quaint and picturesque.
Then we came across a really beautiful cemetery. It was small and all of the grave markers were from the early 1800's. Many of them were families buried all in the same grave. And lots of young children. It felt like going back in time, wandering through there, reading everyone's head stones.
Buxton also had a beautiful opera house. Back at the train station we saw another funny sign that read: We kindly request that customers conclude their telephone conversations before approaching the counter.
We headed back to James' for the evening and it turned out both James' were home. We all made dinner and lounged on the couch talking and watching T.V. and having a great time. Then the James' put on a British move called Dead Man's Shoes. Fuck, it was great in the beginning - super funny, but towards the middle it got way graphic and I couldn't stop thinking about it as I was going to sleep so I made Kris read out loud to me from his book, "Fargo Rock City" to distract me. That worked.
Day 10 - Tuesday, September 17 - Travel Day, Manchester to London
This morning was bittersweet as it was our last with James. We weren't in a rush though, so we got to hang out a bit before it was time to leave. I made coffee in the french press that Kris drank, but James dumped his out because it was too weak. Ha! I can't seem to make a decent cup of coffee or tea for that guy.
We left around 11 and James said we were welcome back anytime, to call him if we needed anything - if we lost our wallets and needed money or our plans fell through and we needed to come back. He is just the greatest guy. A real friend for life.
Kris was feeling the funk so we stopped to get some garlic cloves to put up his butt and some effervescent vitamin c.
We stopped for lunch at Teacup on Thomas. It seemed really funny to me - Kris going to the bathroom to put garlic up his ass at a proper tea house.
The food was delicious and we had the same hot waitress wearing the same tight pants as before that Kris was drooling over.
We got to the bus station and realized we didn't have our bus ticket number. There was no wi-fi in the station so Kris ran back to the public square that had wi-fi and I stayed in line to get on the bus. It took him a while and he came back unsuccessful. I went up to the ticket window, but there was nothing they could do. I mean - I'm sure there was, but they were assholes. A girl in line heard us talking back and forth and she offered her smart phone so we could pull up our email. Brilliant! I am glad she offered because I hadn't even thought of that. If we're ever in that situation again I'll just ask someone if they have a phone we could use. She was the sweetest.
We weren't too far back in line but we still didn't get to sit together. That kind of sucked, only because the bus is cramped so if I'm going to be squished next to someone, I'd rather it be my hot boyfriend. Oh well. At least I was on the aisle. Across the aisle from me was a real beast of a woman - chubby, sweaty, nasty, in ill fitting sweat pants, a giant sweat shirt, dirty sneakers, a greasy frizzy ponytail and a bag full of crap food and drinks. She had a terrible British accent and seemed to be drunk. I wish I could've gotten video of her.
The bus ride ended up being not so bad, but I was ready to get off by the time we got to London 5 hours later. I had a headache, was tired, dirty, hungry and sick of carrying my backpack around. Although thank fuck I just had the one back pack. I couldn't imagine lugging around any more.
The bus dropped us in a huge station in London (akin to Grand Central or Penn Station), but little did we know - we were dropped in a little annex building of the main station. But we didn't know that. So we're wandering around the annex and we can't find anything or anyone to ask. Every one we do ask is totally out of it and can't help us. We got to the main building of the main station, but it was under construction and there was no signage, so it didn't look like we were in the main station - it looked like we were in a shopping mall. You had to go around some secret corner to get to the hall way that led to the main station. And even there - it was awful. The signage was terrible, the British bastard at the ticket counter was a total condescending fucking asshole who clearly hated tourists. We finally got wi-fi so we googled a route, but little did we know - google does not differentiate between the different trains. It just says "take the train" but there are three different types of trains in London - the over ground, the under ground and the national rail.
We walked back and forth between the annex and the main station several times because we kept getting pointed by someone to go back. It was just awful. A giant lesson in how crucial planning ahead of time is. We should've worked this all out before we even left Manchester. I hate getting off a train in a new place and not knowing what the fuck to do next. I like to know exactly where I'm supposed to go and exactly how to get to my next destination.
Long story longer, we walked back and forth between the two stations and a ton of unhelpful idiots trying to figure out what the fuck to do for over two hours. Two hours of mind numbing mind fucking hell. After finally finding someone who was actually helpful and amazing, we got on the train (it was the last train and we literally ran onto it as the doors were closing) and then found our bus and with help from another stranger (since the bus driver was a douchebag) we arrived at our host's house - 3.5 hours after our bus arrived (it should've taken us an hour or less). Even just finding the house was difficult. We were on the street, but we were looking for unit #10. Of course there was unit 1-9 facing the street. Where the fuck was 10? Ok, maybe it's upstairs? How the fuck do you get upstairs? We wander around back of the building and find a back door. There's a call box next to the door that has 4 buttons. The first one is for unit 12, the second one for unit 11, the third and fourth ones aren't labeled. Safe to assume to third one is for unit 10 and thank fuck it was. Couldn't have been more confusing though.
Our host, Bill, was totally awesome. An adorable British bachelor with a super cute apartment who made us feel right at home. We freshened up and then went out for food because we were getting delirious. We went into the pub and the guy was so nice. He said the kitchen was closed, but he might be able to wrangle us up a piece of cake or something. We decided to try the Chinese food place across the street. Chinese people with British accents! So funny. And the food was fantastic.
We came back home and chatted with Bill for a bit exchanging host stories, which is always fun. Then we showered and dropped into bed.