London/Dublin 2013 (or How To Travel With Your Asian Husband) Part 1
Posted on February 17, 2014
Vacations are a rarity for Ralph and I, especially ones we take together. He travels for work and I travel to do book signings or to attend conventions. Much of the time we do spend together during trips like these is honestly snuck in when and where we can. So when my little brother found a deal to Dublin—that’s how these trips always start, with a Chinese husband or Chinese brother who finds something really inexpensive—he told my hubby about it. Hubby told me about it. It got booked. It’s presented to the white husbands (little brother is married to a gweilo, too) as a vacation. It’s really a cleverly disguised mileage run to help maintain status with an airline. The gweilos don’t mind because we get to go places and we don’t have to plan shit!
I did discover that Ralph shorted us one night in a hotel in London, so I was at least able to contribute something to the planning that allowed us to not have to spend a night out on the street. So, here’s how this works with an Asian husband. White people like myself enjoy traveling from Point A to Point B. Asian husbands do not, especially during a mileage run. We arrived at Detroit Metro Airport, ate free food in the Delta lounge, then boarded our plane…to Paris. We arrived in Paris, ate free food in the lounge there, then boarded our plane…to Dublin. We arrived in Dublin, ate free food in the lounge, then boarded our plane…to London.
We arrived in London and in an effort to figure out which express train to take, I approached one of those lovely Information booths and automatically slipped into a British accent.
“Sorry to disturb. Would you be so kind as to point us in the direction of the express train to Paddington Station?”
This is when Ralph suggested I stop speaking in a British accent because, in his words, it was awful and I should stop embarrassing myself…and him. I looked up at the woman behind the window.
“It’s not right,” she agreed with him.
“How about my American accent?” I asked speaking in my normal voice. “I’ve been practicing it for months.”
She thought about it for a moment.
“Your British one was better.”
Welcome to London!
Fortunately, we found the train and took it to Paddington Station without incident. Unfortunately, we arrived the night a tube strike was starting, so we wouldn’t have use of the subway system for the next two days and all the busses were horribly overcrowded. Minor issue because I preferred to walk and get exercise anyway.
The hotel was easy enough to find and after we checked in, we headed back out for dinner. Ralph suggested a place he’d eaten at before and we soon had a seat in a nice, warm restaurant. The weather? Well, I wanted to take a trip someplace warm where we were waited on hand and food. Ralph didn’t. So we compromised. It was 0 degrees back home and 80 where he works, so it was a balmy 40 in London with rain and wind instead of snow and frostbite. Either way, a warm restaurant was a welcome thing.
Now, when we go out to dinner, he will frequently suggest sharing a meal because it’s a cost savings. I generally reply with an annoyed “I’m a grown man and don’t need to split a lunch or dinner meal, thank you so much.” The fish & chips sounded appetizing to us that first night and I was completely prepared to order a plate of them and dig in.
“Shall we split one?” Ralph asks.
“I’m a grown man and…” I glanced down at the menu and saw the price, “…I say we split an order of these! I’m still so full from all that delicious free lounge food, so let’s just ask them to divide it up.” London is a little expensive! And Honorable Husband was impressed with my willingness to save money.
Our first full day in London was spent walking up and down Oxford Street. Naturally, we went into Marks & Spencer for a light lunch, stopped by Selfridge & Co. for a caramel Macadamia nut muffin & tea, walked into many shops for his favorite brands of travel items and hot chocolate, looked at the latest fashions we had no intention of buying, teased each other and had a wonderful time reconnecting as a couple. The last year has been just a little too stressful and hasn’t allowed Ralph and I any ‘us’ time, so we needed this. I even behaved. How? I went into two HMV stores and only bought one CD. Okay, it was a double album.
Day two involved me sleeping in because Ralph—passive aggressive as he is—snored in my ear all night and when he got up at 5 a.m. feeling refreshed, I may have said something kind about being on vacation, unkind about his character rising so early, and that I wanted sleep. So, I got sleep, then met him at the British Museum where we had a little snack and then walked through the place, which was wonderful!
Ralph had a taste for a Scotch egg and found a place called Coach & Horse a bus ride down the street. We had one each—unbeknownst to us at the time that it was made of haggis—plus some deep fried mac & cheese. I had a local beer and he had some cider. All was good in the land.
Day 3? We ventured out to find a GLBT bookstore called Gay’s The Word. I actually discovered several books by G.A. Hauser there. Sadly, no one else’s I knew, including my own. The owner was delightful and we were soon on our way for Dim Sum. I think we found the only Asian restaurant with no Asian staff and no Asian patrons. The food was decent, though. In fact, we enjoyed Dim Sum so much that we sought out another restaurant for evening Dim Sum.
The rest of the night was spent figuring out how and where to pack the aforementioned hot chocolate mixes and travel items. There was more snoring to be had and I actually had to be up early the next day so we could catch the express train back to the airport.
To be continued…
Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the recently re-published novella Falling Awake, its sequel, Falling Awake II: Revenant and Falling Awake III: Requiem.
12 Responses to “London/Dublin 2013 (or How To Travel With Your Asian Husband) Part 1”
February 17, 2014 at 9:43 am
February 17, 2014 at 10:27 am
Even with all the trips you’ve taken overseas, D? And the cruises you go on? A trip to London like this must pale in comparison.
Patricia (Trish) Hebel says:
February 17, 2014 at 9:59 am
Well, apart from the snoring, you got to have fun and experience something new. All in all a win win situation. Plus, I bet it was liberating to be in a country where being gay is not something that causes strange looks, pointing fingers, and whispers.
February 17, 2014 at 10:28 am
Sure it does. Being gay in the UK is a bit like being gay in the US. People still disapprove while others think it’s no big deal.
February 17, 2014 at 10:45 am
It sounds like you had a smashing good time in London. Next time go to the west end and the underground. Glad you and Ralph reconnected.
February 17, 2014 at 2:32 pm
Still trying to figure out where we’re going next year.
Patricia Logan says:
February 17, 2014 at 11:41 am
It sounds like you had fun but were very exhausted. All those planes! I’ve only flown to Europe once and that was back and forth to Germany but I made stops (oddly) in Detroit and Amsterdam. It seemed like it took for frickin ever. See, I can’t sleep on planes whereas, my husband simply knocks out. How long did it take you to adjust to the time? It took me almost three days. Anyway, glad you had a good time with Ralph.
February 17, 2014 at 2:37 pm
No wonder you were exhausted traveling to Europe. I’ve read about how tough those Zeppelins were to travel in back in the day.
Took me about a day to get used to the time change since it was only 5 hours difference. The hard part is typically when I go to Hong Kong and there’s a 12 hour difference. That’s tough. Coming home was a bit worse than getting there. And I’d have been fine if I’d been able to sleep. My brain just wouldn’t shut down and my poor hubby was overtired to the point of snoring.
Katherine Trick says:
February 17, 2014 at 12:41 pm
No Speedy’s Cafe? They have great sandwiches and breakfast I am told (Plus you’d get to say you saw 221B). Yes, I am a Sherlock nerd thru and thru. LOL! Glad you both had fun.
February 17, 2014 at 2:40 pm
We did pass by Baker Street several times. I think it must be a pretty long street. Sadly, we didn’t have enough time to explore it, not to mention the weather wasn’t cooperating.
February 17, 2014 at 3:25 pm
love this blog it made me laugh you have a wonderful way of expressing yourself love it xxxx
February 17, 2014 at 3:39 pm
Thank you, Johann. =) My hubby keeps me inspired.