Dear Mr. Johnson,
I am writing to bring to your attention a series of events which befell both me and your beautiful city of London on the 21st of December, 2008. On this day, I flew into London from Washington D.C., I then found myself with a hefty amount of hours between my arrival and my connecting flight to Lusaka, Zambia. I decided it would be better to spend the time submerged in the wealth of cultural experiences which are available in London than to stare mindlessly at the new, and very shiny walls of Heathrow’s terminal 5.
I received remarkable, cheerful and very helpful service from the British Airport Authority staff who helped me devise an exciting and invigorating route along the Thames. I was able to the take the Heathrow Express to Paddington station, and found a most comfortable and effective train and an attractive and historical station. From Paddington I made my way around the Circle Line to Canon Street.
It was my intention to cross the Thames, and visit Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, as I am an avid literature student, and then make my way up the Thames to Embankment station and then proceed back to Paddington, after taking in some sights. I successfully began to do so, and found the Globe to be not only a fine example of history being accessible and entertaining, but also an intriguing example of international co-operation through the arts. (Being the brainchild of American filmmaker, Sam Wanamaker.) However, before I became engrossed in the dazzling tribute to the genius of the good bard, I paused at a Starbucks coffee establishment near by for some refreshment.
I was pleased to find a Starbucks in London, as I am highly familiar with them. There are more Starbucks in the United States than there are domestic animals, and we find their brand of processed, commericialized culture to be very appetizing. I indulged in a bottle of fine British water from the Scottish highlands and a shrimp sandwich, which I was informed by the charming gentleman behind the counter was an excellent selection.
However, my excellent selection decided to make an alarming reappearance as I exited the Globe. At first, I suspected I was simply dizzy from gorging myself on poetry and puns, but as I walked I found I felt rather unpleasant. I took pause at a Pret-a-Manger restaurant (which, despite is Francophone name, I believe is a British chain, and very enjoyable.) and had a bottle of water, which I indeed found was ‘ready to drink’. After some time, I concluded I had no choice but to let my stomach expel the delicacy I had so enthusiastically consumed.
When I did so, in the very clean and hospitable bathroom of the aforementioned restaurant of dubious European lineage, I felt better. Momentarily. I did conclude it would be best to not take my planned walk along the glittering Thames, and instead would make my way as speedily as possible back to the security of the airport. As I entered Mansion House station, I felt quesy once more.
I stopped to ask a jolly, rotund gentlemen stationed in a small booth within the most speedy way back to Paddington. The gentleman, who’s name I unfortunately did not catch, was the picture of warm, English hospitality I had always hoped to encounter. He had a delightful accent, made good natured jokes with me, and even upon discerning that I am a Virginian who is partial to country music attempted to amuse me with his particularly dulcet renditions of Johnny Cash songs. However, despite his good humour, I was still sick.
I regret to inform you, Mr. Johnson that I remained in a state of various expulsions in the “tube station”, in the street, on the train (I suspect I may have offended several of the citizens of your good city, and for this I apologize.) and then once I was in Paddington, on the Heathrow Express, and even once I had made it back to the airport, where I no doubt, offended many denizens of the global community.
Now, Mr. Johnson – the purpose of this letter is two-fold:
First, I would like to sincerely apologize for vomiting on and in London’s expansive, and historical public transportation system. I would also like to apologize to you, and any of the good city’s fair inhabitants I may have offended with my regurgitations. I would hate to think of Londoners perceiving Americans as the sort of people who come and thoughtlessly vomit shrimp on the trains of others.
Secondly, I implore you, Sir, to make sure that when foreign franchises, particularly those which originate in the United States are transplanted on England’s shores they are held to the same standards of overcooking and sterilization which they would be in America. In the United States, corporate chain restaurants make a habit of preparing all food to the highest standards of safety, all shrimp in America is boiled in a solution of Holy Water and Bleach. I would encourage you to impose a law to this effect in London.
Regardless of my poor culinary experience, I must congratulate you. London is a beautiful and rewarding place. A city effortlessly retaining the captivating magic of a lustrous and fascinating history while being able to developing into a thriving, modern metropolis.
I hope my letter reaches you in good health,
Sincerely, your American cousin –