Wednesday, January 23, 2013
"Aye, you stoopid Yank."
You were probably hoping I was done with the retelling of my recent European vacation. I'm sorry to tell you, I'm not.
Today, I'm sharing a funny story regarding our short stopover in Glasgow. This seems fitting as Glasgow was the birthplace of my mother. And her passing was exactly 8 years ago.
Following our 5 days in London, we boarded a high speed train towards Scotland to visit what remaining family we have in the Sampson/Horne/Park Clan.
The train ride was incredible. We snagged seats (including a table) for four in the First Class Car. The ride was smooth, fast, and error-free. In other words, everything American travel isn't.
The 6 hours flew by and before we knew it we were pulling into Glasgow. Or as the Glasgowegians like to say (without any hint of irony I might add), the "City Where Style Never Sleeps." I've seen the grey overcoats, the snotty scarves and the ratty shoes, someone at the Chamber of Commerce might want to rethink that slogan.
We got off the train and exited the massive building at the northern exit (as diagrammed in the picture above). We spotted the taxi stand across the street (also diagrammed above) and cued up for a minivan taxi, as there were four of us and all our luggage. We loaded the bags into the back on the minivan and buckled in.
The driver turned to me and said, "Where am I taking you mate?"
"The Glasgow Grand Central Hotel."
"You mean the one across the street?" he said, not looking very happy. Nor very stylish.
We all laughed.
Well, all the Americans laughed and we quickly got the hell out of Dodge. It might have been a Ford.
The next day, my aunt took a bus in from Paisely and met us at the Glasgow Grand Central.
I suggested we have lunch at the hotel and my aunt quickly protested.
"Aye Richard, it's weeeey too expensive."
Of course, I would have none of that. And then over lunch, she dropped a bombshell on us. She told us that way back when, my mother was a chambermaid at the Grand Central.
She was a hearty 16 years old. And already employed. Cleaning rooms at a hotel. Possibly even the room I was staying in.
Little did she know that 2 years later she'd be on her way to America, to raise three children, and a lifetime of cleaning up after slobs.