Okay friend, I took pictures of the snow but they look like ass so I'm not going to post them.  Basically all it of it has pretty much melted by now and everything looks not as pretty as the white accented dark brown branches of this morning.  Well, one would hope it would snow a couple of more times this winter.

My trip continues!

Saturday was our planned trip to Oxford, land of brains.  We got up and

Chinese style lunch cooked by Elroy's Chinese step-father which was good, yet quite salty.  I think I freaked everyone out a little since my dad is a chef, but dude, my dad is a chef.  You're not expected to be an amazing chef outside your own profession.  I just so happens that my dad's profession is cooking.  Anyway, getting to Oxford takes about 2 hours on 2-3 trains.  It's fun being on the train.  This is where we have been able to practice our accents so there was plenty of time to do that and to do some more crosswords. 

Now it must be said that Elroy was teaching me a British accent.  And since his happens to be the super posh kind, I ended up trying to imitate him.  Therefore, he now thinks that I have an inner Liz Hurley trying to get out.  Of course, this is probably because I cannot "do" a British accent and therefore the easiest thing to do is exaggerate.  Anyway, I think practicing accents is fun so it was amusing enough for me.  Now Elroy, on the other hand trying to do an American accent is hilarious.  I mean, first, he can't really do it.  When he does try he adds this strange Irish sounding brogue to all his "r" sounds and then when I tell him that the "r" has to be harder for it to sound American, he ends up

sounding like some deranged Irish pirate.  I did much better imitating my Cantonese I was teaching him.  I think maybe because it's more melodic and therefore easier to imitate.  I just sounds so different that you're not hindered by thinking you are modifying something you already know/do.  You're trying something else completely.

By the time we got to Oxford it was late and it was raining.  There were no taxi's at the train station (wtf?) and so we decided to walk to our hotel.  It was really nice and Elroy had done all the bookings and organizing since this was sort of supposed to be part of my birthday present.  He had wanted to go to Germany, but it just wasn't going to be possible this time around so a romantic New Years' evening in Oxford was the second runner up.

We checked in to a rather fancy hotel there and it must be said that the bathroom was AWESOME.  I'm not sure why I didn't take pictures of it, but seriously, it was beautiful.  It had a cherry/mahogany paneling thing going on behind the toilet and also where a shelf was to place your belongings and the rest of it was pure white painted walls and tub with black polished granite (think Vietnam Veteran Memorial in D.C.) floors.  The bathtub was the typical fancy-ish British tub with the shiny silver workings and fake ivory handles and hot/cold indicators.  But wow, really strikingly pretty.  Even Elroy said something about it.

We went out in the rain and stopped by an "Offie" (Off-license liquor store) to get some champagne for later.  Then he took me on a quick tour by his old college and up and down the two famous streets in Oxford known as "The High" (High Street) and "The Broad" (Broad Street).  Everything's fancy when you add "the" before it with a British accent.

  We had time to kill before our reservations at a French restaurant later that night so we decided to do a little two person, two pub, pub crawl.  First we stopped at "The Bear" which is the oldest pub in Oxford, established in 1214.  Okay, the ceilings in this pub were really low.  I mean, really.  Obviously I was fine, but if you were a normal person height you would feel really cramped and if you are above 5'10" you would have to permanently crouch to walk around the pub.  The floor slopes a lot and there is a friggin' ginormous collection of tie clippings.  Up until 1999 or so you could get a couple of free drinks if you donated a piece of your tie to their massive collection.  So you'd have to cut up your tie, write down what special tie it is and your name and year and then it would get added to the collection.  It's REALLY cool.  There were ties from all over the world with all kinds of designs and special clubs/teams etc.  It was neato.  I had a 1/2 pint of Stella Artois which was a mistake since I'm not a fan of lager.

The second pub we went to was "The Eagle and Child" (known as "The Bird and Baby" to cool Oxford kids) which is super famous because it's where C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien used to go to shoot the shit with their cool little literary discussion group called "The Inklings."  I had a 1/2 pint of some kind of ale that tasted a lot like tea.  It was crazy.  It was also crazy good.  I'll have to find out from Elroy what it was called.  He also ordered a mulled wine which tasted like ass.  Or at least not like the mulled wine I know and love here in The States.  Elroy drank that himself as well as a pint of tea beer.  I had some "steak" flavored chips or "crisps."  They were…bad.

We walked back to the hotel and cleaned up and changed to go to dinner.  It's fun to dress up for New Years', yay!  The restaurant was awesome and the staff were REALLY nice and cute.  Nice French waiters!  Yay.  Anyway, they had a Prix Fixe menu so we decided that the best way to go about this was to make sure that we each ordered something different for the 4 course meal.  I had a main of duck which was absolutely amazing.  Elroy had a crab and cognac bisque that was awesome too.  We finished a bottle of wine between the two of us.  You realize that the alcohol count up to this point is pretty high.  Then we ended up being in the restaurant after midnight so we got glasses of champagne which was fun and everyone was cheering and wishing each other a happy new year.  They had balloons and silly hats–and nothing says Welcome 2007 more than silly hats.

I had to call it an early night because, again on this trip I was totally and completely trashed by the time we got back to the hotel.  You can dress her up but you can't take her out.  The next day consisted of an amazing breakfast at a snotty cafe (because the one Elroy wanted to go to wasn't open for New Year's Day).  We had crumpets and tea.  De-lish.  We were running late to make it to Chippenham in time for lunch with his Dad and his longtime girlfriend so we walked straight to the train station.  It was okay because we were going to come back to Oxford to meet up with a friend of his who lives near there and we were going to be able to do some more sightseeing and buy tourist/alumni thingies.  Then we were on a train again to the English countryside!  Hot diggity.

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