Tuesday, June 8, 2010

5/23/2010 – Day Six of England Tour: Four-Star Hostels are Princess Castles Compared to Three-Star Hostels

This old Abbey by the name of Lacock

Is where the first two Harry Potter films were shot.

What an honor to be at the site

Of where literary disfigurement took place—

Where miscast preteens masqueraded

As Rowling’s characters,

Clumsily rendered after the paper shredder

Tore up six hundred pages worth of novel

Into cheap imitation cinema.

But, to his credit, Daniel Radcliffe

Has since made a name for himself—

Naked on stage as the star of Equus,

Blinding horses and blind-sighting critics on Broadway.

Got to start somewhere, right?

The rule of proper coach etiquette is

Turn off your engine whilst stationary,

So says the signs at Warwick castle parking lot.

The rule of common courtesy is

Turn off the flash when taking pictures in the castle,

Though that makes for some blurry photos

Of swords and armor framing doorways

With skulls and antlers as the centerpiece

And replicas of knights in shining armor

On their armored horses,

Posed like the wood carvings of the battlefield

In medieval furniture on display—

You have your saints, your soldiers and your royals

And their thrones and their pedestals,

Intricacy of the keenest of woodcarvers.

With the flash turned off,

A photo emerges dark, with tourists silhouetted

Against the stained-glass window—

Artsy, I think, and stylistic,

Ominous indoors and luminous outdoors,

Clear skies and green trees in the background of darkness.

Let’s have a seat near this window

Where two mirrors on opposite walls face each other,

And I’ll take a picture of you taking my picture,

And you’ll take a picture of me taking your picture,

And the suit of armor in the background can be a curious bystander,

While no flash reflects off the mirrors—

Courtesy is a win-win situation.

These portraits of aristocratic noblemen

In feminine wigs and trailing robes

And pale noblewomen with rosy-cheeked somber faces

Are much more lifelike than the creepy wax figures

With dead eyes following our every move

And recorded voices conversing with the houseguest,

A young Winston Churchill.

Hey, I wanted to go to the Princess Castle,

But it’s only for children, sadly.

What have I learned?

Four-star hostels are better than three-star hostels,

For the cheaper towels and better laundry services,

Spacious rooms with panoramic windows,

Bathrooms with no spiders and toilet handles that stay on.

Finally, a good night’s sleep

And no more dirty clothes stinking up my luggage.

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