Friday, April 16, 2010

random travel destinations - Wales

Jeez, I've practically covered the entire U.K. before even doing a tenth of the EU. Oh well, the hell with it. This one's going out to Smithy, who's currently peddling his brand of awesomeness over in the Republic of South Korea, but will soon be whooping it up in Wales. Might as well tell you all what the old lad's in for.

Now, I don't know much about the place, myself. Here's a bullet list of what I do know:
  • It's tacked onto the southwest corner of England somewhere.
  • It's rather small.
  • The spelling of the Welsh language in no way resembles its pronunciation.
  • The eminent Terry Jones is from there.
  • So is Catherine Zeta-Jones (please tell me you don't need a hyperlink for her).
  • And Hugh Griffith, too (you know, the actor who played that Arab guy from Ben-Hur).
  • And, truth be told, it's also where we get Mr. Fantastic. Or Horatio Hornblower, depending on what shows you watch.
Abandoning all pretense of assiduous research, here's a list of things I found out from Wikipedia:
  • Wales has a population estimated at three million. This means that, if the entire population of Wales was teleported into Los Angeles, they could form their own street gang and still reasonably expect to compete with MS-13.
  • The Welsh once had a king named "Llewelyn."
  • The word Wales stems from the Germanic word for "foreigner" or "stranger."
  • Wales didn't fall into anarchy after the Roman withdrawal in 410 A.D. In fact, a series of "successor states" sprang up and thrived, and battled with other English kingdoms for territorial control. One of these English kingdoms was Mercia, famous for being mentioned in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. ("Where'd you get the coconuts?" "We found them." "FOUND them? In Mercia? The coconut's tropical!")
  • In the Welsh devolution referendum of 1979, the majority of the Welsh population voted against a proposal by the U.K.'s Labour government to establish an Assembly of Wales.
  • A popular Welsh national symbol is the Red Dragon (Y Ddraig Goch). That means that if the United States and Wales ever had drunk sex and spawned a love child, it'd look something like Quetzalcoatl. A reddish Quetzalcoatl. How cool is that?
  • There's a rather neat clock tower by the city hall in Cardiff. This would explain why the British PM is constantly ringing up the First Minister of Wales and saying, "My clock is bigger than yours."
  • Wales has its own set of seven wonders.
Pretty neat, huh? Bet you didn't know about the whole "Llewelyn" thing.

Lesson to be learned here? Yes, Wales is actually a country. And it has its own unique culture, history, traditions, language, cuisine, natural attractions, landmarks, and...

...clock tower.

Don't you forget it.


Smithy said...

Well, there you go. A clock tower. That makes 1 thing I'm excited about living in Wales.

Claire Dawn said...

Loving the "my clock is bigger than yours" bit!

Jerry said...

You didn't mention the part where they make Welch's Grape Juice. It is true, isn't it?

Postman said...

Smithy: What about the sheep sex? I forgot to mention that bit.

Claire: Thanks for saying so! It just sort of (ahem) came to me...

Jerry: How could I forget that? I mean, the name is right on the juice jug!