Conde Nast Traveler
England, STUNTS

Next Stop...America


Day 74: One of the many charming character traits of the English is their attitude towards their own weather. If, as a visitor to England, you experience four days of near-incessant downpour and you happen to make a casual reference to the foul nature of the conditions to a local, they will nod in deep agreement, roll their eyes at the darkened heavens and say, "I can't understand where it all came from so suddenly. Last week was beautiful." Rain, amazingly, takes the English by surprise. They see it as a freak occurrence, the kind of thing most people only ever read about in textbooks.

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England, Gear, STUNTS

Soggy Olde England

English rain produces some spectacular countryside

At the risk sounding a little too Canadian, I'd like to take a few minutes to talk about one of my favorite subjects: the weather. For more than two months, I had a run of weather that all but defies credibility. It rained once. What I mean to say is that it rained on my head once. It happened in Hawaii, at Hanauma Bay, when a freak tropical spray came down, refreshing, warm and sweet to the taste. I didn't mind it one bit, although it set the locals into a panic. It has rained other times during this trip, but not once while I was outside. It rained while I was driving across I-80, it rained while on board the Crystal Symphony--but only during the night, or very briefly while were cabin-bound with Greta--and it rained in Siberia while I was on the Trans-Mongolian Railway. Every time I stepped outside, however--this is the part that defies credibility--the rain had stopped.

Then I got to England.

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England, STUNTS

In London: Goodbye Cargo Pants, Hello Savile Row

Now in London, the author says goodbye to cargo pants

The overnight ferry from Guernsey arrives in Portsmouth at 6 a.m. I got up, therefore, at 5:30 a.m., and when I looked in the mirror that morning, I thought of one man: Laurent Derame.

You will not remember Laurent because I never told you about him. He is a French hairdresser who lives in London and I met him in Mongolia, as one does. It was dusk, I had just returned from my excursion into Hustai National Park where I saw rare Mongolian wild horses, and there was Laurent, standing outside his ger and sipping a glass of white wine. "I found a lovely bottle of Bordeaux in the bar," he said by way of introduction. "Would you like a glass?" It was practically a rhetorical question.

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England, STUNTS

In the Channel Islands, Feudalism is for the Birds

Plenty of green grass on the Channel Island of Sark

Feudalism is dead and long gone, a hilariously primitive system of law and order that vanished, along with plague and chivalry, with the Middle Ages. This is what most people will tell you, and they are wrong. Feudalism is alive and living in quiet, tax-sheltered comfort on a grass-covered chunk of granite in the middle of the English Channel called Sark, though lately it's been doing a bit of soul searching.

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The editors at Conde Nast Traveler answer questions and share travel secrets, tips, and dispatches

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