Tag Archives: London Day Trips

The people around these parts sure are friendly…

9 May

Alan and I found the UK’s version of Atlantic City yesterday: Brighton.

Well, that’s not an entirely fair comparison. The carnival-like atmosphere surrounding Brighton Pier isn’t indicative of the entire town’s vibe. But when you’re down by the beach, let’s just say: you will not be lacking for opportunities to a) win a stuffed animal, b) have your weight guessed, or c) tour a haunted house.

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OK, OK. So that is largely limited to the shenanigans you find on Brighton Pier and the surrounding boardwalk area. Elsewhere, Brighton has a lot to offer to people who AREN’T interested in having their weight guessed by a man with a moustache: there is the North Laine (the old part of town bursting with twisting alleys of restaurants and shops), the Royal Pavilion (a vacation home built for the king in a style of architecture uniquely middle eastern) and the Victorian Gardens (self explanatory).

So all of that explains why Alan and I ventured to Brighton yesterday for a little “beach” exploration while we’re on vacation. What that *doesn’t* explain is our first interaction in the town of Brighton, which took place at a pub called the Camelford Arms.

It was a sweet pub with a friendly bartender, but it wasn’t terribly busy when we arrived. In fact, other than one gentleman who say reading a paper by the fireplace, we had it to ourselves. Braced with a couple pints, we sat at a table off to the side to create a loose plan for the day.

One of our objectives was to find the Brighton Festival, an arts festival running the entire month of May, but we couldn’t find it on our map. “Maybe I should just ask the bartender,” Alan suggested.

As he said that, I glanced up at the bartender. And realized that the place had gotten somewhat busier while we were downing our pints. “I mean, he was exceptionally friendly,” Alan continued.

A lightbulb went off in my mind. “Alan,” I interrupted. “I think this place is Brighton’s equivalent of Stetsons.” I looked at him meaningfully, hoping he would connect the dots leading back to the gay bar on my block back in DC.

“Stetsons?” he asked, clearly NOT getting my subtle reference.

“Stetsons,” I reiterated. Then, becoming a bit impatient, said, “Have you noticed that I am the only woman in here?”

Ahhhh. I could see him processing what I had said, then the dawning realization as all the signs started to blink at him… the uber-friendly bartender, the all-male clientele, the prevalence of man purses, the first semblance of decent fashion we had seen in Brighton.

After we left, he asked what had tipped me off. “Probably the guy whose entire crotch was ripped out of his jeans. I just couldn’t see a straight man getting away with that look.”

Leave it to me… I travel 3,700 miles and manage to land in a neighborhood just like home.