Well, what do you know? Tesco has announced that they are coming to the U.S.

I’m sure it won’t be the same as going to a Tesco in the U.K., I mean there won’t be any over-the-counter Tylenol with codeine and it will probably feature mostly US product brands. That’s a plus because it took me awhile to realize that Nurofen was the UK version of Advil the one time I had the opportunity to shop there.

One of the most memorable experiences I have from our trip to the UK a several years back was driving the rental car (stick shift) from the bed and breakfast to the local Tesco near Crawley.

I had only driven from the car hire to the B&B so I had a very few road miles logged driving a manual transmission on the opposite side of the road. Still, the proprietor of the B&B gave us really good directions TO the Tesco, not realizing we probably should have had really good directions FROM the Tesco back to the B&B.

To get to the Tesco we had to navigate several roundabouts and quickly learn to read and comprehend the road signs. All in all, it was not that bad. We arrived and went inside.

If you travel overseas you owe it to yourself to make a trip to a grocery store in the country you are visiting. It’s like being in a set for a movie. I mean, it LOOKS like a grocery store but all of the products have weird brand names and the packaging just looks alien. The Tesco was our first experience in overseas grocery shopping but we have since repeated the process in Amsterdam and Paris.

Anyway, we found what we needed and got back in the car and proceeded to drive back to the B&B. Unfortunately we did not do such a good job of navigating the trip back.

To be fair, Cynthia urged me to review the directions more thoroughly BEFORE starting the car and driving back. But I was tired and stubborn and felt confident that I could sort it out.

As you might have guessed, we struggled to read the directions in reverse and before you could say “What’s all this, then?” we made one spectacular missed turn coming out of a roundabout and ended up on the M25 which is the “orbital motorway” that loops around London (much like the 610 loop circles Houston).

We were on the west side of London moving north on one of the biggest and most crowded multi-lane highways in the world, driving on the left, shifting with my left hand and having no idea where I was, where I was going or how to find our way back to either the B&B OR the Tesco.

Keep in mind that we had also not had any sleep and we’re EXTREMELY jet-lagged.

I had my cell phone which worked overseas so I called the B&B. Of course I have not mastered international dialing at this point so there were a few failed efforts before the phone would connect. Finally I got the owner of the B&B on the phone.

Imagine me trying to explain to the innkeeper that I was lost and did not know where I was and could he please help us get back.

In remembering the situation I am often reminded of the Simpsons episode 5061F03 “Marge on the Lam”, specifically the scene where Chief Wiggum is chasing Marge and Ruth who are fleeing in a cherry ’66 T-Bird convertible that just happens to have been reported stolen by Ruth’s ex-husband. Remember when he’s on the radio, calling it in and he’s asked to describe his location and he responds by saying:

“I’m on a road, looks to be asphalt–aw jeez, trees, shrubs–uh, I’m directly under the earth’s Sun…now.”

Yea, that was me.

After much discusssion and describing landmarks and so-forth the B&B owner was able to guide us back safely.

We laugh about it now and even though that whole experience was most unpleasant while it was actually happening, it’s one of the best memories of the trip. That’s the way those sort of things work out. Kinda like when Cynthia had to go to the hospital in Belgium.

Ex-pats rejoice!

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