Sunday January 31 2010
We've been driving for two days and have finally arrived in England from Munich. We are in some small town about 15 minutes drive outside of London. In typical Chippendales fashion we are in a hotel miles from anything. As we drove into "town" our bus driver accidentally went to a different location of the same "Premier Inn". After being on the road for 2 straight days, about 9 hours each day, we were over-joyed to see that what we thought was our hotel was close to many amenities: a gym, restaurants, and even a movie theatre...and the movies weren't dubbed in German! As we pulled into the parking lot all of us were excitedly making our fantasy plans: "First I'm going to a movie, then the gym, then dinner....no, wait. I'll go to the gym first so I don't have to worry about it, then eat, then the movie..." Before anyone could finalize their fantasy plans, we learned that this was the wrong location. It turned out our Premier Inn was on the side of the freeway somewhere without a single other building in sight. Great. No gym, no food, just a room with a toilet that barely flushes. By the way, don't let the name of the hotel fool you, surprisingly it seems the name is just a marketing ploy...I'm quite sure this is not "premier" accommodation.
This is a frequent lament of the guys on tour. Sometimes we can go over a week without staying in a single hotel that is within a country mile of other buildings. Somehow, we are expected to stay in shape with no gym; eat healthy without access to food; and purchase toiletries when there are no stores. I'm not kidding when I say we get put in the sticks a lot. Many times I've peered out my hotel window only to see cows grazing, or open fields. Maybe, it would be great if we were on vacation but as I mentioned we have practical needs such as the gym, food, and toothpaste. On the bright side, if I ever want to take a relaxing vacation in Europe, I know where to get away from it all in just about every country.
On Friday we did a media event/promo for a big spa near Munich. Events like this are typical: we go to the spa and they take pictures for their promotional material. They also invite other media which creates a win-win situation for Chippendales and the spa (or whatever business we are promoting) because both companies get free exposure. To get an idea of what it's like to do a photo shoot please refer to the scene in Zoolander when the photographer is telling Derrick "you're a monkey Derrick! Dance monkey!" Of course, because there are several photographers from different magazines, each one is trying to out do the other in telling us to dance like monkeys. After the promo we got to use all the spa facilities for free, including an open tab on the bar and restaurant. Because there was no show on Friday it means we have to pay for our own food...so guess who hung out at the restaurant for most of the time!? Aside from sampling much of the menu I did manage to use some of the many saunas. I actually have come to enjoy sitting in a sauna. Prior to touring in Europe I didn't think much of it but...now I like it. Mmm...sauna.
While I was sitting poolside at the restaurant for my second meal (the other guys were off getting facials--and they wonder why people ask if they're gay...) this older lady swam up next to my table and asked me for an autograph. At least that's what I inferred from the stream of German words coming out of her mouth and her frantic arm waiving. Hoping to politely deter I told her I would be happy to if she would kindly give me a pen and paper--unlikely to happen considering she was in the water. My plan didn't work outa I had planned. About 5 minutes later she appeared standing at my table with a paper and pen in hand. So I dutifully signed the paper and posed for some picture that her granddaughter took. The funny part was that this woman who didn't speak 1 word of English was entirely uninhibited by the fact that I barely speak German. She talked and talked and talked! And then I (I'm only inferring from her subsequent actions) she wanted to confirm that I take my clothes of for a living. After pointing at me she proceeded to do a little dance and "air-strip". At this point everyone in the restaurant and in the pool were keenly watching. Meanwhile, my food is sitting in front of me. Anyone who knows me knows that next to computers, obstructing my eating can make me mildly irritable...tralala la! I didn't know what to do because she wouldn't stop talking and I had no idea what she was saying and my food in front of me. So then out nowhere a lamp fell from the ceiling and knocked her unconscious. Ok, not really, but the real end of this little story is anti-climactic so I thought I'd throw that in there; actually, after a few more pictures she went back into the pool.