27 Feb 2014
Travels in the land of the infidels: The island of Britannia
With His aid and benevolence, your lowly servant has completed a decade of travels in the land of the infidels. Upon the request of several of trusted friends I was convinced to write down about my adventures and experiences hoping that it would enlighten our people as to the ways and manners of the infidels that inhabit the island of Britannia. I trust this scientific account shall prove valuable for students of life and its diverse mysteries.
On the year of 1423 AH we set sail to the harbour of Portsmouth in the island of Britannia for we could not find reasonably priced airplane tickets at such a late notice. The arduous journey deserves in itself an account that with His aid shall one day be written. But suffice it to say that after long days of travel and mediocre food and less than satisfactory offerings of the entertainment we finally arrived at our destination.
Although long in decline, legend has it that Britannia was once a mighty power and that it was known as ‘the empire upon which the sun never sets’. This proved to be a rather ironic description as I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of sunny days I enjoyed in a full decade there. Nevertheless this old legend still influences the self-regard of the Britannians, some of whom still believe it’s their duty to administer the entire globe.
This vain perception afflicts both the rulers of the island and its moral guardians, known as ‘charities’. The leaders of the charities are powerful tribal chiefs that have immense influence and riches at their disposal. The Britannians have the most bizarre rituals for giving money away to charity, need alone does not come into it but the person donating money must be amused or entertained in unusual ways to be convinced to part with his money.
Thus it is customary for people collecting donations to don the most outrageous costumes and humiliate themselves in public. Once the citizen is satisfied with the level of humiliation he will proceed to donate an amount of money that is proportional to the level of humiliation of the spectacle. Despite this odd procedure, the large charities have amassed sizeable fortunes using these primitive methods. Thus they are able to use these fortunes to organise campaigns in faraway lands the purpose of which is to get the locals to admit how great and charitable the Britannians are.
The political system of Britannia is equally bizarre. The ancient Queen, said to be over two-hundred years of age, exercises very little power but is allowed to spend fortunes on her dresses and hats. This is seen as a convenient arrangement, and she is entitled to as many large palaces as she wants in order to have a place to store her collection of hats and dresses. She is also allowed to keep a modest staff of no more than five thousand people to prepare her breakfast and iron her socks.
The Queen’s son is the heir-apparent and, by tradition, the chief Shaman and Healer. He is drawn to ancient mystical medicine and has little faith in modern science and medicine as he regards these as alien arts invented by the Greeks and our ancestors. This simple Prince, although he retains the appearance of a frog that hasn’t been kissed yet, is a powerful man to whom falls the responsibility of maintaining archaic beliefs, at which he excels.
The Prime Minister is the person who holds real power in Britannia but this is not a hereditary position. The PM, Prime Minister and Premier, whom we discovered after years are the same person, is elected but not directly by the people for this would be far too uncomplicated for the Brtiannians. (See also: Cricket.) The office is held in rotation by the two large ‘parties’, who are almost identical in every manner except for the colour of their neckties.
In matters of religion, Britannia is a most-complex country. The islanders used to be Christians but most of them have drifted away from that religion. It is hard to tell what religion they are exactly today because they do not like to discuss it, but we have strong reason to believe they are pagans who had a primitive respect for nature. One of their legends is that if the people are too greedy then the world will become very hot and the island will be swallowed by the seas. Many of their notable writers and philosophers maintain that this is the Earth punishing human beings for their excesses. This is roughly what we used to believe about three thousand years ago.
In matters of social and political discourse, the Britannians follow odd and elaborate rituals. The Britannians spend their time waiting for someone to say something mildly provocative upon which they must feign extreme outrage and get themselves into fits of apoplectic rage which is greatly enjoyable to them for reasons only The Maker knows. The offending person then repeatedly says he will not apologise for the offence, and the longer he can keep that up the more everyone is equally outraged and amused. Finally, the person offers an apology and the whole matter is forgotten and the whole thing starts all over again.
And thus ends the first chapter of our travels on the island of Britannia. In the next chapter we will to turn to matters of food and drink and dwell upon the north-south divide and the fate of the Scots tribe. I leave you in the custody of the Creator.
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