tour diary

Josephine’s Tour Diary

European Tour, May 1994
The Kelvis Report

When we arrive in each city, I observe that Kelvis’s first priority (if a state approximating consciousness prevails) is to visit the nearest McDonalds. As a non-McDonalds-eater (and vegan) I am interested to know whether it is the same everywhere. When I ask Kelvis about this, I can tell that I am in the presence of a connoisseur.

Kelvis’s order:
Small Fries with Ketchup
Large Coke with Extra Ice
(Plus the extra pickle from Jim’s burger, because he doesn’t like them).

Not only can you smoke in the McDonalds here, but the drinks fountain, along with the usual Coke and Sprite, dispenses Cerveza—Spanish for beer. Kelvis is not a beer-drinker, but I am sure she appreciated this on behalf of others. She was clearly pleased to be able to sit back in a hard plastic chair to relax and enjoy her post-prandial cigarette.

Spain’s capital scored low for Kelvis because on the morning of our visit they had run out of ice which necessitated a foray up the street to Burger King to fulfill her drink requirement. This can only reinforce Kelvis’s view that there is a chronic shortage of ice in Europe, giving her the opportunity to repeat the joke, “Why is there no ice in Europe? Because the old lady with the recipe died.” The hamburger, she says, “tastes like cardboard, and there’s a lot of salt on the fries, but I appreciate that.”

Of the Parisian experience, Kelvis says, “The burger is moist like a McDonalds fake hamburger should be.” I try to provoke her by suggesting it is because it is really ground-up horse-meat, but I ought to know better than to think I can get her to rise to this. She merely comments, “The ketchup, though labeled Heinz, is too vinegary. The Coke has more syrup than carbonation. In Europe, the uniforms are better colors, but the service is slower.”

The regional menu specialty is Salmon Fillet, which of course Kelvis wants nothing to do with. The fries were “a little over-cooked—I had to use a lot of ketchup just to get through them. The burger made me suspicious—they eat reindeer here. The Coke was good, they had a lot of ice. The Norwegians understand ice.”

The only McDonalds we have seen which has chairs which are not bolted to the floor or table. The Scandinavian belief in personal responsibility, that chairs will be used for their intended purpose, not for throwing, or stealing, was also in evidence at the condiments station, where Kelvis notices they have the stirring sticks banned in the US because people take them home to use as coke spoons. Kelvis reports, “Saltier, I like that. Not as big and juicy and good as Holland. Better than Spain, but not as good as France. They had a nice coke, the extra ice was no problem. You did have to pay for the ketchup, though.” Freedom has it’s price, Kelvis.

“The best in Europe. Probably because of the hash bars. Everything tastes good here.”