Monday, August 29, 2005

Big Weekend in London

I apologise for the lack of pictures in this post, but the photos taken this weekend are not fit for public consumption :-)
~The Management

After Friday's upset at work I was really glad to be going to London for the weekend. We were staying with a mate of ours from our Big Bad Biking days in SA - last year he was over in Dublin visiting us and now it was our turn to visit. He picked us up from the airport in his taxi, which he then wisely parked for the remainder of the weekend. After a quick supper of KFC (which I have to tell you is TONS better than the stale, soggy variety we are subjected to in Dublin, but still nowhere near as nice as it is in SA) we caught a bus from Hackney into central London. Now, I know these stories about our trips can get a bit long-winded sometimes, but there's just so much to tell and if I don't do it properly it would just turn into a "we went here, we went there" boring old list. So bear with me. You might wanna get comfortable.

Let me start with where we were staying. I was a little apprehensive when we pulled up outside his flat, firstly because we were probably the only white people in sight. It's not a racist thing (I would HATE to be thought of as one) but it was a little unnerving, coming as we do from SA - kind of like landing up in the middle of Hillbrow or something. We followed our mate, Rip (I could tell you the history behind his nickname but I'll leave that for now) down a little alley from the main street, through a grossly overgrown garden up some metal stairs and into the back of a slightly dingy building. I was imagining yellowed, peeling walls, grimy windows and cockroaches to be honest, so was pleasantly surprised when we arrived at the top floor to find ourselves in a newly renovated, neat one bedroomed flat with open-plan kitchen, brand new white carpets and skylights in both lounge and bedroom.
He promptly poured us a cocktail in a pint glass - couldn't tell you what it was because I couldn't even pronounce it, never mind spell it, but it consisted of a Brazilian rum, honey, lemon, sugar and goodness knows what else. (The Brazilian link is his girlfriend, by the way. We'll get to her in a while.)
Well it was very, very sweet. That's all I have to say.

By then we were starting to run a little late but I eventually managed to get us out the flat and on a bus. Yes, this is genuine - I was the only woman there and I was not the reason we were running late. Rip is a faffer of note and has no concept of time or punctuality.

So we arrived in town & ordered a taxi, and while we were waiting we popped into a Polish Vodka bar, filled with academic types all wearing black and white, & had a shot of Sambuca. Then Rip ordered another drink.
By this time it was already 9pm and I was beginning to stress because we'd arranged to meet my sister across town... at 9pm! Eventually the taxi arrived, around about the time my sister was ringing my hubby's phone again to find out where we were, and after a small incident involving hubby's phone flying out of my bag onto the pavement and me scaring the living daylights out of a large, and coincidentally South African, doorman outside a posh hotel by stamping my foot in frustration and throwing a good tantrum, we got into the taxi which took us to the appointed pub - did I mention it is the one run by my cousin, Del?

After a huge apology for being so late and lots of digs from everyone ("everyone" being my sister, Del, and his brother) we were finally almost forgiven, and started drinking. Which is what we continued to do until somewhere around 2am, I think. Yes, I know pubs in the UK close at 11:30. But we were special so we sat at the back with the lights down low and had a great old time - a little family reunion, if you will.
Rip's Brazilian girlfriend, Lau, eventually joined us too after finishing her shift at a restaurant nearby. So when we had completely worn out our welcome (I'm sure Del will think twice about issuing the next invitation, hehe!) we left. I thought we were going home, but it was not to be. I found myself in a smoky club next, which to my relief had already served the last round so we went instead to guzzle a kebab (not the same as a South African kebab, or sosatie - these are Doner Kebabs which are more like what we call Schwarma's.)
We finally got to bed around 4:30am.

Only to be up again at 6am. Aaaargh!!!!!!

But you see, it was the big rugby game between the Bokke and the All Blacks, so we dragged ourselves back into town to an Aussie pub called The Walkabout, which was hopping with people in Springbok and All Black jerseys.
What can I say about the game? From the special Haka to start with it was a really good game, despite the fact that victory was snatched from us right at the end. If we'd had another 5 minutes, who knows..? Anyway, needless to say there was yet more alcohol involved and lots of back-slapping and making friends (the Kiwis were really gracious about the whole thing, saying how much they enjoyed playing the Bokke and South Africans are such nice people etc).
But then we decided that if we were going to be in any shape to go out again that night, we should go home & get some sleep.

After some 5 hours or so of rest (yay!) we once again headed into town, had another shot of Sambuca in the same Polish Vodka bar (after a generous helping of Red Bull) and then headed once again for Notting Hill - this time to the restaurant where Lau works. Lovely place - comfortable leather chairs, heavy wooden tables, intimite setting and great Italian food. My sis met us there as well and we had a nice, easy, amusing evening.
And then the restaurant closed and Lau was finished working and it was time to party seriously again. (I know, I'm a sucker for punishment! I swear I'm NEVER drinking again!!!)

So Lau took us to this club in town, quite a larny joint that she wanted to show us as she knows the people there through where she works.
Well there was I in my black jeans, boots and t-shirt (it's black with a blue & silver "S" for Supergirl on the front) and I have never felt so underdressed so suddenly in my life before. I felt so 80's!!! It was like stepping into a Cosmo magazine! All the women wore shiny, strappy tops, with silky smooth and uber-trendy hairdo's, like clones of Kate Moss or something. Let me explain - Lau is one of those beautiful, vibrant people who would be equally at ease in a pub in the middle of the back-of-beyond as in a club like... well, this one. I'm sure she was a lot more comfortable there than I was anyway. The decor was kind of cave-like, with low, squishy chairs and somehow it reminded me of a sheik's tent.
Oh, and the men were equally trendy - except for one short bloke with glasses in a white shirt & tie who was doing the whole frog-in-a-blender dance.
Now, I don't like going to places where I feel like they're doing me a favour letting me in, to start with... but at £50 for a round of drinks my opinion of the place took a dive in a hurry. Fortunately I wasn't alone in this opinion so after finishing our drinks we fled to a place nearby called Cheers.

This was much more my scene - better music (call me a pleb if you like, but good ol' club or rock is much more my cup of tea) and much more normal looking people. Except for the couple shagging in the corner where they thought nobody could see what they were doing (aren't there laws against that kind of thing?!).
And then it just got weird. There we were, happily dancing away, when this tall dude suddenly rushed over to me and asked me if I was American.
Er, no.
British?
No.
German?
Well, sort of but I didn't want to get into all that so I said no.
Well, it's just that you speak such good English, where are you from?
(I should bloody hope so since it's my home language...) I'm South African, and have you met my husband? (yanking hubby towards me)
Oh don't worry, I'm not hitting on you, relax, he says with a smile & promptly strikes up a conversation about cricket with hubby.
Turns out he was just bored so he came over to chat - besides, he was gay and already involved with someone.
Sorry, I still thought it was weird!

But that's not all, oh no! Next thing I know this really tall blonde girl was dancing in our little group.
"Hi, I'm Angela, and I just started freaking out a bit so my friend told me to come over and dance with you guys."
Well... okay then! The more the merrier.
I then found out that she's an Aussie who's been in London for 5 weeks, and the swarthy chap in the white outfit is her best friend, and the short dark guy (who I'd been keeping an eye on since he was standing a little too close to our handbags for comfort) was her boyfriend's best friend. So where was her boyfriend?
Australia. Of course.
Being her new best friend, when Rip came over & started messing about, she suddenly grabbed me away from him & gave me a, er, hug, for want of a better description. I was very confused but then she said something about "saving me" from this potential pervert... whereupon I had to explain that he was actually a friend of mine.

Fortunately before the evening could get any weirder, 3am arrived and suddenly the music was switched off, the lights were switched on, and there was general mayhem as everyone charged outside to find taxi's home.

I won't go into detail about the emotional farewells that followed, or my frustration at trying to get a taxi, because all that is left to tell is that we slept until midday on Sunday and then, at last, it was time to go home.

We had a great time but omigosh I think it will be a long, long time before I'm up to another weekend like it!

11 comments:

DelBoy said...

Thanks for the visit. I would love to have you guys over again! Especially if you're going to enlighten me with more stories about 'Chainsaw' and 'Ripnuts'!

Thanks to you guys, I only got around 4 hours sleep before getting up to watch the rugger (sadly losing to the All Blacks), then worked a double on Saturday and the same again for Carnival on Sunday! I hope you felt as s£#t as I did all day Saturday!

It WILL be payback in November in Dublin!

PS: It's called 'Caipirinha' and we drank them all night at our Carnival party last night! ;-)

Underachiever said...

terri:

Glad you had a good time.

Undr

Ben O. said...

I wanna go to England and have some fun.

Dang . . . all my miles have already expired.

Ben o.

BUDDESS said...

If you want, I can publish the "Ripnuts" saga on my blog. I promise it will be a very good read. But only if you can get him to say yes.

I thought I was the only person allowed to hug you..???

ChittyChittyBangBang! said...

You guys had the kind of weekend I'd like to have.

Simply love them Caipirinhas!

kyknoord said...

Great story. I loved the bit about being saved from a "potential pervert". At the time, I'm sure you were thinking something along the lines of, "That ship has sailed, skattebol!"

Terri said...

Del, you got more sleep than we did and yes, if it makes u feel better we suffered Big Time!
Undr - Thanks, me too :-)
Ben, yip, they say if you're tired of London, you're tired of Life.
Buddess the chances of Ripnuts ever reading this are very slim so I'm sure u can happily publish the story.
And of COURSE you're the only person who can hug me... I just didn't really have an option that time! hehe
Chitty - now that I can spell Caipirinhas I just have to learn to pronounce the word! But really, a little sweet for my taste.
KN I think what was going through my mind was more like, "W.T.F???"

But hey, if it had just been a normal ol' evening, I wouldn't have had so much to blog about, would I?

anne said...

That does sound like an excellent week-end. Sorry about the rugger, though. ;)

BUDDESS said...

Thanks Terri. Fortunately Rip has a sense of humour so I doubt he would be upset. I have another story of a guy who broke his..shall we call it manhood..if you guys are interested in hearing it.

Bosbefok said...

Hey Terri,

sorry to digress but check out this one..http://storycrossing.blogspot.com/
It should suit you for when I am being chased by the Russians...
:-)

sal said...

Well, perhaps I got it right after all??? I'm not used to blogging!

I remember - at the start of our friendship - how jealous I would feel when you would go to J-bay for a weekend or whatever.

Grief, how times have changed. Was I supposed to be jealous when you told me you were leaving for Ireland?

Guess I really miss you.
Me