We’re baaack. Smooth travels since we last spoke 🙂
Here is a link to the previously mentioned tapas restaurant where we ate on Friday night. Turns out they have locations all over the UK. We passed one on Saturday in London.
Earlier on Saturday, we also visited a place called Watergate’s. I didn’t learn until later that it is an old crypt of some sort (wonder if ‘bat and Dunc are aware!). The ceilings were really unique (have a close look at the photo in the link). Neat place! We only popped in for a drink.
Dinner on Saturday night, after the brief rest mentioned in the last entry, was at a place called Dutton’s. The food was okay but the company was great. Two friends of ‘bat & Dunc’s caught up with us, Mark and Gareth. They both seemed very nice, but unfortunately it is difficult to get to know people very well in the span of a few hours over dinner and then being in a noisy bar. However, they (as well as Neil) have been given engraved invitations to come visit us in the States, assuming that Immigra will let them in, since they are nasty foreigners. More on that later.
After dinner, we set out for Club Six T Nine. The name is very indicative of the type place that it is. Sadly (or happily, however you want to view it) this establishment is about 4 doors down and across the street from ‘bat & Dunc’s. They said they have literally had people they had never met follow them home, thinking the party was moving there – not that they go there very often. It’s geared to the younger set, but this is where we spent our evening – the up side was its proximity and also it was more economical…given that the US peso is now worth about 1/50th of a UK pound, imbibements were a bit more affordable. Time flies when you’re having fun…we ended up there until it closed – whatever time that was – we just sat around chatting about life in general.
Gareth is the type of boy who surely must get tired of every person he comes into contact with following him around like a lost puppy. In other words, he looks like a model. “Hot” is a word I try not to use more than 50 times a day, but he definitely qualifies. Gareth’s also very nice to chat with, so he’d be quite the catch. We were all quite amused when two young guys followed us home from the bar. We’re not sure how they even came inside, but I guess they just followed us all in and plopped down on the couch as if they belonged there. They didn’t stay long, but evidently one of them was very interested in Gareth, and the other guy was following the one who was following Gareth. Poor Gareth had to get up and move a couple of times, but eventually they left. It was quite funny.
Another oddity is that there is a place across the street from ‘bat & Dunc’s, I forget the name, but it’s a kebab shop where people go after the bars close to get some greasy late-nite food. Mark and I wandered over there to get some chips (french fries) and other stuff to bring back, cuz we were all starved. ‘bat & Dunc get to watch all these people heading for the kebab shop at all hours right out their front window.
Another stellar breakfast was served on Sunday morning, then we flew off to the airport, courtesy of Neil and his car. We landed at Heathrow which was really great for Paul and I since we are airliner buffs. Lots of planes from all over Europe were visiting. We rode the tube to the hotel and checked in, rested a bit, then caught up with ‘bat & Dunc for dinner, who had decided to come down via train. It is very important to point out that they didn’t come down to extend their visit with us, but ‘bat needed to get a haircut. They also have a small apartment in north London which evidently they keep only because the person who cuts ‘bat’s hair is nearby and, as we were told, they don’t have scissors in Chester.
Monday I got to commute to work on the tubes like a Londoner. My iPod came in very handy. I had a conference in the morning and then went to my company’s London office which is across the street from the Tower of London. I met with some of my colleagues from that office, where I was served an over-the-top lunch in a small executive dining room that looks out onto St. Katherine’s docks. Lunch included chicken curry, rice, salad, wine, a wonderful apple-cobblerish dessert, followed by a cheese course. And I didn’t think they liked Americans! After, I went to the office of a broker and had a pleasant meeting, then they took me over to Lloyd’s of London. To avoid boring you, suffice to say they have a very unique way of doing business and it was amazing to me to see it first hand.
Dinner again with ‘bat and Dunc on Monday night, followed by drinks at 2 different places in SoHo. It started to snow – big, thick, beautiful fluffy flakes. We made it back to our hotel before the tubes close at midnight and by morning there was about 2 inches on the ground. I was very concerned that we didn’t hit any of the big gay venues in London, which is what Brian and especially Paul had been looking forward to. Dancing at Heaven and G-A-Y would have to wait until another visit. They both said they were okay with not going, and really enjoyed Chester, and even want to go back to Chester when it is warmer so we can spend more time outside. It really is a picturesque town. Maybe we’re just getting old 🙂
We got up at 6am (midnight CST) and caught a cab to Victoria Station to catch the Gatwick Express (train) to the airport. We did a little duty-free shopping, where I was able to pick up a couple of nice trinkets for my betrothed, who I was missing pretty horribly by then.
I had gotten some cash from an ATM earlier, after we had several instances where I could have used some pocket money but none of us had any and had to rely on our hosts. By the time the end of the trip arrived, I had barely used any, since plastic works almost everywhere there. I didn’t want to have to exchange it back, because you had to pay to convert it – but withdrawals from ATM are free of such charges. Anyway, I managed to spend all my cash on things like the cab ride and shopping. Then I went to spend 5 quid on a coffee mug, and when I proffered my credit card, I was told “we’re not taking credit cards right now as our machine is down.” Doh! Paul to the rescue.
Our aircraft, a lovely triple 7, had to be de-iced. That was fun. We were all tired, but I managed to watch “Friday Night Lights,” which was pretty good. Then I slept for about 2 hours (it’s a 9.5 hr flight) and then Paul and I watched a movie on his laptop called “Formula 51” with Samuel L. Jackson. It’s funny and oddly enough, set in Manchester UK.
Upon landing at 2:30 and clearing Immigra, we were greeted by sunny skies and 75 degree weather. It was wonderful! At home by 4pm, the dogz were very happy to see me, but James had to work until 9 so I didn’t see him for a while. I craved a cheeseburger, so dinner was Scotty P’s. I didn’t feel tired, but as soon as I finished eating (and washing it down with a Mike’s) I was suddenly hit with the need to sleep. Given that I had been up since midnight my time, I guess that was acceptable. I crashed on the sofa for a while. It’s always best to have a nap before retiring to bed.