4 April 2010
Man, people in England are ORGA-FUCKING-NISED. Every single hotel we looked at was full up, until I checked out Last Minute, which is a very cool website and should totally come to India. On that, I found the Westbourne, which was relatively cheap (77 pounds per night, or Rs 5000) and we booked that and were ready to go.
Okay, the Westbourne? Er, not so much. See, I thought it was going to be a mid-range hotel, considering the prices, and thinking they might be similar to Indian ones. (Yes, I know I'm foolish.) But it turns out it was pretty budget. The room was pretty and all, but the shower refused to be consistant, the minibar was broken, the kettle didn't work and the owners were pretty eh-fuck-off whenever you asked them something. I guess it didn't really matter, considering we were only sleeping there but oh, I do love hotels. And I like my hotel experience to be very nice. You know? Anyway, the first day we checked in, we left immediately afterwards to go for dinner and to a bar with live music to meet some of JC's friends. I had just been in Brighton a couple of days previously (more on that later) and bought myself a GORGEOUS new dress--grey wool, cowl neck. So I put that on with boots and tights and off we went.
First stop, Grubb's burgers, which are DIVINE. No, seriously. I'm a Burger King fan, whenever I'm abroad, but these burgers made every other burger I had eaten so far taste like shit. Brighton is a pretty hippy place, so every menu has a vegetarian option (there's even a shop called Vegetarian Shoes!). I got the Mexican burger, which is basically beef, cheese and a layer of chilli. OH. MY. GOD. Brilliant. It was huge (and I am a small eater) but I couldn't stop eating it. Down to the very last bite.
Then, we strolled down the road to the bar where we were meeting JC's friend. It's called Latest MusicBar (yeah, very original) and they were having two gigs that night. One on the first floor, which had jazz, and one in the basement, which was a free party (meaning no entrance fee. Most places in England require you to pay at the door, especially if it's live music.) JC and I didn't know where we were going so we paid our 5 pounds (together. So relatively cheap compared to most places) and were duly stamped and went in. I've switched back to my vodka crans, so I was merrily drinking that, when JC's friend, Erik and his colleague, Anne, both walked in and told us, in fact, we were going to the free party in the basement.
That was a gig for Radio Reverb, Brighton's community radio station and there were lots of very, um, whimsical bands. I quite liked the first band that came up, the Bobby McGee's, if I remember correctly, which was one VERY BEARDED man and one girl who looked about 12 years old. They were fun, he played what looked like a banjo, and sang in a thick Scottish accent, she had a beautiful voice and while one of them was singing, the other would stand to the side and blow bubbles. Sweet.
My appreciation of live music was taken further by the introduction of shots I've never had before. Called Tuaca, it's basically an Italian liqeur, which tastes sort of like a sweet whiskey? I'm not sure, but they were LETHAL. We had many rounds of those and by the end of it, I was flying. And sleepy. A sort of combination of both. Anne left early, so it was me and JC and Erik who carried bravely on to our next destination--Erik's house. We stopped at a local convenience store on the way to pick up more booze, which I ordered as the soberest one there. (You can imagine how very drunk the others were!) and then onwards and upwards.
Erik is an artist in his spare time, and he showed us lots of his canvasses, which were abstract-y things, but quite lovely. I think the next several hours were spent in having variations of the same conversation, but Erik and I bonded, and by the end of it, I was pledging queer friendliness and he kept saying that I was lovely. Alcohol: making friends out of strangers.
The next day, oh, my aching head. We were SOOOOOOOOOOO hungover and had missed the free breakfast the hotel offered (cereal and prunes--so maybe it was for the best) and off we set into the bright sunshine to get ourselves something to eat. JC had consumed a tad, the merest smidgen more than I had and so was quite a bit more hungover than me. So he led me on a walk through the streets of Brighton, we stopped to watch some kids on skateboards, who were doing all sorts of death defying tricks and is it too late for me to learn to do that? And finally, as I grew grumpier and grumpier, he led me into Nando's (yay) where I got my extra hot peri-peri chicken and was satisfied.
Then, we had to go get him a Bill Murray t-shirt (we were going to a Bill Murray themed party later that night), but did you know there is no such thing as a Bill Murray t-shirt? Finally, we settled on getting him a Ghostbusters t-shirt, and it would have to do. Me? I was planning on being Andie McDowell from Groundhog Day. What? We both have curly hair!
Then we went back to the hotel to rest (I read, he napped) and only ventured out again around 8.30, when we went to an Indian restaurant we had spotted called Pavel. I was sort of the local attraction there, being the Indian-from-India, especially after I asked for my vindaloo extra hot, chatted with the bartender in Hindi and discussed Bangladesh with the waiter. They liked us so much, they even sent over drinks on the house. I loved them.
It was the house party next, I was quite looking forward to it, because I did want to check out an English house party. It's much the same as an Indian one. Tom's friend had asked us, but by the end of it, we were talking to everyone. The hostess was a punk chick, so most of her friends were too. You know, I've always been a little wary of them, because of the extreme hairdos and the piercings, but they were so sweet and welcoming and chatty. I had a really good time. I changed my "costume" (I was wearing jeans and a sweater) at the last minute and told everyone that I was, in fact, the stewardess from Darjeeling Limited. What? We're both brown!