Sunday, June 25, 2006

Sunday afternoon, 25Jun06.

Have I mentioned Digress? It's this amazing lounge-bar in Soho that we had previously visited but had to leave early. We went back to this bar Friday night and had a blast. Among the featured drinks which we imbibed were Bacardi-Diet Cokes, Mojitos, Scotch-sodas, tequila slammers, and beers. Some of our companions felt the need to leave early, around half past midnight, but the rest of us felt that we had an obligation to stay. It would be our final weekend in London, after all.

Having said that, we then proceeded to get ourselves properly wasted while listening to 80's tunes. We left that place at 3am and managed to drag ourselves back to the Farm at 4am in a cab from London which cost us a whopping £18 each. Ah, the price of having fun!

Yesterday was pretty much dedicated to shopping for stuff to take home and give away. I felt fairly rocky so didn't go out last night. I think I'm coming down with a cold and cough so I'll be taking it easy today in the hope that I'll be back to form tomorrow.


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Tuesday evening, 20Jun06.

I vaguely recall mentioning Sunday's events.

I woke up fairly late on Sunday, around 11am. Many of my batchmates had woken up at the ungodly hour of 5.30am to go to a theme park in Alton Towers. Being averse to theme park rides and unwilling to travel 13 hours on a sunday, I declined to participate.

At lunch, I ran into Amar (Dubai) and Josh (USA) who thought it'd be a great idea to head into St Albans Abbey to watch the football in a real english pub. At the time, it seemed like the best idea ever and I agreed to join them. The train to St Albans Abbey departed at 1.14pm and we strode into town like we owned the place. Our first stop was a pub called The Bell which, as it turns out, had Hoegaarden beer, which I truly loved. We drank while watching a fairly boring football game between Japan and Croatia that ended 0-0.

We then headed into The Boot, another english pub not far from The Bell. There we ran into a very engaging barman called Ed. We also ran into a fetching young woman called Helen. Turns out they both had very interesting stories to tell, which I will not reveal in this forum. Suffice it to say that our eyes widened at the stories they had.

Having pretty much drank all afternoon with nothing to eat, I became VERY WASTED. Off I went in search of food, leaving Amar and Josh at The Boot. The stories they eventually told me after my departure will have to keep for another post.


Sunday, June 18, 2006

Sunday evening, 18Jun06, Father's Day.

Fairly interesting weekend, although I didn't think it would be interesting at all. Initially, I had no plans until, at lunch, I met up with some of my classmates who also had no plans and we decided to head into London, specifically Hyde Park.

Big mistake.

There was a Foo Fighters concert there and the place was PACKED. The tube going to Hyde Park Corner was so crowded, you didn't need to hold on to anything. There was literally no place to fall.

We spent some time lounging in the park, away from the concert goers. After a while, it became a little monotonous so we headed into Oxford Circus where we were supposed to hook up with some other friends and have dinner at Wagamama, the Japanese restaurant. The place did not disappoint. Food was excellent, prices were reasonable, and service was quick. Afterwards, we decided to find a bar/lounge where we could watch the football.

We found DIGRESS.

I love this place. The bar was twin-leveled with the resto/bar area on the ground floor and the bar/lounge area in the basement. We managed to get a table in the basement in a prime location to watch the Italy v USA match. That was some match. 3 red cards and a flurry of fouls found the score at 1-1 after the time expired. Good stuff.

The bar itself was humming. People were streaming in and the place was filling up like you wouldn't believe. The music was fabulous as well and the atmosphere was beginning to explode. Unfortunately, my companions needed to leave as they had to get up really early (i.e. 6am) to travel to Alton Towers (a theme park) the next day. With a sigh of regret and a promise that I would return, we headed out and went home.

While we were waiting for a cab that would bring us back to the Farm from Radlett station, a group of drunks came and waited for cabs as well. In addition, a loving couple reserved for a car. In a stunning series of events, tragedy struck as the woman part of the loving couple fell to the ground and struck her head. At almost the same moment, an available car pulled up. The drunks then proceeded to procure this vehicle for themselves, regardless of the fact that we had been there first.

In the end, the injured woman and her companion went off in the car. The drunks, with much cursing and nasty looks at our group, got another car. Our group waited a few more minutes for our own cars to arrive. No further incident, thank goodness.

I'd like to write more about today however I'm too drunk. I'll continue this tomorrow, hopefully.


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Thursday evening, 15Jun06. Curry Day and England vs Trinidad & Tobago.

World Cup fever has well and truly gripped this entire nation and all my classmates are in for the ride. Every single day since the World Cup began, we have been watching the games. Now, I'm not really a football fan. As a matter of fact, I'm the kind of guy who would never even bother looking at a football game. Hell, I don't even know what "off-sides" means.

But the fever is contagious, my friends, make no mistake.

Last night, we watched Poland suffer a crushing defeat at the hands of Germany. The goal came during injury time after 90 minutes of regulation and, since we had a classmate from Poland, we really felt that Poland could pull off a draw against Germany. Alas, this did not come to pass. A last minute goal from the Germans effectively snuffed out any chance Poland had of advancing into the 2nd round. You can imagine our Polish classmate's woe at this development.

This afternoon, England faced off against Trinidad & Tobago in what was thought would be an easy game. After more than 80 minutes of play, the score remained 0-0 and England had sent in the legendary Wayne Rooney to help out, to no avail. On the 83rd minute with English fans beginning to lose hope, Peter Crouch headed a ball into the goal to the astonishment of everyone. After all, he had missed roughly 5-6 attempts at the goal throughout the game. Pandemonium erupted in the bar as everyone cheered at this amazing development.

A few minutes later, another cheer rose up as Frank Lampard kicked an amazing goal past his defender and the goalkeeper. The game ended 2-0 in favor of England.

So, yes, dear readers, your office worker has now caught the World Cup fever and will continue to report on developments as and when they occur in the football world.


(Come on, England!!!)

Monday, June 12, 2006

Monday evening, 12Jun06.

It's been more than a week since my last entry and, I must say, it's been a fairly eventful number of days.

In my batch of trainees, there are those we call the 4-Weekers. These guys are in parts of the company where the next couple of weeks will not be relevant to them. Thus, they leave after the first 4 weeks. In our batch, there were less than a dozen of them. Nevertheless, in the spirit of camaraderie and fair play, we threw a dinner party for them on thursday. We went to St Albans and had dinner at this italian restaurant where the whole group got together and had loads of fun. After dinner, we proceeded to Batchwood Hall for some more clubbing fun.

Batchwood Hall is basically a mansion converted into a club in the St Albans area. We'd been there before when the previous batch of trainees had their going-away party there. It was loads of fun. In honor of the 4-Weekers, we went there and had a blast with amazing music that lasted till the wee hours of the morning, regardless of the classes we had the next day.

One of our number had a bit too much to drink and almost caused a scene at the club although we were fortunate enough to get to him before he could do too much damage. With too much to drink and with no self-control, the man was in dire straits. Our group managed to get him out of the club and into a cab just in time. Suffice it to say he had a monster hangover the next day and was of little use in any group activities.

Friday evening saw us getting ready to go to Scotland. It was a short train ride into London followed by a 9-hour bus ride from Victoria coach station. The ride was fairly straightforward although it was exhausting since there were quite a few who couldn't sleep on the bus. We arrived in Edinburgh Scotland on saturday morning. First stop: Edinburgh Castle. We were fortunate enough to witness a 21-gun salute in honor of his majesty, the Duke of Edinburgh. Why he was being honored remains a mystery to me. Oh well.

We then proceeded to see the sights of the city. Note that the World Cup had begun and the fever was felt all throughout the city. We had lunch at a Scottish Pub where we watched England beat Paraguay in a match that was (in all honesty) quite boring. Then, our little splinter group, consisting of Jeanine (from Manila) and Aisha (from Dubai) went to Mary King's Close which was a slightly scary historical tour of the city's underground from the 1700's. Quite interesting although it became a bit boring towards the end. We then had dinner at another Scottish pub where we watched Argentina defeat Ivory Coast. At this point, we were all fairly tired and went back to our B&B for some rest and sleep.

Sunday morning saw us heading off in different directions. Some wanted to see some sights then go shopping while others just wanted the shopping. I was in the group that just wanted sightseeing, no shopping. We then took a sightseeing tour of the city on a bus then got off at the Royal Yacht Britannia where we took a tour of the facilities. After which, Joe (from HK) and myself promptly got ourselves lost trying to get back to the city.

After some degree of searching, we managed to find the correct bus although time was geting tight. Our train back to London was scheduled to leave at 4.30pm and it was getting on to 4pm already. At the North Bridge stop, Joe and I ran into Asil and Sinem (both from Turkey) who we had split from earlier. Happy to see familiar faces, we quickly got into a better mood and proceeded to travel back to our B&B to collect our belongings. Once there, time was very tight and we had to literally RUN to the train which was closing its doors in preparation for departure. We made it with only 5 seconds (exactly!) to spare.

The trip back was fairly uneventful except for 2 things. First, our train ride was interrupted by engineering works which necessitated an extended bus ride. Quite boring, really. Second, on the train ride into King's Cross station, we ran into a girl from China who studied in Canada and was vacationing in the UK. She had a year and a half more to go in university in Canada before heading off into the working world so our insight was quite valuable to her. She was fairly interesting and we talked with her on the train ride coming back. We hope to see more of her in future, hopefully.

Which brings us back to monday where class was fairly uneventful. Hopefully, I'll have more stuff for you all soon.


Sunday, June 04, 2006

Sunday morning, 04Jun06. Been a fairly eventful weekend although it's now winding down.

Friday night found most of us at the bar having a few drinks. The pressure was off as our projects had all been submitted earlier that afternoon. We were playing Jenga while chugging beer with a shot of tequila as the "prize" for the loser. We were all getting fairly plastered when in came a fair number of older people who proceeded to have a party at the bar right then and there. Apparently, one of them had been recognized for 20 years of service and this was an "anniversary" party. The drinks were flowing and there was highly old-school music from a Bose mp3 player one of them had brought. They drew us into their party and off we went. It was good fun until the bar closed down for the night at half eleven.

Having no more drinks, we came up with the idea of going to either of the 2 pubs just within walking distance from the campus. Both were closed by this time and, desperate for more alcohol, we decided to proceed to St Albans for a trip to a club, any club, that would serve us. In 2 cabs, we went to Adelaide Street, to a club called (adequately enough) Adelaide.

In retrospect, our cab driver the next day mentioned that this particular club was a "meat market". Indeed it was as 95% of the clientele were men looking for women. The available women were basically dancing with anyone who would dance with them. Unfortunately, there weren't any great-looking women at that club.

One woman, I think she was in her late 30s or early 40s, kept dancing with our group, going from one of us to another. This went on all night. All. Night. At 3am, we staggered out of the club and headed for home, plastered out of our minds.

Saturday afternoon, since none of us managed to get up in the morning, saw us heading into the city for some shopping on Oxford Street. I managed to pick up a couple shirts and a pair of shoes which were on sale. Not to worry, I asked the opinion of some of our female companions before making the purchase. We then had dinner at this Thai restaurant served by authentic Thai people. Good stuff, really. After dinner we went to this bar called Art Bar. Pretentious place with seemingly good looking people out to see and be seen. After 1 drink, we left. I hate bars that cater to that type of crowd.

There was a huge misunderstanding about the trains going back home, though, so we ended up taking a cab from Watford Junction which cost us roughly £18. Highway robbery, if you ask me. Although it was a little past midnight so we had little choice.

I woke up for breakfast because I was starving this morning. None of our other companions managed to get out of bed though. Everyone was pretty tired. Oh well.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Thursday evening, 01Jun2006.

Been an interesting (though tiring) couple days. Lots of class activities and the project is due tomorrow. We're pretty much done although our resident IT person (not me, thankfully) is just sprucing it up prior to submission tomorrow.

We've been visiting the bar quite regularly over the past few days since there's really little else to do once class ends. I've tried to summon the willpower to do some exercise just this past tuesday but got too lazy. I didn't get another chance yesterday and today due to after-class work-related activities. We're scheduled to head to Tantra, a club in London, tomorrow evening after class. I hope it's a good club.