So it’s been awhile, I could make my excuses but how about I just write the blog?
I’ve had a birthday, which means one year older and plenty to write about but I’ll try to keep it short. Plus this write up is more about my amazing night with STA Travel Buzz (follow them here, or read their blog here).
To start things off, how about a reunion with some other all-star travelers from my days in SE Asia? Yes please. Calvin, our Canadian companion, flew all the way to the UK so what better excuse for a meet up with the rest of the English constituency? It all started on Thursday, September 10 when Calvin, Claudia and myself hit Embargo’s in London for some good old partying on New Kings Road. Then it was onto the train the following day, heading to Bristol to meet up with Patrick, Matt, Andy and Zoe. It was an EPIC evening that started out with what I can comfortably say was the best Thai meal I’ve had since, well, Thailand. We’re talking Pad Thai, Panang Curry, Green Curry, Pad Grapow, everything I love. After eating it in record time we realised that it had cost us about 7,000 Baht, and estimated that back in Bangkok the same meal would be less than 1,000. Depressing? Slightly. Still delicious? Obviously. After that we headed to Matt’s friend’s back garden where an enormous bonfire, a huge marquee and several dozen gallons of local (as in, literally from across the road) cider were ready and waiting. Amazing. Needless to say, the night went well, catching up, reliving the good times abroad and listening to Pat’s sweet sweet voice as he strummed his guitar the way only he can. Then it was a night sleeping in the marquee under blankets before a traditional English pub lunch and the train back to London town for more birthday celebrations with my neighbours.
That Monday I went to a fantastic gig at The Scala to see two of my old high school friends who now go by the name Wye Oak. I left it a bit last minute but luckily Andy and Jen (the rockers) got me and a couple of good friends on the guest list to enjoy their seriously good opening act before they were followed by Okkervil River. High school reunion, good music and a birthday all in one night? Not bad.
So, traveller reunion, good music…what could be next? How about going around the world without leaving London? Oh yes. Tuesday, September 15 I met Camilla, Sam and Michelle from STA Travel Buzz (who have been kind enough to plug my blog along with a few other travelers for an STA 30th anniversary celebration. It all started in ‘India’ on Brick Lane in one of the many many Indian restaurants that line that road. Once the whole gang was assembled, we headed to…the kitchen. I’m not sure how the other paying guests felt about some random kids walking into the back to play with food but hey, on Brick Lane, give a restaurant owner enough money and you can do anything it would seem. So learn how to cook onion bhajis we did, before jumping on to the private Route master bus hired for the evening to head to ‘America’ while enjoying our deep fried Indian cuisine. America turned out to be All Star Bowling Lanes, where a game of retro bowling and classic American cocktails were the order of the night. I tried to ignore the fact that our waitress was Irish. As the only member of the posse to have actually lived in the US, there was a lot of pressure on me, and while the girls did lose, I feel I scored well enough to walk out with my head held high.
Next? Off to ‘England’! Okay, so this one wasn’t so hard, but I wasn’t complaining when the piping hot fish ‘n chips turned up on the bus. After a few glasses of champagne on the Route master and it was out again in front of the London Irish Centre where a lovely Irishman named Aiden O’Neill taught us the fine art of Irish dancing. Okay, so we weren’t so fine, or graceful, or good… But I think Aiden appreciated the effort, and we all appreciated an excuse to skip about holding hands without getting weird looks from anyone else. After an embarrassing attempt at our own Riverdance, we headed to the Irish pub for a pint of Guinness. What else?
It was a great end to a great night before crawling home only to wake up a few hours later, back to the grind of a Wednesday morning. But at least I had a good story to tell this time.