Thursday, August 13, 1998
I was supposed to get my laundry back today, but it got misplaced or for some reason it couldn't be found. This was a little frustrating. But, I went off anyway. I decided that while in London, I would do nothing but hang out and entertain myself. This was to be accomplished by sitting around Leicester Square and reading the “Naked Lunch.” The book starts out well enough, but I'm quickly getting lost. There seems to be no order or direction to the plot.
I bought a (restricted view) ticket for “Chicago” at $15 for tonight. I finally got the nerve to go into a pub on my own. I picked the Porcupine since it looked relaxed. I was going to get dinner too, but the restaurant was still locked after 6 PM (when it said it would be open). I got a few pints and headed off to the show. My seat was at the far left of the (dress) second balcony. It wasn't that bad, actually, I just had to lean over the edge a bit. The show was kind of short, and I didn't like as many songs as I had thought (I saw a version put on at my college). Afterwards, I milled around Leicester before biting another bullet, and went into a Disco-tec.
The Equinox looked like the biggest tourist trap in London. It was situated in the center of the square. But the cover was cheap with a student ID, so I went in. The bouncers just seemed to be there for crowd control, and looks. I bought two beers at $4.50 each. I paid this for a small ass (33cl?) bottle of Molson and Foster's Ice. It was enough to boost me onto the floor, though. The bass was loud, and the dance floor large, and the green lasers were in crazy effect. I danced for about 1 1/2 hours. The music was all over the place from Wyclef and Will Smith to weird stuff I didn't know. I'm not really up on my house/jungle/drum n bass lingo. There were some kids who created circles to strut their stuff. One guy did some breakin'. Though he was better than I'll ever be, he seemed to be showing off (is that the point?).
The way to approach a dancing girl seems to be the blind side, rear end approach. This is a hit and miss kind of thing. Either way, it takes more guts that I have in my abdomen (at the moment). However, by the end of the night, I was dancing around a really hot (and happy) blonde. I didn't give her much eye contact so I really didn't know if she was paying attention to me at all. Oh well, at least she was more open than a lot of the other girls. A lot of the kids there seemed to be Middle Eastern and Asian. I walked home (about 45 minutes) at 3 AM. I definitely feel safe here.
Friday, August 14, 1998
This morning I received my long lost laundry. I also found out that the $500 cash limit on my MasterCard is not about a one time withdrawal, but it's cumulative. Therefore, I transferred $1,000 from my savings to checking account, so I could access cash at the ATMs. My budget is officially blown since I crossed over to Britain. Between travel costs and the entertainment I'm taking in (and the expensive hostel I'm staying in), I'm overblown. In order to reduce the damage, I'm going to skip Scotland. That will cut out two train tickets, and give me more time in Ireland.
Today I found out that “Phantom of the Opera” is sold out for tonight and both tomorrow's shows. I went to a couple of pubs (which in turn made it easier to go to Burger King for the second day in a row), and then returned to wait in the standby line. A guy came out and said the only seats available are normally $55. I left after considering the two hour plus wait and the expense. I went and got a ticket for “Grease.” The seat was upper circle (top level). It wasn't bad for $19. I could see all the stage well, and I could easily identify all the characters, and I enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to seeing a show that I don't know the plot of. I also got a ticket for tomorrow's showing of “Les Miserables.” Again, it is a restricted view seat, but for only $16.
After, “Grease” I wandered around and thought about going to a club. Actually, I tried to get into the Limelight, but the bouncers stopped me due to my trainers (sneakers). After that, I thought about how I could stay out and dance and drink all night if I could just find one person to talk to. I seemed to meet so many more people in Italy, where there was none of this crazy stuff to do. Sigh.
One of the weird things about the way the English speak is their repetitiveness. For example, if you are getting off the Underground: “please watch your step, mind your step, mind the gap” etc.! And instead of “Exit” it is “Way Out.” Everything seems to be supplemented with an extra thank you, caution, or apology. Sometimes, it seems very drawn out.
Apparently the hostel I stayed in, the Albert, was in a ritzy section of town (Queen's Gate). Right next door was a restaurant (bistro) that attracted wealthy customers, like tonight, the owner of a black Lamborghini Diablo.