Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Brighton Trip... a much better representation...

I haven’t written in forever. I blame work, I am getting out of the habit because I never want to type on the computer when I type all day at work. Ugh. But as of today I only have 30 days left in England and things are really coming together for our backpacking trip through Europe! I’ve already booked my Egypt trip, my Ireland trip, and today I am book the flights to Cairo and to Ireland… that means the last flight (Cairo to Amsterdam) is it and then I can just sit back and coast the rest of the way until I leave… at least in terms of these two trips.

Two weekends ago was Brighton. Located on the southern coast of Britain Brighton is a beach town, a costal town – not a dock town, or a shipping town, but more of a beach-party town. It would be a place you go for spring break if you lived in Britain… do they even have spring break? We left on Saturday morning (early) from Victoria station, Steph, Michelle, Alissa and I all headed onto the 2 hour train ride talking mostly the whole way. We got there and walked out of the station into the main part of the town. We’d planned on only doing a day trip, and I had read in the Let’s Go book that Brighton was known for it’s night clubs and debauchery. We were not staying for the wanton sexual frustrations of the club scene so we got moving to see the ‘sights.’

Brighton has a coastline, you’ve probably seen it on TV, especially if you live in Britain, I just saw it in a music video today actually. It’s famous for the coast, the Royal Pavilion and the Pier. First we headed to the Pier and the Coast. There actually was what looked to be an old pier that was just sitting in the ocean falling apart. It looked strangely beautiful in a post-apocalyptic kind of way. I snapped a photo and walked down the beach while the girls tried to play chicken with the waves. I kept having flashbacks to Nice when the Mediterranean attacked me so I kept my distance.

There was a newer pier, covered in stalls selling all sorts of tasty treats: doughnuts, ice cream, and the like, but even permanent rides and bars out on the pier. A couple of roller coasters and even a Lighthouse slide (just like in Rollercoaster Tycoon)! We walked around and eventually (of course) ended up in the bar. We each had a drink at 1130am and sat there enjoying the sea view and talking. Alissa was affected a bit by the Pimm’s and Lemonade (Sprite) so she was funnier then before and we all hoofed it back to the main part of town to go to the Royal Pavilion.

The pavilion was brilliant! It looked amazing from the outside and I could only imagine how beautiful the gardens must be in the summer. We paid our entrance fee and were astounded by the innards of this amazing structure. It had onion shaped domes and a turret from the outside; but inside it was a full-out Oriental motif. There were statuettes, paper lanterns, bold colours, amazing carpet and it just went on and on. The dining room had hand painted wallpaper depicting oriental characters donning samurai uniforms, complete with a gilded dragon right near the 2 story high ceiling, holding the top of the 2 ton chandelier in it’s claws under a palm leaves (some were sculpted and actually in the room, others painted). The kitchens were even decorated, with the poles supporting the high ceilings and windowed skylights covered to look like tall thin palms.

The best room was the Music room, with low hanging chandeliers shaped like groups of multicoloured leaves and tall windows reaching to bold blue drapes (contrasting with the deep red walls) nearly touching the gilded dome of the ceiling. It was breathtaking. Built by George the IV as a vacation house on the coast and a place to entertain royal guests and listen to music (as well as play some himself). This guy had taste. To bad the oriental motif was completely fabricated from stories and others drawings… none of the designers had ever themselves been to the Orient; funny how these things work out sometimes.

I can't show you pictures of the inside, so you'll just have to take my word for it... or you could go to

The next day was Chinese New Year; welcome to the Year of the Dog! I was going to get up early, but I was out really late partying it up so I ended up awake at 11 or so. Coincidentally, that was when the parade was starting in Trafalgar Square, so instead of seeing the Chinese Gold Dancers I saw the inside of the shower… nothing gold there… I headed over to the New Year Celebrations and it was CRAZY busy. We took pictures and enjoyed the crackers, and popping of the firecrackers in Leicester Square, wandered the streets for a while, and then went to the Walkabout for Lunch. Alissa, Kim, Andy, and I (who I would guess were looking a bit rough) were eating with Steph and one of Kim’s friends (forgive me I don’t remember her name). We enjoyed our lunch and then Steph and I broke off and went to Harrods (she’d never been) and shopped for quite a while. Afterward Steph went home and I went back to Chinatown to enjoy some Chinese food with Shawna (and her boy?), Alex, Andy, Anna, Katie, and Neil. It was a blast. It had been way to long since I spent time with them. We had a lot of fun. After the huge plates of food we all called it a night, but overall it was great.

During the week I spent most of my time either working or hanging out with Heidi; she even stayed over on Monday night after we watched Anchorman because neither Andy or I wanted her to take the night buses all the way back to Great Portland Street. That Wednesday

was another BUNAC pub meet at The World’s End in Camden Town. It was a huge place, and I ended up spending most of my time with Brooke and her friends, Alissa, and Andy. We even did Irish Car Bombs, but we couldn’t order them like that for obviousm reasons. Instead we ordered (to the barkeeps eye rolling disappointment) a half-pint of Guinness and a shot of Baileys. I love those. After the World’s End I took the tube down to Parson’s Green to see Heidi at work. It was a cool place and it turns out that I knew one of her co-workers, we’d eaten fish and chips months before with Amanda, back when it was warm enough to eat outside…

I couldn’t accompany her onto the night bus because they were having pizza and beer, so i went home still feeling satisfied that I had gone at all.

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