Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bank Holiday Wiiiiiiiiii-kend

I was really pissed off this weekend.

My aunt had collaborated with a local travel agent and arranged a trip to Paris for the weekend just gone, since it was a Bank Holiday yesterday the plan was to leave on Saturday and return on the Bank Holiday Monday (ystd).

Now I know I've been to Murcia (Spain), in February, Butlins last month (in July), and Barcelona (Spain) earlier this month, but when someone asks if you wanna come to Paris and EuroDisney - a huge Disney fan like me automatically screams 'YES OF COURSE I DO - ARE YOU STUPID ASKING ME A QUESTION LIKE THAT?'

It was therefore with great sadness that I couldn't go. One big problem was WORK. I've already had more weeks off than anyone else in the entire Bank, in fact I've probably been off twice as much as other staff. And besides who on Earth was I gonna ask to cover me on the August Bank Holiday weekend when the weather was 25oC and sunny, when we live in a Country where a sunny day is as common as a heatwave in the Arctic. I urged my mum and dad to go, as my other aunt (the one I live with) said she'd look after Priya in thier absence. My brother had to work so him and his wife couldn't go.

When Saturday morning arrived it wasn't remotely surprising that when I got to work I found that someone had smashed a window the night before, the key for the room with the broken window was missing and was nowhere to be found, and a complete stranger (a girl) turned up claiming it was her official first day working there (funnily not even the Senior Branch Manager had even heard of her or was expecting her), the repair work scheduled to the electrical meter couldn't be done coz the key to the locked cupboard containing the meter was also nowhere to be found. At 2pm I left work with delight.

Meet up with M - I don't know what it is with me but it would seem I only feel sexually attracted to unavailable guys who have boyfriends or complex relationships with their ex/boos, or are straight - that one is always a turn on. Why can't I be attracted to someone single for a change. M is a great guy but I'm uncertain if I will find myself attracted to him. Guess time will tell. I'm worried I may end up stringing him along before I decide.

Sunday we went to Whipsnade Zoo, which was a blast.

And on Bank Holiday Monday I finally picked up my Nintendo Wii (I'm totally blaming Random Thinker for costing me £300 with this post) and played Tennis, Golf, and Mario Part 8 until I smashed my hand into the table and cracked my index finger's nail in several places - so exciting was that round of the tennis match. At one point I had my aunt and sister-in-law playing as well... it might have cost me over £300 but it was a small price to see my aunt having soo much fun, she was laughing in delight, obviously the laughter abruptly ended when the loud smash rang across the room, and my finger looked like that of a war victim's one (I was still laughing though).

J my pregnant mate, finally had her baby boy yesterday, at 8lbs and 6oz, over a week past her due date. I was so happy.... still am actually. I felt sorry for her when she said the sod was born after a 38 hour labour. Ouch. 'NEVER AGAIN' were her first words when I spoke to her.

And I just rang work to find out that the ceiling has collapsed - apparently the new coffee machine installed earlier this week leaked and the ceiling caved in. Ouch... I was grateful that it didn't happen on Friday night to greet me on Saturday morning.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Darren Hayes

Yesterday was a day that shook the very foundations of my existence.

What you will ask could have such an impact?

A simple discovery… That Darren Hayes (who?) is gay.

I grew up wondering, yes I wondered, and deep down I probably knew, but to actually read that in black and white, that Darren Hayes is not only gay but in a two-year civil partnership with some guy called Richard was very disconcerting.

The interview was in ‘Attitude’, which is my gay magazine of choice/preference. And I was amazed at how candid that interview was, considering how deep Darren Hayes was once in a closet.
It would probably be no small understatement to make the comment that I adore Darren Hayes… I’d probably go as far as say I actually love this guy – ever since the days he bopped onto the music scene with ‘To The Moon & Back’. This is my all time favourite song - and want it playing at my funeral when I die.

Now anyone who knows Darren Hayes or Savage Garden will know who that there has always been a grey area when it came to his sexuality – was he or wasn’t he?

Now I really can’t imagine how difficult it would be to dealt with your sexuality when everything about you is splashed across tabloids in whatever light would best sell your story, I could never live in that kind of scrutiny, but Darren Hayes ‘coming out’ made me cringe. I actually felt a profound sadness at how he was forced to address this issue.

It was at what he thought would be a simple interview, that he was asked point back by Simon Amstell (who is also gay I might add), a presenter on Channel 4, callously asked the question ‘so, when are you going to come out then?’, to which Darren replied ‘excuse me’… Simon being a prick (he has never hidden this fact and once made Britney cry) said ‘well, you’re obviously gay but why won’t you come out?’

It doesn’t really shock me to read how Darren replied; in fact I admire him for it. He had told himself he wouldn’t deny it, rather in the past he would just say ‘I don’t want to talk about it’ – which for anyone with a brain would realise was his way of saying yes I’m gay, move on now. His response to Simon’s hostility was violent - ‘Oh you want to talk about my sex life do you? Yeah I like to fuck, actually. I’m probably more of a top and if you lay on your back I’ll show you how I like to fuck’

That was it. He had come out. But Channel 4 wisely edited that and gave Darren an opportunity to officially come out on his blog.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Conflict of Interest

Fuck, today wasn't a good day. I had to do something that I really didn't want to. I had to formalise a complaint against a tutor at my college (its not really a college - more of a tuition provider).

The worse part is - that I really like this guy (not like as in fancy but as in like as a person), but his teaching style ain't doing anything for me.

So I took a deep breath and went to speak to the Course Director, a guy called Amar. Its all fair and well saying something in confidence to him but Amar asked me to put it into writing and email him, and copy it to the head of the Level 3 Professional exams Tom - and I really didn't want to do this, but he forced my hand.

I tried to make this email as polite as possible and here is what is said, I need you guys to tell me I'm not an evil bastard for doing this :o(

Hey Amar,

Further to our conversation earlier today about my concerns regarding the P1 classes, I'm just putting into writing the concerns I shared with you.

As I mentioned I find that whilst I like John as a person, I feel that his tutoring style doesn't work for me. And it was that reason that I came to you requesting to be transferred to Paul's short-term group 2 class.

I find that John is very vocal & talkative, I feel far too much. And I personally find that my mind wanders very quickly into the start of the lesson, and on more than one occasion I have felt sleepy and lost interest within 10 minutes of the start of his class - this obviously is not a good start. By about half way (at lunch time) I find am very seriously considering going home as my mind has switched off and I no longer seem to be absorbing anything he says. I find it is close to impossible to remain attentive to lunch time, forget until 5PM. This is because I find that his classes are not very interactive nor does he tend to break what he is saying into sections. There is little more to do than listen... I'll try to avoid saying this rudely, but I find he starts talking from 9.45AM and doesn't stop unless we are either doing a question or it is a break. I find it also slightly disconcerting that he doesn't use the actual study notes but rather bases his tutoring on the slides he handed out in the first lecture - I often have absolutely no idea where he is in the study notes and thus can not go home and pick up the notes to try and cover or review what he did in that specific lecture, and the lack of a study text has not helped even slightly (for this subject a study guide would have been very useful)

For me, I find Paul much better, I have attended his lesson for a short time to compare - Paul's approach constitutes a mixture of lecturing and notes.

Normally, I'd be very hesitant to complain or draw attention to a tutor based solely on the fact that I personally do not find the tutor engaging nor appreciate their individual tutoring style - however I know that I am not alone in this observation, and whilst as a group (I'm part of group 3) we have not chosen to collectively complain (unlike group 1 whom both you and I are aware have signed a petition) - we do as a group feel that P1 is an area of great concern as it currently stands.

As this is a new subject as well as a Professional Level Examination (level 3) - I feel I isn't prudent to do nothing any longer, and hope you can understand my and other students real concerns about the practicality of continuing to study P1 with John, at worse - the risk of failing this exam is not an acceptable option. And I am honestly concerned about this. And I hope that you can find a viable solution to this slightly awkward and difficult issue.

I just want to clarify this isn't a personal attack on John Cope but rather a concern stemming from the forthcoming exam.



PS - As requested I've copied Tom into this email

Be honest - is this harsh? I've tried to be as nice as I possibly can without minimising the seriousness of my concern.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

If You Could See Me Now


2.6 - Basic Audit - 75%
3.1 - Adv Audit - 66%
3.2 - Adv tax - 64%

HOLEY FUCK...... I didn't just pass the Adv Tax exam - I caned it with 64% - there were a couple of stray tears streaming down my cheeks I swear. There was also numbness and silence and alot of mouth wide openness. There were also alot of 'Noooooooooooo', 'Fuckkkkkkkkk', 'Shittttttt'.

I wasn't really really surprised at my Basic Audit result - I kind of expected a really good mark and the 75% did not disappoint (I'd be lying if I said I expected more than 60s so the difference was great news) - However since it is one of the three papers that count towards the BSc (Honours) degree, I was aiming for a minimum aggregate mark of 70% which meant I needed to get at least 66% in this paper, but the great news is, with the 75% my aggregate mark is now 73% (78% + 66% + 75% / 3) - which means that if my Research Project is really good I can potentially get a FIRST in my degree. YAY.

Even the Adv Audit result was fantastic. I knew the exam hadn't gone as well as I'd liked it to have but it would have been very upsetting to fail this one, mostly coz I didn't feel the exam went as bad as it could have - I was hopeful I passed with a solid mark in the 50s. So the 66% was a bit of a shocker!

I'd love to say my Inner Balance has returned but it hasn't. The Tax Paper has really thrown off any chance of mental focus or stability, and I imagine that'll continue for days. You can see why I thought that the Tax Paper went so bad here (I blogged about it back in June) - deep down sometimes you know that you are gonna pass even when the exam went really badly - this was NOT the case for the tax paper - I really honestly expected to fail - I'd even decided to NOT re-take it and take on Performance Management (another Optional Paper) instead.

Its strange however that whilst I did not have plans to go out yesterday (I was plannin to stay in a mope) - I was dragged out of the house and thrown into a group of people I've never met before (even before results were released).... apparently 'if you don't mingle with new people... you won't make new friends' I was told. And worse the state I thought I'd be in yesterday meant that I would be far from good company.... but with such good news, my spirit was lifted and practically danced in delight (I only found out my results about 30 seconds before I left to go) - we went bowling - I must inform everyone that my new friends were aged 8, 15, 17, 17, and 18. No shit! How old did I feel? Scarily the 15 and 2 17 year olds looked like they were 20, so as a whole I don't think I looked like a Paedophile (I couldn't help but laugh when I heard that the 15 year old HAD to home for 5.30PM). Best of all I even got a score of 140 in one game and won - YAY. I really enjoyed hanging around with these guys and best of all I don't think I came across as a BORING OLD FUCK. At one point in the evening they were all like *'take your shirt off... go on go on go on'

*to see the tattoo - nothing paedophilic going on there!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A Lack of Inner 'Inner Balance'

I'm slightly disturbed to have discovered that gay men can actually be attracted to women.

And worse that they can also picture being married to one.

That is just sick. Aren't gay men gay anymore? This is taking the whole concept of Metrosexuality to an extreme.


PS - Excuse the stress and arseholeism, I'm not mentally stable and my inner balance has gone to shit today. What I think I've failed to mention is that results are released tomorrow.

FUCK... I'm certain I've failed tax, and I've mentally accepted it, so I pick myself up when I fall to pieces, but that stupid fucking voice called Optimist in my head keeps whispering 'maybe you haven't' and I fall to pieces all over again.

PSS - I've loaded a WeeMee as a profile picture (*Jules does it look like me?) - something Hammie mentioned is at work I imagine (damn him) - if anyone dares to make the comment that I copied Billy - I may hit them. Just for the record I did. Sue me!

*You're not allowed to say NO.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Bi The Way I Like You

The original plan was to put a halt on normal blogging until I had completed the rendition of the trip to Barcelona, however since I’ve predominantly got most of it down I’ll complete part 4 with an update, after all day 5 was not particularly significant.

I’ve lately been pondering the idea of relationships and commitment. Whilst I can’t compete with Monty's track record of 9 dates in one week (I'm not kidding) – I’ve been on 2 dates this last week, both of which were slightly head-fucky.

I’ve been spending an unhealthy amount of time with a girl... yes you read that right. Whilst this is not unusual since the vast majority of my friends are female, the part that concerns me is that my pea-sized brain hasn’t prompted me to tell this girl that I’m gay. A little bit of introspection (yes this is a real word) has revealed that maybe I don’t really want to... whilst I can also hide behind the fact that the opportunity has not really presented itself, the fact that there is hesitance bothers me. Deep down I know that by saying those two words ‘I’m gay’, that they will completely change the dynamic between us, thereby ending any potential of pursing any kind of relationship with her. The hesitance stems from the fact that she is actually making me question whether I really am gay – I’m not trying to deny the fact that I like cock – hell no, it is however making me question whether I am fully gay or the dreaded ‘bi’ – you see my dilemma.

Nick (the bastard that was formerly my friend) seems to have dropped off the face of the planet, I’ve not heard from him since before I flew out to Barcelona (I knew that bastard moving away was going to change things) thus he has been unable to put my mind at rest with his simplistic view on things. I recall however he once jokingly referred to me as a cross between Ross and Chandler when we were talking about marriage... I asked him whether he thought I was commitment-phobic. He said ‘No, you’re just faithless’, and I think he is right. I don’t fear commitment I just don’t believe in it.

This is made worse by the fact that all around me people are dancing their way in and out of relationships like a fast rumba. One of my closest mates told me just yesterday in an array of sobs and squeaks that her man, her high-school sweetheart, broke up with her less than 3 hours before. I stood numb, surely not them, the only ‘real couple’ I know, yet her smudged mascara left me in no doubt that the wedding invitation I was expecting would never arrive now.

Yet so many others I know are shacking up and churning out babies like there is no tomorrow. Another close friend recently confined in me that she was pregnant... I let out a whoop of delight as she told me before I realised that I need to be discreet about it until her 20-week scan.

And then it hits me that another very dear and close friend, will be a single parent in less than a week, stuck living in a house she and her ex can ill afford if they go their separate ways and the brutal reality of the hardship of life returns, how will she continue to live with her ex, when the father her baby is another man, who can himself barely look after himself? What happened to her happy-ever-after?

So which of my two dates should I pursue, the sweet guy who seems to worship the very ground I walk on or the girl who hangs on my every word, that I can totally picture as marriage material (if I were to swing that way)

Oh when did life get so complicated?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Barcelona Part 4

Day 4 – Saturday

Having had his late morning the day before, Raz arrived bright and early Saturday morning, however this it was Sam’s turn to cause the delay.

Once we’d had breakfast we made out way to Sagrada Familia, as until this point we’d only seen it from the outside. We grabbed tickets and made our way in, this took us longer than we had expected as the queue was horrific. Obviously there was a photoshoot.Upon entering we found a 3-hour queue to take the lift to ascend 65 metres. Reluctantly we joined it. Within 10 minutes a lady came and informed us that there had been a power cut and the lift would no longer be in operation. We wandered the remainder of the hall; it looked quite messy, as there were half constructed pieces everywhere. The entrance was on one side whilst the exit was on the other. Upon coming out near the exit we discovered a second lift, this one only ascended to 55 metres. This one had a small queue, so I persuaded Sam and Raz to join it with me, even if the lift took an hour to sort itself out, considering we were so close to the front of the queue, it would be worth waiting, as we’d have waited 3 hours in the other queue anyway. After about 15 minutes I was horrified to see people in the lift that was so very slowly descending. Now when they said there had been a power cut I hadn’t realised people were or might be trapped inside. Any real desire to ascend to the top quickly faded upon realising this. Not being ones to walk away from drama we watched as his strapping Spanish man came and rescued these trapped people from the lift by prying the door open after it had fully descended. I estimate they were trapped in that hot crammed lift for almost an hour. When they were let out, the 8 people in the lift looked totally flustered, hot and livid, but glad to be out. The picture below shows the people being released.Sam having not yet completed his souvenir shopping the day before, decided to return to Las Ramblas, would you be surprised if I said his destination was the Spanish woman’s burning box stall? Somehow Raz having felt left out decided to do his entire souvenir shopping there too. Whilst they batted their eyelids at her, I left them and found the street performers I mentioned I saw the day before and got comfy. Firstly I spent 10 minutes watching some street dancers doing break-dancing. Considering a few of them were topless I quite enjoyed this. The guys were pretty fit and really good dancers, flipping and spinning and vaulting until they went blue in the face. After a while I got bored so I found the Spanish Salsa Dancers, and stared non-stop at the single hottie who had caught the attention of both my eye and penis. I must admit I left Spain with probably more pictures of this guy than his own mother owns. Here are some of the best ones.Isn’t he erection-inducingly gorgeous?

The remainder of the day was to be spent at the beach. Today expecting to end up here, we bought towels and I brought well a lack of clothes, my intentions were to get a tan, so I wore as little as possible. I have these really skimpy cream coloured Adidas shorts that end closer to my crouch than my knee. Suffice to say the only thing shorter would be speedos, but since I suffer from CAPS these would do nothing to hide my modesty, and it would have been pretty hard to explain to the guys why I needed to adjust myself, or was hard, when in certain situations there was a noticeable lack of women.

Again there were gorgeous people everywhere. Sam and Raz constantly shifted positions to gain the best view of the topless women appearing in every direction. I found that the north-westernly direction was the best view for me. There was a gay couple in my eyeline, one of them was very dishy, and since I rarely hide or act coyly, my gaze was firmly transfixed on him, I knew he had noticed. He glanced at me, and if I could read his mind it would have said ‘I’m really sorry but I’m here with someone, but I would if I weren’t’. Thankfully he was wearing speedos, so didn’t leave much to my imagination. I kicked myself when I realised my camera battery had died. The plan in my head was to leave the battery alone and try one last time before leaving to snap a picture of him.A little while later I heard some commotion behind me, and was shocked to see a guy parading the beach with his penis hanging out of his speedoes thorough a circular penis sized hole. I swear it was huge, and its length was shocking (it came down to his knee), but it looked kind of plastic. I watched as a woman touched it, the guy was obviously ‘performing’ for attention. Not giving it much thought it was obviously fake I turned back around. A pitch scream sounded a minute later and I turned around to see the guy thrusting, and as he did, it was brutally clear this was no fake, the reason the woman screamed was she had realised she had touched this guys penis and it wasn’t plastic. I could very clearly see the joint of his shlong between his legs and balls and I noticeably gasped in surprise. Sam & Raz turned around quickly, obviously not wanting to be seen watching.

A little while later, an Asian guy approached us selling cold drinks, the guys grabbed water whilst I grabbed a Fanta. Shortly another Asian guy approached, this one was selling Henna Tattoos. He asked me if I wanted one, I laughed. Why on Earth would someone who has a real one get a fake? Sam looked interested. Giving Sam the book, he quickly insisted he choose one. Sam choose an arm band design. The guy quoted 40 Euro. I laughed. I actually laughed out loud... ‘are you serious I said’. He said ‘yes’. I told him politely to fuck off. Sam looked shocked but might have paid him I’m not really sure now. After insisting the best he could do was 30 Euro for a few minutes, I got annoyed, thus got up, took the book out of Sam’s hands and shoved it in the guys hands and said ‘bye’. He immediately came down to 25 Euro. I said ‘15 Euro not a cent more’. He said ‘no’. I said ‘bye’. Sam looking sheepish stayed silent. The guy ran his ring across tattoos he could do for 15 Euro. I laughed again, saying I wasn’t going to bargain for a cheaper tattoo he was likely to choose, one that I’d only pay 5 Euro for. He didn’t look pleased with me. Raz also said 15 Euro at this point (in Punjabi... which we later discovered the guy spoke). Having realised we, or specifically I, wasn’t likely to budge on the 15 Euro price, he agreed and drew the template without looking at me. I don’t know if he was scared I’d say no or demand he do it for 10 Euro.As we were leaving I noticed this guy with a picture of smiley face on his back. Now it was cool, but so corny, so I debated if I should take a picture of his back and tattoo or the hot gay guy giving me the ‘I’m sorry puppy dog look’. I decided on the former, it was more original and I’d have regretted it if I didn’t photograph it. You can see it here:What are your thoughts? Good tattoo or bad? I’m undecided, I like it, but I’d never get it on me. Oh I just realised hot gay guy giving me the looks is in this photo. The one with brown shorts and topless with rucksack!

Having dinner on Port Olympic for the third time, we scampered back to the hotel, knowing our time here was almost gone. Would it surprise you that we got back to the hotel at 3AM again?

It was just after 3AM that I realised I had no phone. It would appear that whilst I was walking past the clubs in Port Olympic, the fact that a woman had shoved me, made me think she might have pick-pocketed me, either that or it slipped out of my pocket in the cab. When I rang it, it was switched off, which makes me think it was the former rather than the latter. Whilst I was pissed that I lost my phone and consequently the bulk of the numbers stored on it, I'm kinda glad coz it meant I would be forced to buy a new phone, which even I should admit was long overdue.

To be continued...

Friday, August 10, 2007

Barcelona Part 3

Day 3 – Friday

After the late night as a result of the Casino, I was not surprised when at 9AM Sam got a text from Raz saying he’d need an extra 10 minutes to get ready. I jokingly told him that was definitely at the minimum half an hour. I was right, Raz turned up just after 9.40AM.

Having rushed through breakfast we made our way to the Tour Bus, and jumped on the Blue Route. The plan was fairly simple. The first step was to go see the Olympic Stadium (Estadi Olimpic). Having realised I was so bored in Camp Nou, it was decided we’d stick to seeing this one from the outside.

The first actual stop we made was at the cable carts, the one we took was from Miramir to the World Trade Centre (yes that is what this tower is called), the ride have us a breathtaking view of the entire city. It more than made up for the small panic inducing size of the cable cart and the tiny lift we had to take to descend the tower.
Having killed a few hours by this point, our next stop was the beach, and oh was that fun. I may have said this before, but Spain has the most beautiful people alive there. It was as if I had fallen into paradise. To say my eyes wandered across hot bods would be an understatement. I was constantly having to ‘adjust’ myself, constantly *sigh*
Not being dressed for the beach, we moved on an hour later, yes we all bared the sheer heat for that, despite no suntan lotion or shorts. Our next stop was the Picasso Museum, now personally I know absolutely nothing of Picasso or his work, all I know is he is a famous artist, so I can’t pretend that this was an amazing experience or anything but it was pretty interesting to read about Picasso’s life and how & why he attained such fame. I felt his work was unusual and couldn’t really fathom why he attained such fame, but since art appreciation is not one of my strengths I was hardly surprised. If you wanna ask my opinion I’d say I prefer Banksy over Picasso anyday – I now have visions some art nut will hunt me down and kill me in my sleep for saying that.

Having tired of Picasso, we moved on towards Las Ramblas, a retail high street full of stalls and street artists. However it was quite a walk and the walk took us to the Monument a Colom, which was the Spanish version of Nelson’s Column. I’d lie if I said I knew who it was a statue of, but we paused for a photoshoot and moved into the tree-lined promenade that was Las Ramblas. This would be my opportunity to get some souvenirs for loved ones, despite the fact that most said ‘don’t get anything’. I entered the first of the souvenir shops, needing a couple of minutes to recover from the prices, I attempted to escape for air, however before I got as far as the door I was accosted by one of the sales assistants and before I knew it I had bought a fridge magnet for myself and one for my brother despite knowing it was atrociously priced (I’ve been collecting magnets from places I’ve visited for years now). Somewhere down the road, my brother started stealing the ones I had collected, so to avoid this I’ve been buying the same one I get for myself for him too. I also bought a model of Sagrada Famalia, as like I said before, it really is amazing and the model sort of captures the essence of it - however this was priced so much, had I not won so much at the Casino I’d never have bought it (oh that’s probably a lie but a justified explanation for how much I spent on it!) Sam and Raz having sensed the predatory nature of the shop assistants escaped, so when I left it took me ages to find them.I walked the bulk of Las Ramblas before I found them, stopping at random intervals to watch the street performers. One specific one that caught my eye was Spanish Salsa dancers, but not sure where the guys were I didn’t stop for very long. When I did ultimately find them, half an hour later, they were outside a stall of a Spanish woman who was selling wooden boxes and keychains that she was burning names & designs onto. Sam grabbed a box for his other half and keychains for his family members. I’d have felt sorry for the woman, since the guys were almost harassing her constantly with their presence, but since they spent a crazy amount of money at her stall, and left her a sizeable tip I didn’t, personally I think she enjoyed having the attention of the two of them. I must admit whilst I wouldn’t have bought anything from her stall (since it wasn’t very much a specifically Spanish souvenir), her skills at burning designs and names were remarkable and wonderful to watch, all three of us were watching in awe.

Evening was firmly upon us, so after grabbing dinner we retired back to the hotel.

To be continued...

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Barcelona Part 2

Day 2 - Thursday

Wow what a way to wake up on your birthday. The sun blazing and Spanish heat.

I’d like to quantify how many calls and texts I received but I lost count after about 12noon. Sorry Jules I know you were pissed that I didn’t take your call. I never answer calls whilst abroad coz I get hit with heavy call charges to receive, I might have made an exception if I were next to my phone when the call came through, but I was actually in the shower at the time.

Sam and Raz laughed each time my phone beeped, obviously amused at how often it continued to do so throughout the day. I jokingly assured them I wasn’t really this popular normally. Seriously though, as the day wore on, I was like it’s not possible it’s still beeping, do I even know this amount of people?

Our day started with a visit to the Barcelona BCN Staduim - Camp Nuo. I hope I said that right. The guys were very excited about this, whilst I was not. I think they realised half way through it. Sam apologised for dragging me to see it on my birthday. Surprisingly I knew 2 of the players from the team. Ronaldhino and Henry. The former from the World Cup (the only time I’ve ever known to be watching football) and the latter from the Arsenal Squad and the Va-Va-Voom ads (the sexy bastard that he is)! Whilst I wouldn’t have chosen to actually visit the Stadium myself if the guys weren’t there, it wasn’t as dry as I thought it would be, almost as dry but not as much as I had originally thought. The view from the top of the Stadium almost made up from the sheer boredom of the museum and crappy parts of the tour.

Afterwards we made our way to Pizza Express for lunch. Ordering was slightly painful coz the waitress doesn’t know how to speak English. Raz wanted water and keep saying ‘mineral water’. For a while I let him wallow and when the humour of the situation faded I turned to the waitress and said ‘mon amigo desea uno agua por favor’, she understood, but I realised I used ‘mon’ instead of ‘mi’, ‘mon’ is French, I find I always do that. The guys were impressed. The waitress looked pleased too but I wiped her smile away when I said ‘hablo solamente un poco espanol’. She replied something but she spoke far faster than I could understand and no I let it slip me by. I think it was something like ‘a little Spanish is better than none’ but I couldn’t be sure.

After lunch Raz announced his intention to return to the hotel, he’d had some McDonalds that didn’t agree with him the night before. So the plan was he’d go and sleep it off whilst Sam and I continued to tour the City. We jumped on the Red Route of the jump on & off Barcelona Tour Bus.

Whilst waiting for the bus, we encountered a middle aged couple from Texas, and me being the kind of person who never listened to his parents when they said not to speak to strangers struck up a conversation with them. She told us that she had just emigrated to Germany with her husband who had started work there a couple of months ago, and now they were touring Europe with an old high school friend. She also told us that she had lived in London and loved London like no other city. Well I said ‘London is the best’. I asked how long they were planning to be in Barcelona and she said 2 days, they had started their trip in Germany, when her friend arrived from Texas, afterwards they came here and would be moving onto Sicily, and then Paris. She did continue her itinerary but I’ve forgotten the rest. I was green with envy I said. She beamed at that. Her friend arrived having gone to get a drink, just as the bus pulled up, and we jumped onto the buss. Her friend decided to sit next to us strangely and we spoke, or rather I spoke to her and sam joined in the conversation occasionally. She asked if she wanted her to take a picture of us two, and I said yes and returned the favour. Sure that she thought we were a gay couple I dropped in the point that Raz was back at the hotel, recovering from bad food. She looked surprised when I said this and was like ‘So you aren’t here alone?’ and I said ‘No’. She said no more at that point, but I knew she had thought it from the look in her eyes.

The Tour Bus took us towards the old part of the city centre. We got off at ‘Placa de Catalunya’, and headed towards the shops, our three new friends decided to ride on. We quickly did a photoshoot at the water feature on the square.I was a bit disappointed with the shops to be honest. I found absolutely nothing I wanted and finally brought a tee-shirt that was so expensive that I could have got 15 similar tee-shirts here if not more. It was from a shop called Desigual, and from the prices I imagine it was a brand name like CK, D&G, YSL or something, but Spanish in origin. The number of these shops I encountered throughout the trip confirmed this. Upon return to London I discovered that they own a shop on Regents Street (number 222 if anyone in London is interested in visiting), alongside Kensington High Street, this is one of the most expensive street in London. So yes, it most definitely is a designer label and an expensive one at that. I gotta say their designs are really Metrosexual. So since so few very few in London will have a Desigual tee-shirt I’m happy that I have one now. I saw a hot guy so I snapped his picture, all the whilst thinking of Chris' Stalker shots.Having murdered the afternoon walking around, we jumped back on the Tour Bus and headed back to the hotel. However since the bus only runs in one direction, it really took us on a tour before dropping us were we needed to go. It passed by Sagrada Família, which is the most amazing man man object I’ve ever seen, EVER (I’m never seen the wall of China nor the Egypian Pyramids nor Taj Mahal – but I’m sure these will compare). In my mind it is almost as wonderful to see as Niagara Falls was when I was in my teens. I was memorised. But since it was late and Raz wasn’t with us, we decided against getting off at this point, we’d have to come back.The evening plan was to visist the Gran Casino in Port Olympic, the biggest Casino in Barcelona. The original plan was to go to a strip club, and I surprised myself at how keen I was on this idea. Sometimes my chain of thoughts really make me wonder if I’m more bi than I let myself believe. But raz seemed to be a touch prudish and was against it, so we opted for the Casino instead. Whilst I had reservations over the control I would be able to exert over myself I was pleasantly surprised.The plan was to lose no more than 50 Euro each we’d agreed. Well mentally I increased mine to 100 Euro. Since I’m not a hard core gambler nor have I ever been to a Casino before, I’m thinking Spain probably wasn’t the best place to do so for the first time, coz all the instructions and commentry was in Spanish. Opps. Having realised the only gmae I’d be able to follow was Roulette, we settled on a Roulette table and started gambling our holiday money away.

I started well, placing some money on the number 28 (2nd August – AKA 28) my birth date, which came up and I went up to 120 Euro. A short while later Raz noticed I was back down to 60 Euro. I hadn’t realised I’d lost soo much so quickly. I had been bidding on 2 and it refused to come up. After about 20/30 spins it came up and I was up to 100 Euro finally. It just felt wise to remove the 50 Euro I put in, so if I lost the rest, I’d not have physically lost any money. This was a good idea. With my original 50 Euro in my pocket, I was a little more reckless placing bids and before long I was up to 100 Euro again. I banked another 50 Euro in my pocket. Having noticed me do this, Sam and Raz did this too. They banked their original 50 Euro. Poor Sam was down to 10 Euro at one point, I thought he was about to be busted but he played slightly carefully and made his money back slowly using Raz’s bids as a guide. I was up quite a bit again, and shortly after I banked another 50 Euro in my pocket. Sam and Raz gave me a look, they’d obviously noticed I was up quite a bit at this point. What a rush, it was my birthday and I was making money like crazy. Again and again, my pile continued to grow and I again banked another 50 Euro. By this time it was approaching 1.30AM. Still we continued. A little after 2AM I banked another 50 Euro and had a remainder of only 10ish clips left. With such a small amount I played till they ran out. Finally I was busted. But not before turning my original 50 Euro into 250 Euro, I made 200 Euro in a few hours. Sam and Raz left having doubled their money, put in 50 Euro and left with 100 Euro. So all in all, a great night for all three of us, me most especially. At 2.30AM relunctantly we left the Casino and headed back to the hotel. The buzz was hard to overcome, and it dawned on me, how so many people are able to push themselves into such huge debts gambling. It is exciting and addictive, and the buzz has no words.

Shattered we collapsed into bed at 3AM. The intention was to get up at 7.30AM and head out on Friday at 9AM.

To be continued...

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Barcelona Part 1

Well Barcelona, what can I say?

It was fan-fucking-tastic. Honest if I didn’t have proof I’d been, I’d swear it was a dream.

Wednesday morning started fairly early, and worse was that Tuesday ended quite late. In untypical me fashion, I’d very much left the majority of packing it the very last minute. I spent what should have been packing time talking to Billi, a friend of a friend (at what point does someone stop referring to someone as that but a friend instead?). As I’ve already mentioned back in March I’d met him at one of my oldest & closest’s mates engagement. We’ve been in contact frequently since then. Anyways during the conversation he asked something that insinuated a direct question regarding my sexuality, ‘was I gay?’, whilst I didn’t want to tell him over the Internet like that, a direct question is a direct question, and I said yes. But I asked how he knew, I didn’t imagine Jo would have mentioned it, when we have yet to talk since March, so I was slightly surprised by his answer. Apparently he had placed a lily in my hair, and I had not flinched as a straight guy would have, rather I left it there until he removed it, this I recall (personally I’d have read absolutely nothing from that) and he also touched my chin and nose too apparently and again no flinch. Whilst I don’t really remember this, I had obviously noticed it on the day (I reread the post I had written).

Day 1 – Wednesday

I woke up, fairly early and finished off packing. Spent some time talking with Billi. And finally having forced myself away from my computer I left for the train station. I was planning on meeting Sam, my ex-uni mate at Blackfriars Station in Central London at 12 noon. Once we hooked up, we reminisced at great length of the good old days of uni. Shortly afterwards we meet up with Raz, Sam’s mate from High School, and we drove to the airport.

Whilst waiting for the gate to open, we talked, read for a bit, and I openly checked out the 3 hotties in the waiting area. One had an arm sling and was hot, the other was reading a book, he was cute (Both pictured below). The third was the sexiest, him I knew to be gay, coz he was hot, had style, sleek shades, dressed smart but sexy, and reading Gay Times*. I don’t think he knew I even existed at that point.

At a blink of the eye, the queue just sprang about and we were hard pressed to find 3 seats together, Sam and Raz sat together and I noticed the seat next to the hot gay guy was empty, I quickly grabbed it. Heaven. He looked up through his shades and smiled. Pure Heaven. I said hello, surprised my voice held and didn’t crack. At this point I was glad there weren’t 3 seats together, but annoyed coz no matter what I tried hot gay guy refused to talk. The third seat was taken by a young kid, who it would happen moulded me into some kind of exciting fun hero or role model and started talking to me, making it very difficult to turn away from him and chat up gay guy, *sigh*.

The flight was 2-3 hours, I’m not really sure to be honest, coz it felt like it was preparing to land as soon as it took off. However on descent I noticed hot gay guy wince in pain, and I offered him a mint again (the first time he politely declined) and he took it. Success. I asked him where he was from, he said Spain. No wonder I was like obsessed with him. He said he lived there and was just visiting London for a few days, his English was good, so I’m not sure why he didn’t talk much. He was wearing this ring, and so I said I liked it, to which he replied he’d got it from Brixton for £3. By this time, the plane had landed and we bid each other farewell and parted company. Reluctantly I might add, I was tempted to ditch the guys and follow this guy home with the slightest show of interest, sadly it didn’t come :o(

The guys had noticed this hot Spanish woman from London, and discussed her a great length. Finally annoyed at the long distance looks they kept giving her, I went over and told her she was beautiful, she was even I thought so. And she blushed and said thanks. Sam’s jaw was wide open, obviously shocked I’d just done that.

The trip to the hotel was hot, and exhaustive. We caught an air-conditioned train to the Sans Barcelona Train Station, in the heart of Barcelona, and what we thought was a short walk to the airport, was definitely not short. We were hot, sweaty, even our sweat was sweaty, and exhausted. We barely got to the hotel standing, the weight of the trolley suitcases surely didn’t help, nor did the fact that I took the wrong direction. Apparently my excellent map reading skills don’t work in Spain, the guys are too hot to remain focused on a map!

By this time it was 11PM, and by the time we showered it was 12AM. Refreshed from the shower we didn’t go straight to bed. Instead we planned what we were gonna do for the next few days and after that we played cards, teaching Sam the basics of Poker and Blackjack. We decided to retire to bed just after 3AM, but since it was already gone 12AM back at home, my mobile sprang to life as friends and family texted me to wish me happy birthday.

To be continued….

*(the most obvious give away really).