The Dirty Dozen: The Sequel

Trip Start Jun 01, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed

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Saturday, July 1, 2006

"Some people are on the pitch.... they think it's all over.... It is now!" Kenneth Walstenholme, 1966

We were staying in this pretty nice hostel called Villa Helga, and as is often the case it was made better by the abundance of people that we met. It had been raining all day, big, wrath of God kind of rain, so we had been stuck inside.

As the Cat in the Hat failed to show up, we played some cards with the other travellers and then, led by a social offensive from Vinny, made everyone agree to come and watch the football with us later that day.

Our entourage of England fans for the day consisted of myself and Vinny, an English couple, a german, four French guys, an American and two Japenese chaps who found the entire thing somewhat bewildering but thought what the hell. And the French guys were only coming because we promised to go to the France game later.

Following a hot tip from one of the French guys on the coolest place in the city to watch football, we walked for half an hour, caught two metro trains, walked for twenty minutes over some wasteland in the middle of a massive council estate, and ended up at a pretty shitty bar with a wedding going on. Vive la France indeed.

But it didn't matter. Nor did it matter that the big screen was fuzzy and it was still raining, and we were outside under dripping umbrellas.... Game on.

And we know how it ended, so we'll just leave it there.... Our chums were very supportive (even the French element), and apart from some of the locals chanting "England go home!" at us, everything was cool...

It was decided that we needed to get drunk, and that we should do so a little closer to home to avoid any embarrassed stumbling later on, so we headed back... Although we caught the bus, and it only took ten minutes.... Vive la France.

We found a nice bar to watch the France game, and, bereft of anything good to look forward to for England, gave them our full support. I won a t-shirt for predicting the result - first I won an engraved glass, but after some negotiations of practicality it was downgraded to a t-shirt.

We went to the 'famous' bar on top of the National Theatre for yet more drinks, but as the rain hadn't really stopped all day it was more average than spectacular.

By this point we were all rather drunk. It was decided that we needed to find somewhere to continue the festivities, so a night club was found... but they wouldn't let us in, as a couple of the French guys were wearing shorts. I managed to stop one of them starting a fight with the doorman, and we found somewhere a little more friendly.

At some point in the evening I lost three hours. I have no memory whatsoever of what happened between around 3am and around 6am. All I can remember is standing outside saying hello to Patrick the American, and him asking me where I'd been for the last three hours. As I still had my money and cigarettes, I had to conclude that I was probably asleep.

No matter. We headed home via a bakery, and woke up the poor girl at the hostel in charge of honouring their 'no curfew' rule. Then we sat and discussed our evenings. With my mysterious memory loss I had faired fairly well in the scheme of things. Vinny had misinvested several hours talking to a lesbian, and Max the German had been searched and threatened with deportation after the doorstaff found an open packet of Fisherman's Friends in his bag - seriously.

We were woken up at lunchtime the next (same) day, as we were supposed to be checking out. Under the circumstances we decided that we should stay for one more night, and then went back to sleep.

Vinny got up at 3 to go sightseeing, I slept until 5.30 and just looked at his photos when he got back.

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