28 - 30 July: The end of London.
Jun 29, 2006
Jul 30, 2006
Friday was here and Aditya and I were looking forward to another raucous weekend. And raucous it was. I finally rounded up my South America itinerary and set up paragliding contacts at almost all of the cities that I was traveling to. We chatted for a while when Aditya got back and then got ready to head out. I had been craving to check out the India scene in London as I had heard so much about it. We met up with a few of Aditya's friends (Iljaas, Vivek and Kalyan - all in the financial industry) and decided to head to Bar Bollywood. Aditya had already set up everyone so that I would take all the blame if the place was not up to the mark. Although the 15 quid cover charge does get you a free beer, the folks at the door were not nice enough to tell us that the bar and the place shut down at 1 even though we were entering at half past 12. Bums! The crowd and the music were both disappointing but since Hindi music gets me going, I made the most of it for the half an hour that we were there and left realizing that it was definitely not the 15 quid that we had spent. We then bickered for just a bit before heading to a place called Tiger Tiger (a nice place that played music at 3 levels - and all different genres of music). We hung around there for a bit, had a few drinks and moved our booty to what was almost trance but definitely a lack luster version of it. The section that was playing the 80's music was grooving too but it still came a close second to the trance in the basement. We left the place at around half past 2 and walked through Leicester square and I grabbed a Donner Kebab for myself. And boy was it the best I had had. The square was still brimming with people (now that is a city that never sleeps!) and we hailed a cab to our favorite place - The End. With the promise of the music that we had experienced the week before, we were not disappointed. I grooved to some of the fanciest trance I have ever heard (not in a long time, but ever) and I realized what I wanted my heaven to be like (or hell for that matter). The trance was unbelievably good and the crowd was not bad either. We did an encore of the previous week and left the place at around 6. We got up late on Saturday and decided to spend a chilled out day. We grabbed a late breakfast at the nearby sandwich place and then Aditya grabbed another breakfast at another place. Heading out to Leicester place at around 7, we grabbed a beer each and I finally lost my "drinking beer on the street" virginity! We walked through some of the more interesting parts of Soho which was rather nice - there are places there where one could hang out and chill with a glass of wine, places where you could listen to some great music, and places where you could be easily propositioned by men (there is almost always a rainbow sign above the gay joints). There were also a lot of great cars on the streets with everyone out to seek attention. We then revisited the Donner Kebab place (a must try but then again I can't seem to remember the name of the place) and had a nice long meal that ended with a sinfully delicious chocolate cake and ice cream. We decided to end the evening and my time in London with no other than the End. You have no idea of how great that place really is. The cover is not cheap on Saturdays (16 quid) but if you really like trance you can save the money on the booze (I did!). We kicked up a storm yet again and finally when my mind had no control of my flailing limbs, we headed back home at around 4. Stopping at the late night Indian place (Khushboo) we had some nice but cold Indian cuisine and headed back home to crash. Who knows what tomorrow will bring but hopefully it will be a bit more sedate. I could use some of that. Well as I bid farewell to London, I will miss the place, the blast that I had at The End but most importantly the great time with Aditya. In spite of us having been room mates at Carnegie Mellon, the disparate and stressful schedules hardly left us much time to connect. And be it the nonsense that we chatted about on weeknights, the many dinners out and the great time we had partying together, we made up for our time at CMU. Aditya was an immaculate host, not once cribbing about the mess I had made of his place and had showed me a much greater time than I ever imagined. Thanks buddy and hopefully someday I shall be able to return the favor. As I close this chapter in my travels, I can only hope that this was just a warm up to what lay ahead.