Day 9: Wednesday October 19th, 2011
Slang of the Day: Chockers (spelling?). Origin: Australia. Definition: busy, crazy. Used in a sentence:Revolution is absolutely chockers on a Wednesday night.
I spend the morning in the nice Cardiff Library which actually has free internet and computer terminals. This is actually a rarity, I’ve found. From there I explored the Cardiff Market, which was amazing. It was like a mini Pike Place Market except with pig snouts and trotters (pigs feet). I bought a jam and cream scone and a fruit Welshcake and fell in love. The scone was jam-packed (ha!) with cream, and the welshcake was like a thin warm biscuit with fruit chunks.
All the day tours of the countryside and the region’s best castles and medieval stuff left at 9 AM, so I settled for my own tour, taking a train to nearby Caerphilly, home of the Caerphilly Castle. Chalk full of history and busted audio, it was fun to walk around and inside the castle, and while a lot of it had been re-done, it was amazing how much of the original castle was still standing, and how cool it looked. The scenery around the castle was phenomenal as well and I also enjoyed my first rainstorm, dampening my spirits slightly. Caerphilly is actually the second largest castle in Britain after Windsor, built to prevent the southern advances of prominent Welsh prince Llywelyn the Last (probably because the name is a bitch to spell; not because he was the last prince to actually control Wales). It was a phenomenal feat of medieval engineering, with its walls and surrounding moat proving impenetrable to attackers.
I returned to my hostel and met Callum, another Australian, and planned a drink later. Inbetween then I took a riverbus to Cardiff Bay, which was lame. You couldn’t go outside and it was 3 pounds each way, so I took a bus for half that back.
At the Bay I saw the Roald Dahl Plas, which really was just an empty dirt area. I’ve read most Roald Dahl and wasn’t really inspired to read any more with that sad “monument.” Guy deserved better. The rest of the bay was basically boats, some mall-y nice shopping and restaurants, and awesome views of the water. Meh.
Then I went out with Callum and a Californian Asian guy named Jason, who apparently was the ping pong champion at one point and now travels on no money EVERYWHERE. He was biding his time until India. We met up with two local Welshman, friends of Jason’s, named Ben and Dodge (I think). Dodge was a renowned chef who had his own restaurant, and get this, loved meatloaf, and fell in love with the idea of Meatloaf Monday. Not many foreigners know what meatloaf is, let alone adore it. Ben is nuts (he routinely goes around stealing bottles of alcohol behind bars and that’s a tame story), but hilarious. Dodge turns out to be some sort of a drug dealer and explains to me that Cardiff is actually well known for its mushrooms, and in fact, they picked some up in the mountains last week. Apparently they were just grabbing them by the handful. He offered Callum and I the chance to do shrooms and other drugs back at his place, and while I debated psychedelics with strangers (I’m in Wales, yay!), decided to get drunk more instead.
From my limited interactions with Welshmen, I get the sense that they are scrappier and more willing to fight than the English, and their accent is a little thicker and kind of high pitched at the end.
We went to a few other bars, including a swanky microbrewery that reminded me of the U.S., and also went to Buffalo, an overpriced cocktail bar where I had my first Long Island Iced Tea of Europe, and was very unimpressed in content and in price. Then we happened upon a group of girls in the street and chatted them up about America, Friends, Australia, anything. They happened to be going to Revolution, the bar/club that the waitress had told me about and we had been debating going to, so we followed suit. Once inside, I basically lost them, though I am apparently facebook friends with a Rachel Witt, who was very pretty and very in a relationship and most likely will not give me more information about the hostel she stayed in Croatia.
Many would say that a lot of what I have written is kinda sad/pathetic and a lot embarrassing. I’d agree. I’d like to censor what happens next because it might have been a new low, even if I don’t think it was fair, but the point of this blog is to share all and lose all self respect, apparently.
The club was crazy/crowded/hot, and I made my customary lap(s), and finally (because laps took a long time in the place) randomly sat down in a booth of girls introducing myself as American. The prettiest one almost immediately asked if I could dance, and I said we can find out and she whisked me away 7 feet from the booth, not on the dance floor but in the hallway essentially with her friends watching. Ugh. Her “dancing” was awful; she basically just shook her hair, head, everything, with no rhyme or reason and not to any sort of beat of the song. But she’s hot, so she gets away with it. Her head movements were so spasmic that I was worried that if I moved closer and actually danced with her that we’d both be knocked out cold. So I kind of danced on my own looking like a jackass (it doesn’t help that I don’t know the song). I know I can be a good dancer and I think a few people can back me up, but apparently not when it matters, or with this girl. She asked me: Can you dance at all? I replied: Not with you, wishing I had a better response, and stalked off.
Next: Dance lessons—Liverpool!