And a good evening to you from across the Pond after another GREAT DAY in the Mother Country. The plan is to break tonight's blog into 2 pieces - the Friday/Saturday recap and then the Budapest recap. We'll start with all that's transpired since I last left you, at which point I was chowing down on Chili Heatwave Doritos and herb spiced cheese after Midnight (good thing I'm not a Gremlin.
So Friday was a great day, complete with the breafast of Champions: THE BIRLEY BACON & EGG BLOOMER. I gotta tell ya - the egg is now runny, the mayo flows freely, and this sandwich eating experience has become transcendental. Seriously - I had it twice this week (which equates to a week of my life gone due to artery clogging), and they were the best 2 sandwiches I've ever had there.
The Land's End Challenge ended on solid ground this week, with Taylor logging 27Km in 46:30, meaning that I covered 100Km or week 1. And whilst that is great and I am pleased, it doesn't take a mathematician to calculate that I am operating at exactly HALF of what I need to be clocking in a week to complete the challenge on time. At this rate, it will take me TEN WEEKS to complete the journey. Oh well, perhaps I'll integrate the "3 Peaks Challenge" or the "Row the Channel" challenge into the mix. After all, Rugby Union tickets are on the line here!
The evening was an absolute BLAST, as Muffin and I met up with Grimshaw, Kat, and Fiona (as well as their fellows) for drinks at De Hems Dutch cafe (which serves, oddly enough, primarily Belgian Beer). I ordered us a pair of Mardesous 8 pints, which, upon delivery from the bar keep, I realized IMMEDIATELY to be a mistake. Instead of the blond goodness that we were expecting (which, upon further review and memory, was the Mardesous SIX), we were served two pints of DARK BROWN brew that smelled EVERY BIT as caloric as they tasted. For the record, I didn't get through mine, but Muffin Puffin powered through (ANIMAL!!!!).
After a few drinks there, we rolled into Chinatown, where the gang followed me to Kum Tang (Hitman - this is the Malaysian spot beside Fung Sheng). I had been talking this place up ALL WEEK, and I was ITCHIN' for some pork belly. Well, in CLASSIC Taylor fashion, we rock up to find that it is NOW called the HONG KONG BUFFET. That's right, folks - Kum Tang was SHUT DOWN. You see what happens when Transition packs up and leaves? Honestly, I can't believe that the Cat & Canary is still functioning...SERENITY NOW!!!
Personally, I wasn't worried (although this did echo the time I tried to reserve bowling for my project team the day of and found out they were booked out), as we had Feng Sheng to fall back on next door. So we walk in (I mean, hey - after Fizzy stood up and sang Def Leppard, Wild Card put chop sticks in his mouth to act like a walrus and Hitman told the wait staff that their prawn crackers tasted like shit, I KNEW they would remember and LOVE me...) and ask for a table for 8 (keep in mind the place is PACKED). The guy nods and says, "No problem - one second." Consequently, I give the gang the thumbs up and await the host's return. He comes back 1 minute later, and here's the conversation:
Mao Tse-tung's Cousin (MTC): "I sorry, sir. Is no way."
Sammy: (bewildered) "You mean you don't have space?"
MTC: "No sir. Is no way."
Sammy: "Okay, no worries. How long is the wait?"
MTC: "Is no chance sir. All tables full."
Sammy: "Yep - got that part. HOW LONG IS THE WAIT."
MTC: "Is very long, sir."
Sammy: "BALLPARK IT."
MTC: "Is all night, sir. Is impossible."
Sammy: "The wait is ALL NIGHT?"
MTC: "Yes, sir." (waves his little red book as he dreams of the Forbidden Palace)
Despondent, I give the gang the news. However, all was not lost, as Lovely Lynda came through in the clutch and got us into a place called "London Chinatown" (yep - their advertising team was clearly AWESOME). There we proceeded to KILL food, including ducks, scallops, shrimp, beef, and chicken. The gang had a great time, and every seemed to get on well.
The quote from the night (courtesy of Fiona's fiancee Tom when speaking to me - whom he'd just met 2 hours before): "Well, the project is a mess right now because our company needs to stop recruiting and hiring bloody History majors who don't know anything and can't DO anything." Fiona starts chuckling, at which point Tom says, "Oh @#$# it, you were a History major, weren't you?" The girls then begin cackling uncontrollably, but Tom and I carry on as boys do. T-Rowe, it was akin to the famous "At Last" comment...PRICELESS. And the photo isn't great, but when your camera's viewfinder no longer works, what can you really expect?
We then popped over to the Imperial for a nightcap, where we chatted until about 11:30 or so before each couple headed out. We got home about midnight, at which point Team Taylor PASSED OUT.
We slept over THIRTEEN HOURS last night, finally getting out of bed about 1:30 or so. We had some coffee, ate some British raspberries the size of our heads, and then Sammy went to buzz his head. After that, it was over to Oxford Street, where Sammy did THE UNTHINKABLE - I SHOPPED AT GAP!!!!! Back story here - Sammy is OUT of jeans. He's down to 1 pair, and there's a ventilation hole ripped in the side of it where he tried to run up a down escalator in Vegas and fell FACE FIRST (CLASSIC feat of coordination there). Knowing that it's getting colder and that he can't go into a single "respectible" establishment without a proper pair of trousers, he agreed to make the march to Oxford Street.
Honestly, I am used to buying Wrangler's, where you just pick your size and go. However, at Gap, there 14,963 different TYPES of jeans (skinny, authentic, boot, skinny boot, original, slim, authentic skinny, loose, easy, etc. - really? REALLY?), and you have to look through all of them to find a pair that:
1. Is NOT button fly
2. Will not crush your giggleberries
3. Actually has legs wide enough so that men can get into them (vs. transvestites - lady boys would LOVE this place)
4. Doesn't already have rips in them (destructed is the style...riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight)
5. Is something you could wear back at home without getting your ass kicked
Luckily, after a lot of tries, we found 2 pairs. And now, Sammy is a new man. :-)
Dinner was La Tasca, where JT and I CRUSHED our meals. It was SUPER GOOD, and, as always, Perfect Pumpkin came through in the clutch with a coupon, thereby saving us TONS o' cash.
We're now back at the flat, where Team Taylor is getting ready to Skype with Team Tacy before PASSING OUT and calling it a night. After all - tomorrow's a BIG day out. To find out why, however, you'll have to stay tuned.
Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow!
Sam and Jenny