Sunday, September 4, 2011

Diving into

The last few days haven’t been exceedingly eventful, but some interesting things have happened. I woke up late yesterday morning and went down to help Kari clean up after breakfast. It wasn’t difficult and I only worked for about an hour. Afterward I was suckered into throwing a tennis ball for Tully the border collie until he got tired. That took a bit. Thankfully I had my MP3 player. I’ve also gained a completely devoted new friend.

Kari mentioned another workawayer had used to meet people in the area to show her around. I was already signed up for couchsurfing, so I decided to give it a go. I messaged two guys and two girls from the area about meeting up sometime in the next two weeks to get a glimpse of the Bath underground scene. Surprisingly both girls messaged me back saying they were busy and both guys offered to meet me either that day or the next. I asked Kari if couchsurfing was actually some kind of undercover alternative. She said she didn’t think so, but that you never know. Thanks, Kari.

A guy named Thom got back to me first and asked if I wanted to meet him that night. Now, on my profile I mention that I’m short and I’m prone to giving tall people sass. After agreeing that tonight would be great, Thom starts in with the short jokes. Bastard. I gave it right back to him. As you can imagine, we continued this flinging of height-related insults via text for a few hours. We decided to meet at the Bath bus station around 9pm.

The other guy, Colin, replied about an hour later. He offered to show me around via a pub crawl that night or after coffee the next day. I told him I already had plans for that night and said I’d meet him Sunday.

I got ready to go into town and came downstairs to ask for a house key at 8:20pm. I heard oldy American music playing loudly from the kitchen, so I went in to investigate. I find Kari, her daughter Ana (18), her niece Ashley (18), Ana’s friend Kati (18), and Claudia dancing around the kitchen. I look on the island and see a huge bottle of litchi liqueur and several glasses of wine. There are also several pans of food cooking on the stove. Kari and company see me and a round of “Hellooo!!” sounds. Immediately Ana grabs a shot glass, rinses it, fills it with litchi, and hands it to me with a, “Drink this!”

I asked, “What is it?”

Kari replies, “A liqueur Rob and I picked up in France.”

Ooh. French. Naturally, I take the shot. Yup, pretty smooth.

Did I mention I hadn’t had any food in about twelve hours?

Ana passes me a glass of wine. Rob enters shortly thereafter and is treated to the same hospitality, but doesn’t drink. The next twenty minutes vacillates between a classic British dinner party and the dancing kitchen scene from Practical Magic. It was fantastic.

I told Kari and company that I was going into town to meet Thom. Kari told me to stay a little longer so I could wolf down some food, and then she got Rob to take me into town so I didn’t have to walk. They also fed me another glass of wine. I was way less nervous after I left that kitchen.

Rob dropped me off at the bus station a little later and told me to call him if I needed some kneecaps busted and a rescue. I told him I’d definitely send out the alarm if Thom turned out to be a white slaver. Thankfully Thom was brilliant. He showed me the best view of the city from the top of one of Bath’s hills. Then we went to a couple of famous Bath pubs and talked about everything from philosophy and American politics to the hipster movement and the pros and cons of varying heights. Did I mention he’s something like 6’3” and I don’t even come up to his shoulder? Walking next to him was a trial.

Bath at night turned out to be gorgeous except for the young skanks walking around. I literally saw a girl trying to hold down her skirt while she was walking because it was an inch away from baring all her tawdry wares. Can’t fault the architecture though.

Thom dropped me off at the Bloomfield House with the offer to show me some of the more traditional sites on Monday. As a guide he was pretty great. I’m glad I have a local who will show me around!

I went to bed early so I could wake early and help Kari with the breakfast crowd. I spent a good bit of this morning helping with the guests, serving, and cleaning the kitchen. Meanwhile Rob spoke with me about what I wanted to do and his business ventures. He really inspired me. I look forward to talking with him more about business and free trade. I’d give you a sketch of our conversation, but it lasted for over an hour and was very fast paced and varied. I might be able to get hooked up with an internship through him though, and he mentioned a possible letter of recommendation if I decide to go into responsible business management (a degree program in the UK). Either way he’s an influential figure in business here in the UK, and I hope to at least learn a little more from him.

After the kitchen chores were done I played with Tully again. When he was tired I tackled and organized some of Kari’s paperwork for her. She also took me on a round of the rooms to show me what exactly she looks for in a clean and well-made guest room.

Notice the menagerie I’ve adopted along with Kari’s paperwork. Lap provider and bookkeeper? That’s me!

This is Penny. She's an adorable tiny kitten that LOVES cuddling. She's too cute for words.

Kari let me go around 2:30pm, and I went to meet Colin for coffee at 3:30pm. Colin was also a wonderful companion and guide! He’s a postgrad biologist at the University of Bath and we spent a long time talking about his fascinating research into aging. It was refreshing to talk to another biologist again! It made me reminiscent of discussing theories with my old bio buddies Bryan, Nick, Laura, Chris, and Bethany. He’s also from North Ireland and very nerdy. I enjoyed his accent immensely, but his corduroy pants made me giggle.

Colin showed me the Circus, the best Italian ice cream shop in town, and some of the most beautiful parks in the area. We grabbed some ice cream (I had cappuccino flavored) and watched the Bristol Brass Band on the lawn in front of the Circus. He also showed me the Jane Austen shop and recommended a few restaurants to check out. After a few hours of roaming and talking we split with plans to see more of the city later on in the week. He was a fantastic guide.

Tomorrow I think I’ll go visit Bath by myself for a while before meeting up with Thom so I can stop and take pictures without feeling like someone is waiting on me. I know where the Roman Baths are, so I’ll visit those first thing after I get off work tomorrow. Stay tuned for pictures!

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