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Thursday, October 21

More Alcohol? Don't Mind If I Do

Yes, more drinking tales. The end of last week was a little over the top, if truth be told, but I'm telling myself that it was allowed because now we've started classes we can't go out drinking all the time, or to that extent. He says, going out tonight. Dammit.

Last Saturday then. What a day.

It started by trying to find somewhere to watch the Arsenal game. I'd been informed by the good people at the Arseblog Forums that it was on Irish TV, and I also knew that the two Irish pubs here in Heidelberg definitely had that channel. Quids in, my first Arsenal game for a good few weeks. I was having withdrawal symptoms, I swear.

Unfortunately, the first one I went to with Jamie, The Dubliner, had an utterly inept barmaid, who didn't know her ass from her face. She was German, and I explained (in German!) that it was on an Irish channel, and that they had the Irish channel in the pub, but she didn't want to know. Wait till the boss gets back at 5, she said.

Fucking hell, the game will be almost over by then! After a bit of ummming and ahhhhing, we headed over the bridge to O'Reilly's, altogether a better pub. We got there, and it didn't look promising. There was no football to be seen on the big screens, just adverts or something, so I asked Johnny (the barman. Yes, I'm on first name terms with the barman in less than 6 weeks) if they had the Arsenal game on.

Johnny is the most intense, rude and crazy person I've ever met. He's brilliant with it, and will quite happily swear at you for your entire stay in the pub. Fucking good laugh, to be honest. His response when I asked about the Arsenal game? "How many fookin' screens do yer wan' it ahn?" It turned out that they did indeed have it on the big screen, much to my relief.

The worst thing about watching the Arsenal game is that I had a beer. I'd said to Jamie whilst in The Dubliner that I was planning to go without alcohol for as long as possible in the foreseeable future, what with uni starting and everything. I really meant it too: my alcohol consumption level has been startling since I arrived in Germany, and Thursday night's amount was just stupid. I need a break from it.

Again, he says, going out tonight.

My giving up lasted all of 45 minutes. We got into O'Reilly's, found a table to watch the game, and then as soon as the waitress came over to take our order, I found my lips instinctively ordering a beer for me. Dammit, I didn't even fucking think about it!

I headed home after the game, and was planning a quiet night in when I was informed of Beer Pong at a friend's place. Bang goes my quiet night in. I'm such a sucker for beer pressure, I need to learn to say no to alcohol. I didn't take any beers with me, because I knew I still had a few there from last time, and in any case I wasn't up for drinking too much.

For some reason, though, one of my friends kept topping up my glass with Pink Stuff. Pink Stuff is legendary: it's strawberry sparkling wine, is only 99cents per bottle (per bottle!), and gets you very drunk very quickly, because it's so easy to drink. After 3 or 4 tumblers of the Stuff, I was up for Beer Pong, or more accurately, Pink Stuff Pong.

I can't be arsed to describe Beer Pong here, but it's a great game. Google for it, you'll soon see what all the fuss is about. I'd never played it before I moved out here, but I've been introduced to it by a few American friends. Suffice to say it fucking rocks.

I played two games in a row, and was on my way to being drunk by the end of the second. It was at this point that someone suggested going to Bar Drei. Damn them, whomever it was. I blame them entirely for my drunkenness later that evening.

We hopped on a bus, and as we arrived I thought to text a friend who lived nearby, sort of in the hope that she'd also bring along the girl that I might possibly be slightly interested in thinking about getting to know a bit better. To my surprise, both texted me back! I could be getting somewhere, possibly. Maybe.

I spent most of the evening (well, between drinks) chatting to the girl that I might possibly be slightly interested in thinking about getting to know a bit better (she needs a catchier name for here. Does GTIMPBSIITAGTKABB work?), which was great. We were sat at the bar, and were also talking with this random German guy for a bit.

I think (memory is iffy) that he had studied in Wales for a little while, so he tried to speak to us in English, whereas we answered in German. I like conversations like that, because I don't speak German as often as I should do most days. No idea what we spoke about, but I remember being a nice guy. I was a bit pissed though, so probably didn't make the best impression.

I remember a load of my friends leaving sometime around 3, but I was still going strong, still chatting to GTIMPBSIITAGTKABB (yes, I'll work on a suitable name), and still drinking. As it happened, they'd gone up to my mate's kitchen for a round of sandwiches, just like we did on Thursday night. By about 4 I decided that I was hungry, so I rang Jamie to get him to come back down to the bar, just to give me the opportunity to talk him into making me the rest of us one too. He was willing, but had no bread. Luckily, GTIMPBSIITAGTKABB had bread, so I went back to her building to grab it.

What does the next paragraph contain? Can you feel the tension?!

A trip just to fetch some bread in fact turned into half an hour of us two on her bed. Just looking at photos though! Oh, how I toy with your expectations. Nope, nothing happened, but it was cool to just sit around and listen to her talk about all of her friends back home. I think I mentioned that she comes from a town back in Wiltshire which is only 10 miles from mine, which is quite spooky.

So no, nothing happened. Could something happen? I don't know, I'll have to get back to you on that one. We'll see. Would I like something to happen? Of course I would, she's a great girl, really nice, and stunning to boot. I'd be a fool not to want it to happen, but yet again my shyness in this kind of situation lets me down. I'm still inept around girls I like. For shame.

Anyway, after half an hour or so of chatting, we headed back into Bar Drei, met a slightly forlorn and abandoned Jamie, and went up to his place for sandwiches. The man is a legend, this time he made me a bacon and egg buttie, with the egg cooked to perfection. You know the kind, when the yolk bursts as you take the first bite, and then runs all over your fingers. Yes, a great way to impress a girl you like, I know.

We stayed up there for a little while, chatting with a few Italian guys about this and that. I already knew one of them from football, but he quickly passed out on the table. That left us talking about religion and philosophy, the typical pissed topics, but in German. Theology in German whilst pissed? Don't mind if I do.

Just a typical, run of the mill Saturday night then. The walk home did nothing to sober me up, and I slept it until gone 4 on Sunday afternoon. No hangover, but then you'd expect that with waking up that late. In my defence, that was still only just over 10 hours sleep. I'm not lazy, I swear.

And so ends yet another post about drinking. Christ, those 3 days were completely and utterly dictated by alcohol. I've got out of that cycle now, thank fuck, but seeing as my 4-day weekend (more on my timetable and uni stuff in another post) has just begun, and Beer Pong is once more afoot, it could all go downhill again.

Very quickly.

Very quickly indeed.

Tuesday, October 19

More Fame!

Just a quick side note between typing these fairly epic posts. I've been reading the minute-by-minute updates on The Guardian's website for tonight's Champ's League games, and if you got to the M*n *td report, you'll see my fame is spreading. I'm at 54 minutes, referencing the 46 minutes comment.

Yes, my fame is spreading, even if my comic genius is still sadly lacking.

Dear God Was THAT A Hangover

I left the last post with me lying in my bed, top to tail with the lovely Laura. That seems like a good place to continue.

Have you ever been woken up by being poked? And I mean with a finger, not anything that your dirty mind conjured up. Although "with a finger" sounds just about as dirty. Meh, us and our sick minds.

That's how I was woken up on Friday morning, mere minutes (or so it seemed) after falling asleep a little earlier. Laura (for it was she who was poking) was already up and dressed, and was just waking me to say goodbye on her way out. I hadn't even felt her get up, or heard her get dressed. I think I was more unconscious through alcohol than asleep, which was reinforced by the feeling of still being a touch drunk.

I was supposed to meet my friend Becca in the main square in the middle of town at 10.45, so that we could go register together for a Spanish class at the Language Centre of the university. Needless to say, I was decidedly not up for going. I was absolutely knackered, and still felt a little pissed. She'd wimped out after iPunkt, and was thus no doubt feeling radiant and full of morning goodness when she texted me to remind me about it.

I'd set an alarm for 9.30, but when my phone beeped just as Laura was leaving, I was 100% not up for answering it. Unfortunately, my bastard phone (when it decides to actually work!) beeps at you every minute if you don't read a txt you've received. The bastard. I kept trying to ignore it, but it was fucking loud. You know how everything's louder and more obnoxious when you're a bit hungover / tired? This was one of those times.

I eventually got up, read the message, and sent her one back saying that I wouldn't make it because I was completely fucked. I clambered back into bed (alone: Hurrah!), and was almost asleep before my conscience caught up with me. I had to go meet her, I'd be letting her down otherwise. Stupid bloody conscience. Consciences don't get hangovers: I do!

Somehow I showered (usually they get rid of hangovers for me: not on Friday) and made my way to the bus stop, shivering and possibly gently groaning the entire time. Yes, I'd remembered to get dressed, I was just feeling like shite. A McMuffin didn't do any good, although the orange juice might have.

Incidentally, I've eaten at McDonald's more in the last 3 weeks than I have done in the last 3 years. Admittedly, it's only three times, but I still feel dirty. That, and I saw SuperSize Me the other day. Great film, if a little OTT at some points.

I think I whinged all the time I was with Becca, which was quite a while, since we had to queue for 35+ minutes for a simple 2-minute registration. I was not a happy bunny, especially since I didn't have a drink (water!) with me, and I could barely stand up, I was that tired. It was one of those things that we could have done over the internet or by phone; there was absolutely no need for us to queue up for that length of time.

What makes it all the more frustrating in hindsight is that it was wholly unnecessary for me. It turns out that the language classes are not in fact free, and are instead rather pricey. Not for me, then, thank you very much. Therefore, I could have slept through all of that morning, and not had the hardship of those couple of hours.

Needless to say, I went straight back to bed as soon as we were done, which was around midday.

So, it'd be 8.30pm that I woke up then? Hell yeah. I'm just glad that I didn't have anything hugely important planned for the afternoon. I wouldn't have woken up for it, but I might have felt a bit guilty afterwards.

Having said that, I did miss the start of a night out with a load of my friends. I also missed the end of it, as it happens, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. We'd arranged to meet at iPunkt (not again!) at 8 for a few drinks before a party that had been arranged for all of the foreign students who had done this orientation week. We all had tickets, but evidently a bit of warming up was required.

I was in two minds whether to even go or not, but the sheer volume of text messages on my phone (I'd turned it off at midday to avoid being woken up in mid-afternoon) convinced me otherwise. 5 different people asking me if I was going to be out that evening is enough to let me know that my company is wanted. No less though, there must be at least 5.

I ended up walking all of the way into town and iPunkt, because the busses and trams decided to shaft me with their timetables. Every time I got to a bus stop, I'd missed one by 5 minutes, and would have to wait 25 for another one. I kept heading to another bus stop on a different route as I headed into the middle of town, but it was the same story on each one. Thus, with my stepping-stone style of walking I ended up doing the entire 45 minutes by foot. At least the cold woke me up a bit!

By the time I got to iPunkt, the rest of the gang were already on the jugs of cocktails, but I certainly was not up for alcohol. Not just yet, at any rate. Coke for me, and sitting around watching them attack yet another jug of Strawberry Colada. We drink a lot of that stuff, even if it is a bit sickly sweet.

After an hour or so in there, we shifted on to the student union, where the party was being held. There was an absolutely huge fucking queue outside, a good 100-150 people, but we thought that because we already had tickets, we could join a seperate queue nearer the front.

We were, of course, wrong. There was no seperate queue, and most of the people in the main queue had tickets too. This didn't stop 15 of us pushing into the queue, right at the front. In our defence, we weren't the only ones, and there were even some inconsiderate bastard that pushed in in front of us. That's just not cricket. You don't push in in front of someone who has already pushed in. It's bad manners.

Apparently we were getting some glares from other people in the queue, but I didn't notice. I was too busy trying to stay vertical amongst the mass of bodies that were being compressed from all 4 sides at once. We got in pretty sharpish though, always a bonus.

We skipped the main party room (it looked a bit too hot, sweaty and shoulder-to-shoulder for our gentle, non-partying tastes. Ahem) and went upstairs to what would no doubt be termed the Chill-out room in a decent club. Here, it was just a room that wasn't the big, hot and sweaty one. When in Rome.

I did have one drink there, but the extortionate price (relatively speaking) and the lack of alcohol therein left me a little bit melancholy. It wasn't that I was with boring people (although one guy, a Portugese fella, is the most boring person ever), or that it wasn't a nice place, just that I was still feeling fucked. Whatever it was, I wasn't staying. I said my goodbyes, hopped on a bus home, and sat down to watch a film with a pile of sarnies. That's how a Friday night should be.

Friday nights never used to be big for me until I got to uni. Back in Melksham, it was all about Thursdays and Saturdays. Nobody, and I mean nobody, went out on a Friday. They were just crap. At uni, however, Friday night was Phase night. I've written here enough times about Phase nights, so I won't reiterate, save for saying that I miss them. I also miss the people, and not being able to walk 10 yards without stopping to say hello to someone you know.

Well, when I say "say hello", I really mean "exchange some drunken garbled nonsense about how they are the best person ever, and how we should go to the shots bar together". That's much more my style.

That wraps up Friday. Stay tuned for Saturday. It comes after Friday, you see?

And Then I Got Drunk

I suppose that I'd better recant the two very heavy nights of drinking that I had towards the end of last week. It is my duty to entertain and to educate (Kim!), I guess.

Last week was the "Orientation Week" for the foreign students here in Heidelberg, and was the first time that I got to meet a few people who will be studying law here with me, rather than just other random foreigners who were on the language course in September. It also gave me the opportunity to find out which modules I could do and wanted to do for the coming semester. Very handy, overall.

Of course, I missed numerous parts of it, on account of hangovers or all-round tiredness. I need to learn to go to bed before 4am, especially if I haven't been out drinking, and have just ended up doing crap on the Internet. It wasn't as if it was anything constructive, such as writing here! I still have the habit of surfing and surfing until stupid o'clock in the morning, no matter how much my eyelids are drooping. There's always. One. More. Link. To. Click. Damn. It.

Anyway, through this orientation week, I had dinner arranged for Thursday with practically the entire group of overseas law students. That would be about 50 of us, if not a few more. Unfortunately, this interrupted my usual Thursday evening with my group of friends from the language course.

We have discovered, you see, that it is Happy Hour between 6 and 8 at one Irish pub in Heidelberg (O'Reilly's), and then quiz night at another (The Dubliner) at 8.30, accompanied by a load of drinks offers. From there, we usually head onto iPunkt (home of the now legendary 4-litre cocktails), and more often than not end up in Bar Drei, which I shall tell more of a little later.

Yes, it's a long evening of drinking, and invariably ends up with very few of us making it to classes on a Friday. Just like Thursdays back in Melksham, to be honest. Those were the days: Double vodkas for a quid, cans of Red Bull for a quid, but still managing to spend 20+ each night, and then struggling in to double Physics at 9 in the morning. Christ, did your body ever let you know that you'd hit it with a lot of toxins the night before! But we still did it every Thursday, without fail. Good times.

So this particular Thursday, I met everyone in O'Reilly's at 6, had a swift couple of beers, and then headed on to the centre of town to meet everyone from my law class. Of course, it was pissing down with rain, and the bus took forever, but such is life. We all bundled into the back room of this Greek restaurant, and proceeded to rearrange the tables completely, whilst getting very (un)comfortable, squeezed up on the benches, shoulder to, erm, chin, if the truth be known.

And I think that seven commas in one sentence is a new record for myself.

It was a good night, much better than I was expecting. The food was excellent (mmmmm, Moussaka), and the company was good. I got to talk German for a solid 2-3 hours, which rarely happens when I'm with my normal friends, since we're all English / Irish / American. Admittedly, the fact that I have a strong English accent when speaking German was pointed out a number of times, but at least I was saying everything more or less correctly, even if the pronunciation wasn't perfect. So be it.

I said my goodbyes, and walked down to the Dubliner, where everyone was already quite, quite pissed. It was just after 11, so I'll give them that one. I was almost stone-cold sober, since I'd only had 3-4 beers all night, but I set about catching them up.

Well, I would have done, but the bargirl COULDN'T HAVE BEEN ANY FUCKING SLOWER IF SHE TRIED! That is the one thing I hate about Germany: every pub does table service, and slow table service at that. You simply cannot get served if you stroll up to the bar itself. It takes forever for a waitress to come over to get your order, then another eon for her to bring you the drinks, and finally 6 ice ages before she realises that you've finished and want to pay and then get the hell out of there.

Give me a good old English pub any time! I want to walk in, inhale 3 litres of smoky atmosphere, elbow my way to the bar, order my beer, put up with an elbow in my back, pay and then walk away from the bar with beers in hand. I'll even bring the glasses back when I go to get another one, if I see it's a bit busy! I've worked behind a bar, so I know that this one helps in a big way.

Stupid German pubs / bars.

We then went on to iPunkt, with the condition that we would go to Bar Drei a bit later, even though it was miles out of town. iPunkt is a great bar, we love it. Admittedly, it's getting a touch tiresome that we're there ALL of the time, but where else in the town (in the country?) does 4 LITRE cocktails at an affordable price?

Well, affordable in that when you divide the price between 4 or 6, it's worthwhile. And you still get a hell of a lot of cocktail for your money. For the less mathematically inclined amongst you, 4 litres between 4 people is 1 litre each. That's a lot of cocktail, and they're fucking strong too. Especially if you go for the Long Island Iced Tea, which we do quite often.

The best thing about the cocktails (apart from the sheer 4-litre-ness) is that they don't come with glasses. Instead, there is a bundle of 3-foot long straws put in the middle of the jug (more of a glass bucket, come to think of it), and everyone grabs and sucks.

The straws. This isn't some orgy thing. It does get very social though, because everybody is standing on the rungs of the stools, trying to get a better angle to attack the straws. They tend to kink as soon as they bend, which means no fluid gets through, no matter how many blood vessels you split on the insides of your cheeks. By standing up, the straws are going straight up, which makes it easier to drink. Plus it's good for the ego, since everyone has to look up at you!

Me, arrogant? Never! Oh, and the rest of the bar looks at you when the waitress brings it over to your table, since it has a motherfucking roman candle stuck in half a pineapple on the rim. That and the fact that it's about 3 foot tall with all of the straws sticking out. Fucking great stuff, I swear. Pictures soon.

This Thursday, we had only planned to get one before heading on to Bar Drei, but as these things tend to happen, we of course went for two. I had more than my fair share, what with my big manly lungs. Ahem. Hence I was beginning to get a bit pissed by the time I got to Bar Drei.

Hmmm, Bar Drei. How can you even begin to describe that place?

It's located in the student village, way out of town, and is in the basement of one of the halls there. We discovered it through a friend a good few weeks back, and have fallen in love with it. Mainly because it is absolutely dirt cheap, but also because of the character of the place.

It's a tiny little room, not much bigger than your average living room, but is chock-a-block with tables and chairs. It is also persistently rammed with people. It's fucking brilliant, I swear! Another great thing is that through the frequency of our visits we know the vast majority of people in there, so you spend the first 10 minutes of any night saying hello to a smorgasboard of people from across the globe, all congregating for the promise of cheap alcohol.

Yet another plus point for Bar Drei (the name, incidentally, means "Bar Three". No, I've no idea why either): it stays open until the last person leaves. This can be 1am, it can be 5am, it can be gone 6 in the morning. If there are sufficient people still there drinking, it stays open. This makes it the perfect late-night, post-drinking watering-hole, and we inevitably head there when we're already a bit pissed.

Unfortunately, this tends to make each night very fucking late, and gives you a hell of a hangover whenever it is you wake up the next day. Offsetting this slight negative aspect is the fact that they make sandwiches there. How many bars will make a sandwich for you at 4am?! They're good little sandwiches too, just enough to allow you to continue drinking for another hour or two.

Have I made the point about how this is a fucking great little bar? I think I have.

We rocked up there on Thursday night sometime around 1am, and I was pleased to see another couple of friends already there. They are good friends of the girl that I might possibly be slightly interested in thinking about getting to know a bit better. She was alas not to be seen, but I ended up spending most of the night chatting away to them whilst sat at the bar. I'm not exactly sure about what, since we were all a touch pissed, but we had a good laugh, I think!

I also seemingly didn't buy that many drinks, since people kept coming up to me and telling me that they owed me a drink. I've no idea where or when from, but I'm not going to complain! Vodka-lemonades all night, and I was battered by the end of it.

Oh, and in other news that evening, the boyfriend of a friend of mine, who was only here on a flying visit, managed to break the sink in the toilets just by sitting on it. I have a picture on my phone, which I'll get up here at some point. Promises, promises. It was fucking hilarious, to be honest. His sheer incredulity at having broken it, and this sink just hanging off the wall. Good times.

I was in fact amongst the last group to leave the bar, some time around 4.30am on Friday. I think (although my memory goes a little hazy by this point) that there were only 3 of us left by then (myself, Jamie and Laura), which I guess entitled the barman to say 'no more, off you go', but in German.

We went up to Jamie's kitchen, since he lives in that very building, the git, where he made me a random sandwich. There was definitely some cheese in it, possibly some salami, and a whole load of curry powder, for no apparent reason. I'd say that no sandwich has ever tasted so good at 5am, but I have been proved wrong by Saturday night's sandwich in the same kitchen. More on that, and the rest of Saturday night, a little later.

By this time it was gone 5am, and I needed to get home. Unfortunately, so did Laura. As I said, the student village is a good distance from town, at least 90 minutes walk, but thankfully I only live 10-15 minutes away. Laura, on the other land, lives right in the middle of town. There are no busses at that time of night (stupid small towns, why can't they all be like London and its glorious night bus system?), so I randomly said that she could stay at mine.

No, not in that way, before you all get ideas. I like Laura, but not in that way. Sure, she's great to be around, a wicked laugh, and a good-looking girl, but my sights are set on a different target. I will get to that tale soon too.

Ever the gentleman, I offered her the bed when we got back to my place, and I took up residence on the floor, on top of a towel but with my spare quilt over me. Always prepared, see? We chatted shit for ages, although I have absolutely no recollection what about, before I realised that there was absolutely no way I was going to be able to sleep on my rock-solid floor.

This, coupled with the fact that daylight was just about peeking its head through my curtains, and also because I had to be up at 9 to go register for a Spanish class, led me to tell her that we were going to have to top and tail it in the bed. I needed at least an hour or two, if only to sleep off the being drunk.

I don't think it quite worked, to be honest. I'll get into Friday's events in a little while, got something else to do first!
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