Confessions of a drinker student abroad

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Kebabs and Fisticuffs

Well, yesterday was interesting. I left for my welcome session and to go to the bank. When I was a quarter mile from my house it started to rain. Since it has done that every day for about 10 minutes I figured I'd walk on through it. So, whistling Dixie and other assorted tunes I strode off to the bank. When I got there I met up with Ali. We stood in the queue for about thirty minutes, not that it was a bad experience, Rebecca, or Becky, stood behind us, and some Med student whose name I didn't catch and we chatted about various things.

One of the things I love about that bank, is they have all their posters in two versions, one in English, one in Welsh. That's not the funny part. The funny part is that it's the same picture of the same girl on both posters, but on the one in Welsh there is a noticeable effect put on the picture to make her hair redder and skin as well. Either that or for the English one they blonded her up.

Since I was talking it wasn't hard to spot me for what I was, and Becky asked what part of the states I was from, since she lived for a few years in Texas. Eventually we reached the teller, and surprise surprise, my account still isn't open. Not exactly sure what's going on, but that means I have to start being stingy.

So Ali and I walk back up to the Union to go to the Societies fair. Less because we're interested, more because we both have things to do in the afternoon down that way and neither wants to walk back to Taly. After the societies fair we grab lunch, 45p for a pack of crisps and eat them while watching the rain, hoping it will slow down soon. It doesn't, so I bite the bullet and start the long walk down to the Queens buildings. I get to the street door, but it's locked, so I have to go all the way round to the Parade entrance (another 1/4 mile in the rain). By the time I get in I'm soaked to the bone, and they have the building chilled.

Professor Rees tells us in no uncertain terms that we should really avoid screwing up, we have one shot, that's it. So with the proper fear put in us, I'm ready to spend all my free time between classes in the library studying, which was probably the point.

Afterwards, Omar and I discussed what we want to do for our dissertations, since we have to write up a proposal with the professor in the next few weeks if we want it to be on the list of options. We walked into City Centre after that, but neither of us had the money for anything so we walked back.

It's amazing how much better dry clothes can make you fell when you're completely soaked. Sagarika and I had to go to the Tesco's to get food for beans and rice today. I'm going to attempt Cajun cooking in a foreign country, this might be an epic failure.

When we got back she had forgotten her key, so we went over to the social centre to meet up with Phil and Patty, then AJ came too, so we shot pool, played ping pong for a bit. I'm getting better at pool, I can now make the ball do what I want about 1/3 times.

Last night there was a postgrad pub crawl, we should have known what it would be like, given that it's postgrads, but we gave it a shot. 13 of us walked down to the Union. On the way there we crossed the street, but the guy behind us fell down and almost got hit by a car. When Patty and I stepped out to help him he swore at us and took a swing. He was terribly drunk, so the swing just made him fall down. Since we couldn't get close enough to help him Abhirup and I stopped traffic until he could wander off the street on his own. Once he reached the sidewalk he started abusing us and trying to fight...given that he picked Patty as a first opponent I don't think he was quite bright, since Patty is the biggest guy in our group.

We pushed on past him, towards the Union. When we got there we went upstairs. All the tables were taken, all the groups were closed, some of them had a token foreigner, but most of them were pure British. So we set up in a corner at the last table and had some drinks. We all had a good laugh just talking, but we weren't sure how the crawl was going to turn out. When the girl running it told the fourth group to follow the guy in the Ochre shirt we all laughed, and Patty shouted out, "Primary Colors, love!" One cheeky wench at the next table made a face and said she hoped they didn't have to walk with us. Sadly, they nursed their drinks, and we were late getting in, so we were supposed to leave together. We all got up and went out for a smoke while those damn brits wrinkled their noses at us, we asked for a copy of the map so we could get a feel for where we were going, even though we were supposed to follow 'Edward'.

I ducked back in to memorize the map, since it was the last one and we had to give it to Edward. The girl running it came over and asked if we would wait to leave for the other group. I told her that they didn't want to walk with us, we'd heard them say so. Naturally she was all "Oh they wouldn't say that, noooo..." I looked her dead in the eyes and told her I'd bet her a pound that they had, and we didn't want to walk with people like that...although I might have called them something else.

We ended up leaving together anyway, but at the next pub we stood outside, then slipped off once everyone had grabbed a quick drink. One useful engineering skill, map memorization, we made it to the Vulcan without any mishaps. Once there some of us were standing outside, when we saw a place for Kebabs across the street. So we ran over there to get some late night food. Ali had found 10 quid in the street, so it was essentially a free meal. While we were standing there though a bunch of guys came to the door, one of them was recording while another stepped up and said he had a message for the manager. He was drunk, arrogant, and there was just the girl behind the counter. The message came from the Pensomething Boys, so I grabbed him by the arm and suggested he leave. He told me no, so I turned him round, and said to get out. Maybe it was that he was drunk, maybe it was that I still had my hand on his collar and was obviously sober and ready to break his head, but he made a good choice. Called me a nasty name, then said he was leaving of his own volition. I told him it was a good plan, and that he had a set amount of time to leave. They left...quite quickly. Stupid 16 year olds.

In other news the Kebab was one of the best things I've ever eaten. I guess the whole incident rattled me and pissed me off simultaneously. I was scared that there were more of them outside than I thought and I'd end up getting whupped, but I've grown sick and tired of these snotty kids abusing foreigners. (I saw a girl take a picture through one of our house windows the other night, then run away bragging she had a photo of the 'dirty chinese'. I don't recall ever before telling a girl she was a bitch to her face, but boy was that fun to see her expression. None of the guys in her group stood forth to defend her, but had plenty of things to say about me.) I still wish those chavs had wished to go further into the matter, but it's probably good they didn't. I hope they enjoy that video in days to come.

The whole incident left me with a bad taste in my mouth, and somewhat angry. You know you have good friends though when they can all tell, and are all worried about you. Well, one person in our group didn't notice, but my opinion of them isn't nearly as high as that of my friends.

The rest of the night was uneventful, just a long walk home. With every day that goes by I realize how much this house means to me. Any other house and I'd have quit already, but we're pretty much family here in 24. I'm a man with brothers and sisters, but no countrymen, which bothered me at first, but I realize now, I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm not white, I'm a pigmentally challenged Indian.

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