It was an eaaaaarly day. Ryan, knowing full well that the we two women would lollygag around, told us we’d need to leave quite a bit earlier than was really necessary. Consequently, we arrived to the train station in Stockport about 30-45 minutes early. (He’s a clever one). As we approached the platform, the train to London was pulling in. We said our quick good-byes and hopped on. We put our heavy, oversized bags in the luggage holder and proceeded to our seats at a table by the window… which was occupied by two other women. Ashley had advised me that sometimes people sit in your seat, and that you have to politely ask them to move – which is exactly what we did. They then reached into their pockets to show us their tickets indicating this was their assigned seat. The train was already rolling as we were trying to sort the confusion. It was then that Ryan called Ashley’s cell phone to inform her we hopped the second train to London and were supposed to be on the third train… ooooops. Fortunately these women were nice and found the humor in it. The man who checked our tickets was not as jovial. In fact, he was rude and condescending. His response to Ashley’s explanation was: “That’s why I made the announcement if you got on the wrong train in Manchester, to get off.” It was satisfying to reiterate to the man, who clearly wasn’t listening, that we’d just gotten on the train so it would’ve been impossible to have heard the announcement that was made prior to our boarding. He punched our tickets and moved on. Kiya & Ashley = 1, Conductor = 0.
The countryside along the ride was pretty – rolling hills and sheep farms. There was also a canal that ran alongside the tracks, that had several boats tied to the edge. I also found it interesting some of the towns near the tracks had apartment complexes with large areas of land behind them divided into several plots for people to have gardens. Each plot had a little shack at the end for the gardening supplies.
Upon reaching London we were able to check into our hotel more than 2 hours early. We dumped our stuff in a small little room with 2 twin beds and a private bathroom. While not extravagant, I understand it’s fairly nice accommodation for the price.
After a little freshening up we then headed out on the town to meet Ryan’s good friend Evatt and his girlfriend Daniela for a show. When we FINALLY met up with them, we were disappointed to find there were not many shows playing on a Sunday night. We opted to see The King’s Speech in the theatre, but went to The Slug and Lettuce – a pub in Leicestor Square to wait out the 2 hours before showtime. It was there I had the first beer I’ve ever actually liked. It’s called Crabbies and it’s a ginger beer. Yum! There was also a rugby game on (France v. Ireland) and these pub rugby fans get way more into the game than any Chiefs fans I’ve ever seen in a bar. Very entertaining and very loud! I think I might like to learn a little more about rugby! Evatt also bought one shot for us all to try. It was called a Goldenleaf and it consists of liqueur and flecks of “gold”. The idea is that the metal flecks will make small lacerations to your throat as you drink it down, thus allowing the alcohol to penetrate into your bloodstream more easily. I don’t know if that’s the case, but it tasted GOOD! It tasted like red hots in liquid form. I was the only one who was really that impressed with it, so I got to enjoy the rest after everyone had a sip!
We decided to make our way back to the theatre and were appalled upon learning the ticket price was 16.5 pounds! That’s $26.38 for a movie ticket!!! And you thought AMC was expensive! Needless to say we opted to find another theatre. We ended up going to the Prince Charles Cinema, known for offering a variety of shows, old and new, including silent films. We decided to see Blue Valentine, which I’d remembered as being an Oscar contender, but was set back by an NC-17 rating due to a violent and abusive sex scene. They apparently removed that part of the movie, though I could tell which part it was to have occurred. As far as I’m concerned, they may as well have just removed the entire movie all together. It was slow and depressing. Wow… don’t waste your time or money on that one.
After the movie we parted ways with Evatt and Daniela as they were enjoying their Valentines weekend before Daniela has to return to Switzerland tomorrow. Ashley and I figured they needed some alone time, and we were all depressed anyway – so none of us were very much fun anymore! (I’m serious people! Don’t watch it)!
We headed down south to see the river, but not before stopping at a fairly nice pub, The Garrick Arms, for a late dinner. I had a decent turkey roast and Ashley opted for lasagna. I have found that pub food takes FOREVER to be served. Restaurants here are not so concerned with quick service, I’ve found. As a result, my weary body was so tired, and it was all I could do to stay awake at the table! I perked up after eating, and we exited to find it cold and rainy. The remainder of our exploration was cut short as a result of the weather, fatigue, and a 11:00p closing time for the Tube. We have big plans for tomorrow, though!