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Michael’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 22 Nov 2007

Location: London, England

MapSo, there was a false start on Sunday morning. The hotel had a breakfast provided until 10 am, so we dragged out butts out of bed at 930 and headed down to the restaurant for a feed. Someone should have read that it was a 'continental' breakfast and we may have stayed in bed... a couple of bread rolls with butter later, and we decided that the food was so depressing that we'd head back for a bit more snoozing. We finally got up properly at noon.

By just after 1 we were headed out of the hotel, marching straight into KFC to make up for the lack of real breakfast we'd had earlier. Once we'd knock back the fried goodness of the chicken, we marched on and made it to the tube stop, heading south on the district line. It wasn't long before the train was full of people wearing green and gold, and many sporting Mo's that looked just as bad as mine, many that looked awesome too though. It seems that despite the impending bad weather, the Australia vs. Nigeria soccer friendly at Fullham was still going to draw a large crowd.

Walking to the ground there were plenty of Aussies about, mainly filling the pubs, but we had to pick up or tickets and didn't know how long that would take. On the way Scotty decided he needed some green & gold and asked the price of a scarf - £7. The guy next to him said "we'll buy two for £10" and the seller wouldn't have a bar. Anyway, the other guy bought his and left, while Scotty was holding the one he asked to look at. Scotty then handed over £7, and the seller put another in his hand... so he ended up with 2 for £7... bonus.

We got to the ground, picked up our tickets and then patiently waited for Benny Warren, Pottsy and his mate Will. Unfortunately we took too long to get inside and just missed the bar cut-off... ten minutes prior to kick off, no more beer. DAMN. The atmosphere again was pretty cool, but not like the Southampton game I went to. The seats were really cool, about 15 rows back just to the side of one of the goals. It is safe to say that we did all the attacking early, but couldn't get the back of the net.

Just before the half, I dragged everyone out of the seats and we headed for beer and food, beating the crowd that was huge. Well, the stadium was about half full, but around the food stands it felt much busier. It wasn't long into the second half, about the 55th minute or so, and the Socceroos put a goal on the board with a cracking long range shot. The stand went nuts.... And that is where the game ended... another 1-0 spectacle.

After the game we all (aside from Benny) headed over Putney Bridge to Putney and caught up with Andy Scales and his old housemates at the Coat and Badge for a couple drinks. We sat outside starting to freeze, having only really planned to stay for one drink, though we managed two in the end. Scotty, Stef and I decided it was time for a feed around 7 pm, then back to the hotel to get changed and head out again for the night. The others decided to join us for a feed at Wagamama's and we all headed out for some Asian. I feel sorry for the people sat next to us. The restaurant is strange, with looong tables all over the place. We were stuck in the middle 8 seats of a 12 seater table, and there were a couple dining either end of the 8 of us. Not exactly the most romantic setting for their dates!

The fabulous meal, washed down with Asahi, was concluded with a fistful of desserts, including ginger cheesecake, chili pavlova, and my personal favorite, wasabi chocolate fudge cake. Who honestly would have thought that wasabi and chocolate could taste good together? It was awesome.

Leaving Wagamama’s, we decided to head round to one of Will’s locals, GJ’s for a quick drink before heading back to the hotel, getting changed and then off to the city again… It was a short bus ride away, and we got a touch of attitude from the door staff, despite it being just 930pm and there being almost no-one inside at this stage. Will sorted it out and we headed inside for the 1 pound shots! Of course, they were weakened shots of sugar water, but for a pound a pop why not. It wasn’t long before we decided to stay for more than just the one drink, with the DJ spinning an eclectic mix of old skool funk, 80’s cheese, and mad hip-hop. It was a nice blend and kept everyone happy.

Scotty and I switched up and started drinking Jagerbombs like they were going out of fashion. At one stage I think we had ten of those bad boys lined up on the bar, one for each of the group and a couple for the bar staff – and my exquisite shot glass taping ability made sure that the Jager shot was bombing into the red bulls.

The only down side of the night was that I was sweating like a 2 cent hooker, wearing my Aussie rugby top on the dance floor, wishing like hell I’d worn a t-shirt to the soccer instead of my rugby jumper. The niter wore on, people came and left, but we dominated the dance floor the whole night, getting along great with the bar staff and having a ball with the other patrons. Eventually the shut at 2 am (yeah, let’s go for one drink) and we caught the night bus into Trafalgar Square, looking for somewhere to go. In fact, we were looking for a casino, instead we ended up at a convenience store at 3 am, and I bought sushi… what the hell? That wasn’t satisfying, so we headed to Maccas for a cheeseburger… Scotty bought 20 nuggets? Anyway, eventually we jumped a cab back to the hotel, and noticed a casino on the way home just round the corner from the hotel. Having every intention of hitting the casino, at close to 4 am, Scotty headed to the toilet, and by the time he got out I Stef and I were so comfortable laying in our beds the casino idea was canned.

Scotty was up at 8 to get to the airport for his flight home, and Stef and I finally emerged just after 10 so that we could get out of the hotel by the 11 check-out. We headed straight to Waterloo for the train and managed to get there by noon, grabbed some Burger King and got on the 2 hour train ride home… just in time too; it was bucketing down by the time we made it back to Southampton. Sunday evening was pretty quiet, as I made it back to the island after a little browsing in the shops in Southampton.

And that my friends, was my last weekend. This one is looking to be extremely quiet compared to recent times…. And I am so looking forward to it!

Hope you’re all well