June 12, 2008

Bath time!

The events of May 29, 2008

Creaking, squeaking, farting, snoring and sleeptalking... ah, there's nothing like waking up in a hostel!

It was light, I had no watch/clock/mobile to tell the time and I had convinced myself that it was about 9am and we were gonna miss breakfast. I clumsily climbed off my top bunk, complete with pilling sheets and a musty smell, and sat on Craig's bottom bunk. 'What's the time?' I asked. '6.15,' replied Craig after sleepily checking his mobile. Ah crap. Not wanting to waste the energy and motivation I had used to get out of bed — trust me, it takes a lot of willpower to make yourself have a shower in a hostel, especially when the showers are three floors down — I decided I would have a shower, get dressed and do my hair/make-up before climbing back in bed for a couple of hours. Then, when the time came to get up, I'd be ready and raring to go — genius!

After trekking down to the shower cubicles, taking a shower and hiking back up to our room, I entered our room keypad combination, looking forward to getting back into bed, pilling sheets and all! C-6-7-8-9-Y... oops, musta entered it in wrong. C-6-7-8-9-Y... grr, stupid combination! I put down my towel, toiletries and pyjamas and gave it a real good crack, C-6-7-8-9-Y... still nothing! After trying about 10 more times, I sat on the stairs, cold and frustrated. I immediately tried to blame Craig for my predicament. 'Geez, Craig! You know I went to the shower, you should be listening out for me instead of ignorantly laying there in your warm bed listening to someone try over and over to get in the door!' At the end of my very-short tether, I went to reception, but it was closed. Frustrated, I stomped back up the stairs. Then, as I approached the door to try the combination again, I realised — this wasn't our door, we were the next floor up! I had been trying to get in the wrong door! Jessica Simpson, eat your heart out!

Our plan of attack for the day was to get up early(ish) and hit up the Roman Baths first thing. So after our free 'continental' breakfast at the hostel, which consisted of toast with a choice of jam and peanut butter, cornflakes and cordial, we walked around the corner to the Baths. It wasn't open yet, so we went to the adjacent gift shop to pick up a Bath magnet (we're collecting magnets from every town/city we go to), before joining the small queue of tourists hankering to get in to Bath's main attraction.

Knocking over the Baths first thing proved to be the call of the century (props to Craig), we missed the all the crowds (the line-up was huge at around midday), meaning we managed to get photos minus random tourists wandering around in the background, and got to enjoy checking it out without too many annoying people getting in our way. So, with our informative-yet-boring audio guides in hand, we spent a good hour and a half moseying around the ancient sight. It was pretty amazing how well-preserved the sight is, considering it is over 1500 years old, and while we hated some of the tacky touristy things they have put in, like projections of 'ancient Romans' bathing on the walls, we both agreed it was £20 ($AUD41) well spent.

The sun was shining when we stepped out of the Baths, so we decided to walk to the other side of town to the Royal Crescent, a block of 30 terrace houses which are arranged in a semi-circular shape, and look out over the Royal Victoria Park. It was cool, it was old (built between 1767 and 1774), but there's only so much time you can spend looking at some houses, so we decided to randomly walk around the rest of the cobblestone-filled city. And walk we did, meandering through the ancient streets, stopping by the river and stopping off for a 'hotdog' (they use sausages, not frankfurts in hotdogs here).

We decided to enjoy our hotdog on a bench in the square between Bath Abbey and the Roman Baths. While we were chowing down, a weird guy came and stood in the middle of the square, put down his hat, whipped out a recorder, and started belting out some tunes. Craig being the newspaper addict he is, decided to go and hunt for a tabloid (an excuse to get away from Recorder Guy, I reckon), leaving me sitting in the nice, warm sun, watching children play, families eat ice-cream and tourist take photos, all with Recorder Guy providing background music.

Craig was gone for ages, so long I had bothered to reach in my bag, find my phone and start dialling his number. Just as I was about hit 'call', I saw him coming towards me. 'I finally found KFC and Topshop!' he said beaming. While Craig does enjoy the odd piece of fried chicken and has bought a few things from Topman since we have been here, he's excitement was due to the fact that KFC and Topshop were his main memories from his trip to Bath seven years ago (erm, he was only 18 at the time), and it had been bugging him that we hadn't come across them yet.

As Craig read the Daily Mail, Recorder Guy continued to play, he had been playing for about half an hour now and not one single person had thrown any cash his way. I was beginning to feel sorry for him, not sorry enough to give him any of my hard-earned backpacking money, but sorry nonetheless. Eventually, he shut up shop, only to be replaced by a guitar player two seconds later. Guitar Guy was no better than Recorder Guy, so we decided to give up our prime bench-seat position and start our next search: The quest for the movie cinemas.

We searched high, we searched low, long and hard (I spose we could of asked someone, but that would have been easy), and eventually we saw it, the blue neon lights represented the pot at the end of our rainbow. Odeon, they read. Sex and the City: The Movie here we come!

'Can I have two tickets to Sex and the City at 9.30 please?'
'Sorry, it's sold out.'
'OK, how about the 7.30 one?'
'We've only got seats in the front row.'
'What about the 6.15?'
'Sure, where would you like to sit.'
'As far back and as close to the middle as possible, please.'

Once we'd secured our tickets to the most-anticipated movie of the year, we realised that our hotdog lunch just wasn't cutting it. We were starving, so we hit up Sainbury's supermarket for a cheap snack. I chose a big choc-chip cookie, which I must say was divine, and Craig chose a mini pasta snack. We ate our treats in the park across the road before deciding to head back to our hostel for some internet time — it'd been over 24 hours since we'd been on Facebook!

It was on our way back, right out the front of Subway, that my day took a turn for the worse. Worse than being 'locked out' of our room, and worse than the musical stylings of Recorder Guy. Craig tried to convince me it was lucky, but I was not impressed... I got shat on! My jacket, which was already covered in dried-up mud from the Cheese Rolling incident, was now covered in a healthy serving of pigeon poo!

After some Facebook, Hotmail and a few episodes of Two and a Half Men in the TV room, we went on our next hunting mission for the day: The quest for Doritos Chilli Heatwaves. No trip to the movies is complete for Craig without a packet of chips, and his latest obsession was a must-have. Off to Waitrose we went, heading straight for the chip aisle. In front of us there were Doritos Tasty Cheese, Doritos Sweet Chilli and and Doritos Original, but no Chilli Heatwaves! We stood there for a few minutes, staring, hoping that if we stared long and hard enough, a packet of Chilli Heatwaves would magically appear. But it was not meant to be, Craig would have to make do with a packet of Walkers Thai Sweet Chilli Sensations.

After eating some fried chicken and chips in the park (very healthy this backpacking thing), it was time to take our seats in the back row of the 6.15pm session of Sex and the City: The Movie at the Odeon movie cinemas in Bath. After the painfully-long previews, the lights dimmed and there they were — Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha and Miranda, back together again! There were lots of laugh, some sobs from a girl in the row in front of us, a few sneaky tears from myself and a whole lotta wardrobe envy!
Lisa: 4/5
Craig: 3.5/5

We walked back to the hostel in the rain (hopefully it washed away any bird poo I'd missed) and were entertained on the way by a massive domestic in the street (she kicked him out of the car, they yelled at each other a lot, she drove off, then came round the block and picked him up again. It was gold). Back at the hostel we were met with two girls conducting a bible study in our room, after a few minutes of, 'Read this bit, isn't it awesome?', we decided to head to the TV room. 'Those girls are lesbians,' whispered Craig when we walked out of the room. 'As if, they're Christian!' I rolled my eyes. What is it with guys and lesbians?

In the TV room we were met with even more freaks and geeks. The Canadian guy from our room (we know he's Canadian because of the Maple leaf he, like most Canadians, had sewn to his backpack. OK, we get it, you're NOT American!) was playing a game of spoons up the back with some Americans. He was drunk, loud, obnoxious, and despite his own opinion, not funny. There was also the English guy who had been going around trying to subtly recruit 'volunteers' to go from festival to festival setting up temporary accommodation.

The next morning we got up, packed up all our stuff and went to grab some breakfast before driving back to Lymo. The Bible bashers were there, with their eerily similar outfits and hairstyles. As I was buttering my toast I noticed one of the girls gently caressing the other's back. 'They're totally lesbians!' I whispered to Craig on the way to reception. 'Yeah, told ya so!' said Craig.