Saturday, October 04, 2003

I'm back!

And yes, suffering from jet lag! I managed to misplace my watch at my brother's place in London and had no clue what time it was on the 14-hour flight back home. I was itching to switch on my mobile just to get the time, but decided not to risk a sudden plunge into whichever country which we were currently over.

Anyway, the three weeks of training are over. I survived (barely) and graduated! Yes! I also fell a little in love with the city of Manila (especially the Makati area). The nightlife and shopping are superb, and there're so many areas that're like a modern-day version of Barcelona, with terraces surrounding fountains decorated with fairy lights.

This was swiftly followed by a two week vacation - seven days of backpacking through Germany, three days of London, and two days of travelling time.

Sept 22nd - 25th: Berlin (Mitte's Backpacker Hostel - good, friendly people, a great location, and good party music. Pity about the beds though)
Sept 26th: Cologne (The Station Bar and Hostel - again, friendly people and great party atmosphere)
Sept 27th: Day trip to Aachen
Sept 28th: Day trip to Füssen before arrival in Munich (Easy Palace Hostel - great beds and facilities, with a location 200m away from the Oktoberfest site)
Sept 29th: Munich
Sept 30th: Arrival in Berlin to catch flight to London
Oct 1st - 3rd: London
Oct 4th: Singapore

Germany: It was wonderful. I visited Berlin, Cologne, Aachen, Füssen and Munich. All of them beautiful places in their own right - whether it's the history, the architecture or just the general mood of the place. I managed to hit Munich during Oktoberfest, and it was full of drunken American and Australian tourists! Guess I shouldn't have expected otherwise, but they really did change the mood of the city so much. And I didn't even drink any beer there, mostly because I was backpacking by myself, and not really because of the fact that I really dislike the taste of beer. Yes, I know. I'm slightly sad that way. That being said, I did tell the hostel that I'd be back someday with friends so that I could drink.

London: Was far too brief. Rather like a hit-and-run kind of visit. The most common comment I heard was "Why are you leaving? You just got here!!" I stayed with my brother, saw my best friend briefly before she had to run off to Paris for a project, got together with my ex for a night, and looked up a friend who stayed at the same uni hostel I did in my final year. I also managed to chat with my personal tutor briefly.

I really missed my friends in London, and didn't realise how much until I saw their faces and was talking to them as if we had never parted. My best friend, who I hadn't seen in nine months, requested that I seriously consider going to London to work - which I must confess, I've put on the backburner for the past few months since I want to get some proper work experience under my belt - and dear, I promise that I'll look into all available options of going there. I love London, and touchdown on Monday felt incredible.

The ex... Seeing him was awesome. We laughed so hard during the two hour dinner (both our jaws were seriously aching) and it was really good to see that although we've both changed in our own way, we still really connect. And I still love talking to him, telling him stuff that I don't tell other people and just flirting with him all the way in the process. Honestly, I never expected to meet such a great guy during university, and that he'd not only make a good boyfriend, but also, a wonderful friend. Needless to say, I stayed out the whole entire night. Not entirely unplanned, I must confess. :o)

I hadn't seen my brother in thirteen months, and I must say that I really miss having him in the same country that I'm in. We don't talk that much over the phone anymore as I'm not that great over the phone, and seeing him face-to-face was really good. We didn't argue at all (I suspect two and a half days was too short for us to be getting the typical cabin fever that we always get) and we chatted about everything. He took great delight in teasing me about the admirer I left behind and how he'd feel about my seeing the ex. It was good talking to someone with the same twisted sense of humour, and who'd been through the same experiences that I've had. Thirteen months was far too long to not see him, and hopefully, we'll be seeing each other again soon.

Clubbing: Managed to catch Bedrock's 5th anniversary party at Heaven despite not having much sleep the night before (wink)! It's still only eight quid, so thanks a lot, Digweed, for being such a great DJ who's not concerned about the money such a quality night could bring in. Digweed's set wasn't bad, a mixture of progressive house and almost-trance. It's the first time in ages that I've been able to enjoy a non-trance set. The clubbing atmosphere in London is so different. People go to enjoy the music (and get stoned), not just to pose and be seen. It makes a huge difference when you're clubbing among people who genuinely appreciate the music, rather than with people who have no clue as to what makes a good tune and what's just eurotrash. The guest DJ for the night was Josh Wink, and apparently, Sasha's going to guest for the November Bedrock. Also, danke shoen for selling the Bedrock back catalogue at reduced prices.

Shopping: The HMV and Tower sales were great! Final count (including the Bedrock sales): 6 CDs and 2 DVDs. Also, I hit Lush again. This time, both in Manila and London. Due to the strength of the pound right now, the Lush in Manila is cheaper than in their home country of England, but I didn't have enough baggage allowance and didn't buy as much as I could have. I had to curb my spending proclivities in London though, as I was reminded that I still hadn't finished using up last Christmas's haul of Lush goodies. Sigh. I just adore being toiletries. Shops like Lush, The Natural Source, Beauty Bar, Superdrug and Boots and like paradise for me. Sadly, I didn't have sufficient time to go clothes and shoe shopping although I really wanted to, as London's not a bad place to look for up-to-date fashions. I already spent enough money in the two-and-a-half days though, so maybe this was a blessing in disguise.

Other great things about being away from home: The magazines! Cosmo is banned where I'm from. And not just banned from being sold (like chewing gum) but the possession of Cosmo itself is technically illegal, apparently as the state was concerned about their promotion of sexual freedom, etc., a huge laugh in itself given that as I browsed through the local women's magazines, all of them promised to show women how to have a better sex life, the top # moves that men want us to do, and how to have an orgasm. Anyway, I bought Cosmos from the places I visited, and purchased my first copy of Mixmag in ages. Why do I love the mags so much? Aside from the quality of their content, I love browsing through magazines and seeing what's the latest in fashion, beauty, music, etc. that I can buy as well as the freebies that come with the magazines (like dance CDs!).

Gripes: None, really, other than the horrible beds that I've been sleeping on, whether they were hostel beds or night trains. Oh yes, just one really. The fact that Nick Warren is playing tonight back home! I'm far too tired to catch him, so that makes five out of five times that I've been unable to catch him despite being in the same location. Argh!

It was tough saying goodbye. Not as bad as the last time I left as there were no tears shed. During this trip, I felt as if the London chapter in my life wasn't entirely over, just merely interrupted... but when will I be able to continue that chapter? Before, or after all my beloved friends leave? I do love the city, but the people are the one factor that drew me to return this year. But still... finding the words to bid my friends farewell was difficult. As a friend said, what words can suffice when you know that by walking out of the door, you're leaving a part of your life behind?

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