Fasten your seatbelts and pour yourself a double, it’s a long one people.
So you thought I was a recluse here alone in my room? Not any more!
This past week has seen me become a people junkie again and it is FUN I tell you! Not that I didn’t enjoy being a hermit for a bit – I did, hence my excessive blogging and twittering.*
Wednesday was the meeting for all us assistants who work around Metz. We all gathered together to share our problems, pet hates, population control ideas and lesson plans. Listening to some of the problems of my fellow assistants, I have decided I am one of the luckiest guys here – I have no problems to speak of (the doctors and the nice men in coats who have that padded room said as much – so there) and all my teachers are lovely. One assistant was told by her teachers to buy a washing machine, only to have one delivered by the same teachers the day after she bought hers. mumblemumblemumble*stupidFrench*mumblemumblemumble.
One of the highlights of the day was not the people (I love you all but this was better) but the discovery of a grand piano in the room in which we were meeting. I haven’t had the chance to touch a real piano since the 22nd of September and so I took my fix of ivory with a very satisfied smile indeed.
After finding a semi-pub-like restaurant/bar, we stopped to eat our lunch. I ordered a double burger. Now, anybody with any experience of burgers will tell you that a double burger is just like a normal burger but with twice the meat, right? Wrong. In this grand establishment, a double burger is two full sized burgers with equal amounts of cheese, pickles, lettuce and tomato, not to mention the fries and added salad. I was vraiment stuffed I tell thee.
At the end of the day, we all went to drinks – where Geraldine and I discovered that I am a retard when it comes to telling the time.
Next, an elite group of us (that’s right, elite. Too bad all of you who missed out) went to see ‘The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus’ which was fantastic in just about every sense of the word.
Was the day over? Nay! For twas the night Algeria managed, for the first time in twenty four years, to qualify for the world cup** by knocking out Egypt. Such was the jubilation, that small riots ensued across the globe. One of which in Metz, another in Rombas/Clouange. Granted our local “riots” weren’t really riots, but in Paris the CRS (Riot Police) had a fun night, and I believe that some Egyptians were killed somewhere; which makes no sense as the Egyptians had already lost. Not that murder usually makes sense.
And so the day ended with Geraldine in one piece (it was touch and go at one point), my stomach adequately stretched, my itchy piano fingers satisfied and good fun had by all. Apart from the Egyptians. (Too soon?)
Day Rating: 7.5
Andy’s alcohol consumption: Moderate
Embarrassment Factor: Minor
Nothing happened in the day, but the night was a different story. I met Laura in Metz station at 7ish – we were all ready to go to Saarbrucken for a night of revelry. Sadly Jo missed her train (GUTTED) but we soldiered valiantly on.
With Saarbrucken being in Germany and all, Laura and I had an hour train ride ahead of us so we passed the time with very enlightening conversation covering the topics of: France, the French, food, America, the UK, Atheism, God, crazy nutters, Fox news, how Fox News are crazy nutters, my America holiday, school, university and a host of other things. Upon arriving, we went to Starbucks and ordered coffee and brownies, in German, and then continued to talk for another couple of hours on even more topics.
We then met up with Anne and Geraldine who had been shopping for funny ginger snacks among other things, and so we sat like hobos on the station floor stuffing our faces with sugary goodness. (See title picture).
Then began the night – we went to an Irish bar first and I had a Guinness. I was slightly disappointed that Guinness obviously doesn’t travel all that well. It was a tad weaker than I’d have liked it to be. Next, on to another bar nearby where we were (I want to say ‘accosted’ but they were quite peaceful) asked for a donation by some funnily dressed German craftspeople. I got the feeling that they were in fact some of Santa’s little helpers who had grown too tall, had been deported from the North Pole and were now seeking asylum in Germany. Their clothes gave them away. The third bar we visited was a very nice bar indeed I feel. Maybe that was just because I ordered a Long Island Ice Tea***.
Our final stop was to be a club recommended to us called Blau. We danced and sweated the night away with loud music and flashing lights. Suffice to say it was very very fun. Anne was even chatted up by a bartender which earned us free shots.
What did we learn that night?
1. It is important to maintain eye-contact when saying cheers (what is the verb? To cheer? To clink glasses?) otherwise you risk seven years bad sex. This, we felt, was quite a dire consequence for having a lazy eye.
2. Anne’s camera flashes 3 times. Which is a decisive factor as to why I look like a retard in quite a few of her pictures. Well that’s my story anyhow.
3. Anne’s German housemate is slightly removed from reality.
4. European cocktails go easy on the alcohol.
5. Chocolate covered ginger things are fantastic when you’re impossibly tired and hungry.
Day Rating: 9
Alcohol Consumption: Copious
Embarrassment Factor: Bordering painful
Ok ok ok, so Friday night merged into Saturday which is the weekend – I want to categorise it like this, just try and stop me.
An epic night out is displayed in epic tiredness among other things. With my brain thus addled, I had dared to think that the French rail system would be reasonable on the weekend. What foolishness!
So I missed my original train to Dijon – the current abode of the illustrious Ian Ellison. After grabbing some sleep and some cheap prawn crackers, I got on another train to Dijon at 5pm. Arriving ravenous, Ian took me to a place which sold some fantastic beef bourguignon and which gave me snails for starters.
Fun times were had all weekend – Dijon is a really pretty city with some brilliant architecture and some great little bars. The best find was a little tea room we happened to discover. It sells just about every tea known to man, a vast selection of coffees and, the pièce de résistance: proper hot chocolate. It’s basically a chocolate bar melted into a cup but what a chocolate bar! Ian had a chilli chocolate which, after just one sip, I do declare to be phenomenal. I settled for some Oolong tea (which was also quite excellent) and a little cake which was very English of me. I felt just a little bit snobbish when I realised that there were doilies under my teacup. We soon realised that we’d better leave quickly or we’d squander all our worldly wealth in the place. After relieving Ian of the (almost) entirety of Battlestar Galactica (Jesus said: “judge not, lest you also be judged”) and enjoying his company for far too short a time – I boarded my train home to Metz. With his reciprocal visit planned for two weeks time!
Weekend rating: 8.5
Alcohol consumption: Comfortable
Embarrassment Factor: Surprisingly low.
So there you have it – how to jump start your social life: find some people with the same job, convert them into drinking and dancing buddies, run off to Germany for the night, visit your high school friend in a nearby city, discover a brilliant tea shop and miss a few trains. Simple really.
*I usually clock up about 200 tweets per month, in October I tweeted a total of 536 times and I’ve already amassed 591 times in November. All these figures are courtesy of Tweet Stats.
**This is the Soccer World Cup for all you lovely Americans. That’s right, when something is called the World Cup, the world is usually involved. How’s that World Series coming along for you? I hear America has won every year. Well done!
*** For the unfortunate people out there who have yet to sample such alcoholic delights such as the Long Island Ice Tea, I will tell you its contents: Vodka, Tequila, Rum, Gin Cointreau and coke. YUM!
Tom Cruise was almost in Twilight – who knew?