Monday, July 02, 2007

Round-the-world-in-London weekend

Managed to have one of those weekends that make it worth being in London for, found out about several new places, people and countries in the process!
Started in my local, The Defecter's Weld, on Friday evening to celebrate Mark submitting his thesis. Well done again, Mark! Even better well done (in my opinion) is that Mark managed to finish his thesis, find and get hired for exactly the job he wanted, in a new country, go through an intensive language course and plan an inter-continental holiday, all in the same few months. Who says that (some) guys can't multi-task? We then headed to a pub downtown, with a last-minute change of venue due to the terrorist attacks. With true English reasoning, this didn't make anyone avoid the West End (which was crammed), we just moved a little further north.

I then went to another party in Fulham, another milestone in my London adaptation - you can't be a true Londoner if you don't manage to get to two parties in the same night in opposite parts of town (using public transport, for you Portuguese people who don't see what's so hard about this). On the way popped by Rita's house for a chat, lovely when you can do an improptu thing like this in London. Finally made it to Alessandro's party, where we were met by Italians, Irish, Venezuelan, English, Greek...
However, the main thing is they were all Imperial College engineering PhD students. For those of you who have not been in a party consisting of graduate engineering students (I have been in a few, courtesy of my housemate Daniele who is one himself), I can tell you it is an experience indeed. This was lightened up by the fact that two of the engineering students were girls, and very elegant and good-looking as well, which I can't be annoyed at because there were very nice too. After conversations on Hugo Chavez and how you could teach computers to recognize emotions, I managed to crawl home.
The next day had to stay in bed most of the day, courtesy of a cold and me trying to lead a 20s lifestyle whilst in my 30s. Did manage to have a brilliant breakfast talk with housemates and housemate's Swedish friend about which countries have the best-looking men and women. One of those common themes... In the evening dragged myself to Clerkenwell to meet other international friends (1st generation British, American, French, Portuguese...). Discovered a brilliant place: Cafe Sport in Exmouth Market, which is of course a Portuguese cafe complete with table football, and a fantastic buzzing local atmosphere. Go! Had a very interesting conversation with Jonathan, an American human rights public advocate, about all that's happening there and in the world through the eyes of an enlightened American. Invaluable.
On Sunday, went with Teresa and Paulo to the Serpentine Gallery to see an exhibition of David Chan. Some of his pieces are really worth it. Then went to a lovely neighbourhood party in Bonnington Sq, in Vauxhall. I was very proud as managed to discover this. Passed by Portuguese cafe Estrela to get a (very good) bite to eat, and then Teresa had a plane to catch. We were hit upon, as a group, twice. Me and Paulo thought it was due to Teresa intensifying her charm. Just in time for her to go and spend a year in Malaysia, via a plane full of Australians.
And wound the weekend up in the same place where I started, at the Defecter's Weld with my glamourous AND down-to-earth (how does she manage it?!) housemate H, who this weekend wven showed up in the papers.


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