Friday, September 30, 1988

Good German Girl vs. 'Bad Taste Disco'

Woke up early for breakfast to get ready for a little time in Hull. After a shower and some toast, Doug, J.P. and I hopped a bus to center city Hull, which we found to be a pretty nice section of town. When we arrived, we went through the various shops and took in the scenery. Through the course of the trip, I bought a much-needed towel and washcloth, as well as a cassette tape at the HMV music store: Elvis Costello's "Out of Our Idiot." That's a hard one to find in the U.S. - a collection of mostly previously unreleased songs.

We ate lunch at Wimpy's, a fast food restaurant named after the famed Popeye character (and referenced in the Genesis song "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight" - "...chewing through your Wimpy dreams.") After that it was a leisurely walk through town. The last shop we went to was a fabulous Army-Navy store. Doug bought a flag and a pin, and J.P. bought a hat and a Soviet-type pin. I didn't buy anything on this trip, but I'm sure I will be back.

We caught a bus back to to the halls, where we then went out to open up our bank accounts. The school brought in representatives from various banks who were clamoring for the students to open their accounts with them. They offered various incentives, from 10 and 20 pounds, to a fancy filofax to organize your life (they are all the rage here.) I went with Lloyd's Bank, as did Doug. They just gave us the filofax, but I quite like it.

I then went to the International Students meeting, where we learned all about how to be normal. We then ate dinner, came back for the rest of the meeting, and then went to a reception. The reception was very nice. I got to meet a lot of people from abroad, but the highlight came when I met two girls from Germany and one from Holland. I sat and talked to them for awhile, their names being Karin, Suzanne, and Liesel-something (it became "Lisa"), along with Doug and J.P.

Doug and J.P. then left for the "Bad Taste Disco" event, of which I also had a ticket for, but chose instead to stay behind and talk some more, promising to catch up with them later. However, that was not to be the case. The four of us went in Karin's car (with the steering wheel on the normal side!) to get some pizza. Then we took it to Sue and Lisa's flat and ate it with some wine. One thing I've learned is that over here they eat pizza differently. Instead of slicing it, they cut it into bites and eat it. Odd.

On Monday when we ate pizza during our pub crawl in Chester, I sliced it and ate it like a normal pizza, and they found that to be odd. But they ate it the same way I did as well. (Oh, another humorous memory from the pub crawl that I forgot to mention before: Dave offered me a bite of his pizza, which I appeared to fulfill, but then at the last second took a monster bite, leaving him almost no pizza. I wasn't even hungry at that point, but hey, anything for a laugh. Anyway...)

I sat and talked with Karin, Suzanne and Liesel-something about anything and everything, but mostly on cultural differences, the Olympics and horrible landlords. After a couple of hours there, Karin and I left the flat and I was faced with the choice of going to the Bad Taste Disco, or just going home. After a frustrating decision-making process (and noticing that Karin's car arial has been bent up), I decided to return home. When we arrived at the Grange, I invited Karin in for some coffee and she accepted. It was only when we got to the room that I realized that I only had one mug (The Beatles "Blue Meanies" mug that I bought in Liverpool), and no spoon. Fortunately, she drinks her coffee black, because I didn't have any cream and sugar, either. So, being forced to improvise, I made coffee, gave her the mug to use, and stirred the coffee with the opposite side of my toothbrush. In the end it worked out fine and served as a humorous memory of this evening.

We continued to talk for about an hour more, during which time I learned that she was also a conservative (they're everywhere!) We talked a bit of politics, travelling, and whatever else we could think of until she had to leave. Since neither she nor I has a telephone, we could only exchange addresses. Turned out to be a great evening... looks like I made the right choice in taking a pass on the Bad Taste Disco. I wonder how that went?

(Photo taken by J.P.: Doug and Rick take a moment to rest near a fountain in downtown Hull. The backstory on this picture: Back at Millersville, Doug saw a photo in the exchange student brochure of two travelers in this pose, it was his goal to recreate that moment for himself.)

No comments: