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Global Quest For Local LETS
Copyright � James Taris

3. English Pub Crawl

With Mark (left) and Adam at The Old Duke after a few pints of Guinness!

Once I'd confirmed I was going to London, I sent an email to my English web hosts ...

> 29/7/02: Hi Guys, Don't go into shock, but I'm flying to London this weekend! And I'll be arriving on Monday and staying for a week. This is the first stop on my European LETS Speaking Tour, taking me through 6 countries: England, Spain, France, Germany, Norway and South Africa (yeah, I know SA isn't in Europe!). So what's the chance of having a Guinness with me? I promise to stay away from the ouzo, so what do you say? If it doesn't sound too daunting, give me your contact address and phone numbers so I can call you when I'm in London. Here's hoping to have a drink with the web hosting marvels of the universe! James Taris

And this is their reply ...

> 29/7/02: James, Love to but we are in Bristol which is about 150 miles west of London. If you are able to come over to Bristol we'll gladly take you to one of our pubs for a sip of Guinness. Kind regards, Adam Saunders

And guess where I was going to be staying in England ...

> 29/7/02: Hey Guys, Are you serious? Bloody beauty! That's where I'm staying! (Vicarage Rd, Whitehall)! So it looks like you've got yourself a drinking buddy! OK. Where's that address and phone number. I'm looking forward to seeing how you poms drink down there! James Taris

Well, that's how it all happened. (Unbe-bloody-lievable!)

So on day 2 of my stay in England, I rang them.

"We were just talking about you today," Adam said. "Didn't you fly in yesterday?"

Forty minutes later, Adam and Mark were picking me up to go out drinking. Lots of English people use bicycles or public transport to get around. But not these 24 year old guys. I don't know what Adam drives, but I was sitting in the back of Mark's late model Audi and feeling very comfortable indeed.

"Where would you like to go?", they asked.

"Well, I'd really like to have a pint of Guinness", I replied, trying to sound as knowledgeable as I could. I don't usually drink much, but somehow they'd got that impression (it must've been all those boozy emails I'd sent them!)

"OK. Lets' go to O'Neill's." And off we went.

O'Nei'll's is an Irish pub. Maybe it was a bit too early (about 8.10 pm), but it was pretty quiet there. Hardly anyone around. However, it was a classy joint. Well decorated with a relaxing atmosphere. Three pints of Guinness were ordered, and the bartender managed to successfully spill the beer down the sides of each glass ... just the way we like it in Australia!

This didn't seem to bother Mark and Adam either. Due to a lack of drinking competition, we settled comfortably into a couple of sofas at the back of the bar and started talking business.

"Can I sell web hosting packages and get rich like you?", I asked.

"Of course you can", they assured me. So out came the camera, and I proceeded to record this memorable occasion with my young drinking buddies.

In no time at all, the drinks were gone.

"So where should we go now?" one of them asked. "What about The Old Duke?" the other replied. And so it was.

The Old Duke was quite a contrast to O'Neill's. It was a Jazz Bar, with a live musician playing the piano as he sang to a bar jam-packed with drinkers. He looked like a hippie, with his jeans and long hair. But he was very professional. His repertoire of songs consisted of 60's and 70's music, and he delivered them with clarity and a smile on his face.

"What would you like to drink now, James?"

"I'll have another Guinness thanks." And so began stage 2 of our pub crawl.

Adam and Mark looked like they could use some younger company, so when a young lady crossed our path, I somehow managed to convince her to have her photo taken with the lads. Then in a flash of brilliance, I persuaded her to take a photograph of me and the lads together (our only photo as a threesome). As she didn't seem at all interested in the guys, and chose to leave, and as we'd just finished our drinks, we decided to go on to another pub.

The discussion went something like this ...

"We've been to an Irish Bar. We've been to a Jazz Bar. Now where should we go?" And the answer was almost blatantly obvious, or at least poetic. "Let's go to the Roo Bar!" (Roo, as in KangaROO.)

The Roo Bar wasn't as packed as The Old Duke, but it still had its fair share of drinkers (unlike O'Neill's). And the hotel was decked out in an 'outback-slang' decor setting.

The first thing that caught my eye as I walked in was the row of bras hanging above the bar. There must've been about 50 of them, in all colours, shapes and sizes. The toilets were fondly named 'Sheilas' and 'Blokes'. And the beer? Need you ask! There wasn't a Guinness in sight. Only Aussie beers were on tap. So I ordered a pint of Fosters, and then that's when it happened!

After only a sip (it must've been the fact that I'd mixed my drinks. I suppose you can't follow a Guinness with a Fosters!). After only a sip, my young buddies were ducking for cover as I unleashed a barrage of jokes on them, which seemed to come from nowhere and seemed to have no end. They copped everything from my famous 'Bat joke' to the tasteless (pardon the pun) 'First Anatomy Class joke'.

Poor Adam had this look of shock on his face, while Mark got so desperate for me to stop, that he even offered to give me his car (which I would've accepted, but I'm only allowed 20 kls. baggage on my flight back home).

But thankfully for everyone, the 11 o'clock bell sounded, and the bar was closed. I looked at my glass and it was still almost full. The English lads had finished drinking and this old Aussie guy was still trying to catch up! Apparently it's against the law to leave any beer in your glass, so after sculling it down, we staggered (OK. I staggered) back to the car singing 'Kookaburra Sits In The Old Gum Tree' with my learned friends.

Moments later I was back home drinking a cup of coffee and licking my wounds.

It was a fantastic night!

This article is taken from the ebook,
Global Quest for Local LETS

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