Monday, 15 August 2011

92) Eat noodles in London

I spent Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st of July in London. I was going back to retry a failed trip I had back in April. I had arranged it so that on the Saturday I would see Neil and go to a party at Amy's house, and on the Sunday I would meet Jane, a fellow blogger, and Australian Kellie.

I woke up Saturday morning confused, in someone's bed (alone..), in an almost entirely empty house in Camden. I left the house and decided to make my way to the centre of London. Along the way I got bored of walking and paid £1 for the use of a bike for a day. I sat in the part for a couple of hours learning to do the Rubik's Cube, and then set off to one of the undergrounds to meet Jane.
I have spoke to Jane through the blogging world for over a year. Being someone who has read my list, and also has her own list (with some pretty funny things on), she offered to help me cross of my number 92, 'eat noodles in London'. So at about 1pm the short woman with the messy hair, met the homeless looking guy with the messy hair.

I followed Jane, who knows much more about London than me (having lived there, amongst many other cities of the world), and went to China Town, which I think was near Leicester Square. She decided on a really nice Chinese restaurant and we went in and sat down. I, like always, found Jane to be really interesting and funny, and she has many stories, and is constantly doing new things, so the conversation was flowing.
I had no idea what to order from the menu, so Jane ordered lots of different Dim Sum things. I can't remember what many of them were, but it was interesting trying them all. She also ordered the all important Shanghai Noodles (which were very nice).

We finished the food and walked around Covent Garden talking, while I made my way towards meeting Kellie. We said our goodbyes near Leicester Square, and made sure to have a proper photo (which proved to be more difficult than I'd hoped).

A big thank you to Jane for helping me to cross another item off the list!

Friday, 12 August 2011

The day I parked in a disabled space in a hurry

This week I had a really embarrassing moment. I was driving past the supermarket and decided to quickly rush in (mainly just to use their toilet, though I did do a polite 'once over' one of the aisles). As I walked out to my car I was horrified to see that I had accidentally parked in a disabled spot. I have never done this before, but the people walking past me didn't know that, and they stared at me angrily the whole time they walked past. There was also a man sat in his car giving me evil looks too.

I put my head down, like a criminal leaving court, and hastily got my key out. I could feel the eyes of the judging people drilling into me as I fumbled to open the door, which seemed to be impossible. And then it clicked. It was impossible... since I had walked over to the wrong car. The car of a disabled person.

With the judging people still staring I had to quickly walk past the car to my own, get in, and speed off. I don't know if it is worse to park in a disabled space, or to be seen to be trying to break into a disabled persons car.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

53) Join a riot

I am very, very pissed off with these riots, and would just like to start this by saying that I have not participated just to cross it off the list.

The riots apparently started when a drug dealer was shot and killed by the police when he pulled out a gun. Since then, some twats have just used it as an excuse to rampage throughout the country, stealing and breaking stuff. It started in London, then spread to Birmingham, then to Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol, Nottingham, Leeds and now there's reports of all other places too.

These are just opportunist thugs, with nothing to actually protest. They say different things like it is because society, or police aren't respectful, and annoyingly the BBC are/were actually calling them protesters.

What the country needs now are some vigilantes (which I have always agreed with), to come in and make an example of some people to show them that they can't just ruin our society. These people obviously have no standards or morals, as you can see them trying to rob closed sandwich stores, McDonalds, and pound shops. Wtf.

These riots made me think about my number 53 on the list. When I added this I was thinking about a more peaceful riot, if there is such a thing. I see a protest as people standing being mostly ignored, and a riot as people making more noise, using slight force, but non-violent and nothing to actually damage things, just disrupt.

Although I had vowed to not take anything off the list, I am considering taking this off, since rioting sucks. I was hoping for something that is actually worth 'rioting' for, but I don't know...

All I hope is that every single person gets caught, owned, and although they won't all fit in prison, I hope they all get house arrest/curfew for a long, long time.

19) Climb Ben Nevis

I hadn't even heard of Ben Nevis until I was about 22, but after doing some (very quick) research I read that it was the UK's highest mountain at 1,344m (4,409ft). It stands in the Scottish highlands about 10 hours from my house, so not something I can just pop outside to for a ramble. I instantly wanted to put it on my list, because living in the country there is no reason why I shouldn't have climbed it's highest mountain (especially since it doesn't require any major training). I had asked my friends a few times previously, and tried arranging things, but it never came about.

In April my mom and dad asked if I wanted to go to John O Groats with them. I thought that since we were passing by Ben Nevis it could be a good chance to save future petrol and have a nice family memory. My mom was all for it, as she is always up for a challenge and does a lot to help me complete my list.

We camped at the foot of Ben Nevis on the Friday night, and woke up early on the Saturday to climb. I could see the top of the mountain from the bottom, and didn't think it looked too bad. Maybe a couple of hours if I take it steady.

We got walking, and after only 100m into it we encounterd two young Scottish guys, holding a bottle of Vodka, incredibly drunk. They were really helping the stereotype. They asked if it was our first time, and wished us luck.

There were many groups of people hiking that day. Early on we were passed by what looked like some kind of army training team. We were then passed by a few hikers that were in full gear. I was in my long coat and jeans, and my mom and dad were in similar. We had one bottle of fizzy cream soda between us. Everybody else was wearing hiking bags, hiking boots, had water bottles built into their bags, and had walking sticks. Early on I silently mocked them.

After a while of walking we started to go around the side of the mountain, and the wind got very, very strong. I mean stronger than I have ever seen before. I literally couldn't stand up straight. It was blowing dust and debris in my face, which was making it hard to continue. It was also at this point, near the top of the mountain I had seen at the start, that we saw that far, far into the distance we could see people walking up a different mountain. We then realised that you climb up the first one to get to the foot of Ben Nevis. I died a little inside.

Nonetheless we carried on. I was encouraged by my mom and dad to go on ahead, since they weren't sure they would make it, given how far away we could see the people. I wanted to stay with them, but I also knew we couldn't spend all day walking and I was worried I would have to cut it short.

I made good ground over the new few minutes, getting to the top of the first, now 'little', mountain. I was amazed to see on top it had some kind of lake. I started to walk over to it, the wind still blowing incredibly hard, but the ground got more and more marshy. I decided to wait for my mom and dad so I could show it them and take a photo with them.

I then went off again. From here I could see what I again thought was the top of Ben Nevis. I was overtaking a lot of people, finding little need for a break. I was impressing myself with my walking abilities, though I had started to really need to pee. Along the way I passed a waterfall which was pretty, and got a really nice view over the Scottish Highlands. The terrain changed from being a rocky path to being a horrible rocky path. This encouraged me to hurry up.
The whole way I kept trying to look for mom and dad lower down the mountain, though everybody looked like ants on an ant hill. I was pretty sure that they would have turned around by now since I had again reached what I thought was the top of the mountain, to find that it actually extended much further, and it was a much, much more difficult walk than anticipated. I had already seen many people turn around.

I pushed on, and started to see more and more snow. I had to pass one section that was entirely walking through snow, which was difficult. I again reached what I thought was the top, to have my emotions crushed by seeing it go further. Towards the top there were rock mounds where people were encouraged to leave a stone on. I didn't do this. I felt like going along knocking people rocks off, so it was like they were never there, but that would have been mean.

As this blog post is getting longer than intended, I will skip to them moment that I finally reached the top. It was windy. And cold. The top of the mountain had ruins of an old observatory. It had an engraved stone saying that it was sent all the way from Dudley in the war, which is pretty much where I live. Black country people seem to get everywhere.

I waited my turn to stand on an elevated rock, which essentially made me the highest up person in the whole of UK for a few moments. I felt quite the achievement. I did feel a little more achievement when a few seconds later I had sneaked off to become to highest person peeing in UK.
I started walking back down the mountain, disappointed that I wasn't able to get any good photos of me on top (an average person taking photographs is terrible). About a mile down the hill I was really shocked to find my mom and dad still pushing on. I was certain they had gone back. I was incredibly impressed/proud, and decided to walk back up to the top with them (intentionally not telling them that what they could see as the top actually wasn't close).

We all got to the top, posed for photos, and started back down. I had pretty much no trouble getting up the mountain... but getting down was a nightmare. It was the most painful thing I have done. Each step killed my knees, ankles, and newly formed blisters. I couldn't wait to get down, and it seemed to be taking even longer than getting up there. I won't write any more about it, since it is a moment I want to forget!

At the bottom we celebrated with a meal, and set off to see the Loch Ness.