2 days in Bristol

January 30, 2010. The last weekend of the first month in the new year, I was taken on a short trip to Bristol, as suggested before, it was a two day trip and I didn´t see a lot, but just enough to have some flavorful memories.

First impression, small city with a lot of old buildings.  With sheer slopes of the mountain where the city was based on, the city wore a musical layout. It was sunset time when Csaba and I finally came out and walked around the city center, and the burning clouds generally set churches, winter trees, townhouses in its glorious and peaceful embrace, together with people´s emotions, local citizens either taking a leisure walk, being anxious about stuff, or in a hurry somewhere, or like us, dashing into a new place out of nowhere and looking at the city like unveiling a bride. It´s the good feeling being tourists, with no goals, no expectations, and no fancy dreams, because with the person I was with itself  was dreamy enough. Bristol came as a suitable place, cuddled our happy and sometimes a little fuzzy hours.

Friends

Csaba and I went there with a housemate in Llandough 10, Cardiff . He and his friends in Bristol were playing together in a band. So it´s a friend chain thing. To me it was a group of strangers. Oddly enough, when I was asked ‘what´s your story?’—in the hardcore British accent and the next second I felt fit in right away. With a little alcohol, conversations got hot. Twisted jokes, east and west, mocking politicians, mocking Americans, mocking everyone. Laughing, drinking, more people coming and more laughing and drinking. I felt tipsy after drinking one glass of Breezer and was giggling like a retard. In retrospect, I don´t think alcohol makes me drunk. It´s the way people talking, the atmosphere. They played with my mind and a few sips of beer is just a trigger.

Fish and chips

Authentic fish and chips on a narrow street downtown. On some random luck, we landed in a well-known fish and chip store. 10 year old newspaper articles and celebrity signatures on the wall, stocky middle-aged waiter and his heartily smile in the small, warm, orange-lighted room filled up with the smell of fried potatoes and fresh cod.   It was a big award for us, to have landed in such place. With a big meal in the belly and zeal of luck on the head, we walked out into the fresh darkness, wearing a smile of happiness.  I suddenly remembered the textbook in my middle school about this significant British cuisine, that was some 12 years ago. How did time flow away and how did life move on all this time? When fragments of events, details, blurry spots came along at one blink, they clashed and then faded into a water color flow, abstract and beautiful.

House party

Friend’s friend’s friend’s birthday party. His name was Ben, turning 21, ginger. Loud music, dazzling laser lights, posh DIY styling guys and girls, smell of beer and crazy laughter of people. The party must have blared that the police had come to ask us to keep it down in case of further complaints.Surprisingly she said it was understandable that we were young people and we wanted to have a little laugh. What an understanding policeman!

Our group had one ginger that claimed that his fart didn’t  smell—good for us that he didn´t offer us to test for real.  Another ginger mixed up too many beers and cigarette and threw up in the middle of a crossing road while standing up like hero—it´s all cool!

In the morning when I look at any British street and the people walking by, my mind went back to the party, or dozens of parties I´d been to, where I saw people going crazy, or in better words being themselves. I would imagine who this normal passer-by’s real self.

Shopping

Sunday morning, woke up lazily and ventured again to the city center.  We had a long day ahead, and no specific destinations. So I suggested shopping. Csaba didn’t fancy the idea, but had no other better ones. I took advantage of the situation and dragged him in to this most-hated-thing on a guy’s to-do list—especially a guy who decides what to wear by means of smelling the pile of to-be-washed clothes.

Csaba went into two stores with me, walked in, walked around, and walked out. He apparently expected that my third store should be somewhere further down the street. But when I dragged him to the store next door, I realized his desperation. He observed—

-We are not making any progress!

Shopping doesn’t need progress. It’s not a computer game. I just ignored him and left him standing at the entrance, while I had fun looking at those colorful, cute stuff—little purses with colorful buttons as decorations, entire sention of clothes on sale. When my eyes turned to the entrance again, I noticed two other guys standing together with Csaba, and interestingly they looked at me with a meaningful look. I felt a little uncomfortable and went out with Csaba. Just the moment we walked out of the door, I realized the look was a self-mocking one, since there were two other girls looking item after item in the store. I told Csaba my observation and his response was, the Asian one was no better.

To make it a little easier for himself, Csaba got himself cigarettes. I could have objected, but while I let go my addiction to shopping, my argument to let him give up his addiction seemed pretty weak at that moment.

We walked on the street of the old city, got designer T-shirt, British rock CDs, perfume packs. I knew my thin bank account back in China was crying, but I simply couldn’t get my hands off the goodies. I kept telling me this would be the last item I’d buy, and this promise went on with every item.

In a store on the Skins´ street—don’t remember the name but the street was the setting for the TV series, I saw the cutest dress ever. Clear shape, clean cut, bow-tie pattern and moreover it fit me perfectly. Csaba reminded me that I’d spent too much when he saw my eyes shining over the dress—he normally doesn’t see my eyes close or open, due to the fact that my CUTE eyes are too small—but that would not hold back the shines. I put it on and off many times in the changing room and mainly trying to talk me out of buying this. I tried to find drawbacks of the dress and this led to a further discount. Decision was made that I’d have the dress, but I tried to get a better discount. I asked the salesgirl for washing instructions, confirmed the final price and paid. I put the dress on and walked out of the store in it.

‘You drove that poor black girl crazy! ’ Csaba said, mockingly.

‘Did I, how?’ I knew I was being wishy-washy, hesitant, a tough bargainer, but wanted to hear more about it.

‘You argued for 3p, and the poor girl looked at me, saying with her eyes, do something about your girlfriend! ’ LOL. ‘You wouldn’t let go 3 P’

That bad? I was just confused when the girl talked, but only by the numbers. Especially numbers in British accent. With the help of Csaba, I reconstructed what she was saying. She told me a price while I was trying the dress. And when later she was charging officially, it was 3p more than what she said before. She asked me if it was ok. I knew this was something small. So I asked if she could give a 10% discount instead of 5, and she looked very pitiful and said something like she couldn’t make a decision like that—which threw my mind back to typical bargain conversation logic back in China, and I knew the next thing she was going to say was—if she did that, the boss would deduct the amount of money from her salary—I was expecting, a plotted de ja vu—but she just said she couldn’t make that decision and stopped.

I smiled at my failure of expectation and this smile made her embarrassed. I sensed that.

 

She dragged the conversation back and asked again was the price okay. Csaba thought I was still pondering the price difference and said, come on, it’s only 3p!

I had no clear idea how much was 3p, except that it was small. For the more than 10 days here, I judged the cost of most items by rhetorical evidences.  The tone, if he sounds like a boss, bingo! It’s cheap. If he uses the word ‘only’, then it’s cheap. If he made the p sounds like the Chinese word for fart, that’s cheap.

So I looked at him with questioning eyes. And I bet this look drove both of them crazy. The black girl was nice though and said like a disappointed but loving Mom. ‘Ohh, I saw her eyes saying no, never mind, I’ll change the price.’

Csaba started his interrogations the moment when walked out of the shop, why was I so hard on the girl. I told him how my mind is always somewhere else, or I wasn’t listening.

His conclusion is that my mind is all fucked up.  I’d say his observation is shallow.

Whatever, I had a lot of fun shopping, and getting stuff. I felt a little sorry for bargaining for 3 p, which is 3毛3分, barely enough to buy a candy in China. I just hope the girl in the shop thought it fun whenever she thought of the stingy tiny Chinese girl.

 

Mummy

The exhibition of Egyptian mythology was happening in one of the church building. To our surprise, there´s two real mummies on display. At the very moment we bent down and looked straight at the glass coffin in the dim light, it was almost unbelievable when we came to the realization that this person who lived along the river of Nile thousands of years ago, and a ginger descendant of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and a Chinese met here on a warm winter day  in the 21 century. May my piercing eyes not disturb your long sleep!

 

Ein ummæli

  1. 15. febrúar 2010 kl. 12.24 | Slóð

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