Thursday, 25 October 2007

In the midst of it all

I took some time out from the whole job searching thing last weekend and had a blast.

Much needed, but finally it seems things in that department are starting to move, which is a relief but absolutely terrifying. But that's a whole other subject.

John and Simon were back the bar. I wouldn't have mentioned this again, but this time Liz answered the call and rocked up just as I was making a Mojito. Anyway I won't get into details... I'll just say that one of us was clearly needing a night off and over did it slightly. (And Liz fell off her bar stool ;) )

After a very covert stakeout operation, we ended up one member down on Pitta Street at, I think, about 5am. An hour later, I realised this might have been a mistake.
(The stakeout was us following John home, (Liz on foot and Simon and I in the car) just to make sure he could make it on his own. There was suspiciously slow driving and whispering in the streets of Ixelles in the wee hours of the morning)

Think I got to bed at about 6.30. Hmm. Brilliant night.

Also this weekend, I blew off steam by cycling to Halle on the canal route.
36km, and while most of you will say it is flat and really not that far, for me it's quite an achievement.
And as much as I HATE moving my arse to get going, and sometimes regret it mid-way (and take it out of the person who is motivating me), the feeling you get when you sink into a hot bath when you get home, makes it all worth it. It makes me feel great but I can't really explain it.

Curry night tomorrow. :D

Friday, 12 October 2007

La Biennale di Venezia

I was in Venice last week. My mother was keen to check out the 52nd Biennale di Venezia so I thought I'd join her.
There's not that much of Venice left to like anymore. It is squirming with tourists. And the locals have subsequently become rather unpleasant to anyone who does not speak Italian. I will not (if I can help it) return there in the future.

However, we did see and hear ( I was dragged along to a couple of concerts too) some amazing contemporary art.

It's not that I dislike contemporary art, it's more a case of me liking other stuff more.
And I can safely say that a good 70% of what I saw was not my cup of tea. Some were even totally disturbing. I was surprised to see the subject of war used in many instances.
But a few pieces really caught my eye.

The French pavilion was decorated by Sophie Callé.
Her piece was called "Prenez Soin de Vous" meaning "Take care of yourself".

The idea was based on a letter she received one day, from her then boyfriend. He was breaking up with her.
She came up with the idea of asking a number of women (107 to be exact) to interpret the letter according to their respective jobs.
A proofreader, a judge, a rapper, a sexologist, an sms translator, a Bahrata Natyam dancer... there's even an entry in braille. (And a couple of famous faces too!)

I could have sat in that pavilion reading for hours if found it so brilliant, but we had lots more to see so I settled on buying the book which brings together all interpretations. It now sits on my coffee table.

Slightly outside a main exhibit, next to the french pipi rooms, was a setup promoting Bagdad as a holiday destination under the name of Abidin Travels. (The website reminds me of the fake Oceanic website when Lost first started).

The flyers and videos on display in Venice were hilarious and dig into the website a bit and you'll see what I mean.

"Getting Around while you are in Baghdad

Car rental

BE ADVISED that when driving, you must be actively aware of your surroundings and always check your rear-view mirror. The American military has the right to shoot or drive over cars with their tanks if they think you are blocking the way."

Here's a short video clip that I filmed while there.

Artwork & Concept © 2007
Adel Abidin

Saturday, 6 October 2007

It's 5am

I stumbled in this morning at around about 5 am.
Hadn't done this in a while, I'm getting too old for it you see. :)

I was working at the bar last night and happened to be teamed up behind the bar with my least favorite person there. Very busy and a conference next door. So not looking like a great night!

At 21:00hrs, John and Simon stroll in, meaning business! They sat themselves down in the sofas right slap bang in the middle of the action and grinned.

I really didn't have a lot of time for them during the first part of the night, although I did watch them from time to time. Deep in conversation. The shift continued in a frenzy, the table of 12 were finishing up, the conference goers were coming in on time and every table was full of diners. People. Everywhere. And it's not hugely easy to maneuver about in this place! (that and they need a new website.)

Now usually, I watch this from behind the bar, and apart from the occasional person squashing by me for the till or a glass, I don't have to spend the evening trying to avoid bumping into people. But in an attempt to avoid unnecessary agro, I had opted for service side of things today. And I think I win an award for doing just about all the jobs going that night (ok, apart from the cook). I was on "go where needed" detail.

So a apart from the occasional smoke break and three words with the guys, I pretty much had my head down all night.

And then at around midnight, it wound down. Only three tables left, one of which were my table. :)
We started clean up while Max made us our 'after service drink'. I always like this part of my nights at Le Cercle. But somehow, when it stops, before exhaustion hits me, I'm psyched. (I usually head home not really wanting to). And tonight even more so because I had people to go out with after. :)

By now I begin to realise that John is sloshed. Now I don't usually see John drunk, because if I'm out drinking with him, I will be underneath the table before he's even getting tipsy.
But I was told he had been drinking since office lunch. Tonight he was really funny.

The three of us head over the road to a puppet infested bar (urgh) for a Barbar Winter Bok. (The cold season version of my favorite beer, Barbar.) We were only allowed one round unfortunately as it was closing time for them too. So we savored it slowly and had a good laugh. However, I was perpetually trying to avoid looking at the puppets on the walls to see if they were moving knowing full well I was being a complete idiot.

Back into the street, we head over to pita street for some food (and so that John can look at the naked boobies in the trees on the paintings ). Feeling altogether better for having food to soak up alcohol (for some A LOT more than others ;) ) We decide to grab one last beer at a place where I have spent many a night having a really good time.
I have been going there since I was in college and I still love it. (and no, I won't post the name or a link, this place is for the connaisseurs - and it's busy enough already.)
And the bar met John and Simon's instant approval a couple of years back (and sometimes the latter can be a wee bit hard to please)
But closing time strikes again. :( (bugger, bugger, bugger)

With no beer mug to hug, and our digestive systems crashing from oily food, we realised it was way past our bedtimes and decided to call it a night.

Now I received an sms from John a bit later, saying that his taxi had nearly crashed. And maybe it was him that was jinxing drivers.

He says this because on our very last road trip before he has to give back the company car, I finally did what I had managed to avoid doing for the past 10 years of me driving. I hurt it. :(
The beauty of company cars is that this doesn't seem to be a problem (apart from the fact that John will not have a car for his final week. :( )

So maybe all the near misses (that only ever happened in the car with John) weren't just me driving badly! ;)

Anyways, t'was a pleasant evening gentlemen, Liz where the hell were you? :)

Ps: Oh yeah, The photo. This was the sky out of my bedroom window as I was getting in this morning. I know it's pollution and street lights but it was beautiful.