I’ve not long come back from my birthday weekend in Jersey. It was practically a weekend of pure hedonism.
On Friday morning the signs were not particularly good with heavy fog causing delays at the airport. But by the time our early evening flight was called all the inter-island flights were back on schedule and we were off right on time.
Rather brilliantly for a birthday we flew on Joey, which made me feel like a big kid. Foran non Channel Islanders, G-JOEY is the flight registration of Aurigny’s, (our local airline) most famous plane and mascot. Joey is a yellow Trislander with a big red nose and a pair of eyes, and was the star of a set of children’s books whilst I was at junior school. That thought alone is scary as it is a long, long time since I was in junior school!
Paul, Jeff, Jim, Glenn and myself arrived at the hotel, freshened up and then met in the hotel bar for a meal before heading out onto the town.
The first bar we went to was fairly quiet, but a round of drinks seemed very cheap. Karaoke started up with varying degrees of success and talent. But despite having at least three people known for there antics with the mic, it was far too early and we were far too sober to participate. We moved onto to another pub, only this one had huge leather couches that were far too comfortable for their own good. Pints were sank, and chat was made as was the decision to move on.
The weather had changed dramatically whilst we were in the bar. Huge raindrops fell from the sky as fast flowing streams appeared in the gutter. It was quite unbelievable how so much rain had fallen in such a short space of time.
With the rain showing no signs of abating, we ran to La Carla, a large bar/club where we knew that we could bolt up for the rest of the night. We arrived soaking wet to a virtually empty place. However, the night was still fairly young and we would expect it to fill up later. As we made ourselves comfortable at the bar, I was handed one very nice tasting shot, and one that was pretty foul. They both disappeared down the hatch quickly though. By means of revenge, I ordered a round of tequilas – a beverage that I’m pretty fond of but no-one else amongst my friends likes at all. I love the fact that I’m given drinks with Tabasco in as a birthday drink, but make them drink one round of the tequila…..
The rest of the night was a bit of a blur. I know there was dancing and much drinking involved, but not a lot of detail comes to mind. On the plus side, I did awake in my own bed the following morning so despite not really remembering how I got back to the hotel, I did at least manage that, and remember my room number.
There was just one thing puzzling me – where the crisps come from?
When I got up I discovered two packets of crisps. Both opened – one empty, one with about half its contents strewn about the floor. I sent a text message saying when I was getting up and asking where I’d got the mystery crisps from. The replies I got back weren’t encouraging – no-one knew.
I got dressed and headed down to the bar. Stu had flown over a little earlier and met me in the bar. Then Jim met me and explained that when we got back to the hotel we’d asked the night porter if their was any chance of some food, and he gave us the crisps.
One mystery solved, the next was to come – why when asked what I wanted at the bar did I reply a pint of Best! A pint at that time was really a ‘kill or cure’ proposition. Thankfully for me it turned out to be the latter.
Once we all gathered we took a walk down to the waterfront and headed to the cinema. For once there was little argument over the film with the later Simon Pegg/Nick Frost offering ‘Paul’ having started this week. I loved it and found myself trying to spot all the sci-fi references of which there were many. It felt like they had made a film just for me!
We walked back to the hotel to freshen up before heading out for a meal. We ate at a steakhouse named ‘Wildfire’, and it was fantastic. I has a New York strip steak, Glenn had a T-bone. Everyone else, with the exception of Stu who had lamb, had fillet steaks. None of us were disappointed with our choices, but we’d have all been equally as happy with any other the others plates. The food was excellent, and afterwards we went to one of the quieter pubs to digest before ramping back up for the night.
What really started the night was the pub games. We must all have been out of practice because there was a lot of forfeit drinking taking place. But after the meal it livened us up and we headed to Chambers.
Chambers was surprisingly quiet, and at times surprisingly smelly. Stu asked a local girl who appeared to be dressed as Minney Mouse for a recommendation on where to go. She just told us to wait until 10pm and then things would pick up considerably. At 9:45 the place was nearly empty. At 10:05 it was getting crowded.
We knew that we wanted to head to a bar/club called drift, and had been warned to arrive fairly early to avoid the queues. We went in through the side entrance, and found that it wasn’t too busy at all. I was given a couple of foul drinks and we settled in for the night. Then the crowds came, and when you thought the place was full, still more squeezed in. We found ourselves migrating closer to the dancefloor, eventually grabbing a table between it and the bar. Heading to the bar myself, I had to laugh as I lined up with everyone else.
The bar was square, and each side was being worked by a different person. On my side was a lady who was quite obviously dealing with people in as close to the order they arrived as she could remember. On my right the barman was fairly obviously targeting any woman in ‘queue’ first. As I waited my turn, I just watched as people grew morerestless, leaning further over the bar; banknotes waving in the air as the men attempted to get served. Which, is why I’m sorry to say that I took great delight in watching the barman drop his glasses as he attempted to show off to a woman he was serving.
The night wore on and I turned 32, celebrating with more tequila. The club started to close, and we were asked to leave by bouncers in the only way that most know how – loudly. We found ourselves queuing for food at a fast-food place, where Glenn and I made our biggest error of the weekend; we said yes to the chilli sauce on our kebab meat and chips.
I save mine until I got back to the hotel and then tucked in. Suddenly my mouth was on fire. Looking closely I could then see that this wasn’t the sweet chilli I’d expected, but instead was absolutely full of chilli seeds. Not just a couple, but the sort of quantities you’d expect atop a sesame seed bun. I just about managed until the final bite, which must have had something extra on it as my eyes started watering and my tongue seemed to try and escape from my mouth. I ended up with my head in the bathroom sink, the cold tap turned on and running directly onto my tongue!
Drunk as I was, I ended up exchanging a couple of e-mails with a friend who is currently on the other side of the world before finally getting my head down.
I was suddenly awake. Very, very awake. The screaming in my head felt like it was going to make my eyeballs explode. Despite the loudness and the shrillness of the fire-alarm, it still took me a few seconds to figure out exactly what the hell the racket was. I struggled into a shirt, and halfway into some trousers when it stopped as abruptly as it began. I flopped back onto the bed cursing whoever had tripped the alarm.
The group was slightly more sober the next time we met come checkout time. We sat in the bar nursing soft drinks and waiting for the taxi to the airport. The hangovers were surprisingly light with the main complaint being tiredness and the damn fire alarm.
It was time to head back to Guernsey. Another Jersey birthday trip done and dusted.