Thursday, September 10, 2015

Night after the Museum

This being the museum in question. I found the "History of the World in 100 Objects" podcasts several years ago and started listening to them. I found the poster in the station quite by chance, and thought, "I have to go!". I listened to the podcasts again, finishing No. 100 literally as I turned into the museum carpark! I wondered what would actually be there, assuming some of the more precious, irreplaceable items might not be allowed to go on tour. My heart skipped a beat when I saw the Rosetta Stone, but it was a replica (the one above is a mouse pad I bought at the museum shop!). Never mind, I saw the real one in the real British Museum in London. Other items I missed included the Ain Sakhri Lovers, the gold cape (they had a similar item of beaten gold to replace it), the Statue of Ramses (they provided a different one), the Warren Cup, and the Holy Thorn reliquary (there was a reliquary of St Eustace to replace it) and the Mechanical Galleon. There were many other items missing or replaced, but those were ones I had been looking forward to seeing. On the other hand, there were wonderful extras, like the marble statue of Mithras, which fascinated me. Things I was thrilled to see there included the Standard of Ur and the Lewis Chessmen. The Ife Head was much more interesting in real life. I could go on!!! But I'll leave it for now...

I met Helen at Hakata station afterwards, and we found the hotel. We stayed at the Washington Hotel in Canal City. We started with some champagne in the room, the NZ Invivo sparkling Sauvignon Blanc I bought for my birthday. 

The we hit the town - a total of seven bars, which I think is a record for me! Especially as our only actual goal was the rooftop wine bar in Nakasu. First, Helen was hungry so we popped into a pub in Canal City and got a margarita each. She had a smoked cheese pizza and I had fish and chips, with the tiniest 'fish' I've ever eaten! And chips that were basically potatoes. I wish they wouldn't mess with the tried and tested formula... there's a reason it works... I bet they think they are improving on it, too, sigh...

We decided to walk, despite the rain, both of us being fairly waterproof. It was further than we thought, but it was okay. The rooftop bar turned out to be full, though we were offered a booking at 10. It was 8:30 then, so we took it, and I suggested slumming it by hitting the street stalls down the road, just for a contrasting experience! The street stalls on Nakasu Island, the party island in the middle of Fukuoka are famous.

Us on fire. I like this photo!

Above, the stall, on one the end and one of the only ones with no queue. It was so-so and the master was damned grumpy! He did warn us that we would not like the chicken, as it was raw. That's it there on the right in front of the girl, they had ordered it as well, and not eaten it! Then Helen just suggested he cook it a bit longer. It turned out quite tough. Meanwhile, we had a few beers so all was good! We heard them insist to some Chinese who sat down that they had to order food, not just alcohol, and wondered if that was a selective rule. They hadn't said that to us.

Finally, we hit our goal, the bar ES, with fine rooftop night views, and splashed out for the Moet - 8,900 but we justified by a) spoiling ourselves and b) it was the cheapest champagne on the menu!

I stopped taking photos after that. I suppose it's a good thing really that I leave my phone alone after I've had a few! That's got to be the better choice on balance, right? Next we tried to find an Irish and/or foreigners bar. I was trying to find the one I'd gone to with Candace, which was a good Irish bar, quite friendly. The one we found was a pastiche, a modern Japanese place shaped like a pub, even with sports playing on the TV, but missing the soul. Helen meanwhile had had a spectacular fall over the road from the pub, not long after we'd got out of the taxi. She spotted the pub, got excited, and slipped down a step in the rain. I have not included the photo of her knee... we dosed her with brandy (half on the knee as antiseptic) and fed her up with onion rings and chips (real ones at least this time). BUT it was not the right pub, so I tried again.

Another short taxi ride through the small streets of Tenjin and we found a very very small 'Irish' pub run by a grizzly old American. There were a few foreigners there for Helen to talk to (she said she felt like talking to people). They left soon after, and then she fell asleep! I sat talking to the bar owner while she dozed, and at this point thought he was an interesting fellow.

Then some more customers bowled in, a lovely lady from the Philippines called Grace, married to a Japanese man like us, so we were happy to natter away with her. Helen woke up when they arrived. Then at one point Helen and I decided to change the music. The bar owner was really slack about changing it and if we asked for someone, he'd put on whole concerts. We went behind the bar to get to the computer keyboard (it was YouTube) and apparently knocked the beer tap open. Anyway, he came back awfully angry, too angry, seeing as the beer thing was a total accident, and we would have graciously paid  for it. But he grabbed me by the arm to pull me out 'no one goes behind my bar' kind of thing, and has left me with a huge bruise! I bruise easily, but still

It hurt, and I was moaning about that, so we all hightailed it out of there fairly soon, and Grace must have felt sorry for us, because she took us to another great bar, on the second floor with windows overlooking the street. She had two other friends with her, so we made a great bunch of noisy ladies, and ordered more Moet! There were a couple of young Philippine guys there, and next thing, they were taking Helen and I to a dance club! Wohoo! dancing still exists in Fukuoka. Helen had some G&Ts but I think all I did was dance, which is why I was slightly less ill than her the next day!

We also lost each other, but both got back to the hotel. I had the devil of a time finding the elevator to the hotel! I had to do two circuits of Canal City to find it! Then I could not wake Helen and had to get the staff to open the door for me. THEN the lights were out, as she had not put the card key in the slot, so I had to go to the toilet in the dark, and could not find the bloody door handle! I was just tapping all over the door to find it when the hotel staff knocked on the door. We overslept and missed check-out, resulting in the staff angrily knocking on our door at 11am.

We were both so shot that after checking out we both slept in the car. Parking was so expensive! We paid extra for going overtime! After upgrading and paying for that too! I think next time I go to Fuk, I'll get the first train home in the morning instead of bothering with a hotel.