Saturday, February 26, 2005

A Friday night story

Last night I met up with Alberto and his friend Yukari, who was visiting London from Paris for this weekend. We'd been supposed to go to the V&A Friday late opening, but the museum was shut down early for security reason. According to the museum, a lot more people than expected showed interest in this month's Friday late event. With a limited capacity of the museum, they decided to cancel the event in order to avoid any madness like the one we saw in the opening of IKEA's Edmonton branch a few weeks ago.

So we had dinner at Cafe Creperie (2 Exhibition Road), the only restaurant that seemed decent to me in this area. I was correct. Their galette lived up to the Parisian's taste buds, though picky Alberto may disagree. :-)

Then we took the tube and headed for West End for drink. I don't like West End bars, but under this freezing weather (London has seen snowfalls almost everyday this week), walking to a decent bar in Notting Hill or Hoxton for ten mintus from a tube station is not a good idea. (Good things in London tend to be located far away from tube stations...)

After finding a queue in front of the Market Place (one of the few good bars in West End) and visiting a few crappy bars, we ended up in a bar called the Porters Bar. Yukari was surprised to see how noisy London bars were. Almost all bars in London play crappy music in a very loud volume, just like a nightclub, making it difficult for punters to have a chat, though most Londoners do not seem to care. The Porters Bar didn't follow such a trend, but for some reason the bar was full of noise made by visitors. I guess there's something wrong with the accoustics of this bar.

Around 11 pm, we were forced to leave the bar as it was closing. Another surprise for Parisien Yukari. Many London bars and pubs shut down at 11 pm though scrapping the regulation has been proposed by the Blair government.

We searched for another bar, finding a bunch of noisy and smelly ones...

It was at that time when I realised I wasn't holding the handle of my bag.

Where did I leave it? I really had no idea. It was not that I was drunk. I only had one shot of tequila at the Porters Bar. I was probably too knackered from madness at LSE for the past few weeks to take care of my belongings...

Inside my bag were, among others, a digital camera, a mini-disk player, and an electronic English-Japanese dictionary. Chances were I lost everything, as London's norm says, "If you find something in the street, you're lucky."

We walked back to the Porters Bar first, finding no bag. Then we took the tube to visit Cafe Creperie. No bag there either.

It was already half past midnight. The last tube train was gone. Maybe I left my bag in the tube train. So I asked the tube guy. He told me to call 0845 330 9882 tomorrow. (Actually, this telephone line is open only on weekdays. People don't know anything exactly in this city.)

Alberto and Yukari saw me off when I got on the night bus home. I have to apologise to them for destroying a good Friday night out...

The next morning, I got a call from someone unknown. A guy called John told me he found my bag in the toilet of Moon & Six Pence, the pub where he's working. He called me by finding my mobile number on the diary in the bag. He asked me what was in it. A digital camera, a mini-disk player, ... "Sorry, they are gone, though you still have a dictionary."

I went to the pub and finally got the bag back. John told me, "Someone, after finding or stealing your bag, must have walked into the toilet so he/she could search for valuables without being noticed by anyone."

As I didn't visit this pub last night, a possible explanation is that I left the bag in the Porters Bar, someone found it, took it to the Moon & Six Pence pub, browsed inside it in the toilet, took the camera and the MD player (and a red and black ball-point pen and an eye drop), and left the bag behind.

As the digital camera is gone, I won't be able to decorate this blog with some pictures... As the mini-disk player is gone, I won't be able to listen to music away from home. But the hugest loss is the mini-disk inside the player. It recorded the broadcasting on BBC Radio 1 of Fabio & Grooverider's fantastic DJ set at Fabric last November. I hope the guy or girl stealing it is a drum & bass fan who can appreciate the value of that disk...

But I was rather lucky to have the bag back. This bag is very unusual. It's silver-coloured and rectangular-shaped. The one that a business tycoon might carry. Attached inside are plastic files in which I can keep A4 size papers, which is very convenient as academic papers printed out or photocopied are all I need to read as an economics PhD student. I'm 200% sure I won't be able to find something similar in London (even in Tokyo that would be difficult).

Also inside the bag was a copy of my draft paper with plans of revision written on it. That would have been a huge loss in terms of my research.

So thanks a lot, John.

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