Thursday, May 24, 2007

Day Off in Birmingham

Got up at 9 this morning so I could make it downstairs in time for the free breakfast. All of our hotels (except one) on this tour include breakfast in our room price. Which is great for a cheapskate like me. Or you could say it's just more per diem money for the bar tabs.

This was gonna be my first proper English breakfast, with eggs, beans, mushrooms and broiled tomatoes. Was. Didn't turn out that way. We're at the Birmingham Malmaison, which is a great hotel (stayed in plenty of Mal's) in a great location (connected to the mall, surrounded by more restaurants, pubs, shops and entertainment than you would believe), but it's just foofy enough of a hotel to offer a more upscale breakfast than I was hoping for. Way more European and trendy – no beans, no 'shrooms, no tomatoes, nada. Won't be coming down tomorrow before walking to the gig – I'll eat at the venue instead as we're using Eat Your Hearts

I was gonna get caught up on some TV this morning (season finale of 24, coupla Lost episodes), but the hotel's internet connection wasn't fast enough to let me crank up the Slingbox back home. Oh, well…

Ivan called around 11:30 and wanted to find some lunch. Blaine called 5 minutes later, same thing. Off to Shakespeare's Pub again, the place from last night, where all three of us had the fish & chips (when in Rome…).

The rest of the day was spent window-shopping, people watching, and walking around.

One of the shopping areas:

Click to enlarge.

I think this is the town hall building:
Click to enlarge.

The statue in front of it is referred to by the locals as "The Floozie in the Jacuzzi". Here a few shots of it.

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

The three of us reconvened again around 7:30 for dinner. Wound up at a really good Mediteranean restaurant where many Czech Budvars were consumed. Budvar is the original Budweiser. Green bottle, tastes great.

After dinner, we walked along the canal and followed it up to the party district. The other guys really wanted to hit the touristy/popular bars. I wanted to stop at some of the dingy pubs along the canal. I probably should have just met up with them later (or not), because we wound up at exactly the kind of bar that I would normally not be caught dead in. Full of idiots.

Back in my room by midnight…

TOILET PAPER UPDATE: Bless the English. They get it. Best paper of the tour.

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