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August 18, 2008

Geburtstage Und Politik

This weekend was definitely Leo-riffic. Two of our American friends, one of whom lives in London and the other who's based in Germany, both of the girls have birthdays this month, as do I. 'Germany' flew in over the weekend and we all got together to celebrate.

'London' recently passed through North America. During a visit to Austin, Texas, she stopped by Antone's blues club and got me some pressies: a t-shirt sporting a picture of some Les Pauls and Marshall stacks with the slogan "The Little Voices Make Me Play Guitar" and a handful of Antone's branded picks. Not too shabby.

Tim, London and Germany met whilst doing a master's degree together in International Relations a few years back, so conversations often come around to global politics, which is cool. It's always fun to listen to smart people discussing stuff that they actually know about! Saturday night was no exception.

We all met up at "The Lane" restaurant near Aldgate East tube station. London had invited along a couple of her friends, both of whom are extremely successful black women (as is London). So, here's the scene... upscale Afro-Caribbean cuisine, party of six, four ladies, two men, 50:50 white/black split... oh, and a 5:1 American/British ratio. Let me just say that when the conversation came around to Barak Obama, the debate became quite polarised. Following the American Primaries everyone around the table supported him for the upcoming election, but issues surrounding his ethnicity really seemed to raise hackles. Even now the hurt and mistrust from the days of slavery and segregation are still close to the surface. For whatever reason, one of London's friends couldn't let go of her belief that white people (us, specifically) would first and foremost judge him based on skin colour. She was definitely wrong in her assumption about us. I sincerely hope that she's wrong about the American people in general, though I'm certainly not qualified to make a determination on that point.

Okay, so I'm rambling now. The food at "The Lane" was okay, but the dining experience was ruined by the truly awful, amateurish service there. For a place that markets itself as upscale, they fall laughably short of the mark.

Sunday saw us trawling through Spitalfields market, the Truman Brewery and Brick Lane markets. I love that area. There's so much cool stuff there. Had din-dins at Cafe Bangla. Really, really good curry. The lamb tikka pathia was stunningly tasty. Rrrrrecommended! Picked up some ROCKING t-shirts... the biggest size they had was large, so they're a little bit on the tight side... especially after that indian... but when I modelled them Germany said that they made me look like a body-builder! Hey, maybe I should shoot for the Henry Rollins look after all! Note to self: try to cut back on the curry and beer...

(I was going to model them, but did I mention the curry and beer?)

We rounded off Germany's visit by sitting out in the back yard, listening to music, sipping cocktails and sheltering from the evening rain. Sometimes it's the simple things in life like good conversation and the support of friends that are what's really important.

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