Sunday, August 26, 2007

Govan to Hong Kong. The eaty way.

Friday 10am. Am woken by cat leaping off top of wardrobe and landing on chest like dropped sack of potatoes. Except with feet, and claws. And loud yelping noises. Did it at 5am too - apparently it likes me. Quickly work out that in order to kill it I have to catch it first, and while I'm still under the duvet it's already out the door, laughing.
Get up and try to remember where dry cleaners is that contains suit which got covered in red wine the other night by singularly stupid partygoer. It's in Partick, of course, so walk down to Dumbarton Road and pick up suit. Meet friend at cashpoint who's just been to doctor and given the all clear. "What for?" I ask. "Worst hangover I've ever had" comes the cheery reply, "Just going off to try and find the car now. Want a lift?"

11.30am. Get subway (single stop) to Govan Cross, walk through the quiet, sunny streets of what was once a thriving shipyard community but is now largely deserted, to pack bag and leave Glasgow, having forsaken the delights of Cannes to holiday this year in, er, Govan .

12.00 noon. Stagger down stairs with bag and walk to bus stop, avoiding eye contact with suspicious looking new Govanite who, on a hot day is wearing a jumper, two jackets and an anorak. His pasty white vacant expression, dribbling, and slight stagger suggest narcotic intake so leap onto first small cityhopper bus and join cheery pensioners who are on their way to meet chums for shopping, cups of tea and probably small cheese and onion foldover from Greggs the bakers. (60p)
12.10 Alight at Govan Cross Shopping Centre and join queue to buy Greggs 59p sausage roll for late brunch. Scoff entire thing (yum) before taking subway, this time halfway round the entire system, to Buchanan Street.

12.29 Arrive Queen Street Station in time to miss train to Edinburgh but they're every fifteen minutes. Don't care. It's packed so sit in Business Class, where I can read a free copy of the Evening Times if I pay the supp of five quid. Ticket Inspector comes round and counts number of people in Business with economy tickets. All six of us. "Doesn't matter" he says and let's us all off. Nice man. The rest of the train is sweaty standing room only so donate my copy of Evening Times through sliding door in spirit of Red Cross.

13.30 Am late for lunch so sprint up Waverly Steps to Balmoral Hotel, where I pretend I'm staying in order to leave bag, fresh from Govan, and head up to Harvey Nicks where, on the Forth Floor the agent has a table outside, and we enjoy the fresh air, sunshine and spectacular view over St Andrews Square while munching and drinking posh food and wine al fresco. The starter is some kind of tiny dried up smoked haddock pastry thing which I wouldn't have paid 29p for in Greggs, followed by "Thai" fishcakes which are as big as they are tasteless. Greggs don't serve fishcakes so no comparable data available.

15.30 It's Festival Time so all manner of famous faces are lingering and drinking after lunch, some of whom I can even put a name to, rather than simply "that's that bloke off Mock the Week". Tragically no deal is done so we agree to reconvene in London for more posh food and wine.

16.00 Head to office, write emails, make calls, bemoan August as a month where nobody is at their phone. Leave at 16.55.

18.00 We are esconsed in a Thai champagne bar but swap for beers in tiny wee pub in Royal Mile, which has resisted gastropubification and only serves drink to bona fide drunks. And us. Crisps if you're lucky, although to be fair it does have a small room at the back which is transformed into a theatre for the festival. Thus providing a three week income which probably outstrips the annual bar takings. The barman is an expert at lighting his fag behind the bar, taking a draw as he walks towards the door, inhaling and, as he reaches the fresh air, blowing out a lungful of smoke, thus not breaking any laws. There is also a military chap, sporting several scars and tattoos, who wants to be my friend.

20.00 Hopes of dinner in Edinburgh's poshest new Italian eaterie are dashed by throngs of tourists so a greek meze and BYOB suffice. Thresher's 3 for 2 deal means we've got two extra bottles which miraculously we do not open as we are too busy talking.

23.00 I snaffle one of the bottles, get it opened by pushing my way through a melee of drunks in the Waverly Station bar to grab the corkscrew and settle down in the overnight sleeper buffet to read and drink wine. But have mislaid reading glasses! And can't read! Bah! Do not therefore feel like sitting drinking wine. Strike up conversation with other passenger who has cancer. Very sad, very thoughtful, very brave. Terminal.
00.00 Change mind. Drink wine.

02.00 Stagger - the train is moving - to berth and try not to waken other occupant but accidentally switch light on, kick him while clambering into top bunk, switch main overhead light on, loudly apologise and then - presumeably - snore all the way to Euston.

07.00 Turfed out into cruel light of day and jump in cab. Arrive home at 8am and we go out to Patisserie Valerie for breakfast. Beautiful morning, slightly sleepy. Put other suit in other dry cleaners - one I'll remember this time.

09.00. Head for proper tube, Piccadilly line, to Heathrow. Sail through whole process (already checked in, no queues, pleasant staff give me fast track pass) and, despite efforts of British Airports Authority to prevent me finding plane by constructing large supermarket in the middle of the terminal, by 11am am sitting in airline lounge eating dimsum for second breakfast.

12.00 Board Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong and change into Shanghai Tang pyjamas. Chinese attendent surprises me with Glaswegian accent. He's from Shawlands, which is a bit like the nearby Govan except everyone has a job and a large house. Watch movies, sleep, eat, sleep, watch movies.

07.00 Arrive Hong Kong and am whisked by fast car along motorways, over bridges, through tunnels into Central for first meeting where, in the sublime surroundings of the Mandarin Oriental, we are to my disappointment eating fashionable western style breakfast (boo!) instead of dimsum which is probably what the entire population of the HK is tucking into at that moment.

11.00 Meeting over and am whisked off again to ferry for Macau where the world's biggest hotel/casino complex is about to open. The Venetian - a clone of the Las Vegas Venetian , where the Grand Canal and gondolas exist cheek by jowl with branches of Nike and Zara - just like Venice itself.
Acres of wealth, bags of opulence, 3000 duplex suites instead of rooms, plus twenty four hours a day seriously upscale fine dining establishments from Japan, Los Angeles, Paris, and New York. But alas not Govan. No 59p sausage rolls then.


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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

boring. yawn,u know nothing about govan