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Part 2 - Saturday
I met Jasna at Paddington (eventually), and we headed over to Liverpool Street to grab everyone else. TFD (davedowns) came down from Hull for it (we're just that compelling, as a group) and was the first to show up, followed by Carrie (cellardor (though I keep wanting to type stewpotc)). Merel (myarra) joined us next, and then we were just waiting for tma - the man around whom we had planned all the timings in the first place. Should have known better than to think that he'd get there on time - where he lives, trains are pulled by horses...

What then followed was something of a farce.. TMA, in his infinite stinginess, had brought two-for-one vouchers for Pizza Express, and asserted that he knew the location of at least three such outlets in close proximity to the station, and that we were all to follow him. Somewhere around Moorgate, we realised that the man was lying, and had no idea where we were or where we were meant to be going. I blame all of us, really, for following him in the first place. Fortunately, some of us have GPS-enabled phones, so we were able to salvage the trip and find the restaurant without too much bother.

I should mention at this point that we were in the heart of the financial district, where there's nothing much to speak of other than offices and banks and the like. Consequently, it being a Saturday, the streets were dead, barely another soul around.. Likewise the restaurant, where we were the only people there at first (at 2pm on a Saturday afternoon!), which was actually rather lucky, since as a party of six we'd be unlikely to be seated anywhere even remotely busy.

So pizza time, and the three girls (all sitting along one side of the table - just like at school) all ordered their plain old margaritas. The three guys, sitting on the other side of the table, all ordered our pepperoni pizzas. It was almost embarrassing in its predictability... :o)

In any case, we ate dinner, it was delicious, TMA managed to sweat profusely upon coming into contact with hot food, I may have imagined that the toilet was singing to me, and TFD let down the men's side by not having jalapeños on his pizza. We followed the dinner with some delicious dessert, and then TMA kindly got us half price on the meal. In his infinite tightness, he had presumed that dinner would come in at under £10 each (which it technically very nearly did - if you didn't tip at all) and therefore hadn't brought enough money to pay his share. It is therefore worth noting that at this point, he owes me ten pounds. Must not forget...

What then followed was possibly the most epic of walks I've ever bothered to undertake in London (because honestly, who needs to travel that far anyway?).. We went down from Moorgate, via Bank down to Cannon Street, and then along to St Pauls. At this point, I think it became pretty obvious that we had no real plans, and that that part of London was pretty much dead, so we sort of had to come up with something to do. So we went down to the river, and headed along the Embankment down to Westminster.

Somewhere around Temple we stopped off in a park to call Carrie and Kelly (ladyspeak and lipglossgecko, obviously). Okay, I will admit that it wasn't the quietest of locations from which to conduct a phone call, and that it may have been close to a main road, but we didn't have all that many options. Anyway, much of that exchange is covered in my video of us calling her, so I don't need to repeat it here. It was a bit of a failure, but then again the success of the day did not exactly hinge upon us having an enriching chat with a bunch of Texans, so it's all good :o)

Oh, and we gave thought to taking a tour bus around London - good for the tourists, right? Wrong! Unless you're talking about tourists who fancy paying £24 each for a ride on a bus that's so full that people have to stand up! For all of us, it would have been near enough £150 - it's cheaper to ride the London Eye ffs!! Absolutely mad...

So, Westminster.. We went and sat under this tree, while we waited for the inevitable downpour to materialise. It did not. Still, the sky was dark and stuff, and if afforded us the opportunity to sit around chatting. Merel, in her unfathomable eccentricity, started throwing things at people, and Carrie had to step in and be Mum and put a stop to it. Well, she is old, after all ;o)

Anyway, after much time chatting and stuff, we continued our wandering, though at that point it did start to rain (as predicted). TMA, robot that he is, was "worried about his electronics", bless him... And Jasna was worried that her hair dye would run everywhere. Naturally the group decided that a malfunctioning TMA accompanied by a bright pink Jasna would be an amusing prospect, so we moved on..

We swung out 'round Buckingham Palace, and headed up into Green Park, to take a bit more shelter under the trees. Would you believe, identifying the correct trees to hide under was not the simple task you might imagine it to be? Either that, or we're all just really really shit..

So we sat around under another tree, and chatted some more, recorded some more videos, that sort of thing.. I have what I'd consider to be a "DVD Extra" on my video camera - that is to say five minutes of footage that probably ought not ever see the light of day. Perhaps for the right fee....

Anyhow, by this point, time was moving on at a fair old rate.. Having met at 2pm, we'd spent a good five hours walking, sitting, talking, and occasionally getting hit by twigs. So we wandered down to the tube and boarded arguably the most busy train I've ever been on. Not even in rush hour during the week have I seen anything like it... We ditched TFD at Charing Cross (should've ditched him at Piccadilly, he'd have caught his train if we had - isn't hindsight great?) and walked Merel to the theatre where she was meeting up with friends.

Reduce to just the four of us, TMA, Jasna, Carrie and I made our way back to Liverpool Street so we wouldn't need to rush later. With an hour and a half to kill, we had a go at finding a pub to spend some time in, but nothing looked all that appealing, so instead we just sat down on some seats near Burger King. I know, we know how to have a good time, right?

Anyway, after finding out that Jasna can't order from Burger King in any period shorter than fifteen minutes (no, I know, it's crazy that they couldn't make a veggie burger in less than quarter of an hour) and that TMA doesn't offer women his seat (or maybe I just jumped up quickly so as to make him look bad, you never know) the day pretty much ended. Everyone was exhausted, TMA's train was there, Carrie's train was there, and they went home. Jasna and I headed back to Baker Street, and hung around until my train showed up, at which point I politely sodded off, and went home.

All in all though, it was a really good day, I thought.. Good to see TFD again - I haven't seen him since April 2001, it turns out.. And it was good to reminisce with him and TMA about the good old days, Kit (presumed dead), Chas (presumed dead), and the whole Internet-before-LJ thing.. Also good to meet Merel, even if she is kind of nuts :o)

Plus, always good to see Carrie, though I do worry that she's not afraid of me any more - at the lunch table, I'm pretty sure she gave serious thought to harming me.. Must try harder to be menacing.. Still, perhaps there's some merit in actually getting along with people, and that this represents a positive step forward :o)

And of course, it was awesome that Jasna was able to be there, thus making ours the first intercontinental AMA meet-up. Suck on that, USA :oP

We'll have to do it all again sometime.. Maybe next time, we'll come up with something to actually do with ourselves!

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I anticipated you would write something on the subject so I didn't have to... *adds to memories*

It's just as well that I had to work then, as I would have totally messed up the pizza symmetry.

TBH I don't think it would have made a difference, I'm fairly sure the train I was meant to catch was cancelled.

Fortunately I had foreseen and planned for such an eventuality, ensuring that there was at least one later train I could catch instead. Albeit one packed with twice as many people as it was designed for.

Still, well worth the trip!

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Oh, no, we'd have forced you to have a margarita ^__^.

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I'm sure I can get that fear back, don't worry ;o)

As an aside, based on keywords from your journal, I managed to work out what company you work for, and where their exact address is on that road. Scared now? ;o)

As for when you were thinking of harming me, at the dinner table. I remember having to check that you weren't about to kick me or something.. Can't think what I might have said, I was being so nice!

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Ugh, why must you take my achievements and make them seem stupid? :o(

You know I'll just have to try harder, right? :oP

As for your reflexes, you can't even stand up properly without needing help, so I'm not convinced ;o)

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I am like an emoticon machine :o)

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