27 June 2012

Jazz night with the new friends

As I discovered while chatting with Phil at Starbucks yesterday, he is extremely lucky because he can do his job from anywhere thus still gets an income while he is traveling, therefore has the luxury to get out of a hostel and into an apartment for a few months! Damn him. He just got accepted into a new apartment, and it turns out his new roommate is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G... he is like 40 and has turned his huge garage into a jazz bar that he hosts every Friday, getting local musicians to play, and throwing a BBQ while he is at it! Woah!

Phil promptly invited Isabel, Thiago (apparently I met him at the pub crawl the other night... I don't remember) and I over for the show. It was in a suburb called Berkeley (the same place that Berkeley University is), which is across the bay from San Francisco, about a fairly easy 30 minute train ride away. We'd never gone that far out of the city at night before, nor were we familiar with the neighbourhood, nor even knew precisely how to get home, but Phil said it was going to be epic so that was good enough for us.

And It. Was. Epic.

The bands were unreal! Seriously these guys were like professionals. I think most of the bands were simply students from the local Berkeley University, but wow, they absolutely rocked.

The music and atmosphere was amazing, a very cool place indeed
These guys had a xylophone! Brilliant!
Phil and Thiago watching intently... ha.
This jazz place has been named by its creator as 'Birdland'. The reason for this is easily apparent when you see that the walls of the garage are literally lined with rows and rows of birdhouses that this guy has created from scrap material over the years. There would have been easily over a 100 all around the garage and further out into the backyard... it was a little creepy...

You can see them on the wall in the photo above of Phil and Thiago, and you can see in the photos below of the backyard. Crazy. 

This could easily have been a screenshot from a horror film...
By this stage we'd already been listening to the bands for an hour or more, which easily flew by really. Afterwards we had a quick tour from Phil of the place (it was sweet) and finally it was time for food, yay! We were terribly starving... aww man, the food isn't ready! That sucks...

Isabel and I fought our way through the crowd to stand right next to the BBQ to be first in line, win! While waiting we had the most amazing conversation about all things; life, travel, dreams, jokes, people. I can't exactly remember all of it but I felt that she was pretty much on the exact same wavelength as I, something that was a very welcomed relief as it isn't too often that I meet someone who is! It was pretty amazing actually. And I remember at one point cracking up laughing completely at random (to her surprise) because I had just had another 'I have just realized where I am in the world' moments. She asked what I was laughing at and after some thought, this is what I told her:

"It's Friday night, roughly 11.30pm, the sky is clear and the stars are out and here I am in the backyard of a house in Berkeley, California, America, standing next to a BBQ while listening to jazz in the other room. I'm a million miles away from my home of Australia, and you're a million miles away from your home of Portugal, yet here the two of us are sharing a beer, having one of the best conversations I've had in quite some time, having an absolutely amazing time, and it was all brought upon by complete chance simply because we just happened to have become friends in our hostel, then to be lucky enough to become friends with Phil by chance, a guy from Canada who is visiting for a few months who just happened to get himself an apartment that happens to host jazz nights that he invited us over too. 

6 months ago I could never have dreamed I would be in a situation like this. Or better yet, even 6 days ago I couldn't have known this is where I would be right now. 6 days ago I hadn't even met you or Phil yet!"

Times like this is what makes travel the exceptional journey it is.

Isabel digging into some food... we were all insanely hungry...
Finally the food was cooked. We we're happy.

So... as mentioned we were not in San Francisco but in a neighbourhood that is across the bay, with the only reasonable way to travel to and from is via train. No worries. On the way to the place we originally planned to catch the last train, at 1am, back into the city to return to our hostel, expecting the night to be pretty chilled and easy to depart. 1am came and went easily without notice however, there was no way we could leave with the food and great bands around! At around 2am however the bands finished, the BBQ got turned off, and everyone went home...

Ah... not so fun now.

Ok, so when's the next train? Oh... what's that? At 5.25am you say? Oh, but tomorrow is Saturday of course... so it is at 6.30am instead now, correct? Lovely...

We had 4 hours to kill, and we are all already absolutely exhausted. Although I can't remember why we were all so tired... did we do something the night before? By my lack of memory it must have involved drinking ha.

I found something to do for a while =D

Me on piano. With all the instruments now free I jumped at the chance to play them all! Isabel took this photo without my knowledge.
 Oh man, playing the drums and piano was such a blast! I miss playing them very much.

Oh yeah! The creepy guy! I almost forgot to mention him. So after all of the above happened Phil, Isabel, Thiago and I went inside Phil's apartment (which is connected to the garage that holds Birdland) to chill out until our train. Although we weren't alone as friends of Phil's roommate kept coming and going, one of whom being one of the biggest douches I have met on my entire trip, perhaps in my entire life, that awesomely decided to stick around with us. I hated him as soon as he said hello really... although hey, don't think I am far too judgmental, you would have disliked him also with a greeting like this:

Douche: "So where is everyone from eh?"

Everyone answers.

Me: "Australia"

Douche: "Ah! Australian eh? Mate eh! Mate! Yeah that's what they say yeah? Mate? Maaaaaaaate! Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaatee! Maaaaaaaaate! Haha! Yeah mate? How's it going mate! Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaateee! That's what they say yeah? How's it going mate! Hahaha!"

I was not amused...

Me: "Something like that..."

He then spent the next hour trying to hit on Isabel in the absolute worst and sleaziest way I have ever bore witness too. One of the worst parts was when he asked her to teach him how to say numbers in Portuguese (remember she is from Portugal) because 'he was interested in learning how to count to ten', which was simply his very poor and embarrassing attempt at trying to get her phone number.

It. Was. Painful.

And terribly annoying.

Especially at 4am in the morning.

Phil and Thiago dying ever so slowly while listening to the douche 'work his magic'
Eventually it was time to try and get some sleep with still another hour or two to go. We all crashed on the couch, Isabel and Thiago falling asleep before they had even sat down. Phil, as this was now his apartment, was lucky to have his own pillow and mattress to lie down on. I couldn't sleep so I simply pretended to do so while actually just watching the douche in his drunken state do the most weird and random crap. At one point he just stood in the middle room for literally like 10 minutes just staring at the wall. Then after that he looked around the room, checked to ensure that we were all asleep, then proceeded to sit down on the floor next to Isabel's face and stare at her... yeah... that's not right. I made a big shuffling noise with my feet to startle him. It worked and he scurried away for a while.

A bit over an over later (and more weird crap by the creepy guy) it was time to go. I was surprisingly wide awake, much to the annoyance of Isabel and Thiago who both looked completely dead on their feet ha!

The sun beginning to rise as Isabel, Thiago and I made our way to the train station. It was damn cold.
I laughed at this moment as it had been quite some time since I have stumbled back home in the morning hours after a night out, bringing back memories of nights back home in Australia. After a boring train ride by 7.30am we were back in San Francisco, unable to feel our fingers in the freezing morning air as we walked the couple of blocks back to our hostel. The worst part was that I had stuffed up my hostel room booking and had to check out of my current hostel at 10am and move to a different hostel that same day... come on! Sigh. I crashed into my bed at 8am... then woke up at 9.30am, packed my bags, checked out of the hostel, snuck back into the hostel, and fell asleep on the common room couch for 4 hours surrounded by my bags. It was brutal.

But wow, what a great night! The way fun pub crawl on Wednesday, chilling at Starbucks with company on Thursday, followed by Jazz the following night, this week was going sweet! And it really was made all the more sweeter because of Phil, Mitch (who couldn't make it to the jazz sadly) and Isabel.

I have a good feeling about what the next couple of days may bring.


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