Thursday, May 03, 2007

Newport, Newport, so good they named it once.

It would be boring to explain why I ended up spending Wednesday night in a hotel in Newport. The important point is that I did.

If you are going to spend the night in Newport, I recommend you stay in The Walkabout Hotel. It's the only hotel in the centre of town, and yes, it is above The Walkabout, a vibrant chain of pubs celebrating the Australian virtues of loud noise and spilt beer.

The receptionist was a fun girl with bunches and her feet up on the desk. She fished an eyeliner out of her handbag for me to sign in with. I asked her about restaurants.

"Oh, I think there's one on top of a hill somewhere," she said.

Up until last night if you'd asked me what bad feet smelled like, I'd have said "um, a bit cheesy". Now, if you asked me, I'd say "Room 12 at the Walkabout Hotel in Newport."

A notice on the wall warned me that there'd be a £40 fine if I smoked in the room. Also if I drank alcohol in there. There was no hot water. A sign near the fire escape warned me "Do not enter on pain of prosecution".

Why, when you're in a strange town looking for a restaurant do you only find the nice ones when it's too late? As it was, I missed the American salad bar, settling for a £4 pizzeria. They brought me a candle for my table. The waiter gestured at my newspaper. "We've got a reader in," he announced to no-one in particular.

There is a gay bar in Newport. It's on a desolate car park, looks like a scout hut, and is open on Thursdays. I stood sadly outside for a bit, and then walked back into town.

I rang Lee for solace. As he picked up the phone I could hear laughter and the clink of glasses. "I'm in Newport-" I began. "Oh. Can this wait?" he said.

Banned from smoking elsewhere, I perched in a shop doorway by a multi-story car park. I felt like a hooker.

For a straight place with nowhere to go, Newport's men all look Rather Gay. Or maybe it's because metropolitan gays now aspire to look like they come from Newport. Whatever.

I smuggled a small bottle of whisky back to the hotel in my jumper and drank it from the teasmade cup. I discovered that The Apprentice is a show where an awful bully shouts at ninnies. I fell asleep.

At midnight The Walkabout Disco began.

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