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S'mae! Dw'in byw ym Mangor

Bangor, United Kingdom

So I got into Bangor and Steph was waiting on the platform for me. It occurred to me that it had been forever since anyone has really waited for me on any of my travels. Someone picked me up from the airport in Austin for Christmas, of course, but out of the the 11 countries I'd visited before Christmas, and coming back to Germany, and then going to London, Stirling, and Ireland, no one has ever been there waiting for me as I pulled in. At first that was a really lonely feeling - seeing everybody else finding someone, and all of the hugging and crying and smiling and other people carrying luggage for you. But I actually got really used to it, and had forgotten until I saw Steph on the platform how much I missed having someone to greet me.

She and I went back to her flat, which is where I spent most of my time. She lives in the international dorm, so she lives with people from Germany, Austria, Spain, Italy, Britain, etc. Her best friend there is German, and they play an absurd game where they hide clothespins in the kitchen and wait for other people to find them. I got to join in on all of the games and absurdity. It was a lot of fun in the end.

We took one trip to Portmeirion. This is another story requiring context.

I grew up watching a show called the Prisoner with my dad. It's a spy show from the 1960s, and is incredibly 60's-ish. I think the first time a lava lamp was ever shown on TV was in the Prisoner, so it kind of helped start the craze. The whole thing about the show is that this British secret agent quits his job, goes back to his apartment and starts to pack, and then gas seeps in through the absurdly-large keyhole and knocks him out. This is all during the really intense intro bongo music. He wakes up in a village that is only called The Village, which looks very Mediterranean. Everything is stucco and really colorful, but it's really creepy. Every map of The Village only shows the village, and the surroundings are The Sea, The Mountains, and The Forest. So he has no idea where he is. And he's just given a number, and no one goes by names. And if you try to escape, these great bouncy white ball things chase you down and suffocate you.

Needless to say, when I found out that this was all filmed in a town called Portmeirion in northern Wales, conveniently close to where Steph was studying, I had to go.

It's even hard to get to. We took a bus to a placed called Porthmadog, which neglected to tell us via a sign or anything that we were actually in Porthmadog. From Porthmadog we caught a bus to a placed called Minffrodd, I think, which was the next village over, and from there we had to walk through the woods to the village of Portmeirion.

Even without having watched the show, the village is incredibly surreal. But I'd seen the show, so it was surreal squared. I recognized places and scenes. We even went down to the ridiculously big beach (where in the first episode the main character is chased down by a giant bouncing ball) for a while. Of course, the only time I've ever seen a warning for quicksand would be in The Village, right?

Other than that one trip, Steph and I just explored Bangor a lot. We went to the Yellow Pub a lot (which has an actual name, but it's yellow) because it played good music and had a good atmosphere and good food. And to Herbs, which is a really good Redwall-esque restaurant. Overall, great times.

permalink written by  lost_red_balloon on March 24, 2009 from Bangor, United Kingdom
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