Wednesday, June 22, 2005

How good is Reading?

It's crap!

I've just spent the last 3 days there on an Oracle Course learning how to improve database querying, which given the fact I've been trying to get on this course for 2 years turned out to be pretty good; but the city itself, is awful.

The hotel was a travellodge, a chain that is usually OK but not here. It was in the grimiest part of town surrounded by main roads and motorways. We were recommended by the staff not to park our car outside as it would get broken into and so had to find somewhere safer to park it.

There was no air con in the rooms and the windows barely opened, and given the heat wave it proved very difficult to sleep and when you did finally drop off you'd be awoken by a random crime event outside. On Sunday night it was someone running from an attempted stabbing, on Monday it was some middle eastern guys fighting and last night it was a car crash, or at least it's what it sounded like. The rooms only had 4 channels, not even channel 5. The chain usually has Sky as standard.

The main hub of nightlife seems to be a little development called The Oracle comprising of a shopping centre, a cinema and plenty of bars and restaurants around a river that we thought was man-made but actually isn't. The average price for drinks there was £3 each, daylight robbery in London, even worse there.

One of the nights got quite messy as we drank loads ending up in a really cool bar called "Purple Turtle", it was a goth, indy crowd but the drinks were half the price of those by the river and the vibe was nicer. It's the only place I can really recommend going to should you ever find yourself there.
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