Anyway, it wasn't until we rolled up in Pittsburgh and eyeballed each other's backpacks that we actually converged and conversed. The lack of hostels in the vicinity meant that they were most likely staying at the same place as us; Not Another Hostel.
Tom, blond and tall, leapt in first with a toothy hello. We sang back cordial greetings and then got on with the business of exchanging names, ages, where in England we were from (London, Devon, Devon, London by coincidink), and how long we'd been travelling (us: seven-ish days, them: around the two-month mark) before debating the merits of getting a taxi together. It was a choice of either hunting down two buses at $2.50 a ride, or piling into a cab and splitting the fare amongst us for a three mile journey. The obvo choice was to find the nearest cab with a capacious back end for all our junk.
I can't pinpoint the exact moment I realised Tom and Pat were Lads of the Highest Order, but it was probably when I suggested we stop for happy hour at a bar offering $1 beers on our way to finding Mount Washington. The original plan was to get up the cable cars and look down on the city by sunset, but we all quickly consented to a swift pint because frankly, at that price, the bar was practically paying us to drink.
Pint drained, mountain conquered, dinner inhaled (we all went for half-price chicken wings with various marinades - ONE OF THEM RASPBERRY. Blew my mind. I usually abhor the idea of pairing fruit with meat (par example pineapple on pizza. Who in the hell invented that? A right frickin' wrong 'un, that's who) but raspberry barbecue marinade on wings was Offish Delish*) and cab caught, we returned to the hostel to find our host Jon whizzing around the dorms, chucking bed linen and towels on mattresses for us.
We spent the rest of the evening in Church Brew Works, a pub in a church that had barely been converted out of its religious moorings into a palace of ale. Apart from the fact that the altar now housed a full-on brewery with copper pipes and tanks and stuff, the place would be ready for Mass at any given second. I wondered if they performed beer baptisms.
Seeing as Tom and Pat were in town for the same length of time as Leah and I, and we all wanted to see the same things, we decided to knock about together the next day. During this time we:
Ate at Primanti Bros, a restaurant known for its ridiculously stuffed sandwiches (fries, coleslaw and cheese are the default basic fillers) and immortalised on Man vs Food. Adam Richman basically jizzes his pants when he has one, and while it was good, I don't think my arteries could take eating another in a hurry.
On the Lad Scale of Ladditity, I'd give this activity a 8/10. It would have gotten more if bacon was involved.
Strolled down the strip, one long road round the corner from the hostel that led us into the heart of downtown Pittsburgh. We passed houses that had properly gone to town with Halloween decorations, scrap and junk yards, sections of dilapidated dockland warehousing and then grocery stores, bars and food markets. Here's where we picked up ingredients for dinner, because nothing marks out a bunch of Lads more than lamenting about the lack of houmous and selecting items to make falafel and salad for dinner.
Lad Scale of Ladditity rating: 6/10. Would have received a higher rating if we did it rat-arsed, goin ' fackin' MENAAALLLL and with bits of kebab in our hair.
Then you turn the corner and WHAM! It's the iconic screen print of Elvis, or a giant replication of the front page of the New York Post using black glitter, or a space filled with rectangular silver helium-filled balloons floating dreamily around the room. Great place to while away the day, but the $20 admission fee seems a bit excessive.
Lad Scale of Ladditity rating: 5/10. A lot of it was awesome, but it made me think about social norms and how people behave and celebrity begfriending and yeah. Thinking is an unapproved activity in the Handbook of Laddism, Chapter Six, Coping with Culture so pôints had to be deducted for that.
Anyway, wicked time. Loved the Pitts more than Brad Pitt in Interview with a Vampire. Going to eat a burger now. Hugs and rainbows xx