Friday 14th July - It's always sunny in Brighton.
Onward and upward (or downward) to Brighton!
Today the team will finally come together to head over to beautiful Brighton for a day of respite before the craziness of the rally.
Pat, James and Haylee checked out of the hostel and had breakfast next door where we found out there'd been a bunch of acid attacks in our local area the night before. Five people were attacked with acid ten minutes from where we were staying, the scarier thing was that we were walking home at the exact time they occurred. Thankfully we were untouched and in one piece to head over to Brighton.
We waddled with our heavy backpacks down the road to the bus stop where we jumped on to head to where the car is parked. We've been parking our car at the B&Q hardware store as London CBD parking is insane. It also came in handy when we needed to load all the repair junk we'd bought into the car.
Natalie was meeting us just down the road at Tesco. We literally just threw all the car junk, including track pads, onto Haylee's lap and drove 2mins to see Natalie. Once there we decided it was time to sort the car out. Our Panda is definitely among the small cars category, her boot space is almost non existent. James and Pat threw all the camping gear into the roof box and placed the jerry cans into the tray. We shoved some plastic boxes in the space under the roof box and then attempted to squash our backpacks into the tiny boot space. Were we crazy thinking four peoples luggage could actually fit into a Fiat Panda? Most likely the answer is yes. Pandas weren't made for a four person road trip let alone one that attempts to cross deserts. By some miracle we fit three backpacks into the boot and scattered the other throughout the car.
Our shopping expedition for snacks followed in the nearby Tesco. Haylee hit up the Asian noodle and Polish section, Nat and Pat the car freshener and laundry washing section, and James the peanuts and coke section. Snacks in hand we shoved them into a plastic container and started our drive to Brighton.
Ten minutes into the drive through the crazy London roads Patrick realised we'd totally forgotten about some parts we'd ordered at a nearby shop. Managing a very Aussie uey we swung around to head the other direction and collect our parts. Onward we drove to Brighton! Our little Panda was treated to a drive across the historic tower bridge and along the Thames. We pulled over to fill up on petrol and pump our Panda's tires up as she was already struggling under the weight of four happy little Vegemites.
Patrick wished to stop at Korea Town to stock up on some Korean food and purchase a gas burner. Unfortunately he had his burner confiscated off him at Sydney airport so we were in need of one to cook our food under the Mongolian desert stars. K-town provided a great selection and we're now the proud owners of a British-Korean gas stove. Two minute noodles come at us! James, Natalie and Haylee went to check out Pound Land where they bought some tissues, a football to pass the time, spanners and plastic bowls.
Onward we drove to Brighton! It wasn't too far a journey, barely an hour. We arrived in good time to still see the beautiful pier in all its glory. We got a prime parking spot right near the pier although James and Patrick had to stay with the car until it hit 6pm because that's when unmetered parking started. Nat and Haylee walked to two nearby hostels to ask about accommodation, unfortunately they were completely booked up. The third hostel we tried though had beds free and ironically was above an Aussie pub. We dumped our bags, made an effort to look decent and ventured outside to look at the beach and restaurants. Brighton is an awesome place, full of life and tourists. The 'beach' didn't have waves and was full of large rocks. We all commented though that it's quite a refreshing change as Aussie beaches can be frustrating when you're covered in sand that doesn't wash out for days.
Our dinner location was Steak on Sea, a pub right near the beach and on the main road. An endless number of expensive cars drove past, it was the place to be for anyone wanting to show off their wheels. Quite a relaxing little spot to have a few cocktails and watch the hens parties walk past in their sailor outfits. After dinner we walked to the actual pier where we came across an arcade with an endless amount of skill testers and air hockey tables. We couldn't resist the cheap 30pence fee of the games and tried our luck on a few games. Patrick got sucked into the skill testers which were obviously rigged with greasy metal claws that drop anything you attempt to pick up. Nat and James headed back to the hostel while Patrick and Haylee stumbled across a tattoo parlour. A fake tattoo parlour that is; an hour later they both had crosses done which will (fingers crossed) last until the end of the rally. We'd be camping the night after so everyone made sure to have a nice hot shower at the hostel before the night was over.