I promised ya’ll that I’d tell you about The Purple Turtle. So here goes…
While all the other pubs in Oxford seem to be called “pubs” the Purple Turtle is called a “bar”. Us students heard that it’s usually a fun place to go so we looked it up on Google Maps and managed to find it after searching around for a while and walking down several rather sketchy alleys. Finally someone spotted the sign:
I thought it looked sort of like a weird spin on the Looney Toons logo but everyone else thought it seemed pretty legit. We were stopped outside by a bouncer who gave us all strange looks but let us go in after looking at our IDs. We walked down the concrete stairs and into an illuminated hall with crazy posters all over every wall. The lighting was naturally purple. The bartender gave us all confused looks as we went and sat down at a talbe. After all, it was only 9:00 at night. We mustered up the courage to go up to the bar and we all decided on shots. It was two pounds a shot and my bank account teared up at the thought. There were shots for every single college in Oxford as well as every Harry Potter house. I decided on a Slytherin which tasted like a strange mix of licorice and green apple- not bad. We ordered little mixed drinks and then sat down and made small talk.
Fast Forward 1 Hour:
A group of girls came in. They were all wearing black with short skirts or skinnies, crop tops, and natural hair. I assumed they had come from one of the various clubs around the area. I went up to the bar for another rum and coke and was slightly annoyed at their pushy attitudes. Thankfully the bartender knew I had been waiting and served me first. They honestly looked about 17 years old! It is so weird to see people younger than me drinking since in the States I’m not even legally allowed to. After getting a Gryfindor shot I walked back to our table. Some of the girls in our group were getting tired and decided to walk home. The other five people decided to get another round of shots. The music was very American and I soon found myself singing along and having a good time. More people kept filing on down the concrete stairs and into the neon purple glow.
Fast Forward Another Hour:
The Purple Turtle was finally hopping. The staff had opened another section that had been roped off before that led to a DJ and a dance floor. One girl in our group was already belligerent and just HAD to go check it out. We all followed because the buddy system is life. It was actually pretty crazy. There were flashing lights and booming music with bodies gyrating all over the floor. I no longer felt like I had shown up at a party that hadn’t started yet. We ordered another round and headed onto the floor. The theme was 90’s music so we went crazy dancing to hits I hadn’t heard since I was little. Everyone was cutting loose and it was a whirlwind of people of all races, loud music, drinks, and laughter. I danced with some girl from Oxford and the next thing I knew we were dancing with some guys from Belgium. When I heard two days later of the horrors that had struck Belgium I felt sick because I remember them saying that they were headed back in two days. I immediately prayed for their safety and wondered if they were okay. The night flashed on and soon it was 2 AM. We decided we must leave because we had class at 10 AM and wanted to get at least a little bit of good sleep. I went to the bathroom before leaving and ran into two girls wearing Harry Potter costumes doing coke off the counter. Definitely a good time for us to leave… We danced all the way back to Wycliffe Hall I managed to brush my teeth and Skype by boyfriend before falling into my little twin sized bed. I came to the realization that I had spent way too much money but had a really fun night.
The next morning I woke up at 7:00 to have a nice hearty breakfast before class. I laughed as the rest of the group dragged themselves into the dining hall while I was leaving for my daily morning walk. They looked rather tired but everyone agreed that the Purple Turtle was loads of fun. So now my opinion has changed on drinking in the UK. At first I thought that “the party scene” didn’t really exist here. I thought that drinking was only reserved for long conversations in pubs with friends or colleagues. I can see now that there’s a day, evening, and night scene here. The day scene is much more intellectual while the wild and crazy comes out to play at night.
Staying safe, saving money, learning at Oxford, and making decisions are my main focus though. Although it was a good time I cannot spend 20 pounds every night or I’ll run out of money! I am really questioning how people can go out and live crazy lives every night while still managing to have money. They must have bigger budgets than I do. That’s okay though. It will help me be wise in what I do here across the pond.