During the London Olympics many competing countries decided to set up a 'home from home' in hospitality houses across the city. The idea was to provide a base for the country's athletes and fans, whilst giving locals a taste of their culture and cuisine. It was so successful a few of the nations coming to Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games have decided to do the same, possibly the biggest is Jamaica House, in 29 Members Club. This week, I went along to their opening night.
Jamaica is a wee island with a big sporting presence, and they don't get much bigger (or faster) than Usain Bolt. Last week, it was finally confirmed that he will compete as part of the Jamaican Team. It's great news and a coup for Glasgow: Bolt has never actually competed in the Commonwealth Games before. There's also been a few wee rumours (but don't quote me on this) that he might not just be using his talents on the tracks but on the decks as well, playing DJ at a secret party.
Sadly, I didn't spot him at the opening - but he's so nippy, he could have dashed in without me noticing him! There was, however, fantastic rum (and a wee lesson in tasting; comparing the sugary drop to our amber nectar), fried chicken, Jamaican chocolate and one of the country's other great exports, Levi Roots. His cooking demonstration was a little saucy and quite delicious! I think Jamaica House will be an island of sunshine during the Games because Jamaican's, just like Glaswegians, are some of the friendliest folk you'll ever meet. Rasta la vista Glasgow!
Although not part of the Commonwealth, this week Glasgow got a wee slice of the Big Apple too, with the opening of Kiehl's Apothecary on Buchanan Street. The store will be the biggest outside of the New York original, which has been around for more than 160 years.
The event was largely to say hello Glasgow and allow VIP guests to take a sneaky peak at the new digs. Along with those on the guestlist, however, there was at least one gatecrasher. A ghost! The old building on the corner of Buchanan Street and Gordon Street where the shop is housed is rumoured to be haunted. However, I should point out - for any scaredy cats out there - the only spirits I encountered were the ones served in tall glasses!
Along with being able to test drive a few of the products (the brand's ethos is 'try before you buy') there was a fantastic performance from Tallia Storm. The gorgeous Glasgow teenage soulstress who has just signed a mega five-album deal with US Virgin Records.
ROX Summer Party
There's definitely something of an international feel to this week's column, the next wee shindig I took myself along to was ROX's Brazilian Summer Party. This summer, the world has gone a bit Brazil nutty (despite their German defeat this week!). The World Cup has made football fans of the most unlikely folk. Even my Mum! Not only has the sport been great but the country looks beautiful and it's fast moved to the top of my travel bucket list.
But for now, Glasgow will do! The best of Brazilian was brought to the Argyle Arcade for the night, with samba, football tricksters, a carnival vibe and foxy ladies! It's not too often I feel over dressed!
Wee Bird Recommends
This weekend, if T in the Park isn't your cup of tea, Wee Bird recommends finding an altogether better brew. For the best mugs in town, head to Wee favourite, Cup, on Renfield Street or for something more alternative try Tchai-Ovna on Otago Lane - it's steeped in quirkiness and has more than 80 different kinds of tea to try.