Sunday, October 30, 2005

Lots of Pictures from our Tourist Day!

top to bottom or so...

  1. some building by the river... it was cool and reflective. so i took the picture, it was by the Tower of London.

  2. this was during our walkabout... Andy's and mine. We wandered all over by our new hostel before going back and meeting new peeps. They were from America as well. We also met a couple of people from London, one of which told me he could get me a job at the Museum of Science... which might be pretty sweet!

    The round thing is the City Hall for the city of London, next to it, you can't really see but there are AMAZING pictures of the world from this helicopter. It's a huge outdoor exibit all about the saving evironment, world poverty, world hunger, and global concience. I loved it.

    The castle thing is called the Tower of London. You may have heard of it. What you may not have heard is that it closes at 5pm. Oh well.

    The last big buidling is from our tourist day that i have yet to type an entry about. It was yesterday. It was Amazing! That building is called Buckingham Palace. It's important. ;)

I should do something other than update... here I go!

The Last 3 Days.

I am sitting in my new hostel, St. Christopher’s Inn, with some people I met last night in the bar. They are really cool, all Americans, 2 from California, one from New Jersey, and 3 from Pennsylvania. Interestingly enough, we get along really well, and we’ve been hanging out all day! Anyway, the last few days have been really interesting and busy as hell.

Wednesday; we spent the whole frickin’ day looking for apartments, again, and we saw three places. One in the way northwest of London, in the burbs for sure, that one was crap, and you had to pay for electricity by putting money in a meter outside the house. Yikes. The fast talking Indian guy who was the ‘landlord’ kept reminding us that he was an accountant and he hated making long term contracts, so this method was, “Great! You can just decide amongst [the 7 people living in the house] who wants to pay the meter, and then you just come out here and put in a £ or two £’s! It’s great!” Andy and I replied with, “Riight…”

Another one of the places was by Heidi, the landlord that Steph and Kate are with. That was a really good one. We liked the kitchen, the bedroom was a nice space, had two beds (bunk w/ futon under) and a little desk with our own fridge/freezer. The neighbourhood was awesome, and we had one more to see; or at least that’s what we told her. We’d seen one that morning at 11am that we’d decided on. The space was the best for the price. Heidi’s was £80, the one we finally picked was £75 and a little further out of town, and not as great a location, but a better space with potential to meet more people in our house. We have 18 roommates, but wait, don’t freak out! It’s a really big house: 2 kitchens, a common area, 4 bathrooms with ‘power showers,’ our own TV, bunked beds in the room, two wardrobes, and I don’t know about desks, but we can go to IKEA if we have to. We move in on MONDAY!! Then we had to go back to the Generator… but it turns out we soon would not have to… BUM BUM bummmmmmmm, the plot thickens!

After a bit we decided to go hang out with Steph, Kate, G.P., Sam, Yen, and Amanda at this really cool pub called the High Clifton, or something; of course the sign is old and broken so it only said the –IGH -I-LTON … or something… We were going to chill there before going to the Odeon, but after we had been chatting and laughing for an hour or so we decided it was more fun to just chill. So we hung out till late and finally headed home to sleep before the bank the next morning.

Thursday, we went to the BUNAC office and looked at jobs and more housing, but mostly jobs, and then hung out with Amanda most of the day, we ate lunch at a Spanish bar, not quite tapas quality, but I just had a bottle of Perrier anyway… I rather enjoyed it! After the lunch we went for a nice walk back up to the hostel. We realized we’d not yet re-upped for the following few days, we needed to get on that right away. I had a bank appt. that morning, or I would have done it then… By the time we got back to the hostel we’d been replaced in our room and I’d discovered that my Roots sweatshirt was missing. I am still upset about itL. I’ll just have to buy another one sometime soon.

After we’d re-upped for just Thursday night we started looking at a new hostel. Amanda was one the phone with her boy the whole time, and finally we settled on St. Christopher’s. That night in our new room we met some new people; we were so tired from the night before we didn’t really want to party, but we had to have one last drink at The Generator so we had a Strongbow and I went back down to the room after talking to Kris on the phone for a while. Our new roommates included Francesco (a really cute gumpy/innocent Italian boy), and a really nice Aussie named Nicole. We talked for a long time and Andy finally came back and chatted with us.

The next day we took our bags to Steph and Kate’s flat and moved into the new hostel. After moving in we decided to be tourists for a while and went to the Tower Bridge, the Monument, and the Tower of London. Most things were closed cause it was in the afternoon but we had fun anyway! This new area and hostel is an amazing difference, the rooms are cleaner the environment is better, the people are friendlier, the bar is not skanky. Overall, it’s an amazing turnaround. That night we went to the bar to have a few drinks to wait for Steph to show up, but they decided against it. After talking with some nice people from the area (Mark and Geraldine) I finally tapped a girl on the arm to discover if she was an American of not (Andy and I had decided they were). They turned out to be American, and right away we were getting alone, talking, laughing, and dancing getting to know them until 2am!! It was amazing! I had so much fun, and the DJ was great. The only problem was it was hot, smoky, and I didn’t have a change of clothes for the next day. Our trip to Warwick Castle was cancelled because of scheduling conflict (we were going to go this weekend). So we had a great time just chilling with these new people. Finally, we passed out at 2:30am after having been completely pissed [Brit for drunk] and sweaty.

Next morning we had to wake up early to go out with our new friends and we ended up spending the entire day with them! We visited all of the touristy areas including: The London Eye, The Tate Modern, Westminster Abbey, saw Big Ben, and visited all of the downtown area. I even saw the Millennium Bridge (featured in such amazing shows as Keen Eddie). After we’d been out al day, and eaten at yet another “gourmet” pizza place. We came back to the hostel to relax and sleep. I ran up to Swiss Cottage to get some clothes and then we watched movies till the end of the night. Not exactly the most exciting “Halloween” but still. We did get to watch Silence of the Lambs.

Oh! Andy got a job at a pub! That’s where he is tonight, working a Halloween party. I wish I could go to one. I miss the USA sometimes. Especially on times like this. I can only imagine it will get worse as Christmas approaches, but I should be able to manage once we get a house and can settle down with a job for a bit. I called the iTV station and I have a meeting on Monday with the man who emailed me back originally back in September. I hope it goes well; it seems to be a great position, web design, and blog work it seems, but also media related. Right up my alley! It’s probably time for me to go to bed; there are some cute Aussies that I might be hanging out with tomorrow that are also staying in my room here. Tomorrow, Hermione is going to be signing autographs at Camden market!! I am excited and I will definitely be going. I hope to hear from home soon. I miss the people already; it definitely feels like much longer than a week and a day.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The last couple of Days have been CRAZY!

Here is everyone's favorite Andy! We were at the British Museum the other day and I took this picture. I thought it was funny; the beautiful museum and the funny face that Andy is making... good combo...

I was so tired after our trip to France I didn’t even write anything last night. Talk about hectic! Andy and I woke up @ 7am to get to the Tube station in time to take the Picadilly Line to the Victoria Line and then from there we were going to get on the National Rail and take that to Dover Priory to get on the ferry. However, there was engineering going on (construction) between Victoria and our destination so we had to take the Tube on the Circle Line to Blackfriars to catch the National Rail from there instead. When we got there we waited for the train for about an hour, because we’d just missed it… so we wandered out of the station and saw a huge dome stretching above the tops of the buildings we marvelled I took a photo and we proceeded to find a beautiful side street. It was narrow and curvy just the like the ones on the tele. We wandered down it and I said, “Wow…” every few minutes until we came around a corner to some beautiful statues and St. Paul’s Cathedral. It was massive, as tall as the Michigan Capitol Building, but made entirely of stone. We walked around it for a while looking at it in the morning sun and snapping photos, and then entered. It was Sunday so it didn’t cost anything, but I couldn’t take pictures. After the hour went by we got back on the train and rode it for over 90 minutes to Dover Priory to wait another hour for the ferry. They bussed us to the dock and we got on the biggest boat I’ve ever been on! It was pretty huge. Only 8 decks for those of you that have been on Cruise ships and shit… not me… yet… J The ride was also about 90 minutes, they had some sit down restaurants and a shopping centre on the boat, they also had lots of seating and a few places where you could go outside, so I took some pictures of the White Cliffs of Dover. They were pretty amazing. I got some pictures of the boats too as they passed by ours. After almost 2 hours we got to France, the scenery was beautiful, but we passed the pretty part and headed for the ugly seaport. We passed sailing boats and some nice beaches though! Calais seemed like a nice place, and they said on the boards in Dover that there had been 51,000 people passed through the strait the day prior! So it was pretty busy.
Andy and I entered France and got onto a bus (after some confusion with where we should be) and went to the bar for a snack before the next boat left. The bartender didn’t speak any English really, but we got by. As we ate our 6 Euro microwave pizzas and drank our 1.9 Euro beer we decided we really didn’t belong in France (and that customer service in Europe sucks in comparison to the States). We went back to Passport control and explained why we’d come to France (to get the work permit stamp remember?) and they looked at the picture of the stamp in the BUNAC book, and after searching for 20 minutes or so the man said they didn’t have one, and asked to see my BUNAC book again… I showed him the page and he proceeded to write in the stamp by hand!
On the boat back Andy and I laughed for a while, I think partially out of exhaustion, and after another 2 hours back on the boat (sleeping most of the way) we waited for the bus outside the ferry station (30 min wait) and then waited at the train station for our return trip (90 minutes till the train arrived @ 19:22) then we slept most of the way back to London. We met a nice girl named Brooke on the train though, she was very nice, works for IBM and used to live in Germany and Holland, she’d just moved to London 8 weeks ago as well, but she’d lived there before, although a while ago.
We chatted off the train at Blackfriars, through the confusion of where to go to get to the Tube, and then on the tube back on the Circle line, then at Victoria we said goodbye! We got back on the Picadilly train back to Russel Square and got to the Generator at about 11 or so. It was a long damn day.
The next morning we had orientation for BUNAC, which was informative and interesting. And we got cracking looking at the BUNAC boards and getting our CV’s to the banking job, and working on looking at housing. We have found a couple of interesting flats, we just have to call on them to see them and decide what we think. While we were looking we met a girl named Amanda who was in our orientation. She was very nice, and friendly, we talked to her while doing other things for about an hour and then she gave me her mobile so we could call her. In talking up the BUNAC hostel where she was staying (they’ve got free wireless) we decided to visit it later in the day. But first we needed mobiles, we shopped around for a while (I bought a little notebook/journal) and we finally went to Carphone Warehouse and got Mobile World (15p per min everywhere in Britain and only 5p to the States, also ALL INCOMING CALLS ARE FREE. It’s standard in the UK, he he!) We went to the BUNAC hostel and used the free wireless while watching Sex in the City with the rest of the BUNAC participants, but there were no vacancies unfortunately, so back to the generator we went. After a short stint there we headed over to Steph and Kate’s to have dinner. We met a new girl named Lauren (or maybe Loren) and after a nice dinner at Pizza Kitchen (I had the Bufala pizza, they called it Bifalaina or something) we headed to the Grocery, that was interesting, it’s like a store here, but many of the food brands were store specific, interesting with lots of different packaging too. Finally we headed back to their flat and hung out chatting for a while until around 11 we decided to head home. Then I sat in the Lounge plugged in writing this and fixing my iPod… which has been a huge ordeal!
Man the UK has been tough on Andy and I so far, but we are still really enjoying it! We just really want our own place… hopefully these places will pan out… Posted by Picasa

The Generator... ugh...

Stupid hostel. My beautiful Kimmy brought to my attention that I didn't really say what The Generator was. It is our shitty hostel where Andy and I are staying while we look for a place to live. It is fun, don't get me wrong. A great party place, but if you are looking for quiet on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night, you are fucked. We are staying right below the bar too... it's so loud and shitty when I am trying to sleep. Oh well... thats the rundown. Want more info? go to their website, but I wouldn't reccommend it unless you are looking for a Cancun trip... but in London. Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 24, 2005

The White Cliffs of Dover

Here is Dover Castle... unfortunately we didn't get a chance to get into it. We had to take a trip to France but we didn't have time to visit it...

This is a beautiful view from the HUGE ferry boat that we took across the Channel. It was a long trip, but interesting and fun!

We went to this bar in France and it was a crazy empty place where we felt very uncomfortable and out of place... so we left quickly and took the train back to the Generator.... not exactly the home to look forward to. Home Shit Home... but the cliffs are beautiful!
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St. Pauls!

Here is the full cathedral! Posted by Picasa

St. Paul's Statue

So we stumbled upon St. Paul's Cathedral after leaving the Tube station... this was one fo the cool statues in the front side of the Cathedral... I'll add a picture of the full Cathedral too... Posted by Picasa

The PLane Ride

Here we are on the airplane... we'd been on the plane or in an airport from 10am Thursday and arrived at 930am the next day... so many hours...
 Posted by Picasa

Been here for a while now...

Entry #2: Saturday , October 22, 2005

Well, still here at the Generator, but Steph isn’t, she and Kate moved into their flat today!! I am so frickin’ excited for them (and way jealous). Stephanie, Andy and I got up early this morning and walked around London a bit, we decided to find something to eat, look for mobile phones, and shop around to see what the city had to offer. Unfortunately, as it turns out, nothing is really open on Saturday morning and Steph and Kate were due to check out the flat in Westminster at noon, so we wandered a bit more, to look for the Carphone Warehouse… which was closed… and decided that we were either to ambitious for a Saturday, or (I thought privately) maybe 0930 was just too damn early for Londoners. After we’d walked for a while we saw a Sicilian square or something, a cool little side street with a few eateries. Stopping in a Lebanese cuisine place I got a Coke (which tastes like Coke in the states), Steph got a fruit juice “walk-away” and Andy got a Mocha. Overall we were happy and it only cost me £ 1.10, which was pretty exciting for me. Then Steph went out to meet Kate and Andy and I went back to the Generator to hang out, I took a nap for a couple of hours and when I finally woke up… They’d rented the place!! So we helped them move out of the Generator which was no trouble and then helped them move their bags all the way to their new place. This is like a 30 minute tube ride which with two backpacks, two large suitcases, and 4 people, during peak-hours, is no picnic ‘lemme tell you! Anyway, their place is really small… kind of a closet, and they share a shower, toilet, and tiny kitchen with 4 other rooms… but it’s in Zone 2 which is a pretty great deal for £80. After we got their stuff in their little room Andy and I went and bought wine and some plastic cups while the girls unpacked. The night went pretty smooth after that, we drank wine, watched a dance competition on BBC1 and then Andy and I left. We went to get some food and talked about our trip to France tomorrow and going to the pub for a little bit upon returning to the shitty hostel (which now I don’t think is quite as shitty). We ate at a place called the Swiss Cottage (not sure how old it is but it was really cool), I ate cider sausages in a big Yorkshire pudding (which is like peas, carrots, potatoes in bread. Which was really odd, but tasty, and the chips I ordered with it were really tasty. After that we came back and I went to sent emails before going to the “club” where and I danced for like two hours. Andy found a Swedish girl on a class trip and left to chat her up, so I went and called Jacqui. I asked her how she was and she said, “Amazing!” because I was calling her… that made me feel really good… really, really good. She was even on the phone when I called and she hung up with the other guy to talk to me. I like her a lot… even still. Someday, if it’s in the cards, it will happen. My iPod just got fucked up so tomorrow it looks like I will be trying to fix it… oh well. Off to bed!

I am here!!

Hello to all that are checking my blog! Here i am! I've been in London for about 4 days, and i love it! It's an amazing city, i can walk everywhere, i don't need a car, and the Tube is amazing!

So far i've been to the British Museum, the BUNAC office, and even to France! I had to go there... long story... god was that a trip.

I think I will copy some of my trip journal entries because I am using the BUNAC Hostel's wireless network and I feel bad using it forever...

I find myself in a new country. I’ve checked into my hostel, found Stephanie, and even now, sitting on Bed #3 of 8 in my room I can hear the pounding bass and lyrics of the bar/club upstairs.

I woke up yesterday and left Andy’s house early in the morning (around 10) to get to the flight in time, and we made it with plenty of time to spare. We even stopped @ Coney Island for breakfast, it was pretty good. WE made it thru security OK and then headed to our gate for the flight. The flight was uneventful… the long wait in Chicago was the worst part. We even took time to go into Chicago for lunch. Getting off before we should have, but finding a really tasty place to eat called the Sandwicheria CafĂ©. I got a Mexican Panini and was MOST excellent. We got back on the L and headed back to O’Hare getting there with plenty of time to sit on our asses for a few hours before boarding our Airbus 330 to Dublin. The flight was long, but not as long as I thought. They played the Fantastic 4 and the longest yard (I slept thru that one, or tried to) and Andy worked on his CV for a while. Dinner was OK and the plane was really huge. All in all; it was a good time.

We arrived in Dublin to find it just starting to get light out, and we had to pass thru customs… We asked all the right questions and made sure we’d be ok, except when we got to Heathrow we weren’t. Turns out we’re fucked, and have to take a trip to France here in the next few days before we can validate our work permits. Bummer… but if having to go to France is the hardest part of my trip so far… then I think I’ll be OK.

Today we got to the Generator after leaving Heathrow and left shortly to take a walk and while about we decided we wanted to eat out. Then decided we wanted to look for Steph. We returned to the Generator and still couldn’t find her! Andy and I eventually decided to go eat without her. After dinner though she appeared in the cafeteria of the Generator and we chatted out our days (turned out she had to go to France too, so that’s where she’d been). We met her friend Kate she’d met @ the BUNAC orientation (that she’d partially slept thru because her flight had been that morning, but either way, Kate is nice, from Illinois and went to school in Minnesota, talks a lot, and likes to plan things, but is a very nice person. She’s found a flat already for 80 pounds a week and hopefully the same woman who runs it will have some similar properties for Andy and me. The four of us went out for a drink (Andy and I had already had a couple at the bar here in the hostel and one at dinner) and then came back home for bed.

We entered the Generator, said goodnight to Steph and Kate with promise to meet them the following morning, and into the bar we went… inside there was quite a crowd gathered around the “stage” were two people (one guy from Minnesota, and some girl) were both half nude, in the middle of some kind of contest! They were about to start making out and were going to get scored by judges. They were both only wearing underwear bottoms so of course the crowd was ecstatic. After a short stay, we decided to go to bed.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Canada Day! This is a test of me uploading a picture with Picasa... it seems to work! Posted by Picasa