Saturday, December 30, 2006

Randomness...

So sitting around on my day off with nothing to do i've been thinking...

I have nothing to do. My life is so different from last year at this time.

Last year I was in Scotland (you can see it in my archives) driving around, enjoying new things and today I would have been arriving in Edinburgh (Ed-in-borough)...

i dunno why i am posting really, it's not really exciting, but i miss my life last year. I really had no worries, no debt and my only real responsibilities were getting up for work and making sure to explore the Old World. It's so sad to think that now I am somewhere else, doing nothing...

I had lunch yesterday with Bev, Frost, Steph, Bruce, Andrea, Geoff and Craig. I miss the island and mostly because of the people that are there. I love that place, and I love the people involved... I dunno. I like life, just not today.

Either way... ... yea... nothing else to say...

Christmas was fine, i got new slippers and pjs, a box of tea and a few gift cards. It was a pretty slim year, but that was fine because we all got to go to disney world. I am still working on the Disney post... it will come eventually... but it will probably be mostly photos i am just not motivated...

anyway, ciao arrivederci

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

An interesting test of my life experiences...

Level 1
(x) smoked a cigarette.
(x) smoked a cigar.
(x) kissed a member of the same sex.
(x) drank alcohol.
SO FAR: 4

Level 2
(x) said "i love you" to someone.
(x) had a pet die.
(x) shoplifted.
(x) been fired.
( ) been in a fist or slap fight.
( ) fell down a mountain.
SO FAR: 8

Level 3
(x) snuck out of a parent's house.
(x) had feelings for someone who didn't have them back.
(almost) been arrested.
(x) made out with a stranger.
( ) gone out on a blind date.
(x) lied
SO FAR: 12

Level 4
(x) had a crush on an older person.
(x) skipped school.
(x) slept with a co-worker.
( ) seen someone/something die.
SO FAR: 15

Level 5
(x) had/have a crush on one of my Facebook friends.
(x) been to Paris.
(x) been to Spain.
(x) been on a plane.
(x) thrown up from drinking.
SO FAR: 20

Level 6
(x) eaten Sushi.
( ) been snowboarding.
(x) met someone BECAUSE of facebook.
( ) been mosh pitting.
SO FAR: 22

Level 7
( ) been in an abusive relationship.
(x) taken pain killers.
(x) love/like someone who you cant have.
(x) laid on your back and watched cloud shapes go by.
(x) made a snow angel.
SO FAR: 26

Level 8
( ) had a tea party.
(x) flown a kite.
(x) built a sand castle.
(x) gone puddle jumping.
(x) played dress up.
SO FAR: 30

Level 9
(x) jumped into a pile of leaves.
(x) gone sledding.
(x) cheated while playing a game.
(x) fallen asleep at work/school.
SO FAR: 34

Level 10
( ) used a fake/someone else's ID.
(x) watched the sunset.
(x) felt an earthquake
( ) killed a snake.
SO FAR: 36

Level 11
(x) been tickled.
( ) been robbed/vandalized.
( ) robbed someone/vandalized.
(x) been misunderstood.
( ) pet a deer
SO FAR: 38

Level 12
( ) won a contest.
(x) been suspended from school.
(x) had detention.
(x) been in a car/motorcycle accident.
SO FAR: 41

Level 13
(x) had/have braces.
(x) eaten a whole pint of ice cream in one night.
(x) had de ja vu.
(x) danced in the moonlight. (can you say the Cha Cha Slide?)
SO FAR: 45

Level 14
(x) hated the way you look.
(x) witnessed a crime.
( ) pole danced.(just for fun)
(x) questioned your heart.
(x) Been obsessed with post-it notes.
SO FAR: 48

Level 15
(x) squished barefoot through the mud.
(x) been lost.
( ) been to the opposite side of the world. (is Egypt the opposite side? I don't think so...)
(x) swam in the ocean/gulf/lake.
(x) felt like you were dying.
SO FAR: 52

Level 16
(x) cried yourself to sleep.
(x) played cops and robbers.
(x) recently colored with crayons/colored pencils/markers.
(x) sang karaoke.
(x) paid with only coins.
SO FAR: 57

Level 17
(x) done something you told yourself you wouldn't.
(x) made prank phone calls.
(x) laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose.
(x) kissed in the rain.
SO FAR: 61

Level 18
(x) written a letter to Santa Claus.
( ) been kissed under a mistletoe.
(x) watched the sun set with someone you care about.
(x) blown bubbles.
(x) made a bonfire on the beach.
SO FAR: 65

Level 19
( ) crashed a party.
(x) have traveled more than 5 hours with a car/bus full of people.
(x) gone rollerskating/blading.
(x) had a wish come true.
SO FAR: 68

Level 20
( ) worn pearls.
( ) jumped off a bridge.
(x) Screamed 'PENIS' in class. <- how appropriate that this question would make my score that number
( ) gone swimming with dolphins.
SO FAR: 69

Level 22
(x) got your tongue stuck to a pole/freezer/ice cube. - Lips on a popsicle actually. It hurt.
( ) kissed a fish.
(x) worn the opposite sexes clothes.
(x) Sat on a rooftop.
SO FAR: 72

Level 23
(x) screamed at the top of your lungs.
(x) done/attempted a one-handed cartwheel.
(x) talked on the phone for more than 6 hours.
(x) stayed up all night.
SO FAR: 76

Level 24
(x) picked and ate an apple right off the tree.
(x) climbed a tree.
(x) had/been in a tree house.
(x) are scared to watch scary movies alone.
SO FAR: 80

Level 25
(x) believe in ghosts.
(x) have/had more then 30 pairs of shoes.
( ) gone streaking.
( ) been in jail/visit.
SO FAR: 82

Level 26
(x) played chicken.
(x) been pushed into a pool with all your clothes on.
(x) been told you're hot by a complete stranger.
( ) broken a bone.
(x) been easily amused.
SO FAR: 86

Level 27
( ) caught a fish then LATER ate it.
(x) made or been in a video.
(x) caught a butterfly.
(x) laughed so hard you cried.
(x) cried so hard you laughed.
SO FAR: 90

Level 28
(x) mooned/flashed someone.
(x) had someone moon/flash you.
(x) cheated on a test.
(x) forgotten someone's name.
(x) slept naked.
( ) French braided someone’s hair.
(x) gone skinny dipping in a pool.
( ) been kicked out of your house.
SO FAR: 96

Level 29
(x) Rode a rollercoaster.
( ) went scuba-diving/snorkeling.
(x) had a cavity.
( ) Black-mailed someone.
( ) been black mailed.
SO FAR: 98

Level 30
(x) fell going up the stairs.
( ) licked a cat/dog.
(x) played hide and seek within the last 3 years.
(x) bitten someone.
(x) licked someone.

FINAL SCORE 102 out of 144

I have 71% life experience according to this test.

Monday, December 11, 2006

NogFest 2006

NogFest 2006 was last night! Those of you that missed it... too bad for you. It was great! We played Wii! (We Wii-ed?) We drank Nog - the liquor of choice for 2k6 was Brandy - and we decorated cookies!

All in all it was a great night, though most of us eventually drank beer until drunk due to lack of noggage and mixers.

Here are some pictures! Also, you can see these on my new Flikr Account!! Yay! Be sure to check it out because I am planning on updating as much as they'll let me! Cheers!

P.s. - I am going to Virginia this week! Yay!


Matt and I being happy together


Yes, lets all have a laugh at Matt's Expense...


Look at all these drunks!

She's got a little'a something in her... I think it might be Colonel... yea... thats it


I see drunk people!

Our NogFest 2006 Tree! It's so beautiful...


Boxing the new-fashioned style... on the Wii!


Look at the tasty NogFest Traditional Cookies from the Decorating "Contest" It's fair to say that the orange one didn't win. Yes that is an actual mini-hot dog from the fondue pot on the cookie.

I like the dove myself, and the Alien w/ Head Injury next to it. Unfortunately my vagina cookie (The Georgia O'Keefe Special) that I made was eaten the night before...
if ya' kno' whudd'im sayin' *wink* *nudge* *wink*

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Life Sountrack and David

OK, i guess my Disney post has just not surfaced yet... but I want it to... i am just so unmotivated to type a lot... Plus i Had to type a paper already today or I'd just do it right now...

Anyway, today while I was typing my paper I was ALSO chatting online and listening to music. I got an email that was about writing your own Life Sountrack!

So I did it! It's really cool so I thought I would post it... this is the email I sent out... copy it and paste it into your own emails with your own songs!

Have fun!

So here’s how this works. Open up iTunes (or whatever), put it on random/shuffle, and press play. Whatever song plays first, you write down in after the first question below. Then hit next, and continue!

Send everyone the soundtrack of your life…

Opening Credits: Defeat You – Smashmouth

Waking Up: Her Majesty – the Beatles

First Day at School: Smile – Lily Allen

Falling In Love: Moonlight Cocktail – Glenn Miller and his Orchestra

Breaking Up: Breakin’ Down – Mest

Prom: Centerfold – J. Geils Band

Life's OK: Fur Elise – Beethoven

First Meeting of Trusty Sidekick: Venus – Bananarama (bangarang…)

Breakdown: Local God – Everclear (Romeo and Juliet soundtrack 1996! w00t!)

Driving: Intergalactic – Beastie Boys

Flashback: Don’t Panic – Coldplay (Garden State Sndtk *whistful sigh*)

Getting Back Together: Down Where the Drunkards Roll – Blackthorn

Wedding: The First Night – Monica (Sadly I don’t get down on my first night…)

Sex Scene: Breathe – Télépopmusik

Birth of Child: Anarion Love Theme for Aragorn and Arwen – Enya (it’s mine… My own… *rasp* …my precious…)

Personal Theme Song: What I Like About You – Romantics

Life Long Nemesis’ Theme Song: Fire – Jimi Hendrix

Dream Sequence: The Good Kind - The Wreckers

Final Battle: Layla – Derek & the Dominos (how scary that my final battle is a song about a friend falling in love with his best friends wife!)

Death Scene: Promise – Eve 6

Funeral Song: I Want You Back – Jackson 5 (interesting funeral anthem)

Dance Sequence: Breakdown – Jack Johnson

End Credits: It’s Your Thing – Isley Brothers

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

So now that you have your own movie soundtrack, you should check this out. I was writing a paper on music censorship, and I created this graphic at the end illustrating the future of censorship if it goes unchecked... Enjoy!

Monday, December 04, 2006

photo blogs

lately i have been really interested in photo blogs...

i just like them a lot!!

i have found a bunch of them, and i even have one that i get delivered to me every day.

in the end here are a couple that i really like:
East Lansing Daily Photo
London Photo Blog

Both of these are great, but search for some more on Google or something and you'll find all sorts of cool photo blogs!!


on a side note... kris is starting to see someone else... this hurts me, and i feel like shit lately. I dont really know why i am sharing this, mainly because i am a bit drunk... but i appreciate all of my friends, and i miss the ones that have left... every one of them...

I just got back from Walt Disney World and I hope to blog a bit about it when i sort thru the pictures, so keep a sharp eye!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Post-Island Update

A tree in Kzoo

Well, here I am in Okemos, Michigan. In my grandma's basement...

No i don't kill people and I am not in a horror movie, but I do have wood paneling on the walls so I guess I would have two strikes, but a lot of the walls are covered with pictures of friends and happy times so I think that would counteract any illicit feelings don't you? :)

I figured I should let people know what is going on in my life and for those people who really do care, I wrote a journal about my European adventures, but I can't bring myself to go through it and type it all out because it is 100s of pages!

Lets see, how about the last few weeks since I left the island... that's right for those of you that didn't know I was on the island all summer (again). It was amazing as always, I really am in love with that place. I was on TV not less than twice because of my job, and once I was on a special HD presentation from WZZM 13 (say that because I don't know where that is, maybe someone else does?) that I just found out about two days ago, it was weird... I don't know if I like being on TV, but was a cool experience really...

So after a summer of fun and Mackinac with the gang, Dennis retired. He's gone folks, no more Dennis Havlena. The Dynasty has ended. Moment of Silence for the big guy.
Took that one with my phone.

Anyway, after the island I have been spending all of my time looking for jobs, and for a few eeks I was trying to spend time with Kristen, but she's long gone now. She's left for Thailand, look for her blog link on the sidebar over there --->
at the Detroit Zoo with Jenn and Kris!


Kris and I are officially broken up again, but we still chat every few days from Thailand because he has internet at her apt. She's in an ESL class to teach there for a year. To pre-empt your questions, I don't know if we are going to get back together, there's no way to tell, and yes we are broken up at this point. But at least we are still friends...
Jamie, Colin and I at Kris' going away party

I've applied for a number of jobs, everything from World Market and Best Buy, to the Museum of Science and Industry Chicago and something in the Navy (as a civilian) that I am sure I was not qualified for.

I finally got a job this week at Williams-Sonoma it's really great, though admittedly I haven't started yet... I really need a full time job though. Best Buy gave me an interview but I am going to Disney World at the end of this week for a week, and they weren't too keen on that.

So for now I am just working at Williams-Sonoma and chillin' at home with my parents, my grandma or anyone I can find. Maybe I'll try and fine a date here in a week or so...

Leave some love and some fun ideas if you want to help me cure the boredom between my W-S shifts... which are far between at times...

:-D Oh btw it's that time of year again so keep a sharp eye for Nogfest!! We've come back and we'll be having it again, probably in Kalamazoo but we'll have to wait and see... Watch this blog for details!!
Bye kris!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

EXTRA EXTRA!

It would seem the call has come...

as of Oct 22nd 2005 i left this land and moved to England, in honour of that (note the proper British spelling) I will start to post my European adventure.

The actual diary of my travels will begin to appear later this week, starting with Ireland which I visited in March of 2006.

I hope that my faithful blog checkers will be happy to dust off their mouse and start to check back here because it will not be long now.

I will leave you with this...

"Voilá! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of Fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is it vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a by-gone vexation, stands vivified, and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin vanguarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose so let me simply add that it's my very good honor to meet you and you may call me V."

a grand movie set in London... Remember, remember the 5th of November...

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Taxation... a new look.

From George Lakoff’s book, Don’t think of an Elephant. It’s my new joy… here is an excerpt about taxation. It’s an advert reframing taxation not as a Tax Burden as Bush said in his 2000 State of the Union address but rather as an investment in the future… Very interesting outlook and if taken on the people would most certainly be better off.

Taxation is paying your dues, paying your membership fee in America. If you join a country club of a community centre, you pay fees. Why? You didn’t not build the swimming pool. You have to maintain it. You did not build the basketball court. Someone has to clean it. You may not use the squash court but you still have to pay your dues. Otherwise it won’t be maintained and will fall apart. People who avoid taxes, like corporations that move to Bermuda, are not paying their dues to their country. It is patriotic to be a taxpayer. It is traitorous to desert our country and not pay your dues.

Perhaps Bill Gates Sr. said it best. In arguing to keep the inheritance tax, he pointed out that he and Bill Jr. did not invent the Internet. They just used it – to make billions. There is not such this as a self-made man. Every businessman has used the vast American infrastructure, which the taxpayers paid for, to make their money. He did not make his money alone. He used taxpayer infrastructure. He got rich on what other taxpayers had paid for: the banking system, the Federal Reserve, the Treasury and Commerce Departments, and the judicial system, where nine-tenths of cases involve corporate law. These taxpayer investments support companies and wealthy investors. There are no self-made men! The wealthy have gotten rich using what other taxpayers have paid for. They owe the taxpayers in this country a great deal of money and should be paying it back.

I think it is an accurate view of taxes… but we just need to start thinking of them this way… not as a Burden needing Tax Relief as Republicans so often say… but as an investment. To control that investment we need to vote the right people into government… to curb the squandering of our investments and keep the corporations and greedy corrupt politicians from stealing our money for their own uses…

Monday, September 25, 2006

September 2006

Wow has it really be over a month since I updated?!! That is far too long... Lets see... since The end of July August has come and gone, my friend Alissa who I met in London came to visit with her sister, Sandy was here, we all drank on the porch... Jacqui came to visit and we walked all over the island, drank at the Seabiscuit, and then I went to Harbour Springs and saw her off island (which was weird in itself) Kris and I have had our ups and downs, but for the most part we're doing well...

Crusty, Wheezy and I all work at the fort, but thats it! Sometimes Smithy visits from the mainland but it's mainly the three of us. Crazy... I think I bring down the average age by like half as well.

Now it's nearly the end of September and I'm going to be living with my Grandma in Okemos at the end of the season and looking at Graduate School... have any suggestions?

I want to go into Media Studies... it seems like Cali Berkley, Wisconson Madison, UofM, Ill. Chicago, and Northwestern all have good programs... I really want to get out of Michigan... I love it and all, but the only way to grow is to challenge yourself and for me challege comes in being on my own away from eveything else.


Now...
I am going to stay here on the island for another couple of weeks and then be back in Lansing for a while... if you want to see me call my mobile... which you can get if you friend me on the

facebook! I miss everyone... London, friends from home... friends from school... kris will be leaving me soon and then who will i talk to?

I remember a quote from a movie...
"what'll I do with just a photograph... to tell my troubles to?"

it's a crappy movie, but it's a relevant quote... it's different this time... I was just in London, only 5 hours away... Thailand is what... 10? 12 hours? away... a long long way... plus that assumes there is even a viable way for her to contact me, in my case it was cheaper to call to North America than to call fellow UK-ers. Anyway! Don't be a stranger... if you check my blog frequently, comment, I'll feel the love...

everyone needs a little love sometimes :)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A Weekend in York!

The weekend before my departure came, and I found myself excited to leave, but also really sad. We arrived at ISH very early in the morning on Saturday to depart for what would be our last weekend away from London. Steph and I were ready to go and meet our tour group when we arrived to board our bus and met everyone. There was a girl from India, a couple from Australia (though the man used to live in California) and a group from Southeast Asia, and then, of course the two of us.

Our tour guide’s name was Martin (Mah-tin) and he was a very timid smiling man with a large bald spot whose wife was expecting any day now. He was very nice; we started our drive and made our first stop out of London in Cambridge to pick up another passenger, a girl from the Ukraine who was studying there. Cambridge and Oxford are supposed to be very similar, though my plan is to go to Oxford after I get back from the Continent but before I leave for the States… seems like so long from now…

Finally we arrive in York! The drive was really long and Steph and I were really tired from getting up so early (me especially after a bit of a night out the night before) so I slept most of the way waking up occasionally to glance around and take a picture out of the bus window.

York was very pretty, a walled city of Olde with a lot of social activities to offer and of course, the usual and beautiful mix of the ancient British and the modern British architecture. We wandered the city for a while and were able to go alone to have lunch (Steph and I hit BK for the use of the toilet) and decided to buy pasties before going back to the man square to eat and watch the crowds go by. After a while we started a tour of the town led by a nice man named Keith who worked for a local tour company.

We wandered around the city learning about all sorts of cool things. York is really pretty and has lots of cool stories. The company who invented KitKat’s as well as the Fruit Pastillies and other candies. It was really cool! We saw where the Black Death started in Britain, some guild halls, and even about this guy who placed cats all over the city on every building he remodelled. The cats were pretty cool and Keith kept giving us sweets all the time including this really good candied almond!

All the tour we really were having a great walk around the city of York, even onto the large stone walls that have encircled the city since it’s construction. There is a tower in the city… it was built just after the Norman period, it was the site of an old castle it wasn’t much to look at but there is a horrible story that took place within.

In 1190 there were mass marches against the last 150 Jewish residents of York. The mob set the castle aflame after a few days of siege. As the fire was started many of the people inside chose to took there own lives rather than be slaughtered by the mob. There is a plaque outside the castle which reads, "On the night of Friday 16 March 1190 some 150 Jews and Jewesses of York having sought protection in the Royal Castle on this site from a mob incited by Richard Malebisse and others chose to die at each other's hands rather than renounce their faith."

It was a very sad story… we ended the tour at York Minster. We thanked Keith and set off for the inside of the cathedral to take a glimpse before heading back to the bus. The inside was probably one of the largest, most beautiful cathedrals I had ever seen! The windows were amazing and the sculptures were so cool! York Minster had one of the oldest and largest stained glass windows in the world (600 years old and HUGE) but unfortunately it was under restoration when we were there.



After York Minster we headed back to the bus, we only had a short time to dawdle because we were on our way to another stop to get housing for the night. We went to the home of the Bronte sisters (Emily Brontë wrote Wuthering Heights) and we were going to stay there for the evening and the night. It was a really cool little town called Haworth in the county of West Yorkshire. Haworth is really only known for its famous author, but it was a nice little town with an old apothecary and some nice little pubs. Steph and I checked into our B&B and set off to look for some dinner.

We found one of the cute little pubs and some of our tour-mates so we sat and chatted with a bunch of them while eating Yorkshire pudding- I ordered Steak & Kidney. We figured it was fitting… We sat for a long time talking to the Aussie couple, the girl from India, and the other girl from the Ukraine. We sat for a long time had a couple of bitters while we ate (my steak was good but I was not a fan of kidney) and just enjoyed the company of strangers. I really enjoy the company of strangers, sometimes its easier to talk to people you don’t know then people you’ve known for years. The pub was warm and cozy, which was great considering the snow and ice outside, but after a while everyone was ready to leave so we headed back to our B&B.

The next morning Steph and I got up to a large ZZ –Top-Bearded man setting out our breakfast in the foyer (fruit, ‘bread,’ and a few other things that didn’t really stand out in my memory- save one: NUTELLA) which was fabulous. It was small and fresh and really tasty, I pocketed one of the extra Nutella tubs and we headed out on the town… err village. We wandered the streets of town and eventually headed up to a hill overlooking the town. It was a very cold morning and the mud had even frozen with the cold ground. We walked down a walled street. I wonder how old the walls lining the street were… they might have been there for ages! We finally got up onto a bit of a plateau above the village and looked out over the Wuthering Heights. They were very bleak, but oddly beautiful. We took some pictures and played around on the rocks and hiked up with the locals who seemed to all be walking their dogs at the same time. We felt a bit left out…

Following our hike back into town, we went to the old Apothecary store and bought some really yummy old style liquorice and some other sweets. Steph and I wandered the streets for a while before going back to grab our bags as it was time to get back on the bus. We drove for a short while and then stopped to watch some kids going ‘sledging’ which ought to have been called sledding because that was what they were actually doing, but either way… We took some pictures and laughed at the silly people with their sleds in the ‘snow’ that was actually frozen mud and some pitiful looking fluff in between the sprigs of yellow grass.

Back on the bus we headed back toward London driving through the area known as the Peak District. I have of course been here before, but this time we were going to see Chatsworth house! Finally, after all the effort we’d put in before only to fail the last time we were in the Peak we were going to see the house, not go in, just see. We made a pit stop in the Peak district and went to the loo and read about the local wildlife while chatting with our other tour members. The scenery is quite spectacular in the Peak district and when we stopped for lunch in a very small touristy town Steph and I wandered up to a cool looking castle on a hill, but it was closed. We got some good views of the town (which consisted mostly of stone structures) and wandered around for a bit before finding a place to eat that was insanely busy. I needed to find a Cash Point and ran across the village to find one in a off-license only to run back and eat my tasty food at this small café. The place was packed and we got some very good traditional food before heading back out to get back on the bus. It was still cold, but the sun had come out when we left the town, there had been some rain but even that had stopped and the sky was a beautiful blue. I was really enjoying not having to take the train and getting to stop in more places, but it was definitely faster to be able to go by rail… I wish that was a better option at home…

In the early afternoon we made it to Chatsworth House, it was huge! Stephanie was very excited and we didn’t get very close to it but we got some good pictures just the same of the house from the front. After a quick stop we moved on, lots of driving to do today, and we stopped again a while later in the early evening to hop out and take a look at a church with a twisted spire! It had apparently been constructed straight, but something with the way the wood was warping was causing it to twist and it looked really cool, but would eventually snap off. We all snapped a photo and moved on, as the sun was setting we were still not back in London, and by the time we were finally back at Great Portland Street it was nice and dark. Steph and I bid everyone else farewell and went home to sleep before work the next day… good trip to York… I tried to save my Kit-Kat, but I eventually ended up sitting on it. I was sad, but it still tasted good though… J

Friday, June 23, 2006

The End is Near...

This was another week of shows, and such, except… there was a problem with Heidi. Sunday when she went to Camden after getting out of work she wasn’t feeling very well and her finger was very swollen. Because of this on Monday when it was even worse and hurting constantly she decided to go back to the hospital to see what was going on. It turned out that her finger was infected, so the next thing I’d heard she was in the Chelsea NHS Hospital! She had emergency surgery, but I couldn’t go see her because when she’d come out of the anaesthesia they found that her jaw had slipped out of the joint and become dislocated! She flat refused to let anyone but Meredith see her like that… Following her jaw relocation I headed over to Chelsea and was able to find her in the hospital, though that was made easy because Mer and one of her roommates were sitting near the lobby at a café… I had just left work so I sat to talk with them and then Mer and I went upstairs to see Heidi. She looked okay, aside from being in a bed and having a head wrap on.

We talked for a while and eventually went out of the hospital and walked to the closest McDonalds (40 min walk!) and got some food and a chocolate shake (for Heidi) and caught the bus back for the end for visiting hours. I went back to the Green and made dinner before going to bed, she was due to get out the next day so as long as her jaw wasn’t stuck open in that funny way… I wasn’t worried.
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The next day (Tuesday) I had a great day at work, I’m not sure what made it so great, but it just was! It was Alex’s last day at work… she was leaving for her trips soon (Morocco and Ireland – I think) and then getting back just in time for her flight back to Texas. Not a lot happened today that I can remember… Heidi got out of the hospital and I went to see her at home, she was looking and feeling tons better.Wednesday, post-work, was dinner at H&M’s, Heidi was still out of work, they didn’t want her back until her finger had completely healed, which was kind of crappy but necessary. We had fajitas! They were really great, Meredith made them all up and we ate to our hearts content. She didn’t really know I was coming, but she had a little extra and I had helped her shop a bit so it wasn’t totally unexpected. I helped a little with cleanup, but it was my last pub meet! So I had to run… The last pub meet was alright, I missed Karen L, but got to see everyone else… everyone else being just Elsa (?) and Steph… It was a small dirty place that I don’t remember the name of in Angel. It was fun, but the strange thing is that I could almost see life from the BUNAC employee perspective, they were the only ones I knew, and everyone else was new Americans. It was really strange as that I used to go to the pub meets and know everyone, or at least a dozen people, but not anymore. It was really starting to hit home that I was almost done. Soon it was all over and I hugged goodbye to everyone, left for home, and was sad that London was coming to a close… it was too short. There is just too much to do in life to stay, but too much to do in London to go.

Thursday of my last full week I had work (of course) and realised there was only a week left! That was pretty exciting to say the least. I wore a suit to work, because we were having High Tea at the Ritz afterward! The office-ites were all mucho jealous of my life. Not only did I travel every weekend to some exotic British locale, but I also was having high tea at the Ritz! Steph and I met at the tube station and walked to the Hotel, it was just like on TV, simple and small, but very… ritzy! Steph and I waited for Morgan and Robin to arrive, which was shortly. Steph did manage to lean against a jewellery case and knock a (probably expensive) necklace off its display by nudging it (she didn’t even notice – Robin and I did though) and pointed it out just as we decided to try and get a seat while waiting for our 7:30pm tea. We went into the cocktail bar and a really nice waiter found us a seat in the crowded place and we all ordered a cocktail (£13 per! Ack! – no I am not trying to be Cathy the comic strip we all know she sucks). We decided to maximise our experience and all ordered something different. Mine was the Ritz Medley, Morgan’s was Lemon Meringue (and it even had the meringue!!) They were all amazing, I don’t really remember what Robin and Steph got, but they were equally exotic and fab.Our reservation came after we’d been in the cocktail bar a short while so we took our drinks into the tea area and sat down in our corner. It was beautiful inside and we were surrounded by really wealthy people, we were definitely living above out station for this night, but I think we were all OK with it. The room was amazing, gilded and white with high ceilings and columns it was filled with small tables with tall tea trays. We perused the tea and sandwich menu and couldn’t stop smiling. The waiters visited and we ordered a pot of Earl Grey and another pot of something else I can’t remember the name of. They brought a tall selection of tea trays with sandwiches, pastries and little scone morsels. The presentation was great the food was better! The tea was amazing and we even got a free glass of champagne.
We ate for quite a while, and created quite a rapport with the waiters. We got more desserts and sandwiches and really enjoyed the tea, but after a while we needed another pot. We looked a number of different things and finally decided on a tea that was only described as ‘smoky.’ When it arrived we were VERY surprised because the tea actually did taste smoky! It was so amazing, but so strange. It was a tea for connoisseurs (so they said) and I found that it would not have been an enjoyable thing to drink otherwise, but with the cucumber sandwiches and the awesome creamy pastries… wow…After the champagne and the cocktail we were all in really good… spirits… J and ate until the tea was ending and they wouldn’t bring any more sandwiches (we were the last ones there). At the end of the night we weren’t really ready to go home, so instead Robin and I wandered the hotel and realised just how small the place is! It’s tiny! I learned about the building in the cramped London construction site and the problem with storage the hotel still faces. It was really interesting! Eventually we left, still not tired, and walked through Green Park to enjoy the rest of our evening, one of our last in our adopted home. I will miss this place… a lot.
...i miss my jubilee line...

Monday, May 15, 2006

Dear Faithful Blog Checkers,

I'm Back!!

I actually have been back for some time now, but I've been busy with everything going on. I am going to start transcribing the last 2 months onto the blog soon... don't get frusterated and stop coming because you have Ireland, Egypt, The Netherlands, Belgium (mmm... waffles...), Luxembourg, Germany, Italy, The Vatican, Monaco, Nice, Spain, and Paris to look forward to; with all the crazy heijinks and shenanigans that go with them!

So keep coming back and checking now that I am back I swear I will update more!

Sincerely,
Trace

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Hello everyone!! Sorry for the lack of blogging, I've been all over the place!!


I hope you still are reading and haven't left me for dead...

Here is my itinerary, for the time being i am taknig 1000's of pictures andwritign in a paper journal so i can update this When I have returned to the states on 3 May! Keep chceking back though!

I've been to:
Ireland: Amazing
Egypt: Mind Blowing! Culturally Expanding...
The Netherlands: Amsterdam was cool, some prostitures knocked on the window at me... wierd...

Now we are going to leave for Belgium, soooooo see you soon!

Here is our full itineray!




Mar 12: UK to Ireland - Trace, Steph, (& Anna?) leave London Stnstd at 12.05pm and arrive in Dublin at 1.15pm
13: Dublin to Kilkenny - Leave on Shamrocker tour 08.15am; Glendalough, Kildare, Rock of Dunamase, Kilkenny
14: Kilkenny to Killarney – Rock of Cashel, Blarney Stone, Cork, Killarney
15: Killarney to Doolin - fishing villages, Dingle Peninsula, Cliffs of Moher, Doolin
16: Doolin to Galway – Doolin, Burren landscape, Pol na Brone Dolmen tomb, Galway
17: Galway - St. Patrick’s Day in Galway
18: Galway to Dublin to UK - Clonmacnoise, Dublin distillery, Meath; return to Dublin c. 5.30pm, leave Dublin 9.15pm and arrive in London at 10.25pm.
19: UK to Cairo – Leave Heathrow at 6.20am and arrive in Cairo at 2.35. Join Topdeck Tour that afternoon.
20: Cairo to Luxor – Egyptian Museum, Giza and Pyramids, night train to Luxor
21: Luxor – Temple of Karnak, Temple of Luxor, markets
22: Luxor to Aswan – Valley of the Kings. Ramesseum Temple, Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, Colossi of Memnon, Aswan
23: Aswan – Abu Simbel and Temple of Hathor, Temple of Isis and High Dam, bazaars
24: Aswan to Cairo – felucca ride at Elephantine and Kitchener Islands, Nubian village, night train to Cairo
25: Cairo – Saqqara, Coptic churches, market
26: Egypt to Amsterdam – Tour ends in morning, leave Cairo at 3.20pm and arrive in Amsterdam at 10.20pm. Katie flies in 10.30-11.00am
27: Amsterdam – museums/anne frank house, shopping/markets, biking, red light district, etc.
28: Amsterdam – (see above)
29: Amsterdam to Bruge - train w/ maybe stops in Antwerp/Ghent; Market Square, Beginhof if nice
30: Bruge – bikes, city walk, canal cruise, museums, Straffe Hendrik brewery tour, etc.
31: Bruge – bikes to Damme along canal, Oostand, North Sea visit, maybe late train to Brussels or another night in Bruge
Apr 1: Bruge to Brussels – Grote Markt Walk, museums, shopping, etc.
2: Brussels to Luxembourg – Katie still working on plans
3: Luxembourg to Mosel Valley – Katie still working on plans, travel to Mosel Valley
4: Mosel and Rhine Valley – biking and tour, Rhinefels Castle
5: Mosel and Rhine Valley to Koln – finish bikey, to Koln, Koln Cathedral
6: Koln to Munich – Katie flies out of Amsterdam at 1.00pm. Trace and Steph to Munich (07:54 – 12:30)
7: Munich – day trip to Nuwanstien Castle
8: Munich to Milan – finish Munich, night train to Milan (20:56 – 07:45)
9: Milan to Naples – early train to Naples (08:00 - 14:30?, if miss, then prob have to take train that changes in Rome)
10: Naples – day trip to Pompeii (08:50 – 9:18?)
11: Naples to Rome – train to Rome (2 trains/hr, c.2 hr)
12: Rome – meet Shauna and Anna and probably Morgan
13: Rome –
14: Rome to Florence – (1-2 trains/hr, 1.5-2hr.)
15: Florence – day trip to Pisa (1-2 trains/hr, 1.5 hr)
16: Florence – EASTER, Florence Easter firework thing?
17: Florence to Venice – (10/12:39 – 13/15:28)
18: Venice to Milan to Barcelona – Express trains to Milan every 1-2 hrs (14.22 – 17:05) Night train to Barcelona (leaves c. 19:50 – 09:02)
19: Barcelona to Sevilla – day in Barcelona (day trip?), night train to Sevilla (22:30 – 08:40)
20: Sevilla – meet Amanda and Ross
21: Sevilla – day trip to Costa de Luz/Gibraltar/Cadiz…?
22: Sevilla -
23: Sevilla to Granada – (07:00 – 10:05?)
24: Granada to Barcelona – night train to Barcelona (21:25 – 9:20)
25: Barcelona -
26: Barcelona to Paris – night Train to Paris (21:05 – 8:48)
27: Paris -
28: Paris – day trip to Versailles
29: Paris -
30: Paris to UK – Eurostar to London (1-2 trains/hr at least, c. 2hr)
May 1: UK - Steph leaves Heathrow at 3.40pm.
2: UK -
3: UK - Trace leaves
Travelling buddies:
Benelux: Katie
Rome & Flroence: Anna, Shauna, (and probably) Morgan and her cousin
All of Spain: Amanda and Ros
Barcelona & Paris: probably Morgan

Monday, March 06, 2006

Weekend of Palaces and Parties

The week after Cornwall being one of my final weeks in the Great City of London, I have been trying to fit everything in whilst still blogging, working, and having a social life. It’s been hectic to say the least… especially since I’ve been staying at work late and going early because of the Self-Evaluation Document that could change the face of the College of Health and Social Care at London South Bank… therefore… yikes.

Tuesday I spent the evening with Meredith, chillin’ down in Shepherds’ Bush.

Wednesday I got out of work and didn’t feel like going home just yet. I started walking. I walked from Southwark to Blackfriars, and then turned left and followed the path of the underground stations and eventually turned onto the Strand, and followed it to Charing Cross road to Trafalgar Square. It was Wednesday so the National Gallery was open late. I entered and wandered around looking at the paintings and listening to music. I saw a few famous Monet’s and Van Gogh’s including Water Lily’s with the Japanese Bridge, and Sunflowers (respectively) and then I got a call from Kristen, so I stood in the gallery stairs and chatted with her for a while. As soon as we got off the phone I stepped back into the gallery and Steph was calling me, so I whispered my hello, and she asked if I was in the National Gallery, of course I was and upon revealing this to her she told me to meet her out front.

She had just been in the gallery as well and was now going to see Night of the Iguana, a west end show written by Tennessee Williams and staring Woody Harrelson. I decided to tag along being that the tickets were only 15 quid. The show was really quite good in retrospect. Depressing, but with some dark humour and mediocre acting. It’s not the worst show I’ve ever seen **ahem Titanic – the Musical** but not the best either. After the show we went out and got some food before heading back to our homes.
Thursday was Heidi’s birthday. After work I went home to shower and ready before heading to Shepherd’ Bush again for dinner. Heidi’s friend Lindsey (I think she spells it differently) was visiting for the weekend from Prague (where she is studying abroad). We all went to a Thai place right down the street from their house and enjoyed a couple of bottles of house wine. We closed the place, being the very last ones there talking and enjoying ourselves as we left. It was a really good dinner. Afterward we all went back to their place and relaxed for a while, chatting and having a lot of fun. What a good birthday I hope she had…
Friday was then the party. After work I went home again to get ready, got pretty, and headed to the party. I was a little worried because Kat was going to be there. I didn’t want to have an awkward encounter with her. Needless to say, I was at home, blogging and working on the computer, so I was a bit late for the party. Not that it seemed to matter; no one was there when I arrived at 9pm…



Not too long after I arrived the party started to pick up with more people arriving and more drinking commencing. Heidi was of course excited that it was her birthday and around 1030 we sang and had cake, which was devoured by the people who were all drinking, and eventually, we were all dancing and drinking to the many different types of music being played throughout the evening. Tegan and I were dancing like crazy, Andy was dancing sometimes, but there were a lot of songs he didn’t enjoy dancing to I guess because he’d been sitting a lot that night. After cake and a lot more drinking there was a kind of karaoke-dancing and whatnot well into the night; the neighbours even had to tell us to be quiet! Around 430am or so, we all went to bed, no one was engaged in any illicit activity, no one was too friendly with anyone they shouldn’t have been, and everyone was happily sleeping off the party.

The next morning we had planned on getting up early and going to the Tower of London. The early part was out, but we did go. The weather was perfect, I have never seen a more beautiful London Saturday. It was so beautiful in fact we actually walked from St. Paul’s to the Tower enjoying the warm sun and the nice breeze. It was amazing. Lindsey, Meredith and I walked by the Thames all the way down to the Tower, paid our entrance and waited for the Yeoman to start his tour.

There is something special that everyone must know about the Tower of London. The tours are not conducted by hired guides in polo shirts, or even general interpreters that were hired to do the job. They are conducted by Yeoman. Yeomen are ex-royal military men who, after retirement, apply to be a tour guide at the Tower of London. The spots are coveted; yes COVETED, because there are only a few, and they can hold them (once they have them) as long as they like – providing they are doing it well of course. So when one decides they are done at the Tower around 600-800 potentials apply to fill the one spot, and of those only 10 are interviewed and only one selected. The Yeoman of course then are allowed to live in the Tower of London with their families and hold this quite fabulous job. Thus, we have covetation.

Our Yeoman guide was fantastic! (As are they all) I learned a great deal, and not just about the Tower, I watched his interpretive style and the practiced grace in which he delivered his superior jokes with a smirk. It was inspiring. Finally, I broke out of my stupor and started to video him doing his job, so I could analyse it later and try and incorporate his charisma and public speaking style into my own interpretation. After the tour (which was just under and hour) I waited to talk with him while Mer and Linz went to wait in line for the Crown Jewels. I asked him about his interpretation, and how it all worked. We talked for a few minutes and once you have the Yeoman position you are required to learn 10 and a half thousand words, 36 pages, and you have a year to do so; though most can do it in 6-8 months. After the learning during this time going along with a mentor assigned to you upon arrival you can eventually do the tours and work your way into the rotation.



He asked me some questions about my interpretation and where I do it, he said he might come to see it, which made me laugh. Then he said, “To do this job… you have to be kind of flamboyant. But I’m sure you know that!” I agreed, with a chuckle. “Maybe it’s the beard,” he laughed, “I like yours by the way!” I laughed again, we parted ways and he said again that he’d like to come to the island which made me smile…

After the chat I met the other two inside in the crown jewel house, which had held the jewels for quite some time (hundreds of years)… there were a lot of presentations and the line was quite long, but the videos and the presentations were great before the jewels and I have never seen so much gold or jewels in my entire life. There was a punch bowl that I could have easily sat in (cross-legged) and been submerged up to my chest. It was HUGE, ornately decorated and solid gold. To serve punch from this bowl was a massive, solid gold ladle that was formed into a conch shell. It was amazing, and those weren’t even the jewels, just some of the ornamental food-ware…

Oh, and the largest cut diamond in the world... or something… the star of Africa, I think it was… anyway… you can look it up if you like, I am done talking about the jewels stolen from around the world and set onto the stupid head of a ‘royal’ family member who married their cousin so they could be rula’ of all England!


We continued wandering the Tower until they finally kicked us out at 5pm or so, at which point we decided to meet up with Steph and watch Rugby at a pub. I was so tired I just had some food and then went back to Meredith’s and slept again. When I woke up we went out again, but came home early enough that I could sleep (at Meredith and Heidi’s again under their convincing peer pressure) because I was getting up to go to Camden in the morning and then to another Royal Palace: Hampton Court.



Sunday morning we got up around 10 and headed out to Camden after showers and cleaning up. Heidi had cut her finger on some glass the night before and was generally have a pretty bad day on Saturday (she’d had to get 4 stitches in her finger) and to top it off had to be back at work for Sunday Morning even though she was sick as a dog and her finger was swelling… I got to Camden, met up with Steph, bought the sweater-sweatshirt I wanted to buy from the very first week I was in London, bought the t-shirts I wanted to buy from the very first week I was in London, and Steph and I split to go to Hampton Court. Mer, Lindz and Heidi (who had been released from work and although she was feeling horrible, had decided to join us at Camden) I left behind to do their shopping.


The trip to Hampton Court was an experience in itself. It was only £3 for the ticket, but the train only went part way because of engineering works, so we got on a bus, and then another train and then arrived. However, when we sat down on the first train, we sat next to a girl and what appeared to be her mother. They were conversing in low tones, and I heard a slight southern twang so I thought I would be friendly and ask (like a good travelling Mid-Westerner) and they were from Texas in London for the weekend on a deal for $500 each (including hotel!) What a sweet deal!

We talked and talked and got to know Lesley and L... I suddenly forget the other’s name… they were both L’s though. After a while we were walking from train to bus and talking on the bus, then from bus to train again sitting near each other, talking on the platforms while waiting and just having round after round of great communications! What a great couple of gals.

Hampton Court is the Royal home of King Henry VIII perhaps you recognise the name. He was the one with the many wives, and the creator of the Anglican faith (Church of England) he was a man’s man; enjoying hunting, women, drinking and parties above all else. However by the time that he died he was lame of leg, and stout of belly, and no longer was the rich and wondrous king that had rode into France in the early 1500s to meet the newly crowned French King and pledge peace and prosperity forever. Of course just a few years after the meeting King Henry and the King of France were at war… but that is no matter.

I learned this tale from one of the costumed interpreters (first person) that was on the site, and he was excellent as well. He’d been doing it for 3 years, and enjoyed it immensely. He was portraying the King’s Privy Servant… head of the private areas of the household. I forget the actual name, but it does have Privy in his title…

He even went so far (in first person) to tell us of gossip of the castle, which was quite enjoyable. We say tapestries of gold, and beautiful paintings (no photography of course). After the tour we explored the vast kitchens and rooms-a-plenty of the palace (my first visit to a true palace) and then the gardens and grounds. We even saw the largest grape vine in existence which was hundreds of years old… quite large. We spent many hours wandering the palace and the grounds, shopping in the gift shop quickly before heading back to London. We saw the two Texans occasionally in the tour of the palace, but after one random meeting by the chapel we never saw them again.

Sunday night was marked by blogging and relaxation after a long weekend of fun… the weekend of Palaces and Parties… almost like I was royalty myself!













THRILLER!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Cornwall, Penzance and Lands End!


Cornwall is beautiful, and I love the ocean. I’ve never really realised how much I love the ocean until this trip. I used to really dislike salt water, then I went to the Mediterranean, I loved it. The Atlantic is just amazing. As I sat on moss covering a slab of weatherworn rock jutting out over a cliff watching the sunset in Lands End (the furthest west point of Britain) I was not mesmerised by the sunset, as much as the crashing waves…

Stephanie, Morgan and I met at Paddington station to leave for Cornwall on Friday 17 February; we’d left work to catch an early train down and we’d al made it to the station with time to spare. I bought some snacks while waiting for Steph and Morgan to arrive got some money from a cash-point and we all boarded the train to Penzance on Platform 2; like it said on the screens and over the PA… this is a relevant point. We were excited to be on the train so early, we had a whole car to ourselves got a table, put our bags up on the racks, spread out and relaxed; this was all important because the train ride was going to be 5 ½ hours.

The train was scheduled to leave at 2:05p, and trains in Britain are neither early or late but are always on time, to the second if they can be; so this early departure was a little strange. As we watched London start to fall away around us a woman came over the PA and thanked us for boarding the Train to Bristol

I looked at Steph and Morgan, the two of them were wide eyed, a panic stricken look on their faces. They were calm, but obviously distressed; I stood and told them I was going to find out what to do. I walked the length of the train and found the woman at the front, starting to take the tickets there and told her we were looking for the train to Penzance, and they had said Platform 2; to which she replied, “That train leaves at 2:05.” A rather silly thing to say as that it was 2:07 and I was on the train to Bristol I asked her what we could do, and luckily the next stop, Reading (pronounced: Redding), was also a stop for the Penzance train we’d noticed and she said we could change there for the Penzance train, which (we hoped) would be arriving shortly after we disembarked.

We got off the train at Reading and the screens said the next train was for Penzance, as the Bristol train pulled out I thanked the woman, who had stuck her head out the window, and smiled, she returned my smile and moments later our train arrived. We no longer had a comfortable table, all sitting together with our stuff placed as we wished. The Penzance train had over a dozen stops maybe more, so the train was packed with people. I sat with my two shopping bags and a carry-on, on my lap squeezed into a seat by the window next to some guy who looked annoyed that I’d asked to sit there. Morgan was at the same table, but Steph was across the car and down a ways. I read, listened to music, slept and ate my lunch that I’d bought with my snacks and eventually opened some tasty Sainsbury’s Cornflake & Chocolate biscuits (they’re freaking awesome) and shared them around, even with the guy sitting next to me, who refused at first, but smartly changed his mind only seconds later.

After an hour or so the guy next to me hot off and Steph moved to our table so we were back together. We chatted, slept, listened to our various iPods, and generally tried everything we could do to pass the time, including talking about requisitioning the name Team Alpha.

**Side story – earlier in the day Andy had written an Email that named each of the two teams of three travelling separately to Cornwall. Meredith, Andy and Alissa were going to be Team Alpha (according to this email) coming on the 9pm train, and we were going to be Team Delta Gamma in Honour of the frat boy bangers or something. We disliked the implication as well as the fact that we’d be leaving almost 8 hours before them… therefore. WE became Team Alpha. – We now return you to the regularly scheduled blog**

We arrived in Penzance before dark and were, hungry, excited, and exhausted from the long train ride, but ready to drop our packs and get some food. We walked up and through the high street of town, down a sloping hill and found our Bed & Breakfast; the Con Amore. The man who checked us in was very nice, and very bald, with a thin British accent, but very friendly and had very warm manners. He let us drop our bags, answered some questions, and asked us about our train ride; then he gave us directions to a couple of good (and cheaper) places to eat.

We continued down the sloping hill to the Promenade (the street right on the ocean, quite literally, the sea wall was the right side of the sidewalk) and proceeded down the road in the darkness looking out at the sea and listening to the crashing of the waves on the sea wall at our feet. We walked to a place called The Yacht and sat down for dinner; I ordered Mussels in a White Wine and Garlic sauce which was amazing. We even ordered dessert, and laughed as we ate it about how Team Delta Gamma (Andy, Alissa and Meredith) had only been on the train a short while and we were enjoying our dessert. We ordered a bowl of ice cream with raspberry sauce and clotted cream and the dessert of the day (as a gamble) a jammy cake. I think it was a Jam Cake, but Jammy sounds better. They arrived and we dug in. Steph and I each had a half spoonful of Clotted Cream; expecting a sweet flavour I was quite surprised at my half spoonful of what seemed like pure butter. It was of course clotted cream, which sounds gross but when mixed with things turned out to amazingly complementary! Just don’t eat a spoonful of it. We devoured the Jammy Cake, it was fantastic, and then slumped over, exhausted. Not so exhausted that we couldn’t go for a pint though! We headed over to a place called the Dolphin and got a pint each. We talked for a while, Steph and I went into über-dork mode and decided Team Alpha was good, but this was Penzance! We needed a more Penzancian name, so we racked our brains for something pirate-ish as that Penzance was a big pirate/smuggler area (thus the Pirates of Penzance). Everyone was in on the smuggling, even the Vicars, they’d hid the goods in the churches! We came up with ranks for each of us, Steph being the Cap’n, me the 1st Lieutenant (pronounced in Britain Left-tenant) and Morgan the 2nd Lieutenant. Our ship was called the Bonny Anne, the combination of known pirate names and then reversing them Anne Bonny (1697-?) was a female pirate of Irish descent who sailed with Calico Jack Rackham throughout the Caribbean. Much of what is known about Anne Bonny is based on Defoe's "A General History of the Pyrates." Official records and contemporary letters dealing with her life are scarce. Various sources disagree about her birth year, but it was probably between 1697 and 1705.

During our dork-time Morgan was just starting at us. We all found it pretty entertaining. We even did a pirate toast before we left. Finally, we trooped home, and I read my book to wait for the others but fell asleep before they arrived…

The next morning the others were actually at breakfast before Team Alpha/Crew of the Bonny Anne! We got down there and had fun talking with each other across tables and enjoying the breakfast food. We changed and left the B&B, found out our boat trip was not happening that day and decided instead to see the city. We walked down the promenade and realised it was way different in the light of day, there was a huge bay, complete with a giant coast guard boat on the horizon and a castle on a mountain on an island on the distant coast. It was beautiful.

Most everyone wandered down to the water except Morgan and I, we weren’t dumb, I saw the waves crashing against the wall the night before, and with the behaviour of the ocean at that moment I knew it was going to again soon even though it wasn’t at that moment. Needless to say, they all got a little wet as a wave actually made it up to the wall right where they were, almost to the next staircase up from the rocky beach. I was sure to laugh at them.

We kept to the coastline, wandering down by the public pool and taking some pictures of the bay and the waves, but eventually headed into the gardens in the town centre, they were beautiful and although it was still February had many blossoms and lush greenery. Penzance, being right on the coast is warmed by the warm waters of the Atlantic current coming from the coast of Central America (pretty cool eh?).

After a good wander we headed up into town for shopping and to experience Penzance (not just the coastline). Alissa and Meredith bought matching wellys at a shoe store on the high street, I bought bread in an organic bakery (so good) and we went into a number of other stores as well. We stopped for some mulled wine on the cold day and waited for a bus to take us to Lands End, the westernmost Point of Britain! On the bus we spent our time napping and talking intermittently. The ride was around an hour or so because we had to trek all the way across the peninsula.

When we arrived at Lands End it was raining. We walked around in the rain, the girls loving their new rubber boots, and walked up and down the coast taking pictures of the rock formations and the amazing Atlantic. We stopped in the bar there (because everything else was closed for the season) and ordered pasties (Cornish Pasties!!)

**History time!!**

The Cornish Pasty is the forerunner of the Michigan Pasty found commonly in the Upper Peninsula. Cornwall is widely known as an area of mines and miners, but during the populating of the U.P. and the discovery and excavation of the copper mines in the Keewenaw peninsula many Cornish miners moved to upper Michigan! They brought with them their traditions, including the Pasty! Today, the pasty is a strong part of the U.P. Experience, and is the cause of some of the only real feuds in the part of the state. People will fight over two things in the U.P.: Green Bay or the Lions? –and– Ketchup or Gravy (on your pasty).

**End History Time**

After our pasty we chilled and warmed up in the pub while waiting for the bus to take us back toward the east side of Cornwall. While we waited we wandered further down the coast to where a huge barge had grounded itself in 2003, but by 2006 it had been devastated by the pounding of the waves to just a small chunk of it’s previous size. I snapped a picture and we walked along in little groups of two or three enjoying the sounds of the waves and the view.

We took a little too long on our shoreline adventure and had to run back to the bus, or we thought we had, but really we got on and waited the 20 minutes until it left. We got off at the Minack Theatre stop, walking the ¼ mile back up the road (uphill) to the coast again and to the Minack theatre. The Minack Theatre is carved into the side of the mountain. It was the brainchild of a woman named Rowena Cade in 1929, who using the help of a few workers created the open air theatre many storeys above the surging Atlantic coastline. It is still used today for 16 shows a summer (mostly Shakespeare of course).
We got there and it was closed; so we walked down the cliff face a bit and found a spot to watch the sunset. It was amazingly beautiful to sit on a rock over the water and watch the sun setting over the Atlantic. I kept getting caught up in the beauty of the waves and the sun… what a sight. I sat on a rock that was jutting out over the cliff face, Steph was closest to me but didn’t want to climb down to where I was, so I sat and enjoyed the view alone, but it was still fantastic.

After the sun had mostly set and the colours had faded we headed down the other side of the cliff-face onto a beach in a valley of rocks. It was beautiful and sandy, thought with no sun getting cold fast. Steph and Alissa wanted to stand in the water and Andy and I were racing the waves, getting as close as we could and then running like crazy children. I saw a huge wave coming and knew it was going to be too fast to run from, but it was too late… Steph and Alissa got hit and were smiling at the wave as it kept rising and rising, above their boots surging and splashing all the way to Steph’s butt. Andy and I laughed for a long while, and made as many comments as we dared. We went back and caught the bus to town as it was getting very dark and we were getting hungry.

Dinner was at the Dolphin again, pints and seafood mostly. Morgan and I ordered something called Whitebait, not realising what it was. When it arrived… it was a pile of fish. Little ones… with the eyes and tails and scales… Morgan turned white as a sheet, and covered her mouth. I had (thankfully) ordered a starter, and went to talk to the barkeep to let him know I’d much rather have the mackerel, and that Morgan would like a change of order as well. He was very understanding and took the pile of little minnow sized crispy fish (that were staring at all of us) away.

We laughed late into the night, leaving only as the bar was closing, talking about the day, teaching the others Euchre (crazy non-Michiganders… they needed to learn eventually) and as we petered off to bed we all wandered back to the Con Amore.

Sunday was the day of the boat trip. We were up again for breakfast, talked with Keith (the bald, friendly owner of the B&B) for a little while and then went upstairs and waited for it to be time to leave… Team Zach-Morris’-Cell-Phone (what we’d dubbed the other team) was showering and generally taking forever, so we watched a really interesting soap opera that was for the deaf, so there was no talking on the show at all, just sign and closed captions… it was weird, and still a crappy soap; so we watched it for about 30 minutes. After that we became exposed to the horribility (don’t care if it is a word it’s a good description) of One Tree Hill. I’d rather watch a car crash, because that was just schieße.

Finally, they were ready and we put our bags in the dining area for the day and walked over to the Albert Dock for our boat ride. We met with our two boat drivers/tour guides -who were exceedingly nice- Duncan and… dammit I forget her name (we’ll call her Sarah) put on our huge red rain/boat suits and got in the boat. It was about 20 feet long/12 feet wide and had two 80hp Yamahas on the back. I asked and Duncan said it could reach a top speed of 30 knots (34.5233834 mph) which is pretty good for a little boat like that- it even had inflatable sides so it was technically a permanent raft.

We were off, heading in the cold wind across the bay, I refused to wear my hood or a hat (but gloves were a must) and I could taste the salt in the water as it sprayed my face. Before we’d even crossed the bay Andy and I were soaked, Steph was well on her way and Morgan was the coldest she’d ever been in her life… only 2.5 hours to go. I was lovin’ it.

That was in no way a throwback to McDonalds.
McDonalds sucks and for those that are ‘lovin’ it’ – little children everywhere make fun of you behind your back.

When we’d finally slowed enough Sarah started talking about the Mound; which was a Castle on a partially isolated island in the bay. I say partially isolated because you can walk to it in low tide… We learned that the family still lived in the castle (but in the old servants quarters –which is lavish enough– because it would cost a fortune to heat and maintain) so the main part of the castle is left to tourism, which mostly occurs in the summertime.
Looking for wildlife was difficult because the waves were crashing and we were bobbing up and down with the motion of the ocean, as it turned out there were no seals at the mound, but some interesting birds called Scags. We motored over to another place to learn about the coastline and the wildlife, but again no seals. After motoring down the coast seeing some more wildlife looking at the beautiful coasts, watching the boats go by, and unfortunately not seeing any more wildlife (aside from birds).

We went quite far down and around the coasts of Cornwall and eventually back to the beach where we were the night before and got to see the Minack Theatre! HA! Take that people who wanted to take our money. We saw so many beautiful land formations and coastlines, but I can’t really describe them… we’ll have to try some pictures…

After the ride was over, we peeled off our Red rain-suits and headed for a café for coffee/hot chocolate. The nearest one we could find was in the upstairs of the outdoor mall. Which was really fabulous, although a bit pricy; I got Irish Coffee, which makes everything better. After coffee we headed back to the B&B and headed to the train station to go back to London. We were pretty Cornwall-ed out and exhausted after that boat trip. So our fabulous trip ended after coffee and a brief bite to eat. What a great weekend.