Thursday, November 01, 2007

Random Ramblings

I need to stop spending money. Hi… so, yeah, life is good at the moment, I’m in a perpetual state of “what the fuck is going on” but life is good… One moment to the next it is different. Physically I’m fine, emotionally I’m a little imbalanced but its nothing I haven’t felt before and got thru it. Although I do seem to always feel on the edge of the precipice sometimes called a panic attack – I seem to be able to push myself back from the edge when it seems to get too close. One day I might hurl myself off the edge, but for the time being I think I’m safe.

University looms larger and larger every day, as does the fact (which I’m trying not to think about) that I’m going to be a student very soon – you might think they’re the same issue, but University excites me… however being a student is a scary prospect, not the least of the issues being financial. It will be interesting to be going to school with a bunch of kids that are literally most of them at least 10 years younger than me. I’m obviously hopeful that as seems to be the trend these days, there will be several mature aged students doing the same thing as me, but I have to think that the numbers will be small.

I also think of the palm reader who I met in New Orleans who said I would have 2 great loves, the second of whom I would meet while studying. I am assuming the first was my ex-wife… whom I loved… most of the time… well… some of the time... Occasionally at least… I thought I had loved since… but to be truthful I don’t think I’ve been truly in Love… its hard to compare an 8 year relationship to something like what I’ve had since… ranging from a 6 month long distance relationship, to several that have lasted less than a month. Although I AM proud to say, none that have only lasted over-night. But back to my point – and not to make too much of it, but I didn’t tell him I was going back to school, and that I’d been married… it was interesting that he said those things. He also said I’d have 4 kids and live into my 90s… neither of which at this point of my life necessarily appeal to me greatly. Although I’m sure when the time comes… yeah. You know what I mean. Maybe.

So yeah, anyway, my second great love is apparently waiting for me at Uni. But it IS a 5 year course, who knows when it will be.

In other more exciting news, I just had a hair-cut.

I guess since I Last wrote – god knows how long ago that was… I have had a promotion at work… I’m now bar supervisor/head barman… what that means literally is a bit more money in my pocket every week – although now I’m “seeing” someone (I think… it’s complicated) that money seems to be going just as fast as before, if not faster. No more… it needs to go into the bank. I know I can do it… and she’s not needy or wanty, so it should be fine. Plus she’s in the same boat financially and will understand my need to save money.

So in that respect the new manager at work has been great. As in all respects actually. She’s great. She’s actually asked me to stay and go to Uni here, offered me free accommodation and everything… hard to pass up an offer like that, apart from the fact that the course here – I’m pretty sure – is 7 years instead of 5… the cost of living is ridiculous… something that can’t be alleviated by free rent (although it would go along way to helping) and I do really like the girl I’m seeing at the moment… I can’t do it… I don’t know if I’ll regret this decision down the track… I really don’t… which makes me afraid that it might be the wrong one… but I think I want to go to Uni in Adelaide. I think.

What else has happened?? I bought a leather jacket… which is cool…

I went and saw the Stage performance of Wicked yesterday… that was amazing… the girl with the lead part had an AMAZING voice… absolutely breathtaking, skin tingling voice… but the story was Way different from the book… not bad different, just very simplified obviously… its hard to sing a story without taking some fairly hefty artistic licenses… you need to make things rhyme for god’s sake… that’s not the easiest thing in the world… if life was a musical (heaven forbid) everything would have to rhyme all the time, it would suck.

Oh, and I should have internet at home soon… which will also be cool. Although I think that maybe my webcam is broken, which sucks… but we’ll see.

Anyway, I think that’s about it… no promises, but I’ll try to write soon.

Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn't mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar.
- Edward R. Murrow

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Checking in...

There is nothing special about today. There is no reason for me to write an entry in my ever thinning journal of the life and times of Me. Of course there was the unexpected but not by any means unwelcome surprise of Kathryn and Elizabeth – my cousins from Adelaide messaging me at 4oclock yesterday afternoon asking me if I was at work for them to drop in on me. That was a really nice surprise, I guess even though, having lived most of my life NOT in Adelaide, and only seeing them when we’d take the long drive from Whyalla during the school holidays, or, even less, when I would come to Adelaide from Tasmania in the 8 years that I was there, I guess I don’t know them as well as I’d like. Yet it was still nice to have familiarity and family around for a few hours and we talked almost as though we had known each other for most of our lives. Instead of knowing OF eachother… If that makes sense.

I guess it does a bit.

Anyway, that was a nice surprise and it somewhat lifted my spirits that have been somewhat drooping over the last few months as I think fondly of home and the cost of living. Having said THAT, I have still been able to save a considerable chunk of the money that I’ll need to pay off my credit card that has slowly been working its way up to a difficult sum… especially as a future student and part time employee of a random pub somewhere in Adelaide. And getting a meal every day and accommodation has had a lot to do with that. I guess if I can save that money up before I get back and have a 0 balance on everything I’ll be satisfied – somehow I can’t see that happening. I have a terrible tendancy to follow my father’s habit of buying things I don’t necessarily need. This has mostly displayed itself in the purchase of clothing. In particular T-shirts. Which seeing as how Winter in the Northern Hemisphere is fast approaching – are going to be virtually useless.

And not writing my daily memoirs is somehow making me worry that I’m going to be repeating myself constantly every time I DO make an entry… Apologies.

In other news, my Pub has a new manager, A Canadian lady who everyone loves.. will be interesting to see how that goes. But whatever happens I’m only here for another few months anyway. And life goes on…

That’s about all I have to say right now…

The future, according to some scientists, will be exactly like the past, only far more expensive.
- John Sladek

Saturday, September 08, 2007

*coughs* Anyone There?

So, once again I find my self sitting in starbucks, wasting my time on things of really no importance… no one I know is online and I figured it has been too long since I wrote something on my Blog. One disadvantage to this is that fewer people will read it, although I guess that could be seen as an advantage also, as it really doesn’t matter what I write.

Life in a pub is a cyclical fast paced blur of beer, cleaning, anger and laughter… as in most jobs I guess it has its good and bad times- fast days and days that drag forever… Life in a pub is an experience that I’ve always been curious about, and now that I’ve had it for a couple of months, will be glad to see the end of. I’m not saying I don’t love it. I do, in a crippling, sadistic way; a place where I can work fast and hard and not use my brain at all…it’s all that I wanted in a job this year and it’s a bit of an experiment in life I guess. I do know I’ve added it to the list of jobs that I don’t understand how people could do forever. But after reading more into my Horoscope/Astrological profile, that may be more me than the job. It says that I’m a drifter and very rarely satisfied in one job… So true… Having said THAT, for the time being I am going to stick it out at the pub. It’s an awesome way to meet new people, and although most of them are small part players in the psychological thriller that is my life… who knows which of them may end up playing a larger part? That goes for everyone I meet every day I guess.

I love the randomness of life… I love looking back on moments that changed the course of what, where and who I am… Tess for example has turned out to be a completely random and interesting part of my year, and I know I’ve got in her, at the very least, a friend for life. Peri is the same, she’s going to be a friend for ever, I have no doubt of that. As too will Meredith… funnily enough, probably all these random people that I’ve met will turn out more important to me than any of the people that I met and traveled with on my Contiki. Although, who knows? Life is strange… no telling what’s around the corner for those people either… and life twists and turns on its merry way…

And that’s all I’m going to write for now… everyday occurrences in pub life really don’t seem to warrant writing about, although in the last few months I have had probably heaps of things to write about… looking back, even on things from yesterday they seem not to matter too much. Even the bomb scare that evacuated the pub, Tess’ second visit, the horrifically neglected state of our staff kitchen, and the fact that apparently I have an attractive bottom… to name only a few things… not that they weren’t all interesting things in their own rights, but I just cant be bothered remembering enough about them to fill in space on the page…

I won’t promise a new update soon, but I hope to write more frequently in the coming weeks/months.

We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered. - Tom Stoppard

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I Can't Think of a Smart Ass Title for This Blog

Hello world… it’s been a while, how are you? I understand if you’re not talking to me… I’ve ignored you for way too long. So... what’s happened to me in the last few months you ask… where do I start? Probably best to go backwards and get more vague towards the end/beginning, than to try to remember all that has happened in 3 months. 3 Months yesterday actually… wow. Sorry…

So right now I’m sitting in my third floor room (with a large glass of red wine AND a Coopers sparkling ale) above the pub that I’ve been working at now for a bit over 2 weeks… It’s a Live in job, so I live upstairs – it means that I get to work the odd shifts, but it also means I don’t have any bills. But at this point I don’t have internet either – I’ll let you know when I do, it’ll be awesome and defiantly worth writing home about. The pub I work at is called “The Barley Mow”; a traditionally odd English name for a place of concentrated drinking… It’s Almost a local, but it’s right in the middle of Westminster, nearly in the centre of London, so we get some fancy suits and Pollies in occasionally too. The pub itself is on Horseferry road, laterally a 5 minute walk from the Thames, and one of the bridges that crosses over it. Not the one that you walk over to get to Big Ben, but the next one in the opposite direction from the London eye. My local tube station is St James’ park, but I’m almost equally close to either Westminster or Victoria Station. So yeah, for any of you that have either been here, or are currently looking concertedly at a London map, it’s a Great location… I can’t imagine what an apartment in this location would cost. So over all I’m very happy.

I guess I don’t really have too many friends here… I’ve managed to stay in touch with Peri (you may or may not remember her from past posts as one of the girls from Adelaide) who has also got a live in pub job at a different place over in Earl’s Court. We go and have a coffee once a week or so, and I would say that at this point in my life she’d be my best friend… Apart from Tess… and I wont go into that, cause it’s WAY complicated… but yeah. It’s all good; life goes on and all that… Apart from the girls, I am making fast friends with my workmates, they’re a good bunch… maybe a little young in general, but I guess that’s what you’d expect in pub work. They’re all good fun to be around – even the new girl from Lithuania who’s boyfriend looks and sounds like Russian Mafia… *Coughs* but I didn’t say that.

So before this job, I had Tess here for 3 weeks or so… that went in a blur of a lot and not much all at the same time… make of that what you will, I’m not going to expand on those three weeks, except to say that it was a good time had by all much was discussed and much strongbow was drunk. I guess I will mention, now that I think of it, that we took a day trip to Stonehenge, Windsor Castle and Bath. That was fun. I guess Windsor castle was interesting, and Bath was a really cute little town, but I loved Stonehenge… I think one day I’d like to hire a car and drive up there and just sit and watch it for a whole day… it was… ancient… very cool…

Before that I was on my Contiki trip. I am very disappointed with myself that I didn’t keep some sort of journal at the very least to make this part of the recounting easier – its not like I didn’t have my computer with me all the time, but… oh well… with all the drinking and hangovers, having my wallet pick pocketed in Florence, girls, more alcohol, more girls, and more drinking… I was a little distracted… Hopefully if my photos can be recovered from my portable hard drive (yes that’s right 5000 plus photos are in limbo right now hopefully being able to be recovered…) I’ll be able to put together more of a timeline of events from the photos… but at this point, it all went by in a very expensive blur… rest assured that if and when I get my photos back, I’ll expand on the trip and my exploits more fully.

And I guess with that overly glossed over explanation of my Contiki trip, everything is summed up in a little more than a page! Awesome…

Back to the present I guess… Work tomorrow from 12 until 8. I’m going to really try to get up early and go for a run and hopefully have time to post this over at the starbucks across the road.
I’m sure there is HEAPS more to say, but 1. I can’t think of it, and 2. I can’t be bothered thinking of it… it’s been 3 months guys... I’m going to have to warm up to it all again…

If you want to get in touch with me my new details are:

PH: 07807729864 (yeah, I lost my phone AGAIN)
Address: C/- The Barley Mow
104 Horseferry road

Do you realize if it weren't for Edison we'd be watching TV by candlelight? - Al Boliska

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Picnics, Vertigo and Agressive Stupidity.


The Contiki experience extravaganza starts tomorrow morning, and at the slightly un-godly hour of 6am at that. First stop will be the White cliffs of Dover – and spending the first of 3 nights in Paris, France. Can’t believe it’s come around so quickly.

Anyway I just thought I’d write a quick note saying “hi” and that I obviously don’t know when or where I’ll pop up from next – depending on wireless capabilities of the places I visit… I would assume that there will be internet in most places, but I can’t be sure. So I’ll probably end up writing entries and posting them all at once when I find a hotspot.

The last couple of days have been mostly nice. Two days ago Jadine, Peri and I went to Green Park for a picnic. Stopped by a Tesco’s on the way and got some sandwiches and some fruit, sat down on the surprisingly nice grass and ate, then dozed for a while in the uncharacteristically warm spring sunshine… Then we went to St Paul’s cathedral where I was attacked by a thing called Vertigo for the first time since I’ve been on my holiday; we walked up the 430 odd stairs to the first viewing thing and I got the cold sweats and had to sit down. Then head straight down the next flight of stairs back to the safety of the cold marble floor. Was odd… I mean, I did the London eye which is a little pod on the outside of a gigantic Pushbike wheel… not a moment of fear, and then I get to the top of a building that’s stood solid for several hundred years – survived the Blitz and all sorts, and I panic. But Peri and Jadine were very good – they hardly laughed at me at all *rolls eyes*. I have noticed that women are less affected by a fear of heights than men… or so seems to have been my experience so far… I mean, there are women that are scared of heights, but… meh, maybe I’m rambling…

Yesterday I woke to an interesting and invigorating situation – one of the guys in my room came in at about 6am munching on a packet of chips and talking to people who were asleep in an effort to wake people up… I looked at him and he said that he’d eat outside, but then about half an hour later he came back in and started talking and waking people up again. So I told him in no uncertain terms (which basically just means that I swore) to shut up. Well. He didn’t take that very well… I’m pretty sure he’s been drinking for 3 days straight, if not longer. And he went off… started swearing at me and threatening me, told me to watch where I sleep etc etc… pretty funny looking back at it now, especially when he started smashing his skateboard against the ground and screaming that I couldn’t hurt him. I’m pretty sure he wanted me to get up and take a swing so I’d be the one to get kicked out. But Security heard him and they kicked him out. Which was nice. Needless to say I was a bit confused when they let him back in, although at the time he was being nice and apologizing etc, afterwards he was giving me dirty looks. Me and one of the girls in the room that told him to get lost too… so yeah, that was interesting – my adrenaline was pumping for a good hour afterwards…

Today we’re going to Camden Markets before I have to be at the new hotel for my pre-Contiki meeting at 7pm… going to go down there soon and drop my bags off.

Hopefully will talk to you soon

"There is nothing worse than aggressive stupidity." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

When we are unable to find tranquility within ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere. -
Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Sorry! -Please Mind the Gap...

So, a week or so of doing not a great deal in London – firstly I really need to apologize; I did say I was going to try to keep more updated on my blog, but one thing and another have caused me to be slack. One such thing could possibly be the screwy hours that people seem to keep at this hostel… For example I got to sleep at 4am this morning thanks to a couple of people being enthusiastically youthful on the bunk above me. Metal bunks squeak. It’s not fun – although I’m sure they’d disagree... So I got up and sat in the common room chatting to some people that were extremely drunk... always good for a laugh when you’re completely sober… and I’ve just realized that it seems like ages since I’ve blogged cause it actually has been. And it seems like last time I was not getting much sleep either. I need to stress that most nights I’ve been getting a good 12 hours sleep… its all good.

Okay… so I guess I need to rely on my memory again for the last few weeks… firstly I guess I mention the trip down the coast to see Dad’s birthplace and meet a couple of his cousins – Had a really good time – they fed me extremely well and tried to get me drunk… it didn’t work, but I did fall asleep a bit earlier than I’d planned. The next day I wandered around the waterfront a bit and had a nice lunch and a couple of glasses of wine. Definitely going back there for more than one night – it was really good. Did I already say that? Oh well. It was.

I think other than that the only other big thing I did was go back to Kingston for Helen’s farewell drinks/party. A reminder for those of you who don’t remember – Helen is the girl I’ve met that’s going to be on my Contiki tour with me. Went down there and met virtually all of her friends, and had a really good night…

Other than that I’ve been spending most of my days with the girls from Adelaide – They’re great. Looks like Jadine is going to go home after her Contiki tour, but Peri is going to stay on for a while – Will be good to have a good friend around. For both of us. Although I think those first couple of weeks are going to be insane with people visiting etc… and getting work… Flat...

Sorry this is so short, but really there’s not much more to say – WATCH THIS SPACE though, cause my Contiki starts on Sunday and if I don’t write every day I’m going to be really disappointed in myself – either that or really drunk. I think that will be my only excuse. Plan is going to be writing on the bus the next day – but we’ll see how that goes.

Talk to you soon.

The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do. - Walter Bagehot

Friday, April 06, 2007

New Friends and Numbers

Firstly – thanks to the 3 of you who posted comments in response to me request in my last blog. Although you were the 3 that I knew anyway… *coughs* ah well… it’s all good. Hi!

So, a couple of days ago (they’re flying by so fast by the way, its crazy) I went down to Kensington to meet one of the girls that’s going to be on my Contiki tour – not a bad idea to get to know some people before I guess. Make it a little less awkward when all 30 or so of us are all in one room together… anyway, so initially the plan was to meet Helen at Kensington station after catching the train there… that was until I actually googled Kensington to see where it was and found that there are actually 25 Kensingtons in the UK. And I panicked a bit – so Helen was nice enough to come into town and meet me at Waterloo station and take me back to her town/s. She lives in one and works in the next – I mean, they’re all almost virtually part of London. Not quite but almost. Very nice little towns, bustling shopping areas and restaraunts boutique shops and department stores. All very clean and neat…

Anyway so we walked for a while, and then we walked some more, and a bit more… I saw some amazing English countryside that could have been right out of the TV. In fact apparently quite often the people that film the TV series the Bill do it in that area. Pretty cool. Walked along some amazing scenery – river banks, Kew Gardens, some other place that I don’t remember, but feel like I maybe should… anyway… really really nice… Then we went had had dine in Pizza Hut for the first time in I can’t remember how long. SO GOOD. The pizza was perfect, and then ALL YOU CAN EAT ICECREAM! Awesome… I haven’t had that in I can’t remember how long either… it was great… then we walked some more, which is probably a good thing, I needed to walk it off… I was so full. Then we went to a pub and had a couple of drinks… all the while talking about anything and everything. I can see that I will get along with Helen very well, I think if there’s anything that I want to get out of the tour (Apart from awesome photos etc) is some life-long friends. I think I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it again – if you’re spending 40 something days with someone, you’re either going to love them or hate them… so yeah… it’s looking good.

Anyway, while I was at the pub, I realized that my mobile phone had dropped out of my pocket at some point in my travels. Oh well… shit happens… it was a good phone, but I’m not overly fussed. So the next day one of my tasks was to get another phone etc, so I did this in an interesting way – I firstly got the same deal on the sim card I had before with the cheap overseas calls 10 Pounds, then I got a mobile phone on a prepaid thingy on a different network, cause the first one is no good in the rest of Europe. So I now have 2 numbers in Europe – the one I’ll use the most will not be the one that I’ve previously posted – it will be 07932227356 which 1. Is easier to remember, and 2. Is the sim that’s in my phone and I can’t be bothered changing them…

If anyone wants to call me, give me warning and I’ll swap sims.

So… anyway, the next day I decided to go for a walk and get my ticket for my weekend trip up to Burnham-on-Crouch. Birthplace of Dad, and where a couple of his cousins still live. So once that was organized at Liverpool station, I decided to walk back for a while, stopping once to purchase a hard covered sketch book, and then to get a coffee and a blueberry muffin… I got my sketchbook out and before I knew it I was drawing… not bad for someone a bit rusty, I thought… so I kept walking and eventually found the ruins of the old London Wall… Amazing… it’s the oldest built thing so far that I’ve seen with some parts dating back to 200AD. So I sat down and sketched that too, and then another part… was quite a nice way to kill an afternoon, in fact, being a nice day today as well, i'm thinking I might do something similar. Might head down to the Museum and have a look around there.

Anyway, last night I bumped into a couple of sisters from Gawler near Adelaide and we ended up going out for a few drinks and a dance with a guy from Brisbane. Really good night, probably the longest night out I’ve had in a while – Got in at about 4am this morning (I’ve had 3 hours sleep! Yay) to find some wanker sleeping in my bed. He’d actually moved all my stuff off and got new sheets and everything when there was a spare bottom bunk right next to it with nothing on it… I mean, for goodness sakes, use your brain man… so I had a bit of a go at him, and after getting new sheets for the bed that I had to sleep in, got to sleep at about 4.45. Nice.

Anyway, that’s my excitement so far for the last few days – I’ll try to keep posting more regular… Talk to you soon!

You can only be young once. But you can always be immature. - Dave Barry

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Crunchy Nut Cornflake Dreams; A Week in London

Right, so I’ve been in London now officially for a week. Its fun. Really… no… I mean it… its nice. I’ve sat down so many times in the last few days to try and write an entry and EVERY single time, some random and unfortunately un-interesting person has come up to me and decided to try to start a conversation… not being one to be rude, I’ll struggle along with it for a while, and then excuse myself and bury my head in the sand somewhere – read a book or something.

SO I’m trying to put things in chronological order. It may not happen properly, but we shall see wont we… excuse me if I have to refer back to my notebook at times, but it’s come in handy… little thoughts and things that come to mind while walking past something or someone…

So…okay, I think we’ve established the fact that I slept most of the first day and did very little, I’m sure I’ve done SOMETHING every day I’ve been here, but It seems that my brain only remembers maybe 3 or 4 days… so there are 3 or so days that I must have been somewhere not interesting…

*coughs* continuing 2 days later… eh hem…

Right, I’m not going to worry about what order I’ve done stuff in now, I’m going to only JUST remember everything now, I could go back to my photos and use them to chronologicalise my activities, but I really can’t be bothered – if I start looking at a whole bunch of photos, I’ll get distracted and not end up writing anything more tonight… which would be a terrible occurrence.

Okay, while I’m thinking semi-straight I’d just like to ask a quick question to you – the reader… just for my own purposes, can anyone who reads this please do me a small favor and leave a short message on my blog. What ever. Can just be “Hi – Bye” I don’t really care what you write. But it would just be interesting to know who reads it.

If anyone.

So… I got in and slept, once again, that has been well and truly established. The next day I am pretty sure I went and got some groceries and the Oyster Card – which is the London transport card… so I got that out of the way. I don’t think I actually did anything else that day.

I have been to Kensington palace, Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, London Bridge, the Tower of London, The Tate Modern, the Tate Britain, Big Ben, and into the foyers of the London Museum, and Westminster Abbey, but they cost quite a bit and I figure I’m going to be here for a while; I’ll go look at them later.

Oh, and I did the London Eye – continuing to stretch myself as far as my fear of heights is concerned. The London eye I was the most skeptical about… everything I’ve been in so far has been a building. Stable, very very much inside something. The Eye is very much a pod on the outside of a ginormous 130 meter high wheel. THE OUTSIDE. It’s a very odd feeling… but amazing. The only time I got even a hint of vertigo was once when I put the camera to my eye and someone bumped me… that was interesting, but I was fine the rest of the time. I now think I’ll be going up the Eifel Tower… whereas 6 months ago I would have categorically said that there was no way in the world that I’d do it. Now I know I will. But I can still emphatically refuse to entertain the thought of skydiving or bungee jumping.


Now I’m just trying to think of anything else that I’ve pondered over the last few days… There are a few things – like the fact that some English accents are completely unintelligible. I have actually heard people talking – tried to listen to what they were saying and been completely unable to understand a single word…

I saw a sign in the Tate modern explaining a certain piece of art that claimed something along the lines of “the reason that this is art is that it is completely useless and pointless copy of a real useful purposeful thing”. That made me laugh.

I had a bowl of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes before bed on night and had some of the weirdest dreams I’ve had in a long time – when I wrote the title a few days ago I think I possibly remembered some of what it was that I’d dreamed… shame, cause it was weird, and funny… that’s what you get for leaving your blog a week between entries…


In other news – I guess I’ve met a whole bunch of new cool people – a crazy percentage of Australians, but also some Canadians, French, and heaps of Germans. Went on a couple of interesting midnight walks into the city… that was nice. The worst thing about the hostel (Apart from the exorbitant amount they’re charging) is the fact that for the whole hostel they only have one tiny little bar fridge. Its Terrible. The most ridiculous thing I’ve ever experienced in a hostel. Especially when people are staying here for a couple of weeks or so like myself and you need to go grocery shopping. Its impossible to shop for any length of time. On that subject – I did manage to find one of the coolest grocery stores I’ve ever been in… really massive, but cool. Freshest food I’ve seen since Australia.

Tomorrow I’m going to go meet one (or more) of the people that is on my Contiki tour. So I may, depending on events, write more tomorrow – and therefore I’m not going to write any more tonight… count this as pretty much my most abridged readers digest version of a blog entry that I’ve posted so far – I apologize.

More SOON. I promise!

On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog. - Peter Steiner

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

19 or so hours of sleep... London...

I keep forgetting what the last thing I wrote was – I’m going to assume that it was the day after my birthday and I hadn’t done much else at the time.

So Friday night Shannon, Sarah, Tess, Marilia and I went to see a band. Don’t remember what they were called, I guess you’d classify them as heavy alternative rock. They were OK. I mean, they were good for $20… but the venue was a dirty, smelly, sweaty hole in the wall that really could have done with a bath. And some deodorant. From there we got some Nachos and some soapy beer at about 2.30am. From there the weekend is a bit of a blur… The next night we went and got Chinese for dinner and went and saw the new Adam Sandler movie. I don’t recall what it’s called, but it was really good… by far his best movie to date – proof that he can play a semi-serious role. Definitely worth watching… then went and got a couple of drinks, and all of a sudden it was the next day, and I was rushing to get packed and in a taxi and on a plane, and within a blink I’m in a new city/country/continent.


So far really all I’ve seen has been the inside of the airport, the inside of a train, a couple of streets, and the inside of the hostel. I got in at about 10am and couldn’t book into the hostel until 2pm, so I sat in the lounge – accidentally picked up some free wireless internet from somewhere nearby – chatted to a couple of people online to try to keep myself awake and eventually the time ticked away and I booked into my room. A four bunk room with no one else in it… had a shower and promptly fell fast asleep. I woke up briefly at about 9pm local time, went back to sleep and woke up at 10am this morning. Great sleep… interesting dreams about nothing in particular… So far I’ve seen and heard a LOT of Aussies around the place. Which is cool…

Anyway, that’s all for now, will try to find somewhere with wireless internet for free again – rather than pay the ridiculous amount that they want to charge here at the hostel. Right now I need to go find a new mobile phone plan… something that will work all over Europe hopefully…

Right... I found a Sim card that will do for the time being - currently my UK phone number is 07726 281 406. Also - this hostel is pretty much full of Australians. Almost nothing else... and while most of them have been fantastic, I'm seeing the obnoxious, loud, idiotic side of them at the same time... real shame. *shrugs* I'll try to not kill them in their sleep... (if they sleep... I haven't ascertained that at this time).

Sometimes the appropriate response to reality is to go insane. - Philip K. Dick

Thursday, March 22, 2007

My 3 day birthday, and a Sombrero...

Right… so you got what I did on the first day of my birthday – I was on a train – I mean… I guess it was my birthday – I was getting “happy birthdays” from Australia. Which being where I was born, I have to say makes my birthday in the northern hemisphere start a little bit earlier.

Coming from the warmth of the south back into the frigidity of the north was a bit of a shock to the system… but I don’t think it really hit me until I saw the snow on the ground outside the train – wind picking up ice crystals and blowing them around giving the scene a somewhat arctic-tundra-esque feeling… quite pretty, but so friggin cold…

When I got off the train I went and dropped my bags off at the hostel and decided to catch a movie. Really not time to do much else and I really wanted to see 300. So I wandered back into the subway and caught the train into the city and went to a cinema on 34th st. Huge place… anyway went in, got my ticket and sat at the back of the theatre. The 300 is an amazing movie. One of those epics that when you get out of you feel 10ft tall and bullet proof… great. I’m not going to talk too much about it for the benefit of those of you who haven’t seen it yet. All I’ll say is if you get the chance – go see it at the cinema… so good on the big screen.

In any case; local time-wise my birthday dawned in NYC. I didn’t have much time to think about it, however as I was busy packing my things and catching another train headed up to Montreal. We all know my feelings about Montreal so I won’t go on too much about the city itself… When I got in I contacted both Ashley and Natasha (hi guys!) who I met last time I was up here at the “Geography party” section of the pub crawl. Anyway – I’ve been keeping in touch with them and they were keen to catch up with me again when I got back. So anyway, Tash was sick but Ashley was still keen to come out. So it was pretty funny when not even an hour into the pub crawl I pop out side and walk in with this gorgeous, petite, girl at my side… I got some pretty funny looks. Would have been hilarious to see their faces if both the girls had come… anyway, we sat down and had a couple of beers at the first bar, and then headed to the second bar for a bit… drank more, took drunk photos, drank Sangreal (Red wine mixed with something else – just call it recipe for a hangover…) and then headed to a third bar, before disbanding at about 2.30am (honestly that’s a guess.. I have no idea what time it was…) Very good night.

The next day I was supposed to catch a bus back to Toronto at 2pm… I was way too sick to be bothered so I made an executive decision and booked into the hostel for another night. I was meant to meet Natasha for lunch – but we were both too sick for that, and ended up – thanks to my hangover – planning to go out for dinner. So we went out to a Mexican restaurant with the promise of a surprise later on… not one who takes surprises very well – especially when they’re hinted at previously… I was understandably a little scared. But it turned out (after my enormous meal) to be that they give anyone who’s having a birthday at the restaurant a sombrero hat and a slice of something with a candle in it. Hilarious. But anyway – my search for a hat is over at least for a while… and Ashley, Natasha and I sat around talking for ages afterwards… was a really nice night, and a great way to cap off my 3 day birthday… Good friends, good food, a Sombrero and “The Monkeys” walk down the street...

And they both said if I ever want to move to Montreal they’d help me out. Haha… *coughs* not that I wouldn’t. I love it here… we’ll see… maybe one day… it's very tempting guys...

Someday we'll look back on this moment and plow into a parked car. - Evan Davis

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

St. Patrick's Day; a rope of sand...

Trying to filter through the jumbled memories of the last 2 or 3 days… I guess it has to start with another delayed bus trip from New Orleans back to Tallahassee… It started roughly on time, but we lost an hour and a half at one of the stops. Funny things happened – as they tend to – first thing – sitting in the Bus terminal in New Orleans – well rested and refreshed after a good nights sleep… actually after a good recovery day the day before where I hardly left the hotel room… anyway… two guys walk in and go get their tickets for the bus and I knew instantly even before I could hear them talking, that they were Aussies. So I went over and had a chat to them and we talked most of the first hour after we got on the bus… was good fun. One of the guys was here to try out for college basketball apparently 10 teams were looking at him from all over the country, so he must be pretty good. The other guy had done the summer camp thing and was traveling around afterwards using up the money he’d made. Both of them were from WA.

Anyway at the next bus stop which was the one that we lost all the time at, I met a girl who was enthralled with the fact that we were traveling around America, and more so with the fact that we were Australian. Funniest thing she said was “so Y’all flew here?”… I looked at the other guys and said as dead pan as I could – oh, no, we caught the bus. I think it took her one moment to realize what I’d said, and then another moment to process it, and then another couple of moments to realize that I was kidding… by then we were laughing at her… Then there were a couple of older guys – one who had gotten on at the previous stop and I had a bad feeling about him – he just looked wrong… you know? Anyway, there was him and another older guy talking shit, which normally you laugh off as dirty old men trying to impress young girls… but they’d been filling in some of the wait with alcohol and one of them said something to the other one, and they ended up taking it outside and had a little fight. Hilarious. I’m like – well there’s two empty seats anyway. Good thing too, cause the bus was packed. Then the next stop we had 3 people get off and about 8 people wanting to get on… Was the busiest bus I’ve been on this trip. All cause of spring break.

So, because I got in late to Tallahassee Bart – Caroline’s boyfriend offered to have me stay on his couch which was very nice of him. Caroline has a 10pm cut off unless she’s drinking, and Bart was up anyway… So I passed out on his futon and woke up to the day before St Patrick’s day – which apparently is almost as big a drinking day as the day itself. Maybe its just the fact that Tallahassee is virtually a college town, and they just like drinking. The plan for the day was that a group of people were going to drive for an hour and check out some caves that a lot of people had heard about, but not too many of them had been to. There ended up being about 9 of us; a good sized group and we took two cars – they were divided into the “hungry car” and the “not hungry right now car” I went in the latter of the two. The caves were good… not the biggest or most interesting I’ve seen, but the guide knew his stuff… *Shrugs* I met a lot of Caroline’s friends, all of whom are very cool… I’d go into that more, but I’m not going to. That night we went out to check out a couple of bars… met some really cool people including a group of people from Panama at the first bar. Bart was very helpful by saying as loudly as he possibly could at every apparent opportunity – “THIS IS MY AUSTRALIAN FRIEND” Funny stuff. Oh, and they had Australian beers – but not Coopers that I’ve found everywhere else, they had Toohey’s New and Boags Premium… awesome… Boags is great beer… but I wasn’t allowed to try it, I had to try some American efforts. They were OK. I’ve had better… From there we went to another bar which was absolutely packed… Right at the end of the night 1.55pm I was on my way to the “bathroom” and couldn’t open the door – a girl was on the inside holding it shut. They appologised as they came out and at my response stopped to talk to me for a good 5 minutes. Apparently one of them’s favourite things is guys with red hair… Anyway, they let me use the facilities and when I got out they were still waiting for me… they were like “we know this is a bit forward, but can we have your number?” Hilarious. That’s another first. Anyway, I gave Meredith my phone number… more on that later…

St Patrick’s day… wow… I think this is the biggest St Paddy’s I’ve ever experienced. So, we woke up at about midday and headed out for lunch, then I went back and thought it would probably be a good idea to pack my bags since I didn’t know where I’d be sleeping and there was a good chance I wouldn’t have the time or energy to do it in the morning. So that out the way we went and had dinner at the Outback Steakhouse. Hilarity. Waited for a table for about 45 minutes at the bar – managed to down a Coopers sparkling, and a Boags Premium (and well onto my second coopers) in that time… I had decided that I was “virtually” in Australia, I was allowed to drink Australian beer. Sooo much better than American beers… crazy. Anyway, 2 of Caroline’s friends arrived, Mary and Kirsten who I’d met when we went to the caves the day before. Good times. And we ate. We ate SO much… the food was actually really good… I wouldn’t call it Australian cuisine, but – I mean… what WOULD you call Australian cuisine? Kangaroo? Everyone does steak… I think we decided that it was mostly just American food with Australian names. Including the ‘Blooming Onion” which is an onion chopped but left connected at the bottom – and then coated in something and deep fried. Great. Not so good for the breath, but tasted really good. The waitress was great too… had been working there for a whole year, and I was her first bonafide Australian… pretty funny. She got wind (thanks Kirsten) that my birthday was coming up, so they brought out a candle for my icecream and a bunch of people got together and sang “Bonza Bonza Birthday” such a crack up. Then we went back to Barts place for a couple of pre-drink-drinks. A warm-up if you will… while sitting there, I got a phone call from Meredith – the girl who’d got my number the night before… I was hoping for the call, but not entirely expecting it… its hard to describe her… gorgeous doesn’t really cover it. She is beautiful… really amazingly beautiful… anyway, we chatted for a couple of minutes – she was at Wal-mart getting “St Patrickified” and planned for me to call her when we got to the bars at about 11. Which I did. And spent the rest of the evening with her and her friends – completely ditching Caroline, Bart and Mary… which I feel bad about. But only a little bit (sorry Caroline… but you saw the photos…I know you understand). Was a really really fun night… I had my first “Sex-on-the-beach” (IT’S A DRINK, MUM!) and actually, my second, third and possibly fourth as well… I’m not sure… chuck in a few shots and accidentally skulling a whole bunch of terrible green beer… needless to say I had a pretty bad headache the next day. Meredith and her friend dropped me off at Barts where I passed out fully clothed on his futon

And woke up at 10am to catch the bus to Jacksonville. That was fun. When I got to Jacksonville, I walked out the front to where the Taxi’s were, and I got approached by a guy who asked me where I was going… I told him that I was going to the Amtrak station, and he said that he’d show me how to get there, and started heading off… I was like.. so its in walking distance? And he said something unintelligible… I had some doubts, but I walked with him to the bus depot, chatted a bit along the way. He was homeless and had hurt his hand so he couldn’t work, so he just needed some money to stay at the shelter that night… He got me there safe, and we had a laugh, so I gave him about $8… still heaps cheaper than the taxi would have been – it turned out that it was a fair way – probably a $20 fare, and the bus was only 75c. so I got to the Amtrak on $8.75. Not bad. Plus I was the last one on the bus and the bus driver started to have a chat to me… so that was cool too.

And now I’ve been on a train for nearly 18 hours… Thinking of going to see a movie once I get in to NYC and have dropped my stuff off at the hostel. Get rid of the rest of my USD.

I don’t think I have much else to say right now… spending tomorrow (Birthday) mostly on a train should be fun… but with real fun at the end with ANOTHER pub crawl in the awesome Montreal. Can’t wait for that. I will relate what I remember in my next post…

Thursday, March 15, 2007

It Starts With a Sandwich

I had an interesting evening – the evening that will color my memory of New Orleans… and it will color it an interesting shade of green. More on that later

So, Getting a bit peckish at around 6.30 I wandered down to the lobby and asked the people behind the counter where would be a good place to eat, they asked what kind of thing I felt like – and I responded in the most helpful way I could think of – food. The look they exchanged said a great deal. But they replied with “Mothers”. Somewhat of a local legend apparently. Basically a diner with local specialty foods like jambalaya, Po-boys (like a subway except better), red beans and rice, etc. So I went, and stood in line outside for I guess 30 minutes at least. Assuming correctly that if people are willing to line up for food, then it must be pretty damned good.

So I stood in line.

While waiting in line a guy in front of me asked me a few questions, which I didn’t know the answers to, but we ended up chatting about other stuff. He was a theatre/TV producer in town looking for a location to film something or other… really interesting guy. Not that it makes any difference but he was black… which made it more interesting for me that he even spoke to me at all – mainly because from what I’ve experienced so far from the black community in that they tend to keep to themselves… Definitely not the case in New Orleans… it’s been really good in that respect. He found my tales of traveling around by myself intriguing (I’ve found this a fairly common response – apparently its not something that’s very common for Americans to do… *Shrugs*) anyway, I apparently amused him enough that he shouted me dinner – I guess almost as much for the company while eating as anything… not being entirely comfortable with being bought dinner I told him that he better be coming out drinking so I could buy him a few drinks.

Anyway, we chatted while eating our sandwiches and he said he wanted to head back to the casino where he was staying and play some more blackjack – which he had been having a good run at yesterday. So off we wandered and I found myself sitting at the high rollers table in the casino (free drinks for just sitting down!!!), where he pulls out a wad of cash – about $1500. I’m like… whoa… and he asked me if I was going to play – I said $100 (1 chip) was the equivalent of 4 night’s accommodation for me, not the sort of money I have to throw away… so he started off doing quite well, and then lost it all. But in between all that “excitement” this other guy comes and sits at the table and puts down $1000, blows it all in 2 hands, then gets a $10,000 (he’d asked for $20,000) line of credit and eventually leaves us to sit at his own table… after we’d finished we went and joined him. Really nice guy, but money to burn… crazy… each chip was $500. I think the biggest bet I saw him place (and win) was maybe somewhere in the vicinity of $8000… maybe more… amazing.

So after that we headed down to Bourbon street – the heart of the French quarter and a buzzing hive of activity even on a Tuesday night… amazing place, it was like you turn off the main street and you’re instantly In another world… you go from a normal weekday night, do the midnight on a Friday or Saturday night. Walking around first thing I saw was a sign advertising “The strongest drink in the world” a mixture of 151 proof rum of some sort and something else, all mixed together in a slushy and served like a frozen coke. Except green and sickening… it was very strong though… walked up the street a bit further and found an awesome band playing covers – really amazing. They guy on the saxophone was unbelievable… the singers were both as good as anything I’ve ever heard.

We then found a group of fortune tellers sitting on the side of the road doing palm readings and tarot cards – the guy I was wandering around with wanted his fortune read and sat there and got both palm and cards done, didn’t say much, but at the end he said it was pretty accurate… I thought what the hell, it will be interesting, and so I got my palm read. Always something I’ve wanted to do… Apparently I’m going to live into my 90’s (nice to hear) have 4 kids (bit of a worry), be reasonably wealthy, but have to work for it, have 2 life partners (the second of which I will meet while studying!!!), I’m a reliable person, etc, etc… love to travel… and I have a “work hard; play hard” attitude to life… funny cause earlier that day I’d been wearing my FCUK WORK t-shirt which says Work hard play hard underneath… hmmm… spooky… overall I was impressed. There’s heaps of other stuff that he said, and I wish I had been more sober at the time so I could remember it all… but anyway… whatever…

Great night…


The night came to a conclusion with my first (and maybe last) visit to a strip club. I will say one thing for the girls, as gorgeous as they are, they are mighty strong. A couple of them could climb all the way up a 27foot pole and slide down it slowly using nothing but their legs… crazy stuff… I’ll say firstly that I didn’t get a lap-dance or anything like that… in fact I’m not sure what was going on, but it wasn’t really that interesting. My friend went for a 30 minute “private” session for a good 45 minutes and I sat at the bar… chatted to a couple of girls – most of whom when they realized that that they weren’t going to get any money out of me, left pretty quick. The exception was a girl called Ryan. Absolutely stunning girl who was interesting, well traveled, smart, and just seemed happy to have someone to talk to that didn’t want to rub their face in her chest… (Not that I didn’t want to… but I guess I wasn’t in the mood) anyway, she’d come over and chat to me between “working” it was actually the most fun I had all night just talking to her. Bizarre. My friend left at about midnight citing exhaustion… I stuck around until about 2… at one point a girl came over and I laughed at her… I think she was a bit offended… but I was so drunk… the whole place just seemed ridiculous…

Anyway, that’s my excitement for the week so far… I’ve spent today sleeping off a pretty terrible green hangover… not nice at all…

Talk to you soon – probably after St Patrick’s Day!

Though I am not naturally honest, I am so sometimes by chance. - William Shakespeare

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

New New Orleans...

Righto… So the train took a good 12 hours to get from Atlanta to New Orleans… but it was actually not too bad… I slept a bit, but was mostly entertained by the two children sitting in the seats next to me (and their mother).

I got into New Orleans I guess at about 9pm, and waited for a bit for a taxi to arrive that was willing to take me to my hostel… Take this as a review on Joe and Flo’s candlelight hostel – Don’t do it. The look my cab driver gave me as I told him where I needed him to take me should have been enough for me to say “okay, take me somewhere else. Now” but I didn’t… I’d already paid for a night and I’m a bit stubborn like that. When he told me that there were 2 people shot on the street the night before, and one boy died, Again, I should have taken the hint and told him to find me somewhere else to stay… and then when he gave me directions on how to avoid the bad areas when I went into town the next day, I should have been scared enough to get him to take me straight back to the train station and I’d wait there for the next train to anywhere-but-here-ville. But I was in a good mood, and too tired to stuff around, so I got out at the hostel. He was nice enough to give me his number if I changed my mind and needed a lift – fast. Then I sat in the foyer/lounge at the front of the hostel for an hour while I waited for someone to arrive – he apparently had to drive from his house to book me in… and when I got to my room and was greeted by a not-so-sane guy sleeping on the bottom of the bunk that I was meant to be staying on the top of… the itchy bed and the 2 inch thick mattress with what felt like bars of steel running across… I decided pretty quickly that I’d be there for one night only and used the one good thing that they had – free wireless internet – to book another hotel for the next 3 days. Luckily enough I found a reasonably cheap place right in the city, of course it doesn’t have free internet though. So I got here and fell asleep at about 4pm with the intention of getting up at 9 or 10 and going out, but I slept soundly until about 8am this morning. Nice.

One thing that did hit me was the guy that ran the hostel, also ran a shuttle bus service pretty much whereever you want to go. I felt a bit bad getting him to take me to another hotel, but he chatted to me along the way, about New Orleans, and the aftermath of Katrina... how he understood why people committed suicide, and that he'd thought of it himself. He'd lost everything, and was one of the people that hadn't seen any of the money that got poured into the community to help. He didn't get any new car or plasma tv like a lot of people apparently did. He lost everything and once he finally got his house livable, a smaller tornado ripped through and tore off the back of his house again. So he's back living in a trailer... I really felt sorry for him... I tried to offer advice, but it all came out sounding cliched and he'd probably heard it all a million times, but he listened and talked while we found the hotel... As I got out and paid him the $10 fare, I gave him a $2 tip, as I would have any taxi driver... you should have seen him... he said "is this for me?!" I said yeah... he said that he'd never got a tip before... it was really sad... I told him that I hoped things got better for him...

I didn't know what else to say...

Today I’ve wandered a bit around the French Quarter – mostly gift shops, bars and strip-joints… looking for lunch and wireless internet that I wouldn’t have to pay for… eventually I found a sure bet – Starbucks. I think I found the only one in the world that doesn’t have wireless internet. In fact I’m not sure if the girl just didn’t understand me or whether that was really the case, but she looked at me funny when I asked.

So I’ve had to pay for it back at the hotel – but it only seems to work downstairs in the foyer – not in my room…even then it's intermittent.


Anyway, I can’t think of much else to write today… and I’d better leave the hotel before I decide to have a nap… not a good idea when there’s a comfy king-size bed waiting for me… going to go for a run instead… American food is terrible… fattening stuff...

Oh, okay, I guess I should really tell you what I think of New Orleans too… it’s nice… it has charm – especially the French quarter – I think the most interesting thing about it is the smell…

Hard to describe the smell…

It smells like road-kill… and it seeps into your skin… its hard to enjoy a place when it smells like its dead.

and a storm’s a-brewin…

Monday, March 12, 2007

The 'Dirty' South

After an 18 or so hour train ride – almost sleeping some of the way, almost awake for the rest of the time, no doubt thought that the train is heaps better than the bus. I wish I’d known about the rail pass earlier. Whatever, it’s all been an experience. Anyway, yeah, after the train ride into Jacksonville, Florida (sitting in the train station waiting for Caroline watching local Television and learning about how proud some 12 year olds apparently are about having sex…) we drove a couple of hours into Tallahassee. On the way we stopped at a Wendy’s for lunch, just as a busload of old people arrived. Standing in line, an elderly man started chatting to us and soon asked where I was from; telling me then that he really likes Steve Irwin (I didn’t want to mention that he’d died, as I wasn’t too sure that he knew) then he said that he was 91. I was impressed – he seriously didn’t look a day over 89. He did seem to have all his faculties though, which is impressive, and he’d had a full and interesting life – of which he gave me the abridged version – navy, merchant marines, carpenter, etc… then he asked me an interesting question – he said that trees in the northern hemisphere for whatever reason have a tendency to “twist” to the left, and he wondered if in the southern hemisphere they twisted in the opposite direction… It stumped me, but I said I would try to find out. Not that that will help him, but now I want to know. And I guess… Well… whatever, if anyone knows the answer to that, let me know. That would be cool.

Anyway, so we went to Tallahassee, Caroline, her friend Kim, and me. Them tired from they’re 4 day trip to Vegas, and me from my epic train ride… we drove in relative silence… not uncomfortable, just exhausted… which was fine… in fact, I was semi-surprised by the lack of uncomfortableness… was good. Anyway, yeah, we got to Tallahassee and Caroline’s place, a nice apartment in a quiet part of town, chatted for a little while, checked our emails and then pretty much passed out. Later that evening we met with Kim for Mexican, nearly went out drinking, but instead decided that we were all still tired, so we went back to sleep. Probably had my best nights sleep in 2 weeks. The next day we decided to head to Atlanta.
Firstly I’d like to say that I rarely make judgments on places before I’ve seen them. Of course there are exceptions – LA and Miami… I guess would be the 2 that stand out the most, and are the 2 places that I really have no inclination to go see just now. I mean, at some point, sure, but just not right now. So when Caroline suggested that we headed up to Atlanta for a few days (her boyfriend and his friend were going to be there at some point too) I was like, yeah, sounds good. But even though mum and dad have been there, and told me good things, I had no strong feelings on the subject in either direction, completely neutral (I guess it’s my Swiss heritage coming out). I was pleasantly surprised. I like Atlanta. I like it a lot… the people over all were friendly, the subway, while limited to a rough cross, was fast, efficient, clean, and probably the newest that I’ve seen so far, the city itself was similar, clean, new, and barring some issues with their roads not making a lot of sense, seemed to be laid out quite nicely. Anyway, we stayed with Caroline’s College friend Rick. Really nice guy (after some initial skepticism on his behalf of our odd friendship) and his couch, while extremely ‘compact’ was very comfortable.

The first night there we decided to catch a movie and get dinner at the same time... Checking the internet we found a movie that we both wanted to see, and then with the miracle of the internet, got a map and directions there. It was the best accident of the trip so far, we found an awesome little area with restaurants, bars, clubs, shops, and a really cool cinema. SO we got dinner, and went and watched Zodiac. Good movie – apart from about half way through, I realized that my wallet wasn’t in my pocket. After searching frantically around the chairs, and a couple of dashes out to the service area to see if anyone had handed it in (both times I came back into the theatre the same thing seemed to be being said in the movie) I tried to relax and watch the movie. Nothing more could be done for now… I started going through what I’d have to do when I got back – call credit card companies, etc, call mum and dad and organize then to send the cards up to Shannon’s my plans for New Orleans would have been shot, and I’d have to borrow money from Caroline to get the bus from Tallahassee to Jacksonville, but then be stuffed cause I wouldn’t be able to pay for accommodation for the night in NYC… so yeah, I didn’t pay that much attention to the rest of the movie – Caroline said that I sighed heavily several times which I don’t remember, but can imagine would make sense. Anyway, the movie seemed to go on forever, at the end of it I went up to a police officer and told him my plight, he calmly grabbed a torch and we went back into the theatre and obviously a veteran of many lost wallets, especially in this theatre, quickly located it. Between the seats inside the armrest in a little pocket seemingly designed for hiding wallets in.

Relieved I slept will that night.

The next day we met Bart and his Danish friend Simon for the Coke museum, and later for dinner, and then Caroline, myself, Rick and his girlfriend, went out to a bar for a few drinks. That was fun… played a drinking game with a jug of some pretty terrible beer… anyway, the next day we went to the Atlanta Aquarium… by far the best aquarium I’ve ever been to… really amazing… they were almost more a SeaWorld than an aquarium, they had beluga whales, otters, seals, etc, as well as the norms. Really good.

Anyway, then we got a couple of hotel rooms and Simon and I went out drinking while Bart and Caroline “caught up” and we got back at about 3am… if you take into account daylight savings starting and us loosing an hour somewhere.

And now I’m on the train… which has been good… sitting with a single mum and her 2 kids, really funny. An old lady sitting in front of me asked me if I had kids cause “you’re really great with kids… you should have kids” *coughs* one day… one day…

Now I’m tired again, time for a nap…


Usually, terrible things that are done with the excuse that progress requires them are not really progress at all, but just terrible things. - Russell Baker

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Meat Pies in Brooklyn

So how’s this for random? I was checking my Gmail account the other day, and Google being Google obviously have adds and things. So there’s this little text add at the top of the page that happens to catch my eye – Real Australian and New Zealand meat pies. I’m like, yeah, right, whatever, until I read the next line that says – Made fresh in Brooklyn – Free Delivery. I was like SAY WHAT!!!? I could so go a meat pie right now; I’m going to get one. So I spent an hour on the subway and walked for at least half an hour to find this place and I wasn’t disappointed! Meat pies! Awesome. So I had a potato pie and a steak pie, a flat white coffee, and a lamington. I also got a steak and cheese pie, a plain mince pie, and 2 sausage rolls to take back to the hostel to have for dinner last night, and breakfast this morning. I’m all pied out. I’ve had my fix. But check them out @

Good stuff.

Apart from that, the girl serving there was from Melbourne, we had a good chat about all things Australian, the vegemite/folate scandal, and the problems with finding a decent block of Cheese in North America. She had a gripe about snooty Americans coming in and calling her pies “Cute” and I agreed that “cute” is not a description that should be attached to a chunky steak pie. Ever. Over all it was nice – you could buy Milo, She knew what a flat white was, and all the prices INCLUDED sales tax… I took a whole bunch of menus and distributed them around the hostel… I hope they do well.

Brooklyn is a beautiful suburb… I really liked it, narrow streets, Victorian style townhouses and buildings… Clean. I’m disappointed that I didn’t go there earlier or for longer… I would have stayed and wandered around some more yesterday, but it started snowing. And I already have a cold… I don’t need it go get worse… and I’d forgotten my camera anyway…

Other than that I caught up with one of the Aussies that was in Boston when I was there… funny guy… hmmm. Yeah… anyway, we went out to a bar up the street from the hostel and had a few drinks… met a couple of local girls and chatted to them for a while, Lily and Stephanie. That was fun… they introduced me to their favorite beer – Chimay; which is a Belgian style brune. Quite nice. Chatted about music, accents, and which countries are most likely to be destroyed in a nuclear war. Then after they left, the other Aussie (– we shall for the purpose of the story, call him Michael… for no other reason than that is his name…) called the bar lady over and asked how old she thought he was… and how old she thought I was for that matter… This is always a fun game for me, but this worked out well – she said I looked 24 (seems to be the most common age I get mistaken for…) and he looked 26. He’s 21. He was so devastated… it was great. And still playing the game she asked how old we thought she was (this is when it gets dangerous) he said 22. There was no way she was 22 but there was no way I was going to say that she looked 28, so I said 26. She was 29, and obviously happy with our answers bought us a round of shots on the house… good fun…

And now its time for an apology – I thought I’d posted this one, but I obviously hadn’t. so, here it is… a few days late – but safe and sound. Right now I’m in Atlanta and I’m due to catch a train at 8am tomorrow down to New Orleans for a few days, I’ll write something for you on the train and post it (hopefully – assuming internet access at the hostel) in the next few days.

Everybody lies, but it doesn't matter because nobody listens.
- Nick Diamos

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Road Trip #2 - I Love Montreal!

No, really, I do… I could live there… I even love not being able to speak the language, it’s hilarious. Where do I start? I guess… I got into Montreal on Thursday evening, after having had about 3 hours sleep the night before. At least I wasn’t hung-over… that would have been awful, I was just tired. But when I got in I discovered that it was pub crawl night at the hostel… never one to pass up an opportunity, I thought, bugger-it, I’ll sleep tomorrow. So… go out I did, I have a habit of getting pizza at 4am in Montreal with random people that I meet along the way. And that happened again. We ended up in a diner Me, Chris (the tour guide) and two of his friends from the Geography party that we ended up at – Natasha and a girl that looked suspiciously like Avril Lavigne. I feel terrible that I can’t remember her name – all I think of is Avril… by no means a bad thing. Really good night.

The next day I slept… got up at about 2pm, to find that Montreal had received nearly a foot of snow, and it was still snowing… was a good day, mostly because I didn’t do anything. Then the evening rolled around and an Aussie guy – Wes, from Sydney, who had been one of the other 5 Aussies out drinking the night before, found me and told me about this festival they were having down in Old Montreal. I’ve always wanted to go to old Montreal, so we headed down there, got Wild-boar-sausage-on-a-stick (surprisingly good) went on the 120ft ice slide, and wandered around for a while 'til we got cold and felt like heading back to the hostel. Got in at about 11, nice early night.

Yesterday other than organizing my train ticket – again, during the day I didn’t get up to a great deal. Until 6.30 that is when there was an organized tour back to old Montreal and Ice Skating! I’ve been wanting to go ice skating since I’ve been here... its SO much fun. I honestly think the last (and first) time I went ice skating would have been in Hobart maybe… 7 or 8 years ago… so its been a while… mind you, I do have rollerblades and the motion is almost identical, but I haven’t been on my blades in probably 5 years… at least… So it took me a while to get back into the swing of things. Ended up cruising around quite nicely, getting up a fairly good speed – and if I needed to stop I could always throw myself into a bank of snow. Which I did several times, just for fun. I found that I am good at turning left, not so good at right. But I am proud to say that I didn’t fall over (accidentally) at all. Came close a couple of times, but it didn’t actually happen. Much to the disappointment of a particular French girl who had pushed me into the snow on the way there. I’m sorry Pa, I think I like French people… girls at least.

And I’d just like to say that Switzerland is NOT neutral. Not at all. Bastard.

So anyway… I think this time in Montreal, I’ve met more Aussies than any other part of my trip… there were 5 of us the first night on the pub crawl, and a completely different 5 (except me of course – common denominator) when we went ice skating, plus a heap of others that I only met in passing, there would have been 16 or 20 just in the 3 nights… most of which had come from Whistler or the other west coast snow resorts for a change of scenery, and to get away from all the Australians. No such luck… Anyway, we went ice skating, then we went drinking. It’s a good thing the bars close at 3 otherwise I wouldn’t have gotten ANY sleep last night, as it is I had to wake up at 7.30 so I could pack and be ready in time to catch the train. Which I am on now. And YES it’s so much more comfortable than the bus. Not hard, but anyway… this is going to be a 9 hour trip… so there will be sleeping involved. At least they have a power point so I can charge my laptop while we’re moving. No internet, but that’s not the end of the world…

I can’t think of any more to say right now… I might think of something later.


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Contiki, drinking, and other new things...

So I’ve been back in Toronto so far for a week… and done pretty much nothing. I went out Friday night and had a few drinks at the bar down the back here, met some interesting people *Shrugs* drank lots. Got home and a friend I met along my travels was online – this is at about 2.30am, and we were all pretty drunk – anyway, I met Kristin in Ithaca a week or so ago, She showed me her fake ID while we were standing at the bar. Nice one. I mean, it’s a nice fake, and on top of that – nice one Kristin – there was a barman standing there watching you… anyway, she was online and I got told to hold on a minute. Now I don’t remember giving her my number (maybe I did… drunk makes you do funny things) all of a sudden my phone rings, and its her friend, who has a thing for Australian accents apparently. So we chatted drunkenly for about 20 minutes, about nothing in particular, but it was funny nonetheless.

Other than that its been snowing pretty steadily here for the last few days which is pretty. Light fluffy flakes gently swirling around the window… falling slowly, some of them floating back up as if to look back at me, looking out at them…

Oh, I did find something out that’s interesting today… I was a bit worried about my Contiki getting cancelled cause its an odd date late April *Shrugs* anyway, I was on the Contiki website and found a couple of bulletin boards regarding the trip I’m going on, and a few people had registered that they were going on the same one as me – so far these are the names of people coming on my tour – Hayley from Sydney, Elle from Canberra, Amy from an unspecified place in Australia, then there’s Helen from London, and Anna and another Amy from Vancouver as well as someone who calls themselves Yakyak, from Norwich in the UK. And me. Of course. Obviously these are names that you will hear again in the near future when I’m on my Contiki! Anyway, so there’s 8 of us registered on this website, I don’t know how many people it takes to fill up a tour bus, but I’m assuming its more than that. So I thought I’d call Contiki and confirm that its all going ahead – and they said its Booked out! How good is that?! I mean, half of us so far are Aussies, but that’s not all bad… so long as there aren’t too many people that are traveling as a group. That would be not so good… but still… I’m starting to get really excited about this trip… its going to be awesome. Not to take anything away from my up-coming trip down to Florida, that is going to be a blast too, no doubt.

Tonight Shannon and I are going down the street for a pub meal at a bar that we haven’t been to, that should be fun, and Wednesday, Shannon, Sarah, and one or two of her friends are going to come out for a bit… might go ice skating, get dinner, then go out for a while… will see when the time comes… probably will mean another hung-over bus trip on Thursday… ha-ha. *coughs*

Oh, yeah… I’m now on I’m not really sure what the purpose of that is, but I’m there nonetheless… as soon as I can figure how to link the two Google powered sites together, I will, but until then - *shrugs* do with that what you will.

Friday, February 23, 2007

WHITE! And The Difference between Alone and Lonely…

So… I woke up at some point during the night with a really intense feeling of being alone… Nothing to worry about, it passed quickly, but it did make me think. Maybe I might head back to the hostel here in Toronto for a few days… I mean, I probably won’t… but I thought about it. For $20 a night you always meet some pretty interesting people… Anyway; the last two nights I’ve gone to a different pub each night and got a cheap meal and a couple of beers… it’s been nice, but it’s never as nice as if you’d been there with someone else… The first night I just went to the nearest place and got a chicken burger… No where near as good as the one I got in Philly, but you can’t have everything I guess… it was cheap… Last night I thought I’d try something a bit more adventurous, and had the Irish stew at an Irish bar that I found when I went for a run yesterday. It was Terrible. The beef was gristly and full of tendons and bits that I don’t want to think about… the bread, while its meant to be dry, was dry to the point of soaking up all the moisture from the broth, and STILL able to be dry.... but over all, it was a nice warm environment and they had 39c Wings. Now, I don’t usually eat chicken wings – they’re more hassle and mess than they’re worth – but I figured that nothing can be worth less than 39c, so I got wings as well… Made a mess… and I’ll be damned if it wasn’t almost worth it.

Other than that, I need to leave the building to go to the greyhound terminal and buy my Bus tickets for my next trip… Can only catch the Train with the ticket I’ve got from Montreal (Shame about that…) so I’ll head on over there, take a few days to get to New York… Really not looking forward to the 20 hour ride down to Jacksonville… I’m going to be smelly… (That counts as fair warning Caroline!)

So… I can stand being alone just fine – so long as I know that I have friends around that I can talk to… and so far I haven’t scared them all away, so it’s all good. In fact I seem to be collecting some along the way… Loneliness on the other hand… mmm… I guess it’s the feeling that you are really all alone. Almost like claustrophobia… not something I usually suffer from – and I’ll say it was just a moment… Right now; I don’t feel lonely, although I am alone… Just like sometimes when you’re stuck in an elevator you can feel boxed in, but know that you’re not going to suffocate.

Does that make sense?

Oh, and I woke up this morning, sat at my computer, opened the curtain… and EVERTHING WAS WHITE! Just when I thought that the snow might be easing off a bit, in fact it had been above freezing for like 3 days straight, and the footpath was dry enough to run on… Bloody White… It was a bit of a shock, but it looks like its going away again now… so that’s good… I’m more of a “shades of grey” sort of person.

How can I believe in God when just last week I got my tongue caught in the roller of an electric typewriter? - Woody Allen

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Evil and Rabbits

SO… huh… my little road trip is over – where did I leave you last? I guess in Philly. Philly is awesome. But I think any city is awesome through the eyes and experience of a local. Went out again on my last night in Philadelphia with Julia – found a pub maybe a block away from my hostel, that served 300 beers (Coopers vintage amongst them), possibly one of the messiest (but delicious) burgers I’ve ever eaten, all that and waited on by some guy that wanted to murder us… whatever we’d order he’d look at us like we’d just insulted his mother, kicked his dog, and spat in his beer… not so good… good thing that we were having such a good time, otherwise I might have not tipped him at all. At some point during the night, one of Julia’s friends came out and we went to another bar to play darts – them against me, cause I had drunk more, but was convinced that I was less drunk than both of them put together. I’m not sure if that’s necessarily the case, but I still managed to only loose the game right at the end… good fun… One tip thought – and I will learn from this mistake – don’t always take the word of the bar-person for gospel when asking for 3 of their favorite shots… she poured a very average whisky… very average. And whisky’s never the best shot to take anyway… I felt fine in the morning – but I did get a message from Julia saying that she hates me. So all is well. I leave another city with someone hating me; my goal in life is to have someone hate me in every city I visit. I think I might be on my way…

Only joking.

So from there it was up to Ithaca to see Amber one more time… not too much to say about that. Nothing that I want to write for the world to see anyway, but over all I think it ended as well as that sort of thing ever can. If not better… (?) I can’t say I’m not sad, but life goes on I guess… “It is better to have loved and lost than never to have lost at all.” - Samuel Butler

Or something like that anyway… *coughs*

From there it was another 7 ½ hour bus ride back up to Toronto… actually had a reasonably comfortable bus and managed to sleep for a good portion of the trip, which was a welcome surprise. And I seem to have managed to sleep for most of today as well… I guess the last few weeks have caught up with me… didn’t realize I was that tired, but it was nice to have a good sleep… In fact I think I’ve been awake today maybe for a total of 3 hours… feel great. I think I probably should be conserving my energy for March and my trip down to Florida…

The title of my entry today I dedicate to the Museum of Art in Philly… Great. Great. Maybe more on that at a later date when I’m looking through my photos, perhaps… just something that caught my eye and made me laugh… very thought and emotion provoking place; the Philly museum of art… in particular I was a peculiar mix of extremely amused and furious while walking through the section titled “Modern art”… *shakes head*

I should be an artist…

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Philly… Cold Toes and V-Day…

Right…where do I start? I guess firstly I have to say that a few people who have read my blog have said I’m maybe a bit long winded and maybe a little too meticulous at detailing my travels… I guess I agree with you, but you have to realize too that this is as much for me in the future as it is for you now, you know? So when I look back I can remember the things I experienced… so while I’m having a good time, you’ll hear about it. If there’s too much for you to read, that’s okay too… skim thru it, whatever… see that there’s too much in a post and don’t bother at all… *Shrugs* I’m a pretty easy going sort of bloke, so you know… whatever… *grins*

So today was a pretty shitty day weather wise. Icy rain and a build up of snow on the streets meant that I spent quite a lot of time in-doors. But with the Philly Hostel, they have a policy of kicking people out from between 10.30am and 4.30pm, which means that for like 6 hours you have to find something to do. So I went into a few places, got a GREAT omelet and the best brewed coffee I’ve found in the US from a diner down the street. Went to a couple of information booths etc, then I found one place that you had to pay like $9 to get in, pretty much like a museum of federation. That was pretty funny, you should have seen all the people’s eyes light up when I walked in at about 11.30, I must have been the first person that they’d seen all day when they weren’t expecting anyone… I got the royal treatment, my own personal guide, and they even got the actor guy who obviously normally performs to a full auditorium, to start the 17 minute “play” just for me. First thing he says as he walks in the door was “what? D’you miss your flight?” So that was funny… luckily an older couple came in within a few minutes and he had an audience of 3, which is HEAPS better I’m sure… Anyway, so I sat thru this play on what it is to be “We The People” which made me feel very patriotic… sort of… I like my dual nationalities just fine thank-you anyway…

Then I went and saw the Liberty Bell… It’s a bell… *shrugs* um… yeah…

So, yeah, from there I just wandered up and down the city a bit… not venturing too far out of my way cause of the weather and the fact that after stepping in one deceptively deep puddle, I got water in my boots and now have cold toes. Which I hate.

Anyway, Last night… I should mention last night… BIG thanks to Julia, my guide last night… Great Philly Cheese Steak, and bad luck about the darts… so close… I also have to say “Hi” to Kim. Only because apparently she didn’t want her name on the blog… *Shrugs* And obviously a huge thanks to Caroline down in Florida who knows that I’m not a serial killer and trusted me with her friend… Cheers… All much appreciated. Last night was as much fun as I’ve had on my trip so far, always good to meet really nice random people, and now meeting Julia (Random Twice Removed) who is HALF AUSSIE!!! It’s just added to the number of cool people that I’ve met. Anyway, as I mentioned I had my first (definitely not last) taste of a Philly Cheese Steak – which is like a long roll with chopped up steak and cheese, and onion if you want it… really good. The kind of food that is Great when sober, but you just wish you could find when you were drunk as well… From there we found a little micro-brewery place that serves its own beers… tried a few of them REALLY GOOD!!! Then it was all of a sudden time to meet Julia’s friends and show them that I hadn’t killed her… So, yeah, that was basically the rest of the night… the group of us came 4th in a quiz night, and then 4 of us moved on to another bar where we played darts – and I pulled out a bulls eye to win in a very close one. Then I got a taxi and missed the curfew of 2am by about 10 minutes… luckily there were still people downstairs to let me in or it would have been a long walk back to find someone’s couch…

So that’s Philly so far… Happy Valentines day everyone… for those of you with someone on this very red, flowery love-heart covered greeting card company induced day, I hope you have a great night… The rest of us… there’s always next year… but it sucks being alone when you see so many people not being alone…

There’s Always Beer…

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Heights, Other Things...

So, Yesterday I went up the Washington Monument - 52 stories. I'm getting quite good at being inside tall buildings, there was a moment or two when my legs didn't want to walk and i didn't want to let go of the elevator, but that passed quickly and once again i found myself right at the window looking out over DC. One good thing about this and also the Provincial tower in Boston was that there's no "outside" area, so to look straight down, you're still up against some pretty serious glass.

So first thing i did yesterday was find the Ford Theatre - where Lincoln was shot, and across the road to the house where he died... I didn't go inside... *shrugs* Then i found the Spy museum... I reckon i spent a good 2 hours wandering around inside there... for the first hour or so it was really interesting, for the second hour I was starting to get a bit bored - it was mostly about the cold war and the manhattan project, but that was still okay. Over all it was still a decent afternoon... From there i headed in the general direction of the Holocaust museum, but detoured via the booth where you get the (free!) tickets for the Washington monument, where amazingly enough they had some spare tickets for the 4pm tour. Obviously i took it.

After the Washington monument I ended up at the Holocaust museum for about an hour and a half. That was interesting too... infact, i think really everything i've been to has been interesting... to some extent. They had a lot of interactive displays and things where you can look up names of people from the holocaust... lots of quiet areas, that sort of thing...

Then I had a fairly early night after chatting with Caroline down in Florida and working out the skeleton details of my trip down there... sounds like it should be a lot of fun...

Right now its snowing fairly heavily, not sticking, but enough to make my walk to the subway a little un-comfortable... anyway, i dont reckon its heavy enough to stop the bus... life goes on.
The photo up there is of one of the fountains at the WWII war memorial... it got my attention, all the pennies just sitting there... so many wishes... I wonder how many came true? I wonder about the people who threw the coins in the water... how long ago? how many are still alive? maybe its better not to think about it...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

DC - Bloody Feet & Pillars

Right… so I’ve been in the nation’s capital for 3 days now I guess… and my lack of posts probably says something to you… I guess it could say several things – it could say that I’m having so much fun that I haven’t had time to write anything… unfortunately that’s not the case… I mean, its not that I haven’t had fun. Oh, no… maybe it is… fun is not really the word. It’s been really interesting… I have enjoyed seeing all the places and museums and exhibits and things. The Smithsonian is amazing in all its facets… the monuments and statues are incredible and on such a massive scale – one that’s really hard to comprehend until you’re standing at the base of one of the million or so pillars, looking up at the ornate carvings… I mean, the time and energy involved must have been ridiculous. It’s not like I haven’t seen pillars before… I have… but I reckon if you took all the pillars here, and stood them on top of each other you’d get to the moon, and possibly back again… it’s like an ancient forest of marble. Crazy stuff…

So, the first day I reckon I walked for about 8 hours… timing myself I think I walk about 1 ½ steps per second, that’s 90 steps per minute, that’s 5400 per hour, so about 43,000 steps… at about 70cm per step (conservatively) that’s about 30km… I don’t know if that’s right or not… but the blisters on my feet tell me that it’s not too far off… I guess with time to stop and take photos, you might round that down to maybe 24 or 25km… either way… my feet are sore, and I’m looking forward to getting back to Toronto and wearing my sneakers for a couple of days… anyway; the first day… I first walked down towards Capitol Hill, found that, got some photos, walked around the back of it and bumped into a large group of girls (18-22yo) from salt lake city who got me to take their photo in front of one of the buildings – squealing when they heard me speak – its quite an experience… *coughs* then I walked back down towards the Washington monument, took some photos, then kept on in the same direction towards the Lincoln memorial… took some pictures… walked past the Vietnam memorial, took some pictures… kept on walking and got to the Thomas Jefferson memorial… just around sunset, got some nice photos there… walking walking, back across past the Washington monument, night time, got some more photos… saw the Whitehouse and thought “what the hell” walked to the white house, got some more photos… and then went back to the hostel… took my shoes off, realized that the pub crawl was about to start, put my shoes back on and headed out… had a few beers and got home at about 2am… not a bad day…

The next day I spent sleeping mostly… left the hostel at about 2pm and went to the museum of natural history, which was good, but not as good as the one in NYC… wandered around for a bit, decided to catch the Subway to Union Station, which was pretty cool, got some food, some more photos, and then headed back on the subway, transferring to a different line to go to a supermarket where I got some fresh fruit and some yogurt, which I ate when I got back to the hostel. Spent some time talking to some people that were heading next on their travels to NYC, and then got an early night.

Today, I’m going to walk past the Ford Theatre, maybe go to the holocaust museum… and then I think I’ll be just about done… It’s meant to snow this evening a fair bit, hopefully not enough to stop my bus leaving in the morning… we’ll see…

The Romans would never have found time to conquer the world if they had been obliged first to learn Latin. - Heinrich Heine

Saturday, February 10, 2007

My last day in New York

So, after a really good nights sleep, I stuffed around organizing my stuff until about 11am, then decided to do a bit of a walk around central park until I had to be back here at 2.30 to meet Thomas and Kev and go do the boat trip. Okay, now just some advice for any of you thinking of ever coming to New York… awesome place, great things to do, I mean the people leave a little to be desired in some cases, but in general, well worth it… If you get the chance to go see Central Park, make the effort, go and see it, but leave yourself more than a couple of hours. I got to the park and did what I really like doing in new places- got myself lost… didn’t know which way is up, and I generally have a really good sense of direction, but I was lost… anyway, I eventually found myself towards the northern end of the park and all of a sudden an hour had gone past… so I figured that I had to head south and eventually would run into the reservoir which would mean that I was roughly in the area that I had to be to get back to the hostel at around 103rd st. So I walked and walked, and eventually found the reservoir, and headed around the edge (got some great photos) and again, got to the end of that and another half hour had gone, so not knowing how long it was going to take me to get back, I walked a bit faster. Walking thru some baseball fields, and the eventually not having any idea where I was, started jogging… The problem was that by that time I was in a part of the park that had some really cool things to take photos of, like Cleopatra’s needle, and some statue of a Polish dude on a horse with two crossed swords – awesome… so I was running, and like “Oh, Shit… I have to get a few photos of that” and running some more, and “Bugger… that looks awesome” anyway, eventually I found the edge of the park that I needed to find, and realized that I was on 81st street – 22 blocks from home… luckily there was a subway station right there and I caught it the 2 stops required and all was good… now I have a sore foot from running…

Then it was on to the cruise up the river… We took the 4pm one on the recommendation of another traveler who said that you get the best views at that time of day. Boy was he right… leaving the dock it was a bit glary, but soon enough the sun started to set, and apparently the smog of a huge city gives a pretty awesome sunset… yeah, got some good photos… only problem was that on a cold day, its even colder out on the water with the wind and stuff… there were several times that I couldn’t feel my fingers, at all. Not “I had cold fingers” – I literally couldn’t feel my hands. And then when I could – It hurt like hell. Photos had to come first – who knows how long before I come back?

Anyway, that took 2 hours, and afterwards we went to Starbucks and got a hot drink to warm us up a little bit… then I went back to Macy’s and bought another suitcase… *coughs* its not that I bought that much stuff in NY, and I was almost going to get another suitcase before I left Australia… but I found a good one and at a decent price and it will save me carrying around like a duffel bag or whatever which I can maybe leave for Shannon and his 60+ books that he’s collected over the last 8 months or so… *shrugs*

Anyway, then I got back to the hostel, relishing the fact that it was only 9pm and I was going to get a good nights sleep after being really organized and getting my bags packed before bed and all… but Irish had other ideas for what was also his last night in the big apple… and we went out for a “couple of pints”. Interesting night… he decided to try the old “buy a round of drinks for the girls at the bar” trick… which apparently works… sort of.


Anyway, I got back to the hostel at 3am, and although not hung over – I am pretty tired and I might just let the gently buffeting of the bus lull me to sleep…

Next stop – the nation’s capital – Washington DC