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