Saturday, December 10, 2005

 

'The Last Post' Post

Hey everyone. Again it's been a long time between post, and again I'm sorry. The end of my term here made me extremely busy. Our semester is much shorter, but the amount of papers we have is quite the same and they're all due in the same week.

Anyhow, since I've last posted I had my third big trip off the island, this time to Berlin, then onto Wolfsburg, Germany to the VW factory. Well, like an idiot I forgot to bring my camera, so no pictures. I am sad about this as well. I took my camera out and charged the batteries and everything the day before my flight, just forgot to put the whole mess back together and take it with is all. Oh well. Still got the memories. VW was extremely cool. They have their own little city. A little VW city inside of the city of Wolfburg. I went to the VW museaum, got a VW factory tour, and did neat other VW things as well. The most exciting part for me was seeing the exact assembly line that made my '92 Cabby back in the day. Today it's putting out the latest Golf models (I think it's the A5 to other VW geeks out there).

Since I don't really have many new pictures, as I don't really take many, I thought I'd put up a sprinkle of old pictures that I never posted for you all to see. I hope you all enjoyed reading a bit about what I have been up to while over here. I hope to see you all back State-side soon. Take care those of you who are out traveling for the holidays. Traveling can be tiresome...trust me, I know.


This is a really cool dog Babs and I came across in Paris. He stood like this for at least 20 minutes. Dogs love trucks...and fountains.


Me on Abby Road. The famous cross walk is just yards away from me. This was taken on the anniversary of Lennon's death...so two days ago. I didn't see Yoko there.


This is me stealing a giant wrench from the Tower Bridge engine room when Barbara and I went. It didn't fit, well, anywhere, so I put it back.


Myself with friends on a bridge in Salzburg, Austria, before my hair started looking like a mop. The Sound of Music was filmed on this bridge...well not the whole movie, that would've just been dull...


Just a regular flock of giant red pinguins hanging out above the Versace store in Venice.

Monday, November 21, 2005

 

The Homeland

An island, off an island, off the coast of Europe...that's where I went this last weekend. Where, supposedly, 75% of my blood originated from...Ireland. Since I couldn't go to the entire island at once...since I'm fairly certain that's not possible (and if it somehow is, it makes my brain hurt), I destined myself for Dublin, the capitol city.

So just about everything that could go wrong in Dublin for me, did. Missed my airport shuttle, plane left late, ATM card doesn't work in Ireland, only booked one night at a hostel when I needed two, Dublin's bus system changed schedules, flight back left late, plane couldn't land, plane diverted to different airport, missed my shuttle back to central London, uber-long delays and brain-ake trying to get myself anywhere and everywhere I needed to be...But all-in-all, Mrs. Lincoln thinks the play was still a good one (obscure family joke reference, you can get it if you think).

I did manage to visit many of Dublin's fine attractions including St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin Castle, The Book of Kells, The Spire, The Jameson Distillery, and St. James' Gate Brewery. All quite fun, the latter of the two were most certainly the most interesting.

Well, I'm beat. I just got in this morning from this whole shindig, and I must now eat, then do many papers, then sleep a little, maybe. I've probably left much to the imagination, so if you have any Dublin questions, feel free to make a comment and I'll answer them.

Cheers. Looks at pictures. Erin go brough!


The Jameson Distillery...it's better than Scotch.


St. Patrick's Cathedral. Didn't see any snakes there...wonder why?? (Irish Catholic joke reference)


Dublin at night. You can hear the shores alive with pub songs...not really though, it's cold and their doors are shut...but it makes for a nice vision. Keep the vision.


Dublin Castle. This thing is kind of a disappointment. This is the only side of the "castle" that looks like a castle. The rest looks like office buildings. Sorry to ruin it. I could've just said, "Dublin Castle," and you would've thought it was all neat looking throughout.


The pride of Dublin. St. James' Gate Brewery's Gate. Brilliant!

Monday, November 07, 2005

 

Update: Still Over Here

Sorry it's been so bloody long since I've posted an update for you all. Computer time just hasn't been fitting into my schedule a lot these last few weeks. I'll try and be better for my remaining four weeks or so.

Lots of little updates for you all. My second trip to Paris, this time with Barbara, was spectacular. I never thought much of the French before I left the States, but now I'd have to say I like them more than a lot of other Europeans. Although I still don't like that they charge to use the water closet. Makes for ancy trips to the ATM, past street peeing bums and things of the like...you'll have to inquire in person for more about that. Paris is good. Hopefully Babs and I will get back there someday. There's never enough time in Paris to see everything and take in all the atmosphere.

In London news, Barbara and I spent a ridiculous amount of time at the Tower of London, and still didn't get to see it all, or give all the places there a respectable amount of time for visiting. It is really a sweet place, if you like to see and hear about all the old torture methods and stories of royal imprissionment. There's also stuff for the kids, like the Crown Jewels, which were horribly impressive by themselves. No pictures of them though...no such things were aloud.

More recent London news involves the Harry Potter premiere. I went to it yesterday along with a few other thousand people. I didn't go to the movie...you needed special passes for that, but I did go to the whole red carpet shindig...well, I watched the whole red carpet shindig...again with the special pass business. I got to see most of the major stars from the flick, but not good enough to get any decent pictures to share. I'm a bit of a picture snob, if I can't get a good picture, I usually just won't take one...which means you best not ever expect a good hummingbird picture out of me, if the bird won't sit still, I'm not taking its picture.

It's getting pretty Christmasy around London now. Since they don't know what Thanksgiving is, they go straight to Christmas after Halloween (and Guy Fawkes Day). So Regents Street is now lit up every night with lots of lights, and of course promotional material for the new Ice Age movie which must be coming out someday. Can't have Christmas without marketing, Santa wouldn't be happy.

I hope all is well in the States. I look forward to coming back home soon, especially with the holidays.




Barbara and I in front of the Louvre in Paris.


A view of Paris from atop of Notre Dame.


The infamous rack. A torture device once used in the Tower of London. Stretchy.



The Harry Potter world premiere in Liecester Square (pronounced Lester Square).


Christmas lights over Regents Street. Festive.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

 

The London Life

Another week gone by. The weeks are moving really quickly for me over here. Thursday night is my indicator night as to how much time has pasted since we landed at Dover and coached into the city. Thurday's karoke night at the pub in ISH, so our whole group usually ends up there, at some point in the evening, to chat about what we're up to for the weekend (since our weekend starts on Thursday night...no Friday classes) and we usually try and get each other up on stage. I realize amongst the bustle, that I've heard this same guy sing Louis Armstrong's "Wonderful World" about 46 times (actually 5 times by last Thursday), and it seems like I just heard him do it yesterday. That's when it feels like time is flying by.

So I don't think I've mentioned much about where I live, other than London in general. I live in the International Student House (ISH), but I live in the second of their two buildings, Mary Trevelyan Hall. So I am actually about a 5-8 minute walk from where I eat and have my classes. I actually like living a bit away from the main building. It makes sure I get outside on the days when I'm in classes for 7 hours. It is a bit annoying if I forget something though, and need to run back between classes, but I try not to make any habits out of doing that.

The main roads I live by, for any of you who may know something about central London, are Great Portland Street (where ISH's main building is), Baker Street (where the fictional Sherlock Homes lives), and Marylebone (which is the connecting road between the two). I live closer to Baker Street, than I do Great Portland, which is nice for getting to the post office and little eateries, but not as good for getting to class, the caff, or Tesco (the grocery store). The road I actually live on is York Terrace East, which is just off the main path a bit. It's a nice area to be.

The weather here is fairly similar everyday, 60ºF with a chance for rain. It rains pretty much everyday, but just for a little bit. It's never too heavy of a rain, just a slight fast drizzle of sorts. Most people carry an umbrella with them everywhere, but my sweatshirt does the trick quite well, it keeps me warm and dry ( so there is no need to worry about any lack of umbrellas for any concerning mothers of mine ;) ).

The food here is fairly good. Definitely a bit blan, but nothing to scoff at. All the Americans grab pepper packets in line at the cafeteria, it's kind of funny, you could probably spot us just on that alone. Sometimes their sandwich combination get a little too Eastern for many of us on the trip (such as a fish, egg, and goat's cheese sandwich), but we just don't take those.

The beverages around here are fairly like home. There do seem to be some missing though. Mountain Dew aparently never made it to Europe, because it is nowhere to be found, and chocolate milk too is MIA. Sometimes they try and pawn off chocolate milkshakes to be like our chocolate milk, but it's way too thick to be considered milk anymore.

I'm about halfway through the midpoint of my term. I've had a good amount of papers due already, and I've got a few more for this next week. Classes, although long, are not so bad.

Speaking of those papers to come due, I should be off to work on them, so I'll leave you with a small list of words that just don't match up between home and here. Cheers.

Fries=chips
Chips=crisps
Cookies=biscuits
Crackers=snaps
Highway=motorway
Semi=lorry
Apartment=flat
OK=yeah
Bucks($)=quid
Change($)=bob
Grades=marks

There are so many...no way I could even scratch the surface with a list. And if I threw in Cockney Slang, then I'd need to write a manual to explain what they are saying.


This is ISH. It looks not so nice from the outside, but the inside is quite modern.


This is the road I actually live on. It looks very English.


This is my small little balcony, but hey, it's a balcony, in my room.


Here's a look from my balcony down toward Baker Street.


This is me and my new guitar. We spend a lot of time on the balcony together.

Friday, October 14, 2005

 

London's Much Better Down Where It's Wetter...

Take it from me, the London Aquarium is pretty neato.

I kind of like to do themes with my blog entries, and I really didn't know what I was going to do this time around, until I took a trip to the London Aquarium. It wasn't particularly Londony. No fish had accents, it wasn't raining inside the building, no car honked its horn at me, and most of the things in there were more like tourists than Londoners really. But it was still neat to see, so I thought I'd share a bit of what I saw.

As far as life in London, it's getting to be fairly routine. All my classes are getting near their mid-point and I'm having all my midterm papers become due. The weekdays are pretty full of class with the occasional trip out to someplace new in the city. I play football (soccer) with a bunch of Brits every once in a while in Regents Park. That's always a good time. I hold my own pretty well among them considering most of them were born with a soccer ball. I make the most of my weekends, usually picking up a daypass on the tube and trying to cram as many London sites in as I can. I traveled to Notting Hill this last weekend and checked out the Portobello Rd market. Forgot to bring my camera though...sorry, no pictures.

I'm still hoping to pull off trips back to Germany to go visit Volkswagen in Wolfsburg, and take in some of Berlin while I'm there, as well as heading over to the homeland, Ireland, to hang around Cork and give my kiss to the Blarney Stone. Hopefully I'll be able to hit Dublin as well, but it's a ways from Cork, so I'll have to play that one by ear. I'm really hoping to see Chelsea, the worlds #1 soccer team, play Real Betis, Spain's Premiere league team, next Monday. The tickets are going public soon, so if I can get my hands on one, then I'll definitely be going to that game. And probably in three weeks or so you can see pictures from my second Paris trip with Barbara. She's coming in in 12 days from today, and we're going to hit up Paris for the weekend. So you all have got all those updates to look forward to. I hope things are going well State-side.




Big tropical fish eyeballs little tropical fish...the hunt is on. But not really. The big one is pretty lazy. And doesn't like meat.


Turtles basking in the glow of the Phillips lightbulb someone's provided them. Another 300 watt day.


Shark! I was really hoping one would attack something...other than myself that is. No such luck though. Lazy sons of mother sharks.


Innocent looking parrahnas line up to gain your trust, then devour your chewy parts. Not the best tank for a swim.


Clown fish (little Nemo's) hiding in their protective stinging plant buddy. Everyone should have a friend like that. Or not. Probably not actually. Anti-social, stinging, non-talkative plants, who look like they'd be fun to touch, but hurt you when you do, probably don't make the best buddies.

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