12:09 London time / 5:09a.m. Denver time
Sitting in the airport now, waiting for the flight to Casablanca (or Casa as they like to call
it). We're a little too early and they haven't got our flight up as to which gate it leaves out of.
Yesterday we left Bristol and stayed a night in London. Jake had a friend there as well, but she
was booked with out-of-towners so we decided to book a hostel. It was pretty nice and relatively
cheap and still close to all the neat places to visit.We put our stuff down and immeditately hit
the town. We were interested in getting food, but thought we'd find something along the way.
Kensington Palace was a few blocks away so we headed there first, camera gear in tow. We
walked through the park to the palace, only to realize Jake had forgotten his tripod mount and
as we were going to do some stop-motion footage of my chest map, we needed to go back to
get it. We walked down the block next to ours and luckily too, because it was a street full of
restaurants. We wanted something quick and on-the-go so we decided on this little (and fairly
empty) deli. Inside was the most glorious cheap deli food I could ask for. Panini sandwiches and
baguettes of goodness. We saw they also had a choice selection of breakfast to choose from
as well and knew we'd be back before our flight today.
Also, I have spent so much goddamn money on espresso, it's not even funny. I'm more
determined than ever now to steal my dad's Aeropress I got him for his birthday and make
delicious coffee. Oh how I love the Europeans and their tastes.
So after our stop back at our room and a quick bite we headed to the same park but in the
direction of Buckingham Palace. The Princess Diana Memorial Walk was breathtaking and
impressive with how well-kept it is. Flawless flower garden and so beautifully done. The
palace wasn't a far walk and the weather was sunny and cool, so we decided to take our map
animation pictures in front with the famous Royal Guard in the background. I think Jake will
upload a video bit once we land in Casa, so I will link it here when he does.
We then decided to walk to the Thames and see Westminster Abby and Parlimant. I had
forgotten how ridiculously intricate those buildings are. I could never imagine trying to build
that thing hundreds of years ago. It was starting to get pretty chilly and there wasn't much else
nearby, so we headed back after looking for some postcards and Olympic 2012 souviners. I'm
so sad I won't be here to see my cousin Amanda compete this year, but hopefully I can travel to
wherever the Olympics are next time, because that would be awesome!! Hoopefully I'll be able
to catch her on the TV wherever I'm traveling to though...
Now I get to wait and sit in anxiety, wondering what our couchsurfing host will be like and
hoping more plans fall into place the 3 days we're staying there. We left our schedule
completely open and will pretty much decide our timeline once we're in Morocco. Hopefully
we won't be interrogated like we were when we landed in London because we really have no
idea what we're doing next! That probably won't look very good for us but I hope Moroccan
government doesn't totally hate on Americans. Plus I don't have a ton of cash on me... Hmm
Ok. More updates when we get settled in Casa tonight... Pics uploaded then too...
I've been having such a good time abroad, but when I go to write it down here, all I keep thinking is, "Do people really want to read about me walking around like this?" And then it's difficult to muster up the courage to write anything substantial. Plus I feel awkward for posting every day since when I finally get to Africa, the posts might be pretty sparse. It's going to look like my trip was entirely in England. Also, the fact that this isn't my first time out of the country, or England for that matter, I wonder if I sound a bit over-excited for everything?
Also, I can't help but read what I'm writing in a British accent. Crikey!
So Jake and I have been having a lot of fun. We are staying with two girls he met in Argentina named Laura and Nicola. Also residing here are Nic's sister, Kate, and a friend Jack. We've all seem to get on really well and have just been exploring Bristol bit by bit, mostly through various pubs. Today we went to Clifford St to have fish and chips and also see the suspension bridge which is impressive but all-in-all fairly pointless from the sound of things.
Afterward we of course went to a pub. The White Lion Pub which had Murphy's Stout extra cold that Jake and I were pretty fucking excited about. Huzzah! We were close to the bridge and had a nice view of it, the valley below, and the city center in the distance.
Then a walk back down to a main stretch of the city, called Whiteladies Road and went to another pub, of course.
However, today was Nic's birthday, so we were due back at the house to get ready to go out and celebrate. First a few presents and cards, and Jake and I were fortunate to come across the best set of birthday cards in Denver a few weeks back so we couldn't wait to use one! Someone should have a birthday soon so I can use another, they are pretty funny.
Nic likes bugs and snakes, so the roommate Jack made a special cake for her, which we were quite impressed with.
Not being much of a cake-eater, this one was lemon and pretty enjoyable. Plus, GLITTER
So we went out and had some cocktails and a nice meal with a handful of Nic's other friends, who were also really fun to hang out with. And afterward, we of course needed to top the night off with yet another pub.
Tomorrow is more Bristol followed by a half day in London before we leave for Casablanca on the 30th. Our host who agreed has not written a reply, so I may check up on that tomorrow and hope we don't need to search again!
Pictures to end with and hopefully I'll be inspired to write better as time goes on...
This post isn't really like Top Gear, but all I seem to notice are cars lately and I have been watching all the Special Editions of Top Gear since they are my favorite episodes. So this post is just about cars.
Not surprising, the most popular cars here, and probably in this order are: Audi, Volkswagon, Mercedes, and BMW. But then after that, the most popular are ones not found in America: Peugeot, Vauxhall (which both logos remind me of Ferrari), and this german brand Citroen.
Then there are some differences I notice. New Ford Focuses look like new Toyota Priuses for some reason. And most cars are smaller, euro-y versions of their American counterparts.
My favorite cars are probably the ones that don't exist in America, like the Toyota Aygo (which I hope is pronounced EYE-go) and the Ford Ka, both are their versions of SmartCars, really. Which really makes me want the Toyota because shit, it's a reliable Toyota. There are a few VWs I wouldn't mind having either.
These were the only two pictures I took and it was just to remember the names. Also, I got berated for taking pictures of my food, what would they say about every day ugly cars?
Okay, I honestly though I'd have more to say about cars here... what is wrong with me? Too overwhelmed, coming up short in writing...
13:01 London time (6:01am Denver time)
Writing this to publish later because the internet went out all the sudden! So I'm going to be a little short since I've been annoyingly trying to mess with it. I've also had to figure out where my phone decided to put my pictures and typing on a mac book super sucks (why do they place the keys the way they do? My fingers have to do more work. Idiot Apple).
Okay our trip so far:
Got to the airport at 4pm and checked a bag and made our way through security easily enough. We realized we hand't eaten since breakfast and were about to go on a 6hr followed by a 4hr long flight, so we inquired about food on the flight. Airlines suck now. They only offered food for purchase on IcelandAir and not even a bag of peanuts were free! I almost expected them to charge for a cup of water. No wonder they are all going bankrupt, nobody wants to fly anymore. Lame. So we bought something quick just before boarding and tried sleeping the entire flight so our schedules wouldn't be so messed up.
Off the plane in Iceland, the weather was considerably better and we only had an hour layover before our flight to London. Got another quick bite and waited only minutes before boring our second flight. I wasn't able to sleep more than an hour or two on the first flight and this one I watched a movie and didn't sleep at all on the second. By the time we got into London, it was 11:45am and I was determined to stay up until evening to schedule myself right. It wasn't difficult to stay up for a bit since we had to deal with immigration security and figure out our next step (how to get to Bristol). Security was more hairy than I remember. We were asked a ton of stupid questions and finally deemed non-dangerous enough to be stamped through. Whew.
Figured out the busses and after two bus rides to get to Bristol, we found out that they are completely lax with hopping on random busses that are not justified by the ticket you purchased, so for future reference, get whatever ticket you want and just get on whichever bus you want and let the bus driver where you intend to go and as long as it's not full, you'll be set.
After dozing off on the 2.5hr bus ride, we arrived in Bristol around 4:30pm. Jake calls his friends and we set up where to meet. Immediately drinks were had and continued throughout the evening, yay England!
Well, I intended on writing things more descriptively and fully, but I think I'm feeling impatient with the internet trouble and anxious to get a move on today. Hopefully tonight I'll have more fun writing about today's adventures…
It's late. I had a very eventful day. Actually, because I just feel like hanging out, listening to B-52's and wish I had a few people to chat with at the moment, why don't I tell you about it?
Started the day out going to Longmont to shoot guns with Jake and his dad. This is the second time we've gone (since I've moved here) and both times I had Jake truly show me how to shoot a gun (unlike the 2 times I went before and pretty much learned nothing, just had fun in the desert). Jake turned out to be the best teacher ever because I'm not half bad!! I just hoped I didn't suck monkey balls, but I really impressed myself! So yay for me, I like guns a lot now. The first time we went I just shot the two handguns we had, but this time I asked if we could rent a rifle and those bigger guns continue to be my favorite over handguns. I wish I took pictures this time, but here is a picture of my handgun lesson last time:
not bad, right?
We plan on going to the range with Jake's dad regularly when we get back from our trip. I'm excited to get better and better (I'm always so shakey!) Also we talked about getting in better shape to also increase gun skills (because shooting that rifle turned my arms into jello and even tired my legs from being so tense holding it and it was heavy).
After the range we went to Chautauqua to hike. I brought my Lowepro backpack
that I'm taking to Africa to give a good trial run and see how heavy it felt walking around a while. The trail reminded me a lot of my first Yosemite hike - straight up. Stairs and switchbacks the whole way. Up and up. It was good though. I got pretty tired but it also gave me energy... that feel good tired. Lots of sweat. Man, warm today. But good practice for the Sahara, amiright?
Then we went to Pearl St which is an adorable Fußgängerzone with awesome shops and busking. We ate at a Tibetan place called Sherpa's. MMMM Tibet food is my new obsession. I ate YAK. So good. So FREAKING good. I loved it. After getting ridiculously full off dumplings, noodles, naan, and yak meat, we walked Pearl and Jake pointed everything out like a kid in a candy store (probably not dissimilar to how I showed Steve around UCSC). We got excited about the prospects of living in Boulder one day (because I'd like to do my PhD at CU there, woohoo!).
Then back home we went to find Amazon packages waiting for me (always the best feeling). I got a TABLET, I am so against tablets!! But I meant to grab my Dell Mini in Austin because I re-changed my mind on taking it to Africa. I decided that if I wanted to blog spontaneously or just keep shit organized so that when we arrive at an internet cafe, I don't have to deal with their computers and I don't have to spend time (and therefore money) writing it all out THEN. Just upload completed project and BAM. Well, forgot my mini. Found a Galaxy Tab on amazon for $167 used. I thought, what have I got to lose? Amazon is awesome about returns, so if it sucks, whatever. It's only the 7" one, and I was worried about the manageability of typing on it until I found a SWEET pleather cover for it that opens into a laptop basically: the tablet fits in slots on one side (think of a book cover) and the other side holds a small keyboard that plugs into the tablet. BAM. It'll still be tiny, but I'm pretty used to my Dell mini 9" keyboard, so I think I'll adapt okay. The keyboard doesn't come until Monday however (and hopefully before we leave for the airport!!) so I can't test it yet, but I'm charging the Tab as we speak and I'm excited to see how much I'll hate it because I still think tablets are quite useless. Kinda works for my plans though, so maybe I will grow to love them and use them exclusively on travel adventures if all goes well.
We are leaving Monday afternoon (flight at 5pm) and I'm still not feeling it, as in, it hasn't kicked in yet WHERE I'M ACTUALLY GOING TO BE. It's been so long since I've been international that it feels like all those times before was just a dream and this is the first time for reals. Whew. Excited. I'm excited to feel "home" again and wonder if it will be the same since I have discovered how "home" I feel in Santa Cruz. I mean, a lot can change in what, 10 years? I suck at life.
Okay, my Tab just got done charging, I think it's time to play now...
Moral of the story: traveling is awesome. I'm excited.
I'm too dumb to get a grasp on Wordpress and do not have the time to figure it out. Jake showed me Weebly a while back and a few days ago I FINALLY decided to play with it to see if it was capable of satisfying my never-ending needs. I love it! However, I was unable to import my old Wordpress posts, so I started a free one to import into so all my great many posts are not lost (not really, there were like 6).
So if you missed any or just want to re-read (gawd knows why), you can find them here: Archived