Posts from the Past: Yet to be titled: Jun 17, 2006
Monday March 18th 2013, 05:53
Filed under: News
Posted by Timo
Day two was mostly un-eventful. I got up and went and got lost for a while in central London during peak hour. I find it really interesting that they walk on the wrong side here. To elaborate, they drive on the left and walk on the right. Australians walk on the left and drive on the left. Crazy these Brits.
Breakfast at the hostel was less then nutritious. Cold boiled eggs, toast, yoghurt and muesli. It definitely was “food” but just not the quality I’m accustomed to, I suppose. That I was hungover after bar hopping with some American guys probably didn’t help. The American concept of Australia is funny.
Much to my surprise, Pubs close at 11pm, 11PM! I usually only get ready and go out at 10:30. Looks like they start considerably earlier here.
The days here are long, it gets light around 3:30 am and dark about 10 pm I think that will change in the winter somehow.
Im now staying at Heath’s Sister’s(Georgia) place in Clapham, about 20 mins by Tube south of London. Its a nice place, 3 bedroom loft apartment. They pay a ludicrous amount of money for rent, it’s just ridiculous. I worked it out to about 5.5K AUD a month between them, I mean its a nice place, but it’s not 66K a year nice.
A magazine from the hostel had room ads for around 100-150 GBP a week. So that’s like $1000 a month, the room is fully furnished though and it does (mostly) include utilities.
I’m thinking about heading out of London to find somewhere to work/live, at least until I can get enough cash together to last in Inner-London. At that rent price with no job i wont last long. I hear Edinbrough is nice?
The local pubs in London are great! You get to drink outside on the street! It’s quite surreal and because of the close proximity of pubs to one another. It’s rare to require more then one pint per pub.
I ventured into this back ally street near the hostel and there were no less than 5 pubs on the street! With the drinking allowed in the steet it just turned into one big pub. So strange that you can stand on the the road and just drink. That will take some mental adjustment. Drinking is pretty much fully engrained into the culture here. Being drunk in public, in the street, in the middle of the city is not only ok, it’s encouraged.
The weather has been fantastic, it’s warm, sunny, no clouds and just great. Not sure how long it will last but I haven’t seen a drop of rain yet.
I’ll be heading to Paris on Monday. I went and booked the tickets for the Eurostar. So far the French are pretty funny, it’s their perceived arrogance that makes them fun.
Got a party tonight with Georgia and her friends, will likely involve more drinking. I’ve now been drinking every day since the work party last Friday. Sorry liver.
I have to try and get my diet sorted or I think I’ll perish. I’m taking heaps of C to try and offset the poor food and I’m drinking lots of water. Also: The water here tastes like shit, it’s rubbish, total rubbish, even out of the bottle. I’m starting to miss Mount Franklin.
I got heaps of pictures but I cant find an Internet connection long enough to upload them all. I think I’ll have to make arrangements at the local cyber-cafe and see if I can patch in for awhile. There are 9 un-encrypted Wifi points in my area but none of them are “just open”. Ill keep trying, I like free.
Backpacking involves a lot of drinking. Interestingly enough I don’t recall much of it. It’s just something that blends together. It’s allegedly a “good time” but I can hardly recall anything significant that happened. I guess it was just a way to fill in time.
London in summer is a very awesome place though, the parks, the pubs the general hustle and bustle of the rare times that Brits are in a good and not-so-stabby mood.
The rent thing is interesting. From an outsiders perspective the cost of living is very high. When you’re earning pounds though it’s not such a big deal. I easily managed to live, work and drink in London and still save enough to travel for six months. I was a full time professional IT worker though. I doubt bar-help is as lucky as me.
These days though the tables have turned and Melbourne has a higher cost of living then London. Rent though is still considerably less here, if you do the currency conversion. The food price is quite different. If you wanted to, you could eat well really cheaply in London. Not so much in Melbourne.
Posts from the Past: Day 1: See the Queen, check. : Jun 17, 2006
Tuesday February 26th 2013, 04:42
Filed under: News
Posted by Timo
My god what a flight. The Melbourne to Singapore leg was ok except that the planes entertainment computer was “broken”. So the Movies and TV didn’t work, but the video games and Nickelodeon channel did. The cabin crew attempted a 20 minute “reboot” but to no avail. 6.5 hours with nothing but a crappy Space Invaders and an “Angry Angry Beavers” marathon. Good thing I had about 5 kgs of books to get through.
The water dripping from the roof only worried my slightly…..
Sitting next to: Hot blonde actress headed for New York.
The Singapore to London flight was the worst flight I’ve ever had(but I’ve only ever really had domestic). First we had 30 min delay due to the “tail wind” being too strong. This would cause us to get there too fast, uh huh. Then we had a “cooling failure” and had to get the engineers to check it out. The diagnosis was a “sticky valve” and we had to try it again. But we couldn’t try till we got out taxing again. I picture the conversation going something like this:
Captaino: We have a warning light on the cooling system.
–10 minute pause–
Engineer Dude: Hmmmm, probably a problem with the light I cant see anything, just reboot it and try again.
–10 minute pause–
Captaino: So its a sticky valve then…..
Engineer Dude: Uh huh.
Following that, we missed our take off window while they were checking out the “sticky valve” and got delayed for a further hour. We finally flew out over 2 hours late, only to find that after “fixing” the entertainment system; now only about 10% of them fully work and the rest don’t work at all. Great, now I don’t even have Space Invaders. And then to top that off, we get to Heathrow only to find we’ve missed our landing window and have to circle for a further hour until we get a spot. Followed by, wait for it…..No gate to dock at so we sit on to the tarmac for an hour while we find a taxi to tow us to one. It was a relief to stand in line for 2 hours at passport control because at least I could see the progress happening.
I then had to negotiate the Underground(rail) which wasn’t so bad once I got on the train. It was tricky because I had to get on the “Express” train(destination Paddington Bear station) for one stop, then I had to walk up to the the actual non-express Underground station. It was all a bit confusing in my sleep deprived state. I then had to stand in line(again) for a further hour to buy a ticket. My impression so far of London was a lot waiting for in queues for things, wait wait wait, that’s all I’d done for nearly 28 hours now. Anyway, with that done I was on The Tube. Destination “Holborn” to change lines for two stops to get to the “St Pauls” stop where I had to find my hostel.
So I get off at St Pauls. The directions I had say “follow the brown signs”. No Problems, I thought. Only I choose to arrive on the same day that The Queen was having a Birthday. Most of the roads were closed off because the queen wants to go to church. The English get really excited about these things… Onto plan “B”. I found a map and worked out what road the hostel was meant to be on and finally made my way around to the hostel where I checked in and stowed my stuff. I really needed a shower but apparently you cant have the key till after 2pm and it was only 11am.
Exploring I went, smelly and with only 2 hours of sleep in the last 36. Running on: Airplane food and about 4 daily doses of Mega-Vitamins that I had to get rid of before I went through customs(which they didn’t care about or even check for).
Much to my surprise The Queen happened to be leaving the Cathedral just as I was got there. I grabbed a few happy snaps in case I didn’t get to see her again. Apparently it’s a pretty big deal to see The Queen. My sleep devoid state didn’t really think to much of it. With seeing The Queen out of the way, I could now move onto the important task of locating food/coffee. I found a place that did vegetarian Sushi and went for that with Espresso. It was fairly average but better than airline food.
I suspect this “London” place can easily evaporate your cash if your not careful about how much a “one pound fifty” bottle of water is really costs. Now recharged and on a temporary caffeinated high I decided to just wonder around. I found a map to the Museum of London. Using my trusty watch-compass I plotted a course and away i went(good thing to because I was getting ready to walk the complete wrong way, I like it when things pay off).
I walked around the Museum for a few hours and took heaps of pictures. I couldn’t really concentrate for the obvious reasons, but they had some really cool stuff. My own smell and sore shoulders(I’m also now eternally thankful for a Daypack with a hip strap) got the best of me and I headed back to the hostel for a shower and some R&R.
One thing that has really stood out about London are that there are black people. I’m not talking no slightly brown-black people like in Australia. I’m talking black-black, African black, like on TV. I think I’ve seen more today then ever before. That was one thing I wasn’t expecting. A complete culture shock.
The other thing I noticed is the languages. Everyone has a different one. I’ve heard German, French and Russian so far today and they are just the ones I can pick out. I guess I was expecting that and it stands to reason because I /am/ in Europe. But it’s just something new that really stuck out. Apart from that, all is well, I’m just having some “me” time chillin out in the “Lounge”. Looking forward to a hot meal and a good nights sleep. Day One: Over and Out.
My god what an editing effort. It took a long time to edit this post into something half-readable. I’m eternally sorry to all the people that had to endure my writing the first time around.
In other news, long haul flights are shit, the Queen lives in London with Black people that speak languages other than English. Who knew?
Posts from the Past: Prepare for lift off in T Minus …. : Jun 13, 2006
Friday February 15th 2013, 04:59
Filed under: News
Posted by Timo
Well, today is my last shopping day before the big flight. I went and bought some new memory cards for my camera. Swung past MSY only to see a huge queue; with a guy at the front wanting to know the difference between WinXP Home and Pro. I thought they had a policy against idiots asking stupid questions for half an hour??!!?.
I waited for 15 minutes only to move two place( because people ahead got fed up and walked out). I decided that they had the right idea so I drove over to CPL. Of course CPL didn’t have the “Sandisk 2GB Extreme III” that I wanted. They had the 1GB, like the UltraII; only in the 1 GB. On top of that they only had one of each. I got a card-reader as well; 33(!) in 1.
Stopped at my local Bushwhackers and picked up some other accessories. I also thought about a Nintendo DS for the plane. They pretty cheap and sort of cool, maybe in Singapore, if I have time.
So many cables….
Man, was I over prepared or what?
Strangely enough I went to MSY just recently and it was exactly the same. Also, what is the difference between Home and Pro anyway?
I rarely needed more than one memory card. Of course, if I was going today I wouldn’t even take a separate camera. My phone would be more than sufficient.
A Nintendo DS would have been useless.