A Brief Update

So, a brief update on what’s been going on.

Clare and I went out for drinks with some friends on Australia Day. It was a good night filled with plenty of Aussies and plenty of drinks. The rest of the weekend was pretty quiet, having Andrew and Bri, and Chris’ (my travel buddy during October and November) brother Adrian over for dinner on Saturday night and relaxing Sunday.

Last night Clare and I met up with Izmir, Rik and some of their friends for dinner. They’ve been doing a trip of the UK and Paris so we couldn’t miss the opportunity to catch up for a few hours. We went out for dinner on Edgeware Road and, once again, smoked shisha (Clare and Izmir’s first time).

On Saturday Clare and I are doing a Waitangi Day pub crawl organised through her teaching agency. That should be good fun, I’ll try to get some photos up.

Other than that Clare is working hard and I’m job hunting still. I, as always, will keep you posted!

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A Month After Christmas and Snow

Clare and I were awoken today to flashes of light and people laughing. It was 6:30 on a Wednesday morning, so we didn’t get the impression it was anyone coming back from a raging night out. As I wiped the sleep from my eyes Clare said, “Has it snowed?”

Sure enough, it had. We raced out of bed, into our thermals and many other layers of clothing, and headed out for some photos!

I suppose I owe a bit of an update on top of this; it has been a while.

First, I apologise for the lack of detail between Rome and San Francisco and then most of America. That’ll all go online soon and I’ll message you all to let you know it’s up. All the photos are up though, so you can see the adventure!

Right now though I have a place to live in London. The place is a little studio apartment. You walk into the bedroom, dining and living area which also contains an ‘Italian’ kitchen (real estate speak for small), cordoned off by some cupboard doors. Then there’s a tiny bathroom separate. It’s pretty good, we’re only there for eating and sleeping really so we don’t need anything fancy. Let’s face it, priority is on working, earning money and travel!

Clare arrived last Thursday, had an interview on Monday with two agencies and started work on Tuesday. I’m still job hunting. I’ll keep you posted on that.

Anyway, the area we’re in (Willesden Green in North West London) is nice. It’s got some good shops around, we’re close to the station and there’s a nice park that we walk to for exercise and the odd stroll.

I’m not sure what else to report. You can ask questions, I’m more than happy to reply! But I’m afraid it’s no longer like travel, new things every day. But it is nice to settle in one place for a while and get into a routine, and have some time to reflect on all I’ve done (and update it on here so you can all see too).

To all those people from home and travel, who I’m no longer seeing all the time, I miss you heaps. Keep sending the e-mails and photos because I love hearing from you.

Oh, and a big “Happy Australia Day” to everyone, hope you all have a good one!

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Welcome… to Russell Square

Back at the Generator tonight before I fly to San Francisco tomorrow morning.  I did some washing, it’s SO nice to finally have all my clothes clean!!!

I’m sitting here in the Internet cafe, at 4:15 in the afternoon, and it’s pitch black. And it’s raining. And, for some reason, I really love it here. I get excited about coming into London, about getting on the tube, there’s something about this place that gets me!

I arrived back here yesterday from Valencia, Spain, and stayed the night with Andrew and Bri. They are both well, having found accommodation and jobs. It was nice to spend the night and catch up with them. I’m going to see them again tonight before heading to bed early ready to get up at 5:00 AM for my departure to the United States of America!!!

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Sick in (not of) London

On Friday morning I got up early to have breaky with Laura and Heath before she headed off to the airport. Then I spent AUD $40.00 burning my photos to DVD, ouch! Then, with all hostels in London seemingly booked, Bri, Andrew and I booked into the Royal National for the weekend. What an expensive morning!!!

Later on Bianca came along and her, Bri and I went to the British Museum. It is amazing how much the British have stolen from the rest of the world. I think there were more Egyptian artifacts in the museum than in Egypt!

That evening I headed to Heathrow with Bianca to get her sister before heading to bed.

On Saturday morning Andrew, Bri, Bianca, Renee (her sister) and I headed to Oxford Circus for lunch. We then headed to St James Park and Buckingham Palace before I headed back to the room for a rest, feeling very sick.

I met Bianca later for dinner then she came back to the room for a chat before we said goodbye (she was heading to Scotland the next day and I was going to Germany before she got back).

On Sunday Andrew, Bri and I moved our bags into the Generator and I went on the net for a while updating my blog and putting photos up. I felt really sick by the early afternoon so had a sleep, then dinner and headed back to bed. Oh how I grew to love the painted ceiling of my room!  Monday was worse and I didn’t leave the room other than for a shower.

On Tuesday I succumbed and took a Nurofen which worked wonders.  I spent the day organising my trip to Janina’s and worked out my 1st Contact orientation meeting for Thursday.  That night Andrew and Bri finally found somewhere to live!!!  It was pretty exciting.

On Wednesday, feeling a little better, it was time to move Bri and Andrew into their new house, and it was raining!  We dragged their gear to the new house in Fulham and they showed me around.  They have a huge bedroom at a very good price and, though it needed a bit of a clean, I think they got an awesome place.

We did some shopping in the afternoon then I went to see World Trade Centre in the evening.  The movie was ok, but dragged on a fair bit.  Afterwards I headed back to the hostel where I met a guy named Craig who had done some interesting travelling in Central America.  We chatted for a while before heading to bed.

On Thursday I got ready for my 1st Contact meeting (I had thought I should dress up at least in a shirt, but it turned out this wasn’t really necessary).  The meeting went well and they told me I would be issued with bank accounts.

That afternoon I had a wander around London before heading back to the hostel, updating my diary, having a chat to my room mates and heading to bed.

I had breakfast on Friday morning, and was finally hungry enough to make the most of the excellent Generator breaky.  I then had a chat to Alex for a while before dragging all my gear to Andrew and Bri’s place where was was staying that night as the Generator had no accommodation.

We did some grocery shopping before jumping on the net for a few hours.  Afterwards we had dinner and spent the night watching TV.  I headed to bed fairly early ahead of my very early start the following morning.

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London Still

On Monday, 2 October 2006 a not-so-little boy called Andrew finished a 46 day tour with Contiki and collapsed on his hotel bed and wondered, “What now?”. As had become habit, he went downstairs for a drink, and this is where this story begins.

I grabbed myself a beer and ordered a burger and chips from the bar (The London Pub do a fairly good burger) then headed outside to say goodbye to the guys from my tour. Most of them were planning to hang around for a few days, but some had flights out in the morning so it was a fairly early night.

I chatted to Bianca for a while, then Andrew and Bri came down and we had a few drinks before everyone decided it was time to stop pretending we weren’t tired and went to bed.

The following morning I met up with Laura, Heath and Leesa from the other Contiki tour and we headed out London sightseeing. We started with a jump on, jump off style bus tour of the main London tourist spots (funnily enough that’s all we did on that bus tour, jumped on, jumped off, then never jumped on again). We saw St Paul’s, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey and the London Eye.

We got off the bus at Westminster for a look around. It was conveniently closed. To fill in time we took some photos of Big Ben, played in a phone box (more photos), then went to investigate tickets for the London Eye.

After a bit of a wander along the river’s edge we boarded a ferry heading upstream, when it decided to promptly rain on us all.

Many people have warned me, “Always carry an umbrella when in London.” This, I find funny though, as everyone sells umbrellas in London so you’re never more than a couple of steps away from one when it starts to rain. Additionally, they only last you one trip after which they blow inside out, or tear apart and are best disposed of in the nearest bin. So where does one find himself an umbrella that is small enough to “always carry” and strong enough to always hold together?

But I digress. After it rained we headed to a tube station: closed of course. So we headed to another. Then we headed back for drinks and dinner. If it doesn’t sound like we packed much in that day, that is correct, we didn’t. But we did all catch up a lot of much needed sleep before heading out. Put it this way, we had a large English breakfast at around 1:00, and that was the start of the day!

The following day was beautiful, clear and sunny and we headed straight for the London Eye. And what a perfect day for it. The Eye was a great thing to do early in a London tourist agenda. The views were amazing and it was a good opportunity to get your bearings. The ride went for around 30 minutes and got to a height of over 100 metres after about 15 minutes. It was great fun.

After the Eye we headed for Buckingham Palace for the Changing of the Guard. We didn’t see much of it, arriving later than most of the crowd, but there’ll be plenty of opportunities to go again I’m sure. Then it was off to Harrods.

I’ve never been into such a glitzy department store. I thought I was going to be kicked out for being under-dressed. We headed to the Krispy Kreme store inside the food court and each had one of Heath’s favourite doughnuts before jumping in the lift to explore the other levels. The doors opened at level 3 and in shon the golden glow of Christmas! Yes, Harrods have an entire Christmas decoration section fully set up with trees, lights, decorations, the works! We had to get out for a look (all the Bellbird gals will have to see this one day, you’ll absolutely love it)!

We spent a bit longer in Harrods before wandering through Hyde Park bound for Madame Tussauds. Leesa left us there to wander separately. Madame Tussauds was a lot better than I had expected. I had thought it would just be a few wax statues, but it was a whole interactive experience lasting a couple of hours. The statues themselves were amazing, some of them very real. It was creepy at times to look at them and not quiet know if they were people or figurines.

When we finished with the exhibition we headed for Leicester Square to look for show tickets then headed down to the National Gallery where there was a Manet to Picasso exhibition. This was really good, and I’m looking forward to seeing Monet’s house and garden when back in Paris! We lost Heath for a while so Laura and I sat out the front having a chat and watching the sun go down over Oxford Circus. When Heath reappeared we wandered to Piccadilly Circus and watched the lights just after sunset, very London!!!

As Bianca was heading off in the next few days I went to meet up with her at The Goose for dinner, where we had a chat and she gave me my ticket to Bath before she headed home and I headed to Heath and Laura’s room for a while before going back to the hostel.

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