Friday, June 30, 2006

Hydro Speeding

raft 033
Originally uploaded by cornasdf.
Added some hydrospeeding pics to the Geneva pics

It's like buffalo wings or cheese steaks

Originally uploaded by cornasdf.
Urmil and I head to Dublin to do an upgrade. Heading down Weds night, I knew everything was going well when I got free Glen Fidditch in the duty free shop at the airport. That 18 year is really good.

We caught a cab to the hotel and checked in. Went to the elevator and I noted that my room, 601 put me on the top floor. Penthouse, I think jokingly. No Joke. This hotel room is bigger than my apartment. A living room, large bedroom, patio, and a bathroom w/ separate Jacuzzi and shower. Sweet. I steamed my suit in the shower and didn’t even have to iron. Everything’s comin up Milhouse.

The cabby suggested the Temple Bar area. We wandered down there and found a South St. type drinking/bar area. After wandering to the end and not finding the Luigi’s place that was recommended, we went to “Mexico to Rome” Mexican to Italian food. Go figure. Decent food, Irish Mexican is much better than Swiss Mexican.

This was right across from the Temple Bar. I assume this was the namesake of the area so we have to have a pint. Yup the guiness is better here. Smoother w/ a more chocolately after taste. Absolutely Great. While I like Guinness around the world, It is like Buffalo wings or Philly cheesesteaks. The quality is inversely proportional to the distance from the source.

Anyway, the Temple bar was in an entirely touristy area, I doubt there were any locals here. There was an Irish band playing complete w/ fiddler dude. Enjoyable. But work calls, we finish our pints and head back to the hotel.

We finished up the install by noon so we had about 4 hours to kill. Now where in Dublin should we do that. Hmmm, ok if we have to…. We caught a cab to the Guiness brewery.

During the install, the IT guy was mentioning that there were two ways to give direction in Dublin, by pub or by church. As in “Take a right at St. Patricks, when you get to St Michaels, turn left.” Or, “where was that bank?” “Across from The Fox and Hound pub” “Oh ok, got it”. As we drive to the brewery, I see that is no exaggeration for the churches. They are everywhere. And huge. Like St. Patricks in NYC huge. But there are a lot of them. I am always amazed at what people will do for their god.

Another thing I learned. I saw my soft chin, extra jowls on a lot of people. Damn Irish blood. Isn’t it enough I can’t get a tan?

The brewery tour was decent. Better than the Heineken or the Brooklyn tours. I did get to taste some roasted barley. Taste like chocolate/coffee. There were a few things to point out from the brewery.
• On average, one irish pub opens everyday somewhere in the world
• Unamed Dr’s Quote: “I often prescribe Guinness and for the following reasons in chief. A bottle of Guinness put in front of, say, a dispirited, health-greedy convalescent has wonderfully auto-suggestive cheer-producing effect. It looks potent and jolly and when consumed it acts as a stomachic and a whip to the appetite. It makes the patient feel better and eat better and think cheerfully.
• At the time (ed note: unknown time), nursing mothers and patients recovering from illness were prescribed Guinness. Offered to people who had just donated blood, Guinness was a popular alternative to a cup of tea.

We ate in the brewery and checked out the view from the top bar. By then it was time to head to the airport and work started blowing up. Damn Americans, everything starts breaking when they come in.

Whew, It looks like I screwed up my timing, I was supposed to go to Edinborough (sp?) and Amsterdam next week but I am supposed to be in both places on Thursday. Doh. It works out though. I am taking the week before loveparade off and meeting Ian in Amsterdam on Saturday. Looks like work is sending me there on Thurs.

On a side note. I got my place and it is pretty nice. The pile of what I thought were linens turned out to be really ugly drapes so I had no sheets or towels the first night. (damn that shit is expensive out here). I had one day to move in on Tuesday. I definitely needs some stuff but I decent futon in the living room. HINT HINT.

I won’t have internet access for a couple more weeks most likely. Once I do, I will put up an IP phone and send out a NY number. I found out that, while my mobile number works here, it costs an arm and a leg so I am using it sparingly.

Will be in touch soon.

Yup the swing is that cool.

Woke up today to find that both Kevin and Matt had headed out before I got up and were already back. Whatever, it is still only 10am. Damn early risers.

We wandered around for a while looking for a brunch spot but everything was closed. I eventually asked at a hotel and we were directed to a swiss chalet about 20mins walk. We wander down there and find it but it doesn’t look as good as a French patisserie across the way. I had an absolutely wonderful meal of assorted meats and cheeses w/ two croissants. They also provided a bunch of various jams and chocolate spreads. Some more fresh OJ made this a really a great way to start the morning.

Our wandering had also brought us to a new part of the city. We wandered around a fairly rundown park w/ a small market and a skatepark for a bit before deciding to head back towards shopping for Kevin. He needed another bag b/c he was checking the knives he bought and didn’t want to check the chocolate. Why he couldn’t carry the chocolate in plastic bag they sold it to him in I was unsure. Wandering through the park I saw perhaps the one thing in the postcards that we had missed in Geneva. Big ass chessboards.

The pieces were plastic and about 2 feet tall. See the pictures for an example of Kevin and Matt playing. A couple of older men came to watch the action. They started shouting out moves (in French) but eventually got bored and went to watch another (presumably more exciting) game. After a terribly long game that came down to 3 pieces (including Kings), Matt was victorious and I got up to play him. At this point Kevin gets mad and decided we aren’t being attentive to his needs and takes off. I guess he just doesn’t like to lose. Ahh well, neither of us feel particularly like chasing him down so Matt and I play a game. I manage to win when I see a way to sneak my queen right up to the king and still be protected. But that would never work unless he moves that one piece to right there. Guess what he does? Heh, it was like drawing that inside straight in poker.

Next to the game is another of those kewl swings from the jazz park. We finally get to play on it and yes it rules. Of course, after 3 or four runs around it Matt and I are tired and have to move on. The kids are lighter and they expend less energy holding themselves against the centrifugal forces (or something). I am sure that is the only reason they can play so much longer.

We tried to hit a museum but were negged b/c we have no cash still (again, not enough atms in this town). “There is one about a 20 minute walk from here” says the cashier at the museum. Neither of us want to go to the museum that badly so we skip it entirely.

We ended up wandering to the “other side” of Lake Geneva. We were able to walk out to the big fountain. From there we spied, on the other side of the lake, a really big diving platform. After chilling for a drink at a café, we head for the hotel to change and go swimming.

We pick up Kevin at the hotel. He doesn’t want to swim but will watch our stuff. Instead of a public beach in Geneva, there is a long concrete pier type thing out to a light house. 2 fr. to get on, the place is packed w/ sunbathers and families. Not obnoxiously packed but plenty of people around. Matt and I make our way to the top of the platform. We later learn the platforms are 3, 5 and 10 meters. Much higher than the cliff from rafting but somehow much less sketchy. A good running start takes me off. The fall was actually a lot farther than I thought, long enough in the air to have second, and third thoughts. Not that there is a whole lot of choice in your next move when you are 30 ft above the water and in mid air. The water isn’t nearly as cold as the river from the day before but still not warm. Exhilarating we will call it.

The clouds started to move in and it got cold, so I didn’t jump back in. I wandered down to the lighthouse and back while Matt tried diving from the shorter platforms.

We head back to towards the hotel and end up stopping to shoot some pool. I ask for a table and the guy is like “aren’t you watching the futbol?” Sure, I will watch while I play? “Are you English?” No, American. “ahhh, I see”. I didn’t realize it was England playing. Isn’t ANG Angola? Ok, I see, French for England. Fine, I still want to play pool.

Stopped at the Lebanese place once more on our way to the train station. Damn that is good. Barely caught the chocolate guy to spend the rest of my francs. I realized later I should have blown my francs on duty free alcool instead of chocolate but oh well. Now I have lots of good chocolate for when you guys come to visit. B)

Airport was a nightmare. Delayed for hours, our flight wasn’t even given a gate until well after it was supposed to leave. Mathew bailed and caught a different flight. Kevin couldn’t do that b/c he had checked his bag (which we had to wait 45 minutes for on the other side as well). Since we were going to the same place I didn’t think I could catch the other flight in good conscience. We had to take a 60 pound cab home. Ouch, there goes another 100 bucks.

Ahh well, Geneva was great but I don’t think I need to go again.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Geneva Pics

Originally uploaded by cornasdf.
The Geneva Pics are up at my new flicker site:

The Soniettes

We woke early to head out rafting.  Kevin decided not to come.  Matt and I headed out in search of sandwiches and sunscreen but there was nothing open.  Even starbucks wasn’t open at 7:30.  One of the hardest things to get used to is how nothing seems to ever be open out here.  We finally give up and catch a cab to the rafting meeting site.  (ack 6.50 fr just to sit in the cab.  Yikes, that is like 5$)


We get to the rafting spot and it is basically just a cargo container parked next to the lake.  The guide, David is there.  Since we were only two, he strongly recommended something called hydro speeding.  Basically, we didn’t have enough people to go rafting.  It looked like we were the only people coming.  He said he needed some time to get the equipment ready so we wandered looking for breakfast.  Still nothing open.  We did finally find a little Spanish coffee shop w/ croissants and chocolate croissants out on the table.  Mmmmm chocolate croissants… they also sold a couple of Panini type sandwiches.  Nothing veggie so matt was out of luck but I picked one up.  We even stopped at the Shell station and there was just nothing useful for him for lunch.  Aah well, tough being a grass eater.  B)


When we got back it looked like David had rustled up a few more players for the day.  There was one British guy, Richard, that lived near Geneva.  He has lived there too long.  When asked what was nice about Geneva, his answer was “You can get out of it easily”.  Nice guy though.  Also with us was a buddy of David’s and a girl who spoke very little english.  I think the guy just comes out to play if David has room in the car. 


Chatting w/ Richard, I looked up and realized we were about to cross the border.  I almost always carry my passport on me when I am traveling but I decided that I didn’t want to take it rafting or leave it in the car while rafting so I left it in the hotel.  It is too late now as we cross the border into France.  Oh well.  Hope this doesn’t come back to bite me in the ass.


We cruise through the French countryside for a while.  Lots of farms of unknown types.  Very pretty countryside.  Swing into a French bakery in a small town.  I picked up a better sandwich.  Mathew asked for a vegetarian option and they first looked at him strange, then repeated “vegetarian” but w/ a French accented sneer and said no. 


We continue on and head up a valley that reminds me of a greener version of taos canyon.  Eventually we pull over, and start getting ready.  David gets ready to take the car to the end point and says that we shouldn’t leave anything valuable in the car, it isn’t safe.  Considering the other option is to bring it into the water w/ no waterproof gear, I would say it isn’t safe w/ me either.  I later see that he hides his stuff in the engine compartment.  All the stuff was fine but it was a bit late to bring that up.


Eventually david returns from dropping the car and we get into the water in full wet suits.  The water is pretty damn cold.  Through the day, each time we “pull over” to the side of the water I realize my hands are just shy of numb.  Wouldn’t be doable w/o the wetsuits. 


Hydro speeding basically consists of rafting w/ no raft.  Instead we each get a helmet, flippers, a life vest and a fancy boogey board.  Made of hard foam and about 6 inches thick, it has a space to put your arms inside up to the fore arms.  The idea is that you float down the river after this thing and hopefully it hits the rocks instead of you.  When you pull yourself up high on it, it covers down to about my hips.  Extended it just covers my arms.  Apparently faster is when you are extended. 


David gives us a short tutorial.  Basically, stay as flat as you can, boulders are waiting just below the water to kill your knees, let the water do the work, and then he taught us how to flip ourselves over if we capsize.  These things are really hard to control but I figure I would get better at it quickly.  (but I never really did get the hang of steering). He showed a few hand gestures.  Rock, OK, and paddle hard that way.


Now we were ready to get going, but first we get to do a cliff jump.  The “cliff” is really only about 20 ft up but when we get to the top it looks a bit sketchier than I initially thought.  First off, we aren’t really at the edge, more like the peak.  Second, extending through the area we are to jump through about half way down is a small sapling.  David goes first and goes right through the sapling.  He planted both feet on it and knocked it out of the way.  Great.  Matt was up next, then me, then Richard.  At my turn, I was more worried about being able to jump far enough to clear the rock we were jumping from than the sapling.  Or the landing.  I jumped far enough but landed awkwardly in a bit of a sitting position.  Heh, this is a bit more wild than your standard American “adventure” day.


David coached us through the first rapid.  Go to the left of the big rock.  Do this by floating out into the current and letting the river take you around.  No problem right?  Well, not so much.  The river decided to fuck w/ me.  I was only a foot or two right of where the front runners passed but it was enough to send me around to the right.  After bouncing off the rock I was basically going into the class III rapid feet first.  Bad choice.  I try to flip around and manage to flip over.  The right is a bad way to go and I take a bit of a shot on a rock and swallow a good bit of water by the time I fight my way out.  An inauspicious beginning.  “I told you to go left”, david says as I try to catch my breath. 


I did get a bit better at it.  Took a couple of hard shots from rocks to the feet but the flippers were actually good protection.  It was a bit like jet moto actually.  You really just crashed through the water and tried to get the board inbetween you and the rocks.  It was a good bit of fun.  I wasn’t letting the river do enough work apparently though b/c I was exhausted by the time we pulled out down the way.  At least I had all my equipment, Richard lost one flipper but we managed to recover it and Mathew lost both but recovered one.


We dried off, changed and snacked on our baguettes.  Eventually we packed up and headed back.  Was holding my breath at the border but we went right through w/ no check.  They made the car not three cars ahead of us pull over for a check but they let us through.  Whew, not going anywhere w/o that stupid little blue book again.


Kevin met us at the hotel, he had bought a watch and some swiss army knives which means he is going to have to check his luggage.  The other thing he wanted to get was chocolate so we grabbed some more Lebanese falafel and headed over to a shop we found at the train station w/ good prices.  Kev bought a shitload of chocolate.  They say they are open tomorrow so I figure I will just blow the rest of my francs on the way out of town.  I did pick up a bar of absinthe filled chocolate though.  Yummy. 


Kevin went back to drop off his chocolate and matt and I continued to the jazz park.  We took up a spot near the cool swing (still no opening, those kids really like this thing).  We promptly fell asleep in the park.  After a good nap we headed up to “Old town” proper.  We wandered through town and found some cool sites.


Stopped for a spaghetti dinner.  Just before we left, a hen party showed up (british for bachelorette party)  They were loaded.  Only a few of them spoke English.  They were in high spirits but just sitting down to dinner.  We were going to watch the futbol so we made plans to meet them afterwards for clubbing. 


Now at this point, I was fucking exhausted from exploring and rafting but there was really no way I could say no to going clubbing w/ a group of 10 local Swiss chicks.  Kevin didn’t see it this way and left at halftime to go back to the hotel.  I swear I think he just doesn’t like to have fun.


It was at about this point that I fucked up and deleted my first attempt at this write up and all my notes.  Luckily I had sent off Thursday’s writeup but I had mostly finished Fridays as well in the park.  But I hit the wrong button and it was gone.  Stupid piece o crap bb doesn’t use the deleted items bin nor does it even sync the drafts w/ our exchange server so it was completely gone.  Aaargh!


Anyway, the game ended and we went back to the spaghetti place.  Then Soniettes were just finishing up (the hen was named Sonya, she was dressed as pipi longstocking, or Fifi Grand-something-in-french as they called her).  We joined the party and made what small talk we could w/ their limited English and our nonexistent French.  We lost a few of the girls when we left the restaurant and we lost a few more before the club but we ended up at the club w/ a small posse. 


I would never have found this club.  Inside some labyrinthian office maze, the one girl led us to some guys and a velvet rope.  30 francs each gets us in the door w/ two drink tix.  Matt and I scrape together our 60 w/ about 2 fr to spare (there are not nearly enough ATMs in this town.)


The club was completely empty when we got there at midnight.  I think there were about 5 other people in the whole place. We got a drink and found prime position.  After we danced for a while I realized the place was filling up.  It was a slightly cheesy club but a varied racial mix and a lot of really hot women.  We eventually lost the Soniettes.  Matt and I left when the music went way Egyptian on us.  By this point my body aches I am so tired.  But I am glad I went out, it was a fun night.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Hardcore acid-jazz?

We woke around 10 and headed out for croissants and fresh oj for breakfast. Aftrer breakfast we found a nice girl, melanie ewho worked in a tourost info booth. She had a couple of recommendations for us, including a great tip to go to a jazz park for a festival later that evening.

We wanted to see the croix rouge museum. Best way to get there seemed to be to ealk up the side of the lake through the park. While wandering up the park I spied some of those satellite dish whisper communication devices. Yes there is a better name and no I don't care enough to look it up on the blackberry. they have them in front of many science musuems. anyway, niether kev or matt had seen them before so we headed up the hill. Turns out not to be the only science toy. They also have a couple of sundials and other fun science demonstrations in front of a small building. The builkding turns out to be a really great science musuem.

There were a myriad of great old technologiers. Very attainable stuff. Early thermometers and microscopes. The kind of thing that you feel you could have come up with if you lived back in the day. Our tech theses days is so far removed from the casual scientist. Take the blackberry for instance. Nobody  would have designed this in their basement. This is not necessarily true of some of the tech in this museum. Add to that a bunch of hands on demos of basic science and it was one of the highlights of the trip.

We continued throught the park and found a botnical garden. At least, that is what the gate said, it didn't look much different than the rest of the park to me.
We sat for a beer and I noticed a new sans alcool (french?) Beer. It was a blond, which I hadn't seen before.

By then, we were quiote close to the Croix Rouge museum (red cross). If I had thought about it, I would have realized that it was going to be depressing. But I hadn't and it was.  Add to the basic capacity for humans to do dastasdly things to each other, there as a guest exhibit, the Belfast Maze. This was a photo exhibit about some labryinthian prison complex that housed IRA members  uplifting it was not.

After the museum, we decided skip the UN museum and catch a bus back. After some deciphering of the ticket system I decided I needed a 3 franc ticket. This was confirmed by a nice lady waiting at the bus stop. I put in 5 fr and out comes my ticklet but no change. When I remarked on this, the nice lady pointed to a notatiopn on my ticket that I was supposed to go to the trainstation to get my change. Nice racket. I wonder how many people actually go to get there money. Nice little revenue stream for them, I'm sure.

Riding the bus I did a quick email check. Lots of great mail (personal mail is always great) including a message from Lat mentioning that we shouldn't miss the UN museum. Doh!

We made reservations for rafting for saturday. We decided thata 6 hour rnd trip to. Interlaken was just too far and rafting would suffice our adreneline needs.

Stiopped at a bar for the world cup match. I was amused to see that my beer was cheaper than my companions perrier.  We were beat after our earlier excursions and decided to head back to the hotlel for a nap.

Afyer some rest we headed down to old town to attempt some shopping but found nothing useful. We wandered back up to our neighborhood and ate mexican for dinner. Very bland mexican. as in, we can't let any spice in the mexican, it might get some taste. Ahh well.

Kevin baled so matt and I wandered a bit. During dinner we kept seeing young kids going down some alley and coming back w/ WKD (think smirnoff ice). I know the drinking age is lower here in general but these kids looked to be 13 yrs old.

We met a few and got the lowdown after one girl threw her shoe at me. Well actually she tried to throw it into her friends pic but it came at us and they freaked out. Turns out they are all duplomats kids (UN EU presence). They all go to a international school out here.

We continued to the park for the jazz fest. Most od the stalls were african. Lots of great looking food too. I begin to wonder if africa is the next asia. Western culture has been enamoured of asian culture for the last 20 odd years. Now that we have integrated that a bit, I am thinking african is the next frontier, but I digress

We found a bit of grass and sat to watch the kids at play. They have this great swing thing. Think of a pole w/ 4 chains coming down from each side. Attached to the end of the chains are a set of handles. Now, instead of being attached to the pole itself, the chaiins arre attached to a rotating top. The effec of all of this is that you get 4 kids each holding a handle and running around the pole. The kids can jump outwards and swing around on the end of the chain. Not unlike when an adult spins a child around by the arms. Nit sure if you can envision that or not but it looked like a lot of fun.   We kept waiting for a turn but were afraid we would crush the little ones so never did make it on.  It did look a bit dangerous and would probably be suied out of existance in the us.

Another thing I noticed is that the kids have a very long leash. More of the " it takes a village" idea I guess. Kids were running all over the park, out of their parents site. I noticed one exchange where a kid bit the dust and some random guy ppicked them up and brushed them off before he went on his way. Actually, quite a nice site. 

When the band finally started up I was plkeasantly surprised that it wasn't jazzy. I went back and forth as to what it was. Evil trip-hop?  Hardcore acid jazz?  I ended up decidning it was a somewhat less pissed of zach de la roche (rage against the machine) pretending he was tricky playing w/ a white macy gray pretending she was portishead. Quite good. Aloan. Local geneva band. We watched through the concert and headd back yto get some sleep for rafting.

Sent from a mobile device.  Pls excuse the shorthand. 

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Just a different attitude?

After a huge line at the stanisted customs our plane left about an hour late. Easy flight but odd take odd. He didn't accelerate. He seemed to be climbing very slowly and even cut the engines way back. We also banked a turn just a few k ft off the ground. I seriously thought we were going down. I am guessing this was to conserve gas.

We caught taxi to hotel and found out we were booked in the red light district. Easily a dozen street side prostitutes behind our hotel. We had a commanding view grom our third floor room. Nonody ever looks up, neither here or NY.

We decided to taker a walk land get a drink. About 30 mins later we had covered most of the town. Guide book says this is atown of 176 k people but locals say half a muillion. Either way, it isz tiny to walk around.

We ended up back near the hotel and got some good lebanese (think falafel) food.  Even more ladies of the night were out by now. The thing that has surprised me most is that there are stll normal girls hanging out in this area. Much different attitude I suppose.

Sent from a mobile device.  Pls excuse the shorthand. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Ldn jazz/funk rules. (Their mojitos aren't bad either)
Sent from a mobile device.  Pls excuse the shorthand. 

Monday, June 19, 2006

And free breakfast too

So, I put down a deposit on a place today. I am going to be living (approximately)here. Apparently I even get free coffee and breakfast b/c the same person owns this place and the Bar Italia. It is a bit of a walk up (4-5 floors) but it is smack dab in the middle of SoHo w/ all the nightlife and late night food I could need. (Also all the tourists but ahh well).

It is a one bedroom and I believe it has a pullout couch so get your ass over here to visit.

I was starting to twitch about this b/c if I hadn't found something early this week I wasn't sure if I would be able to go to Geneva this weekend. Whew.

Besides, I hate looking for places, it is just stressful.

I spent some time looking around Sloan Square on a recommendation. That place wasn't it. It was full of 5th ave/Madison Ave type shops, w/ no food. I have absolutely no use for those type of shops and what few restaurants there were were all uber pricey for those people who just need to waste their money to feel important. I did find a nice place but it was not an area I wanted to be in.

After I put down a deposit on a place I went to an appt I had up in the Shoreditch/Old Town area. Not as much in the middle of things but it was really nice. I found a place I would easily live in and it was about 20 quid a week cheaper. (roughly $150/mth). Had I not already put a deposit I probably would have taken either of the Shoreditch places. It isn't too bad though, when I was planning to come out here I was hoping to get a place in the Soho area and I expected to pay about what I am paying now. As I keep having to remind myself, be careful what you wish for, it may come true.

That is just sour grapes. I am fully expecting to enjoy this place. I could have saved as much as 200 lbs a month but it would have had to be too far out of town. Anyway, if i don't like it, I can break in 6 mths.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

First power casualty

So i finally hooked my xbox up tonight. Kevin and I started playing nba live and all of the sudden the xbox went dead. The converter had a choice between 50watts and 1600 watts. It was on 50, i decided that the xbox had just tried to run above the 50 watts, got annoyed and shut off. So I flipped it to 1600 watts. Bad idea. Turned it on and BANG, big pop, loud explosion and that lovely, "You have blown something up" smell. Ahh well. First casualty. I knew it was coming and I will probably have more coming as well...

Since I am here, I might as well tell you about my day. B)

Woke up this morn and went to meet Mathew at mushroom street, no wait... Portobello Road. After some detours (tube didn't go all the way there b/c of maintenance) I met Matt and Rachel at Notting Hill Gate. It was a beautiful day at and the place was packed. Not sure if it is this packed all the time but there was a see of people there today. It is a market like london loves so much. Think a NYC street fair but in 2 lanes instead of 5. It mainly started w/ Antiques but has grown from there. All the way (down?) to fake pearls and knock off perfume. Had a nice time wandering around and being amazed that people would still try to drive through the area despite everybody walking down the middle of the road. Add to that, I saw big garbage trucks come down the road no less than twice. I guess they just produce that much garbage but we had to all squeeze against the juice stand not to get run over as it rumbled by the first time at .5 miles/hour. Doesn't seem like a good idea but i suppose they have their reasons.

After that, i headed back to the apartment for a recharge (literally, my bb was dead and I was expecting calls).

Next Kevin and I headed out to Camden. After some more tube detours, we arrived at London's answer to St. Mark Place. (Look honey, punks) Wandered around another market, this one w/ much more random african food.

Either of those places would be acceptable to live in. Still looking.

After Camden, we headed over to Brick Lane for dinner. This would be the most convenient place to live, it is walking distance to work. After this visit, though I am not so sure about it. Or at least I want to live closer to Shoreditch than brick lane. (Knowledge of which neighborhood is which has been hard fought and I am still in the dark about much of it.) We took the wrong exit and ended up taking the long way there. It is amazing that parts of this city can be so completely vacant at 6 on a saturday. Memories of Vanilla Sky or 28 days later kept running through my mind. Also amazing is how quickly the city transitions from absolutely dead to a hot spot of life. Remember my feelings on Seattle, islands of culture surrounded by the dark see of suburbia? London (especially the City of London) seems to be oases of culture surrounded by deserted tundra of empty city.

Anyway, We had a decent indian meal and came back to watch the football, err... soccer.... whatever. Italy vs the US. Totally expected the US to suck like they did in their first match. Especially against Italy who was a heavy favorite. I did bet 2 quid that Italy wouldn't score for the first 20 mins (i win). I only caught the first half before i got on the phone but it was a pretty good half. Final tally was a tie after Italy scored 2 goals, one in our goal and one in their goal. 1 red card for italy and 2 for US. But it was a tie and nobody expected that. I can't believe I just wrote a paragraph about soccer. I must be being indoctrinated.

Ahh well... hi to all. I have changed the comments to not require a login but I am still moderating. Your comments should be up w/i a day of posting them. And please post them, I love getting comments.


Wednesday, June 14, 2006


So let me get this straight. Not only did the floight not start boarding until 90 mins late.  It also had to stop boarding in the middle when another flight arrived and needed to use the jetway.

So, next comes the flight. Terrible turbulence (maybe not the pilots fault), landing crooked and having to swerve wildly to stay on the runway (probably the pilots fault).

Then we can't get an actual terminal. Instead we have to park on the tarmack and takje a bus. The bus is there but we don't have any stairs to get off the plane. We finally get some stairs but they are on the wrong side of the plane and are unwieldy so "it is going to take some time" to manuver them into place.

"The saga continues" quoth the pilot. These stairs and the backup set are broken. So we are now waiting for another set from some other area. Given the speed of these stairs trucks, I am guessing I will get off this plane approximately never.
Sent from a mobile device.  Pls excuse the shorthand. 

Do I have to stop showering now?

Two days in UK and I am already heading to France. This was the point of coming over here, wasn’t it? (I am also heading to Geneva next weekend w/ Kevin and Mathew) A potential client bank in Paris wanted a face to face tech meeting so I said I would go. I am waiting for my delayed flight home as I type.

Caught a cab at 7am this morn and headed to the airport. Heathrow looks like a rich people mall. I met up w/ Vicki at the airport and we flew to gay Pari’. Good thing Vicki speaks French. Got in about 11:30 (GMT+1) and headed downtown. We got there about an hour early for the meeting so we went to lunch. Good cheese, good wine, the good parts of France.

The meeting could have been better, one of the tech guys was a real ball buster but it went OK. Looks like I am going to be out here again for the install. They want me out here for 3-4 days but I don’t think it will take more than one.

Since we finished early, we stopped at a café to get a drink and see if we could catch an early flight. Free wi-fi was easy to come by (point: paris). There was a flight in 45 mins that we knew we couldn’t make but we tried anyway. We got in and the cab driver started telling some story in French about how poorly his last fare was pronouncing things (they were American). He was laughing about it as he said it and the mood was jovial. I would have liked to hear him keep going, to get a real impression but Vicki gave it up that I was American as well.

Paris’ Charles de Gaul airport looks like a crappy regional airport. It is tiny. Maybe 200 yards from end to end. Albuquerque was much bigger, I kid you not. For a city the size of Paris, I am surprised at this. At least when I finally get to the gate area, they have real AC. First decent AC I have been in since I left the US.

Anyway, our early flight has been delayed so I sit here waiting. I can tell I am still not adjusted to the timeline b/c it isn’t until late afternoon here that my brain kicks in and starts thinking work. Generally, right around US work time. I am gonna have to get over that.

Do I have to stop brushing my teeth now?


I made it.

Yup I am going to blog again (maybe).

The flight over was largely uneventful. Had to pay about 250$ extra to send everything over but that was about what I expected. One of my bags was teetering on the edge of the 70 lb limit but all worked out. Oh, by the way, never use 212 666 6666 car service. Once they showed up and we were half way there the driver hands me to his manager who tells me I have too many bags and I have to pay extra. It was too early to argue that much but fuck carmel, don’t use them.

Anyway, I made it over. I am staying on Cock lane. Everybody has had a good laugh about that one. Staying w/ one of the guys from the office while I look for a place. Places are expensive. Nothing really unexpected has happened up until now except that nobody in the EU knows of AC. Not only that but we are still working in big office buildings so there is no wind either. It is much hotter inside than outside which just fucking kills me as I drip sweat all day.

On the plus side I have set it up so I can send short little blackberry updates to this blog and get them posted. Maybe I will actually keep up w/ posting when I go random places.