Archive for February, 2009

28
Feb
09

Bloggity 2009-02-28

So… we’re tired. Actually as Shaun puts it, “It feels like we have been snowboarding for a few days.” My feet hurt. My shins hurt. My thighs hurt. But we endeavor. We MUST GO ON!

Today was a bit cloudy – which makes it feel like a 45 degree day. When its sunny it actually feels really nice outside. I start sweating walking around London. Although, I do have to admit, all this walking makes me feel like the stereotypical fat American tourist so I really need to get back to the gym when I get back home. Although, I may be stick thin by the time we get home… maybe not with all the food and boozing.

So we met up with Doug and Steph and went to a few art exhibitions today. We went up to a gallery named White Cube Hoxton Square which was actually a pretty cool place. The current showcased artist is named Marcus Harvey and he has done quite a few controversial pieces. It looked cool and all, but nothing can really describe the site of Maggie (a picture/sculpture of Margaret Thatcher made completely of skulls, hands and umm… er… sex toys) or Nike an awesome bronze statue of a giant helmet on guns with wings. Looks PHENOMENAL. We also went to another art gallery and I totally feel like a nub because I cannot for the life of me remember the artist’s name. All I know is it was another controversial artist. This time… pictures of “shit”, dead people, and naked people/sex.

We then walked EVERYWHERE…. and ended up on Brick Lane. This is the area of London that all the hipsters, cool kids, and fashion people hang out. They have one of the only locally owned record stores, clothing stores, vintage stores, and LOTS of graff art EVERYWHERE. I got to see an Obey. Like…. REALLY. I’ve been searching for Banksy everywhere but I cannot for the life of me FIND any. So that was a really awesome area. Got a new hat with netting and feathers. It – looks – HOT (and can be seen in one of my pictures).

After that we went to a mall named Westfield Shopping Center which had Gucci, D&G, etc. We hung out there until we had to go to dinner at a Mexican restaurant named Wahaca which I giggle about the name because its the phonetic “Oaxaca”. It wasn’t bad. A little weird but whatever. Was still very yummy.

Then we went to see the movie Franklyn. Was odd. It wasn’t terrible but meh. After that we hopped onto the bus and headed home. Honestly I’m so happy to be back here and hanging out. Although, so I don’t go mad, I’m going to bed. ๐Ÿ™‚

P.S. After hanging out with Brits you start talking like them.

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27
Feb
09

Bloggity 2009-02-27

Today Shaun and I rolled out of bed at like 11:00am (5am Austin), took a shower and got ready for the day. It was one of our sleep in days. ๐Ÿ™‚

We talked to Doug on Facebook (since it is the cheapest way to get ahold of each other) and decided to head out to a sushi lunch near St. Paul’s Cathedral at this awesome little joint named Yo! Sushi. This place was one of those awesome little places with the sushi on the conveyer belts heading around the room. When you see something you like, you just take it off the belt and they charge you accordingly. I had some ROCKIN’ Miso Soup, some octopus nigiri, California rolls and an awesome chicken salad. Between Shaun and I, I think we racked up a 20 pound bill… not so bad. I’ve done worse with sushi places. This was so freaking good.

After taking a few pics of the cathedral we walked I think a BAJILLION MILES. We went across a bridge, into a farmers market (which was AWESOME), past London Dungeon, past town hall, walked all the way down the Thames to Tower Bridge and wanted to end up at the Tower of London. Doug’s awesome corporate job gets him free tickets to all the city events like that so we could save a few pounds here and there. The only thing is, because we dilly dallied a bit, we missed the last entrance into the Tower by 8 minutes. No fair. Whatev, we’ll go another day. We have a bajillion things to do anyways.

We hopped on the Tube and headed down to Waterloo Station. Side note: I would like to say that even though it is 45-50 degrees, when you are walking everywhere, it gets FREAKING HOT. Not to mention there is no ventilation down in the waiting area for the tube… so it was stifiling. I am so happy we decided to come now and not during the summer. We ended up walking around without coats and I was still sweating bullets. I am convinced no matter what happens, I will ALWAYS be a sweaty Mexican. You should have seen me in Kyoto during the summer… you would have been concerned.

So we ended up at Waterloo and headed to the Southbank and near the London Eye. There was also the aquarium and the museum that I cannot remember the name of that has Salvador Dali pieces however we didn’t have enough time for those and we will be going to another day. BUT! We did go up in the London Eye and I think I took way too many pictures of Big Ben from that view… but thats one of the landmarks where I can say… I made it. We went at the perfect time. I got to take pictures of the skyline of London at dusk. Things looked phenomenal.

After that, I hobbled near Shaun and Doug ALL THE WAY BACK TO SOHO. I think we walked like 10 miles today. My knees feel like they want to remove themselves from my body and then my shins are on fire. However, we did make it to a pub and I got to enjoy two nice pints of cider. It made my burning body feel a bit better about myself. As Doug says, the cheapest way to get around London is to walk… or in Jenelle’s words… using your patamobile.

We went to Wagamama for dinner which was really freaking awesome. Its really bizarre because mostly all the food I haveย  had in London has been organic. This would seem natural to me but finding restaurants and the like in the US is so freakin’ difficult. After dinner we headed out to the AWESOME AMAZING WONDERFUL show La Clique. It was that Burlesque circus thing I have been REALLY excited about seeing for some while. I honestly have to say that its one of the best shows I have EVER SEEN. Contortionists, Rollerskaters, Burlesque, Juggling and MORE. OMG. SO AMAZING.

So after that we just hopped on a bus back at Piccadilly Circus back to Westbourne and called it a night… and here I AM! Its been amazing and I can’t wait for more. Its a shame my body feels like ass. BAD. CRAP. Like its falling apart. I figure its to make up for how much I am eating, but seriously, this is like boot camp. My body is about to die.

26
Feb
09

Bloggity 2009-02-26

Boy was today exhausting!

Shaun and I had a really hard time sleeping last night. I think that was the last of our jet lag. We woke up at 10:30am…. dragging our asses out of bed to get downstairs to our overpriced continental breakfast with enough time to meet Doug at Piccadilly Circus by noon. Its not like it was hard to locate us with Shaun in a bright pink mohawk hanging out at the fountain. the hardest thing is coordinating plans when we can’t really use our phones. Right now we are running $.50 to text message Doug each way.

(BTW, the internet is not so bad in our room today. Pages load in 1 minute rather than 5) So yes – moving onward. Doug walked us down past St. James’ Park, took some pictures near Buckingham Palace, walked toward some war memorials, up back toward Piccadilly, past it, into Soho in which we shopped a bit (bought a new scarf at Lazy Oaf), and walked some more. My calves feel like they are ON FIRE.ย  We moved on through China Town (which was somewhat disappointing) and to pass some time we grabbed some coffee (I LOVE MOCHAS!), then went to an awesome bookstore with comics, vinyl toys and memorabilia. Good times. We then walked BACK to to the Piccadilly, had some cider at a pub and waited for Doug’s wifey-poo Steph.

So, another round and we decided to head out for some Indian food (which I had never had before) at an awesome “posh” spot named Masala. It was pretty awesome and yummy. I love it. We grabbed another round at ANOTHER pub and headed out to the comedy club to see Andrew Maxwell – this awesomely, smart Irish comedian who is well traveled and up-to-date on all politics around the world. Shaun feared for his life when he brought up the Gaza issue – but he recovered well. No tomatoes were thrown. ๐Ÿ™‚

Did I say again that MY CALVES ARE ON FIRE?

FIRE. BURN. Walking around in London in generic Walmart wannabe Chuck Taylors SUCKS.

But we meandered home somehow. Steph was really awesome and told us which bus to take to get to the general area that our hotel was in. Good thing I draw little maps in my head and know where I go by landmarks. So here I am at home. I plan on sleeping in tomorrow.

Plans for the rest of the time here:
*Meander with Doug
*Go see the Burlesque/Circus Show tomorrow night
*Day trip to Paris
*Day trip to Stonehenge (at DUSK and we can touch the stones!)
*Tower of London

We’ll see. We still have quite a while here and Doug single handedly knocked out a good majority of our list today.



26
Feb
09

Bloggity 2009-02-25

We are here! 2.5 hour flight to Charlotte, NC, 6 hour layover and then a 9 and some hour flight to Gatwick Airport. This trip wasn’t so bad because I actually slept most of the way here so while it was 9:30 am and we were landing, it didn’t feel like 3:30am Austin time. It took us about 3 hours to get to our hotel – between customs/immigration, grabbing a train to Victoria station, a bus to Paddington and then walk to figure out where our hotel was.

We got to our room (which is a bit small but I’m not complaining with the deal we got in Notting Hill) and I really wish I could post pictures but this connection is anarchic. I guess I will try at the end of the blog, but no promises.

We arrived at our hotel, placed our luggage in the luggage room and headed out to find something to eat. We arrived at a little cafe named Aphrodite cafe (or something like that) and had some sandwiches. It was a Greek family that owned the place and I loved to hear them talk. We also heard some Croation on the train to Victoria as well. So yes… I now know I like “white coffee” or coffee with milk. Its really a culture shock to re-learn how to order things. We went back to our hotel and slept. The 6 hour difference isn’t as bad as Japan, but damn its still hard.

We got dressed at like 6 amd headed out again. We ate some fish and chips at this awesome little shop (that reallt specialized in kabobs, but whatev). There we heard some Arabic and even saw a certificate certifying that the lamb used in the kabobs were fit for Muslim consumption. I thought that was neat. So our fish had salt and vinegar added and it was all good.

We headed out to an awesome little club called the Notting Hill Art Club that has free shows on Wednesday. It honestly wasn’t anything different than anything you would find in Austin, but some of the people were really rude! The pushed me out of the way to stand in my place. The music choice was definitely interesting:ย  Arctic Monkeys, Madonna, Daft Punk. ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, we left early due to the rudeness, but whatev, its all good, we need to rest anyways. Saw some really good bands – Orange out of Italy and an AWESOME band called The Vortex out of Manchester. They are pretty damn awesome.

So, yes. Shower needed to wash off the grimy B.O. of fat rude people in a hot underground venue. ๐Ÿ™‚

***EDIT: Sorry about the dupes.

21
Feb
09

Clearing fog

Clearing fog, originally uploaded by Matt1962.

*3 till London*

Or rather, we are leaving the morning of the 24th.

Since I figured you are just as curious as I was, I thought I would share some of the weather we’re in for….

Wed: 50/47 Cloudy

Thurs: 48/41 Partly Cloudy

Fri: 45/41 Partly Cloudy

Sat: 48/41 Partly Cloudy

Sun: 47/40 Partly Cloudy

No rain so far… but oh man I want to experience a foggy morning.

20
Feb
09

Bloggity 2009-02-19

*5 Days to London*

And we’re coming down to the wire. On our way home from work I realized how much we still have to do. Dogs and ferrets need washing, clothes need laundering, bills need to be paid, shopping needs to be done, bus schedules need to be looked at, general packing needs to be done, rooms needing to be cleaned.

And here I am blogging… Good game Erica… good game.

I am taking my camera to work tomorrow. Hopefully I can catch some of the really awesome sunrises on the way to work. Knowing my luck it is going to be cloud covered. All that means is that I get to take pictures of clouds. ๐Ÿ˜€

I’m starting to get nervous about the trip. Looking at all the bus schedules and trains and such has made it all the more real. I really want to be known as a “world traveller”. I get some awesome feedback from people at work when they say,”Wow! You guys travel A LOT!”. I love to see things, meet people and experience life. One of my favorite things ever is getting my passport stamped. It is almost like battle scars for me. Something I can show off later in life. One thing I want to own one day is an awesome suitcase that I can add travel stickers to – you know, the ones with the Timbuktu and Tahiti stickers all over the place.

Something like this, vintage-y but new:

Shaun and I were hanging out with our friends Sara and Michael (<— whom we went to Japan with) at Crown and Anchor the other day. One of the things we were discussing was our trip to Japan and the trouble we got in. One of the things I am really looking forward to is the four of us going to Egypt. Camel rides, pyramids and the whole caboodle.

My GOD, even my gynecologist was going on and on about London and St. Paul’s cathedral. I have to look for some rickety old stairs to head up to the dome on the top apparently. Somehow, it wasn’t weird to her that THERE I WAS, in nothing but a paper gown, basically naked, and she felt the need to gabber on about London. Either way, I am truly grateful for her recommendation and plan to look for ’em.

I’ll end here before I go off on another tangent. ๐Ÿ˜›

17
Feb
09

Bloggity 2009-02-16

*8 days to London*

Thought I would share a link to one of the WGS songs. This wasn’t from V-Day, but good none the less.




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