January 02, 2003

2/1/2003 Edinburgh & Glasgow (Phill)

2/1/2003 Edinburgh & Glasgow , Scotland (Phill)

New Years was great. Fieke, Chas and myself went through to Edinburgh. It was all a bit last minute and we almost stayed in Glasgow since I didn't have tickets to Edinburgh and I could get them for Glasgow. Then good Old Andy, the Australia
n I met in Finland
, came through with some tickets and another friend came through with a place to stay. I like my friends!

So off we went, hopped on a train to Edinburgh and managed to get met by Andy at the Station. Obviously security was massive especially after the bombing attempts in London the day before. We got to Edinburgh and the main area is all cordoned off for ticket holders. The Castle looks like it's floating up in the sky all light up but pitch dark below. Andy drags us to a pub filled with Aussies and Kiwi's (New Zealand) and we meet his friends. They were actually dead funny, all doing Billy Connoly impressions:

"We know that the Scots came accross from Ireland, but why? "C'mon lads, I know an even colder place, it rains all the time! Just follow the dark cloud..". I must've heard that about 20 times, but it was still funny. Well, through the layer of alcohol it was still funny. I met tons of people. Andy's a totally sound guy, very friendly, although he was kinda playing the father role to his friends, making sure noone got lost etc... It was soooo busy., In fact, if there was one thing bad about the night it was the crowds. Always getting bumped etc... although on a good note it kept you warm, it was freeeeezing. Even snowed on New Years morning.

The night actually took a downturn once we left Andy to go meet back up with my brother and a couple of old family friends. I'm mentioned jennifer and Natascha before. You'll remember that I threw up on Jennifer's carpet a few weeks ago... Anyway, they didn't have tickets to the event so were in a pub nearby.When we went to meet up with them Jen was blitzed, but i was already a bit hesitant to meet her cause last time I thought she was pretty rude to Fieke. This time was no different. Anyway, we grabbed a table and the two of us hung out (since we had been with people since she got there this was nice) and then we eventually headed back to natascha's place to crash. My brother put it well when he said it was like Calcutta in her apartment. People everywhere, bodies everywhere. So me and Fieke crash out in a corner on the floor and after a few minuted Natascha wakes me and says that we can sleep in on of the bedrooms. She was really nice about it since most of the people there were her friends and she came to offer it to us. So of course we accepted and went to the wee room. So trying to get to sleep we can hear shouting in the hallway and it's jennifer, very pissed off, that we're in her room and Natascha and everyone else are trying to get her under control.

Honestly, we were quite happy to go back to the floor but didn't dare go into the hall. Natascha seemed to mediate and opened the door to apoligize, but it was really awkward. So we woke up early with chas having to step accross the bodies and caught out train back to Glasgow. Actually, we all felt fine, not a real hangover in sight, but we had only had a few hours sleep so we were pretty tired.

Anyway, yesteday was kind of a down day, we were all tired and Scotland was exhausted from the night before so there was nothing to do. So we hung out at Uncle Gordon's although I felt a bit guilty that I couldn't entertain Fieke more, but really there was nothing to do. But I could tell that she wasn't enjoying herself and I think we were both thinking about today and saying goodbye, potentially forever, or at least for a long time.

Anyway, we said goodbye and hopefully she's home in Holland right now safe and sound. I really hope we can keep in contact and I hope she'll come visit me whereever I end up. A very sweet girl. Plus she didn't kick my ass and I reckon she could, she's very tall! :)

Afterwards I met up with my best mate over here, bob, and we had a few drinks and talked about our troubles. Then we went and saw a movie "Bowling for Columbine" to get out of the cold. It's all about America's lack of Gun control, more of a documentary than a movie, but still very good.

Chas and I are up early tomorrow to catch trains to Paris for Clarissa's baptism. I put some new pictures on her website by the way so go check them out. (www.clarissafalempin.com)

Be safe.

Posted by Admin at 03:14 PM | Comments (0)

January 04, 2003

4/1/2003 Paris, France (Phill)

4/1/2003 Paris, France (Phill)

Can you believe it's snowing here? I went for Croissants this morning, and by the time I returned it was a snow storm, and now there's about an inch of snow outside. Crazy cool.

Baptism is tomorrow, my grandma's here as is my family. Should be a good time. Clarissa is so big now! And she';s only a month old, must be all this beer I'm giving her. Did I ever tell you that when I was a kid, like many scotish kids, if I cried to much they'd dip my dummy/pacifier in Whisky and give it to me. It'd put you right to sleep! Explains a lot doesn't it...

Enjoy you day

Posted by Admin at 05:13 AM | Comments (0)

January 06, 2003

7/1/2003 London, England (Phill)

7/1/2003 London, England (Phill)

Back to London safely. Interview with the US Embassy is Friday so I've been working on paperwork tonight, there's lots of it, of course.

Posted by Admin at 04:14 PM | Comments (0)

January 12, 2003

12/1/2003 London, England (Phill)

Click here for Pictures from the uk"

Well, still here. The US Embassy visit was on Friday. The lost paperwork from the US that I had been waiting for had been stuck at Heathrow Airport with DHL. When I called them to find out why it had been sitting at the airport for days they informed me that they didn't have my address. My obvious question was how the heck did it get all the way to London and 20 miles from my house if they didn't have the address. I can;'t imagine it got dropped there by accident! Anyway, it did finally show up the day before my interview. So I organized all the paperwork and waited.

Woke up early Friday morning to get to the embassy with plenty of time. The place is notorious for queues, worse than Disney! Actually it's not their fault, the US is obviously a place in demand for immigrants. Anyway, got there and there wasn't a queue, all the old signs around the building were there. In fact the palce was surrounded by bomb-blast-resistors (big slabs of conrete simmilar to what is placed between the two sides of a highway) but no queue. So that was positive, got in, and handed over my paperwork. Waited about half an hour and I was called. I was actually surprised by the number of people in there. granted it's not the time of the year for students, but I still expected there to be lots of people. It was much quieter than any other time I've been there (granted only once :). Anywya, I got called to the counter for my interview and was pleasently surprised to be face to face with a cute young American girl. That made the whole process easier. I answered her questions and off I went. So hopefully sometime this week I'll be in possession of my visa (and not long after a flight to Houston).

Plan is to wait until then, I'll probably head in to London to meet some of the Aussies. Then as soon as the passport comes through, and assuming everything got approved, I'll be straight over to STA Travel to grab a 130 ($180) flight to Houston. David left my car in long term parking a the airport so I'll be driving staight to Austin.

Fingers crossed.. ps- I saw Gangs of New York today with mum and Chas, I was not impressed.

Posted by Admin at 12:48 PM | Comments (0)

January 18, 2003

1/18/2003 Austin, Texas, USA (Phill)

1/18/2003 Austin, Texas, USA (Phill)

TexasStateCapitalNight.jpg

You read it right, I'm back in Austin. I would write I'm back home, but it doesn't feel that way yet, but it's nice to be here. My trip was pretty easy until I got to Houston. My paperwork in London came through Tuesday morning and I went straight into London and grabbed a flight to Houston.

When I got to Houston it was definately Texas. I guess you forget a lot about the country. The people you meet here are definately friendly and know how to talk. Even just getting from the Airport to the car cark I had a pretty intense wierd talk with the bus guy who refused to pick up a middle-eastern guy just for that reason. It was a bit strange to see that.

Anyway, when I finally got to my car I was met with a flat tire. Great to see after 14 hours of travel with 4 more to go. But the lot guys pumped it up for me and I drove it. I was pretty nervous cause a) I wasn't used to driving and b) I felt my tire could explode at any time. But thankfully it didn't.

Got back here and went to Rob's house and we headed for dinner. Afterwards we went over to Dave and Jeretta's and suprised them. My plan was to track down Geoff and surprise him but the boy proved impossible to get a hold of.

Anyway, I had lots of errands to do to get settled back in, tires replaced on the car, bank accounts etc.. I also needed to find a place to stay more permanently than Rob's couch. That one proved the hardest. None of my friends are moving or need a roommate and I can't afford to get my own place until I start earning money again. So it's an ongiong problem.

I went out that night with a bunch of my friends to my old favorite bar: Gingerman. They're the only place I know in Austin that sells Hoegarden.

Anyway, it's Saturday now, last night Marti and I hung out. It was wonderful to see her so we grabbed some dinner and chatted. I did finally talk to Geoff after failing to surprise him. Basically the boys never home and so it's hard to just show up at his house. So I'll see him for lunch in a couple of hours. Then I think tonight I'll hang out with him and his new girlfriend and perhaps hopefully meet back up with Marti.

Anyway, I'm back, once i get some more permanence and feel les disorientated I'll put an update in here. But by now you should be emailing me and offering to buy me drinks! ;) Thanks for reading this year, it means a lot.

Posted by Admin at 08:57 AM | Comments (0)