Sunday, February 19, 2006

Going to Europe some of you may know I'm off to England soon. Really soon in in a little over a week soon. It's weird; I mean I've been planning this trip for months now but it just hasn't seemed real. Now it's finally starting to hit me that I'm really going and that I'm really going to not see any of you lot for the next four months. Mind least I'll have a pile of new stories for when I get back :P Another week at work; the going away party on Friday; the hangover on Saturday; final day working at Church on Sunday; then three days to pack and dig through boxes trying to find things that went into storage by accident.

Oh yeah, the flat broke up unexpectedly so I ended up moving back to my parents on the Shore. What a commute! I used to walk out my door and be at work in ten minutes, now I'm having to get up at 6.46 - ack! So I've been living something of a transient lifestyle lately, living out of bags from here or Grey Lynn. Didn't help that my cellphone went swimming in coke (at $100 repair that's the most expensive bottle of coke ever!) so I was rather incommunicado for a while. I have it back now and after borrowing my parent's old Savvy for a while I have fallen in love with my Nokia all over again.

So...itinerary and what not. Well next Wednesday, I guess I pack and then head off for my Shadowrun game (which I'll miss like hell - I expect regular plot updates boys!). I may deign to wish Anna Happy Birthday then rather than as I board the plane (her 22nd's the next day); I have the feeling that a 1am wake up call won't go down too well! So I have a long flight to Singapore and pray that I can sleep on the plane as I get in around 7am local time! I've got a nice hotel all lined up but I'll get there far too early so that means heading for the pool or shopping instead. I'm planning on buying myself a digital camera and gear over there and can't wait to start taking pictures!

My hotel package gives me access to a whole bunch of stuff but I'm only there two days and I don't know how wasted I'll be. There's a night safari and stuff that I wouldn't mind going on and I might hit the clubs on the second night just so that I can try and sleep on the plane as I've got an early morning depature.

I go back through the time zones so I hit Heathrow respectably in the afternoon. I'll be going from around 32'C to 5'C and anticipate the need to change on the plane. Silly cold countries...I hate being cold especially when I lack my favourite warm snuggly blankets :P

Plan A is that my recruitment agency comes through - The Original London Pub Company - they claim they have a 100% success rate and they suply about 200 pubs in London. Of course...someone has to leave before an offer can be made. The idea is that I have a room lined up to kip in for a few days on premise and then start work pulling pints. Meet lots of people, free accom, some free meals, cheap drinks, the hope of tips, plus sterling silver for spending money. Plenty of time to walk around and explore London. I already have a huge list of museums, art galleries, churches, collections at the National Library etc... that I want to look at. I finally get to see the originals of medieval paintings that we've studied and touch the stones of buildings that I've read about. Very, very geekily excited!

Plan A continues that I spend three months living, working & exploring in London and hopefully even saving a little sterling. I then go straight to Contiki and spend ten days on a whirlwind tour of Europe. I'm hoping that I can hop across for two or three day trips while I'm working. After that, I have something like three weeks to travel around the UK and meet my Dad's family + have a Guiness in Dublin :P

I'm definitely making day trips from London to Bath (thanks to Jane Austen), going on pilgrimmage to Canterbury (go Chaucer!), to Glastonbury to say the three prayers in Latin within the sanctuary of the oldest abbey in England (the Pater Noster, Creed and Ave Maria). It's also the site where the English kings perpetuated and reworked the myth of King Arthur in an effort to subjugate the unruly Welsh.

Oh, and many thanks to Anna's mate [Lindsay?] in Edinburgh - I owe you a drink girl! - who is posting me over the paperwork I need to set up my English bank account. It's through a group called 1st Contact who so far have proved to be awesome. They charge slightly less than Hong Kong Savings Bank and such like to help you set up the account and unlike most schemes you don't have to transfer $4-5,000 NZ into the account - in fact you don't have to transfer anything and it still only takes 72hrs to open! You also get a bunch of bonuses from them like a UK Vodafone sim card and some other stuff. However, you do have to provide a bunch more paperwork which requires contact with someone already living properly in the UK. Again, thank you Lindsay! [and apologies if I'm spelling your name wrong!].

Plan B is that I don't get the job in which case the recruitment agency has to refund all my money and that's enough to live off for two weeks. I won a free tour round Scotlabd through 1st Contact so Plan B means that I hit London and the next day catch the train to Edinburgh to do this trip. Mmm the Scottish Highlands in winter [I mean, the first week of bonny freeze your tits off Spring]. There's a couple of backpackers advertising for staff, the T'n'T mag and a few of my recruitment agencies have international offices in London if I want to go for office work. I'm sure I can find something and the office work would pay much better. But, accommodation is really expensive in London which is why I'll probably look at pub work first [plus there's the free or cheap booze and the meeting people...].

The other bonus is that I'm going to be over there for the World Cup [think soccer not rugby people]. I don't have tickets but you can bet I'm going to fnd a pub with a big tv for each game! Course I'll be thinking about someone back home who'll also be up watching them...

I fly out of Heathrow on Friday July 7th [thank God for tailwinds!] and fly back to Singapore for another three days of shopping and exploring. Different hotel, right on the markets :P Then back to Auckland to the loving arms of my family and someone special. Conveniently by the time I've recovered from my jet lag it will be July 14th - Bastille Day & my birthday!! So, huge welcome back party and my 25th~!! [I feel so old!]


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