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Around the World in 84 Days:
 
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Below are the 18 most recent journal entries recorded in thetitman's LiveJournal:

Thursday, March 3rd, 2005
10:14 pm
Of Knives, Cheese, Banks and Mountains
Lucern

Nights Stayed= 2
Muggings= 0
Fast Food Meals = 0
Terrorist Attacks = 0
Hot girl/Ugly girl ratio = 1.5:1
Celebrity Encounters = 0
Female Acquaintances = 0

Overall Rating: From Balga to Peppermint Grove: Applecross

They say that Switzerland is the most beautiful country in the world (i have no proof that they say this, but it seems like something 'they' would say. 'They' are always making outrageous claims like "K2 is taller than Everest", "space isn't a true vacuum", "give me back my diary" etc etc). I think there is two reasons they say this: 1. Because visually it is spectacular, cloud hidden mountains tumbling into icy blue lakes with castles on hills and white swans gliding down crystal rivers but also 2. The women are just as spectacular.

Arriving in Lucern the sun had just set and the lights of the city shone of the perfectly still waters of Lake Lucern. We jumped on the specified bus and jumped off at the specified stop. However this is where our 'directions' stopped being helpful. The hostel was now apparently '5min on foot'.....great...which way? A nice old lady who spoke very little english pointed us in the right direction and we headed off. Reaching a fork in the road we asked another stranger and eventually we spied the hostel. Hosteling international has been good to us but this one was quite, quite pricey (even more so for Lee who unlike us was not a member). But it was the cheapest hostel in Switzerland, Bern and Zurich would have destroyed the bank account... so we settled in and decided to go for a walk and find food... pretty much the only two things we do in any city.

Dave fell in love almost immediately with the place, and I cant blame him (though he falls in love with a lot of things: girls, guitars, Lee etc etc). It really was an amazing place. We stumbled upon a grocery store and made some makeshift cold dinners having once again booked accommodation with no kitchen and being too poor to buy food from restaurants. I cant wait to get proper home cooked meals again. After eating we got dressed for a night out and hit the town. Unfortunately Thursday night in Lucern in the heart of winter... not pumping. We went to a few pubs, one ridiculously classy joint at the top of a hotel where a glass of beer was 10 swiss franks... about 11 Aussie dollars. Losing the urge to party we returned to the hostel and did that thing where you go to bed.

Our day in Lucern started out searching for the one 'tourist attraction' Lucern actually has... the Dying Lion.. referred to by one of the harlem globe trotters as "The saddest piece of rock I've ever seen". Thats a bold statement, one that i wasn't going to accept without seeing for myself. So i did. Now I've seen a fair amount of rock in my time, what with studying rocks and all, and I can pretty much confirm his statement....that Lion was indeed the saddest piece of rock he's ever seen. After that we didn't really have a plan so we walked down the main shopping streets and back through to the train station. Its strange that this town was one in which have done the least in on our rapid fire trip around Europe, and yet it was a city that a lot of us felt like could be a place we could live but then again there isn't that much to do in Perth and we all love it there.

That night I was content to have a quiet one, my ankle always hurts after a day of walking and the prospect of having a big drinking night the night before we have to get on a train isn't at the top of my list of '10 things that are enjoyable'. Mike and Lee thought otherwise and tried to convince us all to join in... Clarko caved in. But as Mike and Lee hit the town Clarko figured out a way to rort the wireless internet in the area and the rest of us cashed in on it.

I would have liked to have had a few extra days just to stroll through the rest of the town, coming here in summer would be incredible... i imagine anyway. But our tight schedule meant that we were out of here the next day and this time onto one of the cities i have been most looking forward to.... Venice.
Friday, February 11th, 2005
11:41 pm
Of Beer Halls and Thieves
Munich

Nights Stayed= 2
Muggings/Burglaries= 1
Fast Food Meals = 1
Terrorist Attacks = 0
Hot girl/Ugly girl ratio = 1:5
Celebrity Encounters = 0
Female Acquaintances = 0

Overall Rating: Sunny with a late shower

Ahh Germany. Its hard to believe that in just over a week we have been from New York to Paris to Amsterdam and now to Munich, four countries in nine days and within another few we would have added another couple of countries to our belt.... but thats exactly the situation... so i guess i should believe it, otherwise i would just be disregarding the facts and I'm no christian.

Our train trip from Amsterdam to Munich was not the most pleasant, the first train we got on was supposed to take us to Frankfurt where we would change trains but due to technical problems only made it to Köln. We decided to wait an hour an catch the next train direct to Munich. As we waited we saw some odd sights, numerous people were dressed up in clown costumes and gothic outfits as well as other odd attire, not enough to think it was something special, but too many to think nothing of it.. however our time there was short and we moved on. Unfortunately we were yet to figure out the specifics of the rail system. Rushing onto the train as it arrived, trying to beat the mass of people also trying to get on the train we jumped onto some seats and settled in, unaware that the lights on the roof above us meant that those seats had infact been reserved. This was soon pointed out to us by some ticket wielding German's. The train was already in motion as we dragged our luggage from carriage to carriage looking for seats, finally collapsing at a large group of them only to realise we were in the smoking section. Now in Australia, if there were to exist such things as smoking carriages on our trains it probably wouldn't be so bad, a couple of people lighting up here and there.. bearable. But in Europe, smoking is like eating... everyone does it... frequently. We searched for non-smoking seats to no avail and had to spend the next five hours in pain. I avoid second hand smoke at all costs normally, so saying that i inhaled the more smoke in those five hours than i have in my live collectively until that point... wouldn't be too far from the truth. The fresh air at then end of the ride was silk for the nostrils... unfortunately our clothes continued to reek for quite some time.

The hostel was only 50m from the train station which was a blessing with my ankle. After spending big in Amsterdam the Munich hostel was supposed to save us some money as we were staying in a 40 bed dorm room for €11 a night (bargain prices in Europe). I wasn't expecting much for that money, but what we got wasn't too bad. The dorm was split into 4 sections and we had one section all to ourselves. As was the standard for each city we hit, we dropped our luggage and headed out to find dinner and explore the town. As we walked we encountered more people wearing crazy costumes as we saw in Köln and the streets were covered in a thick layer of confetti. Groups of drunk people were congregating on corners and the police presence was enormous. It was very reminiscent of the Australia Day celebration aftermath at the foreshore. Continuing down the main strip we grabbed a meal and decided to head to a traditional beer hall to celebrate our arrival in Germany. We chose one that looked pretty full and managed to find some seats. This time we new something was up, the whole pub was filled with people wearing crazy costumes all totally smashed off their faces. Dave ordered us some beers in such accurate German the waitress thought he was German and continued to speak in German despite the puzzled looks on all our faces. The ladies sitting next to us spoke some English and helped in the translation. We then enquired about what was going on and were informed that we had arrived on the final night of their "Carnivale" celebrations, where they ward of evil spirits by wearing costumes and making noise... and apparently getting ridiculously drunk. At this point a brass band dressed in baby clothing (diapers etc) jumped onto the window sills and tables and started playing, it was everything we had expected from Germany and more.

The next day we headed to the same strip we were on the night before, but were there for touristy things. Having spotted an "all you can eat" Pizza Hut the boys wanted that for breakfast and were disappointed to find out you had to wait until 6pm. Instead we found a bakery and got a sausage in a bun and some pastries. The glockenspiel was an incredible sight, a very gothic looking building with gargoyles and the like. Mike informed us it would 'go off' at midday so we hung around until then. I spotted some people up a tower and decided to enquire, it was a church spire St Peters i think anyway €1 we were allowed up..... after many, many flights of stairs (the pain this would cause my ankle wasn't something i thought about until i took the first step) we reached the top and waited for 12. The view was pretty cool out to the mountains on one side and the city on all others. It hit 12 and not just the glockenspiel but all the big clocks in the city rang out echoing across through the streets... i was impressed. Less so by the glockenspiel whose 'show' was little more entertaining than that put on by the clock in London Square in Perth.

Next we headed to the beer hall area, the one that is renowned for that festival we all love: Octoberfest. Despite the lack of it being October (nor nudie magazine day) we hit the hall as Mike was aching for a real stein. Hofbrauhause delivered. It was a beer hall to define beer halls by, large spacious, wooden tables, steins, brass bands, beer and germans. We ordered some sausages as well to top it off and at this point we were all on a Germany high.

Coming down from that high occurred rather rapidly. Upon returning to our hostel Mike looked at his bag and said "I think someone has been through my stuff" we did a quick check and while it looked like our stuff had been gone through, nothing notable was missing. Clarko went to his locker to check on his valuables and discovered his iPod was absent... searching the room, it then occurred to him that there was more than just his iPod missing... his Video Camera was missing as well, and the 7 hours of video footage we had taken across America. Somehow the thieves had broken the lock on the locker and were able to get free access to all his valuables. On later discovery it appeared that they had stolen my iPod charger and cables. Fortunately Clarko had been carrying his laptop with him and thus our thousands of photos were still intact. After going to the police station we were told the police would have to visit the crime scene... and it was to great shock that they arrived and actually did a full police report. Having been stolen from multiple times in Perth and getting nothing more than a pice of paper this was quite impressive, they were actually going to investigate, they wanted serial numbers and everything.

To cheer everyone up we had a few beers and then hit Pizza hut, and we hit them hard. Getting our moneys worth, Clarko even taking some home for the train trip the next day (we were all quite disgusted that the bag he used to carry them in had moments earlier been used for his dirty laundry).

We jumped on the train again the next day. Dave wanted to take a detour through Austria instead of heading straight for Switzerland after some advice from his dad and i think we were all quite grateful. The scenery was breathtaking, huge snow covered mountains with towns dotted at their feet. Frozen lakes, icy blue rivers.... incredible. Even coming into Zurich in Switzerland was amazing, this place is a calendar photographers dream.
11:38 pm
Of Sex, Drugs and More Sex and Drugs
Amsterdam

Nights Stayed= 3
Muggings= 0
Fast Food Meals = 5
Terrorist Attacks = 0
Hot girl/Ugly girl ratio = *
Celebrity Encounters = 0
Female Acquaintances = 0

Overall Rating: R 18+ (drug use, sex scenes and adult themes)

Right. Amsterdam. If you are a stoner, or enjoy watching porn (both DVD and the kind that is performed live in front of you), or want to dabble into the harder drugs this place is for you. Not falling into any of those categories, I was skeptical that i would enjoy this place at all.

But Scotty and Jimmy (old high school mates who had moved to London) decided to join us for the weekend, a secret we had been keeping from Dave for the whole trip due to the fact that we would be arriving in amsterdam on his birthday. We rocked up at the train station and headed in the direction of the hostel (i was struggling, a 20kg back pack adding weight onto my totally f@#ked ankle was not a highlight). This place is full on, I don't know what i was expecting but it wasn't porn stores on every second corner, prostitutes in windows beckoning you in, stores advertising magic mushrooms, pot houses or 'coffee shops' everywhere, people trying to get you to come in and see live sex shows and cocaine dealers offering you drugs as they brush past you. Insane. Of course our hotel was right in the centre of the red light district (actually distinguished by the red lights around) so you might expect that.

Scotty and Jimmy had already arrived earlier, checked in and were waiting in our room and totally shocked Dave which was great. Jimmy was also surprised because he had no idea that Lee was with us. It was interesting, we hadn't seen Scotty in seven months and Jimmy in about four and yet there was hardly any catching up required before it felt like they had never left. It was at this point we headed down to the...[censored]

Then we ....[censored]....which was kinda fun. Scotty and Lee fell asleep due to [censored]. The rest of us stayed up and had a few drinks before heading to bed as well.

The next day our first priority was to get me a walking cane, i was in agony (as the photo of my foot will show when Clarko updates them) and was holding the group back. Eventually we found a shop. Jimmy was jealous, very jealous... he wanted to injure himself just so he could walk around with a cane (apparently i look pretty cool with a cane). Next stop was the "Heineken Experience" where we toured the old brewery and scored some free beer and beer glasses.

Once that was over the boys were keen to get back to [censored].. so we took a stroll and Scotty and Clarko got some [censored]. The aim was to find some food then [censored]. The next few hours were spent [censored].. before Scotty [censored].... but once that was over with we kicked onto [censored]. Clarko then repeated Scotty's mistake and [censored].

[censored]

[censored]

Scotty and Jimmy left late on monday after spending €25 on a [censored]. Not a big goodbye as we will be staying with them when we hit London at the end of the trip. The others payed €30 and got two [censored]. Better value but way out of my price range. Lee and I instead went and used the local internet cafe. Later on that night when the boys were at the second [censored] and Lee was [censored] we went for a walk through the streets looking at [censored]. One of them tapped on the window and beckoned to us so we went and talked to her, of course we turned her down and as we walked off she was tapping on the window at the next couple of guys.

So this place was fun, but definitely not my scene. The town itself is surprisingly picturesque despite the dirty canals and horribly lopsided buildings. Its something you have to do when you are young and in Europe but its not a place i would raise a family.

* Due to the fact that almost all females seen were prostitutes I refused to actually give this a rating
11:33 pm
Of Art, Monuments and The French
Paris

Nights Stayed= 3
Muggings= 0
Fast Food Meals = 1
Terrorist Attacks = 0
Hot girl/Ugly girl ratio = 1:10
Celebrity Encounters = 0
Female Acquaintances = 0

Overall Rating: On a scale of 1 to infinity: Frabrillion

Getting into Europe was like spending a million dollars in a shopping mall (or as Dave would say like feeding a great white shark strawberries) you expect it to be much harder than it actually is. Arriving in London we decided to make our way to the terminal where our transfer plane would be leaving from, following some signs we jumped on a bus and headed to terminal 1. Having arrived we searched for the flight, only to find it left from terminal 4.... the one we had just come from. So we took the bus back (fortunately we weren't in a rush.. though Clarko got incredibly annoyed at the mistake for some yet unknown reason). As we walked back into terminal 1 some guy came up and made some weird noise to the group.... we turned around and we were quite surprised to see Lee (another mate from school who was joining us on our Europe leg of the tour) standing there. We weren't expecting to catch up with him until Paris so it was a pleasant surprise. Finally a new face on the trip.

We jumped on board the plane and had to sit for a whole 50min to get to Paris. We got off walked through the gate and looked for the customs area... there didn't appear to be one. We stood in a line for a bit, showed a guy our passport which he looked at then gave back, grabbed our bags and headed out the door. No declaration, no bag search, no questions.... no wonder the French haven't taken over the world yet.

This is about where the fact that we were in a non english speaking country hit us. We knew we had to catch the train into paris, we even knew which one. We were even able to figure out how to get to the train station. But upon arriving there, we stumbled across a major problem.. all the ticket machines were automated and they were all in French. We had no idea what sort of ticket we needed or how much it was going to cost.... after flicking through my french dictionary for a bit to no avail the general consensus was that we weren't going to figure it out and we should just catch a taxi. Problem number 2. While it was easy enough to tell the taxi driver where to go, there were now 5 of us and thus wouldn't fit into one taxi. This was going to be a very expensive trip. €90 later (€45 per taxi) we arrived at our hotel (well actually we arrived at number 61.. what turned out to be an abandoned apartment... we then walked to number 62 Clarko having gotten the number wrong). The hotel staff spoke english and we collapsed into the room. The place itself wasn't too bad, old but value for money.

Dave had a migraine during the flight over, so he went and bought some headache tablets and then went to bed. The rest of us went for a stroll through the streets of Paris. It was so different from America, the buildings were all the same, old looking streets with boutique corner stores everywhere. We headed for the supermarket to get a meal and the price of the euro suddenly hit home. Everything was so expensive. All things that are priced in Euro are priced at about the same level as the Australian dollar.. for example a big mac meal at McDonald's about A$6 and about €6.... problem is the the conversion rate means that you have to pretty much double the price of anything to put into perspective (ie big mac meals were costing A$12). So we bought some bread and cheese and tomato and had cold sandwiches for dinner. A nice 'welcome to Europe' dinner. The boys started to have a few drinks (Mike had shouted us a few bottles of duty free spirits... four infact... and Lee brought another) and Dave was back up and about. I had one drink while laying on my bed and instantly fell asleep... the jet lag hit me. So while i was sleeping the rest of them headed out on the town. Clarko and Dave came home around midnight, while.. [censored... i hate this censorship crap but unless i want to be killed during my sleep this is the way its going to be from now on... no interesting stories, apparently some people don't appreciate their immorality being published on the internet].

Our original plan for the first day was to hit the Louvre. But due to the big night had by some the prospect of concentrating and enjoying art was not the most appealing. So instead we decided to walk along Champs Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe and then to the Eiffel tower. I gotta say, I was impressed. The weather wasn't anything special (hence the original plan to do the Louvre) but despite this the city was just amazing. I will definitely have to come back and do Europe in summer, everything would be so much more breathtaking if the trees weren't all bare and dead looking. None the less, we climbed the tower.. and that is a literal climb, we took the cheap option and walked the stairs to the top. My quad muscles hadn't had a workout like that in a long long time. While the view was amazing, it wasn't the most impressive, the city scape is pretty much the same in all directions. The tower itself though it just a masterpiece..... and in no way is all the hype over rated. On our way home we stopped into Notre Dame cathedral and were blown away for the second time. I might not be the most religious person around but the architecture and beauty of the place brought an awe inspired humbleness to me, something that modern day churches fail to do.

The next day was the Louvre, a museum by all accounts but a point of interest for us for one main reason: The Da Vinci Code. The Louvre was the setting for the start of the book and the mystery concluding end (If you haven't read the book, go outside, get in your car, drive to the book shop, find the book, pay for it, drive home, read it and then read the rest of the post....). Our first stop was the Pyramids above the entrance, impressive... but once again not as much as they would have been had it been summer and the fountains were all working (no fountains have been working anywhere on our trip pretty much due to the fact that the water would freeze, expand and destroy the piping and possibly the fountain). We waited for Lee for a while (he had returned to the hotel to get the camera and said he would catch up) but after 30min of waiting we decided to just go in (later we would find out that he got lost on the way there, tried to take a taxi but got kicked out before finally stumbling upon it). I'm not going to bore you with the details, but the place was unbelievable. The Mona Lisa, Venus De Milo, Cupid and Psyche, Virgin on the Rocks, just to name a few priceless pieces of artwork. Plus a whole lot of stuff i had never heard of that to me looked a whole lot more impressive than the previous list (but what would I know). You can get lost in that place, and we did....for a bit. From the room with the Mona Lisa, to the inverse pyramid we traced Robert Langdon's steps throughout the museum to the point where the holy grail is supposed to lie. I wouldn't be surprised if the large crowd around the pyramid was there for the same reason we were.

That night was insane. We started drinking early, having feasted on roasted potatoes flavoured with chicken oil (from real roasted chickens) stuffed into baguettes with some tomato, from mixers Lee started on the shots and we were soon incredibly drunk. Some Norwegian girls we had met earlier in day were staying across the alley way from us (our windows opened out near each other) and we invited them across to join us. They did, and we drank some more. At some point Lee climbed out the window and down to the window below us (a room with some American girls in it) and we drank some more. We decided to leave the room at which point Mike threw a water bottle at one of the Norwegian girls heads and she promptly beat him up with it and then emptied its contents all over him (it was quite enjoyable to watch). The night was quite a blur, from talking to some girls, then following Lee out onto the streets of Paris, bumping into Dave and Mike talking to some other french people, then Clarko stealing the American girls pizza then Lee running through the streets jumping parked cars and me trying to follow him and then me rolling my ankle really bad.............. really, really bad. I hit the ground in agony and these french people all tried to help me, but i got freaked out cos everyone knows the french are after world domination (something i am also aiming for) and also i just didn't know what the hell they were saying... so i ran, or more correctly stumbled back to the hotel. There i bumped into Clarko again who was talking to the american girls again and rested my foot while slowly sobering up.

Eventually Dave, Clarko and I all headed off to the room, Clarko was so incredibly drunk he collapsed into the bathtub while brushing his teeth and proceeded to stay there, brushing his teeth and mumbling for about 20min or so. Then tried to make his bed, while Dave was sitting on it and while singing some random song but using the wrong words... no words can really capture this moment.. so fortunately we had video. Dave and Clarko soon passed out. While i was trying to strap my ankle, Lee and Mike stumbled in. We ate some rice then passed out. My last thoughts.... 'shit...we have to get on a train tomorrow morning.. and I'm not packed'.

Suffice to say, the next morning wasn't pleasant. The alcohol that had numbed the pain of my ankle was all but gone and the realisation of the seriousness of the situation started to sink in. Some how we managed to pack our stuff up and make it onto the train..... our next stop, the place where you are supposed to have the craziest times, the legal drug capital of the world... Amsterdam.
Monday, February 7th, 2005
7:00 pm
We Out Y'all
New York

Nights Stayed= 4
Muggings= 0
Fast Food Meals = 3
Terrorist Attacks = 0
Hot girl/Ugly girl ratio = 1:6
Celebrity Encounters = 1
Female Acquaintances = 1*

Overall rating: On a scale of 1st Street to Broadway: Time Square

So getting to New York was no problems.. bus was on time, there were places available and everything ran smoothly. Once we hit the bus depot at New York, i was reminded of a scene from the movie "Joe's Apartment" where he rocks up on a bus to New York and gets mugged three times before he hits the terminal... fortunately for us though this didnt happen... nor at any other stage of our trip in New York (I thought this might make the "Muggings" category pointless......but then we hit Europe).

Getting to our hostel was incredibly easy.. the subway system is impeccable (this word has for some reason been added and utilised by my vocabulary). The further we travel without being accosted by anyone the less i felt like i would walk around the corner and get shot.. which was nice.. you know, not being constantly terrified for your life, it adds an extra element of enjoyment to the trip. The hostel was nothing out of the ordinary so we ditched our gear and hit the town.

Time square is mind blowing, the lights, the people, the lights... the advertising and product placement that epitomises everything about the American economy, all focused onto a few blocks. The sad thing is, that I actually thought it was pretty cool, im putting it down to some residual mental thing from when we were cave men.. what drew me to time square is the same thing that would have drawn a cave man to try and touch fire when he saw it. We hit a few pubs and enjoyed for what would probably be the last time on this trip...... cheap booze. A fun night out, where i talked to some Mexican/American girl and got her email address (im lame... i know).

We walked the city the next day, hit the Empire state building, Wall Street, the "Ground Zero" and took a look at the statue of liberty. A lot of it was over rated, but so is a lot of America. Still i was impressed with the size of the city and just the vibe that it was giving off.... its all about the vibe. Oh and we saw the Seinfeld cafe... and actually ate there for breakfast each morning (it was only a couple blocks away)

I convinced my less artistically inclined friends to go see a musical with me, and to my surprise they were quick to agree. However we werent going to pay the enormous prices for the hit shows, instead we lined up with the rest of the tourists and cheap-asses to get the discount tickets. We got 50% off tickets to "Rent" and they were orchestra seats. I was pleased. The show itself was amazing, just what broadway should be: Razzle Dazzle... and i learnt a bit more about AIDS and living on the street in the late 1990's.... what more could you want?

Im going to wrap up now, time is running low on my internet here (Amsterdam currently... i need to post on Paris and here... you might be waiting for a while). We hit the airport early, thinking that JFK would be packed to the brim and lines would be enourmous.... however we were wrong and walked straight to the front of the line. This then meant we had about 4 hours to kill before our plane... but we were all pretty buggered from the last few nights and were content.

Europe is an Adventure and half (maybe three quaters)... but that'll have to wait....
Thursday, January 27th, 2005
10:30 pm
A Place Where People Live
Hagerstown

Nights Stayed= 10
Muggings= 0
Fast Food Meals = 1
Terrorist Attacks = 1*
Hot girl/Ugly girl ratio = 1:1**
Celebrity Encounters = 0
Female Acquaintances = 0
Hours of Television Watched = 50

Overall Rating: On a scale of booze to sex = Fosters

The transition from Nashville to Hagerstown was quite smooth... Amtrak was on time. Hagerstown was (and i guess still is) the birthplace of our favourite resident christian....Dave. Due to his birth and the resulting friendship his family created with certain citizens of this town we were lucky enough to score a whole house to ourselves (well... ourselves and a dog). The family who lived in the house had conveniently gone on holidays for a few weeks leaving the place unoccupied. Mrs Kaz (Dave's mum) had been staying at the house too, but left on the day i arrived. She also left a large amount of food for us, and we were quite grateful.... this week was looking to be another cheap one for us all.

Firstly though, i must point out that there is nothing to do in Hagerstown... but this was expected and thus there was no disappointment when nothing actually happened. In fact thinking that nothing would ever happen, made those moments when something DID actually happen much more exciting and enjoyable.

So what did happen? Well it started off with a trip to the mall, just your average small town mall..... where Dave and Mike and The Chad (our friend and taxi for the week) all went and got haircuts. This was the highlight of the day. On a side note, haircuts here are not like haircuts at home. When i get my hair cut i have to book an appointment with my regular hair dresser, i arrive, they wash my hair and give me a head massage at the same time (this is performed by quite attractive girls) i then take a seat and chat to the owners about uni and life while my hair gets cut, then washed again and finally product added. All in all it takes about an hour (i know... slightly gay... and if it wasn't performed by hot women i wouldn't be arguing with you). However haircuts in America come under a "ruthlessly efficient" category (sometimes just ruthless though). I was in and out of the hair dressers in 15min in Nashville and the cut wasn't too shabby. Mike and Dave however (both quite obsessed with their hair) were extremely disappointed with their cuts. The quick turnaround by the hair dressers made me wonder if these people work on a commission basis. Anyways, the rest of that was spent settling into my room (a study/TV room with a sofa bed) and making myself acquainted with the house and cable TV stations.

The next evening we The Chad drove us down to Baltimore where his girlfriend lives and we stayed the night at her place. An event that turned out to be the second most painful of my stay in this area. She had a cat. Now i had just spent a whole week with a cat at Jamie's house and had no allergies at all (except for when i taunted it too much and it cut me) so i thought that maybe my allergies had lessened. WRONG. There was something unnatural about that cats ability to insight reactions in people (Clarko and Dave also fell victim to its wrath) and consequently the night was spent not only on two couch cushions on the floor, but with a running nose and tight chest. Im not a cat person. Baltimore the city, was thankfully cat free the next day. We didn't spend much time there (due to the lack of things to see) but we did have lunch at Hard Rock Cafe... and i guess thats something you should do at some point of an American trip.

At some point during the week we witnessed a car crash. Nothing major. It had snowed the night before and we were walking the dog through the neighborhood, as we walked past a corner this car just silently glided across the icy road and slammed into a makeshift rock wall out the front of someone's house. The culprit was a hot young girl (jail bait, definitely under 18... the legal age in this country), who apparently had written off her car the week before and this was her parents car. We helped her get back onto the road (though i don't know if that was a wise idea) and continued on our way. Again.. the highlight of the day.

During our stay here some females [.....censored paragraph.....]....sleep.

I would say that most of the week was spent in front of the TV, we caught up on a lot of old favourites and discovered some great new shows one of which is called LOST. It starts in Perth on Thursday the 3rd... watch it. WATCH IT. We became quite aware of how Americans can get so fat, so much TV, so cold outside, so much food inside.... its the perfect combination for obesity. However due to the fact that i am immune to weight (i still weigh the same as when i left..68kg) this was little concern to me and i soaked up the lifestyle.

When we weren't watching TV, we were planning for Australia Day. Due to the rather disappointing efforts for Christmas, New Years and my birthday we were intent on making the biggest party day of the year.... just that. Step one was of course... alcohol. Now most of you are probably aware that everyone across the world thinks that Fosters is "Australian for beer", of course you are probably also aware that if any Australian bought fosters in Australia they would probably get a fair beating (Side note: Fosters is brewed in Canada). However due to our absence from the land of Oz, Fosters became the beer of choice. Step two was food. A normal Australia day is filled by sausages and steaks on the BBQ and we weren't going to change that at all... but we also took it upon ourselves to find some more flavours from home. Now some of you may be thinking that Mike and i haven't been getting along (....i don't know how any of you could interpret my entries in that way......) well we found a common interest in a most unexpected place.... the kitchen. We both decided cooking some australian dishes would be perfect, especially for our American friends who would be joining us on A-Day. Vegemite sandwiches and shrimps on the BBQ were the obvious two choices.... so instead we made Lamingtons and Pavlova. Not having made lamingtons or a pavlova from scratch (relying previously on the Pavlova egg, and lamingtons being delivered to your door) we embarked on a search for recipes and then attempted them. I gotta say we did pretty damn alright.

Australia Day came and clarko was able to record the Triple J hottest 100 from the previous night and play it back during the day. Mike and I had also bonded in the building of snow letters spelling A. Day out the front of the house and dressed in singlets, shorts and no shoes all four of us decided to run around and throw snowballs at each other. The day was starting of well. Fosters was consumed and discussion occurred over the hottest 100. Alison arrived and more fosters was purchased and consumed. Steak was cooked on the outside BBQ in the snow and Dave walked on water (not like Jesus... more like some drunk guy walking on the frozen layer of ice on a swimming pool). More fosters was consumed. The Pavlova was creamed and fruited and lamingtons were tasted. More fosters consumed. Other guests began to arrive later in the evening and the sausages were cooked (though were burnt.... the Australian way) and the Pavlova eaten. More fosters. Drinking games began as more guests arrived, drunkenness became the normal state of consciousness. Fosters. We made the outline of Australia in Fosters bottles, a girl was given an atomic wedgie (the most amazing spectacle) and everyone busted in on Alison and [Identity missing]. Finally a successful celebration.

The next day was a late start and then the task of cleaning the house in preparation for our departure the next day. We catch the bus tomorrow hopefully (tickets cant be booked and if the bus is full then its tough luck) to New York for our final leg of the American journey. I've left the mugging category on all my entries in preparation for this part of the trip.

To New York... and beyond.

* Some guy had a fuel bomb in Washington D.C. the night before George Bush was sworn in to office........ he was only wanting to kill himself due to a family dispute..... but its good enough for me.
** Ratio based on observation of four females
Friday, January 21st, 2005
5:26 pm
Behind Enemy Lines
Nashville

Nights Stayed= 8
Muggings= 0
Fast Food Meals = 1
Terrorist Attacks = 0
Hot girl/Ugly girl ratio = 1:15
Celebrity Encounters = 0
Female Acquaintances = 0
Demons Vanquished = 1

Rating: On a scale of good to evil = Jesus

Matthew 5:37: "Just say "Yes' or "No'—anything else you say comes from the Evil One."

I don't think many people have really read the bible.... I think that its the number one most sold book solely because people feel guilty about NOT having one. I mean think about it. How many of you out there have a bible somewhere in your house that you are aware of but the most you have read is those three words on the spine? I would assume there would be about 6 of you.......

Anyway, this quote from the bible pretty much captures my time in Nashville Tennessee. Nashville is a CC city.... and that doesn't stand for corn chips (though there were a surprisingly large amount of them around to) it stands for Country and Christian. Now i've got nothing against Country music and culture...

But more on that later...

Getting to Nashville was about as much fun as traveling on a train for 36 hours and not being able to sleep because the chair wouldn't recline and it was too hot because you were in some carriage that should have been decommissioned in the 80's and not showering or brushing your teeth and knowing that you were missing out on a Me First and the Gimmie Gimmie's concert just because your train pass ran out a day too early. So if you can imagine that situation... that was almost what it was like for me. Fortunately though, the East Coast Amtrak is aware of an abstract concept called "time" and consequently ran on it. Which worked out pretty good. So the reason I went to Nashville was to see an old high school friend of mine (she's not old, the high school is.... and not old in the sense that the high school has been around for ages, but more in the sense that I don't go there anymore, so its not my current high school.... not that I have a current high school.....)

Right... so her name is Jamie. She's pretty cool... for a girl.... she only has a mild case of cooties. She drove four hours to Atlanta (where the train arrived, also held the most unmemorable olympics ever) to pick me up this was event number one in the series entitled "Things that really pissed her boyfriend off" ....well while I was in nashville it was called "Things that really peeved her boyfriend off" because a large amount of my vocabulary was now deemed as being "cuss words" (hence the bible quote). My habit of saying things like "dammit" and "god damn" and "jesus christ" and "holy shit" and how I jokingly blame all bad situations on Jesus (or Clarko) just didn't sit well with the staunch christians with which I was staying. So I generally kept my mouth shut, speaking only when I had already thought about and double checked what I was going to say in my mind (I say generally because I would often slip up...the realisation occurring when either the conversation suddenly died and/or everyone suddenly gasped)

So apart from trying not to talk, my time in Nashville was hardly a mile a minute of action and events. Which was nice for a change, I had a bedroom to myself (they kicked their own son out of his room) and I had proper home cooked meals that were healthy, tasty and NOT cooked by me plus I got to sit down and relax, watch some TV, catch up on my emails and do what I would have been doing had I stayed in Perth (nothing). Jamie made a list of places to go and we started making our way through them, much to the disgust of her boyfriend. Oh on a side note apparently "southern hospitality" doesn't apply to male friends of your girlfriend who travel from Australia to come and see them....the guy didn't even shake my hand when we were introduced.... its like he was jealous or something? I do find that humorous... some guy being jealous of me... bizarro world has taken over.

Where was I.... oh yeah.. boyfriend in disgust. Right so, we went to some local pubs, played some pool and basically took in the life of a Nashvillian. Not knowing anything about Nashville I wasn't really expecting anything in terms of entertainment however it turns out there are some pretty cool things there:

Things in/near Nashville that are cool:
Jack Daniels Distillery
Elvis Presley's House
Lookout Mountain (where you can see seven different states)
Country Music Hall of Fame
Tennessee Aquarium
Coyote Ugly
Parthenon

However due to god hating me (resulting in events that will be explained) I only ever got to go to one of these. The Parthenon (and its not even the real one).

Now its not like I sat around and did nothing the whole time I did get to go to some places.

Places I did go to:
Church
Church
Jamie's house
Jamie's work
Movies
Church

So it turned out god was punishing Jamie and Jamie's family for harboring the prince of darkness. Firstly, their washing machine broke while I was doing a load of washing ($300 to repair). Then one night Jamie's car got towed while we were out cos she parked in the wrong area ($70). Then some time later Jamie's car got a ridiculously large oil leak, resulting in it being impossible to drive for more than 10min (the time it took for the oil level to drop from full to empty). At this point we pulled over on the side of the road and called her dad to come pick us up.... it was here that Jamie's parents car pulled up and started steaming from beneath the bonnet. It was a leak in the head gasket coolant. So that will no doubt also be a costly venture to repair (approx $1000 or more). Of course this happened towards the end of my stay and thus there was a large problem about getting me back to Atlanta for my train. But god must have gotten sidetracked in killing the 220 000 people with the tsunami, either that or decided to vanquish me from the goodness of Nashville by making it seem like I slipped through his grasp when it was his plan all along.

Eitherway i got out... and headed for the most famous of all American cities........ Hagerstown, Maryland.
Wednesday, January 12th, 2005
9:53 pm
But seriously...
This is just a notice to all who may have not grasped the tone of my previous postings.

Sarcasm and the over emphasis of certain derogatory and negative comments may not have been relayed through the wonderful world of web-logging.

For the record, I don't hate the guys (with the exception of maybe Mike... but thats just a given really), and while they do annoy me some times im sure I annoy them 10 times more. My previous posts I went overboard because the reality of the situation was rather boring and wouldn't have made for an interesting read.

So for all of those who may have been concerned/upset/annoyed/aroused.... i apologise.. but from now on, don't take me seriously (unless i start a sentence like: "but seriously..").

Titty

PS The derogatory comment about Mike in THIS message... also sarcasm (sorta..)
Monday, January 10th, 2005
12:20 pm
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Miami

Nights Stayed= 3
Muggings= 0
Fast Food Meals = 3
Terrorist Attacks = 0
Hot girl/Ugly girl ratio = 1:11
Celebrity Encounters = 1
Female Acquaintances = 3

NOTE: The category "Female Acquaintances" has been untouched as of yet and so I’m redefining it. It now means any girl that I meet and spend extended period of time with and exchange at a minimum an email address.

Stepping onto the plane in LA, I become slightly nervous, a reaction I guess to the over publicised dangers of flight in America... I try to convince myself that probability is in my favour, when suddenly I catch a glimpse of a familiar face in the seats ahead of me, as I walk a bit further down the isle and the lady in front of me leans to the side, my nerves are washed away as a scene from Pulp Fiction plays in my head. "Be cool" I hear Samuel L Jackson say, "just like Fonzie"...... the man who I just happen to be walking past. Henry Winkler. I couldn’t believe it, we had just seen this guy on TV and an episode of King of the Hill as well..... and now he’s sitting in coach, wearing a flannelette shirt on a cramped plane from LA to Miami.... it was like a dream (not one of my dreams of course... there would have been more decapitations and death and monkeys). Now I was way down the back of the plane, but Clarko was right near him and the whole time I was hoping he would have gotten the guys autograph or photo or something.... but alas... nothing, the Fonz will just have to remain etched in our minds as a memory.

Stepping off the plane into Miami... we were greeted with something that I had been missing for some time: Warmth. It was 5pm but it was still 20 something degrees. We found our way to our hostel, which had sounded pretty sweet on the HostelWorld website cheap with free breakfast, internet, close to the main part of South Beach. Of course what they fail to tell you is that the rooms are tiny, the bathroom showers are communal with just a curtain to cover you, breakfast is one bagel and an apple and the internet is available on one computer. On the plus side, the place was also a pub and beer was cheap.

For any of you who are familiar with a series of video games called Grand Theft Auto, then you would be aware of one of the more recent versions called Vice City. Now what you may not know is that Vice city is based on a movie called Scarface which was filmed in... Miami. So Vice City IS Miami. Its incredible, the first night we were there we went for a walk and were just in shock at the similarities of the area we were staying in and the game. The alleyways, the roads, the buildings.... we walked this ocean front strip and it felt like we had been thrown into the game. Except there was less freely available weapons, health and hidden packages. We had to try and refrain ourselves from stealing a scooter and jumping from the rooftops on it. You will see the photos.

Our first day in Miami was spent soaking up the sun, walking around in our one pair of shorts we all packed for such an emergency. We tried to find the hotel of Tommy Vercetti from Vice City and then ate a King Sized meal at Burger King. It was just a very relaxing place, it felt like summer at Rotto, except with stuff to do. We found a place selling cheap Australian wine and a supermarket and stocked up for the night.

The next day we ventured out to Amtrak checking to see how long it took to get there and picking up our tickets a day early... not wanting to face another LA fiasco. Then made our way to a place Called Coconut Grove, apparently the touristy place in Miami. Well, when we got there we found that there was nothing there at all... and that’s hardly an overstatement. We grabbed a map and went to check out the places to see... and they were either all closed, or out of business, or just really crap. The map indicated a museum a fair way away with some artistic gardens... so I was keen to find them, but Mike decided he was hungry and wanted to go find the Taco Bell we drove past at some point on our bus trip. It was at this point that I realised I was starting to get pissed off with the guys I'm traveling with, and granted, I have been with them 24hours a day for a month now but I think my complaints are valid (though they probably arent). They are all broke, and so they don’t want to spend money, but if they don’t want to spend money, they cant DO anything good. They are quite happy to throw $30 bucks for a night out paying cover charges for nightclubs, but try get them to pay $30 for some other form of entertainment and its like your asking them to sell their soul to the devil (trust me you can get way more that $30 if you want). And while I’m not overly impressed with America, I’ll be dammed if I’m going to be a tight ass in Europe... I mean how often do you get to travel the world with your best mates?? Spend some damn money, make it a good trip and spend the next year paying it off (Having said that its still pretty cool doing what we are doing and the guys are cool to travel with, and im sure im shitting them to tears at times too). But I digress...

In the end I convince them to take the bus towards the museum, on the pretense that there would be food that way. However not only do we not find food... we don’t find the museum either. Eventually the bus takes us into down town Miami and at this point Mike and Clarko want to go home, I once again convince them to get off and have a look around (this being our last day in Miami). They find food and are happy. We then walk around a bit, before heading back to the hostel.

So I’m pretty tired, but Mike and Dave are heading out on the town and I figure it’s our last night I should go with them. Mike wanted to get a Miami Vice, a type of cocktail, so we head to this club on the ocean strip with scantily clad women and an almost 100% male clientele. We get a drink, talk to some old drunk Americans and then move on. As we are walking down the street we spot this group of girls going in the opposite direction, we all take a look and they return the favour one of them gives a bit of a wave. So me and Dave having no luck when it comes to women keep walking... Mike however turns around and follows them (perhaps this is where we are going wrong... apparently you have to talk to girls). Dave and I tag behind and eventually find Mike, who unfortunately had no luck... they spoke French so Mike's normal lines didn’t work. So we decided to call it a night.. as we had to be up early to get the train. Walking back to the hostel we pass the same group of girls again and they give us a wave, Mike goes in for round two. This time Dave and I stop and have a talk. Turns out they weren’t French, they were Canadian....but the French Canadian side and could thus talk English, some fluently, some not so well. The best bit was that they were exactly what we had hoped all Americans/Canadians would be... excited by the fact that we were Australian. They were with a big group of people.. guys and girls so we tagged along with them. Turned out they were all 19 and so couldn’t get into any pub/clubs, so they invited us all back to there hotel. It was about 12:30am at this point. Their hotel was a long walk away.... on the other side of South Beach to our hostel but we didn’t mind, the girls were attractive and funny and there's something about an accent that just does it for me. Dave had corned one of the girls almost immediately and they spent the whole time talking (later that morning he would inform me that she was everything he had ever looked for in a girl...poor kid), I got talking to another of the girls whose English wasn’t fantastic but it was funny as she would get stuck on a crucial word and either just stop the sentence or ask someone near for a translation.

I know I’m probably boring you now... but i don't really care. We got to their hotel and then immediately got kicked out, apparently they aren’t allowed anyone else in their rooms. So we went down to the beach, the whole time the group was disintegrating, other members going to bed, to other parties, in the end it was down to six of us: Dave, Mike, Me and the three original girls that caught our attention. It was getting close to 2:30am at this point and the prospect of having to get up at 6am was less and less appealing. Thus the decision was made to not sleep at all. The girls said they would do the same…in fact that actually wanted to catch the train with us to Washington the next day, and I dare say that if they hadn’t been in a tour group, they may have actually done so. It was weird how total strangers, from different sides of the world with different language backgrounds can find it so easy to get along.... We walked down the beach then back into town to get some food.

By the time we had eaten our pizza it was about 5am. We had to walk back to our hostel so decided to call it a night (for the 2nd time). But three girls walking through a strange city in what still felt like the middle of the night wasn’t exactly the best idea... so being the only gentleman of the group, Mike and Dave walked home while I walked the girls back to their place. We swapped email addresses and they continued to tell me how much they wanted to come see Perth. We said our goodbyes and then I looked at my watch, 5:45am. I had to be back at the hostel, showered and packed by 7am. The hostel was about 5km away. So I did what anyone in my situation would have done...........I ran.

Now surprising as it may sound, running 5km in jeans and a dress shirt, wearing flimsy slip on shoes while not having slept for 22hours and had nothing but a pizza to eat in the last 10..... its not the most enjoyable experience. Especially when you have hookers yelling things like "I'll run you home boy" and "Dont wast all your energy on running"... But I made it.

Apart from the run home, that night was definitely one of the most enjoyable I’ve had this trip, and we were all annoyed that our rail passes ran out so soon, preventing us from staying a few nights longer in Miami (well all of us except Clarko who has spent the night on sleeping and on the internet and was oblvivious to the entire situation)... but I guess that’s the way the cookie crumbles….. or something.
10:34 am
AmCrap and BirthGay
Vancouver to LA

So last time you heard from me, we were stuck in Vancouver for a few extra nights due to the fact that some people didn’t book the train tickets when I told them to and as a result the train we wanted was sold out. The only time we could get on a train was on the 30th December which would then arrive in LA at 9pm on the 31 December, New Years Eve. Now at first glance this probably wouldn’t have seemed that bad, granted our plans to be in Las Vegas for the countdown were now screwed, it wouldn’t be hard to find a nice pub somewhere in LA and drink ourselves under the table. The problem was, we were traveling on Amtrak, and not on just any Amtrak train.... we were traveling on the cursed Coastal Starlight. This train starts its trip in Seattle and one would expect that the damn thing would at least LEAVE on time, that for at least a few moments of its trip it could be on time..... well that’s just plain crazy talk. Having arrived in Seattle from Vancouver by bus, we arrive to find that the stupid thing would be delayed for an hour an a half.......*Matt's head explodes*.........So at that point we came to the realisation that we were going to be on the train for New Years.

New Years Eve came, and we spent most of the day doing the few things you can do on a train: read, listen to music, eat and sleep (but not well). The train was running 7 hours late. So as the sun set we tried to think of something to entertain ourselves through this dark time. Having just spent a week in Whistler with a TV we discovered a new game called Texas Hold 'em, it’s a kind of poker and they have these televised competitions.... its oddly addictive to watch. So we pulled out a deck of cards and I having not quite mastered the use of the American penny, pulled out my collection. It wasn’t too long before this 70 year old guy sitting in front of us came and had a look. He was an American, also pissed off about being on the train, having missed his connecting train. He started telling us random stories about Australia and Pitcairn Island, and tried to convince us that New Zealand wasn’t a commonwealth country and that its flag had a union jack with a star in it..... we would have argued... but he might have died. Anyway, he joined in with the poker and then one of his mates joined in as well, soon we had a full-fledged game going. Midnight was approaching so we went and got some ridiculously overpriced beers and sat there laughing at/with these old guys. Looking back, we realised that we can always come back to America and spend a new years in Las Vegas, but we will never be able to spend new years on a train playing poker with 70 year old Americans.

We arrived in LA at around 4am. Now if you remember the last time we were at the train station in LA there was a mad dash to get to the train due to a stuff up with our tickets, apparently we had paid too much and so amongst the chaos the lady had told us that when we got back to come by and pick up some refund slips. Surprisingly the ticket counter was opened at 4am, but unsurprisingly the guy at the counter didn’t know what he was doing. After waiting 30min for his supervisor to arrive, we were told that they cant touch international purchases and that we would have to take it up with our travel agent..... we managed to get some proof off them that we did pay too much and all agreed that Nicole Haug (our travel agent at STA) should be shot... or maimed and then shot... or fed to a shark.... something anyway.

We got to our hostel at 6am... and still had to pay for the night’s accommodation.

I love New Years.

LA v2.01

We slept for most of New Years Day...then walked to Santa Monica and did the same things we did last time we were here, ate Subway, went to the Apple store and looked for a grocery store. The other thing we did though was try to plan for the next day (My birthday for those of you who were unaware). I had the urge to go to a theme park... I mean I was in America, it’s the standard thing to do. So I looked up Six Flags Magic Mountain, a theme park totally dedicated to roller coasters and discovered an internet special for $26 tickets (normally $50). Perfect. I was finishing checking my emails when Mike came over and asked me what I wanted to do tomorrow... I told him about the theme park, and he said that he wanted to go to Las Vegas. Now frankly... I didn’t really care about what Mike wanted. It was my birthday and I was going to do what I wanted, and that didn’t constitute sitting in a bus for 5 hours then walking a shit hole town during the day (when it looks crap anyway) and then coming back. Cheap roller coasters sounded 10 times better (at least.. possibly a million times). Mike however was set on Vegas. I didn’t care, he could go do whatever the hell he wanted to do, we would probably have a better time without him (he would have been complaining about Vegas the whole time....just like he had been for the past 3 weeks). BUT then he put the hard word on Dave who decided to go with him. Thanks Dave, you sure know how to put a division between your friends. So I was a bit pissed off, but Clarko reluctantly said he would come to the theme park, having preferred not to spend any money. Mike went off to book the bus tickets to Vegas, and I went to find a place where I could print from the internet. We found a store and I went about buying two tickets. But things are never easy. While filling in my credit card details I selected the country of residence as being Australia and then went to select the state but was only offered American States, and the field was compulsory. I called up the place and they told me that only someone with an American address and credit card could buy tickets online. F**K. (of course all the boys are broke and prefer to spend the trip doing nothing than spending money so $50 was totally out of the question) I turned around to Clarko and Dave and was about to say "looks like we are going to Vegas" when Mike walks in and says "Better make that two more tickets for Six Flags".... Amtrak had once again screwed us over, being new years day.... ticket desks were closed.

Everyone was now pissed off at everything... but as we were trudging home, a beacon of hope emerged... A SUPERMARKET.... having spent over a week in LA and not being able to find one, on our penultimate night we stumble across one....typical. So we stocked up on food and went home. Having found the Sauna, we all went down and toughed it out as we poured way too much water on the coals and became extremely dehydrated. At this point I was ready to crash, still feeling pretty tired from the train and I figured that we would at least have a big one tomorrow night for my birthday. Well......no.

Mike decided he wanted to hit the town, having met these girls from a cross the hall, Dave and Clarko were keen too....... reluctantly I joined them having heard somewhere that the nights you aren’t expecting to have fun are normally the ones where you have the most. Well that was bullshit. We caught the bus in and made our way around to a few pubs... all that were empty, or filled with 30+ year olds. We had one round of beer and went home.

So my birthday came. These are the people who remembered: Mum, Dad, Krista, Alison, Mischa, Tate, The Garside family. Apparently Pizzata sent an sms too... but I never got it. It rained all day. We had lunch with some largely unattractive women from across the hall, then proceeded into town for an average restaurant meal and a movie (no one wanted to go out....they were all too tired from the night before....jerks). Worst Birthday Ever.

The next day we hit the airport to leave for Miami. Mike got his pocketknife confiscated and we all got tagged to go through a full security screening.
Tuesday, December 28th, 2004
12:39 pm
A Festivus for the rest of us
Whistler:

Nights Stayed= 8
Muggings= 0
Fast Food Meals = 4
Terrorist Attacks = 0
Hot girl/Ugly girl ratio = 1:9
Celebrity Encounters = 0
Female Acquaintances = 0
Christmas/Festivus/Chrismuka Miracles = 1

Whistler is cold. But that was what we were expecting (being that we were these to take advantage of the result of moisture in the air combined by sub-zero temperatures). However unfortunately for us, the cold that we were experiencing was unseasonably warm for Whistler. By that i mean that the maximum temperatures of 1-3 degrees was cold, but not cold enough for snow. Upon arrival we were expecting a snow covered winter wonderland, instead we were greeted by a cold, snowless rather unexciting town.

I was quietly dreading our accommodation. The boys had selected a place called "The Shoestring Lodge" for no other reason than it was the cheapest accommodation available. Now when this was all in preparation, back in Perth, i had voiced some concerns over the fact that it might be nice to stay in a slightly better place in Whistler, due to the fact that we were there for a week and it was over Christmas. I also pointed out that the reviews for the place indicated that it was attached to a place called "The Boot Pub" which doubled as the towns only strip joint, and that the general consensus from past guests was that the place was rather filthy, in particular the kitchen. However my thoughts were ignored and the majority chose the Shoestring. I was happy that if anything went badly i could quite easily say "I told you so"....... and i did.

While it wasn't the decaying, slum i was expecting populated by smack fiends and prostitutes it was hardly what i would consider a comfortable place to stay. The beds were uncomfortable, the windows didn't lock, the kitchen was (as expected) an absolute mess and there was pretty much no ventilation in the entire place. On the plus side though there was free cable TV in every room.

So our first task was organising our snow-boarding extravaganza. We stumbled upon an Aussie whose job it was to show people around the town and she pointed us to where we had to go. We soon discovered that this wasn't going to be a cheap trip. With lift passes, snowboard and boot rentals and a lesson for those boys who hadn't done it before (a refresher for Dave and I.... I having snow-boarded on the year 11 ski trip to New Zealand.... 5 years ago... and i wasn't that good then). It cost us all about $800... each. Combine that with my camera expense, i have realised i will be calling home for money much earlier than anticipated.

Our first day of snow-boarding went well. I was quite impressed with my own ability to remember how to do...stuff. Mike and Clarko struggled and i was glad i wasn't in there shoes (literally and metaphorically.... Clarkos shoes would have been too large,,, and would imagine Mike's would smell like off milk... seeings as his gloves did). The main problem with the snow-boarding, was that by definition it requires.. snow (and a board). Due to the aforementioned high temperatures... there had been none of this for over a week and as a consequence we were pretty much boarding on ice. This added two things to our snow-boarding 1) Difficulty, 2) Pain. The first injury occurred on the the 1st day, Dave sprained his wrist pretty badly.

The next few days progressed well (for me), i hit the big slopes and was doing well... having almost perfected not falling over. Mike and Clarko were still struggling and they started to question the enormous expense and we were all questioning on whether Clarko would survive (we all predicted his demise would come at the hand of a large pine tree, or cliff). While the other boys left the mountain early each day, i stayed until the last lift went up. Four days without snow... we were beginning to get frustrated,

Then came christmas. While i had been aware of its approach, i was still rather surprised at its arrival. I had not been involved in any of the 'normal' pre-christmas events such as buying presents, organising when and where I'm seeing relatives and then of course planning the compulsory boxing day drinking session. Being away from home i was expecting this christmas to be a rather non-event. And i guess i wasn't too far off. However there were some things that brought back some of the christmas spirit. Firstly, we got ourselves a christmas tree..... well more precisely Mike kicked over a tree and we pushed it through our window, then decorated it with candy wrappers and strips of aluminum foil. Secondly we got ourselves a christmas ham... this was a step up from our planned canned soup and instant noodle dinner and while it wasn't the seafood smorgasbord i am used to, it was definitely something. Thirdly, it snowed. We woke up on christmas morning and the whole place had been transformed, the muddy sidewalks and the leafless trees became covered in white and were breathtaking in their simplicity and purity. It was just exciting to be standing in the snow. Plus we got to make a snowman, one giant five tiered one holding a sword and another smaller decapitated one. (oh and fourthly.... there was a Stargate SG-1 Season 6 marathon on christmas night... best christmas ever).

There was also a christmas/festivus/chrismukah miracle.... Clarko didn't die. He had come down with a sickness and had selected to stay in the safety of his bed for the remaining time in whistler, and while he did effectively waste close to $500, i guess you cant put a price on not-dying.

So with the added snow came added confidence in our boarding, Mike was getting up to a skill level that allowed him to tackle some of the routes Dave and I were taking. On our last day we decided to head up Blackcomb mountain (as opposed to Whistler mountain which is right next door). The thick snow was great and we were making our way down the Blue (intermediate) runs. For our last run of the day, and the trip, we planned out a route from the peak to the base following a variety of trails. Our first problem appeared when one of the routes had a sign saying "End of Ski Zone, Very Icy, VERY Icy"... my reply was "What's the worst that could happen?" I figured they had just gotten 20cm of snow overnight, and probably hadn't had time to chance the sign. Fortunately i was right, the track had not been travelled down prior to us and so was thick, soft powdery snow resulting in a lot of humorous stacks. Eventually we reached the next part of our trail, another sign warning of the end of the ski zone, and that the area was not patrolled. Sticking with my prior statement "What's the worst that could happen?" we again proceeded. This time we weren't so lucky. It appeared to us that we may have stumbled (literally) down a Black (advanced) run. Upon reaching the bottom we found the area to be dotted with small trees and rocks... oh and frozen creek beds. We made it through.... though Mike did slam his head against a rock and almost put his tooth through his lip... and at the end of it.... the view was amazing.

Overall the Whistler part of the trip was punctuated by snow-boarding, television and lack of money. It looks like it will be one of the highlights of the trip for me.

We are back in Vancouver now, a planned one night stop over has turned into a 3 night stop over due to the fact that all the trains were booked out until the 30th of December. This means that instead of our new years in Vegas we will most likely be spending it in a train station in LA (or on a train if the train is running 4 hours late like last time). So that sucks.... but being in Vancouver isn't too bad, we are going to see Ice Hockey tonight and gladly my 22nd birthday will not be spent on a train (which looked like it was going to be a possibility).

So Miami is our next big stop (40 hours on a train followed by a 3 night stop over in LA, my birthday, and a 5 hour plane flight away).

Hoorah.
Tuesday, December 21st, 2004
8:27 pm
Don't tell me.. this is paradise
Vancouver:

Nights Stayed= 4
Muggings= 0
Fast Food Meals = 2
Terrorist Attacks = 0
Hot girl/Ugly girl ratio = 1:1
Celebrity Encounters = 0
Female Acquaintances = 0
Items Lost = 0

That right. You read correctly. The women in Vancouver are HOT. No wonder this place got rated the most desirable city to live in, in the world. And not only are they ridiculously hot, they are also numerous.

We rocked up to Van City around lunch time and decided to trek it from the train station to the hostel. It turned out to be a bit further than we anticipated and with each of us lugging a huge backpack, Dave also having a guitar and Samwise (the random addition to our crew) had his surfboard.... so we were pretty stuffed when we got there (this may have also been due to the 4 hours sleep and hangovers each of us had).

Mike and I went for a walk to find an ATM and we instantly fell in love with the place... you couldn't walk down the street without seeing an attractive woman. Dave and Clarko went on a separate walk and came back with the same thoughts.

Our first day we spent wandering Stanley Park. It didn't start well... as we approached this lake there was a sign saying "What is the meaning of it all" I happened to read it aloud and as i did this old man with extremely hairy ears overheard and started talking to us. His first question "Do you think Ducks have penises?" No shit. His random jumps to even more random conversations like "How to read a dictionary" "The history of the Chinese Patriarchal Society" and the "History of the Swastika".... eventually Clarko realised he was preaching some religious stuff (I say clarko realised because the rest of us had run off.. literally). After that... interesting encounter we hit the Vancouver Aquarium (saw whales and sea lions and a whole bunch of other things that we could see in aquariums in Australia... but being in Van City made it so much cooler) We also checked out the totem poles and a girl in a wetsuit.....

We then proceeded to get lost in a forest while looking for a beaver lake, which turned out to be just that.. a lake. I don't know why we thought it would be something amazing..

Anyway that night we hit the clubs, Mike and Samwise got separated from the rest of us, and after a relatively quiet night we returned home and went to bed. Mike rocked up at about 4:30am, stumbled in and said "Boy, do i have a story for you guys". Now I'm not going to go into the specifics of the whole thing but suffice to say Mike got drunk, met this bunch of girls who invited ..........[scene missing]........ relieve some stress.

I hate that guy sometimes.

The next night turned out to be heading the same direction. We managed to get into this very classy place in Van City called The Caprice. We were just standing around having a drink when this bunch of four girls heard that we were Aussies and were suddenly all over us, dragged us onto the dance floor and gave us a show that one would most likely see in a poorly lit room with a raised stage and a fireman's pole (not a fire station). Dave managed to get a little more than just a dance routine from one of the girls later in the night, however this ended up going nowhere....one of her friends, who i was dancing with because she got thrown at me so Dave's girl could dance with Dave, she could barely look me in the face she was so drunk and then another group of people dancing crashed into us and stepped on her toe... she broke down in tears (i seem to have this effect on girls). So after trying to comfort her and her not being even able to tell me what was wrong i had to break up Dave's love affair to get her some help.... it resulted in the girls all going home. Dave lucked out again.. poor kid.

That was pretty much Vancouver, we had a video conference with our parents one night, and had Kraft Dinner another. Oh also i got a new camera... Pentax optio S5i... for anyone who cares.

Then it was off to whistler for a week of expensive, expensive snow boarding (its very expensive)

More on that soon (if i can afford the internet time... snow-boarding is expensive)
Friday, December 17th, 2004
4:52 pm
Bad to Worse
Amtrak to Seattle:

Firstly, Amtrak sucks. Well, maybe thats not totally true... the timing of the Coastal Starlight train sucks. After we delayed it on the way to San Fran, it ended up being an hour late. That wasn't too bad. Upon leaving San Fran we were to jump back on the same train again, this time it arrived 2 hours late. That was bad. But it didn't stop there (well the train did actually stop, we had to get on some how, what i mean is the bad timing didn't stop). We were SUPPOSED to arrive in Seattle at 8:30pm, we actually arrived there at 12:30am the next day. 4 hours late, how can a company run with that sort of misjudgment.... they are a train company, you would think that if this poor timing is a regular occurrence (which it obviously is, 2 out of 2 times) they would adjust the timetable..... and they could have given us the heads up that Seattle is crap.

Seattle:

Nights Stayed= 1.5
Muggings= 0
Fast Food Meals = 1
Terrorist Attacks = 0
Hot girl/Ugly girl ratio = 1:20
Celebrity Encounters = 0
Female Acquaintances = 0
Items Lost = 0

Overall Rating (on a scale of poor to atrocious): horrible

There is not much to say about Seattle... because there isn't much to do. We did the space needle... $13 for a view of a very unattractive city.

The most interesting part of the whole Seattle experience was the people at the hostel. Upon arriving at the hostel we unloaded everything into our room, which was a 6 bed dorm that we were sharing with 2 other guys. The two guys weren't there when we arrived so we just settled in and were about to go to bed (it now being about 2am) when the door opens and one of our room mates walks in. There was the polite 'hey' from all of us, and he wasn't that talkative at first but once we started asking questions he loosened up and soon he wouldn't shut up. He turned out to be from the National Guard, and was currently AWOL having not turned up to his posting at a weather station somewhere in the Arctic... the man was obviously troubled but we were not aware of this and consequently took everything he said straight up... and he had a lot to say. He told us that our other room mate was a crazy banjo playing guy from the Czech Republic, who was an alcoholic and doesn't get a long very well with people. We all subconsciously decided to stay awake until he got in. AWOL (as we referred to him) then told us how the Hostel was a freak show, how their last room mate was a drug addict who go kicked out. That someone overdosed in the common room the previous day. That everyone was either a druggie or a hippy or worse or all of the above. We subconsciously decided to leave Seattle as soon as we could.

Of course while a lot of what he was saying was true, AWOL was prone to exaggeration.

When Czech (Peter was his real name, but AWOL called him Czech, so we did as well) got in that night, he wasn't drunk, he was quite talkative and didn't seem that crazy. He did play the banjo, but that was about all that AWOL got right. He actually turned out to be a very cool guy who we hung out with and got drunk with the following night....

Originally our plan was to have a few beers and then head out to see if the social life in Seattle was better than the city itself (we had also heard about 75c pints of beer). However we never made it out. We started drinking and as we did we were joined by Czech, and then gradually we had a series of other Aussie travelers at the hostel join us, a lesbian from Melbourne, a girl from Adelaide, Sam (or samwise as we referred to him) from Byron Bay (who would temporarily join our group for the next few days). So being Australians, everyone was drinking, so more beers were purchased (a 12 pack for $6.70... and the beer was 6.5%) and we consequently were drinking late into the night. What i failed to mention was that we had organised to leave seattle the next morning, having to be at the train station at 7am. So when we all went to bed at about 2am, we drunkenly packed our bags and set our alarms for 6 am. Not surprisingly we slept through the first few rounds of alarms, I finally woke up at 6:25 and in the hungover state i was, woke everyone else up..... the next few hours were rather painful, and yet we managed to make it to the train station on time.

The train ride would have been better if we weren't hungover, the scenery was amazing. The Americans seem to be quite happy about building their railway tracks about 2 meters from the coast leading to some spectacular views. It was only a three hour trip and we had Princess Diaries 2 to watch so everyone was content.

So now we are in Canada eh.

I'll give you that update......at some point in the future (as opposed to some point in the past...)
Wednesday, December 15th, 2004
3:11 pm
The City By The Bay
San Francisco:

Nights Stayed= 2
Muggings= 0
Fast Food Meals = 2
Terrorist Attacks = 0
Hot girl/Ugly girl ratio = 1:15
Celebrity Encounters = 0
Female Acquaintances = 0
Items Lost: 2

Overall rating (On a scale of 3 to good): 8

San Francisco, will forever be known as the city that stole my soul camera.

After our race to the hostel we wandered the streets of the city centre and were in awe of the places style, a most impressive contrast to the hole that is LA. We were located right in the centre of the CBD and while this may sound impressive our hostel was actually located down a dark dank alleyway, something reminiscent of those scenes in movies where someone is being chased, runs into an alleyway to escape and gets trapped at the end.....god bless America.

The hostel itself was nothing special, the highlight being the free breakfast provided which included muffins and bagels and toast... a far cry above the cheerios and butterless toast i had been having the previous mornings.

Our first day was not overly ambitious, we decided just to go for a walk. Of course walking in San Fran is a lot more difficult that one might expect, the map we had failed to mention that a walk through the city is akin to hiking through the Himalayan mountains, Apparently SF is the hilliest city in the world... and while Americans are prone to exaggeration i think in this case they may have been close to correct (probability still suggests that Americans are idiots). Upon our walk we saw a hill that seemed to be much steeper than the others around it "Hey lets climb that one" someone was heard to suggest and as if our brains stopped functioning momentarily... we all agreed. Turned out alright though, it was were the Coit Tower was (don't worry i still don't know what the hell it is).

From there we walked to the pier and did the Alcatraz thing. It really didn't have the spirit crushing effect that i had assumed the worst prison in the world would have had on someone.... it could have been due to the fact that the place was falling apart, or it could have been due to the audio commentary tour... or maybe just maybe it could have been due to the fact that i was there with about 400 other tourists all doing the same thing. It was pretty cool nonetheless and gave me the sudden urge to watch "The Rock" again.

From there our aims changed from tourist attractions to food and beer, stumbling across a supermarket chain, finally, we stocked up on the good stuff, Millers and Steak (also some green plant things were purchased for consumption). Upon discovering that the trolleys from the supermarket had some sort of electronic security on them which would result in their wheels locking if they were taken beyond a certain point we were left to carry a block of beer and food products about three kilometers back to the hostel a task that would have been less painful if we didn't have to walk up cliff faces to get there.

That night was spent drinking the block of beer. After finishing my 7th beer and realizing that i was not in the least bit drunk i checked the cans and box for the alcohol percentage, to find it suspiciously absent. My guess was it was about 2%. Bloody Americans. So we decided to head out and find where the hot spots were, roaming the streets and asking random locals we got pointed to one particular pub. Upon arrival we discovered that the every patron was dressed like Santa, apart from one...who was dressed like Jesus... oh and he had boxing gloves. After one drink we were all feeling a little to normal to continue drinking there, so progressed to the clubbing area. As we stepped out of the taxi we heard a bouncer for a club sighting that there would be Jello wrestling occurring soon. $10 later we were in this club which looked to be filled with pimps and porn stars, 30min later we were watching 4 girls in a kiddy pool getting rowdy, Unfortunately the girl that one looked like she may have had aspirations of being a man... consequently she got booed. Damn Straight.

So our thoughts of San Fran were pretty high, until the next fateful morning. We were leaving San Fran for Seattle so we packed our bags up and headed out of the hostel. With my large backpack on my back, my smaller on in my hands and my camera hung over my shoulder we walked down the street a bit before deciding a taxi would be a better idea. I momentarily placed my camera and small bag on the ground as i loaded my big bag into the boot, then piled into the car to the bus station. After we climbed out of the car and payed the fair, we watched as the taxi drove off. Picking my stuff off the ground, it suddenly hit me something was missing.... my guide dog lucky charm.....AND my fricken camera. I still don't know where it went, it may have been taken when i put it down for second or i may have left it in the cab (we called the taxi company who called the cabbie we had to claimed to not have it in his car..... i don't know if i trust him). Anyway i am now cameraless. Sorry mum and dad, it was a good 21st present.

Insurance companies must hate me. On the bright side, i may very well be getting a better camera now at a cheaper price and i wouldn't have gotten to see the San Francisco Police Department if it hadn't happened, and THAT would have been the real tragedy.

I have much more to tell you, I am currently in Vancouver, a 24 hour train ride and 2 night stay in Seattle away from San Fran but computer time is in high demand so i'll be giving you delayed updates on them. Hopefully in the next day or two. I know you are all hanging on to every word i say and craving more..........

Im out.

PS Follow this link to the full version of Clarko's photo log
Saturday, December 11th, 2004
4:55 pm
The City Of Angels
Los Angeles:

Nights Stayed: 4
Muggings = 0
Fast Food Meals = 4
Terrorist Attacks = 0
Hot girl/Ugly girl ratio = 1:20
Celebrity Encounters = 0.5
Female Acquaintances = 0

Overall Rating (on a scale of 9 to 27, 9 being bad 27 being good): 19

So LA is a hole. But it was entertaining none the less. We stayed in a place called the Venice Beach Cotel (on Venice Beach would you believe) and somehow managed to score a room over looking the beach for the price of one that didnt. LA started the way I expect this trip to continue to go... with random coincidences. Here, the lady that runs the Cotel just happened to have lived in not only Australia, but Perth, and not only Perth but in CARINE.... it's mind blowing. The place wasnt anything special, but living on our budget we weren't expecting much more.

We walked to Santa Monica every day (about a 5km walk) along the beach and spent a lot of time in there just looking around and using the Apple store's free internet. Weirdest thing about this place, Santa Monica and Venice Beach, is that there are NO supermarkets. Our first night I said I would cook spaghetti for dinner so we all went searching for a supermarket with meat and noodles etc... we found everything except for meat... there was no place in SM or VB that sold fresh meat... so we had to experiment...spaghetti with corned beef SPAM isnt as bad as one might expect. Though I'm hoping this trend doesn't continue throughout America.

Hollywood was not what I was expecting. I guess was expecting to for some movie talent scout to see me waling along the street and say "My god man... you are amazing. Come be in a movie for me". However being LA if that was to happen they would probably be a porn director or some bum who lost his marbles some time ago. I also had higher expectations of the place itself, that is for some reason I thought seeing stars and handprints on the footpath would be quite exciting... turns out they are nothing more than multicoloured pavement and graffiti in cement written by celebrities rather than the "Jonno was ere '83" we get in Perth.

Sunset Boulevard on the other hand was quite impressive. We walked along it for about 20 blocks, watched the sun set into the smog that covered LA and strolled through the hills where all the celebrities live (very plush... the atmosphere was crazy... and the rich cars, Range Rovers and sports cars everywhere). We stopped into a bar called the "Red Rock" and and bought pints of Budweiser for US$2.... crazy prices. After a bit we walked some more heading to "The Roxy on Sunset". Mike had met some American girls on the first night he was here with Clarko and they had told us about this concert with some bands including... Keanu Reeves band. So we all decided to tag along. Turned out the bands were all pretty average, not the type of music we were hoping for...but it didnt matter cos we were all waiting to laugh at Keanu. However Keanu's band never arrived... I think we were lulled there under false pretenses by this girl who liked Mike. So anyway we left and then I found out the next day that the next band was one of the guys from the O.C.....our timing it seems is much to be desired.

So after 4 days we had decided to go, booked some train tickets and headed to the train station. We got there about 50min early, having been told to get there an hour early (the train was due to leave at 10:15am). This is about where the drama began. Getting there we lined up in this relatively short line, that just didn't move, we spent about 30min in it just to move about 3 people along. Eventually we reached the front and heard the ticketing person tell the lady before us that the baggage for the train had already been packed and any extra items wouldn't get there on time. This didn't sound promising for us... but we would soon find out that was the least of our problems. We got to the counter (9:50am) and told the lady our reservation number.. to find that our reservation had been canceled. This wasnt THAT big a deal though, the train wasn't full. So we passed her our North American rail passes and she started to look rather confused. Typing things on the computer, asking us questions that we didnt see the relevance of (and telling us that we should have been there earlier.. we werent too impressed) she spent about 10min trying to figure out what they were.... apparently we had paid too much for our passes and she didn't know what to do about it. 10:05am. We told her we didn't care about the money and just wanted to get on the train (the next train was in 24hours and we didnt have any more accommodation in LA) so after about another 5min of her fiddling around (using one finger to press the keys on the keyboard) we were all getting a bit stressed. She finally figured out what she had do to and gave me my ticket.......she still had another 3 of us to do though and it was now 10:16. I grabbed my ticket and ran to the platform (which just happened to be one of the furthest away) arriving just as they were about to lock the doors on the carriage. I told them that there were 3 more coming and they would be about 30sec (knowing full well they would be about 5min or more) Mike and Clarko emerged with all our luggage about 2min later and piled onto the train... Dave however was yet to be seen. The conductor was getting annoyed and had just given the driver the word to go, they weren't going to wait any longer.. at that point Dave emerged from the stair well and basically fell onto the train as they closed the door and we took off. We delayed the train for 10min.

However this delay evolved into a 1hour delay for the extent of our trip and as such we arrived in Oakland an hour later than we expected. We called the hostel we had booked in San Francisco and told them we would be late, they told us the desk closed at midnight. It was now 11pm, and we still had to catch a bus across the bay to the city. We asked the bus driver as we boarded where the best place was to get off if we wanted to get to Union Square... he told us the ferry building, so after a few stops the ferry terminal appeared and we got off. 11:23 and we still weren't exactly sure where we were going. Finding a directory we took a gamble and walked into the main part of town, after about 5min we stumbled past one of the first bus stops that the bus had stopped at .... 10min down the drain. Realising there was no way were going to get to where we were going by walking and then find the place (apparently in some alley way) in the alloted time, we all piled into a taxi. We arrived at the hostel at 11:50pm.

Thats what I've come to expect from this trip though, random coincidences (like how we see this other Australian guy everywhere we go) and time racing to trains and accommodation... we've got another 2.75 months of this.

So far I've been rather unimpressed by America. LA was filled with bums and people who honk their horns for no conceivable reason. The girls are nothing special... and i think we are all starting to realise how lucky we are with the female population in Perth. San Francisco is apparently the gay capital of the world, so this stop probably wont be much better on the girl front... maybe the ugly ones might have a bit more style though.

Thats it from this side of the world.

79 Days Left.
Wednesday, December 8th, 2004
4:17 pm
Clarko is good
Check out www.decaffeinated.org and go to the photo section to see whats been going down.....litterally
Tuesday, December 7th, 2004
4:59 pm
Burgers, Bombs.....and Bums
Well Im here.....

The Apple store has been kind enough to connect all their computers to the internet in the store and thus allow me to write this for free. However im gonna make it short... theres only so long i can look at this Powerbook G4 for $1999 before its starts looking suspicious.

LA is.... nothin special, Santa Monica is pretty cool but man... SO MANY bums... homeless people everywhere...

Did hollywood today... in about 30min.... its not that interesting..

This trip is costing me $10000.,.... i thought it would be more exciting.

Science Be dammned.
Thursday, November 25th, 2004
11:56 pm
Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell.
I'm not emo (see: http://www.livejournal.com/users/davogravo/), but since Dave is doing it I thought I should as well.

This will save me from having to send emails to everyone while i'm away, and anyone who doesn't actually care about what I'm doing (I'd say there'd be a fair few of you out there) wont have to waste the 10 sec of their life that it takes to delete my email (2 sec if you have broadband.... jerks). Hmm... maybe i should let Scotty know about this.

Current Mood: crazy
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