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Showing posts from September, 2010

Setecientos

"Welcome to the 700th post! (and the 100th this year) We are reporting to you live from the southernmost point of Europe, and, although the blog has been neglected, Ellies sun tan has not!" 
Okay, so I'm pretty much still pale and pasty, but, oh the sun.  How glorious.  I am currently in Tarifa, Spain, one of the most beautiful and charming places I've ever been. Can we say house hunters international?  I am utilizing the hostel internet, and can look off of the terrace in front of me....and see Africa.  I'll be up close by tomorrow evening for which I am stoked!   The beach is amazing and goes on for miles with crystal clear blue water and a rash of kite surfers.  Tarifa is where the Mediterranean and the Atlantic meet which among other things, makes it windy.  There are literally hundreds of wind turbines in the hills behind the city, which is clearly awesome.  I can't imagine that Tarifa emits any carbon. 
It's been a fab couple of weeks, firstly in …

España

A short update to match the last.  I am here in Barcelona after a long and strange day.  Longer update to follow for sure.  Highlights are: churches! strange meats! champagne making! world class bouldering! overnight trains! waiting! taking the metro! and, more strange meats!  Can you hardly wait to read all about it!?  But first, a siesta. Here are some upsideown question marks to tie you over.  ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿

France

The first leg of the wild ass plan within a wild ass plan is here in France.  I am on an EU keyboard which is discouraging me to write with its out of order keys.  But just a short entry to say I am here and having a wonderful time visiting charming cities and eating new foods including horse, fois gras, blood sasuage, and a few other meats I don`t want to think about.  Plenty of wine, sweets, and pastries too!
Paris tomorrow and on to Barcelona Friday night.  Oh, here is a selection of useful keys on this lappy.
é è ç à ^ £ ¤ µ ù § °  qs zell qs ,isplqced a,w,x, q, and m.  Weirdos. Here`s a € for good measure.

Maybe it's a British Thing Pt. 9

Roundup!

What's with having to press a button to get out of a building. I’m pretty sure this is just to make foreigners (or just me) look stupid.

Charitably funded air ambulances are simply a brilliant idea. The thought of not having to pay taxes toward them, and that insurance companies would not be billed $10,000 every time I flew someone at work is simply heart-warming.  Support your local air ambulance!

I love that everyone here has the same ring tone. It is particularly amusing on the train when the Nokia do-do-do-do starts and everyone looks around while patting their pockets or digging through their purses. Hilarious. Even better is the confident person who immediately says 'it can't be me' and does nothing. It always turns out that it's their phone that is ringing. And it always turns out that that person is me.

Things would be a lot easier for foreigners if they didn't use A4 size paper here. It's off by just enough that I cannot easily fra…

Maybe it's a British Thing Pt. 8

I really want to get maybe, 1000 of my closest friends together and put them in a queue to nowhere through an English city center. I just want to see if people will join a random line with no discernible beginning or destination. Every few minutes, the person at the 'front' could move up a few steps, and all will follow, but really they are waiting for nothing. I hypothesise that this would work. People would join the queue, then feel too silly after a few minutes to ask just what they were queuing for. How long could that go on? UK sociologists: a challenge.
But the British queuing thing is true, and most Brits will admit to it. It makes things very orderly, which I enjoy. It is mostly clearly seen at the cash machine where everyone is very respectful of PIN protection. I have only seen queue confusion at the market where the politeness will make anyone crazy with unending 'You go' 'No, you go.' 'Really, you were here first.' 'Are you su…

Maybe it's a British Thing Pt. 7

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Few things reveal cultural differences and distinctions more than alcoholic beverages and their consumption. There is nothing more British than a pint of real ale. Real ale is a phenomenon to me, each with a different taste, color, and origin. There are so many, most pubs have a couple standard options and a rotation of several others.  When I go to the pub, I just pick one at random and hope for the best. This tact hasn't let me down!
I guess I can clarify that a 'real ale' or cask ale uses traditional ingredients, is fermented in the same container it is dispensed from, and no CO2 is added. This mostly means that each brew tastes distinctive and it doesn't come out of a regular tap, but has to be manually pumped from the cask. They are brewed all over the country (and world) and each brewery has its own flavors and secret recipes. Basically, a lager, is a lager, is a lager, as I was wisely told, and a cask ale is always different and usually always good. The…

Cov Love

Like all transitional phases of life, the last few days here in Cov have been strange and great and sad at the same time.  The next few days will be handing in my thesis, packing all my stuff into suitcases, stocking up on my favorite candy and tea, eating at the best restaurants in town, and hanging with friends that I will soon have to leave for some time.

I had my last service at the cathedral on Sunday which was very nice and peaceful.  Later, a couple of friends and I finally went to Cadbury World to check out how Britain's favorite chocolate is made.  This is completely worth it, if you can get tons of discounts on entry like we did.  It's pretty camp and silly, but has a fair balance of stuff for kids and adults. After the history of chocolate and Cadbury's, at a very brief point we actually saw some factory action where the bars were being put into wrappers.  What I found interesting is that they are very insistent about not taking photos in that area.  What am I g…

Carnival On

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I started last weekend by hitting the Brick Lane Sunday market in London. This was pretty cool, but I felt not hipster enough. Most of the market was overpriced new clothes, but more so, overpriced vintage clothes. Outside of that there was some awesome street food to be had, which frankly interests me way more than clothes of any era. I had an awesome Japanese 'rice thingy' and a Thai pumpkin curry which I plan to attempt to replicate when I get home. The Sunday market spreads to the street where tiny yard sales take place right on the pavement set in 'Banglatown' where there are about a million curry houses as well as cool foreign grocery stores and sweet shops. I stopped in to the Brick Lane Beigel Bake because when the queue for a place doubles back and out the door, it is almost always worth standing in. Here you can watch them bake the bagels and then buy one for 20p. A true London bargain.
In the evening, I took in a free organ concert at Westminster A…