Wednesday, April 12, 2006

July 12, 2005

July 12, 2005
Noja, Spain

Well we're not in Pamplona anymore! We managed to fix our van with some high-temp sealant at the place our friend Xavier told me about. We spent the 9th fixing up the ol' Beddy and managed to get out of our final day in Pamplona. The last few days everyone we'd met at the park initially, had moved on and we'd seen everything we wanted to anyway. We took off and headed straight for the coast. We got to Bilbao and drove north-east towards Mundaka where we stayed the night at one of the most gorgeous coastlines I'd ever seen. We then took the next day to drive west to Bilbao to see the city. There we saw the Guegenheim
Museum and they were also setting up a formula 2 racetrack around the whole city for the world series apparently.
We dropped off two passengers then headed towards Santander but stopped in Noja for the night where we are again tonight. The place is just beautiful, the beach is blue green clear water and white sand beach with NO rocks. Its just amazing. Basically we spent the last two days at the beach every minute we could.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

July 08, 2005

July 08, 2005
Pamplona, Spain

Dodge damn van! The thing is still leaking oil. Not sure if I mentioned that before but the thing has had a leak in a gasket since we've had it. We've been using heaps of oil every day of driving. A few days back we tried to seal it but we made it quite a bit worse apparently. Today we spent hours trying to find proper gasket sealant but everything in town is shut for the San Fermines holidays. We do have a lead on a possibility of something that might be open tomorrow though. Here’s hoping!
Oh as for the rest of the day.. we drank by the pool. Heh.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

July 08, 2005

July 08, 2005
Pamplona, Spain

Dodge damn van! The thing is still leaking oil. Not sure if I mentioned that before but the thing has had a leak in a gasket since we've had it. We've been using heaps of oil every day of driving. A few days back we tried to seal it but we made it quite a bit worse apparently. Today we spent hours trying to find proper gasket sealant but everything in town is shut for the San Fermines holidays. We do have a lead on a possibility of something that might be open tomorrow though. Here’s hoping!
Oh as for the rest of the day.. we drank by the pool. Heh.

July 07, 2005

July 07, 2005
Pamplona, Spain

This morning we woke at the planned 5 am and really hated ourselves for it. We left for the bus which, of course was 15 minutes late. Arrived in town at 20 minutes to 7 to a sea of people who had made a night of it and were already in position for the run. The whole city gets rearranged for this event so its really interesting watching them put up all the guard-rails and funnel people into the running arena. Those who were inside when the gates closed were handed leaflets saying on the first line that "bulls are very dangerous and can kill people". Huge cracks of sound went off and thousands of people went running. I've never seen a look of such terror on people's faces before. It was amazing to watch. Not many were hurt seriously today. The bulls apparently get bigger later in the week, they run everyday until the 14th with new bulls every day. One person died yesterday in town at the opening ceremonies while jumping off a monument in the city square unfortunately. People were warned not to jump off it into the crowd though. The running event was so cool to watch but only took about 7 minutes in total. An amazing thing to watch.
We took off around the city a bit, litter up to our knees from the day before. Cleaning crews were working 24 hours to clean the city. Everything was still closed for the holiday except bars and restaurants so it made things easier.
We heard about the bombings in London as soon as we got back from the city. The news was scattered and the only tv news station was entirely in Spanish. Things didn't look good though. Quite a sad thing to have to be so close to. I was there a week ago right where two of the explosions reportedly happened.
Last night (I'm writing this Friday morning) we had a huge campground party and were just meeting the hundreds of other travellers around. Some really cool people came a really long way for this week. Good times.

July 06, 2005

July 06, 2005
Pamplona, Spain

This morning was incredible! We left in the rain at about 11 am and drove our van into a sunny Pamplona for its biggest party of the year. We got into the town centre square after passing the bulls running path into the stadium and we were enveloped in a sea of people dressed in traditional white with red belts and scarves. We went to a café while we waited the last few moments before midday and then squeezed in alongside the authentic proper marching band while everybody drank huge bottles of Sangria and Champagne. Huge firework blasts were going off to cheers of the crowd and there were hundreds of thousands all yelling and singing the whole time. Buskers lined corners of roads and 2L bottles of anything you want were being sold at roadside. In the centre square there was a huge 'foodfight' with people spraying eachother with ketchup, mustard, whipping cream, champagne, coffee, and anything else they could find. We, naturally had no idea to expect this so our good clothes got pelted with all sorts of stuff that's not gonna wash out heh.
We watched some bands play and walked the city a bit before packing it all in. Everyone gets in early tonight for the 5am wakeup tomorrow morning for the first run. The city itself was ok, nothing too special but the atmosphere was way beyond. There were people out on their balconies just throwing water and wine over into the crowd and people loved it, everybody was filthy. I came out with heaps of mustard and whipping cream all over me. Those who caused that though were paid back in full. :-)
After we got back we had a bit of a nap, this was at 3 P.M. just to show you how wretched we were after that session. I spent the rest of my day by the pool thanks very much hehe. Tomorrow is the first run!

July 05, 2005

July 05, 2005
Pamplona, Spain

Well it's been another day, it's been a good day actually I'm feeling a slight bit better from before. Coupled with the fact that this was my first day to relax with no travel in a while meant I wasn't going to let my ailments ruin my day. Basically we tried fixing up the old Bedford van which has been leaking oil like mad every day. We ripped it up and the boys put a new seal on the leak which ought to hold for a while (crosses fingers). I spent most of the day reading and meeting people around the site.
Now the site we're at is basically where you're staying if you're camping in Pamplona for the festival. It's called Ezcaba and is a 10 minute bus ride to the city. It holds about a thousand campers apparently but I've no idea of its actual capacity. There is lots of space here though and 99% of the people who've all filled in the spaces are college aged (read: Cancun Spring break aged) people. Of those, so far I'd estimate 50% are Australian and the other half are Kiwi's. We're in the middle of a rugby disaster waiting to happen.
The kiwi's I've been travelling with have of course been having a blast as have I. No details sorry, Pamplona rules.
I'm looking forward to the festivities starting tomorrow. The opening ceremonies start at midday and then I imagine I'll see the city a bit before coming back here. The first run of the bulls is Thursday the 7th so we're already planning on getting there early. Something like 3000 runners and 3 million spectators expected this year. Its going to be spastic. Just can't wait! Wish me luck! kidding :-)

July 04, 2005

July 04, 2005
Pamplona, Spain

Um, happy independence day! We woke up to rain, rain and more rain. We were at a campground this time at least. After a shower we were off to San Sebastian just over the Spanish border. The crossing of the border much like the crossing of the English/French border was as non eventful as it gets. You really know you're crossing borders when you start to see the changing architecture of buildings and structures. You can observe the unfolding of another countries history. We arrived in San Sebastian shortly afterwards where we stopped for a beer and a surf in this coastal city. It had a statue of the virgin Mary in the hills overlooking the city and beach, and there were beautiful bridges crossing the river running through town.
We left San Sebastian around 4 and got to Pamplona around 5:30. We didn't get to see much of the city today besides the supermarket but we got our tent and van all set up in a field of freakin aussies and kiwis. Seriously never before have I seen so many bloody kiwis and aussies in my life. I doubt I even need to visit those countries after the virtual tours I've been given. I was still sick with strept throat so I packed it in early in the hopes that tomorrow would be a better day for my health.
Regardless we've made it, our dodge '83 Bedford van of kiwis and a Canadian has completed its first major leg from London to Pamplona. Here we'll stay for a week then off towards Santander in the north coast of Spain. This is where Heather is meeting me for a week's holiday. Pretty psyched about that as well.

July 03, 2005

July 03, 2005
Biarritz, France

I woke up with strept throat in a really nasty way. Even that is an exaggeration because I didn't really get much sleep of any kind. I get this once or twice a year and it fast-tracks me to a more or less miserable state within 24 hours. It lasts days. We were able to get to a pharmacy where I picked up some medicine for it. Hopefully the swelling will come down in a day or two.
We pretty much drove all day today, no stores were on on Sunday (so NS isn't the only place!) right to Biarritz where we found a campground and were able to charge our phones and whatnot. The rain tonight has been constant and doesn't look to be stopping any time soon. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day. We did nothing today but travel in the rain, we'll be so much better off tomorrow for all our driving today, though.

July 02, 2005

July 02, 2005
Bordeaux, France

Today was just beautiful. The south of France is just incredible, let me say that much. We arrived in Sables d'Olonne last night but when day broke we realized what we were into. One of the most gorgeous coastal cities I've ever seen. And we were camping basically right on the beach! Quite literally this city borders a white sandy beach and harbours hundreds of sailboats, when the sailboats leave for their around the world trip (an event whose name I cannot remember) they leave from this city. There is a small castle and villa on the beach at one end with two lighthouses and then white beautiful buildings all along the beach for miles. An amazing sight. Water fountains all over the place the city is so classy and well kept.
We spent the afternoon there, Ben went surfing and I walked the city a bit. I did a good bit of walking around on the beach and back into the city, visited some cool shops and spoke with terrible 6th grade French to people whenever I got the chance. My French as terrible as it is has been partially relied on by my kiwi counterparts which is truly a case of trust misplaced. We've been doing really well so far, though. We all met up a few hours later and set off for Bordeaux where we set up camp for the rest of the night. I'm feeling a little sore throat coming on hopefully it doesn't get worse.

July 01, 2005

July 01, 2005
Paris, France

Happy Canada Day! I'm just after having quite the road trip out of Paris. We took off this morning and found ourselves travelling through some amazing countryside in the southern half of France. We stopped at a poppy field outside Le Mans and a few other cool spots along our trip to the coast. The new zealanders I'm travelling with had to be taught the national anthem and every car we passed had to know it was Canada day.
We stopped at a supermarket in Nantes and bought 8 cases of beer which we had neither the room for nor money for but somehow we ended up with just enough of both. We decided to cruise to les Sables d'Olonne a coastal city in the southern region but we ended up in pitch blackness with no gas on dark, barely lit and worsely marked streets. We pulled over to try to figure out how to get out of this mess when an amazingly nice French man came out of his car and walked right up to our dodge van in the middle of the night offering to help us. He took us to the nearest town to gas up and even let us use his credit card to pay for it! At night in France very few gas stations are manned. They rely on pre-pay credit cards which are only French. So no visa, no bank cards from outside France. In other words we were screwed before this guy came and helped us.
We thanked him over and over then drove finally into Sables d'Olonne.

Monday, August 01, 2005

yeah yeah i know i know

ok so i know i havenºt posted here lately, honestly finding the internet the last month has been a real mission and iºm sitting in a net cafe in portugal trying to organise a ferry ride over to morocco so i canºt really post anything yet except to say this:

yes i have been getting all your emails, iºm sorry you havenºt got my responces yet but i type them all up on my palm pilot and the thing has been without wireless internet access since san sebastian before we even got to pamplona. this is like a few days after paris literally..

so basically if i can find wireless internet on this freakin continent again all my emails will be sent and the last month of blog updates will be put up instantly. so keep emailing me cause i can read them at the net cafeºs but i canºt get my responces out to you just yet. soon though.

thanks for that! cheers!

Ryan

Saturday, July 02, 2005

June 30, 2005

June 30, 2005
Paris, France

I'm having a bit of a fit about all this. I just spent the day in PARIS! Unfortunately I have to finish up about yesterday before I can get into today so here we go.
Basically after we got off the ferry we drove south through Boulogne, down through Amiens, Beauvais, and then straight into Paris. The drive was breathtaking. The countryside of France is gorgeous and the small remote towns are full of character and uniqueness. There is such a difference here in the way people live and work. Siesta between 2 and 6 in many places. Bread bakeries are everywhere and the bread is better than you can imagine. Everything here is geared towards being fresh and not bulked together. You buy your food fresh and cook it, you just don't buy those pre-packaged supermarket deals here. The people have been really helpful and very nice. They can not all speak English but try to help anyway. Being Canadian I keep expecting to see English translations on signs but they're all in just French of course.
We arrived in St. Germaine at around 6 PM and found our campground after a bit of struggling with mispointed street signs. It is a really nice area with a river flowing through it and you can just see the Eiffel Tower in the distance. I was looking to go see it that night but being it such a long day we all decided to relax for the evening so we could head out early.
I left the camp around 7 by myself and went to try to learn Paris' train and tube systems. It wasn't too bad after its London counterpart but there was little to no English to be found there either. I decided since I knew nothing about the city that I'd go to the tourist information centre which took 2 connecting metro subways and when I arrived it was closed. Luckily the Louvre was directly next-door and was just opening.
The Louvre is the most gigantic gallery I've ever seen. It has 3 wings each with 3 floors and each floor with the walking distance of several city blocks. The actual building and court take up enough space that it takes 20 minutes to walk around it. Deciding where to go was easy but getting there wasn't quite so. After probably 20 minutes of walking in just one wing I found myself standing in front of the Mona Lisa. The thing is impressive and not because it's so famous but because it's so small and holds itself up to huge 20 foot canvas paintings. It is really something special. Before I left I had seen the Venus de Milo, crown diamond jewels, the angel on the rocks and so much more. I could have spent all day there really but with only one day in Paris I had to move on to my next stop.
After the most expensive trip to Starbucks I've ever had (€6.80) who ever heard of 2 Euro for a small café americano anyway? I saw some of the opera house then walked to the Notre Dame Cathedral. This was the best thing I did in Paris I reckon. The church itself was incredibly beautiful, a real picture of flawless gothic architecture to be sure. The stained glass windows were so big and beautiful thy let in just enough light to see the details on the stone carvings inside. The alter was probably 50 feet deep with an organ and everything a proper old cathedral needs. There were stone carvings all around it where you could walk and see them up close. A massive organ elevated on the second floor of the back end of the cathedral took up nearly the whole wall. I then climbed the tower at the cathedral which had the bell, the gargoyle and a panoramic view of Paris that was mind-blowing.
I took a walk to the centre of the city where there was some huge monuments and beautiful bridges across the river dividing the city. I came across a huge field at the end of which was the museum of the army which by no coincidence at all is where Napoleon is buried. I spent a little time there before heading to the Eiffel Tower. I can't even describe it the thing was just surreal to see in person. It has elevators and stairs in each of its legs and then a main elevator to the top from the first level. I was so impressed by the thing, I feel really lucky to have been there.
The next stop was to be the Arc De Triomphe but when I came to near the Canadian embassy (just off New York Avenue heh) I found myself in the middle of a huge protest rally for an upcoming election in the Congo that people were trying to draw attention to. The riot police showed up and started pushing them back to the middle of this major 5 road roundabout so the traffic could flow again. The protesters had been blocking every road and causing a lot of excitement. Then things got even better when a bunch more protesters showed up and started singing and passing out leaflets in the middle of the street and about a hundred more riot police came out of nowhere and started surrounding them. Then the police started pushing us back so after they pushed me out of the incident area I decided to move on to the Arc De Triomphe finally.
By this time it was after 7 PM and I'd been going hard all day so it was time to call it a day pretty soon. The Arc De Triomphe was really cool, beautifully built and looked very well taken care of. When I got there they were performing some sort of ceremony involving a government official from some country that I had no idea. A full police ceremonial guard was there and a drum band. They kept people back but there was hardly any crowd there because of the thunderstorm that had started.
After I'd had my fill of Paris for the day I hopped the train back to Maison LaFitte train station and met up with everyone at the campground. We all exchanged stories from the day over a few cases of Heiniken. We'd all had just a brilliant time it was the most amazing day. We topped it off with a few games of pool up the street and crashed for the night.
Basically it was the most terrific day I had, I can't even remember everything I saw and did because I'd crammed so much into one day. Paris is such a gorgeous city I need to go back. One day just can't do it justice.

June 27, 2005

June 27, 2005
En Route to London

Well today quite frankly was shit. Pure unadulterated shit. I cannot properly express the distinct measure of sadness, loneliness, anxiety, excitement, and fatigue I feel at this moment. Everything is ok though don't get me wrong. All except for the fact that I've just left my home and my family for the second time. That's right, I've just left Edinburgh.
Maybe for my own record keeping sake I ought to try to recap the last hectic month of my life as I severely neglected my blog. Try as I may, though I'll never quite recall everything I ought to add here. Working the bar at the hostel was easily the best time I've ever had working. The job was simply great, I worked for and with great people and I loved every minute of it. I could have stayed another month or 4 and just continued on but time wasn't nearly on my side. We bid farewell to some longtermers (Elana, Ruffee, Constanza) and a whole slew of new people came in. One of them an Edmontonian named Heather who I sort of took under my wing and helped her get settled in. I can't put to words how incredible that girl is and we hit it off straight away. She's definitely someone I'm going to meet up with again. Perhaps before we go back to Canada. She's made Edinburgh twice as hard to leave for me. I was able to do a lot of really fun things the last few weeks of my time there thanks to her. At least I know we made the most of our time. I'm going to miss her a great deal.
Stefano came back this week after his exam in Venice. He's doing great and still texts Tash all the time. Him and I are going to meet again I know it. We have some travelling to do together.
I'm going to miss Canada Day at the hostel which really sucks. I made a huge playlist of Canadian artists for the bar when they celebrate it there. I think I'll be in Paris that day. Oh well, could be worse. Speaking of the hostel they threw a big going away party for me and Constanza a few days ago. I was working that night behind the bar but I was able to get a few glasses of punch behind there before finishing up and joining them. It was quite a ridiculous night but so much fun. I was murderized the next day though. Worst hangover ever. I slept until 5:30 PM and started pulling pints at work at 6:00. Needless to say that was a rough shift. Worth it I’m the end though, naturally.
My last days here were packed full of touristy things I was doing with Heather. My last day (yesterday) we got up and climbed Arthur's Seat. Phenomenal once again. We had a pint of beer in the sun on the Royal Mile (high St.). After packing we did our last quiz night at the hostel and won the Vodka. Fantastic. Next I said goodbye to a lot of amazing people. Friends I'll never forget and many of which I will see again. The session continued when we all packed into Chris's room where we sang all their classic
Songs. (Rumpy Pumpy, bouncing on your belly, sexual junkie, and dirty dan.) Eventually we made it to the penny black which is a dirty pub that opens at 6AM here. So I finished my marathon with a pint at the penny black then hopped on my bus at 8:25 this morning. I haven't slept in god knows how long and I'm on a miserable bus to London. Firstly the bus went to Glasgow which took 1 hour where I had an hour stopover then onto my 10 hour bus ride to London. Currently I'm 1 hour away, after I get there its 1 hour more on the train to my friends waiting for me with their van. I cannot wait to see them.
I had the most terrific day in Edinburgh and it was just heartbreaking to leave. It was heartbreaking to leave the hostel where I've made my home for the last 3 months. It was heartbreaking to leave my friends and co-workers who all lived there with me and seemed like family. It was heartbreaking to say goodbye to people who will be my lifelong friends like Jonathan, Stefano and Heather. I know I'll see them again someday but it doesn't make leaving any easier. It was heartbreaking to leave the most gorgeous city I've ever been in especially after being a part of it.
Now before I start to sound too sulky or remorseful let me add a bit of context and qualify this a bit. Of course I'm excited for my trip this summer in the van. I'm sure I'll have the time of my life and my future entries will no doubt reflect this. However until you've gone out totally alone with nobody at your side for as long as I have you cannot appreciate how attached you become to people and places you love no matter where you are. It makes it so difficult to leave. So what I'm trying to do is take a snapshot of myself at this point in time so I can remember everything I went through. I think that's important. I wouldn't be doing the experience justice if I didn't talk about the downs as well as the ups.
I don't find travelling alone easy, I'd never claim to. I love the people I meet and hate leaving them. Travelling alone has afforded me the opportunity to meet people whom I'd have otherwise not. After this van tour though, I think I'll be over it. I might be ready to find Heather and Stefano and travel with them. Going it alone has been good to me and the experience has been unique and rewarding but I'm ready to share the experience with others now. So I think I'm going to start today when I meet Ben and Mel.

P.S. Someone was just trapped for 5 minutes in the toilet stall on the Bus. I thought that was worth a mention.

June 29, 2005

June 29, 2005
White Cliffs of Dover

Well I don't want to start off on the negative again but Monday night I was rewarded for my 12 hour bus trip with my train getting cancelled and having to wait 2 hours in bloody London Victoria station. Regardless it only took a small while (1 more hour) on the train to bring me directly to my old friends again. Was so great to see them again. Ben and Mel picked me up in our camper van at the Borough Green station at 10:30 PM and we all drove to their campground they had set up. There I met Joel who is Ben's friend from New Zealand who was already in bed and jetlagged from his flight from home to London. We started catching up but eventually my 2 days without sleep caught up with me so I hit the pillow and slept like a rock.
The next morning I woke up bewildered but after a moment or two I realized I wasn't in Kansas anymore. We all packed up and went to Ben's brother and his friend's place in the south of England. We were able to relax a bit there and get dinner, have some internet time, recharge our batteries and have a hot shower. Let me not under-stress how great a non-hostel shower is after something like four months... Wow four months. Anyway we stayed the night there and set off at 3:30 am for Dover. I'm writing this on the ferry from there to Bolognè as a matter of fact. We're about to hop off this boat and on to French soil.
We're expecting to have half of today and all of tomorrow in Paris then we press on for the south of France.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

May 29, 2005

May 29, 2005
Edinburgh, Scotland

Well the last few weeks have been terrific but a little bitter sweet to be honest. The aussie girls Beth and Tash had to get on their plane to Ireland on Friday night and it was like losing my best friend. We still keep in close contact though. Jonathan had to go to London that same night so it was just Stefano and myself. He's a great bloke but we missed the girls a lot. Such is the nature of hostel life though. For everyone that leaves someone quickly takes their place. We're getting into season now so the hostel will more than likely be booked solid every weekend for the next 5 months. Gradually we'll be getting into such a busy time that midweek will be as busy as the weekends. All this as we get closer to festival time. An insanely huge deal for Edinburgh.
Stefano and I have already started planning a trip next year to Australia. I'm thinking of meeting him in his home in Venice then exploring Italy for a while then go to Asia (Tibet, China, Thailand) then New Zealand followed by Australia just in time for a working visa to start there. We'll have to see if we can sort that all out. I have so many people to visit there.
I'm finally starting in the bar at my hostel next week. No more cleaning! I'm extremely psyched to get working there; its a great bar and I hang out there all the time anyway so why not get paid a few hundred pounds a week for it. The bar is called 'the swamp' Its got live bands every Friday and Saturday nights which we charge cover for. We have lots going on there usually and everyone from the hostel hangs out there. I get to be the 'DJ' too since the whole audio system runs on mp3 from a PC behind the bar.
Edinburgh is getting warmer and busier. I’m finding myself less time to do things like write this or read or whatever. The city is packed full of tourists all the time and the shops are always full. I had no idea this city could hold so many people but I suppose the bulk of the money they make is going to be on tourism so they're prepared for it.
I'm still stoked to get going on my European van tour. Money seems to be on track and we have our ferry from the UK booked. Just a matter of time until we leave now. I'm hoping to get to Paris for its part in the G8 summit protest concerts. Would be amazing to see some of the bands they have lined up. Anyway just under a month to go. Time tends to fly here. We'll see how we go.

May 16, 2005

May 16, 2005
Edinburgh, Scotland

Ok I just got back from seeing Oasis in concert. I cannot believe it either.
Well let me try to think for a second here.. Its been a good while since I've written here so I have a lot to catch up on.
As I predicted the staff party was absolutely ludicrous and the idea of free drinks to me now seems like a warning rather than an invitation. Needless to say it was a legendary party and it went down just disastrously. There are too many great stories to come out of it, none of which are printable. The party was a 'fancy dress' party which in Europe means a costume party. I went as a Saturday Night Fever-esque disco guy. Of course my costume was brilliant and I have the pictures to prove it. That was the last all night party I've had. The staff of the hostel spent the next two days recovering from it and absolutely nothing got done around here.
A lot of that week as well I spent working and making my own recovery. I started doing night shifts at the hostel while we re-work the schedule. Basically its kitchen cleaning and then clean the bar. The shift is from 12 midnight until 8 am with about 4 hours of work to do in it. Which is nice because I can sleep for the rest of it, unless its the weekend when I need to start kicking people out of the bar around 6 or 7 am so I can clean it.
Jonathan came back from his trip to turkey that weekend and we hit the pub immediately. He's one of my best friend's here so it was great to see him back. He had a spectacular time in turkey for A.N.Z.A.K. day and had enough time there to lie on the beach and so some hang gliding. The video he took with his camera going over the mountain cliff was mind-blowing. That Sunday we hit the Sunday market and Joseph bought a television and video player for our room. Basically we have everything in there now. We have a flat pretty much.
Last Saturday night we had a bit of a party in our room at the hostel, half the population of the place showed up. And of course they would considering that it's the best room in here. Hah. We started the party around 5 and it carried on in various incarnations in various locations all night. We're definitely doing that again. Everybody had a great time.
Stephano my new friend from Italy (Venice) moved into our room the other day, he's such a great guy and we all have a blast. He's a proper Italian being all cool all the time. Me and him have some great photos of the staff party hehe. Stephano mentions to me yesterday that someone his boss works with who is a rep for some ticket agency has tickets to the Oasis concert and he said he might be able to hook me up with one. We went out to see if we could get a hold of them and when we got to the auditorium I ended up with floor seats to the show! The tickets were £35 each to buy and it had been sold out for weeks. I saw people scalping them out front for over £100 each. Do the conversion on that one! Getting a free ticket to that show was like winning the lottery for me. The show was at a proper theatre with upper level stadium style seats and a floor level standing. The place was small maybe only 2000-3000 people in there. Half the room was taken up by speakers. The sound was amazing in there. There was an intense crowd and I was 10 feet from the stage at one of the best shows I have ever seen. El Presidente opened for them and played a terrific set. Oasis then hit the stage and it was absolutely amazing. Their drummer is Ringo Star's son now apparently. They all performed top notch and their new album sounds to be really good.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

May 3, 2005

May 3, 2005
Edinburgh, Scotland

So much for a few days off hah. When I realized I had 20 days of debt to the hostel I decided working would be a good idea. I worked full days the last few days for credits at the hostel, been out every night as well. I've been having no trouble fitting all this into my days either I'm pleased to say. All I had to give up was sleep and I suddenly had all this extra time! I'm looking forward to a few days of relation perhaps but it probably won't come until after the big work party tonight. We're having a staff party tonight where everyone in the hostel is invited but full-time staff get free drinks all night! Fresh off yesterday's heinous hangover I'm going to be in a state tomorrow for sure.
Saturday night we went to Carlton hill for a huge festival called 'Beltane Fire Festival'. Basically it's a pagan thing where they paint their bodies up and "welcome the summer" by doing these dancing rituals. They lit this huge column structure on fire and started with these drums that continued for 4 hours as they paraded around the hill. There were probably a hundred performers and thousands of spectators. They had four stops on the parade, one for each act in this ritual and in each one they performed some crazy pagan fire dance. They ran around yelling and screaming and lighting things on fire, great times. Quite an amazing thing to see. I have some great photos and video's of it.
I heard from Ben today; it looks like we should be able to get all of us insured on the camper van for around 400 quid, so 100 each, brilliant. I cannot wait to get behind the wheel of something! I miss my car..
My German friend Ninia came back to the hostel so that was pretty cool and a big surprise.
More to come as I remember it!