The Amsterdam-bound guy

Elevator straight into my skull. The escalator rises as it falls. I swear our jet is crashing in my mind. You can hold on but I wouldn’t waste your time. Farewell, my black balloon.

I’m sitting, listening to The Kills on my Blackberry when it occurs to me that I should do a blog update. Well, Let’s see how far we get with this device before my thumbs fall off. I’ve just gotten into bed on day 8 of my holiday and I thought I’d reach out and give an update that probably won’t get posted until sometime tomorrow.

(Correction, I got my laptop out after pounding this huge update out on my phone and decided to complete the post…nerd power, activate.)

Last night, Big Steve indeed came over and I was instantly privy to why they call him “Big Steve.” This guy is massively tall, standing at over 7′ some inches high, he, much like me, is not built for this country.

England is a small place, reflected in everywhere you go ๐Ÿ™‚

Steve and I went on about public transit and all the special little spatial challenges it creates. I’ve been struggling to get the “cool factor” working for me getting into Mick or Chris’ Renault cars which are very small over here, which is a definite standard. You do see a lot of the same cars in America, but a lot of them (esp Ford) are designed smaller and more gas effective. Hrrrmmm, America. What’s up? Reminds me of the movie, Who Killed The Electric Car, a good watch for yas.

All night the boys tried to teach me about soccer, or football as its known here.

I’m pretty sports dense all around, so its probably no real surprise to any of my faithful followers that I’m as bad at comprehending foreign sports as I am with ones well played in the states. Every now and then I’d crack the joke I used in the Irish Pub in London, “what? So they just have to get that tiny ball in that HUGE net?? Easy.”

Right, so that’ll piss off a soccer fan I noticed ๐Ÿ™‚

I also had a Marston’s sampler of beer which went down quite nicely. In order of quite good to not bad they went stout, bitter, lager, ale. I also have a Guinness Foreign Extra that I didn’t get a chance to try. Either I’ll pack that up for Fargusson or leave it for Chris to enjoy. Though, its quite obvious to me now that boy can’t hold his booze. He had a headache after one beer at Caths. Teehee.

We also made a very traditional English dish of bangors (sausages) and mash (mashed potatoes). They were always quite good at the Irish Pub in Maple Grove that I often frequent, so we gave ’em a shot. A little gravy to go on top and we were right as rain. Its funny watching the English eat, they’re quite proper even when they’re just hanging out, using their cutlery right.

In contrast I sat on the couch like a prisoner eating his last meal, with the dish four inches from my face using only my fork as a solitary cutting device. How gosh, eh?

Big Steve has a sister in Amsterdam and we got to talking about their laws, culture, people, tourism and chief import and export trades. I swear, everyone I’ve met up here has been amazingly educated. Taking in so much is an information overload. I feel as though I would have needed to just record all of my conversations and then decipher them later just to get the knowledge.

However, I digress. I got a PhD in culture from Chris and Steve and some goof suggestions. I’m excited to be going tomorrow. I’ve got a bit about my rigging, I’ll go on about that later in this post as it doesn’t fit the timeline right at this moment.

Right, so we hung out until late. It was a lot like a good American gathering, except the conversation was well astute and jovial. Chris and Steve are good people and much like everyone I’ve met up here, they’re all good people. Big up to Flo for knowing all of them and setting me up proper and really big ups to Steve, Chris, Cath and the kids, Dave, Duke, and Mick for showing me a great lot of Englands absolutely stunning Northwest areas. Really made it memorable, and letting me kip and shower at your places was well appreciated…and as well, “the knowledge.”

I woke up in time for bacon butties today (Sunday) at about noon. Bacon butties are basically bacon on bread however you like it. I had mine with mayonaise and Chris with catsup. It varies per different personalities. We used Warburton’s bread and I ate Digestive biscuits as a dessert. Bloody brilliant that was. We watched the grand prix to see Micheal Schumacher get sixth place, an upset to some, but apparently not to Chris.

We hit the car in search of Beeston Castle, a ruins of an ancient castle, which has a visitors gate that was about to shut. So, we didn’t get to go up, but we drove around catching pictures from different angles and switching from my 100-300mm to my 10-22mm lens as needed. Big up again to Flo as my new polarizer is the dog’s bollocks (awesome).

The sunlight was ace. Got loads of great pictures of the sky as big clouds rolled in and out of the setting sun. We drove around the roads and through to Wales, stopping at a couple of ridgeside spots to grab a few pictures. I think I’ll have quite a few good ones to well represent the beauty of this land, in this time of year. Orrr, they will all suck ๐Ÿ™‚

The sun finally made it down and Chris and I sped through the wind-y country roads like Grand Prix drivers no doubt. Listening to techno and crack each other up.

We stopped in at Mick’s where I noticed this sign:

It made me laugh that Mick appreciated a good bit of banjo humour (right, because I’m IN the UK). I grabbed a quick shower well Chris ran off to give his mum some flowers for Mum’s day, which I checked, is different than the US, so good for me for not forgetting.

But, for the spirit of the occasion, happy mums day, mum, who I know is reading this travelblog.

Back to Chris’ to have a cup of tea and sort out my laundry, which was strewn on every radiator in Chris’ gaff (house). I took everything out to repack it.

Right, now we’re up to the rigging part.

I decided to stuff my luggage in a locker, or at the left luggage area at Pancreas station, where I’m sure it’ll be fine. I’ll say goodbye to the dead hookercase for Monday through the evening on Wednesday when I’m out picking up the last train to Woking from Waterloo, provided I can make it all in time. If I remember right the last train may be at 1800 or later. I’ll get back to Pancreas via the Eurostar train at something like 1600 so it shouldn’t be a problem to get sorted.

I’ll have just my camera pack for a couple days, a proper backpack experience.

Annie Oak very graciously offered me her bag before I left, which has a bigger top compartment and a side slot on the back for the laptop. However I decided to use mine, the Lowepro Fastpack 200 which is a bit smaller and not designed with a laptop in mind. Now, mind you, I’ve only brought my HP 1101 Mini (the only HP thing I have, btw) and camera equip, but it fills up quick. I’ve got voltage converters, eyewear, lenses, camera, plugs and interface cables for necessary electronics (and spares for emergencies in my luggage). As well, there are cell batteries, a mouse, my Slik mini-tripod, iPod, and related. Now I’m adding a few select toiletries, shirt, change of socks and underwear into the mix, so it became a bit of a balancing act, but I got the whole thing sorted.

I’ll get in Monday night and stash some stuff in the safe before I go out, and Wednesday I can check out early and take pictures before taking the intercity rail back to Brussels to get back to London.

I’m looking forward to ditching the dead hookercase for a while before having to deal with it again. I’m entirely overpacked for this trip, something I literally never end up doing. I should have not bought this new bag, but rather used my rolling duffel that I’ve always liked. I hate this thing, and four-way rollers are a joke. They’re only good for d-bags who only travel between marbel floors and can push them effortlessly like they’ve evolved more than you, bollocks.

I’m excited to be going to Amsterdam. I think that it will be a good experience, and it will be interesting getting involved with the local culture there. I’ve got a couple of things to see, but pretty open plans altogether. My sister posted on my Facebook status update yesterday, of my going to Amsterdam, “Mom thinks your going there just to get a hooker.” I’ve got a pretty cool, family, eh? Sorry, mom, no hookers for me…a sex museum, maybe, but no hookers. ๐Ÿ˜›

Right, enough of that. Gotta catch a train early tomorrow. The taxi gets me there around 915 or so for a 929 train back to London Euston that I best be on. I thought I was only going to start a blog entry on my phone, but now it looks like I’m all caught up.

So be safe in all your travels, and we’ll speak soon good friends.


One response to “The Amsterdam-bound guy”

  1. Paddle Faster I hear Banjos should be the title of this entry. Just brilliantly funny. Well if they do have a sex museum be sure to take A LOT of pictures. You know, for use in contrasting our own cultures views on sex with theirs. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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