I am the Burgerfan!

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Archive for June, 2005

June 30th, 2005: 9:20 pm
Nope… guess it was a ‘P’ and not an ‘F’
June 30th, 2005: 8:32 pm
Sometime last year, we bought a scratch and win card.  Its one where you scratch off letters, and if you spell various 3-4 letter words, you win $2-$1000.  We scratched them all off, only to find out that one of the letters was scratched out.  It turns out that if this letter is one of a secific few, than we won!  Yay!  So, we left it laying around because "someday" we’d take it to the 7-11 to scan it and see if we won…
… I came across this card again today, and flipped it over.  It says PRIZES MUST BE CLAIMED ON OR BEFORE JUNE 30, 2005.  Hmm that’s cutting it close.  Is it a winning ticket?  Looks like I am going to go for a walk now to find out…
June 28th, 2005: 11:36 pm
Its great to have access to my own stuff again!  Its great to drive my own car, sleep in my own bed (way more comfortable than any hostel bed for sure), not have to wash dishes before using them, eat what/when you want, not have to pay money to use the internet (other than in a monthly and convenient bill format), not have to pay money for ketchup packets, know how clean the toilet you are using is, and in general, do anything you want for the sole reason of "because I can"
If you have been following along and checking in on our trip (and not just looking at the pictures), then thanks!  Its been fun to write about, and I hope its been fun to read.
June 28th, 2005: 5:36 am

At the start of March, we landed in Auckland at 6 am after 28 hours of
transit. After dropping our bags at a hostel, we hit the ground running and
started exploring the city, and exploring the world. A non-stop ride of
exercises in logistics and making-sure-our-stuff-wasn’t-stolen was rewarded
with a continual stream of surprise and amazement.

What worldly wisdom did we acquire? The world is full of souvenir stands.
Actually, the world is full of amazing places to see. And even better, some
of them are actually free to see!

And now, after 19 Airplane flights, 18+ bus rides, 7 train connections, 2
ferry rides, and countless public transportation tickets in over 50
destinations, on 4 continents, spanning over 62,000 kilometres, we have
arrived back home. We were happy to get going, and we are happy to be back.

Coming up next season… how will the reintegration with society go? What
simple familiarities will I be glad to have back in my surroundings? And
what will I realize in a week’s time that went missing during the trip?

June 17th, 2005: 11:56 am

In life, Death and Taxes are inevitable. If you are travelling to Europe, almost as inevitable is having to go through the London Heathrow Airport. The lesson you should learn from this, is to either use some other airport, or ensure that your connection flights are all cleanly planned out for you in advance, and are on the same day.

Given the excellent selection of discount European airline carriers, we booked our own flight from Glasgow to London on Ryanair instead of having it on our flight package. The good part is that this flight cost £0.01, for a total after taxes of about £24 for the both of us. This is pretty good! Now, our flight from London across the Atlantic was at 10am on the 16th, and the Ryanair flights to London actually went to the Stanstead airport (which is a considerable distance away from Heathrow). Given that we could not reliably travel from Glasgow to London and catch our 10am flight on time, we opted to take this discount flight on the 15th.

Unfortunately, the shuttle from Stanstead to Heathrow actually cost more than the ryanair flight did. But we tossed our stuff into storage, and hit the Grand City of London for the afternoon…

An Afternoon in London

London can be a fairly vibrant city (depending on where you are in London), and has a seemingly endless supply of landmarks and other tourist attractions. What started off as a cold, grey, extremely rainy day, had cleared up into a mostly clear, bright, and warm day (yes actual warmth from the sun!) And so we tried to cram as much London as we could in about four hours. We crossed Millennium Bridge, and saw the replica Shakespeare’s Globe theatre. We walked along the modern aand trendy river-front Wharfs, and saw the British Airways sponsored London Eye [ http://www.londoneye.com ] . Immediately across the river, we walked by Big Ben, and walked up to Buckingham Palace. Since we weren’t in Edmonton when the Queen popped in for Alberta’s Centennial celebrations, it was only fitting that while we were in London she was up north somewhere for a major Horse Race spectacle. No tea with the Queen for us. We then walked over to Trafalgar Square, and Piccadilly Circus. Its interesting that McDonald’s is one of its major ad-space occupants, and yet in that building on the street level there is a Burger King.

I slept in London Heathrow Airport, and all you got was this lousy web log

The problem with London accommodation is a) it costs an arm and a leg, b) costs another arm and a leg in getting a shuttle to/from said accommodation, and c) traffic is very congested, so much so that our early check-in time would have required us to wake up somewhere around 4am to ensure that we actually made it to the airport on time. Since I need my arms and legs to carry my backpack around, and I want to fly back to North America, it didn’t make too much sense to pay for a room we wouldn’t use the full night. So we camped out in… the Heathrow Airport

According to the Guide to Sleeping in Airports the trick is to camp out a bench as soon as you can that doesn’t have armrests in the way. This allows you to stretch out and attempt to get a little shut-eye. In this context, we found the Cadillac of benches… it was tucked away in a corner, no walk-by traffic, and to boot, the lights directly above it were burnt out! Hurray!

Anyways, while we weren’t thrilled about this plan (in fact we were dreading this night for a few days prior), we figured we could ride this one out, since it was about as long as some of the bus rides we’d taken. With a little creative contortion, we managed to both fit on the four-seat bench enough to rest for a while.

I should also point out that we weren’t alone in this escapade. In fact on a nightly basis, people are sprawled out on the benches overnight, waiting for their morning check-in times. There were guys on the bench across the hall that were watching us and the other two bench sets beside us, and you can read their thoughts "any of you gets up and that bench is mine!" Sometime after midnight, a few people came by looking for benches, but all of them were claimed (hence, the camping a bench as soon as possible).

So between 11pm and 6pm we were on the bench, attempting to get any amount of sleep possible. And while it was in chunks, I have to say I got at least 3 hours of sleep, and that was enough to keep from being delirious until I could get on the plane and get some more sleep. And since it was a bench to lay down on, it was better than sitting around.

The homeland!!!

We left Europe behind us, and were delightfully on our way across the Atlantic. And I drank about a Litre of fresh Orange Juice on the plane. Being in the UK (and Ireland) for the last month left us with a selection of concentrate juices and cordial – not the most refreshing of drinks (the body just knows).

Touchdown! We arrived in……. Florida! We were ecstatic to be back in ‘normality’ with familiar brands and franchises everywhere in sight! And to be on the continent where everything just makes the most sense!

This evening we drove by a Quiznos and I almost left the car in the middle of the road to jump out and eat there. MMMmmmm toasty!

In the coming days, we will be hitting the Disney Theme Parks.

June 14th, 2005: 1:15 pm

We went to Costco in Glasgow. It looks EXACTLY THE SAME on the inside as they do at home. Its kind of spooky, and yet comfortingly familiar…