Sunday, 15 June 2008

Drinking trumps Queen

Saturday morning and I'm up at 6am to go drinking and watch the All Blacks with a couple of my flatmates and some friends. We had pancakes at a friends house then went down the road to the local rugby club where they had a projector screen set up and couches .. A fair amount of people turned up and we all have a few beers and cheer every time NZ scores a try... good game overall.
we were meant to all go home after that but somehow we ended up staying there drinking snakebites outside in the sun all day.. the boys got some meat and cooked a BBQ in the afternoon. I had a great day talking to everyone and meeting new people.. and we held up rather well considering we were drinking from 8am till 5pm... when we finally got kindly chucked out as there was a private party starting. Super day overall, and as my first foray into patriotic AB's watching and all day drinking, I'm quite pleased with myself and cant wait to do it again.

oh yeah the Queen - Trooping the Colour was on the same day and I had the best intentions of going but as you can see I ended up being entertained elsewhere..

Friday, 13 June 2008

This week

It's just blasphemy, that advertisers can taunt us with adds for enjoying the 'great british summer' all over the television when in reality its COLD and WINDY outside! the warmest place in the blimmin country is on the tube. pretty sad. C'mon Boris I'm hanging out for those air conditioned trains in 2009....

Its been a VERY long week for me, every day and night lasts for an eternity. I pass time on the tube reading all about Boris, Wino, and the Beckhams, then at work I've been updating the company intranet and website and playing around with photoshop teaching myself some more tricks..

Tomorrow I might be going with some friends to the all blacks game in a pub somewhere and have a few pints for breakfast, then head out to see 'Trooping the Colour' and see the queen and the guards strut their royal stuff..

Last night, to add to the 5 people already living in my flat, 3 more of my flatmates got back from cuba, and we had an extra dosser which made 9 people in house!! there were 5 of us kiwi girls all doing the slumber party thing in our big room..

Today, for the 3rd time since I've been in london I was dreaming away and got the wrong tube and ended up a few stops away from where i should have been. I could only laugh at myself really! The other two times I was dreaming aswell and went past my stop without noticing. lucky you can just get off and hop on the next train back again.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Exciting things happening

My biggest news is that I have booked a 9 day tour round egypt from 2-10th Aug. (50% deal with Travel Talk so i grabbed it) and ive got flights and return transfers organised. Really looking forward to this as I've always wanted to go there and was the main trip I wanted to do :D

My other big news is that I finally got a job after 4 weeks of searching and chasing 6 recruitment agencies who quite frankly didnt do so much as just keep me busy for a couple of hours while I went to visit them.

I have got a 1 month temp assignment working as New Media/Marketing Assistant for Corus on Millbank where i'm updating the website and intranet and other odd jobs. The building is right on rivers edge but only the top suits get the river views. Im a short stroll to Westminster and I can see the London Eye from outsite my building. Ive taught myself Lotus Notes and Vignette, their CMS and already holding the website fort as my manager is on holiday for a few weeks! Im happy to be learning new software packages and doing the work I want while gaining that foot into UK work so Im really happy.

Commute to work is really good, 40mins on the tube, 20mins on Northern line and about the same on the Victoria line and a 5min walk to work... only once have I had to deal with being squashed in- I wait for the next train if it is that full. no delays yet which is a bugger cos theres a website where you can claim refunds if the tubes hold you up. *But now the house wont be quite so CLEAN now I am not at home all the time* :P

House a bit quiet at the moment as 3 flatties are in Cuba so just 5 of us at the moment but we are hardly home anyway.. we are having some good Braii's in their absence tho! :D

Been to a house party and caught up with friends for drinks and have gone out fri and sat nights every week but not spending much where I can help it.. oh oops except for going shopping and spending... quite a bit... on replacing the parts of my wardrobe that I had to leave at home... so new shoes, new handbags, new jewellery and lots of new clothes.

I'm saving for travel now.. honest.. :0

What I've seen and done

WELL what has happened since last time I wrote when I had arrived a bedraggled traveller to my flat, met my flatmates, uppacked and straight away very at home.
The flat we live in is a big, homely house with 12' stud with decoration on the ceiling, spacious lounge and big garden. At the moment we have 8 flatmates 1 saffa, 1 aussie, the rest kiwi's. We all get along great.

I have spent most of my time learning what coins are what at my local internet cafe where
I have been tenaciously applying for jobs.. and jobs... and jobs... in the meantime I was making the most of my leisurley lifestyle and have been getting around the city, seen few museums and most of town.

Because I really could write a tome if I wanted too (but you would all fall asleep), I will outline the highlights of what I've done and seen so far.

Sir John Soane's museum in Lincoln Inns Fields- he has the largest private collection of historical things and antiques , including an actual sarcophogus. Theyve turned his house into a museum. he was an architect who designed famous buildings around London - he did the bank of england.

Britih Museum - its huge, amazing, modern, so much to take in by the end I was skimming over the exhibits which is a shame cos there was a huge room showing actual parts of greek historical buildings.

Natural History Museum - the 'hands-on fun museum' - it was full of kids! if you didnt trip over any one there was a lot of neat exhibits with real scale mammals... actual mummies... more to look at and less information to absorb.

Did a walk from Kensington palace gardens right through to Hyde Park and walked along the Serpentine and all the birds and people having lunch in the park..

Have done oxford street a couple of times, charing cross road, regent st, soho, leicester square, piccadilly circu, shakespeares globe, millenium bridge, walked past st pauls cathedral, got a red bus a few times now... gosh Ive been around quite a bit of town now - except the tower of london, the eye and westminter and buckingham palace and st james park cos I did that last time I came to London on holiday for a week in 2006.

Sometimes the busses are more convenient than tube but for me the timetables are hell to figure out.. rather than the colour coded tube map with names- that I can understand.! I've caught the dreaded 'night bus' once aswell... took two hours to get home on what would have been a 20min tube ride. I pretty much I take the tube everywhere and learning that pretty well. For generally finding my way around, I could have been in portsmouth by now if I didnt have my A-Z Map book. Even with that I get confused which way is the right way :D

I have been to the Ministry of Sound Club (a longstanding mission of mine!) to see Paul Oakenfold, been to a couple of other popular clubs with friends on various nights out. and been to a couple of nice pubs for a cider which everyone seems to drink.

I did the Borough Markets, (savour the sounds and smells of bustling market environmnt, fresh produce, flowers, seafood, chocolate and kebabs)
Portobello Road (vintage fashion and jewellery) and Camden (goth/punk)

I am also looking at a week sailing in Croatia with a friend and going to Germany either octoberfest or Berlin in October. On my top list is a weekend in amsterdam, paris, a week in scotland, austria and switzerland.

In june and july in england its festivals and concerts time... there are SO many on... my flatmates and I are busy prioritising which ones we want to go to.

2nd Update

I have been to an internet cafe every day so far, (actually, im in one now) cos its 2 blocks from my house at golders green- well I live 1 block from golders green main street and tube and 1 block from the supemarket so im close to everything, its great!!

Had 1 appointment with recruitment agency this morning, im just waiting for another one this afternoon. I have one tomorow at 1pm, next tuesday 11am, and thurs 5pm. Brooke had the day off yesterday so she showed me round town, i payed the rent and got my UK phone sorted, we bought some more grocerys - I bought vegies youll be pleased to know. You can get two bags of brocoli and cauli and stirfry for £1, 8 tubs of yogurt for £2, 2 packs of chicken breast for £3 an other awsome crazy prices!!!
Then we went home and had lunch, then we took a red double decker bus to brent cross, our nearest mall and shopped for a few hours... I bought a lovely jacket for £20!!!!

Ive had about 11 cups of tea in 3 days... big tea drinking people!!!

had my first flat Braii last night with the Tong Master Niel in charge.

Great spell of weather at arond 20-25deg. hot and sunny. yay. us girls went for a long walk (few hours) to Hamstead Heath, explred some cute old little brick laneways and explred the big park, people lying everywhere cos it was a sunny day!

1st Update

I am sitting in a little internet cafe under a tube line with trains rumbling over my head, and its raining and cold outside (surprise surprise).

Firstly I had a very long flight to Dubai with a transit stop in Melbourne. I had a headache for half the flight and didnt get much sleep. I arrived in Dubai about 6am and it was already 25deg. I was met by the airport transfer people and was put on a little bus with a group of other people and shuttled to our hotels.I had an 'apartment' room to my self with a little kitchen and a very welcome double bed! I put on the tv and watched a cartoon about arab women going shopping in their burkas and a face mask thing which ive never seen. Later that day I saw one lady at a mall actually wearing one. It's like a metal t-bar across the forehead, down the nose, covers the cheeks. weird. Anyway so i get ready at the hotel and prepare to go out and find my bus tour ive booked- turns out the bus stops one block from me so I walk. the streets are empty and a few men standing around look at me. I wonder if im allowed on the street and where are all the women?

While waiting for the bus I have a wander around my first mall of the day (Dubai has 37 malls) which is 4 floors (!!) of designer brands, marble floors and water fountains.I get on the bus and hop off at Wafi City (a Mall.) (Wafi means everything) and have a look around.. its shaped like a pyramid and hasegypt pillars everywhere. Its nearly 11am by this stage, and there is hardly anyone in the mall and the shops are all shut. Eventually people are opening their shops and people start filling up the mall - I think everyone was off praying, thats why I was the only person in town? By the way the temperature at 11am ish is now at 34-35deg..

What struck me first about the city is that the air is full of sand dust and its a light sandy grey colour - the sun is a white hot sunshines through the haze and melts you - and it is a haze, you cant see buildings across town very clearly yet the air around you looks clear.The people are very friendly and all speak english.we drive past the beach club which cost 20dirhams to drive into to access the beach- it has lots of facilities thats why you pay.although you can go down the road further and park up by the beach for free with no facilities.

I saw the burj al arab, the tallest tower ever (they build one new floor a week) i saw a few more malls and a traditional souk(market)that was really neat, (I have photos of everything I saw and theyre all on facebook)we drove past the citys new rail system which is being build entirely upon viaduct bridges and cost a few billion and will transport 1.2million people a day when its finished. there are construction workers everywhere. the city is planting so much flowers and grass and trees they go through couple of million gallons of desalinated water a day with constant drip feeding just to keep the plants alive. what they have to do is import dirt and fertilizer,let it sit and then plant the plants. everywhere you see grass abruptly end and then its just sand.

In the afternoon the temperature could have been around 37 and riding on the open air bus felt like walking through those vents that blast all the shops hot air out into the street. I felt my eyes drying out! i bought dinner from the supermarket 'Spinnys' only two doors from my hotel so that was handy, I slowly walked back and had another shower just after 5ish and fell asleep sitting up eating my food. I woke up with food still in my hand..

Next morning got up early (4am for 5am transfer )and got to airport. We are all aboard for 7:45am flight and the air system on the plane was stuck on 35deg. and the tvs werent working. we sat on the plane for nearly an hour flaking out from the heat (oh that was just me) eventually they unloaded us all, shuffled us into a restaurant for breakfast and put us back through control and into waiting room for a few hours!!! while they changed planes and found some more crew members. i fell asleep, and eventually about 12:30 we boarded and left. everyone cheered.

Got to london about 6pm ish, got a ticket for heathrow connect straight to paddington where a nice indian guy was going the same way as me so he helped me buy a ticket, navigate the stations and find where I was going (what an angel) After lugging 36kgs (yes thats what the airport weighed my luggage at) up and down stairs, up and down alivators and in and out of trains I got to my flat :D yayyyy

I met the flatties, they are really nice and we chat and watch tv. There are the 4 of us girls staying in our room (brooke leaving in two weeks then there will be 3) got up this morning and did my washing and set up my banking stuff and here I am. Feels surreal ... like that feeling you get when you move into a new flat or go somewhere different - you almost cant believe your there, and its just a matter of learning how everything works, where things are etc. fantastic

P.S My new UK NUMBER is 07776309585. but still txt me on 0212624757 aswell.
My address is Flat 1, 4 Woodstock Road, Golders Green, London, NW11 8ER
My flat phone number is 0044-02087316331 ( think you drop the first 0)

I'm off to sainsburys the supermarket just round the corner to buy food now cos i havnt eaten much at all in the 3 days since leaving home :0