Monday, November 29, 2004

About twenty more minutes of work. If I hadn't been late this morning I would be getting ready to leave now.

Dilema: I don't know if my boss knows I was late... Ah! My morals! But alas, I will take the late bus and make up my time. I do need every pound I can get my hands on because I have two months rent coming up and four days of work left. And a bank balance I really need to check because me being able to pay those two months of rent is slightly debateable. Dear Santa: I need GBP, stirling. Thank you. Heart Jen.

Yesterday I ran really far. It was weird as I hadn't been running in awhile and apparently at some point in the previous months my endurance has sky-rocketed. Kooky.

I'm hungry. I didn't bring very much food to work today because I stuffed myself at our potluck last night and wasn't really hungry this morning. And, of course, I would NEVER get hungry later on, right? Sigh. Actually, if I look hard I believe there is an apple in my bag. You know the emergency quarter that you can tape in your shoe? I have the emergency apple. Or really, an apple that I didn't eat last Friday. Same thing.

I lost my headphones and big water bottle. Clever hunch says they are together and were left in the changing room at the gym.

In 188 hours from I will probably be in the skies somewhere between New Jersey and Halifax. In 200 hours from now I will be asleep in my OWN BED.

I was going to put pics from my trip online today since my computer at work is equipped to read memory cards but it turns out that I don't have my card with me today. Flashback to Saturday night when I (wisely) took it out of my purse before heading out to the bars. Ah well, I don't really know if people look at 'em much anyway! Mostly for my own amusement for when I get bored at work. (Me? Bored at work? IMPOSSIBLE! O_O)

What's going to happen at my next job? What if there is actually work to be done??? I mean, my work ethic has probably turned to crap.

Tomorrow after work we are going to see the Incredibles. I bet it will be, bad over-used pun alert, incredible. Ha.



Keri and I went back to Paris around suppertime on Sunday. She was heading onwards to the "lovely" Paris Beauvais Airport (a rather temporary-looking airport that looks like mobile units pieced together. Three cheers for discount airlines.) and I was heading to the Young and Happy Hostel. First mistake: I had accidentally used BOTH of my metro tickets the previous day and had to buy another one for about €6. Booooo. I eventually made it to my hostel. I say eventually because my map was missing a few key street names so I couldn't figure out which direction was west, the direction in which I needed to head. I found my hostel and went out for a walk with the girl in my room. The hostel was in a great location, it was on Rue Mouffetard which has lots of small eateries, some shops, is close to a metro station, close to some sites, a big park, museums, etc. Very good location and the Notre Dame is only a ten-minute walk away! Anyway, Sunday night was spent mostly just talking to the girls in my room. Two of them were from the States and were doing a semester in a university in Barcelona and were just in Paris for the weekend.

The next morning the remaining roommate and myself wandered about the city for the day. I will admit I don't know what all of the important-looking buildings we saw actually were, but it was enjoyable. We went to Notre Dame and through l'Ile de la Cite (the island on which it is located), up to a couple of museums, through an open market somewhere, Palais Royale, le Petit Palais, the Louvre (didn't see any art as we only went in to use the lu), and then walked through the park that connects the Louvre to Avenue des Champes Elysees, a rather famous street with lots of expensive (and a few inexpensive) shops. Very pretty area with lots of statues and big monuments because, I suspect, the French are very rich ;) Also at this point a junior-high aged French boy decided to take our picture. Probably because we were so pretty ;)

We continued on to l'Arc de Triomphe. It's a large monument in the middle of a roundabout which contains twelve entry points/streets. I haven't seen European Vacation (The Griswalls) in a long time, but I'm quite sure this in the roundabout they got stuck in. You can go up to the top of the l'Arc de Triomphe but I didn't. (Not sure if this link will work, but it's the part of a map that shows the roundabout/Place de Charles de Guille.) However, I will definitely do it when I go back to Paris. We then decided to pick a road off the roundabout and just randomly walk around. Eventually we had to head back to the hostel so my travelling partner du jour could catch her flight to London. I bought a crepe later on in the evening. It was okay, but for some silly reason I got a crepe that had strawberry jam in it. I imagine it would have been better if I got something else.

The following day I headed out with the ambition of eventually getting to the Eiffel Tower. I armed myself with my Paris guidebook courtesy of Shan and the Edinburgh Library and a map. I planned on taking the "long" way to the Tower so I could explore little streets, look at pretty buildings, take pictures of fountains and go in the random shop. It was sooo enjoyable and I highly recommend doing it if you are not too pressed for time. Sure the metro is quick and efficient, but it's all underground so you only see cement walls covered in graffiti.

About three hours after leaving the hostel I made it to the Eiffel Tower. In true Parisian fashion, I had lunch in the lovely Champs de Mars. Except the locals probably won't eating peanut butter sandwiches. Just a hunch. From my bench I contemplated taking the stairs or the elevator up the Tower. Initially, it looked sooo high and I figured the elevator was the way to go in order to save my legs so I wouldn't end up crawling home. However, upon closer inspection, the tower is, obviously, very high, but the viewing decks/floors/whatever aren't that high. As I got closer the decision was clear: definitely the stairs. It would also a thing of pride and to show myself I could do it. I was actually surprised at how quickly the first floor came. I thought it was just a resting area but nope, I had made it! The view was really nice, and there are lots of signs pointing out what you can see and history of the tower. And of course, gift shops. Oooh, and un toilet gratuit! (A free toilet - actually quite exciting ;) ) I went up to the second level as well and decided to skip paying extra to go to the third level. The sky was rather over-cast so I don't think the view would have been *that* much better plus I wanted to head along before it got dark and before everything closed up at 17.00. So I headed back down the stairs and my knee freaked out on me once I got to the bottom. Seriously, it kept shaking and twitching. Rather bizarre.

After the Eiffel Tower I headed across the river with the intentions of going back up to Avenue des Champes Elysees so I could go into some shops. I took at weird route and almost lost my mitts. They had fallen out of my pocket and a nice lady gave 'em back to me. I walked about some more and decided to take the site-seeing way back to a street close to Notre Dame that has lots of cheap (relatively speaking) souvenir shops. On the way I stopped at the Musee d'Orsay (or something like that). I'm not sure if the museum is in an old train station or has simply been designed to look like one. Either way, it's supposed to be really neat on the inside. I did really want to go in, but I completely lost the ambition when I realised I would have to go through a metal detector and have my bag search. I was getting rather tired and did not feel like going through the whole process especially since the knife that was in my bag caused a wee bit of a problem at the Louvre the day prior. (It was a steak knife which I had with me in case I bought food or wanted to make myself a PB sandwich. Or you know, slice up the Mona Lisa, gah.) It was actually kind of funny because they got the bags mixed up in the metal detector at the Louvre and stopped the lady in front of me asking about the knife in her bag. I took that opportunity to scoot away. But yeah, instead of going in the museum I ate some food and listening to a man play music. It was nice. Then I walked along the river to l'Ile de la Cite to hit some tourist shops. I really enjoyed the walk. The 's'-shaped river basically splits Paris into two. The river isn't really that wide but does widen towards the east where two small islands are. I made it to the tourist shops and panicked a la Roy MacPhail and almost bought lots of stuff. But I contained myself. Around this point I realised I still had two things I needed to do: buy a pastry and go to l'Ile Saint Louis, the smaller island in the river to the east of l'Ile de la Cite. Solution: buy a pastry on l'Ile Saint Louis. It's a very small island and has just a few main streets but has lots of little cafes (surprise - cafes in Paris =P ) and shops. You want to pinch the Island on the cheek and tell it how cute it is. So I bought my pastry (or some kind of a dessert - don't know if it's officially a pastry). I thought it was covered in whip cream, but once the worker picked it up by the "whip cream" I realised it was obviously not whip cream. Instead it seemed more like really hard icing but tasted quite good. And again, I failed come off as a sophisticated local. When I had arrived back to my hostel room I realised that I had gotten chocolate on my shirt. Very smooth. Anyway, I spent more time walking around, eventually went back to the hostel, discovered my dirty shirt, talked to the nice roommates for the night, packed and eventually went to bed as I set my alarm for 5.30 AM. Yay.

Overall Impression/Observations
Et ca c'est la fin de Paris pour moi. I loved it sooo much, the buildings were so nice, especially the regular ones that just contained flats. Despite the out-dated impression that the locals are snobs and hate tourists, I had at least three people offer to help me when I was looking at maps on street corners. I also had a couple of people ask me for directions... O_O And one I actually helped because I had just come from the church the lady was looking for =) Also, I am glad I took French immersion. One would have no problem whatsoever getting around the city in only English, but I liked speaking French to people and it really helped when using maps. For example, in Finland I would be looking at maps and would just have to remember the first five or six letters in the street name because I had no idea how to pronounce it or what it meant. I also didn't feel completely dressed down or anything. Maybe it's because it was kind of cold and I wasn't really hanging out in the posh areas of the city or any expensive restaurants. There was lots of dogs around, but I saw hardly any dog crap on the sidewalks which surprised me given it got a special mention in one of my guide books. I didn't find smoking to be overly excessive, but again, I wasn't in any restaurants or anything.

There were sooo many Asian tourists. (I'd be more specific, but I really don't know what country they were from.) Generally they seemed to be in large tour groups.

Paris is big. The chick I explored with on day one said that you could walk around most of Paris in two days. I am inclined to disagree. While I probably didn't make the most of my time in touring efficiency, I really don't think one could cram in everything in two days especially once you start going in museums. Personally, I think I could spend a good five or six more days there walking around.

I never really felt unsafe in Paris! I felt a little ansy the night I went out and bought a crepe, but I really don't feel it was even really justified. I think it was more so, "I am a girl on my own and it is dark. I am supposed to be scared now." But of course, common sense prevails. Sticking to the main streets where there are lots of people, not draping oneself in diamonds, etc. There were lots of signs warning about pickpockets in the Eiffel Tower and I think on the metro, but I wasn't on the metro much and the Eiffel Tower was not crowded at all (advantages of travelling in the off season) but I never felt like my personal space was being invaded. Plus I had my under-the-clothes money belt and I just shortened the strap up on my purse (containing my camera basically and some receipts and a wee bit of money) and kept it in front on me. I also snapped a padlock on my backpack. It was annoying, but worth the extra security I felt since you can't see your backpack when it's on your back. Still carried it on the front of my in crowded places though.

Overall, 9 stars out of 10. Would have received a ten if I was there longer and wasn't so sad about leaving =P

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Disneyland Paris

(See post below as to why I am writing only about Disneyland. I am doing bascially a section at a time.)

Okay, I know, it's not a real country. But Disneyland Paris is worth separating from Paris because they do not offer the same experience whatsoever.

I was so surprised about the lack of people in the parks! I had two opposing thoughts before we got there: 1) Nov 11 was a holiday so perhaps people would be doing a long weekend thing at the parcs thus make it more crowded; and 2) People don't go on holiday in the middle of November thus parcs will be empty. Also, I think the parcs (yes, parcs with a 'c' because that is how the French spell it!) handle crowd flow well. However, to be able to nab a BENCH fifteen minutes before parade time is pretty unheard of. I think the people were just too silly torealise that although the bench is too low to see from, STANDING on the bench offers a *very* good view!

The Disney Studios was quite small. We arrived there Sat afternoon at 14.00 and saw almost everything we wanted to see by closing at 18.00! Highlights were the Rock 'n Roller Coaster, the Moteurs Stunt show, and Cinemagique. And snapping two-million photos. But seriously, I LOVED Cinemagique. It's advertised as being a tribute to film so I figured it would be lots of clips, like on the Oscars telecast. I absolutely loved it, despite not knowing many of the movies. But it wasn't so much the film that the clip was featuring but the *genre* of film. And I realise the chances of anyone reading this actually seeing the show are immensly slim, but I don't want to give away anything just in case! And the half-French, half-English thing really adds to the show in this case.

Since Disney Studios closes earlier than Disneyland Parc, ticket holders who spent the day at the studios are allowed to go to Disneyland for the rest of the evening after 17.00. Keri and I went over at about 18.30 and walking through the gates was absolutely breath-takingly beautiful! The sun had already set and Main Street and the castle were decked and in lights! I know my pictures will not do it justice, so I recommend you all go to Disneyland Paris to look at the lights before they take them down after Christmas ;) We didn't really have time to do much other than get lost, go on Pirates of the Caribbean, go in a couple of gift shops, snap 900 photos and watch "Fantillusion", the parc's night-time parade. It was fine, but I'm not really too big into parades. I was half tempted to skip off and ride Space Mountain but it would have been too hard to get there since I lacked a map and the obvious route was blocked off for the parade.

The lack of signs in Disneyland is a wee bit of a pain. I had a very general idea of where things should be, but I would have loved a sign or two! Keri and I got lost in Adventureland at night. Since it is Adventureland, there are lots of trees so the area is not overly well lit.

Another highlight included Keri freaking out on Pirates of the Carribean as we headed up an incline in our boat. She figured we would be going down a steep slope. However, I pointed out the since the queue brought us down underground we have to get back up somehow. So her scary huge drop turned out to be a mere 8-ft (absolute max) drop.

As with all Disney theme parks, the over-priced merchandise was out in full force and I somehow restrained myself. Sad. But some of the stuff I really liked was large and/or breakable which made it impractical to lug around France/Finland/Estonia for a week.

In an unrelated note, if I ever start talking about Norway I actually mean Finland. And if I say Ethiopia I really mean Estonia. I get stupid sometimes.

Our hotel and our room were pretty cool. Technically, our room slept three people. There was a queen-sized bed and a single in the room. The single was separated by a circus-inspired curtain and actually had its own TV on a wee bedstand in there. The whole room was circus themed, although not overly obvious or obnoxous.

The next morning we hit up Parc Disneyland again. More beautifulness, and more lack of lines! Priceless moments include Keri reallllly excited to go on the Orbiter and taking Keri on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and witnessing her scream for her life. She kept yelping, "Noooo!" and laughed hysterically when it was done. I started to laugh at her, and the four-year old in front of us turned around and started to laugh at her too. Other highlights were the Legend of the Lion King, which was very good, It's a Small World (I guess I'm becoming mature since I like and appreciate rides like that now), and, well, everything in general :) I actually wish I would have taken more pictures. Oh, and in le Phantom Manor (Parisian version of the Haunted Mansion) one of the ride guys kind of lurked out of the shadows and popped his head into our car and yelled, "BOO!" and Keri yelped again. I, in an effort to console her tremors, laughed uncontrolably. No worries, she laughed too =) The Christmas parade was fine (again, not too into parades) and the highlights were the music, ("Chante, c'est noel!") and the REINDEER!! Also of note, food wasn't as expensive in Disneyland as I thought it would be. Although I didn't buy any since I was too busy eating granola bars and peanut butter sandwiches.

Fantasyland was really cute and pretty here. I don't recall Fantasyland in Orlando so well, but I was more impressed with Paris's version.

All the rollercoasters I went on where basically queue-less. And so much fun!! Sorry, the exception was Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, queue was almost an hour long despite a posted time of 20 mins. I believe the problem was we got in line when it was 20 mins just moments before the first fastpasses became valid so suddenly the line increased immensly. We ended up missing our showing on the Lion King, (you have to queue to get tickets in advance since it is so popular) but ended up being able to watch the show later on by hanging out in the restaurant that over hangs it. The view was still really good, too.

Everything is quite close together at Disneyland Paris in general. However, within each parc, there is lots of space though. It is quite convenient having the parcs next door to each other, especially when park hopping! I was telling Keri how in Fla one must travel 20 mins by bus to get from one park to another. Disney Village was also a four-minute walk, our hotel was VERY close by shuttle, and one could walk to the Disney hotels in 15 - 20 mins or take a, like, three-minute shuttle ride. Sadly, we completely ran out of time and did not get to explore the hotels save Disneyland Hotel since it is literally the entance to Disneyland; one must walk under its to get into the park. We popped in and took a wee look around on our way out Saturday night.

Overall, Disneyland was DEFINATELY worth it!! I was surprised, but I was rather sad to leave it come Sunday evening.

Unsurprisingly, I am writing from work and will post this later.

I was supposed to have a lot of work to do upon my return, but someone from a different office unexpectidly did it. So I have been here for about three hours and have actually "worked" for about ten minutes photocopying and stapling. Apparently there is work for me to do this afternoon! That's a good thing as the Midlothian Council's firewall is working in full force and even more websites than usual in inaccessable. Instead I am just randomly eating the food I brought that is supposed to get me through to 8.00 today or whenever I get home. Boredom: the ultimate catalyst for over eating. I wish I had some gum with me.

So, my trip is over. The post-travel blues have randomly kicked in. First when I was trying to find the bloody "tourist" bus stop in Helsinki (located, oddly enough, not at the bus station but at the rail station), then on the bus to the Tampere airport and this morning after I missed the early bus to work by about, I kid you not, five seconds. In my own defence, the bus had come early. Of course, the next 29 came late. That was much more typical 29 behavior.

Here is a summary of where I have been:

Nov 13 - Disneyland Paris
Nov 14 - Disneyland Paris, metro'd (my newly invented word) to Paris in early evening
Nov 15 - Paris
Nov 16 - Paris
Nov 17 - Left Paris early in the morning, flew to Glasgow, then to London, and finally to Tampere in Finland. Stayed in Tampere for the night.
Nov 18 - spent the afternoon on the bus going to Mikkeli. Spent an hour in Lahti where I experienced my first Finnish grocery store and figured out which was skim milk by looking at the nutrional info per serving. Spent the night in Mikkeli for free!
Nov 19 - Left with Patrick and headed to Helsinki late afternoon.
Nov 20 - Helsinki
Nov 21 - Left for Tallinn at 10.05. Had a rather challenging hostel search and stayed there for the night.
Nov 22 - Left Tallinn for Helsinki at 13.00, got bloody frustrated at the lack of adequate signage for the airport bus and almost stood in the middle of the road screaming. Because that would have solved all my problems ;) Eventually got the bus to the airport and flew from Tampere to London. Stayed in London for the night.
Nov 23 - Woke up at 4.00 and took a flight at 6.40 to Glasgow-Prestwick, then took a train from Prestwick to the Glasgow city centre. Finally, I took a bus from Glasgow to Edinburgh and was home by 11.30. Yaaaaay!

So lets discuss the London Stanstead Airport. It was like a bloody hotel! Seriously - sooo many people. Background: This airport is not nearly as big as Gatwick and is definatelly miniscul compared to Heathrow. Bascially it is used only by discount airlines. But it still has quite a few shops and quite a lot of seating before one heads through security. I got off my flight, collected by bag and took a wee wander. I noticed one of the bookstores was open so I go in there and read for a wee while. Shortly after midnight, I take a wander through Boots, basically Britain's version of Shoppers Drug Mart. I decide, around 00.30 that I may grab a seat and lay out and rest for awhile. And then I notice the incredible amount of people. There was NO chance of finding two seats together to lay down on. Hell, finding a SINGLE seat was challenging! People were sleeping on the floor curled up against the walls. Some people were well prepared and had small foam things to sleep on. I'm sure some of the people had their sleeping bags with them for hostels and stuff, but some of the people sleeping in them or on the foamy things did not look like your typical backpacker and looked more like business people. Anyway, I found a seat next to the freaking smoking section and read a boring magazine for awhile. It was getting close to 2.00 and the smoking smell was gross, my magazine was bland, and people kept using the doors close by so a draft was coming through. So I decided to move somewhere else and make some calls back to PEI. Sometimes time changes are a good thing. So I chatted on the phone for about an hour. Went on a toilet/seat hunt (not a toilet-seat hunt! =D ) and eventually settled down in a cafeteria-style restaurant and slept there for about forty-five minutes, grade-one style with my head on the table. I woke up kind of cold and decided to have some breakfast. As a sidenote, my stomach growled so much that night. I wonder if it does every night when I am asleep. So I stood in Boots for awhile and debated about buying food. Then I checked in for my flight at 4.45 and decided to try and sleep some more. By then people for earlier flights (starting at 6.00) had started to go through security or lined up to check in so more seats were available so I managed to grab a couple of seats and snoozed for about a half-hour. I think. I was rather spacey. After going through security I went to buy some SUGAR JUBES from duty-free pick and mix. In the last six and a half months, this is the only place I have come across that has them. So, despite the awful mark-up, I bought some. A pleasant addition to breakfast! My flight left on time at 6.40, and I was fell asleep as the planet was roaring down the runway for take off. I woke up at some point when they were selling drinks and then when I had to, you know, get off the plane. Anyway, I had planned to sleep on the train and bus but the train wasn't very comfortable and the bus was too bloody hot. Plus I wasn't very tired and I had found a newspaper so read that instead. I think the previsouly mentioned post-travel blues would have kicked in, but since I didn't have to go to work in the afternoon I had a rather nice, easy-going afternoon. Compared to the weather in Estonia and Finland, Edinburgh's seemed so warm! Not sun screen warm, but not winter coat warm. So I bought groceries, cooked, showers, etc. and then headed off to the mall to do some Christmas gift brainstorming and then hit the gym for a wee while before I got tired. Despite the fact I wish I was still travelling, it was nice to be back in our flat and I had some good catching up with the flatmates to do! Shannon and I easily agreed that this Saturday a voyage to the Walkabout is necessary. I mean, I haven't been there in, like, four or five weeks or something!!

I do want to write about my trip, but I think a day-bye-day blow down is a bit much. So how about a general commentary on each country? (Yup, all three of 'em, four if you count the UK!)

Friday, November 19, 2004

Point form random post about my trip thus far in no particular order:
  • Paris was hard on the feet and the left knee.

  • I have been asked if I am spanish three times so far. All occurances were in France.

  • Ryan Air seems cheap when you book your flights. However, then one must pay €20 to get to and from the city.

  • The coach buses in Finland are far more comfortable than planes. And given Ryan Air, they are much more expensive. Much more.

  • I took the stairs up the Eiffel Tower. Once I got down my left knee started twitching terribly and wouldn't stop. Kind of freaky.

  • I heart my jar of peanut butter.

  • Pick n Mixes are common all over Europe. In Finland they are the "candy king".

  • Finnish makes no sense whatsoever.

  • A really hot guy sat next to on the flight from London to Tampere. When he closed his eyes to sleep I made sure to check him out as to not disapoint my Canadian friends at home.

  • The hostel in Tampere (conveniently called Hostel Tampere) was freakishly nice. And the shower was bloody fabulous!

  • There is snow here in Mikkeli (pronounced Mikel-lee). Since the last time I saw a substantial amount of snow was watching the movie Fargo, I feel like I am in Fargo. Except, as far as I know, Steve Buschemi has not killed anyone here.

  • The metro is SUCH an efficient way to travel. Admitedly, I took it only from the airport shuttle stop to my hostel and Disneyland, but it is incredibly well marked and very easy to figure out.

  • I miss Paris. I am thinking about looking in to short-term language classes that I could take there. Then I would experience la vie en Paris and my french would improve immensley. Also, I finally feel as though (late) french immersion was worth it. Only time I approached people in English was at Disneyland because all staff must be, at minimum, bilingual in French and English.

  • I so just flat out ran out of time in Paris.

  • I was in a McDonalds on the Champes Des Elysees. (Just to go to the lu.) It was classy compared to the one in Charlottetown. They had CD stations were you could listen to CDs.

  • I want to go skating.

  • It got dark in Mikkeli last night at, like, 15.30.

  • I saw Tanya Kennedy today! Seriously, she is going to the same school as Patrick.

  • Disneyland Paris was soooo worth the the-expensive-weekend-trip-ever investment! Walking into Parc Disneyland after the sun went down on Saturday night was, forgive the cliche, absolutely breath taking. All of Main Street and the castle was lit up in lights and it was soooo pretty.

  • I am quite sure I am going to Estonia. Some blokes I talked to on the bus highly recommended it. Patrick also made reference to Robin Hood when he was describing it so that pretty much sold me on it.

  • My mitts suck.

  • Soooo glad I have my red winter boots, hat and scarf with me.

  • I bought two magazines to read on this trip. I have barely cracked the cover of one. Instead I read a book by Meg Cabot (a kids book, of course) and am almost odne of the second Bridget Jones' Diary. She is crazy and I hope I don't end up like her.

  • I was sad when we had to leave Disneyland.

  • I was sad when I had to leave Paris.

  • I actually don't mind travelling by myself! Although at times it would be cool to have someone around. And I really haven't been by myself very much at all anyway. My first day in Paris I hung out with a girl from Mozambique who was doig her masters in London.

  • My water slightly iced over when I was walking around outside this morning.

  • My teeth were sore last night. Mental note: more dairy/calcium.

  • I didn't overpack! I have used almost everything I brought with me and the stuff I haven't used I am *glad* i haven't used it, e.g., bandaids.

  • I haven't bought enough sourvenirs. So far I have a couple of postcards and junk. Uh oh.

  • Most of my money has been spent on accommodations and transportation. However, I am not keeping track of my money at all because it will cause me only to flip out.
The end.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Am in Tampere... Am hungry... Am going to miss bus to Mikkeli if donät hurry up...


In short, I am alive and well. Except the hungry thing but my jar of PB is awaiting me back at the hostel ;)

Funny keys: ÖöÄÄäÅåôܧ½ ¤ etc.

Am having boatloads of fun and will be sad to go back to work... but only 2 ½ weeks til I am home?! Crazy.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Je suis en Paris! La ville est tres belle et mes pieds sentent tres malparce que je marchais trop aujourd'hui.

La fin.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Yaaaaaaaaaay!! Five hours until I am on my way to Glasgow!! YAY GLASGOW! Because, GLASGOW WILL LEAD ME TO PARIS.

Mwa ha ha!

Got my hostel shit in Tampere straightened out. Still not sure about Estonia. Still not packed. (Almost there, just some food to throw in my bag. And, now that I think about it, probably a shirt to take out.

I also have legs to shave. Two of 'em, to be precise.

Anyway, no one will be getting any emails from me for a wee while because I'll be busy frolicking about in Notre Dame, the Helsinki Olympic Stadium, etc. You know, every day stuff ;)

Heart yas all,

Written Wednesday, Nov 10

Okay, so panick mode is going to kick in.

Basically it's over this hostel thing in Tampere. It's going to be closed when I get there, I *know* it. I mean, they will NOT stay around for an extra half hour so some Canadian doesn't have to sleep on the streets. (Sidenote for my concerned parents, I will not actually sleep on the street. I'm sure I can at least find a bench ;) But seriously, I would spring for some over-priced, Scandinavian hotel before I'd do something stupid like sleep outside. Plus it would be cold.)

So yes, me needs to calm (cam in Islander terms) down.

Sometimes I miss not having a WalMart or Zellers. It's nice to have a store that has nice, lengthy hours and is one-stop shopping. Last night I tried to buy some stuff for my trip but couldn't because traffic was kind of bad and the stores close at six. So I am giving it a second shot today and wisely going somewhere closer to work instead of heading back into town. Plus WalMart and Zellers are cheap.

Thank god I have nothing to do at work and can do at least a wee bit of travel planning. And have access to a printer! Seriously, you don't realise how great it is to be able to print for free until suddenly you CAN'T. I mean, I have printed stuff at school before and it's kind of annoying, but not too bad if you have only a couple of things to print. In the pricey city of Edinburgh, one generally pays £.20 per sheet. So about 45 cents. FOR ONE MEASLY SHEET.

In un-Jen fashion, i have been doing a lot of planning ahead for this trip. I explained to Shannon that it seems wise, given I can't simply hop in a cab and head home for the night if I can't find a place to stay. So it's a comfort thing. And by planning ahead I can print off confirmations and maps for free at work =D Plus it will save time. Instead of trying to figure out what metro line to use to get to Champes d'Elysees, I can save time by simply hopping on the metro because I already know how to get there! (Transfer from line 7 to 1. Oh, I am GOOD. And I will admit, I chose that street because it's one the only ones I actually know because it's the same line we are taking to Disneyland, only the RER instead of the metro. Blah blah blah.)

I did laundry last night. Hopefully it will be dry by when I go away. Seriously. Wet clothes take for-bloody-ever to dry in our flat. I usually string about my clothes in my bedroom by my heater, but I never leave my heater on when I am not home which is most of the time. (Except once by mistake.)

Ooh, I also saved THREE WHOLE POUNDS by planning ahead and booking a bus online instead of paying the driver. I tell ya, this MacPhail is changing and will soon be planning things MONTHS ahead.

Or maybe she was just excited about saving £3...

In good news, I finally found a web based version of MSN that works at work. Currently, Dad is listed as "idle". And he is in Florida. Hmm, did someone forget to properly sign out?

I'm just rambling away. La la la la.

I'm pulling a Janet and bringing lots of food with me when I leave on Friday. This is actually a very practical thing to do! Food takes up space which means I will have room to buy stuff because I will be eating the food as I travel thus providing myself with more space. It also saves money, so I can buy more stuff!

I have been mentally compiling a Christmas list as of late and have actually come up with THREE things that I can still remember: a one-month gym membership to somewhere in Charlottetown (although timing wise, this would make for a better birthday gift so I could actually *use* it), trainers (mine are *slightly* small as they cause my feet to fall asleep), and work shoes. Not work shoes in the construction boot manner, but shoes I can wear to work. I have two pairs of black shoes here. One pair I got in first year university and are getting VERY worn down and ratty looking. The other pair is practically a child to me (along with my digital camera) and it saddens me that my lace-up, high-heeled, calf-high boots are falling apart. Sort of. The left one is still in decent shape, but the toe on the right is practically gone and the sole and shoe are becoming seperated. Boooo. Honestly, I will admit they were only $40; HOWEVER, they were marked down from about $115. If I had paid that much for them I would be seriously pissed off right about now.

I also have things at home that I want to take back over here with me, such as my cleats. Or boots, as they call 'em here. (I know people sometimes use that at home too though.)

Man, this is boring. It must be bad to read as I am getting bored merely TYPING it. Oooh, I know, I wrote an email to my dad about what I did over the weekend. I shall cleverly copy and paste it into this to make for at least *slightly* more exciting reading. So here we go, with some minor changes.

From Monday
I think my boss may be a wee bit disapointed I didn't apply for the marketing position here and now I'm wondering if maybe I should have and just asked about any ways around the "Yes, it is necessary you can drive in this country!" thing.

I was doing some marketing work for him today (mostly reserach on different types of advertising) and saw a picture of a cow painted advertising Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream. he liked that. I also found these weird hub cabs that one attaches to a vehicle. The hub caps don't rotate with the tires, thus you can put an advert on them and pedestrians/other drivers can still see them! Quirky idea.

My weekend was pretty good. went to the "free" BBQ on Friday night but alas, the advert was misleading and the BBQ was not free. So some of the people we were with left and headed off to a pub. Shannon and her guest for the weekend, her former IRish flatmate, left but Keri and I stayed around for a few minutes to wait for the others we were meeting up with but had not
showed up yet. They arrived very shortly after, and Keri, myself, and the newly-arrived three went to a bar down the road that a friend works at. Cheap night for me as one guy bought a road right off the
bat and then their other flatmate bought a round right afterwards. They were in good shape as the place they work brings in lots of liquor
after work one friday each month ;) And so you don't think I'm cheap, I had bought them a round the night before after lacrosse! After a bit a couple of people from our lacrosse team joined up with us and eventually Shannon and her visitor. Anyway, it was a really good time!

Saturday I played in the lacrosse tournament. It was really weird. We had lots of people so we only played half of the game and had to sit out the other half. And, for some weird "something went wrong with the tournmanet" thing reasons we played ten-minute games. Weird. I find the teams that are good and generally very fast. The teams that lack speed usually end up
playing rougher.

I like playing the rougher teams better because they aren't as good :)

Sat night I didn't really do too much.

Sunday I did some running around buying stuff for my trip! I realised today that I am quite unprepared for Finland, but well prepared for France. Which is good. I'll work on the Finnish stuff this week!

Last night we rented ET! First time I ever saw the same thing and I really liked it!

End Monday stuff. Gah. I'm bored. Time to almost get ready to go home.

Written Tuesday, Nov 9th:

Hey all,

Well, my trip planning is nearly complete. Hopefully by the time you read this is will *be* complete because this will likely be my last post until I am either hopping about the lands of continental Europe or am back in the safe walls of Easy Net on Rose Street. (I heart you Rose Street.)

So it was recently brought to my attention by Patrick (Patrick Crossman - my travel amigo for part of my Finnish Adventure) that Estonia is a mere three-hour, 30-euro trip by ferry from Helsinki. I am tempted. And, of course, scared. If I am going to be keen and have a hostel booked before I arrive there then I need to get off my ass and book it within the next few days. However, I am an indecisive girl. I spent far too long trying to decide where to stay in Paris, not so long trying to decide where to stay in Helsinki, and even less time trying to decide where to stay in Tampere because, heh, turns out there is only one place to stay. And even that is going to be a problem! My flight gets in at 21.30, shuttle leaves the airport at 22:10, and somehow I am supposed to make it to the hostel by 22:30 before closing?!?! I emailed the kind folk at the hostel and they insist I will arrive in time. Umm, considering it is a 40-minute shuttle trip I have my doubts. Considerable doubts. So I may have to take a list of cheap hotels or something as back up. And a map. And many euros.

As a sidenote my keyboard at work is not fitted with the euro symbol; what's up with that?!

I am going to see the movie Saved! tonight with Shannon. It premiered here way back when during the film festival. I was tempted to go, mainly to see if I could get a glimpse of Mackauly Culkin. No word of him being here though. He must have been busy poccessing drugs and stuff. (See entertainment news for more details.)

And in more child-stars-gone-wrong news, poor Lindsay Lohan wound up in the hospital. Lots of booze, lots of partying and lots of unsatisfactory acting during the shoot for The Love Bug remake. Lots of lessons learned, my friends. And those lessons include the whole beer before liquor/liquor before beer thing. I'd state the little rhyme that goes with that but I usually get it wrong. I find beer then liquor preferable myself.

On Saturday my lacrosse team as in a tournament. One team we played was kind of rough to make up for their lack of speed and talent.

I liked playing them because I lack speed and talent but the have the ability to be rough thanks to being a younger sister living in fear of her older brother way back in the days of elementary school.

And maybe junior high too.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Quiet afternoon at work... I spent most of it surfing the web trying to decide what hostel to stay at in Paris. If anyone out there has any advice, I would much appreciate it. I am leaning towards the Young and Happy hostel with AIJ something or other and BVJ Latin Quarter as second options.

So it turns out lacrosse is just about the funnest sport EVER! I went to practice on Thursday (I blogged about it but the server was down, I ran out of time, blah blah blah, it didn't post.) and then played a game up in Aberdeen on Saturday. Seriously - so. much. fun.! Why did we not play this in gym class? Why can one not even play it at all on PEI? I mean, it *is* our national sport!

I also got my first lacrosse injury on Saturday. Incredibly minor and I didn't even really notice it until the swished my mud/dirt off my leg. Just a few wee scratches from... well, something.

One guy on my team managed to cut both his finger and nose.

Spring ahead, fall back, eh? Well, GREAT. Because now, despite being only 4:00, it's practically dark. Thrilling.

I am totally pumped for France! I've been doing lots of reading up, and I think I somewhat have my two mere days planned. (I'm excited for Disneyland and Finland too, no worries. I have just finished my Disneyland required reading and since Finland is the last leg of my journey I have yet to start reading about it. That will come shortly.)

Want to know what's crazy? I am home in LESS THAN FIVE WEEKS. Bloody freaking insane, I tell ya. Of the remaining 34 days, I will be gone for at least eleven of them. Eight of those days there will be lacrosse (including a tournament on Saturday), one of those days we are having some kind of a Christmas dinner, two of those days Shan's former flatmate will be at our flat, one of those days we will be celebrating Beth's birthday, one of them will be spent packing (probably the last day =P ), a couple will be spent looking for Xmas presents for people, a couple more will be spend buying Xmas presents for people, a maximum sixteen of those days will be spent working (inc today - which is almost over), one day will be spent in Glasgow (I want to go again cause I saw pics of it at Christmas and it looked awfully pretty!), and of these remaining thirty-four days, each day will have six or so hours devoted to freaking SLEEPING. Sleeping?!?! 204 hours sleeping? And that's going at, generally, a minimum. But that sounds like too much. So from now on, no more sleeping. Despite the fact that I am sleepy as I type this.

Okay, so a little bit of sleeping. But no sleeping in on weekends. Or when travelling. That's what airports are for. (I'll give you my review of how London Stansted functions as a hotel in late November. Expect stories of a sore back, boredom, and random comparisons with the film The Terminal. The comparisons may be off though as I have not seen the film.)

Disadvantage of being a girl: harder to find pee spots along the carriageway from Aberdeen to Dundee that provide adequate coverage from the eyes of the oncoming traffic. We pulled over at one point on the way home on Saturday and I thought, "Nope, nothing to hide my bare ass so it's a no go. I can hold." And I did. And I counted the miles to Dundee. And my bladder almost exploded. So I asked to pull over again and, luckily, this spot did have some trees and stuff to block the, heh, view. I was prepared and had some TP in my purse. I would make a good boy scout. ("Be prepared!")

Except for being a girl.

No trick or treaters Sunday night. It was a good thing since a pile of us devoured most of our candy at our wee Hallowe'en fiesta on Saturday night.

I was I could post my blog from work. Instead I'll probably post this, like, 900 days from now.

I am probably sinning, but I am not going to the Louvre when in Paris. I figure I have only two days and the museum is absolutely huge. I would rather walk around outside than look at art, even if it is famous art. Besides, I imagine I will be back at some point when I will have more time. Of course, I have been wanting to go back to London since I returned from there in June and have not went back. But no worries, I doubt London (or Paris) will disapear any time soon. And if they do? Well, wow. That would be weird.

Big election today in the States. They should let foreigners vote as well seeing as the outcome will affect far more than American citizens.

I would vote for Tim Allen. And wouldn't Richard Karn make a good Vice President?

The end. Time to go to the toilet. (Such a brass term.)