Souvenirs from Around the World

Souvenirs from Around the World, originally uploaded by Stimpdawg.

I got this idea from Andy’s My REAL Wall except I used souvenirs instead of postcards. I took some of my souvenirs that I bought or saved during our trip around the world.. and placed them on my whiteboard/corkboard.  Click the photo or here to view the Flickr page with notes for each souvenir.

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Flying and Exploring England

I was thinking of sleeping early on the night of June 20th. Then I’d be really tired on the plane. But, I ended up getting like 6 hours sleep. I know I needed it since I haven’t been sleeping much lately. I woke up on Friday, June 21st. I went to get some last minute errands done. I had to buy my contacts. Then, I returned my library books. I came home and showered. I was ready to go after that. My mom and Dad drove me to the airport. I checked in my two bags at the airport. I got an aisle seat. I forgot that I could check-in online beforehand. I went to the gate area upstairs. I had a small pepperoni pizza at Pizza Hut. I didn’t have much food all day so I was hungry. It was taking forever to board the plane. They kept calling names to the counters. They actually called my name. I proceeded to the counter to see what was going on. The guy said how many bags did you check in. I told him two bags. Then the woman next to him said yes. Finally, we boarded the plane later on. The plane was a big 747. There was actually seats upstairs as well. Virgin Atlantic is a nice airline. We had some pretzels and a drink for a snack. Then a little while later we had dinner. I had chicken and rice. It came with a roll, cracker and cheese. I also had a red wine. The food was good. The airline gave us little bags filled with a toothbrush, toothpaste, socks, a pen and a sleeping mask. There was a good selection of things to watch like movies and comedy channels. I was thinking of sleeping. I couldn’t get comfortable for some reason though. My butt seemed to hurt. I even played my Ocean Surf on my iPod. It usually is very relaxing and helps me sleep. I only rested for a few hours. But, I don’t think I got any proper sleep. I was too excited to get to England. We were close to landing. The captain got on the intercom to talk about the weather. He said that it was depressing weather. It was rainy. I laughed at this in the bathroom.
Finally, we landed in London at 10:05 am on June 21st. It was a delay of about 15 minutes. I went through Immigration. It went relatively quick considering there was a long line. The guard asked me who I was visiting. I told him my friend. He asked if my friend was from England. I said yes. He then asked if we met here or in the US. I told him the US. He asked how long I had known my friend. I told him a year. So, off I went to get my luggage. The display screens weren’t showing any information. So, I waited to see if my luggage was going to arrive. I was there for a few minutes. Finally, I went to find an information desk. I asked where the flight 44’s baggage was. She said it was on 7 but the luggage is now on the floor. I got my luggage and left. There was nobody in the Customs area so I exited. I was so tired at this point. There were many people waiting for people. I hoped that I would be able to find Ivan. I saw him. We were going to ride the train and then switch to another train. It seemed like a lot of walking. I think my tiredness just made it worse. We were staying at the Marriott Hotel in the West India Quay which is in the Docklands. It’s a great area. We had a view of the water.
It was a great hotel. It’s very pretty inside.

backwards escalator

Ok, I think England is backwards. The escalators have people going up on the right and people going down on the left. Of course, they drive on the wrong side of the road and the driver’s seat is on the right side. I noticed that the bathroom light is outside of the bathroom. On the keyboard, the @ and ” have switched places on an English keyboard. The toilet seats don’t usually have a handle. There’s a button to press instead. I’m sure there’s other things as well.
We took it easy that Saturday. I slept around 5 hours that afternoon. That night, we went to a pub close by called The Cat and Canary. Ivan wanted to watch the football (soccer) match. It’s the Euro 2008. The match was Holland vs. Russia. It turned out to be a draw, so it went into overtime. I had half a pint of Fruli, which is a great fruity Strawberry beer.

La Tasca in the Docklands

Next, we walked to La Tasca. It’s a Spanish tapas restaurant. We had ordered a bunch of little dishes. We had potatoes with spicy tomato sauce, Spniash Manchego cheese, shrimp cooked in olive oil and garlic, white fish in a batter with a roasted garlic mayonnaise, arroz with broccoli and chicken skewers. It was really good!

Ivan and I went to Leicester Square since the West End Live event was on on June 22nd. We only caught the end of Jersey Boys. We did see the cast of Mama Mia. But, sadly they were lip syncing. It was filled with people. We then walked to Trafalgar Square. There was an Indian festival going on. The chariots were coming in as we got there. The square is really big.. it was packed with people. There were some Hare Krishna’s there. They were singing and dancing in a circle. Then, we walked to Covent Garden. We saw a street magician perform. They also have jugglers. It’s a nice area to walk around since they have lots of shops. Then, we went to an internet cafe. It’s cheap like $2 for an hour. We went to a backpack store. There’s so many outdoors stores in London. I’ve been looking for a great big backpack for our world trip. Las Vegas doesn’t have a good selection of backpacks. So, it was great to look at some backpacks in London. I tried out the North Face W Terra 40. I was thinking about the W Terra 40 or the Solaris. The W Terra is a nice size and is big enough to fit a lot of stuff. It’s more expensive in London. So, I’m definitely going to buy it online.

Baby Beers in the pub

We went to a pub called Two Brewers where I had a half pint of Kronenberg.

Jen drinking a baby beer at the pub

That night, we ate at Busaba Eathai. We had some fish cakes. I really enjoyed the yellow curry. The red curry was a little too spicy. We went to The Comedy Store. It was some great comedians there. I really enjoyed it. It’s improv and similar to Who’s Line is it Anyway?

my pasta salad

On June 23rd, we were going to take the Thames Clipper boat. For breakfast I had a ham, roast chicken, onion and olive oil pasta salad. It was good. I also had a Breakfast2Go smoothie from Kruger. Ivan suggested this smoothie. Although, it wasn’t as tasty as Ivan’s Famous Smoothies. The boat was pretty fast. It had great scenery all around. We saw Tower Bridge.

Tower bridge going up

We went to St. Paul’s Cathedral.

St. Paul\'s Cathedral view

It’s simply beautiful inside. Unfortunately, there was no picture taking in the cathedral. We walked across the Millennium Bridge. It’s a long bridge. We were headed to the Tate Modern. It’s a modern museum. Public museums in London are free.

Street Art exhibit at Tate Modern

They had a great exhibit called Street Art. The artwork inside was good. I saw a Pablo Picasso and Jackson Pollock. We walked back across the Millennium bridge. I was still jet lagged. I was just super tired. We went to go move into Ivan’s flat. It took forever for his roommates to read and sign the paperwork. It was a nice view from the agent’s office. I love looking at water. It’s relaxing and quiet in Ivan’s new neighborhood.

We were going to see a musical with Ivan’s family on June 24th. I was really nervous about meeting his family. I just don’t know what they’ll think of me. Will they like me? Ivan’s mum Denise and his brother Neal arrived at his flat. We then met his Dad and took the train. We went into London. His mum and dad were going shopping. Ivan, Neal and I walked to the Punch & Judy bar. We sat outside and had a drink. I don’t know what we had.. but the beer was really strong. Then, Neal got us more beer. I seemed to like the taste of the second beer better. Originally, we were going to all eat at a Greek restaurant. Ivan’s parents finished early with shopping and got to the restaurant early. We ended up eating at an Indian restaurant called Masala Zone.

dolls in Masala Zone

They had these dolls hanging from the ceiling. It was really kewl. There was a special going on.

Me and Ivan at Masala Zone

I had a chicken thali. It was delicious. We walked to the theater to meet Ivan’s parents. We were going to see We Will Rock You. It’s a musical with Queen songs. Oh my goodness.. it was just simply amazing! We were seated in the fourth row.

the ending of We Will Rock You

So, it was a great view and the sound was so loud. I loved it! It was a good night. I liked meeting Ivan’s family. They’re great people. His mom is really cute. She’s short like me.. a little taller though. His dad is nice. Ivan and Neal get their height from their dad, who’s 6 foot 2. Neal was very funny. I get to see them more this weekend. We’re going to Southend-on-Sea to stay at their house.

The weather’s actually been nice. It gets a little cold. But, I always have my jacket with me. It hasn’t really rained. I love the buildings.. they’re so old. London is a great city. We have been taking the tube a lot. I’m glad Ivan’s my host around the city. I’d get so lost without him. He knows London so well too.

First Friday event

Here’s a great First Friday event happening today. First Friday is an arts event that is in downtown Las Vegas on every first Friday of each month. The downtown area has been growing with a great art district and a slew of kewl bars. I’ve been meaning to go, but still haven’t made it out. My friend Papa Grimz will be doing some live art.. so I’m going to try to go and check it all out. I haven’t seen him in years.. he’s an old goon I met from the old bbs days when we were on Multi-comm.