Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I've Seen London...I've Seen France...

But they've all seen my underpants.

Can I just tell you that Europe is awesome? First of all, (because I know this is what you are all really wondering), I did pass my Sea Survival Training and am now certified to work under both UK and Norway Regulations in the North Sea. Now for those of you willing to stick it out a little longer, I will tell you about the rest of the story. I am going to break this down into about three posts.

Post Number 1: London!
The first leg of my journey involved an overnight stay in a little town I like to call, London. It's in England. We had 12 hours from the minute that we landed at 8:15 PM Saturday night until 8:15 AM Sunday morning when we continued on to Scotland. Minus the time it took us to get to the hotel, get signed in, and then get back to the airport the next morning, we had about 5 hours. We scheduled 1 hour for sleep from 4:30 to 5:30 AM, giving us 4 hours to explore and enjoy this hub of international crossroads.
Our first stop was the nearest underground station. We met a cheeky woman who was more than excited to share with us how to get into the "bowels of London". We followed her advice, got lost and then figured our way out of it.
Our first goal was Big Ben. We were discussing how we would know where to go once we got outside, but that problem was solved the moment we were walking up the steps from underground and looked up. This is the sight we saw:

Well, that was easy.
We spent the next three hours squeezing more into our tour of London than I think anyone else has ever successfully squeezed before. We were able to see the Parliament Building, St. Abbey's Cathedral, Trafalgar Square, the Thames River, The Eye of London, Piccadilly Square, the Sherlock Holmes Restaurant, the home of Herman Melville (author of "Moby Dick"), rode a double-decker bus, and topped it all off with a street hot dog! We pretty much saw everything there is to see except Buckingham Palace. We dodged a LOT of drunk people, got caught up into two different dance club crowds, and ate at McDonald's. While we were there, an Irish man came up to us and wanted to shake our hands. With each hand shake, he looked us in the eye and said, "Aye...that's a good fine grip you have there lad! Fancy a fight do ya?"
None of us took him up on the offer. But it was fun. The same Irishman then went on to call a couple of other people "wankers", and then he wandered off in a drunken stupor. What a night!
However, the best is yet to come. On weekends in London, to help alleviate the constant bladder pressure that must plague all of their drunk patrons, the good city of London sets out portable plastic urinals on most street corners. Picture this: a tall gray column of plastic, sectioned off into 4 equal parts, thus enabling four mates all to take care of business at the same time. Of course, not wanting to perturb the balance of British Custom, I figured, "When in Rome..."

It was only after I urinated in Trafalgar Square that we found out that London is the most videotaped city in the world. The average working citizen is caught on video about 820 times a day.

I'm a Star!

Not bad for 4 hours.

On to Aberdeen Scotland!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Woe Is Me...

I want to first thank all those of you who made it to movie night last Friday. I hope that everyone had as good a time as I did. For those of you who missed out, we did watch "Run Fat Boy Run". All who showed up were given a Marathon Number to pin on their shirt, and plenty of Gatorade to go around. I want to give a special shout-out to Jamie for her fantastic mini-pumpkin pies! Even Scott thoroughly enjoyed them.
On Saturday I took a date up to drive the Nebo Loop. Due to unforeseen circumstances, we only had enough time to get up to Payson Lakes and back. But it was a lot of fun. We got some really good pictures in the short time we had. (Thanks Kaila for letting me take your camera!) My date had a really red coat that stood out in fantastic contrast to the yellow leaves of the Quakies. I wish I had taken more advantage of that.
So the other day we get a message at work that instead of going to Scotland in December or January, they are going to move it up and send us before the end of the month. They are breaking us up in to 4 groups of 4 and staggering our trips to accommodate the training school in Aberdeen Scotland. Most groups are going to be gone for 5 days: 1 day of travel, 3 days in Aberdeen, and 1 day to return home. One group however, has to leave a day earlier than normal...spend a night in London...arrive on a Sunday morning, (thus giving them PLENTY of time to adjust for jet lag)...three days of schooling...(to learn how to survive in a water helicopter crash). Oh and then they have to stay one more extra day to get European Physicals done. (Apparently European Doctors don't trust American Doctors.) (Please tell me that I don't have to explain the irony of this picture)
Anyway...after the extra day chock full of a 15 minute inconvenience, this same group has to hang out in Scotland all that day and then they FINALLY get to depart on their homeward journey on Friday. Two extra days...more extra time...more extra pay.

Guess which group I am in.

It's ok...if I wasn't me....I would be jealous too.

If anyone is interested, tomorrow night, (Wednesday), I am going to have an impromptu movie night and watch "Braveheart"...and you are welcome to join me! It is rated R. For anyone who has had a stereotypical "What's Your Favorite: (fill in the blank)" First-date Conversation with me, you will know that this is my number one, all-time favorite movie. Of course most of the hundreds of people (girls) that would fall into that category are probably not reading this blog right now, nor ever. But alas...I digress. I'm going to Scotland! I'm going to eat Haggis! I'm going to wear a kilt in the traditional manner! Man...I have a tough life!