Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Today in Berlin

Jacob and I attempted a self-guided tour of West Berlin, but we only
made it a far as the Reichtag before it started pouring rain.
Overall, not extremely sucessful.

We took took the S-Bahn back (do they ever check for tickets?) to
Warschauer and hit up our new favorite doner restaurant before we
retreated to the hostel to dry off.

The only thing I'm hoping to achieve tonight is to pick up our train
reservations and finally book tickets for Dubai.

The thing about getting to Dubai is that flying out of different
cities effects wildly varying prices (Istanbul is over five times as
much as Beirut, for example)... but I have a feeling the cost includes
how likely you are to receive bodily harm. So maybe it's worth it to
pay extra.

I will be online all night so feel free to email!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Hello everyone

Welcome to all the new readers out there.  I'll try my best to write about more interesting things from now on!

More Berlin

Sunday, so everything is closed. I really wish the optimitrist would open so I could buy Renu. I haven't worn my contacts since the airlines confiscated my solution for the second time.

Travel essentials #2: Put contact solution in your pocket instead of your toiletries bag because it's impossible to find a small enough bottle to take on board.

Anyway, we checked out the remaining Berlin wall today and took some band photos. It's funny what people decide to graffiti on there.

And to answer your question, Amanda, they're not skinny jeans, but they're the untreated kind of denim that you have to break in yourself.


Loaded like a freight train
Flying like a aeroplane

Jacob and I just chilled out today. As cool as the night train is, you end up getting into Berlin at 7:00 am with no sleep. So that's actually not cool.

The hostel we're staying in (the Sunflower) is surprisingly livable for 14 euro a night. We met a few other people from the hostel who seemed cool enough. .

East Berlin is kind of the counterculture Mecca of Europe. In a city of 7 million people, that means a huge amount of alternative-type bars and venues geared towards young people. They're very reasonably priced (for Americans even) and open late.

Right now we're waiting for a show to start at a venue called
"Bastard". Despite the name, it's a nice place. A few of the walls
are covered with soviet-era televisions. The performer (goes by the
stage name "Blow") is from Portland. Go figure.

The openng act was a local guy called Noisy Pig that was reminded me of a childrens show gone horribly, horribly wrong. He wore a pig- shaped bicycle helmet and sunglasses on stage.


Blow had been sick recently was losing her voice (just like me two weeks ago! I wonder if she had the same thing) but she managed to put on a great set. Jacob talked to her after about Portland and things. I made friends with a dude from Long Island named RJ.

We made it home by about 2:30 and spent a few blissful minutes on the Internet before it stopped working again.


I might be having some issues in getting the order of my blog posts correct. This is because they tend to come up in reverse chronological order when I write multiple posts with no Internet access.

So if you see something that doesn't make sense, just try to switch the order of the posts around and maybe it will.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Berlin night train

I thought I'd write a few words while I'm on the train. Here they are:

This is awesome.


I got in at about 7:00 last night, and through a very complicated series of events met up with Jacob around 9:00.

We saw a great band playing at the local Student bar. They're calledPacific. I'm not sure if they tour outside of Sweden but if they did they could easily be headliners anywhere in the US. Another example of Swedish excellence.

Now I'm watching Married with Children on Swedish television. Earlier they were airing American Gladiators. More Swedish excellence.

Doing laundry and things in preparation for the next couple weeks. Free laundry facilities for students!


One thing that's hard to get to get a feel for in the states is the way people of different languages interact. As Americans, we're used to only hearing either English or languages that are strongly related to ethnicity (i.e. Spanish, Japanese, Chinese). Tourists are obvious and rarely speak only English anyway.

Europeans can't rely on appearance to distinguish native tongues (to the same degree). Therefore it isn't particularly surprising if someone doesn't speak your language. You just communicate the best you can and move on as quickly as possible. No offense taken.

This must be why Americans annoy people overseas.

Chili nuts- Best snack ever?

All signs point to yes.


So far, so good. Vasteras is a city about the size (and skin color) of Bellevue. It too is centered around a shopping mall and is home to many stylishly dressed young folks. Unlike Bellevue, everyone rides bikes.

There are fields of them. Endless fields.

Right now I'm chillin' with an espresso at a Wayne's Coffee. It's kind of a Starbucks ripoff, right down to the logo.

I've got a train to catch to Stockholm in 30 minutes. That will make the third type I vehicle I've ridden on today (bus, plane, train, and I might sleep in a boat tonight).

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Stockholm (cont.)

I bought some jeans, even though I don't really have room for them. Hmm.

On the way back to the city center, I stumbled across some interesting sights, like the Royal Palace and some really cool, old streets filled with antique shops. Stockholm, as you know, came out of WWII unscathed and as such is full of well preserved old buildings.

The shopping here is excellent and full of great winter clothes. Mom, you would like Stockholm a lot.

I'm leaving here on the 4:40 train to Linkoping, then I meet up with Jacob.


And I thought London was expensive!

So happy to be here. Stockholm is absolutely beautiful at this time of year (and others, probably). The autumn colors with patches of fog blowing through. Wow. It's also one of the greenest (as in Eco- friendly) cities on earth, and it shows in its cleanliness. Even the subway tunnels are immaculate.

It's a very stylish city, I reckon moreso than even New York. There's no shortage of tight jeans, anyway, nor square glasses. Also, everyone is crushingly attractive.

I like the culture here, at least, what I've seen of it. The Swedish
expect more from people. For example, the escalators here go like
2,000 miles per hour. There's very little room for error.

Everyone is fluent in English, and is quick to respond to my token swedish phrases in my native tongue. I can see why not many people end up learning Swedish later in life.

Right now I'm in a cafe called String in Sodermalm, which just happens to be across the street from Nudie Jeans. Whoops!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


A lot of people have askes about my travel schedule. So to save myself
some time Ill post it here.

I can't figure out a better way of posting an itinerary, so Ill just
type it out:

Oct 24 - Vasteras, Stockholm
Oct 25 - Linkoping
Oct 26 - Malmo
Oct 27 - Berlin
Oct 31 - Amsterdam
(the rest is tenative)
Nov 5 - Frankfurt
Nov 6 - Munich
Nov 8 - Vienna
Nov 9 - Prague
Nov 14 - Budapest
Nov 17 - Istanbul
Nov 20 - Dubai
Dec 5 - ???

Museums and such.

I've fallen behind in the last few days. I'll try to summarize.

Mans had the last couple days off. We elected to "violently chill
out" and visit a few pubs and museums. A good way to spend my last
two days here.

Monday, we spent most of the day indoors either in the apartment or at
a sleazy (by London standards) pub in the city center. I had really
nice night just hanging out with the French guys and the new Polish
roommate. Great people, great conversation. I said reminded me of
L'Auberge Espangnole.

The next day we went to the imperial war museum (so many exhibits!)
and I made some farewell Gumbo for my roommates.

I'm definitely going to miss that place. It's time to move on,
though-- On to Vasteras!

I sure hope these Ryanair jets are airworthy.


30 pounds to fly to Stockholm? I'd fly on an early 90s 737 for that!

Conclusion: Aer Lingus is much better.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


I just realized that I was out of space on my flickr account, so all of my most recent photos haven't been showing up.  It should be fixed now-- Everything from the huge metal spider onwards is new.


Ok, so Lee is a stand up guy with a knack for getting into trouble. Multiply this by six and you can start to imagine the house he lives in. His housemates (the louts, as they self depricatingly call themselves) remind me a lot of some of my friends from Willamette. They're great kids- all really friendly and happy to offer me a place to stay- with no real drive to accumulate a lot of posessions or money.

Which might explain why they didn't get their damage deposits back for their last house. Apparently it was nearly destroyed during a party in which one of them yelled "Hezbollah" and broke everything.

They're also fans of Loutball, a game of their design that basically no-holds-barred indoor soccer in their halls and rooms.

Aside from a few destructive streaks, they're really easygoing and have a lot of varied interests. At least three of them (guy, Paul, and another) are dedicated surfers (dedicated because you'd have to be to surf in water that cold).

Anyway, awesome people to enjoy a traditional English breakfast with (bacon, eggs, hash browns, sausage, mushrooms, beans, and bread, all fried. Yes, including the bread) and to have around in general. It'd be great to spend more time with them, but something tells me that this is unlikely in the forseeable future.

Now Departing Plymouth

It's been a busy weekend.

I sort of forget where I left off. I think it was at the buses. Yeah.

Plymouth, like Southampton, is a beautiful coastal town that was leveled during world war two. Being a large naval base, however, Plymouth was bombed even more thoroughly. Only small sections of the old city still exists. The majority of it was rebuilt with victorian
style architecture, so it might not be obvious at first to see how hard it was hit.

Plymouth is the southernmost port city in the UK, so many expeditions to the new world (and elsewhere) made it their final stop before embarking. In 1620, the Mayflower left Plymouth with a bunch of Puritans on it, who I understand were on their way to Daytona Beach
for spring break.

The coastal part of town (the "hoe foreshore") is a nice park full of monuments and museums and things. Also, a famous picture of the beatles was taken on the lawn to the side of the big red and white lighthouse.

The city also has a fake cliff that the navy uses to use as a secret hideout for large ships. Its made of wood.

The tour of the city was only a small part of my two days. I'll add more in my next update.

British Transportation

Geographically, Plymouth isn't more than a two hour car trip from Southampton. Once you factor in the circuitous route that buses take in order to stay on the freeways, it's a little more than 5 hours. Add a dollop of ineptitude and a dash of traffic and- oh boy!- I've been on the bus for 9 hours today.

That's actually fine by me. I've started to look forward to long bus rides because it gives me a chance to just sit around and relax (I finally have time to listen to my Learn Swedish program).

The only real problem is that Mike was supposed to catch this bus with me, but he missed it because his connecting bus was about 3 minutes too late.

Anyway, God bless the highway lobby and America's prodigious fuel consumption. If we all had own own cars none of this would be a problem.

Wait, I'm not sure if I mean that.


This is a bit of a retrospective, since I didn't really have time to write yesterday. I'm on the bus back to London now (about 6 hours total) so i have ample time to write.

Mike and I met up in Plymouth at about 11:30. He came in via train and I was on a bus, so we met in the middle of thr two stations. Fortunately for me, Mike had gone to Plymouth U for two years so he knew the city well. The only problem was finding Lee, who wasn't answering his phone or replying to text messages. We checked out a few bars, but there was no sign of him. Mike called one of his friends to see if he could track him down. He invited us over to his place- a smoky college house with some guys spinning drum and bass vinyls- and told us that Lee had actually been arrested earlier, so he'd be spending the night in jail.

It sounds bad, but it really wasn't his fault- he just ended up witnessing a bar fight at the wrong place and time. And it's Lee- who's such a nice guy that arresting him for anything just seems insane.

Anyway, we made it back to his house at around 1 but were too tired to do anything. A short nap on the couch later we went out with the housemates to try to retrieve Lee from the Plymouth police station.

The conversation was something like, "You've got our friend. Can we
have him back?"
"The wheels of justice are slowly turning. Check back in the afternoon."

Mike took the opportunity to show me around the city (awesome, by the way. Definitely my favorite of the three cities I've been to in England). We got pints at a local chill pub called Ride and waited around until Lee finally called.

He was happily out of prison and he came up to meet us at Ride. Poor kid, they'd only given him a rice krispy square and a Cornish pasty during his jail time.

So maybe it wasnt the ideal reunion, but it turned out great. Its funny how you can pick up right where you left off sometimes after a year and a half.

We just sort of sat around and played Virtua Tennis until the rugby game came on. England lost, which was a shame. The rest of the night was spent coping via Indian food and lager, then watching British comedy until it was no longer physically possible.

Ok, I see the brown cloud of pollution that is London approaching. Gotta run.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Hello everyone. I took the National Express to visit Mike today. I got into Southampton a little early, so I did a little exploring.

I'm glad I did, because its an interesting place. It's sort of a university town, with a lot of funky shopping (like the udistrict) punctuated by Medival and Roman ruins. It's not really situated on the coast, but in a little protected sound at the mouth of a river.

Much of the city was destroyed during world war two. So aside from the ruins, it's very modern by European standards. Even the city center looks like it might be out of the West coast US.

I have more exploring to do now. I'll write more when im all finished.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Wha happen?

I'm on the tube right now. I think I might have hit the last train. Or second to last.

I met up with Mans and his American friends at around 5:00pm. Yes, another group of Americans. We met at Occo- the restaurant that Mans bartends at- for cocktails and appetizers. Delicious, fried, Moroccan food with confusingly assembled cocktails.

The Americans study at an exchange-only university in north London. There's about 10 in total... Most of them are from the Midwest and the South. They're a nice group, even if I can't seem to remember their names.

We took a bus to The Castle, A traditional english pub that Mans frequents. The bartender, Mike, refused payment (apprently this is common between bartenders) and we
ended up having a rather inexpensive night out.

We made friends with (yet) another American from Florida. He explained that he was in London with his dad for his 20th birthday. The weird part was that his dad was there. Sitting with him. And all of us. For like 3 hours.

It's not extremely late, but I decided to head home since I'm leaving early for Southampton tomorrow morning. Also, I could use my NHS- supplied inhaler. Yes, I am a nerd who needs an inhaler.


I was just noticing how bland most of these entries are getting.  First of all, I have to apologize for not really doing anything for the past week.  It certainly hasn't helped.  But aside from that, are there any things you folks in particular want me to write about?


Voice is finally coming back. As long as I take it easy I think it'll be ok by Thursday (when I travel to Southampton).

Mans and I went to the Tate Modern museum and saw all kinds of good modern art for free. London is great place for that sort of thing.

I'm looking forward to getting out and seeing the countryside.

Monday, October 15, 2007

NHS (continued)

I went in, told the doctor what the deal was, and he put a prescription in my hand. For free*. This is how medicine needs to work in first world countries.

I'm going to try my best to see the changing of the guard today. Also the national gallery.

*Actually, I have to pay the flat prescription fee of 6 pounds. But I can handle that. Fo sho.


I've been sick for the last several days. Normally this wouldn't be a huge problem for me, but I lost my voice two days ago and it hasn't really come back.

So, swallowing my (American) pride, I checked myself into the nearest walk in clinic. I'm waiting in the lobby now. Except for the guy with the cane, I think I am the most sympathy-worthy patient here. Really, I bet theres nothing wrong with most of these people.

I think they're going to call my name next. Wish me luck!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Going out

I'm on my way out to watch the England vs. France rugby quarterfinals tonight.  I'll be meeting Mike (bigenglishmike) and a few of his friends.  I'll write something when I get back, hopefully.

Also, I need to remind myself to tell the story of the French roommate/World of Warcraft addict that quit his job this morning.  Pretty funny.

Travel essentials #1:

-Wash your hands.  Stay away from people with coughs.  Be a huge germaphobe, especially around public transit.  Wear a sealed biohazard suit at all times.  Getting sick can really mess things ups.


I've seen some odd things since I've been here, but nothing as weird as what I saw on the tube last night.  I won't be able to do it justice, but I'll give my best effort.

I was taking the District line at an ungodly hour to meet up with Mans after his shift was over.  The trains were mostly empty at this point in the night; there were about five of us total in the car, two nightclub-destined women, a man reading the newspaper, a nicely dressed young englishman, and myself.   Everyone was keeping to himself, mostly, until about halfway through the trip when I all of a sudden hear,


I look over, and it's the nicely dressed young man standing up, his 3/4 coat falling back on his shoulders.


At this point, he started sprinting up and down the car, simulating sword strikes and the apparent slaughter of his persian adversaries.  Nobody dared make eye contact with the guy (really, who would want to risk the wrath of a spartan warrior), much less make any comments about his behavior.  The rest of the passengers acted as if what he was doing was not really outside of established social boundaries.


He then did a number of pull-ups on the bars until he got too tired.  The train stopped, and he ran off the car, up the stairs, out of sight.

I dunno.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Off day

Today saw Big Ben and the Houses of Parliment.  Then I bought groceries and made myself dinner.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Phone Number

My phone works now.  If you want to call, my number is +44 79 42 46 40 07.  Make sure you don't have to pay huge international fees before you call.

Sweet Home Alabama

So happy to be in a room that I can just leave my stuff in for a couple weeks.

I'm using today as my first "do absolutely nothing day" in two weeks. I still haven't completely recovered from my rough living in Ireland. The night in the hotel helped, as did last night on Mans' floor, but I'm not quite there yet.

Speaking of Mans, it's great to see him again. I forgot that it's been four months since we graduated*. He's working odd hours at a Moroccan restaurant, which should turn out nicely because I always feel bad if people spend too much time trying to entertain me.

Oh- and Mans' roommates are awesome. So far, there are three French guys who like reggae, a French girl that doesn't speak much English, and two other guys (Danes?) that I haven't met yet. We spent a long time talking to Ben about world affairs, France, and the U.S. (he lived in San Diego for a few years as a kid). I'm actually kind of worried that I'm going to have to speak French around them full time.

I think I got off to a good start with them because after I mentioned that I wanted to work in IT, Ben asked if I could fix his email (he could receive messages but couldn't send). It took me a while, but I managed to make it work after struggling with his French version of windows and AZERTY keyboard. But anyway, yeah. Everywhere I go.

At least I'm good for something?

I'm going to be proofing some of my old blog entries, and I might retroactively add a few things that I meant to write about but didn't have time to. I'm not much for trying to rewrite history, but it'll make it easier to follow if I make it chronological.

*yes, I know

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Interesting day yesterday. The high point was certainly the tour of the Old Jameson distillery (not because it was interesting, but because they let you relax with a glass of whiskey at the end of the tour).

And relaxation has been in short supply. I found out last afternoon that I'd already missed my flight to London- it was booked for Monday. I also hadn't slept well for a while and was starting to get a cold.

I made it to London, but I couldn't get in touch with Mans (actually, I did make it to his room- but his roommate evidently didn't know who Mans was) so I walked around until I found a cheap hotel- and when I say "around" I mean "several miles"- but it all turned out fine.

I found a place to stay and the hotel managers were very understanding. The rooms were cheap by American standards, and not well furnished, but I slept for about 11 hours and am feeling
much better already.

Right now, Im relaxing with a falafel and a Lebanese coffee in some hole-in-the-wall restaurant. Wonderful.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

London Underground

Only a £20 fine if you're caught wihout a ticket! That's almost less than the fare...

I got into Heathrow (at some expense) at about 9:25. I found the Underground at 10:30. So that wasn't too slick.

I dont have Mans' phone number so warning him about my arrival might not be possible. I really hope he's home.

Where did I leave off?

I went to Howth yesterday, which is about a 30 train ride from Dublin's city center. It was nice to get into the countryside for a while, even if it was a bit windy (you wouldnt have liked it, mom). The trails around the peninsula are amazing. There's an old lighthouse at the very tip with a vicious guard dog keeping watch. Not actually that viscious.

We came back to UCD and went to Traditional Music Night at the campus venue. Pretty funny stuff. It was packed, first of all, and there was a band of about 8 students playing traditional Irish instruments. Since the drinking age is 18, the school can actually serve alcohol, and the students actually want to go to school sponsored events instead of trying to have their own private house parties. Novel idea!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Back in Dublin

Dont expect much from me over the next 24 hours. I will be asleep.


I thought my American accent would make me some kind of celebrity in Ireland. The only people who ever care are other Americans.


Ive done a good job so far avoiding ripoffs, except for one thing- I fell victim to the Irish Railway's insane pricing scheme.

The website lists €18 return trips to Belfast, which seems more than reasonable. Of course, I am staying for a night so I didn't want a return ticket, but I figure the one way price is somewhere around 10-15 euro.

But it was actually 34.50. Almost twice the amount of a return ticket. How did this happen? It was some sort of strange combination of "sorry, online fare only" and a thick Irish accent.

So when I try to point this out at the Belfast central station, I encounter another thick Irish accent, and somehow end up buying a ticket for the way back for the low price of £11.


Ulster Transport Museum

Sadly, I couldn't figure out where the DeLorean factory was. Even the people at the Belfast Office of Tourism didn't know. So I did the next best thing and visited a museum that had an exhibit about it.

Other exhibits include the world's most hilarious bicycles, mopeds, and buses. It's definitely worth it, especially if you sneak in for free like I did.

West Belfast

For anyone thinking of going to Ireland, you -must- take a tour of west Belfast. Most people go via "black taxi", but I walked it instead.

Along one strech of road about 3 miles long, you can see many of the most important figures and locations of "The Troubles" that supposedly came to and end a decade ago. The surprising part, though, is that it's still very current and relevant to what's happening in Belfast today.

For example, the first large building you come across is called the Divis tower. In the early 80s, the military took over the top two floors in order to spy on people passing between east and west Belfast-- and it's still in use.

Also along the path are dozens of murals about both current Irish affairs and things happening overseas. Belfastians are very politically minded, and they're die-hard activists.

In front of the city cemetery, I ran into a few dozen locals who were protesting conflicts in Africa that I'd never even heard of.

I also saw the Queen Victoria hospital, which according to my guidebook is the best in the world at treating gunshot wounds. The gates out front are quite cool- they are (intentionally) twisted like a DNA helix.

West Belfast

For anyone thinking of going to Ireland, you -must- take a tour of
west belfast. Most people go via "black taxi", but I walked it instead.

Along one strech of road about 3 miles
long, you can see many of the most important figures and locations of
"The Troubles" that supposedly came to and end a decade ago. The
surprising part, though, is that it's still very current and relevant
to what's happening in Belfast today.

For example, the first large building you come across is called the
Divis tower. In the early 80s, the military took over the top two
floors in order to spy on people passing between east and west
Belfast-- and it's still in use.

Also along the path are dozens of murals about both current Irish
affairs and things happening overseas. Belfastians are very politically
minded, and they're die-hard activists.

In front of the city cemetary, I ran into a few dozen locals who were
protesting conflicts in Africa that I'd never even heard of.

I also saw the Queen Victoria hospital, which according to my
guidebook is the best in the world at treating gunshot wounds. The
gates out front are quite cool- they are (intentionally) twisted like
a DNA helix.

Belfast part 2: Neds

Ned (n): Irish chav.

I'm not even sure how anyone can be drunk at 10:30 on a Sunday
morning, much less a 15 year old.


I told myself that I wouldn't hang out with Americans, but it sort of
got away from me last night. I went out with an awesome group of
students (studying abroad in Glascow, on vacation in Belfast) to a few
nearby bars.

The bar nearest the hostel ("the tavern") had a huge, locking, metal
cage in front of the door. There two security cameras pointing down
both adjacent alleyways. Apparently this security system was in
place because a bombing killed some people in the 80s, and they still
won't take it down.

The other bar had a tradtional Irish band covering Achey Breaky
Heart. Id never been more excited to hear that song, I think.

I opted out of the Giant's causeway/Bushmill's distillery tour today
because (for some reason) Whiskey in the middle of the day didn't
sound good to me. Instead I took a train to the Ulster Transport
Museum to learn more about DeLoreans.

Oh, and Im pretty sure a bomb went off when I was looking for wifi in
south Belfast. I guess I should have expected it considering the
mural of a guy holding an AK 47 I passed.

Saturday, October 06, 2007


Apologies for my lack of updates recently-- it's unusually hard to
find wireless around here.

I got into Belfast after dark at about 7:30- it's a beautiful 3 hour
train ride from Dublin- and walked around the city for about an hour
trying to replicate my sucess in finding a hostel. Eventually, with
help, I found the Linen House hostel, which is the closest hostel to
the city center and supposedly one of the cheapest in Europe.

At 10, I tried to find something to eat. but the only thing open was
mcdonalds. Embarassingly I ate there among about a dozen drunk 15
year olds (are they called chavs in Ireland?). One thing I miss about
the US already: sober 15 year olds. apparently there are none to be
found here.

My knowledge of Ireland is so limited that I only just now figured out
that it is considered the UK, and that they use pounds instead of
euro. Most places look like they will (unhappily) accept euro.

In the hostel, I met a few english speakers from Canada and austrailia
but couldn't convince anyone to go out for a pint. This is becoming
a familiar theme in my travels...

I ended up sleeping in a dorm-style room with a bunch of spaniards.
Now I am planning a walking tour at the nearest cafe.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Science of Sleep

Sleep schedule:  2:30pm to 11:30pm.  1:30am to 8:00am.  I read Neuromancer for the two hours in between.

I have a theory that it's much easier to acclimate to a different sleep schedule than it is to acclimate to a longer/shorter sleep period.  That is to say, as long as the number of hours you sleep at any given time stays the same, it's possible to shift the schedule back an arbitrary amount without ill effect  (shifting forward is much harder, but that's a different story).  I had two sleep periods of roughly 8 hours each, and I'm feeling perfectly adjusted today

This is why naps tend to ruin a full night's sleep-- Sleeping for two hours upsets the regular 8 hour sleep period.  Either you follow a strict polyphasic sleep schedule (e.g. Uberman's) or a strict monophasic sleep schedule.  Anything in between is really hard to do consistently.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Sleep deprivation

I'm trying to keep myself awake until my room is ready. They don't
let me check in until 2:00pm.

I'm a little too tired to come up with anything interesting to say.

Dublin (deux)

I've been here for four hours and I'm already adventured-out.  Fortunately, I've made it through the adversity and ended up at a hostel-- not the one I intended to end up at, but a hostel nonetheless.

It started with my flawed (but very sincere) desire to take the city bus into downtown Dublin.  With the way that airports are privatized here, there are about half a dozen airport shuttles that run (at the least) 6 euro per trip.  After the currency conversion, this ends up evening out to about 310 dollars.  The airport's signs are very misleading.  I found myself literally walking towards what looked like a city center when I saw other backpackers getting on a double-decker bus.  So, I followed them into what seemed to be some sort of two-story, dystopian nightmare on wheels, which somehow dropped me off right in the middle of Dublin.


But, I still had no idea where I was going.  And it was 6:00 in the morning. Also raining.  I stumbled around looking for something to do and eventually found a 24hour coffee shop full of Americans.  Like most places in the city, though, there was no wireless.  So I stumbled around the city looking for a connection.  I finally managed to get a signal on a weird industrial street corner where I put my bag down and sat homelessly underneath an awning.

Out of sheer luck, I walked pasted the Avalon hostel, which is the place I thought about staying once I heard that the Ashfield was full.  Assuming providence, I booked a single room for the night at the cool price of 30 euro (5882 dollars).

More to come.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


I made it into the city ok.

This plane runs Linux

Less than two hours until I touch down in Dublin. It'll be 5am local
time. What a thought!

Aer Lingus is a fantasic airline. Im on a brand new Airbus A330 with
screens in all the seats. It's a big, quiet plane with cool space-age
cabin lights and a startlingly attractive Irish crew. It's about 1/3
capacity, so I have plenty of room. The pinnacle of the experience,
though, was that I sat down to a Linux boot screen embedded in the
seat in front of me.

It's not all perfect-- The kernel runs a bunch of proprietary
modules. *sigh*

Just kidding. It's great. The only thing that might improve my
flight would be if the electronics store I tried to buy headphones
from wasn't closed for Yom Kippur. Only New York!

There is a man whistling

The Canadian anthem next to me in the airport. Either he's a real Canadian patriot, or he's getting ready to fake being Canadian for his vacation abroad.

I am apparently travelling so light that I have to get special approval from the airline. Go me.

Quick update

Im on my way out to get a train to JFK, but I figured Id check in
before I left in case the airport doesn't do wireless.

I'm in what is very likely the worst diner in new York-- the Galaxy
Diner. It's very reminicent of the Night Lite in Seattle but with
more haphazard space themes decorations.

Monday, October 01, 2007

By the way

I forgot to publicly thank Mako and Mika for being amazing hosts and for surrounding themselves with fascinating people.  I had a fantastic time in Boston, and I can't wait to be back.  Thanks!

New York Minute

It'll be hard to do today justice just by typing an ordered list of everything I did.  But here goes.

I woke up to an empty Acetarium (the coffee was still hot.  I think I just missed you, Mika/Mako!  sorry), packed my belongings (minus one.  Sorry, Cutie), and went out the door (I left it unlocked.  triple sorry).  I got on the red line subway (my CharlieCard was 20 cents short?  what even is that?) and got off at South Station.

The South Station has separate Train and Bus terminals which nicely segregate the bourgeois and proletariat into their respective modes of transport.  The Bus terminal is then further divided between the recognizable bus lines and the "Chinatown" buses.  Catering to an even lower transportation underclass, the "Chinatown" buses will take you from Boston to New York for 15 dollars-- and one of them (either the Fung Wah or the Lucky Star) leaves every half hour from 8am to 11pm.

I left Boston at 10:30, watched Star Wars IV, read some things about New York on wikitravel.org, and at 3:00 pm I was (once again) wandering around Chinatown looking for a subway terminal.  After a considerable time, I found one, and took the R train to Times Square.  Stand clear of the closing doors, please!

I'm not sure what to make of Times Square.  The first time I was there, I loved it.  Now, I'm not sure what it's trying to prove.  I suppose it proves that even bright lights can't make multinational corporations seem fresh and exciting.  I'm not sure why they feel the need to compete with each other in creating the brightest advertisement.  I think the most eye-catching ad in Times Square would be a plain black rectangle with nothing on it.  Then when you got up close to it, a man dressed in all black handed you printed instructions on how to leave Times Square.

I also went to the top (not really) of the Empire State Building.  It's very tall.  The observation desk is over 80 miles from the ground.

At some point after a walk around midtown and a cup of coffee, I met up with Micah and Biella at their apartment near NYU.  Even though they were busy (they'd warned me ahead of time), they gave me a very warm welcome to their home and their neighborhood.  Micah and I went out for okonomiyaki (okonomy god-i), sake, and (whoops!) falafel.  We cooled off with a walk around the roof of their building.  Then blogging.  Then bedtime.