Sunday, August 14, 2005


So...after a long journey home...I've been working 8 hour days ever since! Which is why there has been a delay in posting my photos. Anyways...they're now up...but they're not all labled...becasue I started to get board with maybe later tonight I shall finish. So, without further ado...go here and see my picures!

Hope all is well with everyone! Cheers!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

2 continents, 8 airports, 1 car ride, and 65 hours later...

...I'm home! It was hell trying to get back, but I managed to do it.

I got to Edinburgh airport (#1) no problem and my flight to London Luton (#2) was fine. Getting the train to Gatwick (#3) proved to be a bit difficult because it only ran every 45 minuted that early in the morning. So by the time I got to Gatwick I had missed getting on the flight to Cincinnati, so I was immediately put onto the standby list for Atlanta, which left in an hour. I didn't even get through security, so they told all of us to be back at 12:15 to see if we'd make it on the next flight. Keep in mind that at this point I'd been up for 25 hours, because I never went to bed. I shuffled my butt around for an hour and headed back up to check in to see how my luck would play out. Then they called my name!! I was able to check my back, get my "seat request" card (which is such a tease, at this point I just really wanted a boarding pass) and go through security to the gate. I stood at the gate for 45 minutes, and I didn't get on! They then told us all to be back at 2:45 to try our luck at the next (and final) flight of the day.

So I made my self comforable and got to chatting with a few of my fellow non-revs. As it turns out, most of them had been trying to get back to the states for about a week! Not only had they tried going through London, but also through Berlin and Barcelona! They also mentioned that today was the first day that they actually saw a good number of non-revs actually making it onto flights. I reassured them that I felt good about the next flight, mostly because it was only oversold by 5 people, and that my fresh blood would prove to be good luck. Around 3pm out judgment came in the form of a Delta employee holding a stack of boarding passes and walking towards the group of non-revs that were sequestered into the corner. Praying that she'd call my name we waited...first person...damn...second person...shit...thrid person....I don't even think she butchered my last was awesome! Not being able to wait to see who else got on...another employee pushed me towards the last customs check point and the gate. I sat down in seat 29F and felt so lucky to be there. I then saw both of my other non-rev friends make it lady even got into business class...which I'm sure she fully appreciated after sleeping on the terminal floor for the last week. After being delayed for a bit...we were finally off! Two movies, one bad airline dinner, and 9 hours later...we landed in the good ol' US of A!

At the Atlanta airport (#4) it was chaos! After getting through was about 8:45pm...and I didn't have a clue what time the next flight to SFO left. I quickly looked at the boards...and there it was SFO 8:50 *NOW BOARDING* Realizing the flight was at gate A27 and that I was in the E terminal I quickly hoped on the train was off like a mad woman. Once the train stopped at the A terminal I sprinted all the way down only to find that the plane was gone and the gate was deserted! Back to the boards...I realized there was a flight to Oakland at to that gate I waited in line only to be told by the lady that since I was scheduled to fly into SFO, she couldn't change my ticket and that I'd have to go all the way back down the terminal to the reservation kiosk! AHH!! I ran down there and was told to get on the phone...which I did...I quickly told the guy my situation, and he was just about to put me on the list when he said the computer wouldn't let him, it cuts off 30 minutes before the flight leaves...I only had 25.

One deep breath later...I started to look at all my options. Oakland and SFO for the next day were oversold...Sacramento - oversold...Reno - oversold...San Diego - same story. Desperate to get back to the right time zone, David (the reservation guy) suggested Las Vegas. Initial thought...why is that going to help? He reassured me that I didn't want to be in Atlanta, as everything was booked solid. My best bet was to fly to Vegas tonight, catch an early flight to Salt Lake City, and they try my luck there. So at 11pm (exactly 24 since my journey began in Edinburgh - and with only an hour of sleep since then) I was off to Sin City. As soon as I sat down in my First Class seat I was out! I don't even remember taking off from Atlanta, and I only woke up when the pilot notified us of our descent into Las Vegas. At the airport (#5) I shuffled my butt to the baggage claim to see if they had redirected my bag. After standing there for a good amount of time I went to the office to see what was up. It was now after 1am and when the lady looked up my bag she said it was at SFO. She then looked at me like she was sick of dealing with people and asked "What are you doing here?" My response "I'm flying standby." And with that one word, her expression not only changed to one of understanding, but also one of obvious sympathy for the hell I had been through that day.

Now I had to weight my options...find a hotel, or sleep in the airport. I almost slept in the airport because I knew I had to be back at 6am for my 8am flight, but after realizing I hadn't gotten any decent sleep in 48 hours and that I was in my nice First Class clothes that I had to keep seemingly nice for my next days' travel, I got into a taxi and went to the Comfort Inn. After getting some food and a shower I sleep for about three hours at which point I woke up to a gorgeous sunrise. I threw on my clothes, grabbed my backpack and got a taxi to the airport. I checked in, went through security, where they made me put my scone through the x-ray and they wanded my coffee, and went to the gate. I got to sit in First Class again for the short flight to Salt Lake City (airport #6, I believe)...and when I landed I felt like I had made no progress because I actually lost a time zone! I realized I was too late to try to make in onto the more open SFO flight, so I tried my luck at the Oakland flight. Even though I was number 10 on the wait list, by the time they closed the door, I was the next person to be called! SO CLOSE!

Back to the reservation kiosk...I got on the phone at weighed my options for the rest of the day. SFO - oversold by 1; Oakland - oversold by 5; Sacramento - oversold by 3. Getting sick of the whole routine, I tried Reno as a last resort. The next flight was oversold - big surprise, BUT the one after...27 seats open! Thinking I didn't hear right...I asked her to repeat herself. No - I heard right. So I got on the waitlist (number 8) and preceded to shuffle around the airport for three more hours. I met up with a couple who were in my same predicament trying to fly into Sacramento. I mentioned Reno as a possibility, and they jumped on the banwagon. Sara and Justin were hanging out with Justin's father, a pilot for Delta, who was very helpful at getting our flights situated and finding a good place to eat lunch. At 3pm, we finally got our boarding passes and boarded the plane for the short 1 hour 30 minute ride to Reno (#7).

After we landed I said my goodbyes to Sara and Justin and wished them a safe drive over to the Sacramento area, and I preceded outside to a freak thunderstorm and my mom. We drove home, stopping to get food for a very hungry and out of sorts Katie along the way, and two hours after getting home, I was out...and I slept for 12 hours. My mom woke me up early this morning and we hopped on the rode for the drive to SFO (the 8th and final) airport to pick up my bag. Flying as a non-rev, they wouldn't deliver it to my door. I made it home at 1pm this afternoon, and after crunching the numbers that is 65 hours since I began in Edinburgh.

The flying was daunting, but I took it all in stride, because of my awesome travels I had before then. The whole experience was great, and I can't wait to do it all over again. Back to the real world of laundry and work tomorrow.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Edinburgh in a nutshell...'s awesome! Day one was spent walking around the city and exploring the castle. The castle was super touristy, but I was able to see most of it with not being too annoyed. I saw the crown jewels of Scotland, which were cool because they were actually hidden in the Castle for years before anyone thought to recover them. I accidently went in the exit of the room where they're dispayed, so I didn't have to queue! Day two was spent walking a bit more and then going to see the Palace at Holyrood, the offical residence of the Queen in Scotland. I thought it was kind of small, but I did see the room where Sean Connery was knighted. I then went and saw Eric's show. After that we hung out, got a bit to eat, and drank a bit. The next day other (lighting) Eric and I climbed Aruther's Seat which is this really cool mountain/rock outcrop in town. It's hug and once we got to the top, it proved a bit windy, but the 360 view of the city from the mountains out to the ocean was unbelievable! We made it back just in time for that afternoon's performance, which ran a lot better then day one! Eric and I then met up later for dinner and after we met up with everyone for a night of drinks and merryment, in whic hI just returned from and I have to leave for the bus station in an hour in order to catch my 6:101am flight! There's no way I'm going to miss it this time, becasue I'm not even going to sleep!

Thinking back, this trip has been amazing. There has been the ultimate disappointments, like missing my flight and Dublin just not being what I expected, but there has also been amazing surprises, like Edinburgh and the hospitality of the people I've met along the way. I almost wish I could stay in Edinburgh longer, because I'm feeling settled with my friends here and the Fringe hasn't even offically started yet! But that's life, and I'm very much looking forward to when I come back. I've learned a lot about myself, especially that I can travel by myself, which has not only been eye opening, but also very much liberating. I highly recommend everyone travel by themselves at one point, becasue while doing so I have experienced so much freedom. Anyways, I shall right more when I get home. I'm really sad my trip must end, but we all must return to reality eventually, and being optimistic...I couldn't think of a better place or a better way to end my trip then here. Talk to you all from the other side of the Atlantic. Cheers!

Monday, August 01, 2005

I'm in love!

No...not any boy with a hot accent, but with this city! It is the most gorgeous city I've ever seen. I had trouble finding Eric, so I hiked up the hill near the castle where there was a hostel and bed waiting for me. Turns out the hostel is right across the street from the castle and I made it up the hill just in time to catch the last gorgeous rays of the sunset. I then went to a little pub down the street that had a special hostle menu (I got a burger for 2 quid!) and washed down my meal with a nice guinness. I then made it back to my hostle and was checking out the lounge area in which I ran into an Aussie named Peter who just moved up here for a job from London. It wasn't Peter that caught my eye, but rather the gorgeous building that sits right outside the back window and is all light up and surrounded by the purple haze of the evening light.

Not only that, but I totally feel like Edinburgh is the place to be in August. Not only is there the Fringe, but there's another arts festival that they just call the "Festival" and there is also a big military gala throughout the whole month with traditional song and dance called the Tattoo. This city also loves its tourists, with a nice tourist center downtown, and also the people are so welcoming. I was walking along the street and this old man made sure I knew where I was going and that I didn't have any questions. Everyone is so approachable, which was awesome after the long day of disappointments I had. Anyways...I'm going to take a hot shower and go to bed. Peace!

12 hours later...

...I'm in Edinburgh. Missed my flight this morning...damn alarm clock didn't go off! I managed to get to the airport 35 minutes before my flight took off thanks to an awesome cab driver; however they had just closed boarding and no matter how many times I asked, there was still nothing they could do. I just know if I had a camera crew in tow or if I cliamed my gradma died I probably would have been able to swing it, but I don't play that way. So I caught the next flight out...8 hours I spent a lovely day exploring the Dublin Airport...they actually had many amenities to make my stay there enjoyable, so it really wasn't that bad.

Once I got on the plane I passed out! I don't even remember falling asleep and 30 minutes later I awoke to the Captain notifying us of or desent. At least the flight was short. Fly in was gorgeous...the sun was shinning and everything was so green! Edinburgh is the coolest city ever! There are big grand building popping up everywhere and the main castle....kicks ass! They built it on a huge rock in the middle of the impressive, they were definately thinking.

Anyways...I'm off to go hunt down Eric and the gang...I found out where they're living...but I have no clue as to a room number. C'est la vie! Looking forward to my last few days in Europe - top of my to do list: hit up the castle and catch some good shows at the festival! Cheers!

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Just what the doctor ordered

Aran Island was amazing!!! Everyone who's anyone should venture on out there when they're in Ireland. The people, the isolation, and the beauty was amazing! I finally got there around 7:30pm on Friday and checked into a nice little hostel right on the harbor. I then treated myself to a good dinner of shepard's pie (love those meat and potatoes) with a nice Irish Coffee (thank's Dr. Ben - I think the whiskey did the trick). I then walked around the little town while the sun was setting. The island is full of old ababdoned buildings covered in ivy and over grown with trees and cows, which made me feel like I was in a sleepy little oasis. I then walked up to a pub that was suppose to be a happening place where a Nice Irish boy named Danny called me over and bought me a pint. A night of fun pursued in which a lot of Guinness was consumed and I met Ryan (the Canadian), Owen (the Yank), Johnny and Brian (the Irish boys), and Yvonne, Caotirna, Jo, and the cute blonde girl with a pink hat whoes name i absolutely can't remember (the Irish girls). The night ended with cheeseburgers and curry chips (something they definately need to start providing in the States) at the chip hut.

The next morning I woke up really thirsty, so I drank lots of water and then Ryan and I rented bikes and rode around the island going to Dun Angus a fort built around 1100 BC on the edge of a cliff. We also went to some castle/lookout on the highest part of the island which actually was quite destered and looks like no one has been keeping it up all summer. Climbing up to the top of the tower provided stunning views of the island, Galway Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean. We then headed back to town, where Ryan was glad he could just coast all the way into town down the hill instead of peddle. We then needed a place to stay becasue we didn't book a room and being the Bank Holiday, the island was full, so we asked around and heard of this non-liscened B&B on the harbor that may have room. We asked...and sure enough..two beds left! Kinda pricey...but better than sleeping with the cows! Another night of fun insued, and I left the island this morning after a traditional Irish breakfast of bacon, sausage, and eggs - with a side of grease! Just got back into Dublin. I'm still a little congested, but my sore throat is gone. Off to Scotland tomorrow morning! Wish I could go into more detail about my trip, but time is short and internet expensive! Cheers!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

It's fockin' pissin'...

English's rainning...A LOT! I woke up this morning to rain...and it hasn't let up since. But being from the Bay Area...rain is nothing new to me, so I decided to brave the weather...even though I'm feeling a bit under the weather myself...and get meself a pinty of Guinness at the source.

I made the trek to Trinity College along the way and saw the ancient Book of Kells....very cool. It's 4 books of the New Testiment written over 1000 years ago my four monks who wrote it on dried calfskin and elaboratly decorated it using various inks and colors. The college was really cool as well...saw thier bell tower...which the refer to as...the Trinity Campanile!!! Thier ugliest building on campus is know as a concrete photocopier and is actually called the Berkeley Library. (It's pronounced BARK-lee not BERK-lee) Outside of this library they also had a futuristic looking sculpture of a mechanical looking ball...sound familiar? Like the recently erected sculpture at Berkeley on Oxford and Center?! Well that's becasue it was done by the same artist and my tour guide actually mentioned the one at Cal (after confusing us with stanfurd initially) and said there is also a similar stature at the Vatican. I found all the similarites quite amuzing...but the best part...if you're a undergraduate scholar at the college (ie, you're on a scholarship) get free Guinness every evening in the Dining Commons! If I knew this four years ago...I may not have gone to Uni in the states!

I then headed to St. Patrick's Cathedral, but only spent a short time there becasue I realized it was getting late and the Guinness Storehouse closes at I headed over there. The self guided tour was awesome! You don't actually get to go through the factory...the Storehouse is more set up like an exhibition in which they take you through the whole process and history of Guinness! Did you know hops was actually used in Ancient Eygpt to treat liver disease and that yeast is actually very nutirous and good for you! To that I say, "A pint of Guinness please!" The tour was topped at the fifth floor bar with - what else - a free pint of Guinness, as well as stunning veiws of a very wet Dublin.

It's awesome traveling by myself, becasue I basically get to do anyting I was, but I feel like somethings are more memorable in the company of others. I thought I'd make friends with fellow travelers at the hostel, but as it turns out, many of them are actually in Dublin looking for jobs and are living at the hostel on a more permenant basis. Since Ireland is part of the EU anyone from another EU contry can work here and since Ireland speaks english you often find people from Italy, France, etc here to work and learn english. Right now I'm the only one in my 14 bed room that speaks english and is from the states. With my ventures west tomorrow to Galway maybe I'll have a different experience.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll feel better (a sore throat in bothering me) and I'll get some sunshine!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

A walk in the park

So I spent today walking around Dublin...and when I say walk...I mean it. I think I logged around 10 miles on my feet today as I walked all the way from the hostel, across the river, around Temple Bar, and then all the way into Phonix Park, the largest city park in the world that's over 700 acres big! I saw the President of Irelands resisdance...which closely resembled the white house, however it's actually located in the it is surrounded by nothing but serenity.

Tomorrow will be spend at St. Patrick's Cathedral, Trinity College, the Old Jamison Distillery and of course....the GUINNESS STOREHOUSE!!!! Hopefully I'll still be able to stand by 5pm!

I'm loving Ireland, and I'm planning on making a trip out to Galway. Supposedly that is the place to be this time of year due to the Galway Races (a 24 hour party) and of course I'll have to take a trip out to the Aran Islands...home to Ireland's richest archaeological sites going all the way back to the celts. County Galway is also supposedly the most authentic place in Ireland as many of the residents still speech Irish.

Dublin is great, but I can't wait to see more of the country! Last night in the bar every Irish chap in there was making fun of me becasue I'm American, but I told them that I know they're just joking, becasue my family makes fun of me the same way! Now I know where you all get it's that Irish blood.

Sorry for the brevity, but my internet is running out. Dad - sorry I'm not answering your questions. Mom - read your email! :)

Talk to you all soon!