Wednesday, April 23, 2008

St. George's Day Festival in Pinner

I am not sure what St. George really did, but in this case, the festival celebrates the slaying of a dragon. I think it's a little like July 4. People carry around flags and there are related flag kits you can buy to be more patriotic.

The main feature of the Pinner festival is a wheelbarrow race that involves running with the wheelbarrow, drinking beer, and then running some more. This is the first-place team taking an early lead.

Lots of people are gathered in the high street. Pinner is a very traditional looking town, with many of the white and dark-wood pubs and shops from the 15th/16th centuries.

Contender for the 2028 race.

St. George is now St. Georgine!
People also do traditional dances on the high street.

We missed the dragon contest, where little kids can dress up as dragons. This might have been a better choice for the little wheelbarrow racer since it's more for people in his age range.
Copenhagen and Malmo

Last weekend I went to Scandinavia. It's a cute area, but boy is it expensive. I couldn't believe the prices, but then I read that Denmark is the 2nd most expensive country in the world. Everyone was really friendly and good looking, and after the first evening, the weather was pretty nice.
Copenhagen Opera House

One friend asked if I'd see a lot of windmills. I thought he had the wrong country, but apparently he was so right.

Tivoli Gardens- like a tiny, ultra-cheesy version of Epcot.

Turning Torso in Malmo. This is the tallest building in Scandinavia.

Saturday on one of the canals. The weather was very nice and everyone was crowding the cafes and the waterfront areas.

See more pictures here - Scandinavia Pictures

Monday, April 14, 2008


My trip this weekend was amazing. I can't recommend Morocco highly enough. The only real downside I saw was the food. I didn't mind it but after a few days it does get to be a bit monotonous. My friend and I ordered a salad, which has lots of little dishes like you get in Korea when you order kimchi. I am pretty sure I ate sheep brains! I do really like the little pastries and the vegetable soup, though. Plus you can get a fresh-squeezed glass of orange juice for about $.40!

My Riad (a house with an interior courtyard and terraces)
La Koutouba (the main city mosque in Marrakech)
Ouzoud Falls
Majorelle Gardens
Marrakech Museum

More photos here

Monday, April 07, 2008

Snow Day

Yesterday it snowed and I went to a baby birthday party.

View from my apartment

Babies like to play with pink paper. I think he liked it more than the present itself (clothing- not a baby fav).

The baby and I are pals (with the parents looking on)

Foozeball finals- I lost in the first round girls' match. The championship boys' team won by one point. Sigh. While you can't see it from this view, the baby was not so much into the finals. He started to cry and had to leave the room because it was too intense for him.

Sunday, April 06, 2008


This weekend I went to Slovenia. It's an amazing country- lots of gorgeous alps surrounding the area and pretty lakes and streams as well. Ljubljana is a smaller city that seems pretty laid back. There isn't the rush to see things there that I felt in other areas.

My Hostel- Hostel Celica- it used to be a prison. Now the cells are individually designed and I stayed in one.
Metelkova Area graffiti- my hostel was in this area of town. It's mostly the teen/alternative area. Everyone looks like they are wearing clothing that people in my high school wore in 1993, complete with the Converse All-Stars.
Church on an island in Bled lake, a small town outside of Ljubljana.
Triple Bridge in Ljubljana

River in Ljubljana

Slovenia Pictures - click the links on the left side to see the rest of the pictures

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Sabbatical Has Ended

So I have been delinquent in posting on this site since I haven't done anything at all exciting recently. Now that the third term has started, I will be traveling weekly and should have something to post on a fairly regular basis.

Tomorrow I head out to Slovenia for 2 nights and will be staying in a converted prison. Then the following week I go to Morocco and since there is no English spoken/understood there I will need to brush up on my French. I can read French with little difficulty but it's hard for me to pick out the right language from my repertoire when trying to figure out what to say.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I think I've Figured Out Nagasaki's Bus System

I was pondering why the hell anyone would think ending public transport from 9-10:30 was a good idea. Who goes home at that hour on a weekend? Now that I've experienced the London drunk bus system, I get it. London is a)flat and b)has not discovered all-you-can-drink, so the puke potential is relatively low. I am sure there there is some puking potential calculator the Japanese transport systems use to decide when to shut down. Basic factors to consider in all towns-> average nomihodai start time, average # of drinks consumed per person per hour of nomihodai, time at which puking potential is reached. From here, you calculate an average bus ending time that guarantees the buses will remain puke free. However in Nagasaki, half the routes are puke-worthy even while sober so when you calculate that in it's like one 2 hours of nomihodai-ing before critical puking mass is reached and the buses must shut down for fear of being overrun by puking salarymen. Average bus end time = 9:45.

This, however, doesn't explain the trams ending at 11 or the ever popular Beer Tram.

I think London should run an experiment and run a Beer tube on the Picadilly Line from Heathrow- that tube is pukeworthy even on a good day and seems the most likely to have people wearing really strong fragrances on it, for some reason.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Umbrella Death Count = 2

So far I've killed 2 umbrellas here in London- one of them wasn't mine. Whoops! I guess this is better than my Japan record where I killed 2 in 15 minutes, but really you can't feel too bad when you are spending like $1-3 a pop. I think the one I killed today was $1 max.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Regent's Canal

Regent's Canal links Little Venice to the Thames. I went from Camden Lock down to Islington- away from Little Venice. One day I will go the opposite direction to Little Venice. I got harassed by some kids on a balcony on the way- great parents they had.

Lots of birds.

Crazy retro-futuristic apartments.

St. Pancras Lock

Some strange circular structure with the dome in the back that's the new St. Pancras Eurostar terminal.

Nice place with boats.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

I was just thinking

My salary in Japan was about $32K a year. The student budget here for 9 months is $28K. Scarcely 3 months in, people have torn through the first $14K and are broke. This is a bad, bad sign. Meanwhile in Japan I managed to save from $500-1000 a month and it is supposedly so expensive. What was I missing? Apparently the UK- no wonder my British friend was in awe of how cheap Japan was. Granted my high-end apartment at a whopping $550 a month would probably be cheap anywhere- and the average of closer to $375- my god wouldn't that be heaven right now. I'd take $550.

However, I'd miss central heat- but you know law school in Japan would be fun, right? My classmates would love nomihodai- such a deal after roughly $7 per pint when you can get a nomihodai for 3 hours at 1000 yen, or sometimes a girly rate of 800 yen for 2 hours.

I miss Japan.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Dear London Airports,

Please uniformly change your carry-on policy. The one only is going to make going home a real pain in the ass because I have so much stuff and that means only my laptop. While I recognize that you aren't going to go the Rome Ciampino route and allow an unlimited number of carry ons of gargantuan size (the woman in front of me at the security check had not two, but FIVE bags total), one normal-sized carry-on and a personal item would be fantastic.
Happy New Year!

I didn't get to go to Belgium, but no matter. Despite having bronchitis, I rushed around London with a friend and saw quite a few new things. I could probably live here for years and not see everything though-
The Tower of London. It's expensive to go in but worth it. We spent about 3 hours inside but I think you can spend longer if you have more time. We were there close to when it was closing and already dark so we couldn't take as many pictures as we'd hoped.

Inns of Court- this is where you live and learn to be a barrister. People training to be lawyers join an Inn and then have to eat 12 dinners at the inn with barristers from the inn, maybe. There are 4 inns. It seems much better than the US system, if you ask me. I want to join an inn and eat some dinner.

Once you join an Inn, you can go here to the Royal Court of Justice- which was featured in Bridget Jones's Diary 2. We were too cold to see her apartment and the fight scene area so I guess this was our Bridget Jones lore of the day but I WILL see her apartment before I leave London.

This is the inside of the Globe theater- it was insanely cold and windy so luckily there are no shows in the winter. Maybe when it gets warmer I will attend one though- God knows I will have tons of free time with only 2 days of classes per week.

Westminster Abbey interior- it was a very cool church. I felt like it had a lot more to offer than the Italian churches but maybe the literature was better for this than it was for the Italian churches and more importantly the heating was good so you felt inclined to stay in for a while. St. Francis' Basilica was pretty awesome though, despite needing a parka to stay in.