Saturday, 17 September 2011

Day 5: (insert creative tagline here)

First of all, let me get this out of the way... GO BLUE, BEAT THE EAGLES!!

Alright, I feel better now. I've got the radio feed of the game going on my computer, but unfortunately, I forgot my charger at the office yesterday, which is now locked so I'm SOL until Monday. Thankfully, I was able to finally get my iPad settled on the vodafone network so I've got plenty of data and all that. Only problem is Apple has a stick up their butt about flash so my hopes of using my iPad for watching football or even listening are pretty much shot.

Let's see, I guess I'm a day behind now so I'll start with Thursday evening. After work I went out to dinner at the mall across the street, had a pretty good burger and then decided to do a bit of exploring. The area behind the mall is basically an extension of the mall, more shops and restaurants, but on one level and without a roof. Beyond that I found a couple streets with some really interesting grafitti (see the facebook album for the rest). After that I came back to the hotel and crashed.
Yesterday when I walked into the office I saw a couple guys closer to my age who I'd never met. It turns out they had just start working this week so they are even newer than I am. Most of my day was spent wandering around meeting people in the different departments (IT, finance, new overseas operations, etc). I was basically just learning what the non-type approval part of VCA does so I can see how I fit into the grand scheme of things. The rest of my day was spent trying to figure out what work I should try to get involved with in the next couple weeks. Didn't really figure out anything new, but I did meet Nick Clay, who I had been speaking with a bit before I left. He's the one who set up my hotel reservation, and is organizing some IVA work for me to do next week. I explained what that is before, right? Right. Well so far he's the only person at work who's expressed interest in meeting up with me outside work. We're going to meet up at a pub (or, as he suggested, Hooters if I'm feeling homesick already) for dinner tomorrow evening.

After work I ended up feeling pretty lazy. I don't know if I'm still recovering from jet lag or if it was just being drained from an exciting week, but there you have it. I picked up a pizza on my way home, watched some Rugby World Cup highlights (New Zealand beat Japan 105-7 or something like that) and a couple Pink Floyd documentaries (gotta love the UK for that) and went to bed kinda early.

Today after I woke up I went down for breakfast, saw it was raining and decided to stay in for a while. I read for a couple hours in my room, and when the rain wasn't showing any signs of stopping I figured if I didn't ever go out in the rain while I'm here I'll never see anything but my hotel room. I made it out around 1 pm and walked for a couple hours, more or less getting lost, but still managing to make it to the areas of town I wanted to see. I found the St Mary Redcliffe Church, which is quite nice, though not really what I've come to expect of an old European cathedral. Maybe I'm just spoiled by the ones I've seen in Paris.
I think it looks rather British as far as gothic cathedrals go...

Yo dawg, I heard you like cathedrals
so I put a cathedral in your cathedral
so you can pray while you pray.

If you are lost (looking at you parents) type "yo dawg" into google.

After that, I made my way towards the old downtown and harborside areas. The architecture here is an eclectic mix of gothic and modern styles, though at times the juxtaposition could be quite off-putting (please try to read this sentence imagining me looking down my nose at you :-P). In the queen's square there was some bicycle get together going on and there were a couple guys riding around on these double bikes. Not a tandem like you're probably imagining, but a double tall deal which basically consisted of two frames welded one above the other. I have no idea how you get on the thing, but riding it looked easy enough. I didn't get a picture of it because my camera was acting up, but I did get a picture of the square on my way back.
Kinda reminds me of the diag, but with sweet lighting

I found a sports bar to sit in for lunch, caught the end of the Blackburn v Arsenal football game. Blackburn won 4-3 if you care. I had a yummy chicken sandwich and a couple Strongbows and read for a bit before venturing back out into the rain. After getting my bearings, I headed back to the hotel to try and figure out how I was going to follow the UM - EMU game and as I mentioned, settled on the radio feed. Unfortunately it's lagging pretty horribly right now so it's stopping to buffer every 10 seconds or so. The game is pretty well in hand now, so it doesn't really matter. Sounds like it's been pretty ugly anyway.

So I guess that brings you up to date. Looking forward, my weekend travel plans are starting to fill in a bit. I found out today that Katy from my study abroad last summer, who is now in the air force, stationed in Germany, has weekends off for the next couple months. I think we're going to try to meet up at least a couple times while I'm here. We may go to Paris and/or Pontlevoy next weekend to say hi to Julien, the guy who ran the restaurant across the street from the abbey and fed us almost all of our meals. The next weekend we'll be meeting up in Munich for Oktoberfest, thankfully Katy already has a couple rooms booked that Jon and I should be able to squeeze into. The weekend after that I believe I'll be meeting up with Megan in Seville for a trip to Portugal to do some surfing. So that should keep me busy until 15/16 October (yup, the European brainwashing continues) leaving me with 2 weekends until the parents get into town and we meet up in Edinburgh. I'd also like to work in a trip to Belgium to see Sebastien and Janna, our former exchange students who, conveniently for visitation purposes, are now dating and living together. Katy mentioned that she'd like to go to Brussels, so maybe we can work that into that weekend as well. Other places on my list are London, Totnes, Italy and Amsterdam.

It has just come to my attention that Michigan just won, so this seems like as good a time as any to go hit up a pub for a beer to celebrate.

Tentatively excited about being 3-0 yet again... Bring on the Aztecs!

Goodnight and GO BLUE!!

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