Thursday, January 29, 2004

A Quick Brief on James' Travel Plans

Hi Everyone,

Just a quick brief of what I’m doing and planning on doing....

Ok, firstly, I’ve been working at the schools and at the pub at the same time. I've seen snow blizzards, and been caught in one too.

In Mid March I plan to go to Hanover, Germany for a week for a trade show for Etechgroup back at home. Then spend a few days in Berlin, and then travel back to London for a few days to sort out travel plans and other things.

I’ll then fly to Lisbon, Portugal, where I will begin a big trip across to Athens via other countries(including visiting Jana in Slovakia in August). This trip consists of Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Czech Rep, Poland, Slovakia, Austria, Italy, Croatia, and Greece.

I will fly from Athens to London to Melbourne late October back home, in time for my brothers wedding. Jana may or may not accompany me depending on finance, visas, etc. I will stay at home for two months, for my birthday, Xmas, new years and summer weather!

Then, finances permitting, I will fly back to England after New Years to work till my holiday visa expires.

After that I travel through England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, fly to Egypt, Cyprus, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Lithuania/Latvia, St Petersburg, Moscow, Russia, Tran Siberian railway down to Mongolia, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand,, visiting my sister in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia then getting back home by the following xmas 2005.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Things I miss and the BETT show

G'day all,

I say that because I fear losing my Aussie accent having been in this place for so long! Streuth, it's been nearly 5 months since I’ve left Oz. Time has been flying...

How I miss summer. Having left at the end of winter last year only to enter another colder one in the UK is really getting to me. I miss having long summer days where it didn't get dark at 4pm, the sunshine instead of the dark grey clouds that never seem to leave...

Actually I’ve compiled a list of things I miss (during one typical rainy afternoon). In no particular order:

· My guitar (I miss playing one. People tell me when you travel you are bound to bump into people in hostels etc who have one. I have not seen once since being here! In any case I’m in the process of buying a second hand one for 10 pounds - that's how much I miss having one!)
· My bed (in fact my whole bedroom, having a queen size comfy bed surrounded by TV, stereo, computer and all manner of electrical entertainment equipment guaranteed to induce vast amounts of radiation on me when I sleep).
· My much-loved trademark black overused well-abused overcoat.
· Dim Sims (Oh how I miss thee! No one knows what I’m talking about when I refer to them. No sign of them in fish and chip shops. Just some green thing called Mushy Peas that looks like slime. )
· Chicken Satay Noodles from the Magic Monkey Noodle Shop in Russell Street (something that some people at Etechgroup occasionally treat themselves to at lunch.)
· Vegemite (though that has been resolved having bought some from the local ASDA supermarket)
· Carlton Draft Beer (in fact many beers like Crown, Cascade, VB etc...)
· BBQs (I'm dying for the taste of a barbequed chicken wing with tomato sauce, downed with one of the above mentioned beers.)
· Mums Xmas turkey (which is stuffed with special fried rice, a kind of "east meets west" sort of thing).
· Mums cooking (never thought I’d say this but I miss homemade Chinese food!)
· Mum and Dad
· Long conversations with Dad after dinner about things, from his life in Vietnam to what movie to see next in the cinemas together.
· My car – Toyota Corolla CSI Ltd Ed, Maroon, 1993.
· Painting (or attempting to paint)
· Fire twirling
· Having a "few" drinks at my best friend Dan and Mary's house.
· Friends and Family (though this really goes without saying)
· The beaches at Lorne/Anglesea
· My pet rock at Spud's house (the one with the goatee and bubble eyes - the rock I mean, not Spud)

Anyway, a quick rundown of what I’ve been up to in the last month:

As you know I’ve worked in the pub and got some good bar experience that I’ve always wanted. I'm still working there now actually, on weekends and some weeknights after working at the schools. Jana is also working at the pub, having come back from Slovakia. We’re still together in a secretive sort of way.

I also went to London for a week to man a stand (actually 3) at the BETT show (British Education Technology Trade Show) to promote and demonstrate the Etechgroup StudyWiz Extranet system. We were set up in the Connect with Australia Austrade stand, the AT Computers stand, and most impressively, the Apple Computers stand. It's quite a sight to see the big apple symbol on the wall, underneath appears the words "Online Education", underneath that the word "StudyWiz", underneath that the word "Etechgroup". Anyway we generated lots of interest, made heaps of new friends and contacts (In typical Aussie fashion we on the Australia stand with other Australian companies had to play Frisbee with each other in the middle of the show - just can't get away from our sports now can we?! Lots of fun, though I don't think the surrounding exhibitors were too impressed when the Frisbee came flying at their heads but oh well...)

Got to catch up with Emily and Iain, who I took out to a Thai restaurant with some Argentinean wine, the next night they made me a lamb roast with French wine. Then the next night went to a Etechgroup dinner function at a French restaurant with Tasmanian Wine. Don't you just love multiculturalism? The nightclub we went to that night was a shocker, it was underneath the French restaurant, and it was filled with really young people, it was dark, and you could smell marijuana all over the place. We only stayed 5 minutes, which was too long in my opinion. I think the most funniest thing that happened though was getting drunk with my boss at etechgroup and 3 representatives from the Tasmanian Government in a small 4 star hotel room after raiding their mini bar fridge, singing along to mp3s on a laptop and fighting over which song to play next!

Saturday, January 3, 2004

Pub work at Xmas

Hi all,

Merry Xmas and New Year and all that...

Below is a link to photos a friend from the Contiki tour put up. Have a look, there are several photos of me in different states of intoxication and half of the places I went to see.

Xmas has been quite a busy time for me. I found some work at the local pub called the Wishing Well and it's been interesting learning to pull pints and serve food. I reckon this would be useful experience for when I might look for work during my travels, as it's easier to get work when you have bar experience.

I've worked through xmas eve, Xmas day and boxing day etc to keep myself from boredom and also because I couldn’t spend xmas with family. But people in a small town are wonderful and I was invited by two families to spend Xmas with them after work! So it all was well in the end.

Jana is spending her Xmas in Slovakia - she'll be back in two weeks. And yes we are now together, though to avoid gossip in this village that we live in we're trying to keep it secret from the locals.. I guess the heart won.

BTW, I’m annoyed to have missed the Concorde landing/last flight, seeing I was only a few km's away from it in Filton in Bristol. I mean, travel thousands of km from Australia to Bristol only to have to miss it. Grrr, blame the guy I had to run his class for while he went to a meeting (and happened to see it fly by twice as a result!)

Had quite a cultured week last week, seeing the school's musical "Grease" being performed which was pretty good, and saw Handel's "Messiah" at Colston hall in Bristol (Halleluiah! Chorus you might recognise it).

Will be in London from Jan 6th to 10th manning a stand at the BETT show in London (British Education Technology Trade Show). So Emily, Martin, etc who happen to be in London or nearby if you want to catch up for a drink etc then email me or ring me..