Sigh

Ok, it’s 11:43pm on a Friday. A few free seconds to post on here!

Yes, we are back home and in our apartment still. Tomorrow is paint day. We have some wonderful people who have volunteered to help out and hopefully we can put a big dent into our workload and get all of the living room, dining room, stairs, hallway and master bedroom done tomorrow. (Crosses fingers) We finally decided on colors Thursday night after trying out 7 different samples(!!!!) and we are pretty happy with the choices.

I took a bunch of “before” pictures yesterday and will post up them along with the “after” pictures when I get on here again.

Needless to say we’ve been spending every spare second at the new place to get it ready for painting. Once we get this part all sorted out we have to start packing up for the move which will be on June 23rd. We hired movers because we are lazy and don’t want to break our backs again like the last two times.

Alright, time for sleep.

Cheers

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In Paris!

Hi everyone,

Just pounding out a quick update from a shady internet cafe in Paris. We are fine and having a good time. Our luck with the weather appears to be running out as clouds rolled in today and there were light showers. Saw the Eiffel Tower today and we are going to try going up when its less busy. It was a long weekend in the UK so there were more tourists than usual.

Anyhoo, we are planning to visit Versailles and a few other sights before we fly out to Toronto on Friday. While leaving Europe will be sad, I am eager to use Canadian currency again!

Cheers!

Oxford

Yesterday Jo and I took a train out to Oxford and wandered about the town. One thing I am happy about is that we look so localized that people kept asking us questions they wouldn’t ask if they knew we were tourists… like, “Sir, do you need dental insurance?” Uh, no, I’m Canadian. It’s also funny that Jo and I keep mumbling, “Stupid tourists” as people slow down in tight high traffic areas and block everyone trying to leave the tube stations.

Oxford was brilliant and the weather eventually decided to play nice. The day started overcast and chilly but the sun broke through in the afternoon and warmed us up a bit.

The high spots for me were drinking in a dank enlgish pub and eating Indian in England and saying, “As hot as you can mate” and then downing the whole plate to their amazement. Still having trouble with the whole food costs in pounds… but we ordered a large ring donught for desert that was a cross between a huge bagel and a chocolate icing donught from Timmy’s. Mmmmm.

Anyways, we are off to the British Museum today so that should be fun. We are hoping to meet up with Kim who is letting us stay at her place this week for dinner and drinks which should also be a good time.

Tomorrow we leave on the Eurostar train for Paris. No idea if we will be able to get internet there so this might be the last post for a little while. I will try and post some more details and hopefully pictures once we arrive in Toronto.

Cheers

Update from London

Hi All,

So, as I said earlier, Jo and I have arrived safely in London, but it wasn’t a “smooth” transition. We took the Picadily line from Heathrow to Paddington Station and crawled up the stairs and down the street to Cravin Hill to the Hyde Park Premier London Hotel. We were promptly informed that there was “a problem.”

The staff explained how there was a problem with the electrics in the rooms and we would not be able to stay there that night. They offered another location and said they would get a taxi and cover all expenses for us. The problem was that it was way out in Zone 4 and our Oyster passes for the tube only cover Zones 1 and 2. We explained this and said that this solution was not acceptable for us.

They then put us up in the Comfort Inn Kensington and it was definitely closer, but a bit of a step down on the quality side. The deal was that would we stay there for two nights, after which the problem was to be sorted and we could return to the other hotel.

During our time at the other hotel we managed to get out to see the Tower of London and St. Paul’s Cathedral. Both were very interesting and visually stunning.

Yesterday we switched hotels and found something interesting. While the look and style of the Hyde Park location were supperior, the functionality of it was lacking. There was a towel rack in the bathroom that warmed the towels… the problem though is that it is extremely hot and burns at the touch. There is no way to turn it off and it is hard to avoid bumping into! Not cool! Also, the lights don’t work unless you slide you keycard into a special slot by the door. Never seen that before anywhere. There was a fridge provided, but it didn’t cool worth a darn and it produced a ton of heat for your trouble! I ended up unplugging it. The air conditioner didn’t go below 18 degrees, which really ended up heating the room rather than cooling it! Sigh. We liked the cheaper location better! 😉

Anyways, we are now living at our friend Kim’s place in Chealsea near Sloane Square Station. It is a very nice neighborhood and the flat is very nice.

Alright, that’s enough for tonight. Using borrowed time on Kim’s flatmates lappy so this will have to do for now.

Cheers!

In London

So Jo and I met up successfully at Heathrow and have found… a hotel room… I’ll explain when I have more time.

Anyways, limited internet as we are in cafe. Love to everyone and hopefully I can post some more later!

Cheers,
Mike & Jo

Growing Into It

So this little town of Flensburg has some quirks, but I’m starting to get comfortable here. The one thing that drives me batty is how things close down early. I guess its the same in Richmond, but at least on Sunday we have the mall open. Here Sunday makes the main drag a ghost town. I’ve never been in the shopping area on a weeknight before 8pm so maybe they have some stuff open til 6? I dunno.

One thing I really like is that there are so many places to eat that are NOT franchises! Classy decor and original layouts and menus every night. While I do feel sometimes like coping out and grabbing a burger from McDonald’s (the Royal T == Big Xtra… and the fries come with mayo by default!), it is very rewarding to find a hole in the wall and get a quality meal and a half liter of beer to wash it down. 😉

I went out for dinner tonight with the intention of getting real food again and avoiding McDicks and Subway. I was frustrated cause nothing I found looked that interesting. All I wanted was a steak and a bier, but reading menus is tricky when they use non-basic words. Anyways, I ended up at another Italian place and ordered a super spicy pizza and a Pils to wash it down. Super good. They even had those pickled green peppers on the pizza. It was a good time all around.

I wish I had a bike here cause then I wouldn’t have to rely on the cabs here so much. It’s about 8.50E from my hotel to where I’m working but the company is going to pay for it so it doesn’t matter much. The trouble is almost none of the cabs do Visa even though they are supposed to. They claim their swipers are “defective.” Must have all been made in the States. Anyways, I was worried that I was going to run out of cash and the banks are all closed before I get home. Worse yet, the access to the banks’ bank machines requires a bank card with a smart card chip in it, which I very obviously don’t have. Luckily, I ran into a random bank machine pole (serious, it’s a huge pole in the ground with Geldautobank written across the side (or something like that). I saw Geld and Auto and figured, “This looks promising.” Sure enough, my CIBC debit card worked and I got out enough funds to cover food and my cab to Hamburg in case Visa fails me again.

Work has been ok, but I’ve been working fairly long hours. I’d say I’ve been averaging 12 hours a day with the max hitting 14 on my first day here. The testing isn’t very hard work, but doing it in a way that is useful and organized requires a vigilant eye and quick fingers. The operators of the test equipment like to turn stuff off when you don’t want them to, or start before you are ready which causes you to have to restart the whole thing. I did about 10 hours straight of it today. When people ask you questions about what you did during that time though, you’ll find that all of it mushes together and you have to look up what you wrote earlier and hope it has enough detail to spur your memory!

Jo has told me that she has gone into our new house and started removing the crown molding and and floorboards… What was surprising that she started the process by just pulling at them with her fingers. Apparently, the previous owners had never heard of glue or screws or anything other than tiny useless nails. Oh well, makes our lives easier cause we hate the stuff. We are going to repaint the walls and then put up some better looking trim.

Anyways, I just spent 30 minutes long distance roaming with my office in Vancouver just now. I can’t wait to see my phone bill when I get back. Thank goodness it’s a company SIM card!!!

Cheers,
Mike

Photos from Flensburg

I posted some pics from the town on Flickr. Check em out.