Thursday, June 2, 2011

I'm Baaaaaack.

My 3 country Europe tour has ended and like most vacation's it's very bitter sweet. The last few days of the trip we're slightly marred by needing to come home and prepare for a second round of interviews (remember that job I was hoping to hear back from over a week ago? I heard. It would appear that they didn't hear quite enough to make a decision so, off to round 2) for a potential job. The stress of that plus the weight gain from eating copious amounts of bar food and beer and the sheer fact that I'm about 4 shades lighter than I was when I left made a return necessary, if not slightly welcome. 

So, since jet lag decided to only NOW show it's self and I'm wide awake at 5 am (11am London time) I figured I get the highlight reel out of the way!

Only my wonderful United States of America can take traveling and then spin it in a way to make you deeply frustrated, slightly confused, vaguely violent, and absurdly exhausted. I understand the obvious needs for security- I'm a huge supporter of the Second Amendment don't get me wrong, but did I feel any LESS safe not getting told down by the immigration officer in, say, England, because I dared to write I am a resident of the United States instead of the Cayman Islands? Listen folks, I'll take off my shoes, be ushered through the line of the weird body scanner thing by creep TSA agents over people who look far more questionable, get my work out balls swabbed (thats a real thing), be questioned over a flute (also a real thing), freak out a small airport because my metronome started ticking in my bag (kinda get that one) all with a smile grimace on my face but really? When I'm coming into my country. WITH my United States Passport that TELLS you I was born in this country. With my blonde hair, very American complexion, spotless criminal record, history of voting republican, blood type, ect. This? Now? Is the juncture in which you feel it best to grill me? Good stuff.

During my little stint there it had better weather than Florida and days as sunny as a Caribbean Island. Between the history, the people, and the gazillion things to do I literally can't pick one thing I loved more than the other there. I got around 48 hours there but I didn't need much more. I don't just love London, I want to L I V E there.

Ireland was a mixed bag for me. I had HUGE expectations for what I wanted out of Ireland and most were met but some, I think I had the wrong idea behind. For example Dublin is fantastic, but once you've seen one old, highly rated pub, you've almost seen them all. Where we made the mistake was only taking a day trip out to and through the country side. On our way to the Cliffs of Moher we saw these amazing little towns, and stopped in one and had this mind blowing seafood chowder. Heading back to Dublin we passed through another town that was home to Durty Nelly's pub and realized then we should have been staying in these different small towns. Ireland's history blew me away, and so did the people. When cab drivers are that great to you, you know you're in good shape. When we left Dublin and the plane was taking off, it was amazing to look out the window and see this patchwork quilt of different greens as far as the eye can see. Aside from the occasional bone chilling cold, Ireland is a truly incredible place. 

I figured I was going to die and go to heaven when I got to Cannes. I did not. It wasn't the language barrier. It was the people speaking the language. We both believed that in terms of the crazies, Florida was king. We we're both wrong. Where you might have to dodge homeless people weaving in and out of traffic trying to sell you a news paper heading down Kennedy Blvd. in Tampa, you couldn't do the famous French al fresco dining in France because of the near creepy stream of people coming up and needing something. I'm not trying to minimize the plight of the homeless, not even close, but I was in Cannes. I expected a few straggling movie stars to be left over from the film festival. The city was so expensive, I figured for the sake of appearances they might have done something to temper the homeless problem. I was wrong. Call me spoiled, but my beach kicks their beaches ass. Plus, my beach doesn't have N-E-K-K-I-D people all over it. Or topless. Both equally unwanted. I'm still holding out hope for Paris as I've been told the city has a little more history and things to see, but if it happens to take a while for me to ever get back to France? Eh, I'm cool with it. 

Discount airlines are great and all, but Easyjet hold a special place in hell. Aer Lingus is fine, just remember you only get 1 bag and to sit in the exit row. It's not like a normal exit row, its around 2.5 times the the width of an average exit row and totally worth it. Avoid viscous hangover's when flying (or in general). Food on airplanes, and I'll give a special shot out to British Airways, is actually good. Speaking of BA- I highly recommend that, if you don't find yourself in Premium economy, Business class, or First class, haul you and your partner to the back of the plane and snag the 'twin seats'. They are slightly wider and there are only 2- leading you to not have to deal with any strangers and their weirdness.

Charge up a Kindle and an iPad and somehow you will make it through 8+ hours of flight. However, be careful with your Sony noise canceling headphones: you will use them heading one way and they will not work heading the other. Regardless of how long and correctly you think you are charging them, they do not have instructions and, although they kicked ass on the way over, will really end up letting you down. 

To conclude, this was my first time over seas and I have nothing to complain about. I see why kids take whole semesters places, and feel like I honestly missed out in college by never doing that. Regardless, I finally got to go and I'm so happy for it. Knowing the costs associated with a good time and how much I want to go back, lets all double cross our fingers and toes for another good interview tomorrow ok?



"French? Huh?"


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