Saturday, March 26, 2011

How I Mastered Airport Security

Right, I'm slow at posting, I know. Which means I have a lot to talk about (especially when my usual rambling is factored in) but for now, how about the trip from two weekends ago: Dublin, Paris, and Prestwick. Yep, three cities, one weekend, all transfers on planes. The title, I assure you, is true.

By the way, Prestwick is a town in Scotland, which is part of the UK. If you don't know where Dublin or Paris is, I beg of you to take a geography course.

Alright, that being said, Prestwick was the last stop on our journey, so you can forget about it for now. The first stop was Dublin. To be honest, I rather expected it to be a lot like London except a bit smaller and with different accents. I mean the UK and Ireland are quite close, right? Well, I was wrong. The best example I can think of is asking for directions in London versus in Dublin. In London if you ask for directions (which okay I haven't done because I hate doing that even back in the states) people will generally help you unless they don't know or don't have the time or don't speak English. In Dublin you don't ask for directions. Instead, you begin having a conversation with someone you're traveling with about which way you think you should go and a Dubliner eagerly jumps in and gives you directions. Or multiple people do. All in all, people are very friendly.

In Dublin our main agenda (there were four of us who went on this weekend) was to eat lunch in a pub and have Irish stew. Which we accomplished. And also brings me back to the friendliness of Dublin; we were the only ones in there (eating lunch at 11 = abnormal in Dublin) but the lady was very friendly the whole time and towards the end, two police officers came in and said hello to everyone in the pub (by then there were some other people), including the four of us. Besides the pub, we wandered around the main bit of Dublin and then got on a bus to try and get back to where we were supposed to meet the shuttle to the airport. We got on a bus going the wrong direction. Which was interesting in itself, if you ask me. We got to see more of a residential area. And I got to observe that Irish ambulances look a lot like United Kingdom ones, bright yellow. Yeah, probably not interesting to anyone but me...

Eventually, however, we got back and ended up heading for Paris. Oh, and you thought they spoke French in Paris? Well, actually the do. But most of the signs are also in English! I feel as if we've dominated the world. Although I can't tell if it's British or American or Australian or New Zealand or... whatever kind of English. Anyway, we got to our hostel rather late after going on the French tube (where I had a game of guessing how the next stop would be pronounced; usually I was wrong. My French extends no further than ABBA's Voulez Vous). Needless to say, we crashed as soon as our heads hit our pillows. Keep in mind we had woken up at 2:00 to catch a plane from London and then spent the day wandering Dublin.

The next day, one of the girls in our group who had spent a month is Paris before, led us on a tour. First we went to a really high church to look over Paris and then walked to the Moulin Rouge which was actually very near our hostel. From there, we went on the tube and started a route through Paris where we got to see the Effel Tower, the outside of the Lurve, and Notre Dam as well as other gorgeous things I have no idea what the names of are. A lot of them are in my pictures that are on Facebook but I won't bore (or confuse you with my recollections). After Notre Dam, we got back on the tube and headed to the place where we were supposed to meet the airport shuttle.

Now about the tube in Paris versus London. There are no saxophone players on the tube in London. Despite everything else, I think that makes Paris beat London on the underground. London tube carriages are quiet and everyone does their own thing. Paris has noise; people get on to play music for tips. I can't in the slightest bit see this happening in London.

Alright, after Paris was Prestwick meaning we were back in the UK (and had to go through UK's border control). We probably spent the least amount of waking time in Prestwick and yet I'm pretty much in love with the town. It's a LOT smaller than the other cities we saw but it's still definitely not Gilbert. There were actual houses visible, not just flats and apartments but there were also businesses and at least 3 pubs down the main road. Crowded pubs too! We ended up going in one and listening to karaoke (adults doing karaoke too, not just University students). We stayed in the cutest guesthouse and the next morning three of us went for a walk down to the sea (did I mention it was right by the sea? No? Well, I ought to of) and I got to walk along the beach a bit. It didn't feel half as rushed as London but there was still life to it, people were outwardly friendly (versus London where their all quite reserved), there was no need for driving and yet there was room to walk and space out a bit. Honestly, if I had to chose somewhere in the UK to live, it would likely be Prestwick, at least from my limited scope at the moment.

Anyway, that was a short summary of our crazy weekend trip and keep in mind, we went through all of this on budget airlines. So every trip except the flight from Prestwick to London was an international flight meaning passport stamping and every one required going through security. Thus the title because trust me, I am now an expert.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

In class today, I heard a lecture about how Americans have taken over html programing with out own words and how we need to spell color as colour. Honestly I can't help wondering if it's simply a pronunciation difference. In the States, most people pronounce color with an "er" type of sound rather than the more "or" type of sound used for words like "your" and "pour" so maybe the spelling changed to reflect that? It certainly holds for behavior/behaviour and rumor/rumour. I don't know. I think perhaps I should refrain from any theories pertaining to languages and spelling. I was always horrid at spelling.

On a slightly more entertaining note (at least I should hope more entertaining as spelling was always one of those subjects I wanted to fall asleep in), we went over to Greenwich as part of British Experience Seminar on Friday (and it was assignment 5 too, just saying). We took a boat there in the morning where there was a voice over the loud speaker pointing out things as we went, including where the Mayflower launched and another glimpse at the Tower of London (I have got to get there sometime; I've read too many historical fictions involving the Boleyn family not to).

When we were there, we went up a huge hill to the Royal Observatory which sounds really thrilling and there was a very pretty view of the city from up there but overall, I found the Queen's Gallery (also called the Queen's House) more interesting because even though it's now an art gallery, I like old building's like that where I can try to imagine how people would have lived in them when they were first built. Granted I'm not sure how often the Queen was actually there but they probably had someone people there at all times to keep the grounds and such, right? And it's such a huge, maze of a place. Anyway, a few of us went to the Queen's House after we went through the National Maritime Museum which was interesting I suppose and made a bit more fun by the fact I had just finished reading Treasure Island for the first time. Pirates always make seeing boats more entertaining.

After that, we went around to cute little shops and things until late afternoon and then came back on the DLR (Dockland's Light Railway). To be honest, I had to look up what DLR stand for just now because I keep remembering it as being Driver-Less Rail because there's no driver and, being unable to figure out what DLR stood for when I first heard it and being me I made something up. Funnily enough, my version has stuck better than the truth. I wasn't a big fan of the DLR but that might be because as a light railway, it's more flexible and we ended up standing on one of the bendable points in the carriage, which basically meant we were standing on a circle on the floor that creaked as it moved about from side to side while the walls around us kind of got shorter and longer, especially around curves. It was fun for about a minute and then I started longing for the tube or buses. We got off on Canary Wharf, went upstairs to Tesco (grocery store) for a bit and then went to the Canary Wharf Tube station to get on the Jubilee line (which is the most robotic tube line every if you ask me since it has these doors at the station that a come open at the same time the doors onto the tube do; a very Camazotz feel to me and if you can catch the reference I applaud you.

We've now been to a church service for Religions in London (one of my Central classes) and it was at part of the Church of England, one of the more Evangelical churches (since they range from Anglo-Catholic to Evangelical). It was a lot like the E-free church at home and yet a lot different too though I think a lot of the difference was that it was smaller. There was less than a classroom full of people. I beginning to think, however, that going to the pub after church is a bit like going out for Sunday brunch after church back home. I think I may have to go to more church services to tell for sure but that's the way it seemed at Hillsong as well when I went there.

Anyway, hopefully I'll post on Monday after this weekend. Three cities in three days, not counting London of course.