Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

Today was the Virgin London Marathon, and I had to head into town to collect some Pompeii photocopies that a friend had kindly got her husband to bring across as he was coming to run. When I decided to stay the first panic was what about my stack of Pompeii images that I had carefully printed and photocopied over the last few weeks as an intergral part of my revision. You see my Pompeii exam has a gobbet question and there are all these images of wall painting, building plans, statues and photos that I need to memorize.  Okay, my first panic was that I wasn’t going to see Alex till May 16th, and my second panic was my stack of photocopies. Today I was reunited with my papers, and now I just need to annotate and memorize. Oh the joy!

I ended up having a bit of time to kill so I had a stroll around Tower Bridge, and took a few snaps:

The weather was fairly overcast and I only have my iPhone but I think they came out well. (Obviously not as nice as a shiny new GTI.)

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Greenwich Park

Posted: 04/17/2010 in travel
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Forgive the random photo at the end of my last post as I am still trying to get to grips with the WordPress app on my iPad. After being cooped up in meetings for what felt like days I really needed lots of fresh air and a good walk. So today mum and I headed to Greenwich Park for a wander around and a spot of lunch by the river. I’ve only got my old iPhone with me acting as life line to the outside world and camera but I downloaded this cool photo app called Hipstamic and it really jazzes up your photos.

My family moved to London when I was 8 or 9 and we lived 10 minutes from the best park in the whole of London – Greenwich Park. There are deer, flower gardens, old trees that Elizabeth the 1st played in, and plenty of spaces for having fun. There are also the most amazing views of London. From the hill at the top of the park you can see the Thames meander around the Docklands and beyond, the Maritime Museum and the Naval College (as was).

London

Posted: 04/17/2010 in Navel gazing, travel
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I am currently trapped in London along with a fair number of my colleagues (and everyone else trying to depart this fair isle). I guess when the powers that be decided to schedule vision days they didn’t see as far as Iceland. A volcano goes poof in Iceland and the aviation industry grinds to a halt. Is this chaos theory or simple cause and effect? Honestly I think this is all being staged by meteorologists as part of their plan towards world domination. The last year was dominated by economics and economics, and this year it is the turn of weather and meteorologists (note- not weather-persons from the telly).

It’s a pretty surreal situation to be in. I see no ash yet it is there. Dancing in the atmosphere and keeping me from going home. But at least I can stay with my mum so I don’t have to worry about hotels though I would like to get home so I can spend some time with Alex before I go on exam leave in… wait for it… London!

I birthed a 2,000 word essay on neighbourhoods in Pompeii yesterday. I know that is a regular sized essay but there was a lot of reading and throw in some traveling and a cold, and it turned into my Moby Dick. Whilst I’ve had it hanging over head I haven’t felt at liberty to really blog about anything other than quick updates so my mum knows that I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth. Though given that we email through out the day, IM, Skype and she follows me on Twiter there is little chance of that.

So, I went to London a few weeks ago for some much needed respite and I saw three great plays. The first of which was a revival of Six Degrees of Separation at The Old Vic.  Now Six Degrees is a quintessential New York play based on the real life account of a con man who tricked people in NYC into believing that he was the son of Sidney Poitier. I was a bit worried about its reception – would it still be relevant? But, from the conning of wealthy New Yorkers (hello Maddoff) to references to Catcher in the Rye to the children of the conned rolling their eyes at the stupidity of their parents, and the issue of race it hit the button every time.

It is an excellent production (loved the Rothko inspired set) with an outstanding ensemble cast and I have a weakness for when the fourth wall is broken.  I just wish our audience had been a little livelier, and got a few more of the jokes (Dean and Deluca is a store full of condiments for the wealthy to gift to each other!). The male lead is Anthony Head (of Buffy fame), and I thought it funny that in the program blurb that runs through all the accomplishments of the cast for Head, Buffy is separated from the rest of his TV credits with this qualifier ‘Anthony appeared as Rupert Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a critically acclaimed US series’.  I am guessing that either Head is super proud of Buffy, or he was worried that London theatre goers would not have clue what Buffy was and worry that he had fallen on hard times in the 90s (after his run as the Gold Blend man).

If you are in London it is definitely worth catching it during its run, and thanks to Kevin Spacey’s direction The Old Vic is one of the nicest theatres in London. Though I might be bias because our cheap seats in the gods were upgraded to the stalls. They must have known that I am huge Buffy fan!

Good

  • Getting to mooch around the Art Institute of Chicago and Millennium Park taking photos
  • American Gothic – the city is crazy for it!
  • Architecture River Cruise was fascinating but freezing
  • TWers are a fun bunch
  • Enterprise 2.0 key note speech was surprisingly interesting

Not-so-good

  • They don’t call it the windy city for nothing
  • Not enough time with Alex which was compounded by us flying out of different airports
  • Didn’t study enough *sigh*

It is always fun going back to the UK. Whether it be a flying visit trying to cram in as much as poss or just lazying about the old ancestral home. The last visit was the former. In five short days we managed to walk down memory lane in Manchester (or rather ride the number forty-two bus along Oxford Road) and attend a wedding, see all our parents (and a pseudo step parent) and a sibling and a cousin, catch up with an old work mate in London, fit in two shows and a very good lunch.

It has been a while since I took the Virgin West Coast from Manchester to London, and WOW what a change in service. Plush seats, digital displays instead of the flimsy paper tickets for indicating if the seat is reserved or not, power points on the tables and water closets that resemble daleks. Hand on heart I walked up and down the length of the train looking for the pokey beige grey toilet door, that usually was to be found at the end of each carriage. I thought I was going crazy, until it finally clicked that the purple party pod with the flashy lights was what I had been searching for.

I managed to drag Alex to two plays in London (within less than twenty four hours of each other, poor boy); Richard the Second and A Few Good Men. I really don’t know what to make of Richard 2.0, I left feeling rather ambivalent about the whole shebang. Its modern dress and machine guns reminded me of the Broadway production Julius Caesar (not good). Either I didn’t get Spacey or I didn’t care for Richard. I kept waiting for the Verbal Kint energy, but it never came. The staging was interesting, mixing it up with video feeds and footage. But, it felt in parts that it was trying too hard to be minimal. Ben Miles stood out, can’t quite see Joey taking on a role of that magnitude. The rest of the men in grey, well merged into the background. But, that might have been the point.

Who knew that A Few Good Men was a play? And what a smashing show it made. The Sorkin dialogue is snappy and peppy. The set design are inventive, with the naval maneuvers superimposed on the legal/court room action. Men in uniform climbing ropes, men dropping from helicopters, good stuff! Rob Lowe was dashing and charming as the rookie lawyer, he seemed genuinely happy to be there and as you’d expect is comfortable with the Sorkin dialogue. The rest of the cast were fabulous, and there was a very late sub for Lt Jack Ross (John Barrowman, opposing council). I didn’t get his name, as he was drafted in at the 11th hour and did a magnificent job. I just wish the “you can’t handle the truth” bit could be done like a pantomime!

tales from the city (part one)

Posted: 09/27/2005 in travel

I am not sure if I left my heart in San Francisco, but I certainly left plenty of shoe leather behind. Let’s just say that in the past fortnight Alex has managed to out walk me and out read me. It was fun kicking back and being a tourist (I nearly ate my body weight in clam chowder). We rode the trams, chow’d down at Bubba Gump Shrimp and visited Alcatraz. Watched the bread being made at Boudin’s, and ate in their excellent bistro. Marched through the Golden Gate Park to the Japanese Tea Garden, which was a disappointment (but not as pitiful as the so-called Shakespeare’s Garden). A tad too commercial, and not very serene as it is surrounded by noisy construction. I dragged Alex to the Fine Arts Museum, only to discover that the actual collection was not as extensive as the website had led me to believe, but it does have one of the best museum cafes I have ever frequented. To give our feet some respite we took coach trips out to the wine country in Sonama/Napa and the giant redwoods in Muir Woods. We skirted over the hippy part of town, and made a bee line for the Metron Centre instead.