So, Beau and I had a good time in Edinburgh. We both helped out at Confusion, which was a good way to make ourselves approachable. There was a bit of gentle ribbing about importing Kiwis to run the Con (the Coordinator of the whole thing is a Kiwi).
The Con was different to the ones I've attended in NZ, mainly because a largish portion of the attendees were not roleplayers. A fair portion were card gamers, there for a WoW or Yu-gi-oh tournament! Also, there were several sessions of LARPing, all small and not very well attended. Several of the people I talked to were more than a little disparaging about it!
Things that I though were awesome were the location having a bar with hot food available and the geeky, Geeky pub quiz at the end of the night. There was much cursing of a certain smallish scotsman currently in NZ who wrote one of the more difficult rounds. One of his questions was "What is the greatest movie ever?" It totally depended on how well you knew him!
Something else which I thought was neat, was that the con has a 24min rpg writing competition. This was judged by the celeb guest D. Vincent Baker (Dogs in the Vineyard among others) who was a lovely guy and sat next to me during the pub quiz.
Oh, also, they had a charity auction! Cereal. One of the things they auctioned off was a Cthulu underwear set (g-string and briefs). A few girls bid on that to give it to Mytholder. Other people bid to see the look on his face when he was presented with them (in case you are wondering, Mytholder did not attend the auction and they managed to keep it a secret from him until they presented them) They raised a bunch of money. Yay!
Edinburgh is a gorgeous, gorgeous city. Particularly in spring with the flowers etc everywhere. Basically the whole of the city centre is a world heritage site and it makes me feel a bit funny to know that the "New Town" is 250years old!
Unfortunately, there was a wicked cold snap shortly after we arrived and I came down with a cold that I am still attempting to rid myself off. I have developed my usual horrible cough and can not wait to sleep in my own bed (only 2 sleeps away).
Because of the cold and my cold we didn't do as much stuff as I and Beau would have liked ie, no night tour, no castle, no walking to Arthurs seat. We did manage to go to the Edinburgh Zoo on my birthday (awesome! I have pictures on facebook) and drowninghail kindly gave me a birthday present. We also managed to have dinner out with our kind host ajax and Pixie (I'll call her that 'cause she's small and energetic), a long time friend of muggle's and my caught the train and joined us.
It didn't really feel like my birthday, cause I didn't see any family, most friends etc. The various e-messages were nice, but not the same as real life encounters (and presents ;p).
We're back in Ireland now and counting down until we can move into our place. Mytholder kindly gave us his own bed for a night when our hostel of choice was booked out. Loving that guy!! He's also introduced us to a bunch of other people and does tell some awesome tales.
Beau and I have this new thing. Now when we meet Irish people of around our age or older we *must* ask them about learning Irish and "Peg" (sometimes they don't understand us and think we are asking about Pigs. weirdos!) You must try this yourself. Is so worth it :)
Point of Fashion: warm as possible
Current Obsession: own place soon. Also, I'm an idiot for leaving my hat on the bus
We are safely ensconced in the house of the hospitable ajax_nz in Edinburgh, Scotland. He has wireless broadband, much downloaded entertainment and a large flat screen tv. We need only leave to eat and meet people ;)
Beau and I are here primarily for Conpulsion, a scottish rpg con. The object is primarily to meet people (gamers) from around the british isles. Beau and I are crewing both days of the con. We will both get a free t-shirt! Morgue has already hooked us up with a party to attend tomorrow. We shall.
The weather hear is colder than that we have experienced so far in Ireland. Like Ireland, there are many spring flowers here. I have informed Beau that when we return to NZ I shall be spending a fair amount of money on bulbs to plant as I love the copious amounts of daffodils and crucuses found here. Also, bulbs are good in that you spend heaps on them once, but that they come back year after year. Awesome.
Edinburgh is pretty much awesome to look at. Multiple layers of old looking buildings surrounding a castle on the hill. Tomorrow we shall be doing touristy stuff. Today we stayed in pjs until almost noon. Ok, *I* stayed in PJs until almost noon, the boys were dressed before 11.
Beau was here a few years ago and visited with Morgue at the time. He is full of places we must go and facts from the Terror Tour he went on. I want to go on a Terror tour!!! Maybe after the con.
Beau told me I had to have Irn Bru, the traditional scottish soft drink. I think it tastes like Creaming Soda and that Sokky would like it. Beau thinks it tastes like fizzy bubblegum with a nail dissolved into it, but he remembers it from years ago and his memory may have exagerrated it in that time.
Time for us to go out and shop for dinner.
Point of fashion: as many layers as possible
Current obsession: Shoji screens
So I set off today for the parade with my woolen coat on and some shamrock pinned to my collar. It was cold and crisp, like it has been pretty much every day we've been in Ireland, but it didn't look like it'd rain (unlike every other day).
Those of you who are good Catholics, or just informed about these sorts of things will know that the Church actually moved St Patrick's day this year to Sat 15 of March, 'cause the Holy Week (week leading up to easter) is already all booked up, but 17 of March was still the day of the parade.
People have been getting geared up for it since we've been here with shops all decorated with Irish flags, shamrocks and leprechauns. On the radio on our way to Galway the DJ was getting people to text or email in things about what St Patrick would banish today now that the snakes are gone. One of the main things was a town which apparently always has traffic jams delaying traffic trying to pass through it for a good few hours. It was pretty silly.
On my way into town I saw several groups of people in green with "Kiss me I'm Irish" novelty ties, green glittery shamrock headbands, or like me, with a bit of fresh shamrock pinned to either a hat or coat. Heaps of people had those large "jester" type hats in green white and orange and a few people had green spray painted hair. A highlight for me was a pair of boys in Big green hats and fake orange beards! Go the leprechaun outfits!
The parade was to start at 12 and I walked in nice and early and secured myself a nice spot next to a family of redheads with a good 15min to spare. At 12 regular traffic was still going passed and the Gardai (police) had only begun to erect some barriers for people to stay behind. By the time the parade started at 12.30, the street was packed and my little group who had waited so long were quite annoyed at those who were late and kept either standing in front of us or pushing passed us to cross the road.
There was the regular sort of thing, the marching bands, the kids martial arts group, the mayor driving by in a classic car, foreign community floats etc. Then there was what made it a St Patrick's
Special "Irish" floats (ie "floats" not seen in NZ) included a group of kids boxing, 2 large groups of hurlers (junior divisions, they were all only about 1m tall!), a bunch of kids marching along playing recorders and whistles, a large Polish contingent, a Traveller group.
There was a large group that all seemed to be part of a street performers club that did this bit with trees being attacked by fire (including a fire-breather) and then the fire being put in place by a group on an olde style fire engine. They were possibly my favourite, although a few kids were frightened by the actual fire.
After the parade I wandered a bit around the mostly closed town (it's a public holiday here) and grabbed some food. Went back to the B&B we're staying at (http://www.clochardgalway.com/) and had a chat with one of the hosts. I watched a bit of hurling with him. It was the finals for the club nationals (i think?). He didn't think much of the parade, said there'd been better. I still liked it.
I've since been up in our room, sorting through the many photos we've taken. I have an album dedicated to the parade! There is still much more sorting to go as almost nothing has been done with the Thai pictures.
I won't be hitting the pubs tonight. It's not something I enjoy doing on my own. Beau is working until tomorrow morning, and then we head back to Cork. I've really enjoyed our time in Galway. It's a really cool town. Beau and I spent yesterday doing some of the tourist stuff (St Nicholas' church, Spanish Arch, Nimmo's Pier etc) but we didn't take any pictures as the camera was flat and we didn't realise until we went to take some (d'oh). We've already decided that we want to come again though, some time when Beau *isn't* working all the time.
Tomorrow we head back to Cork, to finish sorting out arrangements for moving into our new place (sharing an apartment in the middle of town) and to meet a friend of Morgue's. Then we're off to Edinburgh for a week of sight seeing and a weekend of RPG (well, I don't actually plan to play that much, I'm going to be on crew for the Con and plan to "network").
I'm not sure what our internet will be like in Edinburgh, so I may not post until after that. If you do spot me online on gmail or on skype, feel free to say hi!
Point of Fashion: Granny's Birthday
Current Obsession: hot shower
Just downloaded skype and shall be off on a search of an ok headset soon. Anyone else using it? It seems the cheapest way to call home. (Is free to call other people with skype, is cheap to call landlines etc)
You don't know what I'm talking about?? www.skype.com
If we can figure out how to make our digital camera work as webcam then we can even do video calling. Lots of the europeans in the hostel do this.
Oh yeah, we are both now in Galway. Beau is off working ridiculous hours for ridiculous pay. We got the flat I wanted in Cork, but can't move in until April. This isn't as bad as it might seem as we are going to Edinburgh for a week next week, so can't really move in until 26th at the earliest anyway.
We are currently staying in a BnB which is nice. Gave us *lots* of breakfast and I was still kinda full from my dinner last night. I must say that I quite enjoy black pudding. They have free wireless here, so if you see that I'm online, feel free to chat with me, esp in the next 24 hours or so as Beau is at work and I am at a loose end (feel free to picture me doing woogly "spagetti arms").
Tomorrow is Beau's birthday. He'll be at work for most of the NZ 16/3 but won't be so busy in the Irish 16/3. We were thinking of going on a tour of the neighbouring area (cliffs of moher, aran islands etc), but the likelihood is that he won't finish work early enough. Looks like we'll have to visit Galway again!
Point of Fashion: Can't wait to buy new clothes
Current Obsession: Skype
Quite a busy day for us today. Beau got called to work, 3 days in the next week. Literally *days* as the shifts are 21-24 hours long! One is on St Patrick's day which is a public holiday here. He is being compensated accordingly and we will be spending 4 nights in a BnB in Galway during which time Beau will be working and I will be wandering around aimlessly.
We saw two possible flats today. Both were nicer than the ones we saw on the weekend. We have increased our acceptable price, but it is totally worth it. I don't want to talk about my favourite as I might jinx it! I could probably do a whole post about the ones that we've turned down though (range from seedy - dirty)
I also emailed a bunch of recruitment agencies yesterday(Sunday) and one called me this morning. I was pretty much shocked as I'd been told that the Irish don't call you back, no matter how often they say they will. Anyhoo, I went in and was tested. There was a woman in the room who had started the testing before me. She was seriously stressed and kept talking to herself. She was quite freaked out when I finished way before her. I talked to her a bit and possibly reassured her?
I tested pretty well, word 93%, excell 93%, typing 65wpm (up 5 from last time) 100%accuracy. I'm waiting on some referees, but they were pretty enthusiastic about getting me work. Yay!
All Irish people that we met today have commented on the weather and how bad it is. It has rained a fair amount, but mainly has been cold and very windy. Storm warnings abound and roofs have blown off houses. Beau and I are unfazed as we are from Wellington!
Touristy stuff: Yesterday we went and walked around St Finbar's Cathedral. It's gorgeous and we will be going back at a time that it is actually open to go *inside*. Today we went to the Quay Co-op, which we thought was going to be an alternative market/foodcourt of some kind, but was actually a lovely vegetarian cafe/restaurant with delicious cakes. If you visit us in Cork we will take you there for foods! We also walked through the "English Market" which was a market although not overwhelmingly english. There were several butchers and fresh produce places and we will definitely go there to shop. Our hostel the Bru Bar and Hostel is pretty cool. It's owned by 2 Kiwis and an Irish. I had a small world moment yesterday when I realised that I knew one of the Kiwis working there. We had been in the same student hostel in Otago.
We both have cell phone numbers now. Email me if you would like the digits.
Point of Fashion: work clothes that are not wrinkled
Current Obsession: finding a home
We have arrived in Cork. It is nice to have showered and slept in a bed after over 30 hours of not having done either. Also, I came down with a terrible stomach flu while in line for checking in for our flight from Bangkok. Which was also delayed by over 3 hours.
I am feeling better, but felt touch at go about flying for a while.
It was pretty much horrible and they only good thing I can say is that after my 13hour flight I felt better getting off the plane than when I got on it.
Current Obsession: What to do?
Point of Fashion: My outfit that puts least pressure on my stomache
A couple more awesome highlights.
We were taken out last night on a dinner cruise on the main river in Bangkok (I forget the name and can't be bothered going upstairs for the lonely planet). It was awesome! The food (buffet) was plentiful and good. They had a band that was fine, but best of all was the amazing view. This beautiful new bridge, the Grand Palace, Wat Po and (my personal favourite on this trip) Wat Arun all lit up and fabulous.
This morning at breakfast I was given a ring by a family friend. It surely must fall under the label of family heirloom as it was her great grandmother's. The one who used to live/work? at the palace! It has a variety of stones inserted the whole way round so cannot be sized, but it fits perfectly on the middle finger of my right hand. I'm basically stunned and amazed that this was given to me.
Shopping is *not* a highlight, but we went to Pratunam today. It's such a pain buying clothes in Thailand. It seriously makes me wish I was an 8-10 rather than a 12-14. That seems to be the equivalent here! However I did buy too work suitable black skirts and I did *not* get the largest size! Amazing! On fun side, if I was doing another burlesque show, there is a section of Pratunam that has the perfect clothes, all spangly and small. I bet the drag queens all shop there@
Current Obsession: flat hunting in Cork
Point of Fashion: not the clothes I'll be wearing on the airplane
SO we're leaving for Ireland tomorrow. I'm a wee bit stressed. This is where the real adventure begins, travelling to an unknown country. Thailand isn't scary for me. I have so much family here willing to help and explain things to me. There is noone in Ireland. I am pleased that Beau and I are doing this. It's exciting, just a bit scary is all. Still, we're still playing it pretty safe, moving to a country where we can at least speak the language (supposedly anyway!)
Highlights of our trip since Mahout training....
- getting an awesome massage at the Chiang Mai Women's Prison. Tooootally recommend that!
- Visiting the ultra touristy parasol factory in Chiang Mai. They are pretty, so you see why tourists want to go there.
- getting threads of glitter tied into my hair. I pretty much love my glitter highlights!
- Visiting my 90 yr old great aunt.
- having "bbq" with a bunch of relatives
- fruit (I list these for Sally: Lum yai, mamuang (ripe and green), maprrang, farang, sapparrot, makkaam, malakaw (mostly in som tum, I don't like ripe papaya), daeng mo, som) (edited to add some I forgot, khanoon, champoo, dragonfruit- I can't remember the thai name)
-coconut ice cream in a slice of bread with stick rice, peanuts and condensed milk.
- not being told that I am fat (Yay for having lost weight since I was last here)
- finally getting my Thai ID card (and then getting teased by relatives that I can now be "hi so")
- more movies and book shopping. It kinda weirds me out that english language books are cheaper here than in NZ! So many graphic novels that I refuse to buy as they are too heavy and too quickly read.
We have many photos, mostly of rellies. Will eventually post some time.
Point of Fashion: I've been carrying this top around for over 2 weeks and I will wear it!
Current Obsession: Food. I am so full!