Crash

Crash
Camera
Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XT
Taken
2006-12-03 02:38:27
Exposure
10/1
Aperture
f/5.6
ISO
100

The car that rear-ended another car directly in front of my room.

I bring you breaking news about a car crash that occurred in front of the residence building. Occurring at about 01:34 (my camera time wasn't adjusted out of DST) the incident involved this car pictured running into the back of another vehicle parked/stopped along the side of the road. It was pretty loud too, given that I heard it from my room, with my window closed and my headphones on. A little bit of excitement in an otherwise uneventful evening. To the best of my knowledge, no one was injured.

2Dec
Location: FAM, Leganés @ 20:09

That time of year

Holly I know it is the Christmas season when my internet radio jazz station starts playing Christmas tunes. So, to keep up, I have to dust off my own Christmas music collection. Christmas is a very special time for many people, and it is no exception for me. And now that I live away from home, Christmas is my one chance to get back and spend time with my family and friends. Christmas memories tend to come flooding back once I start listening to my Christmas music because music associates with memories quite well. Memories such as the Christmas in GA44 (my second year of my undergrad) — spending 15 hours straight working on a Java assignment looping Christmas carols the whole time and being fueled by Pepsi Twist. Or the now classic gingerbread house. And the nuclear Christmas decorations. Of course, these are only memories for me, and perhaps one or two other people, but they are important nonetheless.

This year is a bit different, I haven't spent any of 2006 so far in Canada, and so when I arrive there in a couple weeks, it will have been over 11.5 months since I have been home. By far the longest period I've ever been away for. So for the brief period of time I will be home, I'll be in a position to create still more Christmas memories. Of course, I won't be traveling through Europe like some of my friends, but regardless of your plans, and whether or not you celebrate Christmas or not, I hope that you have a fine month to come.

6Dec
Location: FAM, Leganés @ 13:18

Barcelona

Barcelona
Camera
Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XT
Taken
2006-12-09 11:04:15
Exposure
1/250
Aperture
f/10.0
ISO
100

La Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona — probably one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city.
This past weekend I was in Barcelona with Nenad, Pablo and Emy and it was a great time. Barcelona is such a nice city and I definitely enjoyed being near the water again. I have as usual a large number of photos which I will try to sort out soon. For now however, I have written up a description of the trip, similar to what I did with my trip to Athens.

So you can find out more about this trip at the Barcelona trip page. As usual, you can leave comments here about the trip or the write up.

12Dec
Location: FAM, Leganés @ 10:16

That was interesting

One of the nice things about flying with a large, “recognized” airline is that they don't have as many problems as your typical budget airline. Yeah right.

I just finished a journey which took several hours longer than it should have. It started right from the gate. Nenad was kind enough to help me with my things to Barajas, the airport in Madrid. That part went well. No delays there. Having checked in online, I was apparently supposed to drop my bags off at the “Fast Drop” and then head through security. Except that the fast drop was about as fast as any other airline check-in and the usefulness of my carefully printed boarding card went out the window when they gave me a new one anyway. OK, well at least I got to choose my seat online. Of course, the first thing the kind woman at the desk told me was that my flight was delayed an hour. Damn. OK, not much I can do... but definitely the start to a slippery slope which had my best laid plans slide out the window. Fast.

So once my big luggage was ensconced in the bowels of airport mystery, Nenad and I chatted for a bit since I all of a sudden had more time. Then I decided to get the fun process of airport security over with and we parted ways. Security was a non-event, no beeps or tender frisking this time around. My gate was somewhere in the “RSU” section, which it turns out means taking a train. If you want a “cheap” meal past security in Barajas, and you are going to the RSU area, you are advised to get something from the McDonalds in the HJK section. There are a couple places to eat in RSU, but I found them pretty expensive — for fast food anyway. I digress. Passport control stamped me out of the EU and I reached a screen that said my new flight time was 22:25 almost two hours now past the original 20:45. Reading and waiting followed.

The flight was fine, despite it being late. They served sandwiches, which is the first complementary food I've had on a flight in a long time. Then I arrive at Gatwick Airport. Not as big as Heathrow, but still one of the largest in the world. I was in the North Terminal. To take trains out to London I first had to take a train to the South Terminal. Did that and I made my way to the train station. I looked on the boards, but there were no trains on the Thameslink listed. Not good. So I asked someone there because despite my late arrival there should still be something even if I had to wait, because the website said so! But dumb luck would have it that Engineering works caused the closure of the Thameslink from one stop on either side of Gatwick from midnight to 9:00. It was 00:20 when I arrived at the train station.

In response to my inquiry, I was told I could catch a train to Three Bridges and then there was a replacement bus to Red Hill where I could get something to London. At this point there were a couple people who were together trying to get into London together and we end up in Three Bridges. We wait for about 20 minutes out in the cool mist before a bus arrives. And where does it go? Back to Gatwick! And then to Red Hill... Apparently we could have taken the bus directly from the airport. Props to the staff for their help on that one. So we continue on to Red Hill where a woman working has a vague idea of where we are supposed to be to catch the train to Victoria. I was told I could switch in East Croyden for trains going to West Hampstead. OK great. A train comes, but no one is sure if it is the right train or not, but we get on and luckily it was the right one. I get off in East Croyden (a center of all things lovely let me assure you) and ask the platform staff about the train to West Hampstead. I was on the right platform already, but the train didn't come until 2:47 and it was only 2:00. I'm glad I had a book. So I wait in the waiting room which is a few degrees above the outdoor ambient. Finally the train came and it was the one that eventually (thank God because it smelled like urine) stopped in West Hampstead. I got out and it was pouring down rain. Awesome. The perfect ending.

But here I am safe and relatively sound and ready for bed. I just needed to vent a little steam first.

15Dec
Location: West Hampstead, UK @ 21:56

Just keep moving

Just keep moving
Camera
Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XT
Taken
2006-12-21 16:04:08
Exposure
1/400
Aperture
f/14.0
ISO
1600

The bilingual stop signs in New Brunswick, a testament to our eggshell situation with the French in Canada.
It is nice to be home for the holidays. Back to the relative familiarity of that which I grew up with. Although I can't lie, things are not quite the same. But these differences — be they real or imagined — aren't really anything to lose sleep over. One of the big things though is that I can now hear a definite “Maritime” accent. The same accent may extend across the country, because I've never noticed much of a difference in vocal timbre among my Canadian friends, but it is definitely very pronounced here. It is a softer, less threatening sound than the Americans have, which is maybe part of the reason people around the world are more receptive of us... or maybe it has something to do with aggressive political tactics and a lack of tack... who am I to say.

And since I've been home, I've been on the move pretty continuously. Arriving home on Tuesday, I spent the evening with my family before taking off on a five hour car ride the next morning. Living in Canada your friends don't always live down the street or even across town, they live in far removed parts of the country, if your lucky they might be in the same province. Or in my case the next province but our Eastern provinces are relatively small. But 500 km is still 500 km. However, that is what friendship and Christmas are all about. It was a great little journey, and I'm glad I got to see Chris again, even if only for a short time. I guess that is how life is when you move away from home, when you return you have a desire to reconnect with those people who you don't get to see quite as often. Or not.

Have an enjoyable holiday season.

22Dec
Location: Durham, NS, Canada @ 2:45

What Now?

Well, it would seem that for the most part, my Europe Adventure is over. It has been an amazing time. Now, I am reviving the ailing colinbate.com and going to make a go of it over there. All the best.

Times

Nova Scotia, Canada
5:12 (Dec 2, 2020)
Reading/London, United Kindom
9:12 (Dec 2, 2020)
Thessaloniki, Greece
11:12 (Dec 2, 2020)
Madrid, Spain
10:12 (Dec 2, 2020)
Guatemala, Guatemala
2:12 (Dec 2, 2020)

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