Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Cult Cluny Camp!

After our tutorat geographique on Tuesday Alisa told me about a trip to Cluny with the Student Association from our university! We went to see if I could go too or if I was too late! 'Luckily' ( or so I thought!) there was space for me too. I had organised a dinner for Friday so Alisa and I researched and found that I could take a train and a bus to meet up with them in Cluny. Free food and accommodation and a weekend get away right? hummm......read on....

Friday night dinner:
Top: Kate, my random USA Ballett dancer friend whom I met in McDonalds on the net, Claires French friends-Cecil and Alice
Front: Appley, Cara, Rita, Alex, Claire

Yes, that says that it's one degree! When I went to buy my ticket for Cluny it said this and 2 hours later when I went to catch my train....it said the same thing! At 11:54am it was still that cold!

A very very cute Christmas market in Perrache, Lyon. At the market you can buy trinckets (such as wind up toys (no way! I collect those!) or jewelery) or the more popular items like spiced bread, biscuits, hot drinks. I hung out here (or rather froze my bum off here) for 2 hours while I waited for the train. Go figure that there was a 4 hour gap in the train times and I arrived in the middle! As I was walking/ shiv-vi-vi-vi-ering around, chunks of snow were melting and falling off the little roofs!

Scenery on the train! Snow Snow Snow! More then in Lyon and more visible too as it doesn't just melt on the roads!

Being silly on the bus to Cluny! Tourists!

I arrived in Cluny and Alisa was there to meet me. She immediately told me things were not as she thought they would be. She was happy I was there but worried it wouldn't be what I thought it would be either...she was right.

It all very average/normal... until the evening when the student association had their party. It was wild. All the men were bearded. They were wearing cloaks. We had dinner and tried to mingle a little bit but the smoke (Oh la, La France) was so heavy Alisa didn't last long. It was aournd this time the Men did a cult/solidier like formaion or performance in the courtyard in the middle of the party. Alisa and I were freaking out....it was weird.

I escorted her home, went back to the party to chat a bit and improve my French (got hit on by Laurent...a handsome French clut member) and then went off to bed. Weird.

The next day we learned more about the Association and all their weird rules and structures. Like how new members are not allowed to speak to older members (unless they are spoken too) for the first year. We got a tour of Cluny's famous Abbey by the Assoication. It was freezing and to Alisa's horror, I had taken a shower that morning and washed my hair to get the smell of smoke out of it...something you do not do when it is snowing outside...I am still learning. Oh the advantages of being Canadian (Alisa is from Vancouver)! Needless to say I was cold and Alisa told me it was probably my winter coat from California. She proposed we swapped coats...and her's was much warmer. She told me 'Oh Cara, this coat is cold' and kept shivering. I told her we should swap back but she wouldn't have it! I didn't feel like such a whiner/wimp after that.

The famous Abbey.

Alisa and I are back in Lyon, safely in the centre of the city! We are alive! This is truly how we felt. We got off the bus and parted ways from the Association and hugged, and giggled and talked about how crazy a weekend we had just had.

The first snow!

Okay, so I got really excited and amazed by the first snow in Lyon and the first snow that I think I have ever seen actually in motion, falling! I was ridding home and things started falling from the sky...at first I thought it must be dirt or ash or something because my fingertips were numb when I tried to feel if it was cold. Then I had to actually stop right then and there and ask someone if it was now. She happened to be a Lyon 3 uni student from the Ukraine and thought I was very cute being amazed. I then asked her to take a photo of me being amazed before rushing home and yelling 'Ben, IT'S SNOWING!' We then both ran to the window and pressed our noses against the glass!

The view from my window + snow!

Looking North at the Saone + snow! Look at all the white roofs! How cute! However the ground is pretty slippery in some places so can't wait to get my hiking boots! I think they will be essential here in winter! If you continue walking along the river my apartment is on the left!

That the Fourviere (beautiful Church) on the hill and straight ahead is Vieux Lyon metro station + snow!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Congrats all 'round

HAPPY BABY! Congratulations to Gabby
& Mark on the birth of their baby girl!
Madison Coffey was born at 3am
yesterday! She was over 9 pounds, 2
weeks over due, induced and brought into
the world by caesarean. Speedy recovery
Gabby and YAY for the happy
grandparents Barbara & Kevin!I received a
call in Lyon about the news and felt very

(it’s not supposed to occur until Jan/Feb
and even then just for a week total! Cheers
to a cold winter!)


Random dinner on Tuesday!

TUESDAY, Nov 22nd, 2005:

Ben, Sandra (Germany), Ruldolphe (France), Vincent (France), Cara, Frank (Guadeloupe) and Kathryn (Canada). I met Ruldolphe and Vincent at dinner with the Melbourne University exchnage co-ordinateur. They are coming to Melbourne University to study next semester! I met Kathryn's Mum, Honey, in Annecy on my way to Italy and we swapped details. P.S. Ben likes Sandra (I can say this because she doesnt know the blog exists!)

Last Weekend:


Friday night: Dinner at Alexandra's place! Alexandra, Alisa, Cara and Jean Remey (a friend of Alexandra's boyfriend Nathan). We dined on salad with amazing dressing (one aspect of good French cusine) and had rivoli baked with bashamel (white sauce) and cheese. Yum!


'And we all fall down'...like bowling pins! Here is Alisa and I bowling with the French! Beryl (Canada is in there too).

Seb (UK), Andy (UK) and Niki (Aust) at the back with Cara, Alisa (Canada) and Beryl (Canada) at the front (all English speakers!): After bowling it was back to my place for dinner with Seb (UK). We originally planned to watch 'Lost in Translation' (student style-on the lap top).I asked Beryl at bowling if she wanted to come, then Niki and Andy turned up with Frank (German) and David (French) sent Ben a message saying 'Are you at your place? Good me too!'. So 2 became 8!

We laughed and laughed and laughed! Mostly at Alisa's comments! They were SO good people started writing them down! Here is Beryl wiritng down yet another

'Was he Canadian?' 'No, he was just our boss.'
'My bed is long. It's really long. No it really is. All I'm saying is it's really. It is so long I can't roll over.'
AND the all time favourite and definetly highlight of the night which had everyone in histerics:
'If I got rammed from behind right, now I wouldn't get whiplash'

David and Cara (French)...could we smile any more?

Thursday, November 24, 2005

My world map!

My personal world map

visited 7 countries-
like to visit all other countries

Create your own world map

I quite like this world map idea! Although for my liking my map is not nearly dark blue enough! I will have to do another one at the end of my trip! I didn't select any for 'would like to visit' as it was too difficult to pick every box....I did start but got discouraged after Africa! Thanks Jayan!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Warning: this post contains over us of the word COLD:

It became considerably COLDER here while I was in London. I am really noticing the COLD now. I would like to ride to uni in a balaclava and/or a ski mask! I currently have gloves without fingertips to allow me to do things. However, I think I will have to retire these to ‘inside gloves’ (yes, it may be necessary) as I can do things but soon I will not have fingertips either. Hence, I think I will be investing in another pair! The other day after I stopped riding my fingertips actually felt like they were burning. Not good I’m sure but a nice change ice cubes/blocks right? I keep having these random thoughts, wondering if it’s possible to get frostbite with the wind factor while on a bike or for someone who is not used to the cold.

I feel slightly better after talking to my Czech neighbour. He said that it is not usually this cold in Lyon at this time of year and that were are experiencing a taste of January/February’s weather. He thinks it will get warmer. I am glad I am not staying here for all of January and not here at all in February….maybe I will be working in the snow…hahaha….much better! Oh, and every time I mention my Czech neighbour’s optimistic opinion everyone say’s ‘No, my friends say it’s normal’ Not good!

I had breakfast Saturday morning with Sebastian (English) and we made the mistake of buying pastry from one of the best bakeries in Lyon (or so I’ve been told) but doesn’t have any seating (indoor seating is now a requirement). So after chatting for 2 hours outside, I returned home and had to wash my feet in hot water in the sink. They were freezing inside my shoes! I have never worn footwear and had to consider that my feet might be COLD. Usually if I consider anything it is related to how easy the shoes are to walk in or weather the shoes are good for rain or if it is windy will they allow wind to make my feet cold. But here it is necessary to consider that your feet might just be COLD because outside it is COLD!

We have not had to use the heater yet. My apartment is surprisingly warm. However I can’t say the same for the shower….I am currently considering taking showers at the university gym facilities…I guess that doesn’t say much for my ‘warm apartment’! There is no place to hang a shower curtain in our house and even if we were to buy one and hooks to stick onto the wall, basically the bathroom is divided by a single wall from the kitchen but it doesn’t reach the ceiling. So ‘au revoir’ heat! A while ago after taking a shower I actually went and got into my sleeping bag afterwards!

Alisa advised me to stop riding when my eyes start watering from the COLD wind and when I responded with ‘Uhhh, that’s already happening’ she just said “Ohhh…okay…well maybe you might need to take the metro then”. I may have to buy a train pass for winter. I was hoping to just get through it. How COLD can it get right? I have since reconsidered.

Last night (Saturday) I asked Niki “This is as cold as it gets in Australia yeah?” She responded speedily and with a look of disgust “I don’t think it gets this cold in Australia!” as she was putting on her fourth layer of clothing. And remember folks….it’s only November.

Today (Sunday) I rode somewhere with 5 layers on! Strap top, long sleeve polyester under layer (both tucked), jumper/sweater, fleece vest, jacket and a coat. My core was warm but my legs were COLD.

I also said to Ben that I was COLD! This is something I have said many times but on this particular occasion he replied ‘Of course you’re cold you live in Australia and you were born in California! It’s not in your genes!’. I rebutted this with ‘But my grandma is Swedish and my grandpa was Czech (dad’s side) and on the other side they are Italian, Irish and the list goes on but those are European, colder-ish countries!’. He replied ‘Just keep telling yourself that.’ I then asked what we were going to do later in winter and he shrugged…he doesn’t have a good coat yet! I however, have made a game plan….better gloves, better shoes, better scarf, beanie and stockings/tights or long underwear under jeans…yep….no problems. I may not be able to move as I am laden down with so much clothing I could rival any department store but never mind!

Enough of the COLD and onto other news:

I have given prices for all our things to a postgraduate student/student who may want to take the apartment after us. That we be really good because I don’t want to have squash my mattress back down the stairs! At the moment I am considering using rope and trying to lower out of my 4th story window not a good idea I am sure but if…..

Ben and I have a pretty good relationship. We both just buy random food for the house and it all seems to work. I am not sure if I am contributing enough. I traveled to England and other places and therefore didn’t consume the food in our house for ages and so now I honestly don’t know.

I have two dinners planned for next week. Tuesday is French dinner with the Frenchies and Friday in ‘English dinner’ basically for an excuse to have dinner with my new friend Corey who I met at McDonalds while using the internet. He is an American over here dancing with the ballet and is really nice. I will be inviting French people who want to practice their English as there are a lot! There should be about 10 people each night…not that we have more the 6 chairs…but hey…who’s counting?

P.S. What am I complaining about? I spoke to a girl (New Zealand) who said when she was on exchange in Poland it was so cold they could feel the cold ground through their shoes while inside a church! Oh Lyon is looking good now baby!

Friday, November 18, 2005


If you are in Europe or coming to Europe (Lisa, Emily, Kris) this is not for you. I realise we need to organise things.



So therefore.........








Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Photos: Us and our free internet

Ben and I eating our first dinner together in ages. Between my travels, his working and our different schedules cooking a meal together was quite novel! YAY for travelling. P.S. We has veggies in a creamy sauce, green beans on the side and rice....it was yummy and Ben has taught me the best way ever to cook rice!!!

Okay, so it appears we can sometimes get free wirless internet thanks to the hotel across the road! Thank you internet gods! It works best if you are at the window however...hummm. So here I am resting my laptop in the planter box at the living room window sill! Rugged up in gloves (Thanks Lisa, great going away present!), several layers of jumpers, a scarf and my blanket! P.S. The towel is doing wonders to stop the cold air coming in from that window which extends to the ceiling *joke*!

Ben thinks its a bit nippy too! lol! The life of a student!

Photos: Cara spends a weekend in Camaret with Claire's family !

Thursday: Cara, Alice and Claire on the 2:19pm train to Orange!

Dinner with the family on Thursday night. We ate 'Endives du Jambon' which is like Lettuce wrapped in ham in a white sauce. Followed by cheese (yum!) and then dessert- ice cream with chocolate sauce and whipped cream and 2 types nougat. The dark nougat that we ate is traditionally eaten here at Christmas time.

Friday: Claire and Cara with l'arc de Tiromphe from approx 20 AD.

Sunset at the ruins Cheateauneuf.

Yannick, Claire and Cara at Yannick's house in Chateauneuf. First we visited 'le cave' of Yannick's father where we saw the barrels of wine and tasted 3 different wines. His family makes the brand of wine called 'Chateauneuf'. Then we went to his house, chatted and drank 'Clairette de Die' with his Parents. Clairette is a drink just like champagne or sparkling apple/grape juice only slighty better and a little alcoholic (about 7%). Cara has a new favourite drink! I was given a wine glass with Chateauneuf printed on it! Awesome souvenir!

Pizza and Tarte aux pommes (apple tart) with lots of friends at Cecile's house in Bollegne: Cecille, Youness, Claire and Cara.

Saturday: La raclette for lunch! This was one of my favourite meals! Alright, so the storey goes, raclette is a cheese best eaten melted or so I was told when I randomly picked it at the suprmarket several months ago. I melted it into risotto and loved it. When I went to visit Claire she looked at my journal and told me that was not the way to eat raclette. She told her Mum and low and behold on Saturday lunch, raclette! So nice! So you melt the raclette in a tiny little pan (you can see one to the left) under a special grill (seen at the back in the middle of the table) specifically for raclette and then poor it onto veggies (we had potatoes and lettuce) and meat. So yum! Melted cheese! My favourite!

Saturday: Claire's mum, Cara and Claire at le Palais des Papes in Avignon. Avignon is city enclosed by ramparts and is famous in a song for 'dancing on le Point d'Avignon'. Le Point d'Avignon is a bridge....or rather half a bridge on the Rhone, half destroyed in the second world war. That's one thing you notice being in Europe, everywhere you go there are reminders of the war.

Lyon again!

Returned form Camaret with Claire and her housemate Alice on Sunday night. Due to the threat of rioting, all public transport within Lyon finished at 6pm (you should have seen the queues for taxis outside the station) and so I stayed at Claire and Alice's apartment. We walked to their house, ate 8 veggie soup, watched a dramatic episode of ER in French and then went to bed. In the morning I returned to my cute little apartment in Vieux Lyon feeling like I had been absent for ages. I ate breakie, unpacked my things and then went to uni for my Translation class at 2pm followed Theories of European Integration from 3-6pm. Theories of European Integration is my only class in English which I ended up taking reluctantly because I needed more points or credits in my degree. I like the professor for that class. He is nice, humorous and we sometimes go off on tangents. I have never studied anything at uni like this before and hence talking about trade unions and the structure of the European Union is a bit confusing/interesting. After class I met up with Carston, an exchange student from Georgia, USA. He spoke with me last week about wanting to improve his French. I suggested he find French friends and maybe have a dinner. So I said I would come for dinner on Monday with his French friends. So it was Monday and we went shopping together, I decided what to make since he has no clue….how did I get myself in this deep? We went back to his residence (the same residence as Niki (Aust) and Andy (England))> all the while I was thinking ‘oh better hurry and start cooking’, after walking into Carston's that turned into better hurry and start cleaning’! It was habitable but there were dirty dishes and random things everywhere, no space to cook and the floor was dirty. Carston started borrowing chairs and I dived into to Andy’s to ask for help! ‘Andy, Have you eaten? No? Good! You’re eating with us! Carston’s place is a disaster come quick!’ That’s when Andy said the magical words ‘Why don’t you juts have it here!’ The best idea in the world! So we had my friend Claire and her housemate Alice plus Carston’s 2 French friends (women of course) Marie Claire and umm I forget, Andy and his friend Sebastian who decided to pop in and ended up staying after a carrot was thrust into his hand and he was told to grate! So we ate salad to start with a main of pesto pasta and the biscuits for dessert. Andy, Seb and I did the dishes and clearing while Carston (remember this is his diner!) wooed the 2 Frenchies back to his room! Seb and I walked home, I insist I am walking him as I have a bike and therefore he needs protection as he is on foot and he insists it is I who need the protecting with my long blonde hair, accent and way of attracting attention. We chatted until late as we always do and the parted ways. I go north and he goes south.

P.S. Thank you god of internet who allows the hotel's internet across the road to work in my apartment...sometimes...but none the less it is working now!

P.P.S. I went to the effort of spellchecking this Mum.

Saturday, November 12, 2005


Today I awoke (a bit late) and had lunch with Claire's family. Lunch consisted of seasoned cucumbers and tomatoes, veal in cream and mushroom sauce, cheese and posh desserts. After that we did a tour of Orange and saw l'arc de triomphe up close and the theatre. Walked the streets a bit and saw all of Orange fromthe top of the hill. After that we drove to Chateau Neuf (a chateau and also a town) to meet Claire's friend Yannick. We saw the sunset from the chateau which is situated on a hill. Beautiful!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Provence for the weekend with a French family!!!

I am in the region of Provence Alpes Cote d'Azur (south of Lyon and 130kms north of Marseille) for the weekend with my French friend Claire. I am staying with her family, in Camaret, and it is great so far. We arrived by train in the town of Orange this afternoon and they are so nice. Sight southern French accent is interesting to hear! We are going to sight see a bit over the weekend. She is going to take me places as my guide! YAY! We are going to visit Avignon (very famous) and see other things here! Orange has 2 of the 'greatest Roman monuments in Europe' (so says my guide book) right in the centre of town which I find amazing. I have seen both already in a quick tour with Calire and her Mum when we first arrived! One is a huge Roman Theatre from the 1st century AD. It is similar to the one in Lyon but more intact with an exterior wall. The second is the 'Triumphal Arch' or 'l'Arc de Triomphe' (not the one in Paris obviously) dating from about 20AD. They are right in the middle of town!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


To everyone:

I am fine. I have not heard hardly anything about the rioting. I returned form England on Sunday and didn't know anything about it until my Mum called, worried of course. I think there has been a little bit of trouble in Lyon actually but I have seen nothing. I live in one of the nicest, if not the nicest, areas of Lyon and it has all been very normal.
Apparently there have been incidents in Place de Terreaux which is slightly north and across the river from me and in Venissiseux (south Lyon). Venissiseux is location of the first Youth Hostel that I stayed in and hated! I suspected it was not a good area and now it is confirmed!

I was trying to explain to my Mum that rioting over here is more common in my opinion. The French are very good at rioting and strikes and do both with a higher frequency then in Australia and America I think. When the French want something they do something about it. In the riots of Mai 1968, French students rioted over the arrests of other students/heavy handedness of police and brought the country to a standstill. The students involved the teachers and workers unions and rioted until dawn on May 10th, 1968. Burning cars, throwing paving stones and hundreds of arrests and injuries. 1 miilion people marched in the streets in protest and a week later
ten million, or roughly two-thirds of the French workforce was on strike. They would never put up with the education reforms currently occuring in Australian Universities. So it is in France's history to riot. (More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mai_68)

Another problem it seems is the government’s lack of solution for this problem. Nothing is being done so the rioting continues. No promises are being made to the rioters, not that the government should succumb to rioting pressure but there is a huge social issue at hand that requires attention and has for sometime. The Immigrant population makes up a huge percentage of the poor in France and to be honest France doesn’t seem to have many programs, opportunities or aid. They are ignored and the anger currently being expressed has been simmering for decades. There is a huge unemployment rate here (30% of people 21-29 unemployed) and a lot of beggars on the streets. The areas affected by the rioting are the poor areas. Basically, the rioters are poor and victims of discrimination who are burning, well everything (cars, buses, schools) and lashing out (especially at authority figures who they resent due to the treatment they have received and lack of respect). They are not specifically targeting rich areas, property or people as far as I know. A interior minister, Mr Sarkozy, called the youth 'scum' and pledged a 'war without mercy' against them (apparently to get attention as he is keen to be the next president) but unfortunately as you can guess that only made the riots worse and didn't address the issues at hand.

I may go to Aix-Province which is an hour by train (still in France...not leaving again yet!) for the weekend with my French friend Claire, so I won't have to worry there....it's pretty small and supposed to be very nice. In the mean time I am living my life normally and keeping an eye out for anything abnormal. I will not venture into poorer areas as I have no reason to. As we all know I never want to go back to Venissiseux anyway. Never ever, with or without rioting. In fact if Venissiseux was the only place without rioting I don’t know if I would go. Currently, during the evenings my main goals are to get home from uni, find something to eat, get some work done (yes, actually working!), rest (I am avoiding a cold) sort out my life (usually on the computer- still fighting for subject approval with Melbourne University as at the moment my subjects are still unapproved) and/or visit friends so I will not be on the streets.

Never fear my loved ones!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


My Mother is on my back about my spelling! Sometimes it is appalling I know but it is bad spelling or no post a lot of the time and if you prefer no post you will have to take that up with me via email….and I may not get back to you on that one! Also, I am using French and English keyboards so my fingers are constantly confused. On French keyboards the 'a' is in a different spot! Bizarre, and that’s just the start of it!!! Also, I am not writing in English THAT often so my spelling is getting worse and sometimes French! Like appartment- not 2 p’s! So yeah....sorry guys but the spelling is not a priority currently!

Feel like some London Photos?

My guide and I in Paris. Yep, thats the Seine in the background....behind that boat!

Cara arriving in London at 6am! I took bus 52 from South Kensington Station to meet Dhivya at Albery Hall! She lives just around the corner at Beit Hall, Imperial College London!

After arrving, Div and I eat breakfast (tea and scones....how English) in her kitchen. This is for Dhivya's family!

Div and Cara sightseeing London on my first day. That's westmininster and Big Ben in the background!

Oh yes! It's Cara in a telephone box! YAYAYA! Essential tourist photo!

Say "English house party!!!". I would give names left to right but the fact of the matter is I am really not sure...alright, from left to right: probably first year science students at Imperial with us Aussie gals!

Hanging with the boys! The original reason for going to London was to celebrate Marton's (met during random travels) 40th birthday. Here is half the party (there were couples and kids that met us there) catching the train to 'South-end-on-Sea' where he put us up in a hotel and we went out to dinner Tex Mex style to celebrate his birthday. After we went clubbing for a bit and then hung out the next day at 'South-end'. Thanks for a great time guys!

Cara and Div in front of Buckingham Place laughing at Ben (Div's friend) taking the photo!

Dhivya and Cara celebrating Diwali (Indian Christmas) at Dhivy's relatives house in London. It was really special to be included and food was amazing! We did fireworks in the backyard. Yes, thats right, fireworks are legal here, they were going off all over the suburbs and these were pretty impressive.

It's Cara and Big Ben!!! Its the classic photo that you have to have! I just could not get over seeing Big Ben in person!!! For me it is one of the bets things I have seen so far! Maybe because I always knew I would see the Eiffle tower but Big Ben was even more incredible....P.S. I saw both in less then 12 hours! How amazing is that! I think that's great! That would have to be on the list of things to do in a lifetime! P.S. When asked to take photos of people try not to cut off the top of the landmark....this is the best of 4 photos and not bad but the others are shocking!

Spontaneous Travelling!

Okay, so due to lack of time I have not posted any info on both my London trip, Italy trip and my Nice+Marseille trip. Well here the thing...I am taking advantage of every opportunity and now letting anything stop me!

THE NICE TRIP: I decided to go with the girls in a class at uni with a days notice! Little bit spur of the moment you think? Just wait till you hear the rest!

THE ITALY TRIP was INSANE! I met Sarah (Irish) through uni and her friend Ciara (Irish) escaped from Annecy on exchange because she hated it. When she escaped, she asked a fellow exchanger to take her to Lyon . This was Julian (German) who proceeded to stay in Lyon for a bit and then I sought a lift back to Annecy with him. I tried to get a hold of him all of Wed night and Thurs morning. Finally I got a call from Sarah to say he was leaving for Annecy and if I wanted a ride to be at her house in 20 mins. Well, I live 12 mins form Sarah's by bike and that 12 mins is in the middle of the night with no traffic. So, what was I to do? In my kitchen, in my pajamas and leopard slippers (house warming present) washing dishes, the laundry going and 8 minutes to pack and leave! Well of course I dropped everything I was doing, threw things into a nag and bikes like a mad person to get this lift! The idea was to get to Annecy and then decide what to do next. Niki and I obviously decided to go to Italy on Friday morning after staying at Julian’s and going out a the only club in Annecy which played good music and some 'French classics' which we has no idea what was going on but all the French people were very excited and started singing and dancing!


London was slightly better and yet not, definitely rivaling Italy for second place! I decided to leave at 12:20pm and had to be on a 2pm train to Paris and a bus from London to Paris (no trains available)! Heaps of time you say? Me too! I was packed and ready to go (complete with food) by 1:10! Amazing. All I had to do was make a baguette to take with me and leave! But where was my baguette? Forgot it downstairs. Went to get the baguette and proceeded to lock myself out! Asked by Czech neighbor on the first floor to help me....he proceeded to try to shove random household items into the lock to try and help me (he is so nice!). Tried throwing my body up against up the door. Failing that, tried to melt though the door. My only option was to find Ben (housemate). I rode to Aura's (Finish) in singlet top, track pants and leopard slippers to get his number. She wasn’t home. Rode to the building that Niki (Australian who I stayed with when I had nowhere to live) lives in. She wasn’t home. Andy (English) our now mutual friend wasn't home. Sarah (Irish who helped my get to Annecy) let me use her phone. Ben was just getting home. Cara bikes across Lyon again. Grabs stuff and heads for a new train. Meets random guy with an aboriginal flag t-shirt in line for tickets. We sit next to each other on the train. He shows me around Paris for the 3 hours between the train and my bus to London. Saw the Seine, Sorbonne, a monument where famous French dead are buried and Notre Dame! He gave me transport tickets too! Cara catches train to gare de l'est (East station) waits for the bus. Take to the bus to England at 10pm. Off at 3am to go through customs and catch the ferry from Calais to Dover. Back on the bus and arrive in England at 5:50am. The first 4 things I see: rain, a pub, the old style taxis and another pub (the second in 5 mins), this one was called the Shakespeare! Fantastic!

P.S. Cara doesn’t purposely travel spontaneously…it all just ends up that way! You can’t always plan ahead because you don’t now your options! I didn’t know that the girls were going to Nice and Marseille and that it was feasible for me! I didn’t know I could get a lift to Annecy! I didn’t know that last Tues was a holiday and I could spend 10 days in England with only missing 3 classes!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Random English/London facts coming your way!

Random English/London facts coming your way!

-Language: lads, chaps, 'Oh that's rubbish', 'I'm knackered', 'You're a star', 'theres 'loads' of good biscuits here 'man', well good, to down a drink, sick is like you're vomiting and ill means sick, tippex is whiteout, a quidd is a pound, a p is a pence (1 cent), a fiver or a tenner is 5 dollars or 10 dollars.
-Cabs are cute here. They a an older style of car and I am told they are deliberately made with a very small turining circle....how about that now...I am up with it!
-Museums are free here! Hooray for that! There are so manny! The British museum has 4kms of corridoors alone!
-The have good biscuits/cookies here!
-Picidally Circus has big screens that are really bright like time square in New York.
-Mary Poppins, Notitng Hill, Bridget Jones Diary, Love Actually, Bed Knobs and broomsticks.
-6 lane roundabouts with double decker buses!
-Dhivya likes London because "whenever you sit on a bus or a train the person next to you won't be speaking English". She says it has "this buzz and energy"...I agree mate. I agree.
-There are so many buses here! 1 stop can have as many as 12 bus routes going through it! And you have to haiul the buses which is very practical otherwise they would be stopping all the time for no reason.
-The 2 most common pub names in Britain are the Kings Arms and the Red Lion. plus here are some others: The Shakespear, Ye Olde London, The Old Bell, The Coal Hole, Ye Olde Cock Tavern, The George, Crown and Sugar Loaf, The Kings head, A bunch of Grapes, The Greyhound, Pitcher on Piano, The Queen's Arms,
-If you drive in central London between the hours of 8am and 6pm there is a congesiton charge of £8 to minimise traffic.
-The radio here sounds exactly the same as it does in Australia. Exactly! Another example of copying a formula and respitting it out to the general formula.
-Neighbours (an Aussie soap worshipped by the English populagion) is shown twice a day here! 1:30pm and 5:30pm
-Young people her eare pretty good looking on average...lots of cute boys and very pretty girls....dot know what happens as the population ages however....maybe their genetics are getitng cuter and this is the cuter generation....that or they all become average.
-Movies come out later here just like in France! And we thought Australia was behind...
-Apparently you used to be able to just hop off the back of the buses here while they were in motion but they put a stop to that.....
-There is a tea museum and also today I saw a whole Twinings (tea) shop. A whole shop dedicated to tea! Oh the English...gotta love it. At the hotel I stayed at in South end on Sea there was a kettel in everyroom with tea, milk, sugar etc...all the essentials!
-Ben's cookies are the best thing ever! Mushy, gooey cookie goodness!
-Double Decker buses rock my world!
-London is not as good as France when it cpomes to power and water saving.
-The lifts here sepak with English accents 'Going up.'
-There is lined paper here....no seriously folks...it's all graph paper in France! All!
-There is a bigger shopping culture here. You can actually go shopping here and get discount stuff and not pay an absolute fortune. Can't say the same for Lyon eve if it is the second biggest ciy in France!
-P.S. If you buy a pin/badge here it will cost you a pound whereas in Australia you would pay 1 AUD and in the USA it would be 1USD. We are all being ripped off cos it is all made in China but English people are being ripped off big time.
-I want to live and work in England. I also want to earn pounds so for once I can convert the OTHER way and feel rich when on holiday!
-In winter it can get dark here as early as 3pm but in summer you can party in the light until 10pm!!! Yes yes oh yay!
-Fashion is better here then in Lyon...shhh....don't tell the French...
-I am going through withdraws here without fresh markets...I am used to seeing them everywhere and London needs some...visiting Portobello market on Sat.
-There is a big emphasis here on the theatre and shows. Advertisements are everywhere and there are 'loads' of different musicals. The same in Lyon, there are so many theatre groups....makes Melbourne look devoid and we are suppoed to be the culture capital of Australia.
-Most poeple stop for you at pedestrian corssings (such a novel thing) which are marked by black and white stipped poles with round lights on the top. Also, somtimes when pedestrians can cross the road it makes this scary beeping noise like something is horribly worn! The roads have 'Look Right' and 'Look Left' painted by the cross walk becasue all the Europeans are confused as England drives on the left had side of the road.
-There is a naughty lingeray 'Anne Summers' shop which sells all sorts of crazy stuff and had girls in knee high boots and tiny outfits giving out catalogues...meanwile in France they arent waering skirts above the knee!
-In the showers in the residece here there is a sign that says 'Fixed shower head Do no attempt to adjust'...I wantto know how many of Britain finesta nd brightest sctific minds have tried to rip it off the wall...a bit of a worry!!!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Halloween Boat Party on the Thames!!!

To celebrate Halloween Beit Hall, a hall of residence/collage/dorm at Imperial Collage London had a boat party! We sailed down the Thames!!!! We sailed under London Bridge!!! YAY!!!!

Here are wild photos of the wild party:


Select Halloween Boat Party!!!! I am in the photo 22rows down!!! How fun!!! I am now making freinds with a whole bunch of random English science students!!!! YAY!!!!