Summer 2008: China, Mongolia, Russia, Europe, and the US
Wed 06/08/08 04:40
It’s 3am right now and I’m sitting in a shithole of a motel room. I’ve been up for about 30hrs and I’ve been to two continents since I last slept. I’ve seen the Eiffel tower and the dirty dusty streets of this small town, Clovis. Two worlds that are so far apart that I can’t draw any comparisons, only contrasts.
I got into Albuquerque at about 9 tonight from Atlanta, and although I thought that I’d have this overwhelming sense of “being home” I have to admit I feel lonely/empty. There was a brief moment when I was ordering a soda, or when talking to someone at the airline counter that it felt good to be able to speak and to be understood. But after that there wasn’t anything that I felt. Just empty.
I’m going scuba diving in Texas today, but before I do I have to do laundry and to hopefully get a haircut. The laundry is a necessity, but the haircut is a luxury so it may have to wait.
On the list of things that just turned out wrong, Katya (the friend from Siberia that I wrote about) and I have decided not to email anymore. There wasn’t a fight, no real drama, just the distance and differences make it nearly impossible to be anymore that just simple friends…. If you read this Katya, you’re the best and maybe in time things can be different, at least I’ll keep watching my email box for your name. To anyone that reads this and wonders why I would post this on the internet, you have to understand that we’ve already said our good-byes and in the 2+ weeks (18 days) that we’ve only been able to email, we’ve traded 186 emails… she mattered to me, and will be probably the biggest and best thing that I’ll remember about this trip.
So anyway, it’s 330 now and I need to try to sleep, maybe when I wake up I’ll see things a little differently. If I don’t, maybe I can fake it and unless someone reads this they’ll never know what’s going on.
Sorry for the whining, but I told myself this journal was going to be as real as I could make it. The ups, and the downs were always meant to be a part of what I would write about.
it’s now 410… maybe greg will let me sleep on the way to texas.
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Tue 05/08/08 05:48
I'm sitting at the airport in Paris waiting for my plane to board. For some reason I've got this pit, or nervous feeling in my stomach. I don't know why, maybe it's because I feel like it's the end of my vacation, even though I still have over a week before I'll be back in Dubai. It could be that I don't know what to expect when I get to the states... but I don't see how that could be an issue since it's where I should be the most comfortable. I don't know, hopefully the jitters/butterflies will leave once I'm in the air.
I board in about 20 minutes (1300) and arrive in Atlanta at 1540. Great it's only a 4 hour flight!:) That is until I factor in about 8 hours of time changes... :( I'm leaving Atlanta at 748pm and getting to Albuquerque at 901.
I wish these butterflies would go away.
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Mon 04/08/08 14:58
The end of this portion of my vacation.
I'm leaving for the States tomorrow barring any unforeseen problems... by that I mean my flight is supposed to leave from lisbon, stop at France and then leave for Atlanta. I'm counting on being able to board in Paris instead... but my luck hasn't been very good the last week.
There's a lot that I want to say, but right now I think I'll wait until I have some time to think about what the last 15 days that I've had in Europe has meant to me before I actually write anything. I can tell you that it has been a dream come true for me, and even the bumps in the roads that I've had don't even make it any lesser of a life altering experience, in fact the bumps are something that I'm glad that I had. They give the trip substance, make it real in a matter of speaking and I wouldn't trade any of it.
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Mon 04/08/08 14:39
Before paris, and Milan... but I don't know the dateRome: I wasn't really sure what to expect to see when I got there. I wanted to be overwhelmed with historic art and be wowed with a sense of history, but in the back of my mind I was thinking that it was just a big city, one that although I should see it can't possibly even compare to Venice or St. Petersburg... The result was a little bit of both. Beautiful, historic sights, and a big dirty city.
I only had about 12 hours, so don't take my word on the bad, it's what I saw and I'm sure if I had a week or even a couple of days I would have seen a better part of Rome.
The history is overwhelming though. I felt like I was walking through a text book on western civ with all the statues and monuments that I saw.
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Mon 04/08/08 14:12
Okay, I'm going to try one more time to update the journal.
This is the second time I'm going to try to explain why I'm in Paris right now instead of Lisbon. Back in Venice I was starting to get the idea that I was running out of time to see the cities that I'd planned on so I left early in the morning for Rome. I got there about about 10am and I'd scheduled a train ride out of rome to Milan at 11pm that night. That is nowhere even close to enough time to see the city properly, but like I said I was running out of time. So after a full day of running around, going to see the major sights I headed to the train station, to catch my train and to buy my next ticket to Madrid. This is where my bad luck, poor timing, or bad planning all starts to kick in. So I'm standing in line for my ticket, and a lady comes up to the person in front of and tells us that it's closed and to go away... so I head to the platform and catch my train.
The train ride was like a ride through hell. The compartment was completely full, five guys and one girl. Remember, you sit facing each other, and to sleep you basically can't move around. It's not so bad if you have someone small across from you, but that wasn't the case on this trip.
So we pull into Milan and I head directly to the international ticket counter, wait for my turn and the am hit with the news that the train listed in the schedule that I have only leaves on Monday... that was Saturday. So I wander around wondering what to do, and decide that I need to check the buses, maybe they have one that goes to madrid. So after getting lost on the subway (metro) for about 2 hours I finally get to the bus station. Now you have to remember that I'm carrying around two backpacks, one large one (80lbs) on my back, and one small one (25lbs) on my chest. For about three hours I was walking around like that. Anyway, I get to the ticket counter and they tell me the bus to Madrid leaves on Monday. What??? So now I'm baffled on what to do. I ask for a ticket to barcelona, nice, anywhere else I can think of that has a train station so I can get back on track. Nothing. So I blurt out, "what about Paris?" So I buy the ticket to Paris that leaves at 445pm, its now about 1030am. They don't have baggage storage at the station so I end up just sitting around a small dingy bus station for about 6 hours. I never got a chance to see any of Milan, but with the thought of getting to Paris, and flying to Lisbon I didn't really mind that much.
The bus ride: You have to remember that I still have the cold that I caught in Beijing. It's not really bad, but I still cough and my nose runs sometimes. I think it's not a cold anymore, but probably something that I need meds for. So I'm coughing and sniffling for most of the trip, the bus stops all along the way picking up people, and each time I try to look intimidating so no one will sit next to me. Finally at the last stop, there were two empty seats, mine and the guy across the aisle from me... yep, this kid the size of yeti gets on and asks to sit next to me. So I'm being a real jerk because he kept touching me. The kid was huge so his arm was pushing mine off the arm rest, his legs kept moving over and touching mine, I'd move mine away and his would gradually be touching mine again. So I told him to stop. I know, I'm a jerk, but I didn't feel good and I wanted my own space. He said okay and everything was fine until about 3am when I woke up to an elbow in my throat. Seriously, I woke up and said, "Dude, what the fuck?" He apologized and that it. We got to Paris about 730am.
My first job was to find a plane to Lisbon. I still had reservations at a hostel there, and more than anything, I wanted to go swimming at the beach. I considered it a relaxing end to europe. So I went to the airport by subway. I get there without too many problems. But when I get there, I don't know where to go. So I wander around looking for an information booth to see if they can help me. So they tell me that there is a flight leaving at 1pm at a distant gate... so I head out, two packs, remember and get to the airlines counter. They laughed at me... "that's been full for weeks." :) So now I'm wandering around not really sure what to do. I find a different information counter and explain what's going on, and she tells me that there is a flight leaving for Lisbon at 1pm... "duh." I then try to explain that, that flight is full and ask if there are any hotels in the area. At that point I think it's been two nights without a shower. So she books me a hotel and I catch a bus to it.
Btw, my camera broke too.
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