'ello mates from Edinburgh!
Well today is our last and final day...we had a bit of trouble finding an internet cafe in between all of our shopping and galavanting around town. So here we are on the Royal Mile at a little internet cafe.
One of the highlights of my trip was on Friday. We still had our rent a car and we decided a nice coastal drive would be fun...and one of the things I had in mind to do was go to a place called Deep Sea World that I had found a website for. It looked really cool and I knew it would be more like an aquarium, compared to our Sea World, but it seemed fun. So we drove down, and i'm looking around to see when I would spot this pretty obvious tourist attraction. We followed the signs and came to this parking lot, with this one small building that said "Deep Sea World" on the side. I looked around and said, "um....is this it?"
We got out and realized that to go to the aquarium you actually had to go down stairs (so apparently it was under the parking lot....which was probably smaller than a Target parking lot btw). So we went down to go explore this...uh...aquarium.
Wow. What looked on the brochure to be a whole exhibit actually turned out to be just one tank with fishes and clever props to simulate....the AMAZING KRAKATOA! *gasp!* if it isn't....THE AMAZON RAINFOREST!! *sweeping adventurous music* and let us not forget....the SHARK TUNNEL with the NON WORKING PEOPLE MOVER!!!!!! *dun dun DUN!!!*
hehehe so we spent like 20 minutes there and we were off. Poor little Deep Sea World. If the Scottish only knew!
Well needless to say that wasn't the highlight of the day. We went next to a place called Aberdour, which had an old castle. The castle was AMAZING and sooooo awesome. After we spent a while there, and as it started to rain in the classic Scottish way, we headed to Silver Sands beach.
It sounds cliche and all but I really can't describe to you what it is like (me, being a lover of the ocean) to stand on the shores of SCOTLAND and wade in the cold waters and look for shells and smell the salt and seaweed nearly 6000 miles away from my own home. It was SO beautiful. Nadia and I found real sea glass (which we never find at home) and shells a color I ave never seen before! It was so amazing. I could have spent all day there.
Yesterday was the meeting. That was so great! The talk was very good (about how people can be saved) and of course, so was the Watchtower about Job and enduring trials. The Edinburgh Waverly congregation announced the visitors (there were a lot of us!) and told us to send their love back to our respective congergations. It makes me think of how the apostles traveled to different congregations, and how neat it must have been to meet so many people. We met one sister named Chelsea who is my age and here by herself! She lives in Kauai but she was born in Virginia. She is traveling for six months! She was really nice and sweet, and a lot of the older brothers and sisters in the hall were very sweet as well. We also met a sister who used to live in Poway but it here for her company for 2 years! She was very nice and friendly as well. I was thinking...where else could you meet and talk to complete strangers buut in Jehovah's organization!
Today we are mostly doing our last shopping with all our souvenirs and such for you wonderful people back home. I'll be sad to leave little Edinburgh, with its many kilts, many accents, many friendly and wierd people, its bagpipes and its castles and its quaintness and its history. But at the same time, I miss little Lemon Grove, the only place I really feel at home. I definitely know though, that after this trip, I will be wanting to travel a LOT more....when I have the money that is.
We leave tomorrow sometime in the afternoon and arrive around 9 at night...where we will probably sleep for 14 hours like when we arrived in London...lol. I am excited to see all of you soon, I miss all of you guys!
Well I hope all of you have been doing well. This will be the last entry so the next time we talk it will be in person!!
A few things we have learned:
*The Simpsons is number 1!
*Drinks here are not very cold and lots of places don't have ice
*Taylkin like a scotsman es mair foon then aither of uz cain imaaaagine!
*UK tv is hilarious
And lots more I can't think of.
Confidential to Gunther: No leprachauns. But what I will bring home for you is on pretty good par with it ;-)
Confidential to W. McGee: 8 kilts and counting. Do you know what's underneath...?
Confidential to Leroy Jenkins: Emo skater scottish kids aren't as cool as emo skater california kids.
See you all soon!
I've got a pic of Nessie herself. Seriously. I told you about that human asada....you didn't believe me! Aha, but just wait, and I shall prove you wrong.
Farewall mates see ya later!
Ahoy from the bonnie highlands o' Scotland!!!!
Well i'm feeling better today. Sore throat is gone and now I just have a bit of a runny/stuffy nose. But better to be sick here in the UK than back at home!
Our flight was fine and short. We got to our hotelapartment (yes, that's what the sign said!) in the afternoon...it's SOOOO cool! it has a living room, two bedrooms and two baths. It's so cozy and it's right in the middle of Edinburgh. We walked around the town a little that night to see the sights and find a place to eat. It is such an amazing place. There are gothic buildings that soar up high overhead, and from the main road you can see the HUGE Edinburgh castle that is build upon a giant green mossy rock. Walking down the streets is like being transported back into the 17 century. You can just imagine the carriages going down the streets, and the people in their kilts and the peasants on the corner. We ate at this adorable little restaurant that reminded me of Claim Jumpers and Carlos Murphy (yeah, doesn't THAT take you back!) combined, but themed on old cars and route 66. Our irish waitress was sooo nice.
So anyway, a short entry because we are here at a little cafe in the highlands and driving on to Loch Ness. Let me just tell you...driving as a passenger is freakin scary on the left side of the road!!!!!!! But my dad is doing a good job...i know i would have crashed by now so we're all in good hands. It's COLD here, but the scenery is more beautiful than you can imagine...rolling green hills, rocky tors covered in dark pink heather...rivers that wind through the landscape, and pastures dotted with sheep and cows. I LOVE it!
Well we have to go on the road again now so we will update soon. My family is trying on tweed hats and I gotta look for a scarf.
We will probably most likely see Nessie. I mean, I heard that she likes mexican food. So i'll just hang my arm in the water, she'll sniff and think "*monster grumble*human asada!" and then she'll come find me. At the last mminute, i will pull my arm up and snap a picture. I bet my dad will jump onto her and take a ride, but we'll see how the day goes.
I will bring Steve and Joy a stuffed leprachaun from the local taxidermist.
Love you all.
lets see.. i dont even know what today is! i had to check my computer calendar at this quaint internet cafe. its tuesday, our last full day in foggy london town. which, by the way, hasnt been foggy at all! we've had two days of rain, not lasting the whole day, and the weather has been fine. it actually gets quite hot and stuffy when you are in a train full of people (some sickies! and some who havent had their yearly bath!) 15 floors underground! yes. thats absolutely a true fact! the Picadilly line is about 15 stories underground! creepy.. i dont like thinking about it.
ok. 3 days since last update. what have we done?? ah! on sunday, my dad went to winchester, to watch the motocross of the nations. he had a really fun time and thankfully got home safely. i'm so glad he went, as we were worried about it raining. he didnt want to go if it was raining, because it would be really muddy and uncomfy weather to be in allll day. thankfully , it was nice weather. he chatted with a man from honduras on his way down, on the train. he passed through some lovely countryside, and really enjoyed watching the races. us girls went shopping, since it was a prime opportunity to do so, knowing that my dad wouldnt be keen on joining us lol. mom, jez, and i went to the Victoria & Albert museum, just a few blocks from our hotel. saw the fashion collection, which was great, though i expected them to have more than what they did. but it was still fun! didnt get to see much other than that because we had other places to see too. so then we went to covent garden, where there are street performers and open air markets with peoples arts and crafts and plenty of shopping. as we are finishing eating and paying for our bill, the electricity goes out! odd... as we pay and walk towards some shops, some fire trucks came a blazin down the street, which is full of people traffic. they ended up closing off a big chunk of the area and the surrounding shops have to be evacuated and closed down. most places have their electricity. come to find out, some cables on the underground had exploded or something and they were concerned about ppl's safety above the area where that happened, so they closed it down. annoying because we couldnt buy what we were about to pay for at a store!! sheesh. anyway, found some treasures and made our way home.
yesterday, monday, i was feeling burnt out, because of fighting germs. i ended up hanging back at the hotel, while jez and dad went to the natural history museum which is next to the V&A museum. my mom went scouting for antiques as she really wanted to find an antique milk bottle from london. she has collected them from our vacation spots. she has one from maui, canada, and other places she's visited. she didnt find any:( hopefully she'll find one in scotland at least! she also went to kensington palace, where Princess diana used to live. i ended up sleeping till 1pm and not leaving the hotel till that nite to get dinner. i feel much better today tho so i'm glad i took it easy yesterday!
today, we all went to madame tussaud's wax museum which was soooo fun and soo cool!! these wax figures really look like the real thing! and they arent behind glass, you can stand right next to them! got some GREAT pics!!! saw angelina and brad, the hulk, pirates of the caribean(YAYYYY!!!), even oprah! lol. then, we went back to the british museum to see some more things we didnt get to see before. still only saw a drop in a bucket's worth, but got to see greek and roman sculpture which is just fascinating. will have to detail why in another post, since this is already long enough ;). after that, dad went back to the hotel while us girls went back to covent garden to purchase our things that we couldnt the other day when we were kicked out. got some really good ice cream too.
tomorrow we leave london for scotland! i'll be sad to leave here. some things are wierd and odd here, but its also really cool. again, will post details of those thoughts later. mom is at the laundromat a few doors down, and i gotta pack for our flight to scotland tomorrow afternoon. my dad is driving us from the airport to our flat.. scary!! but the city there is no where near as crazy as here. think t.j. traffic......
our flight info is:
leaving heathrow at 1pm and arriving edinburgh scotland.
i'm too lazy and tired to post a link, but i'm sure my trusty cohort steveterry will do the honors. or honours. ;)
i love and miss you all!!
next update will be from scotland! :)
'Ello then everyone!!
Our second update for you from foggy london town.
Yesterday was RAINY. It was kind of fun and atmospheric actually, as we were on our way to Tower Hill to see the Tower of London. So we hopped on our little Underground train ("Mind the gap", the train says) and headed off to our destination. We took some pictures of a memorial they have there for those who had died at sea with no grave, and they have some really pretty scultptures and carvings that I took pics of.
We headed over to the Tower, and it was just a light rain. Me being a typical tourist and San Diegan, I was in my oh-so-comfortable flip flops, jeans, and a hoodie :-) We went to the main gate and gathered around for our guided tour by a VERY funny tour guide, a Yeoman Warder who had a great way of telling us the stories of the Tower of London.
Now it would be too long a story to tell in too great of detail. But let me just say that this place was like nothing you have ever seen. To know that the very cobbled streets you walk down have walked by so many historical figures is pretty mind boggling. One of the first sites we saw was the Traitor's Gate, which was the entrance that they would bring the prisoners in by boat. We visited the White Tower, and saw actual army of Henry VIII as well as many other monarchs. It was incredible to be inside the castle...only the pictures will do justice when we get back!!
Well by the time we got out of the White Tower it was rather pouring down pretty hard. I ended up getting soaked and my feet were wet...well, duh, of course, since I did not prepare well at all. But we still walked around and some some great sites. We saw the Crown Jewels (diamonds as big as an egg!), and walked around the inner parapet of the Tower grounds. We also saw a section of ancient Roman wall within the castle, and the ravens on top of it--that made a great pic.
One of the most amazing moments was went we went into the chapel on the grounds. There, all of the important people who had been beheaded were buried. We were in the very spot where Anne Boleyn was buried....! It was sad but amazing...and the hope of the resurrection will prove to be very happy and interesting when we get to meet these people.
We walked across Tower Bridge, which looks like something from Disneyland (think the big blue castle), and then we headed ALL the way back to the Underground station. I was soooo wet and felt like I was getting a cold, and we were all pretty tired and cranky. But we finally made it back to the hotel in time to get ready for the meeting.
We ended up taking a cab to the meeting which was actually a fun experience, the cab drivers are very nice, and our VERY...VERY...handsome concigiere (however you spell that)...who might I add is french *wink wink for all the single ladies*...hailed a cab for us which was very nice. We got to Pond Place to the meeting, and they actually have a seperate door for the Sign Language congregation. We were a little unsure if we were in the exact right place because they don't really have a large visible sign outside. But then a sister came and we asked her if this was the Hall and she welcomed us in. She was very nice and a lot of brothers and sisters even came up to us and asked where we were from and chatted with us. Their hall is VERY small and reminds me of just a very large room with chairs in it, but their average meeting attendance is over 100 so filled up.
The parts were very good of course, and it was interesting to note that the back school met upstairs somewhere :) When they began the announcements at the second half, the brother mentioned that they had visitors, and mentioned our names to everyone (he had written them down earlier), as well as ANOTHER visiting family from Australia! He said to send the love of the Chelsea Congregation back to our respective congregations. We also met a brother and sister from San Francisco who were visiting, but had lived in London for a time, they were also very nice. It was so wonderful to get that spiritual food and see the worldwide brotherhood in action. That was a nice experience :-D
So today was a fun filled and spiritual day. We went on a Bible Tour at the British Museum given by the local brothers. This was by far the highlight of the trip so far. It was incredible. Each tour has a theme...our first one was themed, "The Stones Are Crying Out" and illustrated many lessons. We went through the Assyrian section, and saw the Black Obelisk which depicts the 12 tribes of Israel PLUS the tribe of Levi (so there were 13 israelites represented on the obelisk). All of the things here are mostly NOT behind glass, and are huge. We walked between two of the Winged Lion statues, which would have been at the entrance of the city. We saw wall carnvings depicting the Assyrians and then the capture of Israelites. We discussed Jonah and Ninevah, and saw the actual statue of the Assyrian King Sargon and his son, Sennacherib. It was soooooo sooo amazing.
Our second tour was called "Keep Your Eyes on the Prize" and centered around the Greek and Roman cultures during the times of Jesus and the Apostles. We saw Grecian urns, talked about the gods that the Greeks worshipped, and what it would have been like to preach to people who worshipped gods like Dionyses or Aphrodite, and compared it to modern day and how behavior is still the same. We saw the actual armor that a Roman soldier would wear, and then discussed the scriptures about the "large shield of faith" and "shodding our feet with the good news". We have video and pics and can't wait to share them with everyone when we get back. We plan on returning to the museum on tuesday, because there is just so much to see and do.
Later in the day we went to Harrod's, which is gigantic and unbelievable and expensive. We saw the memorial to Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed, bought some fun inexpensive things, and then went to Harvey Nichol's for dinner.
My dad got a drink there called absinthe. Or rather, it has absinthe in it, which comes from wormwood. Imagine drinking liquified black licorice, and that is pretty much what it tastes like. He was very excited because they don't sell it in the US, and it's green, and it's wierdly good. it tastes like you just bit off a chunk of wood and then drank some root beer and a piece of fire.
So finally we got back to our hotel, but nadia and I had to come here to the cafe to update before we relaxed at home.
Britain is lovely, today was a perfectly sunny/partly cloudy day. We miss you all and hope everyone is doing well.
We will update before we leave London for Scotland, and hopefully over there as well.
See you soon!!!
<3 <3 <3, Jez
So our flight was good but LONG and we didn't really get to sleep much at all. Georgia was pretty (at least from the airplane), and is pretty big but thankfully our connecting flight wasn't very far from where we came off our first plane. The 2nd plane was pretty nice, we got to watch the most recent X-Men, and the food wasn't all that bad. We got a patch of bad turbulence and me and my sis were a little scared (we were over open Atlantic ocean at the time!), but it didn't get too bad after that.
I have to say the coolest part on the plane was our night flight. I sat by the window, but once it was getting dark everyone closed their windows so that the sun wouldn't wake them up in the morning and we'd be able to sleep longer. A while into the flight I opened up my window and was AMAZED. Right outside, I saw the huge wing, and beyond that, the constellation of Orion and the surrounding stars. If you have ever seen stars at 30,000 feet in the air it's AMAZING. They were so beautiful...I wished I could go even higher to see them even closer!
SO enough about the flight. Coming into the London-Gatwick airport was soooo pretty....it looked like a huge green pathcwork quilt, with trees framing the squares. We took a train and then the Underground to get to our hotel in Kensington.
One thing about the Underground here. It's hot. And smelly. Some europeans must not be too keen on deodorant cuz it can get pretty funky in that little british subway system :-p But for the most part, the Underground is a really cool fast way to get around town.
We slept for 14 hours our first night and didn't wake up until around 1pm. I didn't realize jetlag did that to you! Our clocks are still a little messed up. This morning, I woke up around 5 or so I think. I heard my sister moan, and I made a noise back to see if she was awake, and she was. So i laid there for a while, and then I hear something and my mom comes out of the bathroom with a chair....i look up and ask her what she is doing, and she told me she had been sitting in the bathroom. I started laughing when she told me that she had been up for hours, had eaten and read in the bathroom, and then brought her chair in there (my dad is very sensitive to light so we couldn't wake him up). We decided to just get up and go to Starbucks down the street. We went back to the hotel a little bit this morning, and now me and my sis are here updating for all our friends back home :) It's about 8:30 am here so it's about 12:30 am or so for you guys.
Yesterday we started late but we saw a lot of really cool things. We took the Underground to Westminster to go on the the London Eye and had a good time on that. From there, we saw Big Ben (which is HUGE!) as well as the Westminster buildings and a big park. We decided to walk down to the area (it was nearing sunset around this time), so we crossed the Thames and walked to Westminster Abbey. Th architecture on the abbey is very detailed and elaborate. It was revamped in the 13th century in the gothic style of architecture by King Henry III, and was originally a Norman Monastery.
After that we walked through St. James park, which once used to be a swamp and was de-swamped in the 17th century. It was once notorious for being a hangout for all kinds of yobs (that's a british hooligan ;-)), but now is very pretty to walk through. We also saw Buckingham Palace at dark, all lit up, which was very cool!!
Today we plan to go see The Tower, which I am really excited about. It's nearly 1000 years old and has so much history! We are also going to be attending the theocratic ministry school and service meeting tonight which will be really nice...i'm feeling spiritually hungry :)
The weather here yesterday was WARM and a lot like weather at home, but a little windier. Today it rained this morning and is now kind of wet and cloudy, which is very traditionally British.
Some things we have learned:
*Page 3+page 12 of the Sun =boobies!! o_0!!
*Wonky is a word
*Underground is smelly
*To-go boxes are called take-away...and our restaurant wouldn't let us take away!
*Jet lag makes you sleepy
*Instead of "watch your step" it's "mind the gap"
*Starbucks is everywhere
*some british people mumble and you can't understand them
*foreigners run the food service industry
*commercials are ANYTHING GOES i.e naked man wearing a bottle of laundry soap and nuthin else
*Dr. Quinn in German is funny
Alrighty well we'll update more before we leave for Scotland on Wednesday. I hope all of you back home are doing well. We're having fun! Well we're going to walk down to Sainsbury's (think British Albertson's), get some water, and then head to the Tower.
Confidential to W. McGee: The legal drinking age here is 18 ;-p
Confidential to Leroy Jenkins: The british skate too but not as good as americans. Cuz they don't eat enough whole grain.
We love you guys! we miss everyone. We'll post soon!
Last night in San Diego!
Our flight leaves tomorrow at 11 am. I have been doing packing all day and OOPS am still not quite done with cleaning my room (call me the eternal procrastinator). BUT i did get my camera today and other than that, my luggage is all packed. I can't believe we are actually going to the UK! So strange but so exciting.
So I am hoping we will be able to post from London (we will try to!) I have a USB cable for my camera that I am hoping to be able to transfer pics to the computers over there, but we'll see if it works. I am not sure if we have phone service over there but you can always try and txt from LJ and see if i get it :)
So many crazy flight restrictions call for my creative and selective packing.
I shall munch on some scottish shortbread and listen to the Chieftains to get in the mood for our flight across the pond.
Enjoy your week and...
...Stay classy San Diego!!
We're almost ready.
I gotta go clean my room and pack!!!
This is our official UK community while we are on our trip. Now we will TRY to post if we have time, but we will just be doing so much stuff we'll see how it goes!
We leave on Tuesday, Sept. 19, in the morning. The flight will lay over in GA at the super big airport I've heard they haev there, and then from there its across the seas to the UK. We will be arriving in London and staying at the Holiday Inn in Kensington. There is a kingdom hall not too far away in London at 32 Pond Place.
We plan on seeing Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, going to Harrod's, the Tower of London, and the British Museum, just to name a few. So exciting :)
Will post more soon as the countdown nears!