Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Last story

The last story I published...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Howdy, Y'all!

Man oh man is it hot in this state!
Back in Texas, soaking up the sun and Dr Pepper. Im still trying to wrap my head around the fact that no one here has a British accent.
Well the Air India flight back as not nearly as awful and bumpy as the first one, but they did manage to lose the bags from the plane to the baggage claim so nearly everyone missed thier connecting flight... I barely got to mine!
The girls and I spent our last Sunday in London on a Beatles walking tour. We saw the studios where they made the Yellow Submarine movie and recorded Hey Jude. We saw the office where the Beatles gave their last concert on the rooftop. Below is a pic of the Abbey Road cross walk..we kept blocking traffic to get pictures!

The Tower of London is probably my favorite place in Europe, let alone England. So Rebekah and i went there our last day to see it one last time and to get her boyfriend something. And I mean, this picture just had to happen.

Rebekah and I grabbed a hot dog in a park by Buckingham Palace on one of our last days. She snapped this pic of me feeding the rest of it to the birds.

Walking across the Abbey Road zebra crossing.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


Yesterday, I got to go to Surrey to report on foot and mouth...which really means I spent the day bending down in bushes, trying to avoid poison ivy while watching dead cows loaded into a truck through a pair of binoculars. I had to contort into such strange positions just to get a view that I am very sore this morning!
My editor told me yesterday morning to get to Surrey, so I hopped a quick train out to Guildford and caught up with the photographer who was already out in the field (literally) reporting on the second case of foot and mouth within the last few days.
Luckily, my cab driver in Guildford was a news reading man. All I had to tell him was that I was a reporter, and he said he knew right where to take me.
"I thought you might not know. No offense, love, but you don't exactly look like you're from around here," he said. He was right. I'd chosen that day to be too lazy to match any colors, so I was dressed in black and wearing flipflops. Not quite what one wears in the English country side.
Once we got there, I saw reporters and photographers everywhere, climbing on ladders, peeking over bushes, trying to see where the cows are/were. I spent the day walking along roads and footpaths, discussing the outbreak with farmers and semiretired in tiny Normandy, England. The officials working on the outbreak hid the action from reporters behind trucks and trees, so while the photographers ran around in the heat, climbing ladders to get the perfect shot, reporters went to the pub across the street to watch and pretend like they were working.
Minus the gruesome sight of dead cows being loaded into a truck, the trip was just lovely. The town was beautiful_much quieter and sunnier than London. Exhausted as I was, I tried not to fall asleep on the train ride home. My last chance to see British countryside for a while, I think.
Today is my last day at work! There hasn't been much to do, honestly. Big news is an illegal translation of Harry Potter in France, and something about a cute monkey in England. One of the girls on the program spent her internship organizing a charity beer olympics tonight (not quite the AP, but could be fun), so our program has decided to celebrate our last days by suppoting the event she organized.

Monday, August 6, 2007

I have to push the pram alot...

How weird. This is my last Monday here! Wednesday is my last day of work, and I'll fly back to DFW on Sunday. I'm sad to leave, but with August has come what news-folks call the 'silly season.' If I am asked to write one more story about a silly/scary cow/shark/bear entertaining/terrorising the UK, I am quitting early... But that and Madeline McCann seem to be the only news stories.
Friday, Rach, Cal, Bekah and I went to see Spamalot! I was really worried I wouldn't like it since I can probably quote the entire movie, but I absolutely loved it! I was sore from laughing. They add all these new elements to the show so no one could possible guess what comes next. Plus, the voice of God was played by John Cleese!
Before we went to Spamalot, we ate at a Mexican Food restaurant in Leister Square. AND I actually liked it! I take that to mean that I have been away from Texas too long.
Saturday, I hit up the final two museums I really had my heart set on visiting: the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
I'd forgotten that I'd been to the British Museum before, but once I walked in I had this strong memory of being jet lagged and exhausted, complaining with my 3 brothers and sisters about having to actively walk around until Mom and Dad caved in and took us to get cokes and a nearby cafe. I'm so glad I got to go back when I was well rested, the museum was wonderful. I walked around for hours, examining the Rosetta Stone and what remains of the east and west pediments from the Parthenon, as well as countless other artifacts from around the world. The museum is just packed with beautiful and telling pieces from ancient Greece/Rome/Egypt/etc. Sometimes, it made me wonder why those artifacts weren't, say, IN Greece/Rome/Egypt...but I digress.
Eventually, that museum just wears you out, so I hoped the tube to the V&A. It was a beautiful, summer day outside, so I sat in their courtyard, bathing in the sun next to the big, beautiful fountain. The V&A is pretty expansive as well, but I managed to see thier new fashion/textiles exhibit marking changes in dress over time, as well as a long, cool sculpture gallery. They also had a large exhibit of art from the Islamic world: finely woven rugs, delicately decorated vases, and beautifully illustrated books from places like Iran, Egypt, and Syria. It was hard to think of the current status of some of those countries, to think that few of those beautiful articles are being created in Iraq and Iran now...
Sunday, Cali, Rebekah and I went on a very nerdy, veeery touristy Beatles walking tour. We walked across the zebra crossing at Abbey road, saw the recording studio where they recorded Hey Jude, rested on the steps of the Palladium where Beatlemania officially began, saw the studio where animators created the movie Yellow Submarine and stood in front of the office building where the Beatles held their last live concert on a rooftop. I'll put some pictures up later! It was very surreal to think that the Beatles, the actual Beatles, were standing right where I was standing.
Rebekah and I spent the rest of the day in parks, lying in the sun reading and talking intermittently. Overall, a lovely weekend!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Vienna Pics II

The Danube!!

The picture Cali took as she fell into the Danube!

I was glad we got to spend so much time in Vienna and just one day in Budapest. Like I said below, Budapest was kind of a trashy version of big, beautiful Vienna. But, the parliament building, visible behind me in these pics, is quite possibly the most beautiful building I have ever seen.

The Rathaus, or city hall, where we went to the big, outdoor film festival

They sure love Duran Duran in Budapest! This cafe was across the street from the chapel of Rachel's patron saint, St. Elizabeth.

Lindsay, Cali, and Rachel

New story

Yesterday was the 100th anniversary of the Scouting movement, which began in England.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Vienna: Part II

OK, here is the rest of what happened in Vienna! Its been crazy, so sorry this didnt come sooner. A few pics are posted below, but I'll add more!
So on our first full day in Vienna, we decided to go to the Freud museum. The psychoanalyst lived in Vienna, and his house has been transformed into a museum celebrating his contributions to our realizations of our neuroses. Finding the museum proved harder than we thought, not because we weren't looking, but because we kept getting distracted with all the incredible things there were to see. We stopped at an outdoor cafe near the university and ate cheap sandwiches while listening to students argue and debate in German. The cafe looked over a beautiful Gothic cathedral, which we visited after lunch. Then we passed by the city hall (hilariously pronounced rat-house) where we saw a huge international cuisine bazaar. The Rat House was holding a film festival, so we promised to come back once we'd actually buckled down long enough to find the bloody museum.
The Freud museum is next to Cafe Freud, where we did not stop. The museum is housed in his cozy, smallish apartment. Many of the rooms had been kept in tact, including his waiting room. His office where he saw patients was turned into a display of his collected objects, letters, and publications. He had an incredible collection of statuettes from all over the world. Calli, Rachel and I made sure to take pictures on the couch they had displayed, I'll post those later.
After the museum, we went back to the film festival, where we ate chicken burritos and watched Carmen. A very international evening!
The next day we went to Schobrunn, a Hapsburg castle. We saw rooms where Mozart had played and where Marie Antoinette grew up. We climbed to the top of the hill behind the palace, where there was an incredible view over the whole city. I chose to go to Vienna because I dont know that I'll ever be able to go back there. But after seeing the city spread at our feet like that, I know I'll have to go back one day. What a beautiful city!
We spent the next day in Budapest. The trip was wonderful, but the city is kind of a trashy Vienna. Our tour guide was nutty as a fruitcake, though. She did not speak English well and kept telling us to "Prepare your cam-eh-rahs, Ladies and Gentleman, for a special picture of Budapest" before pointing us at a totally random rock or hill or something.
For lunch, the tour offered a €14 lunch at a traditional Budapest restaurant. We decided to splurge, hoping our typical Budapest meal would be worth it. They took us to Best Western... And served us french fries... It was hilarious. I think I've had more Hungarian food in England.
All of that was on the Pest side of the city, which is divided by a river. We crossed the bridge and entered the historical and hilly Buda side, where we saw the castle and some of the oldest areas of the city. (see pictures!)
We had a few hours on the Pest side of the city to do what we wanted. Cal, Rach and I started walking on a bridge over the Danube where they had a little market of crafts and snacks. As Rach bought a bar of handmade soap, Cal and I started talking about how cool it would be to put our feet in the Danube. Before we knew it, our shoes were off and we were running down the stone steps along the bank to get to the river. We exchanged cameras to get pics of each other, and headed out over the perilous rocks lining the shore. As I sat down, I slashed my foot open on a sharp rock, causing me to yell so loudly that Calli stepped on a moss-covered rock, slipped, and fell INTO the Danube! WITH my camera! Luckily we are both OK, as is the camera, but, man, that was hilarious. We walked back up to the bridge (well, I limped and Cali sort of waddled) where we tried to tell Rachel what happened without cracking up. The weather was so nice, Cal dried off pretty quick. But she did smell pretty foul...