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Nix & Laangs Euro-venture

Ok take 3 with the travel page thing! This website looks waaay better than dodgy myspace so here goes....

Diary Entries

Monday, 22 October 2007

Location: London, UK

SOUTH AFRICA BEATS ENGLAND AND CRAZIES ON THE TRAIN
Hey everyone!

This weekend we all went to the pub to watch the world cup rugby final. Now, I know we are not the type of girls to be interested in sport usually, but the absolute RIBBING we have taken at our respective workplaces ever since England somehow beat Australia two weeks ago has been getting on our nerves and we REALLY wanted the Saffas to win… or else it would be a gloat fest over here for the next four years, so we went along to cheer them, and to annoy all the patriotic English lads hehe ;)
Turned out to be a great night because the South African team beat the English hands down!! Yay no more teasing at work haha! My office is deathly silent today, no-one is even MENTIONING the rugby.

Hilarious episode on the train home tho! We got on a carriage but there was a really drunk woman getting offended about weird things like the fact the train wasn’t leaving yet, or that people were getting off her carriage… slurring her words and saying things like “well fiiinnee… u just DOOO that…. Uurrghhh gurgle” … so we also chose to get off her carriage. We walked along the train and spotted an empty carriage and were like SCORE! A seat on the train! So we got on, and were about to sit down when out of NOWHERE this crazy banshee lady starts BELTING me over the head with her shoe or her bag or something, screaming “GET OFF MY TRAIN!!!” Hahaha so we ran off apologising and covering our heads. My first public assault… awww… pretty funny stuff.. that’s London for ya tho.. full of crazies…

more soon

xxxxxx

Friday, 19 October 2007

Location: Bucharest, Romania

ROMANIA AND MUSE

Hi again guys!

I’ve finally found the time to write about our recent trip to Bucharest, Romania to see our much loved band Muse! (same band we were watching on our last day before we left Aus instead of getting ready to leave the country for a year!… so that we ended up packing at about 1am the next morning!)

This time we went on the trip with Nicky’s two work colleagues, Jules and Dani, who are also from Aus (GoldCoast though) and have become pretty good friends with us over here.

We stayed over at Dani’s house the night before we left, and had to get up at 3am to get to the airport in time. Nicky and I were looking pretty bleary eyed as she had been up coughing all night with the cold from hell, and I had slept on cushions on the floor, which had slid apart and hence I was basically just sleeping on the floor. Not high in the comfortable good nights sleep stakes.

Anyway, we had ordered a taxi to come and take us to the train station, as that would be cheaper than getting a cab all the way to the airport. But the little taxi man just, drove past the exit to the station …. saying “whoops, I will have to drive u all the way to the airport now” and then played me-no-speaka-de-English while we all shouted that he was getting only the same money as four train tickets would cost. Once we got to the airport though, he simply took the amount we were offering and said not to tell his agency, so I think he was trying to help us all along… haha obnoxious biatches that we are : ) London gets u so used to being screwed over that u learn to be on the defensive as standard practice. I’ll probably fall over dead from shock when I get back to Aus and someone ACTUALLY smiles at me in the street haha.

We made it to the airport just fine, and took off without any delays on a nice plane with easy-on-the-eye purple seats. However, Nicky and I got stuck next to a mum with a baby (who INSISTED on the window seat by the way, even though she had to get up all the time to feed and change the baby) and Dani and Jules got stuck next to a weirdo, who just kept staring the whole time.

In the seat in front of me and Nicky however, was the weirdest character on the whole plane, who turned around, told us some weird “joke” about a kangaroo that neither of us got, and then asked if one of us would like to go sit next to him alone!! Nicky promptly said “no, we are fine where we are thanks”, and I pretended to be scared of flying and grabbed on to Nicky’s arm, showing weirdo-man my best *scared* face.(and i WAS scared...... of HIM!!). He insisted on turning around to talk to us though for ages, rambling on with yet more unfunny kangaroo/koala jokes and then telling us he hoped to go to Australia in this life as it was his “last reincarnation on earth before he was reincarnated at some other point in the universe”. Wacko. We pulled out our MP3 players and closed our eyes so we didn’t have to talk to him any more.

That didn’t save us from the baby though… although he actually turned out to be quite cute, smiling and waving at us, and trying to crawl onto Nicky’s knee. In fact, we began to be quite concerned for the baby’s safety as the weirdo in Dani and Jules’ row gave it SO much attention and looked at it SO much that Nicky thought he was the baby’s dad! (seriously, think clucky female in the body of your standard skinny 20 year old male theatre usher – the gimpy one telling you in his wavering voice to get ur feet off the seats and not throw popcorn… not cool) He also gave us and Jules and Dani a lot of that same kind of attention, so it was a bit of an uncomfortable flight lol.

We soon forgot about all that though as we started our descent into Romania. We were flying REALLY low over run-down houses and doing turns so that it looked like the wing of the plane would plough into one of the Simpsons style nuclear power station funnels any second. Having held our breath until we landed (on an old disused freeway), and then pivoted 180 degrees to taxi back up the same “runway” (please please please don’t let another plane be coming in for a landing!), we got out of the plane and were greeted with Bucharest in all its glory.

If it gives you any idea of what it was like, the Kazakhstan scenes in the movie Borat were filmed in Bucharest. We were amazed at how the eastern European stereotypes we had laughed about on the way over were actually true. There were houses which had back yards literally looking over at the airport 100 metres away (the same houses we nearly crashed into while we were landing) and a kind of “plane-graveyard” where there were 5 or 6 planes with rust and wings and engines hanging off at weird angles. You can see from our pictures what the airport looked like once we got outside. There wasn’t even an ATM in the terminal! There was a currency exchange though so luckily we could change some pounds to get us into town.

One of the biggest things you notice in Bucharest are all the stray dogs. They are just EVERYWHERE, running around and sleeping and I don’t know what else. But everywhere you looked, there was a dog. Standing out the front of the airport, and staring at the dogs and weirdos hanging out in the park opposite, we decided against our first plan of taking the bus and opted to go find a cab instead. We found one, and negotiated a price with him to take us into town – for £30. ( I’ll keep it in pounds as its easier then converting everything into the Romanian currency LEI, which is irrelevant anyway as I bet not one of you knows what a LEI is worth :P )

Anyways we all stated the price a few times.. saying “all of us, 30 pounds yeah?” and he’s like “yeah, yeah 30 pounds” and prints off a receipt on the dash board for 30 pounds.

So he drives us the 20 minutes or so into town, stopping on the way so we can use an ATM to get some money out.. (we have to go to 3 ATM’s to find one that works) and then finally arrived at our hotel. We gave him the 30 pounds, and went to get out, only Julia tried to open her door and found that it was locked!! The taxi driver then started claiming he said we had to pay 30 pounds EACH and that we couldn’t go until we gave him all that money! To get this straight, he was demanding 120 pounds for a 20 minute drive…converting that into Aussie Dollars its about 280 dollars! Way too much! We had a big shouting match with him, which ended up with us handing over an extra 20 pounds, and then he let us go and drove off shaking his fist and yelling out his window at us, with us looking like a bunch of westies yelling back at him from the street lol.

After that little experience we definitely needed a drink, so we went for a wander and found a bar that looked ok. Unfortunately the guy staffing it just did NOT like us, and even though we were pointing at the tables and rubbing our bellies, he just said “I not speak English” and turned his back on us. Rude! Luckily a much friendlier waiter then came along and got us all seated and even had the vegetarians in the group sorted out with some food. We were sitting and laughing and talking when a tray of drinks arrived at our table. The waitress told us the drinks had been bought for us by a group of guys sitting across the room from us... just like in the movies!! They came across for a chat and ended up buoying us three more rounds before we said we had to leave to get ready for the concert.

We made it to the concert a few hours later, having wandered the streets and gotten lost in an attempt to find an ATM that was working so we could get some money out, and ended up having to skip dinner due to lack of time. When we got to the concert, there was a HUGE line, that was coming out of the concert, snaking down the road, and then doubling back to the concert again having wrapped itself around a building somewhere down the line. This line was being supervised by the Romanian Army, so there was no chance of skipping the line… and sadly, as it turned out, no chance of flirting with the hard faced men : (

We were pretty worried at this point as we had realised that although we had paid for 4 e-tickets, we had accidentally only printed out 3, and were wondering how on earth all 4 of us were going to get in. Luckily though, by the time we got to the front of the line, it was almost time for muse to start and they were just rushing people through. The girl on our line scanned the three tickets, looked strangely at us, but let the four of us walk through, and we hurried away from her before she could change her mind. Score!

Muse, needless to say, were A-M-A-Z-I-N-G !!! They played all our favourite tracks, got us all excited and even came back for an encore of three more songs! The only downers about the concert were having to breathe in cigarette smoke from the 1000 or so people that were smoking in the crowd, and having the girl in front of us jumping up and down with her filthy dreadlocks waving in our faces. Never mind, all worth it to see the BRILLIANT Muse!!

We got back to the hotel pretty late and were starving since we skipped dinner, so we ordered weird cheese sandwiches… (the menu called them yellow cheese sandwiches… what cheese has to be SPECIFIED as yellow?) and fruit tarts. Then we watched a movie and fell asleep since we had to be up pretty early to catch our plane home.

After our recent luggage-going-missing episode while travelling to Greece, Nicky and I had the bright idea of not taking any bags with us. Unfortunately this meant we were stuck in the same clothes for the entire weekend, so we woke up feeling pretty scraggly, and with no time to shower, it was going to be a horrid trip home… (for the people sitting next to us too hehe).

We managed to get to the airport without too much fuss, and were confidently sitting on the bus to be driven out to the plane when the problems started. They got everyone off the bus and took us back into the terminal, and there were people yelling in Romanian at the airport officials, and the airport officials yelling in Romanian back.. and we had NO idea what was going on. Someone said there was going to be a delay so we bought some duty free (but unfortunately not fat free) Toblerones and went and sat down the back to eat them.

Next thing we looked up and some Romanian guy is swaggering over to us saying.. “ohh lucky girls, who is going to be stuck in Dracula land tonight hahaha u can stay, I can stay, it will be fun”… needless to say the response he got from us was far from encouraging, and we got up to see what was actually going on. Turned out some IDIOT had released one of the emergency exits on the plane, and so they had to turf 28 people off the flight and were calling for volunteers to stay another night….(there’s apparently only one flight out of Bucharest per day)…

We still couldn’t understand anything that was being said, but managed to find out that some welsh people were volunteering to take another flight, and that their group had the right amount of people to do this.. so we just had to wait for them to get their luggage off the plane and then we could go. We all sighed with relief at this, as the thought of another night stuck in Bucharest was NOT pleasant.

We FINALLY got home about 3 hours later than we were supposed to have, and were starving, so we went to a nice Indian restaurant near our house.. (Indian food smells so strong that at least we didn’t stink in there haha), and then went home for much needed and wanted showers.

I think I caught the bubonic plague from the dirty city, as I have been sick with a pretty feral cold ever since we got back : (

Well that’s all for now, will write again soon.

Leanne xx

Monday, 24 September 2007

Location: Athens, Greece

GREECE DAY 5 – ATHENS

We got booted off the ship bright and early… and after settling our shockingly expensive account with the ships reception (did we really drink all those cocktails?), we set off to explore Athens.

Wandering around the streets of Athens in search of food, I suddenly felt someone trying to steal my bag! By instinct, I turned around with my fist raised to punch them, and managed to stop just in time when I saw it was only the Belgian guy off the ship playing around (the one that saw me swearing on the plane)… Still, good to know that if someone tries to steal my bag in future, my natural reaction will be to punch them in the face : )

After grabbing a quick sandwich (its always about the food!), we set off towards the Acropolis and soon found signs pointing out the way. We knew there was a pretty big discount on the entry fee if you were a student, and so we used our student cards to try to obtain this discount. Nicky got hers just fine… but of course mine is expired by about 2 years now, and those sharp eyed Greeks told me so, and made me pay full price to boot! People at pizza shops and movies always let me use it !! Not fair :( ……..Maybe there’s a lesson in that… stop scamming discounts you don’t deserve you full-time-worker you!

Anyways, having parted from the exorbitant sum of 12 euro to walk through a gate (Nicky got it for 6!), we climbed up the path to a rocky outcrop/lookout thing and stopped to admire the view. It was gorgeous by the way!

While we were sitting on the rocks looking at the view, we noticed three asian guys staring at us, and one separate guy in a green t-shirt following us around taking pictures of us. You can see the three guys staring at us in our pics from Athens – even taking a photo of them staring doesn’t deter them!...... I really don’t know why this continues to happen to us….. its got to be the hair I think…

Having dislodged the green-t-shirt-photo-happy guy we got to explore the Acropolis in peace. It was beautiful and awe-inspiring and all of that… but I suppose in this case the pictures really have to speak for themselves.

In the afternoon we went to a restaurant, and were served by a waiter who was convinced Nicky’s name was Aries, as that was what was written on the necklace she was wearing (its her star-sign really). We then had some GREAT FOOD (see pics) a little too much wine, ran around being a bit disrespectful at another monument ( ok maybe a lot too much wine…) and then had to get on a train to the airport.

Dragging ourselves in the door 8 hours later (it was a long wait at the airport, a long flight, and a long trip home to freezing London) we fell straight into bed and resigned ourselves to get back to boring work the next day… holiday all over : (


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Recent Messages

From leta
hey,
excellent reading - keep up the good work leanne! europe will miss you both when you leave and that is only 4 pays away (if like me you are paid fortnightly!) natalie is reveling in driving and is being very responsible. georgie is quite the chef making us pizzas last night from scratch. i have been line dancing a couple of times - if it was scored like ten pin bowling i would be an expert at it. i can scatter the lines around me with great ease. co-ordination is not an asset of mine!
miss you heaps & looking forward to seeing you soon.
hugs & much love to you both,
:-)
Response: Hey Leta!

Leanne here, finally getting around to replying :) Nicky's flat out at work so Hi! from us both.

Sounds like u r all having fun back in aus too :) cant WAIT to visit at christmas... we are hanging out to see everyone!

Home in 4 weeks now!!!

Love Lea and Nix xxxxx
From Mum
Hey bub site looks really good. Finally get to see some photos!! Say hi to Nicki

Love Mum
Response: Hey mum!
we both say hi back!
Love you xxxxxx
From Ben (Koshy)
Hey guys,
very jealous!! looks like you are having an amazing time. Pics are great!
looking forward to reading some more stories :)
Have fun


Response: hahaha there will always be more stories!
From Allan
WOW what an adventure! What you mean Leanne has a temper..? Haha. Great to hear u guys are havin so much fun! Cant wait til its our turn :-D
Cheers from OZ
Response: HEY!!
Are u implying u already KNEW i had a temper? impossible! im LOVELY!
We are having LOADS of fun! You guys will LOVE it! I forget when you are coming, but if it cooincides, we DEF have to catch up!!!
From Rod Woods
The 'class' photo Notting Hill Carnival Mmmmm. Big night?! Big day?! I didn't think it was you...I was sure it was some other girl but your mum seems to think it is you....there is a wager (undisclosed) can you confirm?? Yeah I know I'm going to lose but...hey It doesn't look like you!
Response: Bad news Rod... I'm sorry to say I AM that classy chick in that photo... how much do you owe mum ;)
From leta
am thinking i might have to take about 6mths off to get everywhere! school holidays for the next 2 weeks, so georgie will be slacking off! nana is off to perth next week for a college reunion - she is looking forward to that. nat is training jade at ibm now - oh dear. i did tell her to be nice to the clients.
love you lots.
hugs to you & leanne.
:-)
Response: 6 months off work woo hoo!! We all wish lol. Sounds like everyone's doing good back home, send my love to everyone! And watch out IBM hey...
From Pete
Gray skies are gonna clear up! Put on a happy face! Brush off the clouds and cheer up! Put on a happy face!
Response: Sunshine, lolly pops and, rainbows everywhere and la la la la al al aa lal lalaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa....
From Phil (dad)
Just saw this site for the first time Nicky. Looks great, so many fabulous locations.

See you.
Response: Heya! Yeh it's been good fun making this page - lots of memories. I've just updated some pictures from the weekend just gone - work took us all to Barcelona!! Adios xoxo
From Donna
This is a seriously AWESOME blog you girls have going now!!!!

Dad still has not seen it as he hasn't checked his mail for about a week but he's on his way home from work now (5.30pm on Tuesday 28th August) so I will get him up here.

Love Donna xxxx
Response: Hey! Yeh this is definitely the best site we have going on. I've just updated some more photos from this weekend... Work shouted us a trip to Barcelona which was pretty wild!! Miss you heaps, and lots of love to you and dad xoxo
From leta
hey,
ok - i believe that you have left the country now and not just hiding from me! some awesome photos happening there. so how do i get to san sebastian - looks amazing!! might have to put that on the itinerary when sharon & i run away!!
love you lots,
:-)
Response: Hey!! I only just figured out how to reply to these messages on this site lol. So slack. You definitely have to get yourself to San Sebastian, it's my happy place!!! Missing you heaps, you're probably not far off arriving at work so have a good day :) Lots and lots and lots of love, Nicky
From Jules
YAY Welcome to planetranger...! x
Response: Woo hoo!! Only 3 weeks later and I finally get around to replying... too much travelling, not enough blogging (I wish!)