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J Mac’s Travel Diary

Monday, 17 Oct 2005

Location: Swansea

MapRight then folks, sorry for the slack job in keeping this page up to date. I have updated the photo section and promise to add some more this week >>_PR_html_ent

As I write this I am listening to CBC Metro Morning, trying to keep up to date on the happenings in Canada. Sounds like the major gun violence problem in Toronto isn't getting any better as a TTC driver and two others were shot on the weekend. Very sad, and what makes me more sad is the youth being involved in these shooting and gangs seems to be getting younger and younger. I wish there were an easy answer.

I had a fabulous day yesterday in the Brecons Beacons National Park. I was anxious about going because I didn't know anyone and assumed that everyone in the club would have their own group. I woke up and was still flip flopping back and fourth but decided that I was being silly and got my boots on, sometimes it is hard making the first step. I am so glad I did it because it was one of my favorite days in Wales so far.

We started at Pen-Y- Fan mountain (the highest in southern Wales), it was straight up for 886m and then up and down and up and down along the ridge and went up to the peaks of Cribyn, Fang-y-Big (which was a steep climb), Bwichy Ddwgallt and Allt Lwyd. It took 8 hours and 16 miles when we ended at the Star's Inn Pub in Talybont on-Usk. If you look at it on a map I hope you think it is a respectable walk. The Star's Inn pub is exactly what I pictured a good pub in my head before coming to Britain. Allan, one of the funniest people I have ever met introduced my to Scruppy's Organic Cider. It was definitely much tastier than Strongbow, but 9% alcohol, needless to say, I slept the whole way back to Swansea. I had the pleasure of meeting more new people, I talked a lot with Ava from Belgium and Maria from Norway on the walk.

Life in Wales is becoming less new and more routine. During the week I go to school, have rowing practice, try to get to the pool and outside as much as possible. On the weekends, I always try to do something fresh, see something new, walk along a different path, bike somewhere I haven't been yet, etc.

Last Wednesday we had our rowing initiation. It was of the more gross things I have had to do yet. They gave us each four drinks, a pint of beer with chunks of crab, a pint of cider with chunks of blue cheese, vodka with chiliís and gin with olives. We had to drink all four and have nothing left in the cups as fast as we could. I wasn't the first one done but did manage to drink all four. The blue cheese and cider was by far the worse.

One thing that I don't particularly like here is how young everyone is. Most students start uni at age 17 or 18 and with only three year programs the oldest are 21. Makes me older than everyone. Usually I don't notice the difference but when it comes to maturity levels there is a bit of dissimilarity. I don't like getting drunk everyday and have already experienced being a "fresher".

Our Thanksgiving dinner was really nice. Alex, the other Brock student, his flat mates and Raquel who is on exchange from the University of Windsor all came over. It definitely was not moms cooking, the gravy and potatoes were clumpy but still appetizing. It was a big hit.

I had a really good sleep last night, almost 12 hours, I love having Monday's off, but I should go get some work done.

Miss you all!