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Michael’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 14 Oct 2007

Location: Southampton/Cowes, England

MapOkay, so it has been a pretty non-eventful two weeks since I got back from spending a couple weeks with the folks traveling. In actuality, there has been a world of things going on, and I've been quite occupied, but none of it seems all that exciting to write about.

Where to start? I guess getting 'home' (the couch at Nat and Cari's place) from London is as good a place as any. Spent Sunday night and Monday at there and in Southampton and headed to the Post Office to pick up my passport. As suspected it was returned with a new two-year work visa (and not a get out of the country letter) and I breathed a sigh of relief. Eventually, just before 4 pm, I rang work and confirmed that I would be in the following day on the Tuesday – despite being tempted to ring in and say that the passport hadn't arrived in the post. Frankly, I couldn't afford to miss any more time as I was down to 5 hours annual leave after booking the Monday to annual leave. Monday night I headed to the island and to my next 'home' (the attic at James and Laura's). Again, thanks to everyone that has put me up over this homeless period.

So back to work on Tuesday... fast forward to Friday – not a lot happening at work aside from being thrown straight back into it with no time to ease myself back into the swing of things. Friday night after work Laura headed straight to the mainland and headed away on holiday with James, so I found myself home alone on the Friday.... ahhh, this could get boring quickly. With a massive 3 DVD's churned out in one night, and more music downloaded than I can fit on my MP3 player, it was pretty quiet. Have to say though, loved 300... especially with the surround sound turned up to window shaking volume.

Saturday morning, feeling claustrophobic, I headed off the island to what turned out to be a LOOOOONG day. Arriving at the Walkie around 1 pm, I witness the tragic in watching the Wallabies fail off the sterling boot of Mortlock. What was with that kicking? Anyway, putting up with the English crowd was made marginally easier by the beer that was flowing, and the majority of the footy team boys were there, with it being Tom's last weekend in town. We continued on and I dropped quickly into my old place for a couple slices of pizza and to grab my mail. Having promised Potter and Bradford I'd be back my 7 pm, I strode into the pub with 30 seconds to spare – much to their disbelief. We watched the NZ – France game, again much to their and my disbelief... rather than being given permission to head home, I was accosted till the last ferry left and then offered the couch at Bradford's place to crash at.

The following morning, with footy training supposed to start, I was short of gear to train in, and we (as a team) were short of players willing to train so it was called off and I headed home 1 – Nat & Cari's. A BBQ there and watching more rugby, I left late in the evening catching the end of the last quarter final before going to bed.

The week was pretty stock standard, but I headed to the mainland on the Wednesday night after work for training – silly me forgot that it ain't summer any more and it is dark by 645 pm. A short 40 minute training session and then we headed out for Stroudy's birthday drinks at the Grapes in Oxford St and then to the Red Lion before I was left running for the last ferry at 1045 pm. This island thing is gonna be hard... I'm thinking East Cowes more and more is the place I should live.

Friday night I headed back to the mainland to go out for Ste's birthday drinks and it was cool to see some of the old house mates out there with Tom and Dan in better form than I'd seen in ages. Turns out Stef also had the added benefit of drinking to toast his being let go from the place he works... damn. Met the new house mates that have moved in since Trace and I moved out (Sue into my room and Junior into Tracey's) and that was cool. Stayed at Stef's for the night and slowly dragged myself into action on Saturday. Potter called and dragged my to the pub (it was on the way to the ferry) for a beer while watching the soccer (England vs. Estonia – we didn't really see any of it, preferring to sit outside and ignore it altogether) but I refused to sit around and wait till watch the rugby at 8pm. I headed home to the island on Saturday night, then back to the mainland on Sunday for training. Having just watched South Africa beat Argentina, I about to call it a week and head to bed.

Up coming events, and there are some big ones:

Wednesday night I am headed to Bournemouth to see Billy Connelly live which I am hoping will be good. Cari, Nat (maybe), Stef and I are going (my birthday present to Stef) and a host of others so that should be cool. Will have to spend the night on the mainland though as the last ferry will have left by the time we get back to Southampton.

Next Saturday, World Cup Final... as much as I'd love to say I don;t give a shit cos the Aussies are out, I'll be watching it... somewhere. That somewhere may start with 'Walk' and end in 'about'. Local joke in England... If the World Cup had a 7th vs. 8th play off, what would it be called??? Bledisloe Cup....

Sunday the football team is playing an exhibition match against Sussex, the team that beat us in the semi-finals last season. Every year at the beginning of the university year (they start in October) the two local colleges (University of Southampton and Southampton Solent) play against each other in a huge sports day sponsored by the Walkabout. We've arranged to play an exhibition match during the day to try and raise the publicity of the club & league. They usually get TV, radio and newspaper coverage of the day so that could be awesome for us.

Following Sunday, 28th October, NY Giants play Miami Dolphins in London. First ever NFL regular season game to be played outside of North America, and the tickets are the hardest thing to get in town – well, second to Rugby World Cup Final tickets now I'd say. I don't have any yet, (500,000 people registered interest in tickets in the first day – my name never came out of the ballot) but am seriously considering hitting the tail gate party and buying a scalped ticket.

November: Potter and I are headed to Oporto in Portugal for 3 days (9-11th) which I managed to get return flights for 4 pound – or 10 Aussie! And it is 2 hrs 20 minutes south of here, I hoping for a bit of sun. The train ticket to Bristol where I am flying out of costs more (14.5 pounds), and was only 1 hr 40 minutes! What a joke.

End of the month seeing Kanye West in Bournemouth, in a pretty small theater which should be awesome. Same place that I saw Fall Out Boy, so looking forward to that. Well, that sums everything up I think... now that I am back on track, will try and keep it that way.

See you all soon – for the Aussies, June it is....