Cows in London

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cowsmanaut
Moo Master
Posts: 4342
Joined: 29-Jun-00 22:53
Location: canada

Cows in London

Post by cowsmanaut » 13-Sep-07 00:11

So here it comes.. we'll start with the photos, which I know is what everyone is really interested in. Especially since my little post is going to be several pages, due to the fact it's about the ENTIRE trip...

Sherlock Holmes pub
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v291/ ... _1981b.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v291/ ... G_1978.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v291/ ... G_1976.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v291/ ... _1983b.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v291/ ... G_1986.jpg

crystal palace
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v291/ ... G_2085.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v291/ ... G_2100.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v291/ ... G_2122.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v291/ ... G_2124.jpg

Short videos
http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v291/ ... I_2102.flv
http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v291/ ... I_1982.flv

the last vid there is really dark.. might try to go in and boost the light values in it at a later date.. it's more to hear people's voices.. you can see them in the pictures

So, My trip to London. It was a long flight. I had a hour and a half stay over at Minnesota which was rather hot the day I had landed. Though only 3.5 hours on the flight there. I quickly had a bite to eat and then caught my flight to London from there. The flight was fine, but long. Annother 7-8 hours in the air, which was fine since I had many things to do with me, and they had a little screen mounted in the back of the chair in front of me with a control that allowed for playing games, or listening to music, or you can watch a movie from a list of various titles some still in theaters. Any attempt to sleep was impossible due to a screaming child and the person behind me who felt they had to adjust their screen every 3 seconds (moving the screen in the chair caused the chair to jiggle.. ) so every time they did I woke up.. that is, the few times I attempted to sleep.

Once we finally landed I was struck by a labrynth of ways to go which ultimately I just followed the people ahead like a sheep expecting they knew where to go. This suddenly came to a halt in a corridor where we were all lined up, not in single file, but as a mob. Being the friendly type I didn't get too close to people and gave them their space, that is until I noted that this is not the way of the various american visitors who took that as a chance to push me out of their way to get in front of me. I don't say this to slag americans in general, just this group who seemed to feel it was their right to push ahead of me. After a while of this, I noticed it getting very hot, and people were getting more miserable. I began to get that urge, you know.. the one where you want to punch people? The ones who keep stepping on your shoes and saying nothing.. who inch forward and bump into you, but act as if you do not exist, because that would aknowledge they are trying to squeeze in front of you as if you don't notice. Finally by staying more vigilant I make it around the corner to note that it's not the end of the line.. in fact the line indeed does only end up getting to single file eventually which then snakes back and forth over a very large room. The final waiting time was easily over an hour before they viewed my passport. Now, I don't mind showing my passport. However, when I've had to show it in canada to the airport officials there, then to the air flight attendant to get on the plane, then again to the next air flight attendant and security people in the states, it becomes a bit trying. After all, what these people in the london airport are saying is, I don't trust americans, or canadians to do their job checking people before reaching our airport. Ouch.. Oh well.. I suffer though and get out finally to cooler fresher air.

Looking around for my bus thingy which is supposed to take me to my hotel. Once I find it, they appear to know who I am and are ready for me. So, they ask me where I'm going and I tell them based on what I know.. where upon they tell me they do not go there. Hmm, ok well where can you take me? They say they can drop me in Shepards Bush at the kensignton Hilton. Ok, don't know where it is but I trust you. So we go around and around and pass right past the hotel I'm staying at. I don't know this because I've never seen it, but once they dropped me off at the hilton and I've purchased a map, I discover this is the case.. as I recognise the front of the building having only driven past it 15 mins prior. So, they can drive past it.. but not stop at it... right.

I go inside and try to explain the situation, Micheal has reserved it for me, but it's for me. We do a little dance, he calls the guy and this guy shows up and tries to charge me more than the cost quoted, claiming the amount paid already was to an agent. The amount was for the first night plus the agents commision. I'm not retarded and I let him know this. He very quickly changes his tune and only charges me for the remaining nights and tells me to follow him to his car. Ah, low cost hotels.. you have to expect it I guess.

So once in his car he drives around the streets like a mad man, there is no slowing down, when a car is in his way he goes around it, despite it only leaving about an inch between him and the car heading straight at us. The only time he slows down is to arrange some bussiness with one worker he passes who is working on a building and likely is to do something to his later in the week, then he passes some other guy in the street yelling "I DON'T WANT TO TALK TO YOU!".. I can only hope it was a joke and he knew this other person.. but at this point I'm inclined to think he's more than a little nuts. He takes me to the place, shows me that the Tube is near by and gets me the key to my room. He let's me know there is internet but has no idea how to get it to work and they guy I need to talk to is not there. This never gets resolved later so the entire time I have not interenet except from cafe's though I'm certain it's part of the cost.. so is the TV which also doesn't work. Then their is the cleaning lady who only makes the bed but doesn't give me new towels. Again, go somewhere cheap, expect it :P I can only hope the sheets were changed since the last person, I decide sleeping on top of the sheets rather than in them might be more wise. He announces to me after giving me the key that he himself is off on vacation. So, I never saw him or anyone else after that point. In fact, there was no breakfast either, they were renovating the kitchen.. reminder to self.. don't go here again.

I try to use my phone.. nope.. doesn't work.. so off I go on a hunt to make it work or I'm going to be comepletely screwed.. I have no internet, no phone, and no idea where I'm going. So, I wander shepards bush and find a place that handles cell phones and he tries to unlock mine but it won't work and so he finally advises I get a cheap phone for 30 quid and a sim card with 20 quid on it. so.. I pay him and it's probably the BEST purchase I made. This lasted me the entire time I was there. It gave me a local number too which made it all the easier. There was no problem for me to phone back home too, so I think it was well worth it.. though I should remember that 50 quid is about 114 canadian dollars.. but still I think it's worth it. So, now I have a phone.. I hunt down an internet cafe and get in contact with the board, check my mail, read through everything and contact Elana. I don't get her, but I do get her folks who tell me to call back later. At this point I've been up for just over 2 days. with only maybe 30 mins sleep on the first plane. I decide to take a quick nap and call her later, but my phone doesn't wake me, and in fact in mid sleep I must have turned it off, as I woke up around 11pm and instead called Micheal and told him about all that had occured so far.

I stay up most of the rest of the night, taking a breif nap before calling Elana again, waking her. We head out to meet and go to Hamleys however with neither of us knowing the stations all that well, we end up getting to Victoria station but at different locations and wait an hour before I wander out to see what happened.. I find her near the train station which I had no idea was there, having taken the palace exit. All is well though and we begin our journey.. two brave heroes! :P I've spent a little cash already covering the rest of my room cost, the phone, transport around and some food as well as shampoo and underarm etc as they don't let you take it on the plane. I only took out about 600 which only ended up being 260 quid. -200 for the phone and room, 10 for transport of there the two days, some food, and goods,and I was getting very low, I got 2 shits and then noticed I had 20 left.. hmm. Time for the bank machine.

Now I had no idea the bank cards here have a little chip in them, and that if you don't have that ship.. you're as good as dirt. Not a single bank machine would give me money, despite I had plenty in the bank. Even going in and talking to a human didn't help. Now was the time to panic. I contact my parents and see if they can help me work it out and they agree to wire me money. Not much, another 200 is more than enough to keep me afloat for the rest of my stay. However, the time delay is an issue, I have to find a western union (which was not clearly marked.. though through the advice of people we finally find one) and since I need to wait several hours before they can do anything, we go off to Hamleys. I look around but can't buy anything, no big deal. It's still cool to look through.. we looked at every floor, including the pink girly one Elana refused to stay on more than a few seconds despite her gender :P I get in contact with my dad but I still need to wait a bit for the money to get there so we wander off to a park and play some mario Kart on our DS systems. We then head off to the first meeting place and meet up with Matt. DFXDX shows up suddenly and says hi, but has to leave sooon. After hanging out there a short time, I wander off and DFXDX and I leave those two there and I go get my money. Once back everyone has arrived. WHEW!

I have met them all.. except Micheal who has vanished just as I entered! So amazing, seeing the faces, hearing the voices. After all the bits of stress and ordeals I went through to get here, it all disolves and I'm excited and even elated to see everyone in one place! this more than anything is the reason I came. We have dinner, and chat, drink and stay until they move us downstairs, then eventually kick us out. George stays with us as long as he can. It's not exactly who we pictured being that he's missing a tan, and a beard... maybe a large grey robe. :;) Most of the rest I had seen in photos before. Still much diferent in person. The voices too make a big difference. I've noticed now that when I read people's posts, it's now in their voice. :)

After a good sleep, I get up to get a look around the city. before meeting up at Victoria Station again, this time I'm aware and know where to find Elana once she arrives. I get myself a starbucks coffee from a woman apparently from quebec and we talk breifly, I then meet up with Elana, and we wander a bit around until Micheal get's there huffing and out of breath. From there he gets us on the right train and we head off to Crystal Palace.. now, I'm sorry to inform you all, but there is in fact no palace there made of crystal. There had been one made of glass supposedly but it had been taken down in 1935 and only the courtyard and some sculptures remained. Where we were going was instead a hotel near that site. So we show up and await the rest to arrive except for Matt, they filter in after a little while and we all sit, have tea and cookies and chat some more. Illiana brings out her laptop and we play with photoshop a bit, and also Guillaume brings out his level for RTC and shows it off. Looks fantastic! Eventually things appear to die down a bit and we are not sure what to do, so I suggest my drawing game. Usually, I do this with other animators as it's something that helps develop your sense of imagination and helps you create new things. How it's played is one person makes a scribble on a page randomly and then passes it to the next who looks at it slowly turning the paper 360 until they have seen it from all angles, they then pick one angle and make the scribble into whatever they may have seen inside it. Usually it's best to play with two colours of pencil/pen so you can see what it started from and what it became based on colour of line. Once you finish drawing, you make a scribble for the next person it it's passed around again and again. We had various monsters, helmets, characters, cats, and anything we saw. After we ran out of paper, we left to see the Crystal Palace, which wasn't there, but luckily for Micheal I was in good humor and decided to not bury him up to his neck in the courtyard. ;) The place was very calming and filled with old falling apart sculptures, with maintained gardens and grass. We took some photos and eventually wandered off back to the hotel where we then played Benjamin's game which is somewhat of a role playing game where we are DM classes but our goals and abilities are somewhat different. Look out for it on the forums as we may begin to play it there. We played several rounds and eventually went off to eat.

We wander to Soho I think, where we went to Pub who's name escapes me, something with doctor in the title. Which is interesting because we returned to this place again 3 times.. or rather I did. The food was less than stellar, but the place was nice enough. Some woman came in with her mates and she was carrying a large blow up doll. She eventually came up and kissed every man in the bar, due to the fact she was getting married soon. This explains the blow up doll... well.. not really, but sort of :) again, we end our night and make plans for the following day. Matt has suggested he might be able to meet with us the following day even though he was unable to attend our meeting at the crystal palace area.. so we leave that as a loose option, I decided I would like to see the palace so I offered to go see it with Benjamin and Ileana, though I think I got confused with what we had discussed, I went, and they tried to meet them for the changing of the guard, but it was so crowded there that I just took some video and then got contacted by Tobias by text.

Now, because I had no idea where the Abby was.. I thought it was the courtyard in behind the palace, in Canada we call the churches or chapels. :P Anyway, I'm wandering around the palace grounds. doing a full circle of the whole place while they are waiting for me to show up at the Abby.. they then discover that I'm a moron and come find me waiting out back of the palace and once again we are off. This time Matt, Iris, Tobias, and I.. we go to the Imperal Museum of War. An impressive structure with two large canons out front and so many displays inside it's likley something you need to spend an entire day at. we see as much as we can in the few hours we have, I took a tonne of photos filling up an entire card with the sights there and yet only have seen perhaps half of the place. there is even an entire house in one part of the museum. Quite the display.. we go through the holocost last and it leaves us all a bit quiet. We agree to go off again to Soho and meet up with our french comerads for dinner. They have been to see Lord of the rings and we find them once we have had a drink inside the Doctor pub thingy... from there we go off to the Indian food place where the pancake of doom was served to Benjamin, and shared our stories of the different place we went chatted and once again went off to sleep. I had to take a bus home again. The previous night I had the same experience due to delays on the tube which lead to the next one I had to take being closed before I got there. Following some man up the stairs as he sang some song about wankers and insulting the staff of the underground. ahhh... :P Anyway, made it home and passed out.

Once awoken I had hoped to see stone henge this day because I had the tickets, but I couldn't so I went out and wandered.. went to the Abby because I knew I wouldn't be able to see it the next day as I had discussed as a possible idea with Benjamin after the indian food. I had also tried to contact him by sending a text message, but the list I had, had the wrong number I guess. I sent a message instead to a french man in bangkok who I didn't know was his friend. So I went to the Abby solo and took photos of everything I could find, statues, small old buildings, and went into the Abby store to get some gifts. Then wandered up to a bridge near the London Eye, and saw the aquarium on the other side.. instead of crossing imediately I went down to the next bridge and crossed there, seeing a man selling lode stones, and bird callers for a pound, I got a bird caller for my mom and continued on.. once going down I was greeted by a display of many street performers. People dressed in old garb or as statues, there was even a woman who was dancing with a crystal ball.. great stuff.. then I wandered around the aquarium and saw that they had a fright tour where actors tried to scare you. They had many warnings about heart conditions and the like. Then there was a Jedi training show where they give you light sabers and teach you the way of the Jedi. There were various other things going on there but I decided to continue my journey and went to the Tube, where I contacted Matt but he was feeling very Ill so I sent him another message wishing him well and told him he better go see the doctor about his ears which had even been bugging him the night before. I then contacted Tobias and Iris and found they were close in their scifi store and met up with them. I discovered at this point that the streets of London were not only made by following a pig through a forest, but then numbered by people who can not count. I began to wander one way looking for 168, and saw 130, then it went to 122, and 120.. so I figured.. nope.. going down in numbers I should go the other way.. 114... uh.. wait. how can this be? it's counting down this way too.. I run to a booth and the man agrees the area is messed up and tells me where to go.. no no.. he tells me where it is. He was very polite. I find them and we head out to a Thai buffet. This is a relief because I've spent far too much on food this past bit. including 30 quid at the indian place.. this buffet is only about 7 quid for all you can eat and a drink.. it was great. Very delish! we went from there to have ice cream and then off to.. yep.. the doctor pub again. Where we sat and the three of us told ghost stories. :) calling it a night again we head home for a good nights sleep.

I've arranged at this point to go on my tour to stone henge, windsor castle, and Bath. So, I get up early, giving myself plenty of time to get there, I know it takes 30 mins to victoria station from my hotel so I give it an hour to allow for problems. It would appear I should have gotten up at 6 and left instead of 7. The train didn't come, and only after 20 mins did they even mention it wasn't coming.. really nice organization there guys!! Now I understand why people complain about the underground. I rush to a map and figure out an alternate route, making it to the next junction I discover, without knowing where the coaches are exactly I'm not going to make it. I whip out my phone and dial the tour place letting them know what has occured. They tell me to take a cab and they would wait. Well, I've not taken a cab yet in London.. I dash out into the street and wave at one.. he of course stops in the middle of the road and waits for me.. I dash into traffic and hop in.. off we go. I get there and pay the man who apparently makes a good living because they're quite expensive.. I then discover my camera needs batteries.. my charger wasn't working.. turns out later that the converter blew. So I couldn't charge anything anymore. sigh.. so I run in to get batteries or I won't have a single photo. It turns out to be more than 1 pound per battery.. WTF?? gee.. do they like to rip you off in the vitoria area? the answer is YES. The same batteries are 99p at the corner store near the hotel I stayed at.. I looked. I give him the 5 quid and a glare.. and get on my Coach.

Windsor castle is our first stop. You can only take photos outside the castle.. and we have very little time.. only enough time in fact to see the state rooms at a very quick pace. The doll house is very cool, it has working lights and plumbing.. the plumbing uses alcohol otherwise the pipes would rust. The reason for no photos, is because most of the items in windsor castle are very old. Anyway, even skipping much of the audio portion of the tour I come out of the castle a bit late.. this is also because they force me to turn off my phone which is also my only clock :P I run full speed to the coach not able to get a guide book on the way out.. DAMN.. oh well.. next stop..

Stone Henge.. rolling hills.. lots of sheep.. and a bunch of big stones behind rope. The guide advises us not to use the tour partly due to time it takes as well as the fact he claims to have told us all about it on the bus ride there... this is an obvious ploy to make sure the tour is optimized.. the ranting he did on the bus made little to no sense as I could see nothing while he was explaining.. "this rock is here, and this one is there.. and if you look at the angle of this rock to that rock and this... bla bla bla bla..." ok.. well.. that was a waste. I get the guide book at least. I instead enjoy the wind, and the sky.. the stones and the quiet. Wonder what it would be like without the rest of them all here.. nice place for a picnic.

We now are heading off to lunch at some pub called the Stage post. I'm getting low on cash again (taxi and batteries as well as the food costs up to that point have drained everything) so I decide to be very observant on the trip there and skip lunch. Turns out to be a great choice, as Tobias mentioned there is a nice town near by (this one presumably) and they have an old church there. Well while this lot pay their cash for some so so lunch I wander into their corner store and grab some munchies for only a few pounds and end up having more food than them.. ha ha!.. not only that, but as they waste their 40 mins eating I went out and saw the village. Thatched rooftops, cobble stone pathways, beautiful gardens, and of course the old church. My little adventure is being narrated in my head with Tobias' voice.. it was so much better than the stuff loud pub. ahhh.. I come back with a big grin on my face and the woman next to me called Melissa asks where I went. I show her the photos I got and I think she was wishing she had done the same. We chat a bit until we get to our next stop..

Welcome to Bath. this time Melissa joins me. She's an adventurous lovely woman. Shame I had not met her sooner. We wander all over bath taking photos and taking turns picking directions to go in. Our tour guide gives us more than enough time to take photos of all the old buildings but really, once you see one, the rest are much the same. it get's boring and eventually we are just waiting outisde the the bath house to get inside. he shows up a little tardy and let's us in.. where they rush us through a tour that normally would have taken a lot longer. we have just over 30 mins to get through it all and are followed by security who close doors behind us letting us know they are closing up.. I don't get to see one of the areas and feel rather uncomfortable being politely herded towards the exits.. we all exit and many people are very pissed off. One woman saying she's going to write them a nasty letter. The tour doesn't spread the time out well, nor can one do that much in one day. I decide to accept that is the case, and that I got to see a lot more than I expected, I also had my camera so things I couldn't stop to read, I took photos of.

The trip back to the station I talk a lot more with Melissa and enjoy her company, again wishing I had met her sooner, but we simply say goodbye at the end of the trip. She paused outside waiting to wave goodbye I think. Makes me wonder, maybe I should have left my email.. who can't use more friends? C'est la vie. I get home and try to phone the airport bus company to pick me up the following day.. but they do not answer. Seems that their posted time on their website, as well as on my sheet is not accurate.. as they left before 9pm but claim to be open until 10. Figures.. I call Matt and ask for his advice/help and he arranges to meet me the following day and sends me off. The train is far faster and cheaper than the bus place I paid pver 50$ for.. which incidentally is now wasted because they couldn't be arsed to answer the phone.. uff. I rush off to customs only to find hardly any line. It's far easier to get out of this country than in it seems.

I wait at for my flight and listen to the sounds around me. On the speaker I hear "Zoom passengers, we are terribly sorry but we are searching for a new part for the plane, we will update you once it's been found"... gee.. good thing I'm not taking that plane. WHAT part?? they don't say, but about 40 mins or so later they announce they have found it, and it will take an hour to get it there and install it. "Good luck" is all I can think..

Eventually my plan comes, and it turns out that this flight is training for a class of flight attendant students. One of which looks like Liv Tyler. They are pleasant, but stumble over announcments. As it's part of their training, we got served water more times than I can remember happening on other flights. I ordered chicken and got pasta instead.. oh well. Then they had to reboot the computers because 3 people couldn't get their movie to play.. this ended up meaning that EVERYONE then couldn't use the system instead for about 50% of the trip as they kept rebooting and what not for these whiny 3. Pick annother damned movie.. anyway.. they finally get it working and then end up collecting the earphones too soon, preventing one woman from finishing her film.. we then go down to land in Minnesota again and this guy can't keep his speed right.. worse landing ever.. I was dizzy and sick from the jerking left and right.. must be a trainee pilot too.. I stagger into the airport only to find a line up.. passport checks. This wasn't here a week ago.. and oh look. Now they have added a digital camera and fingerprint machine. To enter the states you now have to be photographed and fingerprinted as well as having your passport checked. I explain to him I am not going into the states but getting on another plane to canada.. he let's me through without having to be fingerprinted. I get to baggage check and they stop me there.. oh no.. dangerous PSP battery is loose in my bag. several questions along with a full test of my bag being rubbed down with special swabs tested by computers sniffed by dogs and various other things.. they let me go. I decide not to mention my name rhymes with sadam .. I doubt they would like the joke.. I wait 6 hours in a very boring terminal.. watching various people.. including one woman who keeps picking skin off her face and eating it... *shudder*.. swap phone calls with my dad and Jenn and text message Lalena my roomate.. the flight home from there is easily the fastest and smoothest ever, I even got 3 seats to myself where I could laydown and sleep a bit.

once there a quick trip through customs and I was off on cab home.. I'm glad to be home really, though a part of me wanted to stay too. Both here and there have their good and bad points really. I've mentioned a few complaints about things in the above, but really, I enjoyed my time there. Also meeting everyone has to be the best part over all. from that alone, it was a success!

so.. if you made it this far.. you must be really curious, or really bored.. but kudos to you for reading it!

moo

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Paul Stevens
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Post by Paul Stevens » 13-Sep-07 14:26

I hope you can identify the folks in those photos.
I looked at the first one and said "That's me!"

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cowsmanaut
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Post by cowsmanaut » 13-Sep-07 15:06

ok well the first one starting at the red shirt and going clockwize.. is ZYX, then it's Gambit, Safadia, Lunever, George, Ameena, and ZYXETTE..

In image 1983b the white shirt and dark hair is Linflas, img 2085 is BeoWuuf, and Ameena on the train with me.. we're off to the queens hotel in crystal palace area..

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Gambit37
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Post by Gambit37 » 13-Sep-07 16:09

Hey, Cowsman, that's an excellent and funny write up! I didn't get to hear about ALL the problems you had while here; they really do make this place seem a complete nightmare. I almost feel personally responsible.

What would be great would be another trip one day where you can come and stay for a couple of weeks and we can do things at our own pace, without you being forced into tourist treks. There's so much of this country that I've not seen myself, we could make a bit of a tour our of it, maybe get some of the forum to come too. Of course, the same goes for all the other home countries of the forum members.

I'm glad that you ultimately enjoyed it, although you learned the hard way why we're known as "rip off Britain". :-(

Ican't begin to guess why that woman was eating her own face...

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Paul Stevens
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Post by Paul Stevens » 13-Sep-07 16:18

Well then, it is Gambit that made me say
"That's me!". Perhaps 40 years ago. :wink:

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Trantor
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Post by Trantor » 13-Sep-07 17:11

Makes me really sad that I wasn't there. :cry: I'm sorry I wasn't able to attend the meeting, as I would have loved to meet you all. Maybe there is a next time, though... I certainly hope so.

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cowsmanaut
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Post by cowsmanaut » 13-Sep-07 19:18

pancake of doom.. as promised...

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v291/ ... G_2340.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v291/ ... G_2339.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v291/ ... G_2338.jpg

if you want advice on the correct way of eating this monsterous item, you'll have to ask ZYX.. :shock:

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Lunever
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Post by Lunever » 13-Sep-07 20:57

Hey Trantor, good to hear from you.

Regarding our meeting, somehow I always felt Adam looked a bit disoriented, funny to hear that in his own words.
Lucky, Safadia and me were not as disoriented and things for us went rather smooth. On the one hand, both of us had been in London before, if only long ago and for a short stay. On the other hand, we had booked everything in advance, already payed by credit card, knew we would be compatible to every atm or shop via mastercard/visa/maestro/ec/cirrus/chip or pound sterling bought in advance, stayed in a B&B we knew from personal experience, and took a pretty cheap flight with Ryan Air. Before departure we bought an ADAC motorclub guide to London, a laminated folding map including a tube plan, and printed various google maps with in various zooming sizes showing greater London, London in general, London West End, London Penge (where our B&B was), and London Crystal Palace along with the position of the Queen's Hotel where we've been supposed top meet each other.
Bad people might say Germans like to know where they are marching to, I mean travelling to.
Yet one or another thing was more expensive than anticipated, like the 28 pounds to travel to&from the Stansted airport, or the train or tube travel cards, since we did not know about resalers like Oyster then.

Wednesday we arrived, but after the coach trip from Saarbrücken to Frankffurt-Hahn, the flight to Stansted, the long trip in a due to the tube strike more than usual overcroaded coach to Penge, we did not do much except wandering around a bit in Penge, buy some basic things, visit an internet cafee, print the maps there showing the location of next days pub, and having a fine Indian dinner.

Thursday Iris and me went to the London Museum, which shows several eras of Greater London's history. First was London before London, which seems to make hardly any use of any historical facts but rather creates an neoromantic image of early pagan lifestyle. Roman and Medieval London until including the great fire 1666 though was interesting, unfortunately the Victorian age part was closed down due to restoration works, which is unfortunate considering that Iris is curently preparing a World of Darkness - Vampire the Masquerade campaign based on the Victorian Age London by Night Sourcebook (which probably could use some verification due to being written by Americans).
From there we went to the British Museum, but only had a little look since we already extensively explored it at our last visit and noticed that the probably very interesting special exhibition about the first emperor of Qin would only start shortly after our departure.
We then went to Westminster Abbey but already had missed the last admittance, but instead of doing sightseeing and picture taking, we participated in a prayer service. Beautiful chorus.
We then proceeded to Trafalgar Square, checked possible night buses home (which is kinda tricky due to the Trafalgar Square area being more riddled with bus stops than a swiss cheese with holes), went to the Sherlock Holmes Pub and ran right into the one and only person there we already knew personally, that would be Matt. During the next couple of hours everyone else also has been arriving and we had a nice evening on a terrace upstairs the pub which substituted pub noise for areator noise ;-). At 11 pm they closed down (most UK pubs don't seem to have noticed that they don't have to close at 11 anymore) and took the last train back to Penge.

Friday we thought "well the distance from our B&B in Penge to Crystal Palace isn't much, let's take a walk and take the route through Crystal Palace Park". You know what's not visible on Google city maps? Yup, it's slopes. Fox Hill. Not much foxes around there, but a neverending 20% slope. Having taken longer than we anticipated and thus being late we arrived a bit out of breath yet still were the first to arrive. During the next two hours the rest also showed up, we had some nice talk and Guillaume presented some impressive stuff from Forest of Doom. Since there was not much else interesting in that area, Iris and me left the afternnoon for the Natural History Museum and only later rejoined with Michael, Adam, Guillaume, Benjamin and Ileana. Funny thing is, when we first asked them by SMS whether they would like to join us in Soho, they texted that they were just having dinner in Victoria. After having dinner ourselves in an unexpectingly expensive chinese rip-off restaurant (as if 9 pounds wasn't enough for a meal it was just a bit of chicken, without anything, not even rice, for even plain rice would cost another 8 pounds), we texted them that we would take a tube to Victoria from Leicester Square in order to join them, just to bump into them at Leicester Square Station even before the SMS arrived. We then found a not to crowded pub nearby called The Crooked Surgeon, rugby match on screen was almost over and we had a couple of hours of nice talking and drinking. We then took the last train home once more.

Saturday we did manage to meet Guillaume, Benjamin and Ileana at Westminster Abbey. They were on their way to the changing of guards. We intended to take the regular tour through Westminster Abbey instead and intended to rejoin them for the LotR show in Soho after the changing of guards. Then things went a bit bad: We only then noticed that mere admittance to the abbey would cost a full 10 pounds per person, decided to just wait for the others and use the time for my favourite LARGE Starbucks coffee (plus the inevitable blueberry muffin) and write a couple of postcards. We replied to a SMS from Adam telling him where we were, assuming he would be with the others at the guards' changing. He also assumed that the others (which he did not meet) were with us. We waited at Westminster Abbey, he was looking for us at Westminser Cathedral (which is quite a distance). Some time after Matt also arrived we were able to clarify that, but it was already a little late to hurry to Soho to join the others for the LotR show, so we decided to join Adam who wanted to visit the Imperial War Museum. Interesting museum, though pretty Imperial. After that we went to Soho, joined the French ;-), had a quick beer in the doctor thingy pub and then took a tube to Hammersmiths to join with Michelle, a friend of Benjamin and Ileana, for a vegetarian indian restaurant including an encounter with the pancake of doom. I enjoyed my food very much, it was really delicious. However, we got a bit stuck there and although being taken by Michelle quite a distance in her car, still had quite some time to go via the night bus until we finally got to our B&B late at night.

Sunday Iris and me did a bit of shopping in Covent Garden (nice that almost all shops had opened), got stuck a while in the fantasy fiction store Forbidden Planet, spent money there for RPG stuff although we actually did not plan to buy anything :-). We were then joined by Adam, had lunch, noticed just some minutes to late a SMS by Benjamin & Ileana and missed them only shortly after they had left towards Penge :-(. After that we had some Häagen-Dazs icecream and - again - spent the evening with Adam in The Crooked Surgeon. That pub is one of the few that did notice that there is no need for a before 11 pm last order anymore.

Monday we finally left back towards home. I really enjoyed our trip and hope we can do something like this again.
Last edited by Lunever on 14-Sep-07 08:20, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Gambit37 » 13-Sep-07 21:48

I think we all hijacked Cows' thread....! ;-)

Oh, Tobias, I forgot to say that I think I saw you on my bus on Saturday night! When I got off in Sydenham I looked back as the bus was turning the roundabout and I think you were sitting with Iris downstairs near the front?

I wish I had been feeling a bit better at the weekend, I really feel like I didn't make the most of it :-(

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Post by Lunever » 13-Sep-07 21:54

Doh, you are right, that was us in the N176 !!! So doing a part of the distance by car actually didn't make much of a difference.
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Post by cowsmanaut » 14-Sep-07 05:30

Actually, I love that Lunever posted his experiences.. I'd like to see Zyx and Linflas share the same. :)

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Post by linflas » 14-Sep-07 12:22

Alllll right !

Thursday, i left Paris just after work, quite tired so i slept in the Eurostar.. Well i tried to : i was surrounded by korean tourists.
Michael pm'd me that he would meet me at the station and wear a black fleece so i looked for a 30 years old guy dressed in black.
He had a light grey t-shirt... :roll:
As i said during all the weekend, i need english training. Thanks to Michael's speed speaking, i gained a level in a very little time !

At the Sherlock Holmes pub, Beo left me with all the girls at the terrace : Ileana, which was only speaking french and a few words in english, Iris with her clear and staid voice (!) and Elana, with her *own talking way* ;)
All the guys were ordering food at the bar but they finally got back upstairs. I recognized Lunever, Gambit and Zyx, a few more seconds were necessary for Cows and finally, there was that young looking guy... Gambit and him asked me if i was the "Forest of Doom" guy. Oh my... I just said "Monsieur George !" and bowed down. But he's not wearing a grey robe and has no white beard ?! :shock:

After a few beers and a late dinner, i went with Benjamin and Ileana to find where my night bus stop was located in Trafalgar Square. I was on my own and a bit afraid : i knew that my hotel with quite far in the suburb (20 km!).
The bus trip was endless, i thought i had gone too far and asked the driver for "Thornton Heath" : just try to spell this with a french accent and be understood... No way ! and i wasn't allowed to talk to him while he was driving.
Finally, i manager to tell him "Norfolk House hotel" and he knew it, it was exactly the NEXT bus stop !!!
The hotel was ok, probably the smallest room i've ever seen but whatever... Zzzzz...

Friday : let's go to the Queens Hotel at Crystal Palace.
I was supermotivated, let's WALK to, it's only 2 km ! i remembered approximately it was north east from my hotel but i didn't carry any map with me.
7 km later... I knew that i made a mistake when i arrived at the Crystal Palace Football Club boutique, next to the stadium, far east from the Queens Hotel.
Anyway, I arrived at the conference room, and finally that was a nice afternoon, showing demos of our custom dungeons, playing Cows penciling game and Zyx's "Chaoz" game and searching the park for an imaginary transparent palace.
The evening took place at the Crooked Surgeon pub in Soho. There was a rugby match between France and Argentina. I wondered who the english people there did support and that was pretty clear : *not* France :D

I remember drinking and a fat girl kissing me on the lips... but we finished early to catch the last trains at Victoria. I walk for half an hour in the streets of Thornton Heath, missing all (i mean 3 or 4!) 24/7 buses that could have brought me back to my hotel...

Saturday !
Frenchs and Germans met at Websminster but splitted just after. I decided to see the changing guards in Buckingham and watch the LOTR show with Benjamin and Ileana.
I already talked about this show in another thread but yeah ! that was really amazing, especially the lights/pyro effects and giant puppets. And, hey ! those actors were real hobbits, weren't they ? :wink:
We rejoin everyone at the Surgeon then went to the vegetarian indian restaurant. Lunever already talked about it.
Going back to my hotel, i stopped at Piccadilly Circus (yes, i confused Piccadilly with Trafalgar Square !). I walked a moment in London Streets to find my bus stop : drunk people everywhere yelling at each other, blood on the pavement, that was fun ! It was approximately 0:30.
I saw 2 or 3 full of people N159 buses not stopping, 15 minutes to wait between each. Finally, the one i took had its terminus at Steatham, which is half way to Thornton Heath.
Another 30 minutes wait to get the next bus, with people just like me, lost and tired...
2am. ZzZZzz...

Sunday ! Let's visit the Tower of London : 16£ !!! :shock:
My Eurostar was at 4pm, so i managed to watch only a few things with Benjamin and Ileana : crown jewels, jails, big ravens (domesticated), armoury (lovely axes, swords and morning stars ! :twisted:).
Then we said goodbye, i had to run fast but i was *trapped* ! The only way to go outside the White Tower was to go upstairs and visit all the rooms ! Run ! Dodge ! WoooooOoops ! Sorry sir ! Run and run !

and I got my train, i even had time to buy some duty free stuff :)

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Post by cowsmanaut » 14-Sep-07 15:47

Crooked Surgeon.. yes, everyone remembered the name but me.. so that is the doctor thingy pub! :P

the white tower sounds interesting, so did the london museum. so many things to see, but not enough time.

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Post by Lunever » 15-Sep-07 12:40

Yes, this only leaves one conclusion, we need RTL - Return to London.
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Post by Adamo » 15-Sep-07 13:13

ooh I wish I was at the meeting.. I couldn`t! but next time it would be better to make it in France, or in Germany.. RTL= :? I would strongly vote for Berlin, cause it`s not far from my city!! ;)
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Post by cowsmanaut » 15-Sep-07 14:24

If it was an Adamo meeting we would need to call it HCS.... :shock: which of course stands for Heroes Coming to Socialize...

what were you thinking? pervert... sheesh.. can't even write a few simple letters without some pervert making it seem dirty.. sheesh.. you people and you HARD... CORE... SEX...

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Post by cowsmanaut » 15-Sep-07 20:07

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v291/ ... /steps.jpg

Proof of yet annother member who had been in attendance. far left.. everyone wave hello! :)

also for anyone interested..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Crystal_Palace

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Post by Gambit37 » 15-Sep-07 23:41

Actually, it's a shame we didn't go to Gordon's wine bar during your visit, as one of the old newspapers on the wall is from 1936 and the headline is the fire consuming Crystal Palace.

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Post by cowsmanaut » 16-Sep-07 00:08

http://www.collectionscanada.ca/sos/002028-4200-e.html

New Westminster where I used to live suffered a bit fire too. Though their library is still there.. which is British Columbias first library I think..

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Post by cowsmanaut » 21-Sep-07 06:04

I suppose I should mention, that the photo on the stairs, is actually comprised of 3 photos, since not everyone was looking at the camera at the same time.. the wonders of photoshop :)

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Post by Gambit37 » 21-Sep-07 11:51

You did a pretty good job there, I can't see any seams!

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Post by cowsmanaut » 22-Sep-07 05:40

that's why they pay me the big bucks ;) (nah.. not really.. but I like to pretend :P )

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Post by cowsmanaut » 29-Sep-07 07:33

the only bad thing about spending a week hanging out with you guys, is now I miss ya all :P

and now seeing Linflas having a second vacation already :P not fair! :)

next year I have planned to go to greece and turkey so I can't work my plan for france or germany just yet :P

but one of these days!

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Post by Zyx » 4-Oct-07 17:48

I'm without internet access for the months to come but I will upload some photos soon (soon as in "before 2008" and in "maybe")

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Post by Gambit37 » 20-Dec-07 13:27

Paul Stevens wrote:Well then, it is Gambit that made me say
"That's me!". Perhaps 40 years ago. :wink:
I know you are our most senior (and most respected) member, but are you really 75? Goodness!

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Post by Paul Stevens » 20-Dec-07 14:45

67

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Re: Cows in London

Post by Gambit37 » 5-Dec-12 09:21

I thought I would resurrect this thread as I had another read through and looked at the pictures again. Brought back fond memories. :-)

Hard to believe it was over 5 years ago!!!!

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Re: Cows in London

Post by linflas » 5-Dec-12 12:59

oh god, so great photos ! we haven't changed a lot, hopefully :)
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Re: Cows in London

Post by beowuuf » 5-Dec-12 18:35

Lol, who knows, probably not :) No, wait, my hair's a little longer right now :p

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Re: Cows in London

Post by Ameena » 5-Dec-12 20:25

Hehe, I'd been meaning to say something about the fact it's DM's 25th anniversary, but kept forgetting :P. It would've been good to have another meet-up, but maybe some other time ;).
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