Wednesday, September 26, 2007

An Article Unearthed by one Steven Matthew Turner

An excerpt from the Sep. 20th Shaftesbury Mountain Herald - Arts and Leisure Section:

It may come as somewhat of a surprise to the residents of Nashville Tennessee that we have stolen the hearts of two of your city's young travelers. Once again.

The events that transpired in the late evening on the 17th of September 2007 have in fact been well documented here in the colonies of the United Kingdom.

Americans Steven Turner and Alex Pearson arrived in a most timely fashion and soon after stepping off the aircraft decided to procure a fine ale, stout. At which point Mr. Turner and Mr. Pearson, before their speech was corrected by the superior English wit and charm, were heard saying, "it only goin up from here y'all" and "this here is dang ol downright coo man." To which they both knocked cowboy boots and spit an utterly alarming amount of mouth fluid into a large metal tin producing what can only be described as a resounding "ting".

What soon followed was a blissful day filled with the meeting of fine folk all around. Yes folk of the finest quality indeed. The following days were filled with being whisked away to various cottages, abbeys, castles, sea-side country and pubs of the highest esteem and regard. These adventures of course continuing the young men's happiness.

But it was late on the 17th of Sep. that the two decided to never return to their homeland America. Yes turning their back on heritage, possessions and honor all the like.

When asked for a statement one Alex Pearson had this to say. "We have grown weary of the heat. Here we have cappuccinos, scarves, mittens and above all rosy cheeked women at our disposal at anytime. It is rather nice, we are staying."

Steven continued saying, "At first, and this of course goes without saying, the lack of honky tonk saloons was quite upsetting, heck, downright abhorrent and detestable, but once one gets by this fact the hilly mountain pathways and lush greenery is equally if not more beautiful."

The two continued, "What a blast so far. The Fanthorpes have treated us with the utmost generosities and kindnesses, indeed. Our friends back home will be missed, true, but this is our decision. We are sorry."

Soon after this interview Steven and Alex were accosted by a group of English Hooligans (slang term chavs) and died on the morning of Sep. 19th.

By Teven Surner - Staff Writer

Monday, September 24, 2007

Blog... stands for Back Log

Yes I know I'm way behind on filling you in on this awesome trip. But here's the deal it's too awesome to take time out of it to sit down for an hour every night and write about it. But trust me, there are many stories to be told and way too many pictures. Today was especially awesome. No spoilers... but Steve and I took an unplanned sidetrip, that was well worth the 4 hour train trip.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Day 2: Zombie Flight

I guess this is still technically part of Day 1, but who cares? We get to the airport and arrive at our gate which is absolutely packed. There aren't even any seats in the waiting area. We go up to the desk and tell them we have standby tickets. The unnamed and misshaped woman with a man's haircut looks at us and says "The flight is full, there are no seats," in a tone that would make Ghandi resort to fisticuffs. So we sit down, and hope that we can either upgrade to first class or some poor sucker dies on the way to the airport.

We wait.. zones are being called for boarding, people look excited that they are getting on a plane, and we are imagining being stuck in Philadelphia for even longer. Sitting next to some annoying looking 20-somethings from Denmark wearing way too much cologne, I was jealous of their confirmed seats. After about 30 minutes, the other desk girl called our names. We walked up and without a word she handed us two tickets. We were beaming.

I was tired, really tired, and fell asleep almost right away. The odd thing about this flight is that it is a six hour flight, and Manchester is 6 hours later than home, so after sleeping what felt like 10 minutes, being randomly awoken by vomiting, a meal landing in my lap, and trying to get comfortable on a postage stamp sized pillow, the sun came up.

After we landed, we were immediately corraled into a huge line right off of the boarding gate. It didn't look that bad, but customs took 2 hours. You are required to fill out an arrival card with some personal information upon arrival to the UK. One of the lines was for the address of where you will be staying. I did not know Jason and Helen's address so we left it blank. At the customs desk Steve and I both were harrassed and made to feel stupid for not knowing this ahead of time. The woman at Steve's desk told him to "go sit down and think about it" like a misbehaving 8 year old. But they let us through anyway.

I felt really bad for my friend Jason, he had been there since 8:30 and we didn't even see him until 10:30. But he was cheerful and friendly nonetheless as he greeted us.

The drive from Manchester to Hull is about 1.5 hours, and absolutely beautiful. It is filled with pastures and farm land of rolling hills. It felt really good to get to the Fanthorpes and sit down in a normal and relaxing setting. Their home is part of a quaint 100 year old building of many units of the size. They have done it up very nice and their bathroom looks like it came out of a magazine.

Jason called his friend "Jimbo" and we went and played ping-pong in a used car lot office surrounded by old MGs and motorcycles. It was very dream like at this point, I could barely keep my eyes open and kept falling asleep every time I sat down.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Day 1: The Beginning of Our Story (continued)

Ok I know I said I was going to update this thing everyday, but the laptop has been dead, and we've been too busy to get on the computer anyway.

So to continue from where we left off... We pretty much just rambled about the city for quite a while not really knowing where we were going. We ended up in the Amtrak station, which was massive and quite impressive. I have never been in a real train station before. The ceilings
were no doubt 50 or 60 ft high. It was a very neat place. Some on-duty officers helped us with directions to the Mutter and we were on our way.

The Mutter Museum was started quite some time ago as a place for physicians and doctors to study strange human anomalies and deformities. Now it is pretty much just a place for people with a taste for the deranged to see some freaks and babies in jars. Definitely not for the squeamish or faint of heart, however I was expected it to be a little more edgey. I mean there was one little girl there who did not like what she was seeing and her extremely matter-of-fact grandmother had to take her out of one display.

I did end up buying a "Box O' Bones," but guess what... nobody left me any Philly ideas. So... don't be expecting any consolation prizes. Yeah that's right. You get nothing!

Back to the Mutter: Probably not too surprising, but after a while that place will make you sick. Not from seeing the hideous deformities but mostly from breathing in air tainted with hudred-year-old formaldehyde. As soon as we walked outside and took in one breath of fresh air we instantly felt better.

After the Mutter we still had quite a bit of time to kill before our plane was to take off. So why not see the Liberty Bell? That would seem like a good idea wouldn't it? Well looking at the map is quite different from actually walking the distance (about 16 blocks) Keep in mind we've already walked 10 at least. But we've got time so why not? After a bit of walking we realized we were not on the right street, we had some how got disoriented and turned while going through some construction areas. But while lost we discovered that the people of Philadelphia are quite nice. No less than 3 people stopped us and asked "Hey, what are you looking for?" We were just walking looking at a map. It was surprising and nice.

Walking for so long we got a bit tired and stopped off at an Irish pub, drank whiskey ate Ruebens and sat. It was good. On to the Liberty Bell. Let me just warn you.. if you're thinking of taking a trip to see such a grand monument... don't. It's pretty boring and enclosed in a building that you are not even allowed to go in. You get to look at it through a window. Disappointment ensued. Especially after walking who-knows-how-many-miles.

Now to the airport...

Day 1: The Beginning of Our Story

I was supposed to get up at 5:00am, my parents were to arrive at 5:30 to pick us up for the airport. As you may have already noticed I did use the phrase "supposed to." Well at 5:30 I got a call from my mom, which woke me, informing me that she was downstairs waiting for us. In quite the stupor, I had only been asleep for 3 hours, I jumped out of bed and was ready in 10 minutes (impressive for me). And we were off to the airport.

Our flight to Philadelphia was quite ordinary other than only being half full. The flight attendant actually requested that for proper weight distribution that two passengers from the front move to the back.

The weather in Philly was absolutely gorgeous, 65-70 degrees and beautiful sun. Our first measure of order: to find the biggest "Philly" we could and devour it. We took the train from the airport to East Market, a bustling district of indoor shops and restaurants. We quickly found Rick's Philly's and dove right in. I gotta say though, neither of us were impressed. Odd though considering there was a line of about 20 people.

From there we just began to wander, we knew we wanted to go to the Mutter at some point, but really didn't know where it was. So we walked. I really need to get over my photo shyness, there were so many crazy looking characters that would have made great photos. I did muster up the courage to ask a guy that looked like a mixture between Woody Allen and Blanka from Street Fighter. Unfortunately he declined.

(To be continued... when I have some more time) Sorry there's no pictures yet. I haven't found a power converter yet so I can't plug in my laptop.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

What to do?

First off... wow, I got a bunch of emails yesterday from friends and fam (some of whom I haven't seen in a while) in response to my mass emailing the other night to promote my little blog. Thanks guys. It was good to hear from all of you. Please post comments, that's how I know if anyone is actually looking at this.

But the real issue at hand here is Philadelphia. This city of Brotherly Love is going to be holding us hostage tomorrow for about 10 hours against our will. So we've decided to make the best of it, and get out there and experience all that this city has to offer. The only thing I've got on my to-do list so far is to visit the Mutter Museum. I was looking forward to taking some pics, but unfortunately they don't allow photography inside. I guess if you want to see it you'll have to go for yourself.

I've been advised to eat a "philly" and find the nastiest pizza joint I can (apparently they're the best). But I ask you friends, what should we do with our euro-anxious selves while trapped in Philly? If you've got an idea just add it to the comments.

(If you come up with something really great, you might just receive the coveted "Box 'O Bones" as a thank you prize)


Does anyone have any luggage they would like to sell me? I want a nice big case: the kind with the extending handle and rollers.

Two days til launch....

Wait.... actually now that I look at the clock, only 36 hours. Yeah so anyway early Saturday morning Steve and I will be departing for England (if we hadn't already told you about a million times already). And in honor of such a grand and momentous occasion I decided to start my very first blog. I know, it's exciting isn't it? Everyone has been begging me to start one so here you go. Ok so no one actually begged. Fine, caught me, no one has ever even asked if I had a blog. Well I'm one step ahead of the game.

Anyway I am going to attempt to update this thing pretty regularly so that anyone that cares might read up on my trip and hopefully have a laugh or two along the way. I'm also going to add photos and video right here so you can see Europe right from your living room/den/basement/selarium! See, mom, the internet isn't all bad.

So we leave Nashville Saturday morning, but we have a horrendous layover in Philadelphia (10 hours) so that should be a blast. But from there we go to Manchester, UK. We leave at 7:40 am Saturday and arrive in Manchester at 8:35 am Sunday. I have yet to experience jetlag. That should also be a blast.

Currently I am constructing my packing list and to do list. (I knew I should have started this whole passport thing ealier.)