Sunday, December 9, 2007


The two posts that I made today were from December 1st and December 3rd on the ship. As it is now December 9th they are posted a bit late, but I wrote them anyways so that you could see what I was thinking as the voyage came to a close. I hope you enjoy them!

Surfing on a Rock-it. Crunch.

Jagged perfume bottles strewn ‘cross bathroom tiles…White paper bags lying atop tiny silver cylinders…Walking along without placing feet in front of each other…Excuses for bumping into people that have been attractive to you for three months…Doors swinging wide looking for precariously placed digits…

All in a Day’s Work.

It is number ninety-six here on the MV Explorer and boy was it characteristic of things that I will both miss and not miss about living on a SHIP…

Today is the first day of finals for this crazy semester that I can’t possibly forget. Also, there was a storm north of where we were sailing all day…so…the ship was rocking quite a bit -much more so than normal Ship rocking (that none of us really even feel anymore). I actually find it weird when we are docked in port and I get in my bed on the SHIP and the boat does not rock me to sleep…. Nevertheless, it was exam time and everyone was walking out of line. To put it into my perspective:

0700---wake up; get ready for the day (while rocking hard)

0730-0758---breaky-break (tea, yogurt, cereal), last minute exam prep (still rockin’)

0800-0905---take and finish exam early (rock, rock, rock)

0915-1000---naptime to clear head and catch up on sleep (rockin’ the day away)

1000-1130---study for other final later in the day (hard rock steady)

1130-1245---LUNCH! (Still more rock-age)

1245-1345---study study read read (hard rockety)

1345-1440---group study times (can you guess?)

1440-1447---chill out on the back deck for brain clearing (rock me)

1455-1600---get thrown against wall while sitting and taking essay exam (TY Ocean!)

1610-1730---relax with friends (talk about rockin’?)

1730-1800---sit outside with friends eating (astonished that boat still rockin’ hard)

1800-1930---celebrate a friend’s birthday, yeah ice cream cake (rock around the clock)

1930-2000---study in room (hasn’t left yet)

2000-2130---pre-port Miami style (watching people sway while speaking in union)

2130-2345---chat with erik and matt, etc. (fall over a bit because of rocking)

2245---have a hard time falling asleep because of rocking, but hey! We retarded the clocks!

So that was my day. All I can say is that it was really really not a very fun thing to have to take Dramamine (for the first time, I might add) and ibuprofen @ 0700 because I didn’t want to do poorly on my exam. I am very glad to not have to try and concentrate and do well on papers and exams because the place where I reside is affected by some outside power that causes it too violently and quickly shift from side to side. If I didn’t have those responsibilities I would be totally down with the boat SHIP rocking whenever it could. However, it really just is not fun or enjoyable to try and take –not one, but TWO exams in that situation.

To be fair, I really am going to miss living on a vessel in the middle of the ocean:::

Being able to wake up and see nothing but straight blue all around me

Eating with nothing in sight but the blues of sky and sea (and clouds too)

The most beautiful sunsets and sunrises ever

The constant (gentle) rocking from head to foot that puts me to sleep every nite

The superhero feeling I get after shaving in these showers

How clearing my head is as easy as walking up to Deck 7

These things will be sorely sorely missed, no doubt. Obviously there are many other things I miss. However, I am also really looking forward to getting home and being in South Carolina for more than A week and half (JUNE), having a kitchen and a GROCERY STORE (!), boiled peanuts, consistent weather (whether it be SC or BOSTON!), my family and friends….you know…everything that goes along with returning home. It has been a long and fantastic three months and I would do it again in a second. However, it will be nice to get back to a new and different lifestyle.

(oh and if you haven’t guessed, the boat tossed my perfume to the ground so now my bathroom can smell very very very nice all the time for the next four days)

One Is Silver and the Other, Gold.

I don’t know what it is about these people but I am going to miss them so much. They are all so interesting and caring and free ---so enjoyable. I mean sure, yeah, we’ve traveled around the world together and gone through so much –we’ve really seen it all. It is so sad to think that it is now coming to an end. So Soon.

I’ve lived on a SHIP with these lovely ladies and gents for days, weeks, months (exactly 92, at the moment I write this!). It will be, and is, so difficult to say our goodbyes. We will never again be in the same place together like this. Again. EVER.

These beautiful friends I have have been with me as I’ve realized so much more about myself than I ever knew existed. Who knew I could cross the street like a superhero in Vietnam, speak Spanish to get by in Spain, or walk through impoverished streets without breaking down completely in India? These people have been there for all of that. How am I going to say goodbye to that? They have helped me reach this state of myself and boy, are they gorgeous while doing it!

Who will ever believe or understand the crazy good feelings of sweatiness and grooves at our Ipiz dance parties on the back of Deck 5? How about our gargantuan “family” Thanksgiving Dinner at Gibraltar? It seems that these three months have exacerbated all of our needs for friends and companionship so that the community we have now is so beautiful and unique and real in a way that generally takes much longer to develop.

These people know, as Darby rightly put it, “what makes me tick.” My parents knew too as they sent me along on my own lucky, lucky way. They sensed the intensity that would ensue from these travels and delightfully and excitedly urge me to find new friends and companions. I guess I completely underestimated this experience because I am so surprised by it all ---so overwhelmed by all of this love and understanding.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

more amazing.

This country really is fantastic.
Sitting down feels amazing here. Places i´ve sat today:::

in a chair in front of a computer @ a hostel

at a cafe with two friends and a pitcher of sangria

at a bakery with a friend and a cup of coffee

in a chair in the kitchen of said hostel eating a delicious meal

i´m tired as anything but I just wanted to post quickly. i love everything here. always.

Friday, November 23, 2007

can we talk about spain?!

As you all know...i love the amazingness out of this place.

It is too good...even the south!

Alex--i cried knowing i would be here sin tu.
so so so so so so sad.

españa is not the same without my bestest friend ever but really...the south is very beautiful...i look forward to this time and i think i will be posting quite a bit.

take care all of you. buenas noches.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

eerie romance and some rain

Yesterday morning was one of those things that just cant be touched. I woke up around 6:30 and went out to the front deck to take in the amazingness of the Dalmatian Coast at sunrise. and WHOA. It knocked my senses into high gear. This place is ridiculously beautiful. It is everything I had hoped for and many of you know that this is one of the most important ports to me as far as pre-planning went. Yesterday I spent in Durbrovnik walking around and chilling out in the Old City which is entirely within some amazing huge stone walls. I walked around with my friend Darby from Virginia, my friend Cara from Pennsylvania, and my friend Zoya from Bulgaria and we stopped and had some wine and olives and cheese to get out of the rain that was freezing us up into little ice cubes. We continued on and then met up with a bunch of other kids from our crew to celebrate our friend Mike's 21st birthday over dinner and a few drinks. Dubrovnik is TINY. It was impossible to avoid the other kids from our program but we mingled as best we could/wanted to.

It is amazing to think that earlier today on my drive from Dubrovnik to Split I drove through some of the most beautiful landscape in the entire world. The Adriatic Sea is truly a sight as it is met some fantastic mountains dropping off and dripping with such central european feeling and charm. We stopped in Makarska for a coffee break and at some point along the way I was in BOSNIA as well. How crazy is that!?

I remember being a child and hearing about all of these places because of the wars. I cant believe that I am here right now.

This drive reminds me very much of the Amalfi Coast but somehow it is much more beautiful to me here. Maybe itis because I am experiencing it alone. But this coutnrz really does seem to fit my style. The mountains are so old looking as they fall into the sea. The red-roofed structures seem to fit so perfectly with the very Central European looking flora. The trees even seem to scream ˝im better looking than you˝ (like everyone else in the country). There is certainly a regal air amongst these beautiful landscapes.

Though it is beautiful it is hard to forget that onlz fifteen years ago there was brutal fighting going down in this and other nations in the former republic of yugoslavia. its reallz wild to think that croatia is younger than me! There is definitely evidence of this civil war throughout the countryside.... Also we were really heavily wanred about unexploded landmines. Ive never even thought of worrying about őff the beaten path˝ before.

As beautiful as the country and the mountains and the roadways and walled cities and red-roofs and tiny beaches and orange groves and olive trees and muted colors and brilliant water and palm trees and cragginess and pomegranates are...

the people here are even more beautiful. i could absolutely fall in love and stay here forever. thez are such striking, amazing looking poeple that just a mere gaze can cause even the strongest of us to completely melt because of the placidity, beauty, and emotion in their eyes. Im not kidding either. These people are damn good looking. They are just as interesting and nice to look at as the land ive driven through... being kicked out of the internet cafe...hope this is good for now...suggestions for ANDALUCIA anyone? I will be in Sevilla.

Friday, November 9, 2007

confusion in east meets west.

So wowowowow:::

im caught between two places. İ am lıterally rıoght now ın between the East and the West. Somewhere ın a sea cuttıng through Europe and Ası lucky I am. How many people can actually be sedentary between two contınents and lıve to tell the tale?

The best breakfasts ıve ever had ın my lıfe happen to consıst of the same thıngs and so far ıve had a fantastıc nıne of them. they are all very dıfferent but very beautıful. Even just tryıng to descrıbe the extreme exhılıratıon of beıng wıthout constant movement and havıng a new scenery ıs that whıch makes these breakfasts so amazıng. ıts not the same box of cereal, the plaın yogurt (that ıve mıssed recently! But they brought ıt out for thıs wonderful mornıng!), the really repulsıve coffee, the amazıng fresh croıssant, or the medıcore fruıt melange -ıt IS THE VIEW. Luck really ıs the word. I am such a lcuky fortunate person to be able to look around me to see a beautıful old mosque up yonder European hıll and then look out over the Bosporus Straıt and the Sea of Marmara to an equally comparable Asıan wonderland -all whıle sıppıng on some tea to stay warm!

Thıs ıs the fırst port that has felt lıke autumn. Lookıng back on how stıcky and sweaty and overheated I felt ın Japan ıt ıs crazy to ımagıne that I was there two months ago. It almost feels lıke we just left all of those amazıngly hot places. But now, what a fıne way to come upon Europe?! The autumn ıs absolutely welcome. Havıng to fınally don a sweater not because I need to cover myself (and subsequently gettıng overheated...phew!) but because the weather condıtıons and temperatures outsıde beg for ıt -well that actually makes me feel all cozy ınsıde! It was 15 degrees Celsıus yesterday. How Wunderbar!

It ıs gettıng about that tıme to get ready to get out of here and get out THERE -TÜRKIYE! The shıp should be cleared very soon but I am very happy to report that I have a frıend here (who ıs clearly amazıng!) that actually lıved ın İstanbul for a year and a half about a year aho.... Today and the next fıve days are goıng to be so magnıfıcent.


the blog above was wrıtten on day one (7/11/07) ın türkıye...rıght now ı am on day three (9/11/07) and have seen some amazıng sıghts and eaten some great food and done so many fantastıc thıngs but ı would lıke to share the orıgınal one anyways. I spent the fırst day ın İstanbul takıng ın the sıghts ın Sultanahmet (an area ın the cıty) wıth a nıce group of frıends ın cludıng the Aya Sofıa and the Blue Mosque. WOW! Then we went out and had some apple çay (tea) and Türk khave (turkısh coffee) and narghıle (hookahs) and had some amazıng street snakcs. Then we went out to fınd thıs bar where her favorıte Roman (a type of musıc apparently) musıcıan was supposedly playıng but he had played the nıght before. So we enjoyed the area, Tunel and Taksım, where we were. Turkısh people are so generous and ınterested and ınterestıng. Yesterday I saw the battlefıelds, trenches, and monuments of the Gallıpolı penınsula (from the fırst world war). Today I saw Troia! (troy!) and then we drove to where I am now wıth a short stop ın a cute lıttle town called Baldırma for lunch. At the moment I wrıte to you from a lıttle ınternet cafe ın a mountaın town ın the Marmara regıon called Bursa. All I can say ıs AMAZING and CUTE and BEAUTIFUL. Also...the men here are all gorgeous and dress amazıngly well...ın case you wanted to know, teehee.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

burnin' like a fire in cairo.

more like burnin' through cairo like a fire [thanks anyways though, Robert].

yesterday I left the ship [yes, halloween day] and came to the city of Cairo.

Cairo/Giza ohmygosh.

This place is insane and expected and insane and crazy and insane and real.

To just write it in a few words so you know what i'm doing right now:::

At the moment I am in an internet cafe around the corner from my hotel in downtown cairo [and yes the balcony from my room on the seventeenth floor has a view of the nile river]. Today I woke up @ 4:15 to catch a view of the pyramids at sunrise. hasn't really even hit me yet.... we tooled around the pyramids 'til about 10ish and then went down the plateau to the Sphinx...pondered on it for a bit and then went on a lunch cruise down the Nile freakin' River. Really though, really? yes. me.

After that we went to the Alabaster Mosque and had an amazing panoramic view of city from its perimeter. Also, we saw the quarries where they had cut the limestone with which to build the pyramids. It is really far from the Giza plateau. Feats of manpower are so ridiculous and incredible.

after that [pause for breath] we went to the Egyptian Archaeological Museum. In a few words:::

Open since 1901
30,000 pieces total in the museum
the only replica in the entire museum is a copy of the rosetta tablet in which they learned how to translate and read egyptian hieroglyphs

So finally we returned to the hotel for some breathing time and then we ate a nice little buffet. afterwards we tried to get to an internet cafe...the line was long so...we decided to cut some time and smoke a hookah in EGYPT! After that I came back to the cafe and now i'm here!

time to go because I have to catch a flight to Luxor in a few hours... hope you enjoyed the quick briefing. love to all and take care.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

red sea transit.

short post::::

I am currently in passage in the Red Sea.

I saw an active volcano that was spewing and smoking. I will give five cool points to the first person that can tell me the name of said volcano because I would really like to know.

i am having a fantastic time and for all who want to know what i'm doing in egypt feel free to look on the semester at sea trips page for the Cairo/Luxor 03 trip.


Colossi at Memnon
tombs of tut-ankh-amun and hatshepsut [BRI!]
silk bazaar/spice market

take care...enjoy your halloweenz!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Rouge. And Another International Arm-Wrestling Campaign.

Well... yes… this is yet another late post. But honestly, I just couldn’t help putting it up until now. I won’t use the same excuses because you know them and they are valid. Today we don’t have our class that we normally have to go to every day [Global Studies] because we had a test before India and we all did much better than the first one so they gave us the day off today. Which is interesting because we actually don’t have class at all on the 25th, which just so happens to be one of my good friend’s 22nd birthday.

So to get right into the gist of what I would like to talk about I’ll just push my way through the fogginess of waking up this morning and still being awake and alive @ 8:47. But---before I do jump into what I would like to write about…I will explain WHY I’m so tired since I’m sure you’re all wondering…

Yesterday was modification day! My friend Darby [soon-to-be birthday girl] went to bask in the sun yesterday afternoon and it was so good that I ended up meeting up with my friend, Paige, about trying to organize a fashion show for everyone to show off all the clothes that they have picked up in ports [at least maybe at some point people will stop wearing their leisurewear and start getting real] and we decided to go bask on the front deck. It was a much needed day of rest and fun in the sun. After soaking up as much sunny goodness as we could we entered the frigid air-conditioning [I literally wear a sweater and/or scarf on most days while on the ship, they keep the air-conditioning at ridiculously low temperatures]. We got some scissors and I proceeded to trim up her hairs. They look soo good now. I’m happy with it, she’s happy with it, we’re all happy with it [her hairs remind me of Masha’s only not as dark…but she very unsilently wants a fro too, my dear]. After that we dined it up and then decided to finally dye my hair with the dye I bought. Don’t worry mum! It’s the same color that I’ve been using for the past while now so it’ll be nice and tame and goodly red by the time I reach Florida. Never fear!

So…then I was supposed to go to my “Sea Social” which is basically just the ship equivalent of a middle school dance. Its quite horrifying actually. Our theme was “All-White” because the “color” of our sea, the Adriatic Sea, is white. For those of you who are completely akimbo as to what the heck a “sea” is in the sense for which I am using it::: it’s the way they split us up room and hall-wise for our ra’s. Therefore, normally your “sea” is made up of all your neighbors and generally the hall opposite you on the other side of the ship. Alas, my roommate and I dressed up as much as we could [the white skirt I was going to wear totally hadn’t dried from my foresight to wash it the night before…still soaking actually] and went upstairs to czech out the festivities. The only sound/word I can possibly use to sum up the experience is “groan.” It was horrible. The music was awful, people were scary dancing, and all the faculty with which we were supposed to be mingling were just sitting down looking bored as all get out, watching the people who were dancing so…not fun.

To make matters short, we peaced out and scooted our tushes over to snack-time at the sixth deck dining area. There we met friends [Paige included] and had a bite of brownie. But, it was time for the crowning moment of the day. “Late-nite” Ipod dance party extraordinaire! Paige and I mingled on down to the back of the fifth deck [the part that isn’t covered and very open to the back of the SHIP and the ocean!] to join in the fun. Basically, we aren’t allowed to play music over speakers outside on the ship because the Institute for Shipboard Education [ISE] is afraid that it is too much of party-like situation [and perhaps something could go wrong? I dunno]. So, instead, we all brought our ipods to the back deck and played our own music and rocked out together. It was fantastic. About fifteen or so people showed up and what a sight we were! Try and imagine seeing fifteen totally different people rocking out hardcore just so into dancing to their music but you not hearing said music and them totally not being in sync at all…that’s basically all I can say. It is certainly silly and fun and we were TOTALLY getting hardcore stared at by the sooo cool kids who were happily enjoying their drinks at the pretty much nightly event of “pub night.” Yeah! It was fantastic and I am so sore and body-tired this morning…I miss biking. So that is the fog through which I am trying to break through and write this post! Now it is time to proceed.

As I said before:::

Japan rocks the face off of China.

My amazing mother has diligently tried to get out of me why Japan was so much more interesting/better to me than China was. I’m sure that there are more than the reasons I am about to give but this is really what I was thinking at the time of that post:::

Japan is so amazing to the point that it has been one of my favorite ports thus far

China is dirty, dirty, dirty, dirty, dirty, dirty

Maybe there are better places to go in China, but at the same time the place I visited really is more like how much of their east coast is rather than just the big cities [like Beijing, for instance, that got quite mixed reviews from the visitors but the dirtiness withstood all city visits/tests]

Japan was hot, but China –China was blessed with a lovely typhoon. It doesn’t get worse than that

Japan is not modified communist. China is.

People stared at me in Japan

People glared at me in China...Scary glaring

…Clearly I enjoyed Japan more. Everything was cute and cuddly and fun and nice and happy. I mean my god they even had adorable little caricatures for the police messages and ATM instructions and absolutely everything. I expected no less from Japan and got so much more than I could have hoped for. China on the other hand…the good ol’ PRC was not at all was I expected:::

We totally docked at this really sketchy shipyard in Qingdao –and by really sketchy I mean like ridiculously and completely sketchy. Everywhere in Qingdao and many places on the northern coast of China were being completely built up for the Olympics. Qingdao will be the location for all of the sailing and water events like that for the Beijing 2008 Olympics. I guess its cool that I visited that city before it is opened to the world for such a large event. But then again, it was definitely NOT ready for tourists and international visitation yet. The town is known to many as the site where the regular brew from Chinatown, Tsingtao, hails from. Yeah, that was cool. However, it was the Germans who caused said brewing to start in the first place. Yeah, Qingdao has some cool architecture and Deutschy things to look at…however just as in Beijing, the Chinese have really looked past much of their heritage and started just to build whatever they have left to build for their huge event. Understandable you say? I couldn’t agree less. China is a country with such a long and very interesting history and for the government to just pick areas of cities to rebuild [many of which happen to be quite historical and interesting in their own ways] because they are in key locations is ridiculous. Many historical neighborhoods in Beijing have been completely erased due to this mode of action which has seriously upset many within the population of China and others in the world community. Completely insane.

With that aside, the port was sketchy because of all the building and the fact that it was so far from anything else in the town. Also, the walk from the main gate to the ship was one of those where you feel more endangered than anywhere else in the city. It was a really sketchy walk through quite a bit of construction, shipping, and port materials where shady creatures [the human kind] could and did hide. Not to mention the fact that the roads surrounding the port happened to be criss-crossed by scary train tracks. However, the crowning addition to the overall fun! of the port of Qingdao and its surrounding area happened to be oh-so-delightful red light district that happened to exist as one of the first things to do closest to the ship. Hey! The guidebooks don’t tell me that you say! Yeah…it was a really horrid sight. I have been privy to seeing quite a bit of depressing prostitution in some of these ports but these women just looked…worn out and beaten [ in a beaten by life sort of way, not an assault sort of way]. It was also sad the way they still tried to drag the guys in to come and sit down at their “bar” which clearly had a tiny back room.

So…on to my agenda for China and Hong Kong. I am including Hong Kong in this post for fear that all of my faithful readers think that I did not enjoy the PRC at all. Not so!

In China I had made plans with my friends Deanna and Mark, and my roommate Kat to go into town and tool around and see what there was to see. We went to a main downtown area of Qingdao and just walked around. Of course, the first thing we had to do was see if the Tsingtao was better there. It surely was! Perhaps because it was such an appropriate thing to do where we were at that moment, but I think it really was better [I mean have to give them something right?]. This restaurant is the first indication of the glare-age that was going to go down while in China. It was so apparent and maybe it was because we were flipping out over the fish tanks, or lack thereof for the “fresh” seafood that they were clearly offering as a part of their menu. Yeah…no…Do Not Want. There was everything imaginable [and quite old it seemed] in the tanks at the restaurant where we were -perhaps even things unimaginable. We were told not to drink the water in China [just as in the other countries we’ve visited thus far excepting Japan!]. However, on the floor in the big square doorway of this quite open to the street restaurant there were little tubs [kind of like the blue ones that we pick and transport produce around in South Carolina, mum and daddio] with all sorts of snails and clams and fishes and sea urchins and squid and what looked like certain little organs which I will discuss no further other than to say that they were probably sectioned off intestines slices [but that was not what their first impression might show you]. All of these just seemed be stewing in their little tubs with barely but a hose sticking into them perhaps providing oxygen or bubbles or something for the distraught inhabitants of said tubs who were just waiting to be picked [Pick Me! Pick Me! Pick Me!]. After enjoying our biers we just walked around their “cute,” “boutique,” “stylish,” area. Yeah…no. Chinese people one: do not know how to dress themselves [body shape wise] two: have latched on to the utterly scary aspects of Western fashion [lets just say the way they mixed some ideas really made scared to be around certain garments], three: still stock platform sneakers [which gained and lost their popularity by the time I finished middle school about eight years ago and four: have a horrible idea of what English words should be a part of their clothing items.

Yes, Alex. Chinatown really does smell like China.

Nevertheless, we tooled around having a good time Qingdao-style for the greater portion of the day. We looked in to many clothes and sundries stores as well as restaurants and something like general stores along the few streets of that center area. These stores had tons of weird dried fruits and fishes and umbrellas and stickers and figurines and everything else a good and complete Chinese household could possibly want, I presume. It was . The McDonald’s that we went to [to get coffee, I promise…there was no other place!] was quite interesting in fact. They had way magger [magnificent] Kids’ Meal toys and there was scary scary “Green Bean Snack” as well. You know the overly sweet Cherry or Apple Pies that they sell in the States? Well, take that idea and imagine it in any way you could possibly not want to imagine it. Think: the little peas in green beans, minus the pods and then add them together with a sticky substance that makes you almost think about eating it because it looks like an edamame delight and then you realize its green beans and they are in a syrupy weirdly greenish substance…inside of a pie crust like shell. Voila! Green Bean Snack. No thanks?

After multiple attempts at delving to get directions [and use said directions] for the bus from a girl in the McDonald’s [who spoke rather good English which was so not the case for pretty much anyone else in China], we set out trying to hail a cab to take us to the Wal-Mart in town. Who doesn’t want to go to a Wal-Mart in China? I’m not one to frequent Wal-Marts but honestly how fantastic is that? Its like supporting locally grown produce or something –knowing that almost everything that the entire huge store stocked happened to be made, produced, started, or finished in the same country. Ha. Ha. Ironic, right? Such a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Well, alas, hailing a cab was much harder than we originally thought it to be…. Though we had the name of Wal-Mart written down in Mandarin [by the nice girl at the McDonald’s] we still couldn’t get any cab driver that wanted to take four white kids anywhere. I don’t know why…perhaps they thought we were not going to pay…who knows. Alas, we finally found one who totally drove us around and around and ripped us off, but we reached our final destination. The Wal-Mart was everything I hoped it would be::: thoroughly depressing, completely stocked with weird Asian normalities [tons of weird kiddy stuff and horrible shoes and slippers], and we were the only Westerners there –which was fun, as always I’ve realized.

After catching a cab back to the ship, taking a shower and rinsing off all that rain and dirt that we had accumulated over the day, the four of us decided to have our night on the biggest beer town in China. We got directions from the inter-port student from Hong Kong, Stephen, on an area to go and we hopped into a cab. We reached a little street with some interesting bars that had a lot of people sitting outside under verandas –though it was still Pouring rain. This area reminded me a lot of the cute little area near the port in Vilanova i la Geltrù where Alex’s apartment is in Spain…only it wasn’t as cute in China…. Poor kids. I feel like they really do try so hard. Nevertheless, we found ourselves a table outside at one of the establishments while simultaneously going inside to get a few pitchers of the brewed stuff. Apparently all of the places on this street brewed their own beer which was quite cool. Mark and I went inside to get the pitchers and were confronted with the choice of “Yellow or Black.” We chose the “yellow” the first time around. Good choice I might say. We finished these two and then decided to try our odds with the “black.” Yikes. Lesson learned ladies and gents. Never try the dark brews of China, unless of course you would like for your beer to taste like soy sauce as you bitterly wipe the tears from your eyes while desperately trying to choke it down.

After this experience we felt ready to be done. The bathrooms perhaps gave us that idea. As I said before…I had totally experienced my first Asian Squat while in Japan. Yet, I cannot explain to you [nor do I think it appropriate or worthwhile] how horrible this restroom was. As Kat and I were using it for the last time we were definitely cat-called by all the waiters who were closing up the establishment and there was definitely a man with his pants down in one of the stalls in the women’s room with his door open on his mobile phone. Needles to say we were quite quite quite ready to leave after this. However…men being men, Mark was challenged by one of the Chinese patrons of the restaurant to an arm-wrestling match extraordinaire. Is there no place I can go where the boys I am with cannot resist somehow getting involved in showing their manliness [or lack thereof] to the locals?

Mark is not a small boy. Don’t get me wrong…he’s tall and very skinny but his upper body is by no means small. He works out quite a bit and his arms show these efforts. He is much bigger and more daunting than any male I saw in all of Qingdao. However, the small Asian men he was dealing with totally got the better of him –to the point that Mark was getting so pissed about losing to these guys that we had to stay until he won enough of the matches to feel okay with himself about going back to the Ship. It was a sad affair for Mark, no doubt.

Therein ends the fun and interesting aspects of Qingdao. The next day [yes we only had two days there] was dominated by a rather large and aggressive typhoon. We couldn’t really leave the ship for a long time because it was so rainy and ridiculous that even the area around the ship where we were to get off and walk to the gate was completely flooded for a long while. Basically by the time we could get off all some of us wanted to do before having to board the ship again for disembarkment was get odds and ends done at the post office and such around the port. So that is what I did on my second day in Qingdao. That and just looked around. As much as I have complained about the dirtiness and sketchiness of the port, it was interesting to view men at work and the harbor full of different types of ships…all from afar.

The passage from Qingdao to Hong Kong was quite possibly one of my favorite times on the Ship. We did not have class those two days because so many people were on trips to Beijing. There were about 90 passengers total [other than the crew members] on board during that time. There was NOONE around. It was fantastic and it just so happened that most of my close friends on board were there for that passage as well. So, we all had a lazy, really relaxing two days of freedom from the stuffiness and lack of privacy that is entailed by living in an enclosed space with 700 other people. Not only did I get quite a bit of work done, but I basked in the sun and even paid a visit to the steam room/sauna with Kat [which was such a treat]. However, one of the best parts of this little passage was the fact that both nights at dinner we were served a fixed five course meal. All the busboy/waiters in the two dining areas seated us in the nicer looking [and enclosed] dining area on the fifth deck and gave us a menu. So, in response we all had a reason to look nice and dress accordingly. It was so fantastic. The second night a few of us even made a date out of it.

And finally…we had made it to Hong Kong. Aaaaaahhhh...deep and heavy and happy sigh. Fantastic wonderful sigh. We were told at some point that one of the most memorable parts of the voyage would be sailing into the Hong Kong harbor. So, I woke up extra extra early with the sun and dragged myself up to the top deck for some prime sunrise and harbor viewage. That morning could not have gotten better than what it was. The sun was just starting to make the day show up and as we came in to the harbor at first all I saw was little mountain islands that seemed completely solitary and poised. As, we sailed along more and more I started seeing some little villages on these islands that became larger islands of which I could not see the end. As we proceeded I began to see some taller buildings and more and more civilization. Finally, as if in an instant the sun got as strong as it was going to for that sunrise [though it was still quite gray, a feeling for which I am quite ecstatic…I wouldn’t have wanted this mystical morning to be sunny and bright…the grayish nature added to the view]. At that point, the city of Victoria as well as the Kowloon Peninsula began to appear to me. All I can say is what a beautiful city Hong Kong is. I took more than enough photos to show all of you. However, they will not do any justice…the feeling is mostly made up of how much that passage, that sunrise, that harbor, that skyline, that landscape, that grayness, that Hong Kong morning were necessary and perfect.

Imagine a city metropolis made up of two main mountainous islands, a peninsula, and some “New Territories” above said island-like peninsula. Okay, there’s Hong Kong. Only…it’s better than that. I’m sure some of you [ahem mum and daddio!] understand what I mean. However, those of you who cannot…I don’t know what to tell you other than you must visit this place. It is surely one of the most interestingly developed and most beautiful cities in the world.

The first day’s plan was to tool around with my friend Zack and try to find a place to rent bicycles so that we could tool around even more so than just by foot. He is my one friend on the ship who is also a biker back home and we were both at this point fiending to hop on a road bike [but honestly any bike] and cycle around a city again –even if it meant braving the change to cycling on the left-hand side of the street. We ventured out with Kat and found our way to some bike shops. Yet, they had no bikes to rent to us and they said that the only places we would be able to find some bikes would be if we wanted to do mountain biking around Lantau Island or in the faraway New Territories [both regions of the Special Administrative District of Hong Kong]. We were not about to do that. We wanted to get some pavement under some skinny tires under us! Instead, we meandered the streets of Hong Kong [especially in the Wan Chai district] with no plan other than to take it in. Firstly, I would like to say that the scaffolding in Asia -and I hadn’t noticed it until Hong Kong- is made out of bamboo. Ridiculous you say? Well, it’s true. True. Bamboo.

I saw so many interesting things and took some really great pictures in Hong Kong. One of the highlights of these meanderings was when we wandered in to a market area that happened to be entirely populated by locals. There was absolutely no westerner there. We were gawked at as we were gawking at all the fishmongers and butchers and produce stacks oh my! I saw so many things there. It was so beautiful to be there and see all these people working so hard and all the market goers knowing exactly the process of how to get the goods that they wanted as if there was a formula to it that we were completely not privy to. All of a sudden, we all became mesmerized by a certain type of produce at seemingly the same moment. This was not just any produce, it was a bright magenta-y pink mango-sized object adorned with soft, curved spiky looking protrusions. Yes, please, we said. The woman explained to us that this object was called dragonfruit. So, after this how could we say no? Dragonfruit, people! We bought three. The woman told us that you slice it up and just pop it out of the outside. We borrowed her knife and sliced open the prize, perhaps not a good idea, but the dragonfruit had clearly cast a spell on our trio. Inside was even more of an enigma! It was white populated with little black, kiwi-like seeds. How strange, right? Well, the fruit completely and easily separated from the skin and so we just ate it right then and there in the bustling market streets while everyone was smiling at our happy, juicy, smiling faces. As an afterthought we popped our trusty pink [thank you for peptobismol]. There were definitely some gross things to be watching involving the fishmongers, the butchers, and their wares. However, I am so glad to have seen the entire package at this market meandering.

After this, we walked around a bit more, ate some snacks and wandered through more little street parks and stands and sights back to the Star Ferry and back to the ship. This was around 20:00 which is when the “Symphony of Lights” takes place every night in Hong Kong. All of the skyscrapers and high-rise buildings in Hong Kong come equipped with crazy neon lights and every night at this time they show off these lights in an intricate light display show that lasts for about twenty or so minutes. At this point we lost Zack who is an avid daydreamer and wanderer. So, Kat and I took the ferry back alone [though decidedly not alone, it was quite packed!] and walked back to the ship. This port was much better than the last because it was situated right next to the Star Ferry dock on the Kowloon Peninsula.

That night, I went out with Mark again and we went to a typical going out area on the main city island and had a fantastic time dancing in the rainy streets with quite a few of the other kids on the voyage. It was this night that I solidified my great friendship with my friend, Paige, who is a champ. We had a fantastic night hanging out and then made our way home.

The next day I took an SAS organized trip with Kat that was a tour of Lantau Island and a vegetarian lunch at a Buddhist monastery. We woke up early and took a bus to Lantau where we had to board a smaller bus because the other Hong Kong buses are not regulated to be able to be used on the island. Then we zipped off to a pretty-ish beach. However, it was raining at this point so we didn’t really stay long or get to see the full beauty and potential that it probably held. After that we went to a small fishing village. This was quite spectacular. We got to see rural life in Hong Kong which is interesting considering the ridiculous amount of city going that I had done the entire day and night before. It was such a contrast and so very necessary. Most of the people in the town were fishermen and most of the buildings and dwellings were built onto stilts out over the marshy land and water. It was so crazy looking. We walked through a few streets where most of the catch was being sold to the locals and where the typical dried goods and fishes [of which I mentioned earlier in Qingdao] were being sold. Dried Fish Eyes anyone? No? How about dried quail eggs? No? Okay…me neither.

Yes, Alex. China/Hong Kong smells like Chinatown. Only more so.

After this, we made our way to the Bronze Buddha on Lantau Island. It is the third largest seated Bronze Buddha in the world. It is huge, I took pictures. You can see them. There’s not much to say about it other than the views of and from this Buddha seated atop a mountain on the beautiful Lantau Island are exquisite. After seeing this we meandered down to the monastery that lies in the valley at the bottom of this mountain to explore and eat. As we were eating the best meal I have had in months [though the food in India really was fantastic I promise], it started to pour. We had a little while to meander around the grounds of the monastery and because it was raining that was quite tough, but the monastery buildings were beautiful and vermillion and they beckoned to be captured for me to remember and show even though the rain was so paramount. After this, we went on home and met up with Deanna and Mark to shop for them and then just went back to the ship to disembark.

China/Hong Kong. I wish I could summarize my thoughts on these places for you but then I wouldn’t have anything else to say about them when we actually speak. I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading about my exploits over a six-day period. Perhaps you now understand how tired I can get and why I take a long time to get to you on matters? It’s no excuse, I know. But I’ve been trying to do better. Ask me any and everything please! I’d love to chat about all this.

Now it’s me signing out after a really long post. Totally ready to eat lunch.

Take care of yourselves my dears.

Monday, October 15, 2007

halfway 'round.

INDIA…we’re here…still waiting to get off the ship but we’re here my friends. If you have any suggestions of where to go let me know. The trips I’m doing here are:::

Monday, 15 October-- American Consulate Visit wish SaS 1330-1600, meet up with friend, Kassia, from Boston University who is studying in Madurai for a year.

Tuesday, 16 October- Wednesday, 17 October-- find good vegetarian food, observe Chennai, watch a Tamil Bollywood movie, observe the Navarathiri holiday celebrations.

Thursday, 18 October-- Take a bus with friend, Paige, to Pondicherry [a part of the former French Union] for a night’s stay at the Park Guest House Ashram [which touts itself as not allowing liquor, cigarettes, or non-vegetarians and comes highly recommended for only 300 INR or 500 INR (a/c) a night] and tooling around the smaller, reportedly beautiful beach town of Pondicherry that is said to have excellent excellent food as well.

Friday, 19 October-- return from Pondicherry, Socioeconomic Problems in Chennai trip with SaS 1200-1800, eat my last true Indian feast, return to the ship and cry.

If you have any requests of goods or suggestions of where to go in India please please please let me know. I hope all of you have enjoyed my post on Japan and take care of yourselves.

signing out fully clothed for conservative south India.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

WCs./Ship's Position : ambiguous.

It has been a little while since i’ve updated you on this little thang i’ve been trying to keep in contact with you on and i am so sorry. this experience is so much more time-consuming that i thought it would be…and that is so good. Currently [2:34 12 October] I am bunkered in the port of Singapore, Malaysia taking on fuel and chilling out @ around oh 1˚ 10.38 N and 103˚ 42.75E! That’s the closest I have ever ever ever been to the Equator. Soon we are supposed to get underway through the Strait of Malacca into the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean! The Indian Ocean! I will soon have tripled the oceans that I have traversed through. But honestly…couldn’t they just take us down two degrees latitude so that we could cross the equator. I yearn for it. Right now I am very busy with schoolwork, but multitudes of you [and my own conscience as well] have made me feel guilty enough to finish this post on Japan and start typing up my other entries for the rest of the countries that I have visited thus far. I can’t explain to you how hard it has been but I will truly try and do better and get a little less sleep in order to be able to post and keep you up to date. I totally promised to and I know that it really is the easiest and best way to keep all of you informed as well as connected. So…I truly apologize for the lack of posts and substance. This here is the first step in the right and a new direction.

right now [**then…which is a few days ago that I wrote the majority of this] i’m ripping myself away from figuring out my schedule for watching movies for my film class [which is So hard] for the at-sea dates in between ports. not an easy task i’m afraid. today i finished class at noon and at the current moment we are on Hanoi/Jakarta/Bangkok time. it is currently 4:37pm here whereas on the east coast of the States it is 5:37am. i’m getting closer and closer! the schedules for everything here are demanding. each port has been so significant and interesting that it is hard to catch up with yourself or friends on the ship. so far [and it looks as if that is how it will be for good while] we have only had two days between most of the ports [Japan-China, China-Hong Kong, Hong Kong-Vietnam]. Two Days:::

two days for resting up from the lack of sleep you get in-port

two days for resting up because you wake up so early to see the sun rise as you come in to Hong Kong harbor

two days to get All your work done for all the classes you have in those days

two days to see and catch up with everyone you want to in order to find out how they have been doing

clearly you can see how i feel about the two days. it makes organization easier and tougher at the same time. however, enough about that. i have many many more interesting things to discuss like Japanese amazingness, Chinese surprises, and Hong Kong delights. first on the agenda: Japan.

i have posted a few times since being in and leaving Japan promising that i would get a post up soon about how my time was there. to sum it up…excellent. i would go back to Japan right now. my agenda in Japan consisted of this:::

12 September---
arrive in Yokohama, wander, get to train station and get to tokyo [by something like the commuter rail in boston] for only ¥540 [which is the equivalent of about $5 US]

13 September---
do and see in tokyo, celebrate my mum’s birthday

14 September---
do and see in tokyo, celebrate masha’s birthday

15 September---
do and see in tokyo, get it out of my system a little, pack up

16 September---
wake up, wake the traveling companion, scramble to figure out the shinkansen [bullet train] from tokyo station to kobe [in the south of japan], tool around rainy kobe, board the ship

Tokyo is incredible. I went with my roommate, Kat, and a friend, Jade, and we stayed in a very good hostel in the Asakusa area of Tokyo. i went with the initial plan of meeting up with a friend from school there. however, that meeting did not happen. though i am sad that we did not meet up i have to thank him anyway –more on that later. the first night in tokyo we met up with a few different people from the program to try and celebrate a birthday or two at a karaoke bar. that didn’t end up happening. however, we did celebrate at a different place and ended up making some interesting friends/companions for the night. they introduced themselves as Unicorn, Mafia, Bad Guy, Jeff, and [because none of us could remember we just referred to the last one as] Ringleader. these people were just a group of japanese people who seemed as intrigued as us to be in the social setting. so…naturally we all made friends and by the end of the night arm wrestling, pictures, jokes, and laughter were some interesting things we had shared with each other. the pictures of this night are so vivid and i can’t wait to show them to you all.

the next day, my companions and i woke up late for the first time[since before leaving from san diego] in weeks. it felt so good. we ran into someone from our program and we all decided to go grab a bite of food. one of the hardest things i have learned from this trip so far is to find a place to eat in a country where you cannot read, write or speak and they cannot understand you either. picture menus became a handy and necessary commodity when searching for a place to eat. after eating lunch we walked around our area of tokyo [asakusa]. it is really an interesting place to be, it struck me as a sort of city meets small town life sort of area. there was a huge main street but then tucked back in off that street were squeezed together apartment buildings, huge areas of tiny [grungy?] restaurants, minute coffee shops, a Beautiful temple, a small little amusement park, a little weird sports complex, and everything else in between.

later on that day i tried, again, to meet up with my friend and ended up walking with kat and jade around the Minami-Senju Tsukuba express station towards where my friend was supposed to be staying. we found his hotel but he wasn’t there so we walked back to the station and as we got there we saw a blonde guy walking around with a tiny Japanese guy in the station and we were the only other people there. all of a sudden the blonde guy walked up to us and asked us [in german] if we were speaking Swiss German. we responded with the obvious no and explained that we were americans. they could both understand English and we found out that they were not only headed to the same station as us but that they were actually going to meet someone at the hostel where we were staying. to top that: they were meeting the japanese guy’s, Nobu, friend who was also participating in Semester at Sea. what a windfall for us! to make matters short we went out with those two guys, the guy from Semester at Sea, as well as two other random Germans that night to try some local Japanese fare. we ended up hanging out the rest of the time in Tokyo with those guys we had met.

The next day kat and i decided to get our shopping kicks out. so we went to this crazy mall thing in Asakusa. it was a mall, but it was oddly different because the stores weren’t separated by walls and did not have storefronts. everything was just sort of open and you would walk through as if a department store would have separate sections but they are all pretty connected. the store was set up in that way and from what i noticed most of the smaller malls that i have since visited are set up similarly to that one in Asakusa unless they are big nice establishments, like in Hong Kong. after tooling around in asakusa, we took the subway to Shibuya….ahh….Shibuya. i am so in love with this area of tokyo. its crazier and more hectic and more hip than any place i’ve ever been to. to cross the huge big intersection everyone queues up on the corners but because there are so many people you can be fifteen yards back from the curb. it is like no place i’ve ever seen. i definitely felt the need to take subsequent trips back to this area of Tokyo because it was so huge and interesting. Shibuya made me realize just how small i am. humbling but in an very good way.

later that day we had made plans to meet up with our new friend Nobu to go “clubbing in Tokyo.” however the two other kids we were with, Damian [the swiss] and Jakob [die deutscher] were not yet 20 which is the legal age to drink and enter establishments of the sort in Japan. so instead, Nobu took us to a ridiculous area known as Roppongi which is still a major bar and clubbing area but it is also a central point for nightlife in general in Tokyo. The catch is that the Tokyo subway system closes at 00:30 and doesn’t reopen for business until around 5:30 and due to the area where we were located we all went out knowing full well that we would not be able to reach our beds until the following morning. Off we went and was that night interesting! We ended up finishing the night at this Japanese “burger” place called R [L] Burger. The tofu burger was um, interesting, but so was the fact that Kat could get an alcoholic drink at a fast food place or that there were slumbering little Japanese girls all around us in the upstairs dining area completely overshadowed that little veggie delight. Needless to say we made it home safe and sound and slept for a few hours.

The following…or same day if you prefer to think of it literally…Jakob and I did not want to waste our time in Japan. So we made plans to get up and have a late lunch around 13:30 and then go exploring. We found an amazing hole in the wall in Asakusa where I was treated to only the best tuna sashimi I have ever experienced served over a steaming bowl of sticky rice. Oh my god…that taste is burned into my taste buds forever. We then walked around the temple area and then, because he hadn’t been to Shibuya yet we decided to go down there and explore a bit more. This was a GREAT idea. The first time we went to Shibuya I was extremely overwhelmed. However, this time around I decided to grab it by the horns and we went exploring all over the place. It was impossible to lose each other as well since we were the only people with blonde/red hair as far as the eye could see. Explorations in such crowded places are so interesting [oh and ps, Bri/Topher/Anna…Camper bags are just as cool as the shoes…sorry I couldn’t take pics for you!]. So the day with Jakob was a good one and then all of us had our farewell night that night. It was really nice to be in such a nice hostel with such cool people and now I have a place to stay in Berlin! Really refreshing.

The next day was characterized by travel. Kat and I woke up and found our way to Tokyo Station and procured tickets for the next Shinkansen [bullet] train to Kobe where we had to meet the SHIP. It was a really smooth, beautiful ride as to be expected by Japanese technology and we made it to Kobe from Tokyo in about three hours which is ridiculously fast considering the distance that that covers! In Kobe it was raining so we split up and I tooled around by myself checking out the smaller [but still rather large] Japanese city and then made my way back to the ship where I dried out and rested.

from my first impression to my last, japan is an incredibly clean, friendly, respectable, cute, and exciting country. everywhere i looked [except for a few select areas in tokyo] there was little to no trash on the streets, people bike EVERYWHERE [so many bikes, sigh], and the toilets…oh the toilets. Japan is the only place I’ve visited thus far that had such a diversity of toilets. There were Western toilets, eastern “squats,” and Japanese technological marvels all over Tokyo. Without going into too much detail let’s just say that if even the toilets and their diversity can astound the pants off of me in Japan then imagine what the rest of the country was like.


signing out as always with a big smile and a reaching bronzed body.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

it smells like Chinatown.

China is gross. dirty. wet. rainy.

i am really looking forward to Hong Kong. Qingdao has been quite unpleasant. i have to say that Japan rocks China's face off.

i basically just wanted to write a quick post to let everyone know that i will be posting a big long one on my exploits in Tokyo as soon as it gets finished. i have two days of freedom in between Qingdao and Hong Kong.

meanwhile....apparently sailing into Hong Kong is one of the highlights of this entire trip and a true life experience --i am going to thoroughly enjoy that.

i miss know who you are. thanks for the contact mum dad and alex.

i love this experience so much. i'll write a really long one soon.

have a lovely weekend. its 7:18pm on September 20th btw. case you were wondering typhoons are just like hurricanes -now that i've lived through both.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


i am in tokyo. that is all.

no really....i am in Japan and i can:t really type that well or read anything that is on this screen (thank god I can remember what to click in order to make a little post).

it is really hard not knowing what is written or spoken around you.

japan. wish me luck.

happy birthday to two special ladies::: mum today! and masha:s big 21st birthday extravaganza that i:m missing. love you two very much and i hope that you have fantastic birthdays. i will sing for you both and have a crazy dessert. and i will have a sake to you masha!

that is all.

Friday, September 7, 2007

international dateline.

noontime position: 28˚ 50.3 minutes N, 169˚ 50.1 minutes E

sunset today : 1725 hours

sunrise tomorrow : 0539 hours

distance made good from honolulu : 1828 nautical miles

distance left to reach yokohama: 1609 nautical miles

average Ship speed: 15.9 knots (about 16.5 mph)

depth of the ocean below me: 5176 m

I will never officially experience or be able to fathom 7 September 2007.

Therefore, the remainder of this post is dedicated to that fated-from-the-very-beginning-of-this-voyage day.


7 September 2007

i have been needing to write for a few days now…however, i saved this post until this specific time because i really wanted all of you [who are still experiencing the seventh] to feel the full gravity of this situation. a mere thirteen hours ago i was on a westward bound vessel approximately eight hours behind american eastern standard time. however from midnight to 2am this morning the Ship traversed the international dateline… and so did i….

the international dateline was one of the craziest things about the actual voyaging part of this voyage for me (catch any recurring themes here). what exactly would it feel like to completely never know what is is like to experience a day? many times we find ourselves complaining about « wasting a day » or « losing a day completely » because we haven’t gotten done what we wanted to get done or have slept or anything else of the like. but to truly lose a day? the international dateline to me always seemed like a magical place of myth and wonder where the world came together but couldn’t sync up. magical beasts, pirates, mermaids, narwhales, and puffin birds inhabited this area and to cross the line meant you definitely were treading treacherous waters. it turns out that it really is kind of like that...

last nite around 2200 i went outside on the top deck foreward. all the lights on this area of the vessel had been turned off and groups of people were sprawled every which way to take in the stars. Kat, Jade and i rightly plopped ourselves into this swell of people and gazed whilst listening to a professor reel off stories, mapping coordinates, and relative stars of constellations. i heard tales of queens and dragons, hercules and other deadly warriors, and magic arrows and lucky creatures. whether any of this is true does not matter::: a short time later the international dateline finally became a reality for me and it truly was mystical. i had been looking forward to that time for so long. anticipatory for so long, i even shed a tear when the ship technically underwent its passage through the profond and unknown depths of this line. what i learned about this whole situation of which i had meditated for so long?:::

imagination truly can and do shape realities.

in some ways the world actually has been flattened for me and my whole mates on the high seas. we have all experienced (or not experienced) the changes that the world has undergone for so long. we actually know how the ocean feels where the world comes together; and more importantly, we can now look to our next adventures in unknown lands with unknown sights and unknown people.

I feel that is sufficient enough dawdling on one of my favorite ponderances for this post however, on to new things:::


Honolulu was a very low-key experience for me. i intended for it to be this way so that i could get used to the travelling thing and revel in my one day there where i could still use my own currency and not have to do any math whilst purchasing goods [or vaccines in my case].

i woke up around 0620 and immediately leapt from bed to take pictures of the first land i had been close to since embarking five days prior in Ensenada. then i proceeded to realize that hawa’ii is part of the us and I would be able to use my cell phone for one last time before actually truly setting out on my voyage. so i immediately called my two best friends and surprised them. i called pretty much everyone i could think of to call. All. Day. Long. i really do miss all of you very much. around 0700 Kat and i went to the seventh deck to check in with customs [since the last place we had « technically » been was Mexico]. we then went to breakfast and ate outside overlooking the harbor and downtown areas of Honolulu. to this day, that breakfast was one of the most beautiful i have ever experienced. the volcanic mountains loomed in the distant behind the stark and tasteful buildings of the small downtown area of the city. everything was sunny and hot and delicious and tropical. it really could not have been better. then a few hours later (around 0940), we disembarked and walked around a little. at 1000 Kat was catching a van with a bunch of other kids who had independently set up [a Long time before the voyage] a trip to go skydiving on the North Shore of Oahu…so, i walked a bit more then got directions and a map to take a bus down to Waikiki Beach. i had made it!

down in Waikiki, i walked around for a Very long time taking in the sights and scenes. somehow coincidentally we had berthed at Honolulu on the birthday of the last queen of Hawa’ii, Queen Lili’oeukulani [sp?]. there were little cabanas and tents everywhere with families and friends eating together strewn all down the parks along the shores and the beach itself. this made for Very nice walking for me! i finally decided to rent a bicycle [and with the gracious help of my mum and my bestest, alex], i found a place, the guy gave me a discount [« as long as [i] get it in before five! »], and i biked around the island, enjoying the tropical fare. i found a nice Thai/Hawa’iian restaurant at which to eat. afterwards, i went into a little internet café to check out information about registration for next spring semester [its on October 28th for all of us seniors if you’re wondering kids], etc.

finally, i went to meet Kat at Ala Moana shopping centre for some « sightseeing » and necessities….PS:::that mall is incredible. there was everything imaginable from Sephora to Gap to Prada to Bottega Veneta to Chanel to an Apple Store to LeSportSac. it made for great sightseeing. but to tell the truth…we had gone because we had heard that there was a Wal-Mart close by and there were a few necessities that we needed to get there. thanks to my bestest again for painstakingly locating and somehow –by telephone- directing me on how to reach this [not so close] Wal-Mart. there, i took my prescription for the typhoid oral vaccine because those of us who hadn’t obtained it by this time were Strongly advised to do so while still in Hawa’ii because it was the last chance. so…heeding the onboard physician i finagled a prescription from the medical clinic on deck two before leaving and took it to the girl at the counter who duly filled my prescription [thank you nice girl who is preventing me from getting typhoid for the next five years]. we did a little more poking around and then made our way back to the Ship.

Conclusion::: i’m glad i had the chance to go to Hawa’ii. i never really thought about visiting the islands before so a day was enough of a taste for me. however after having that experience i am definitely tempted to return. the native hawaiians all try to scare the mainlanders about how much they don’t like tourists but i was stopped so many times while i was alone and helped by people who wanted to let me know this and that about the queen’s birthday celebrations and cultural goings-on. it was very nice.

still i trudge on…

I posted the other day about suggestions for Japan, etc. i’m still looking for them. so far my plans are to take the train with Kat and Jade to Tokyo for some fun, merriment and guiding with Andrew Kane [an acquaintance i have from BU who is currently studying in Japan]. from there we will make our way down to Kobe where we must meet the Ship before setting sail to China.

finally, some of the classes are pretty cool as well. i’ll give you just a few topics we’ve discussed along the way so i don’t bore you:::


the nuclear weapons era

the american foreign service

those are all just half hour lectures we have had. however at one of the pre-port port meetings a student from Hawa’ii got up and did a traditional Hawaiian dance for everyone after a lecture about pearl harbor and hula.

it’s a pretty good time here still. i’m really enjoying it so much still. i’m signing out now so that i don’t ramble on for even longer. however, before i go…for those of you who know what i’m talking about:::

to commemorate my lost day at sea, i request that you play a certain specific Ladytron song…. you know who you are.

toujours mes amis.

ps...i edited my post from last may want to reread will probably make more since as far as retardation goes.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


hey all:::

just wanted to let you know i have a post in the werks for posting tomorrow night. i apologize for not having gotten pictures up...the internet connection here is REALLY slow. i plan on getting some stuff up in Japan while i'm there.

also--- please please please! give me any suggestions or desires for things you think i should do/see/participate/get while i'm in Japan...i'm planning my trip there right now!

a few shout outs really quickly as well.

daddy--i would love for you to try and contact your customer in tokyo...i'll be there the 12th-16th with a few people and will be meeting my friend Andrew Kane there for some tour guiding action.

bri-- 20597-003-39. ps i miss you.


i ENCOURAGE you to contact me so i can get in touch with you!

new post coming your way soon.

signing out.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

rock 'n roll with me.

initial reactions to this place were hilarious all around…they still are.

1) i am on a SHIP, not a boat…we will constantly be reminded of this.

2) it really moves…and you can feel it::: all. the. time.

3) it is the funniest thing to have no capacity to walk in a straight line –even without the aid of alcohol.

4) it is funnier still to walk down a hallway and see every single person in front of you swaying as if completely inebriated though clearly just trying walk normally and pretend as if they can.

5) putting on eyeliner @ 7:30 am on a moving vessel going 13-15 knots is really, REALLY difficult. [though i am beginning to feel like a pro]

6) showering takes on a whole new meaning when ‘slippery when wet’ actually is a caution that you know you have to take heed of or else.

7) there honestly must be something in the water, because these professors are a little exaggerated.

so basically, the gist of my experiences so far [while crossing the Pacific] are this—life is different on a SHIP and there are so many interesting, unexpected changes that i believe all of us will be catching up for a while.

before beginning the voyage one of the main [and most important] questions i had was:::


well…my question has certainly been answered. time changes have a occurred and COMMUNICATE they have. let me tell you a little ditty:

it all began on a day like today [but much greyer] while sitting in an ‘assembly’ if you will about safety on board. the executive dean of this lovely endeavor was speaking about SHIP matters this and SHIP matters that…and then the lovely dean uttered the most beautiful words the 632 students on board the Explorer had dared imagine::

< take into account the time changes, everyone.>>

yes, ladies and gents, it was these very words that began the saga…much to our delight, it was not actually the nite for the clock retardation [which in fact ended up taking place last nite]. Due to this known fact and the captain’s wise orders, the uncautious dean made an announcement over the ships intercom system to let us know this new tidbit::

< correct time for retarding the clocks for time changes. the clocks will actually not be retarded tonite, but will instead be retarded tomorrow> [shake, stir, repeat]

that’s right! mr. dean was mistook about the clock retardation. imagine….the following day, he again apologized for his early start to forewarn us about retarding our clocks. the day continued as normal with no retardation in sight…and them WHAM!^%$ we turn on our HIGHLY closed circuit television to see the plots, knottage speedage, handwashing directions, and latitudes of our mighty Explorer and what do we see?!

nothing. But a glorious bright yellow screen that simply says ‘Tonight Ship’s Clock Will Be Retarded One Hour’ in bright red[making all Spaniards proud]. ne’er one for missing out on wonderful photo opportunities the roomie and i snapped a few photos of the glorious view in mere seconds….and then proceeded to change the time on our bedside clock. however, it. does. not. end. there.

we were pleasantly surprised today to find that the clocks will have to be even more retarded this very evening and we have the very same yellow-lovely screen [which this morning we thought they had just forgotten to take down from the previous evening].

therein lies the answer to my question of questions. the clocks are retarded and we are given QUITE a bit of notices/forewarnings as to this case through our dean in every lecture letting us know about retardation five to six times a meeting/class. to think…i lose a day when crossing the international date line but…i get so many extra hours of sleep that it just TOTALLY makes it worth it. huzzah.

in other news--- my roommate is awesome, hilarious and fun fact: is from the same town where my dear friend, Alex Hamadey’s, dad resides in California. even more fun fact: they went to the same high school and she had a crazy ninth grade crush on him. she once asked him to go to a dance way back when and he turned her down because he was ‘going out of town that weekend.’ nevertheless, it’s a crazy coincidence that we happen to be rooming together, i think, since she has neither spoken to him nor thought much about him since that fateful shutdown.

yesterday was ‘student life signup day’ and Kat (my roommate) and i decided to make up our own club: ‘neon dance party classics’ -the aim of which is to dress up in the most obnoxious neon/80’s/aerobic/spandex garb and spontaneously have dance parties on the ship. we sort of made it up as a joke/for fun. however, it seems to have been the buzz of the sign-up fair and somehow without recruitment we accrued quite a few people interested in said club…so we’re pretty stoked about that and are in the werks as far as music/planning goes. i also decided to try and start a french conversation group on board but made the signup sheet rather late so we’ll see how well that goes over. and last, but not least, Kat and I wanted to do a joint dessert [because its great!] and music [because its horrible on the ship channel!] review show on the student TV channel:: SeaTV. we’ll see how all of that happens and i’ll keep you up to date on this beautiful piece of electronic communication.

i will leave you by saying that i hope you all enjoyed this first piece of info from aboard the SHIP of semester at sea. i’m enjoying it so far and oh yeah, the food isn’t bad at all and they clean our cabins every day! woohoo! i’m extremely sorry to those of you i couldn’t/didn’t get in touch with before i set sail but I hope you will keep reading and i encourage you to email me or leave your emailz as a post for me to put in my address book. i hope all of you are doing well and taking care. i promise i will get around to sending each one of you e-postcards one way or another, but if you have already gotten one i apologize for some of the repetition in this posting. i’d love comments from all of you to hear how you are, what you want to hear about, or anything else.


ps:::did i mention its really tough to put on eyeliner on this moving thing?

---oh and i have yet to get seasick...keep your fingers crossed because there have been many casualties.

Monday, August 27, 2007

a bientot.

this is me signing out from the us. i'm leaving tomorrow morning @ 9am pacific. i will have my phone on tomorrow morning, but i will be turning it off by noon pacific time. i will miss so many many people and i am so so so so sorry to have not had enough time to call each and every one of you (or see you before i LEAVE!).

i would really like it if you would czech this business every once and a while so you know what i'm doing and also let me know how everything is occurring where i am not! please let everyone i would want to know about this blog know so they can catch up/contact me as well.

you should all have my email addresses by now...but if you don't then post on here and let me know and i will get in touch somehow.

i miss you already and i hope you all take care of yourselves. lovely ipiz.

and here's this info if you want it.

Saturday, July 28, 2007



so our itinerary was changed due to political circumstances in alas i'm headed a few other places. the new route for my new adventure is all mapped out on the link below...enjoy/desire/be jealous/comment:

new map!

have a nice weekend folks.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


It has officially happened...

for all of you out there that I happened to not have spoken with since

the SEVENTH day of the SEVENTH month of the SEVENTH year of this century/millenium

i have been hit!

i was riding to work on my beloved Black Bike [CSS/Vilanova style] and a woman neglected to halt at the stop sign at the intersection of Hereford and Marlborough. She t-boned me on my ride and i ended up doing a flip over my handlebars onto the hood of her car and then subsequently the pavement of said intersection.

sources say i immediately jumped up and uttered the [now infamous] words:

"really though?! really?!"

having no choice -i launched into the woman with a volley of derisions, rhetorical questions, and foul-smelling langage. Needless to say i was shocked enough to forget to get the woman's digits. Luckily enough, a kind girl named Lisa witnessed the entire affair and prompted us to exchange digits. We did so and then i blindly stared at her license plate as she got back into her auto and drove away...

i picked up Black Bike, threw him on my shoulder and hiked the remaining 7 blocks to werk [camper-style]. i realised i couldn't really focus on much while doing the opening tasks for the i called my uncle. He came in, talked to me for a bit and then got me in a cab [crazy crazy driver and all] speeding towards the er of beth israel deaconess. the cabby dropped me off on the "east campus" and i ended up having to walk 2.5 blocks to the "west campus" where the er was located. Joe and i walked in to the er and then after a few lookovers i was sent to "trauma" due to the fact that driver collided with Black Bike averaging a solid 25-30 miles per hour.

about 4-5 hours later...

Margot Lane is released a constricted/neck-strained/sore/shoulder-messed okay woman to the world.

i have a lovely family. My aunt picked me up/woke me up at the hospital and took care of me for the rest of the evening. i can't thank the two of them enough for dropping everything to make sure their recently 21-year-old niece was in the best of possible conditions.

furthermore brianne morin is a dollface. sugarpie came down all the way from the north north north north north of the great state of maine [of which i have yet to visit, might i add] to make sure i was not dead/to take care of me for the days following the acte si dense.

not to go unmentioned: adorable masha [insert her last name that i know]. the dear immediately sent me a key to her locked up/unused for the summer ride until i get Black Bike into better spirits. she is a doll and i am really enjoying her ride as well. [ps i paid tribute to you with a paris vegetarian add cheddar last nite]

enjoy a picture of the lovely masha modelling the old dear boy: