Adventures in Rome

Okay, I know that I was going to do a blog on French food, but writing about Italy simply has to come first. I will probably do a blog on both French and Italian food in the near future, but for now I need to write about my experiences in Milan and Rome ... it has been very exciting, to say the least!

Admittedly, I did not get to see very much of Milan. My flight to Milan (from Bordeaux) was canceled, and so they put me on a different flight the following day, but I did not even get there until around six in the evening, and I was due to fly out to Rome the following morning. So there was not very much in the way of exploring Milan, and I did not get to take a small trip to Verona as I had planned, but what I can say is that my flight to Rome took off without any problems ... and it has been amazing!

The first day I got here, I had a few problems finding the monastery I was staying at. It was a bitch getting to the bus station (because of the 200lb -- yes, I am exaggerating, but it certainly feels that heavy -- bag I was carrying), and then the taxi dropped me off on the wrong street, leaving me to wander narrow alleys with a what-feels-like-200-lb bag in tow.

This, though, is where I get to the part about Italian people being so kind. When I was in France, the people were kind enough, but it seemed as though whenever I opened my mouth and English came out, an air of disappointment and even antagonism tainted the rest of the conversation. Not so in Italy. I have met very many really nice Italians, two of whom were women that I met in one of those narrow alleys while trying to find my monastery. They not only pointed me in the right direction, but helped me carry my bag. Really, if it were not for them, my first day in Rome would have sucked much more.

But it did not suck! I got to my room, dropped off my stuff, and then headed down to the Colosseum, which was about a five minute walk away. At first, I could not find it. I knew it was supposed to be close, but I looked down this street and that street without knowing which way to turn. I felt kind of dumb, because I thought that something like the Colosseum really should not be that hard to find ... and then, low and behold, I turned again and saw, in the distance, the huge and breathtaking image of the Colosseum.

So I went that way.

I arrived there and took my time going through it. By this time, I have seen my share of ancient ruins, but this one was unlike any other. It is really difficult to describe something like this ... all I can say is that it is something you have to see for yourself to really understand what Im getting at (sorry for the lack of apostrophes in this post ... Im at an Internet cafe here in Rome, and I cannot for the life of me find the apostrophe key). Though some of the structure has been rebuilt time and again over the centuries, there are parts of it that are still in their BCE ruins ... a few staircases that I saw, and also the underground corridors where the gladiators used to roam before battles.

After the Colosseum, I wandered for a bit and then settled in at a little outdoor cafe to sip espresso, enjoy the sunset, and write postcards. Yes, those of you who are reading this have postcards coming. :)

On to day two. On my second day in Rome I decided to go see the Vatican. Thanks to Will, I had a good understanding for how the underground metro systems work in most European cities, so I had no trouble taking line B to line A and getting off at the right stop for the Vatican. And once there, I had no trouble following the mass crowds to the Vatican itself.

The day that I chose to see the Vatican was, to put it mildly, extremely crowded . The reason for this, though, is because I just happened to go on a day when the Pope was appearing to speak to the public. Needless to say, even though Im not Catholic, I thought to myself that since I was at the Vatican and the Pope was appearing, I might as well get a good look. After all, how often does a person get the chance to see the Pope in person at the Vatican? So, being a relatively small person, I wiggled my way to the front of the crowd and, squashed like a sardine into hoards of other sweaty bodies and overstuffed backpacks, waited for the Pope to arrive. Sure enough, a few minutes later Pope Benny rode right by me in his Pope-mobile, waving to the masses. I got a few pictures, but for the life of me could not stop Elton Johns song, Benny and the Jets, from repeating itself in my head throughout the entire event.

Okay, so I saw the Pope and then decided to see the Vatican museums. This meant that I got to see many of Raphaels works, as well as the Sistine Chapel (among other things), and a good view of the Vatican Gardens. And then I went to see St. Pauls Basilica (the queue just to get through security for this was absurd, but how could I go to Vatican City and not see St. Peters Basilica?). The inside of this church was amazing ... by far the most extravagent and breathtaking cathedral I have ever seen (and this includes Notre Dame de Paris). Being there kind of makes you understand why Catholics choose to be Catholic. Well, at least the ones in Rome.

I then took the metro back to my area of the city and explored the Roman Forum ruins. This took quite a bit of time, as the ruins are huge. I saw the remains of old houses (ones that were burnt during the time of Nero), too many ancient arches to count on one hand, temples dedicated to Saturn and Delphi, among others, and so much more. Not to mention great views of the city from areas high up. By the time I reached the end of my self-guided tour here, I was in a completely different part of the city, and I then had to find my way back. You know me, though -- I got lost during this process. It did not, however, bother me. I enjoyed taking in all of the different parts of the city as I found my way back to the monastery.

Today I slept in a bit and then went to see the Pantheon. It was originally a pagan temple, and then, during the medieval days of Rome, was turned into a church. I had a hard time finding it, as there is no metro station close by, but I took the metro anyway and then walked the fifteen minutes to get to the actual Pantheon.

Well ... no, not really. It should have taken me fifteen minutes, but it took me close to an hour to find it because I kept getting lost. I asked for directions multiple times, stopped for a coffee (which was given to me as what tasted like warm, fudge-flavored ice cream, and required a few units of insulin), and then finally found the damn thing. It was really beautiful from the outside, but even more beautiful on the inside. There were various things I saw in this small little temple, including the tombs of the first and second kings of Italy, and also the tomb of the artist Raphael.

I have pictures of all of these things, and will upload them to Facebook when I get a chance to. But for now, let me just say that Rome has been amazing. Let me put it this way: I loved Paris with all of my heart and soul, and loved London even more than that, but I can honestly say that Rome comes before even London for me. The city is just beautiful and awe-inspiring. I have absolutely no gripes about it (except for having to cover my shoulders to get into St. Peters and the Pantheon. If you ever visit Rome and you are female, do not forget that if you want to see some of the sacred sites, you will need to be dressed modestly. They are very strict and serious about this). And, of course, I am missing Will. Rome is amazing, for sure, but there is something lonely about visiting by ones self, especially when I have been seeing everything else with my partner. But individual time has also been nice, for both of us I am sure, and tomorrow I fly back to London.

There is so much more to say, including everything about the food (mozzarella, tomato, and pancetti sandwiches; gnocchi and cheese; thin-crusted pizza; salad with green olives and fist-sized mounds of soft, real mozzarella), but I am getting ahead of myself. I will close now, and do my best to contain myself until my next post.

Arrivederci, my loved ones.

Hopefully I'll be in Milan Today

Deja vu.

Yesterday my flight to Milan was canceled, leaving me stranded in Bordeaux for another night. I have another plane scheduled for today, which will hopefully take off as planned, but for now I still have another four and a half hours until that flight is supposed to leave. For me, that means a relaxing morning and time to write about France.

The rest of my time in Paris was so amazing. We did a lot of walking (and Paris is huge, so believe me when I say that three days in Paris made my muscles much more sore than five days in Disney World ever did), but we also did some cycling. It was really neat -- you're able to rent bicycles in most French cities, for only a Euro a day, and so Will and I cycled around Paris like the locals.

Keep in mind, though, that this cycling experience was also a bit frightening for me. Unlike Will, I'm not used to riding a bicycle through large cities. And we were weaving in out of traffic (and Parisian drivers are absolutely crazy) and around pedestrians, and so these bike rides weren't always relaxing. They were fun, though, and a great way to get around Paris.

I guess now I'll just write a brief overview of what we did in Paris.

1) The Louvre. On our second morning we went to the Louvre, which, I learned, used to be a royal palace. It was a great experience, and I got to see the glass pyramid, the Mona Lisa, the medieval Louvre (which is the basement, still in medieval ruins), and sections on ancient Greece and Egypt. We wandered for hours, but the thing is that the Louvre is so huge that you have to accept the fact that you're not going to see it all. We saw a very small portion, and I think it would probably take three whole days of non-stop Louvre to see it all (and even then, you probably wouldn't be able to take it all in).

2) The Eiffel Tower. It was, by far, the most crowded area in Paris, but I'm really glad we went. We cycled down by the river and then, when we arrived at the tower, took the elevator to the top. The view was amazing, and then we decided to take the stairs back down. The Eiffel Tower was so crowded that you had to queue for everything, including the elevator rides up and down, and so the stairs were a much better option (on the way down, of course -- stairs going up might have been a bit more intimidating).

3) The Pere Lachaise Cemetery. This, like everything else in Paris, is really, really big -- there are over 800,000 people buried there. Most of the graves, as such, are therefore really old, with house-like structures serving as tombstones (think the cemetery in the Haunted Mansion, for all of my Californian friends). This was another place where we wandered for hours. We saw some interesting grave sites, though, including Oscar Wilde, Gertrude Stein, and Jim Morrison.

4) The Catacombs. We didn't actually get to go down, though, as they were flooded and closed for a few days.

5) The Seine. We saw the Seine River many, many times, but worth noting is that for dinner on two nights Will and I bought dinner and wine and ate it down by the Seine. We got to watch the sun setting over Paris and the river while eating bread, cheese, and tarts, and this was by far the best dining experience(s) I've had yet on this trip. It was incredibly beautiful and romantic.

6) Notre Dame de Paris ... again. We had gone on our first day to see the cathedral, but we went back on our last day to climb up the bell towers. There were too many people on our first day, but the line wasn't too bad on our last day. We walked up 400 stairs that wound in a circular pattern up one of the towers, and from there we got to see not only the famous bell tower gargoyles, but also one of the bells up close and another great view of Paris.

Then we went down to Bordeaux, where we saw the Aquitaine Museum and went on a wine tour. This region of France is very well-known for its wine-making, so Will and I have been drinking quite a bit of it as of late. I'm not complaining. On the tour, though, we not only got to do some wine tasting, but I learned a bit about the vineyards and how the different types of wines are produced (Will had to translate for me most of the time because our official translator sucked).

Yesterday Will and I parted ways so that he could begin his research and I could head off to Italy ... but, as you know, I'm still in Bordeaux. Hopefully by tonight I will be in Italy, but I guess you never know with these things.

That's all for now, but I do intend to do a blog in the near future on French food. For now, I'll tell you that it's been amazing -- on our last night in Bordeaux, Will and I had some fondue, but we've also done seafood and other really nice things. I will try to write more in Italy.

Will Promised Me a Beer From McDonalds

Yes, apparently you can order beer at McDonalds in France.

That's all I'm going to say for now.

Well, no ... that's not all I'm going to say. I do think it's pretty explanatory about the differences between France and the United States, though, in that the French can say, "Let's go get some fries at McDonalds, and a beer while we're at it." I told Will that I absolutely had to have a beer from McDonalds, but the queue this morning was a bit long and we were running a bit late, so we haven't done it yet.

Why were we running a bit late? The simple explanation is that we had a planning fail. We got a flight from London to Paris without booking a hotel, and so we found ourselves wandering Paris from street to street, train stop to train stop, carrying heavy (and I do mean heavy ) bags, looking for a place to stay. The place we found last night was booked for the rest of the week, so we repeated this procedure this morning, which put us at later on in the morning before we actually started seeing the sights.

Before I continue, I want to express how fun it is hearing Will speak French to everyone else that I cannot communicate with. He's been taking French since he was eight years old, and his first degree was a combination of history and French, so he's quite fluent. But it's just delightful hearing him rattle off in French, and makes me want to work on my own language skills (so that, you know, the next time I come here I don't have to nod my head stupidly and act like I know what's going on). I do my best, but my weak attempts at merci and bonjour are usually met with expressions that roughly translate as, "I know you're American, and you suck at French."

So ... back to Paris. Last night, after sorting out our hotel situation, we went for dinner at a little French cafe. We had some wine, and had a lovely meal of duck, lamb, and potatoes au gratin. But as an appetizer (or entree , as I learned that an entree is not a main course, but rather a starter dish) we had escargot. Yes, I ate snails. They weren't bad, so to speak, but the particular restaurant prepared them poorly, and so they tasted like tiny shrimp cooked in butter, far too much parsley, and not enough garlic. It certainly wasn't a horrible experience.

Today (after the hotel adventure) we went to see Notre Dame de Paris, the cathedral that I've loved through literature, art, and history. It brought tears to my eyes seeing it up close and personal. Take my word for it -- it really is amazing and beautiful. As far as churches go, I've never seen anything like it. We went inside and saw the interior, which was also beautiful, as well as the tombs of some old men that I've never heard of (and when I asked Will, he only continually told me they were his grandfather), and some old relics (such as the crown of thorns that people seem to think is the actual crown of thorns that Jesus wore on his head some couple of thousand years ago). I would have loved to stay longer than we did, but I was having a blood sugar low (my second of the morning -- damn diabetes) and we needed to get lunch.

We ate lunch at a touristy place, and I had chicken with mushrooms and fries (yes, I ate French fries in France), and Will had steak and fries. It sounds too American, I know. But as a starter, I had French onion soup (it was really good), and Will had some pate that was also not too bad. The service was terrible, though. It's one thing I'll say about France -- the waiting staffs at restaurants seem to like to seat you, take your order, and then leave you to wait for an hour or so before visiting you again.

Another thing about the people of France (or Parisians, at least) is that they don't like to be aware of other people on the sidewalks. Either you move out of their way or just run into various people throughout the day. It's just the way it is.

This afternoon after lunch we went to the old home of Victor Hugo (author of Notre Dame de Paris and Les Miserables ), which has been turned into a museum. It was neat seeing his old place, but the museum itself was kind of a fail. At least is was free.

I also saw the Seine river today (many times), and the Eiffel Tower from a distance. And I'm absolutely exhausted. Tonight Will and I are going to go out for wine and see the Moulin Rouge theatre, which should be exciting.

I'll say, in short, that Paris is absolutely beautiful and stunning, and I'm enjoying every moment that I'm here. Time to go for now though, before I rack up an extremely unreasonable bill at this Internet cafe.

'Till next time ... au revoir.

British Food

Okay, now that I've had a chance to sample some authentic British food, I thought I might as well blog about it. It's the same day as I wrote my last blog, but seeing as how Will and I are enjoying a relaxing evening at his dad's house, and he's on his computer as well, I think it's fine to take a moment and share these experiences.

I'll start out by saying that most of the food I've had here has been wonderful. The first night in Oxford we had some Thai food which was excellent, and we also had some Italian that I loved, and tonight Will's stepmom made some lamb stew with garlic and olives, which she matched with couscous and beans, and a bit of cabbage and peas, which was also just delicious. Will's mom, Jane, made us some leek pie a few nights ago which was also great, and last night I had the most fantastic brie-filled chicken breast with potatoes.

But ... this isn't to say that I haven't come across a few things that have been ... well ... different, or otherwise interesting, for lack of a better term.

1) Whitebait. Why not start with whitebait, as I think it'll stick with me the longest. This dish was served to us as an appetizer at the same restaurant in which I ate chicken and brie. Whitebait, to put it simply, is tiny fish (think about the size of your middle finger), but they're served whole. They have everything -- eyes, bones, guts, everything -- and then they're lightly fried, and you're meant to pop them in your mouth and eat them. You can see them staring at you from the plate. I politely tried one, felt bones crushing in my mouth, and didn't eat another.

2) Pork pie. Will's mother, Jane, insisted that I eat pork pie before leaving England, as she says that it's "traditional" British fare that dates back to the medieval and Tudor days. When Will told her that we weren't going to be around for more than one day (as we were going to his father's house), she brought it out for breakfast the morning we were leaving. Pork pie sounds fine, and it is ... but you have to get past the mystery goo surrounding the actual pork. This is a greasy gel-like substance, like clear jelly, that is made out of ground-up pig parts, and it's a bit difficult to forget about when you're chewing your pork pie. Also, pork pie is meant to be eaten with "pickle," a rather sour condiment that is somewhat like American relish, only ... different. And the pastry that pork pie comes in is really lard disguised as pastry. I had a small slice and called it good.

3) Marmite. Will has been wanting me to try Marmite for quite some time now, as his mom sent some down to America for him. To put it simply, Marmite is a yeast extract that you're meant to spread on toast, like you would butter. It has a very strong, very salty taste, though, and in my opinion can (and should) only be taken in small doses. If you like eating semen on your toast, you might try Marmite sometime.

4) English sherry. Okay, not too exotic or strange, but very sweet and such. I didn't particularly like it.

5) Greek yoghurt mixed with lemon cake. Each on its own is fine. But I wouldn't recommend them together. It wasn't horrible, but a rather strange combination.

Like I said, most of what I've tried here has been great, and I've loved the experience. I fear that I'm not as adventurous with my food as I once thought, however. I guess the true test will be when we get to France. Will and I have a flight to Paris tomorrow, and he has promised that we will be ordering some escargot and possibly frog legs, among other things that I've never before tried...

So stay tuned for more information on interesting food from abroad.

Norfolk: Home of My Boyfriend and ... Boudica?!?

Yesterday Will showed me around Norwich (a city within Norfolk), where he was born and raised. This involved not only seeing the city itself, but also a few really nice landmarks: first, the Norwich cathedral, an absolutely gorgeous church that was finished at the end of the eleventh century, and Norwich castle, which was finished a few years earlier. It was, at one time, home to a medieval court. Norwich actually has the largest number of surviving medieval churches in England -- there were seventeen of them that we could see from just one view from the top of the castle. Some of them are still used as churches, and some of them are now used for other things (we went by one that is now a performing arts school, and little girls in dance attire were going in and out).

Norwich cathedral, though, is the big one, and we went there first. There was a service going on, and I'll point out that I think it would be much more fun to be religious in England than it would be in America. Just being in the cathedral, surrounded by walls, art, and tombs that were nearly a thousand years old, and hearing the beautiful music, made me, a very non-religious person, feel more religious than I ever have in my entire life. There's just something particularly magical about the setting.

Norwich castle was similarly magical to be in. It's been periodically revamped and reorganized, but they've done well in keeping most of it feeling and looking rather medieval. It's a strange (but fascinating) feeling to stand in a room that has been around for so long, and that medieval Europeans once stood (and feasted) in. We went to the top of the castle to the battlements, and got a few really good views of the city from there.

What we also saw at Norwich castle, though, via the mini museums that they have going on there, is that Boudica came from Norfolk! I studied Boudica a few years ago, and for those of you who don't know, she was a pre-medieval queen who led a successful raid against invading Romans. She has a wonderful story. I was really moved to find out that I got to visit her homeland.

After seeing the city (and, of course, visiting a pub), Will's mom picked us up and drove us down to England's east coast, where I got to see the shore. The pebble beach was nothing like the white-sand beaches of California, but it was very nice and beautiful nonetheless. We went to dinner, too, but I'll wait until my next post before I go into traditional English food. :)

Today we're going to see Will's dad, and then tomorrow it's off to Paris. It's been lovely so far seeing the city where he grew up, and getting to stay in his old house.

Robin Hood and the Bus

Last night, Will and I decided to skip the live theatre and we went to see the new Robin Hood instead. Now, I had read a review which stated that this particular movie was going to portray Robin Hood as less of a philanthropist, and the Sheriff of Nottingham as less of a villain, but whoever wrote that review was f-ing with everyone. It was the classic Robin Hood story, good vs. bad, but I must say that they did a very good job with it. It was really enjoyable. It was supposed to be the story of how this man became Robin Hood, and thus it ended with his band moving into Sherwood Forest. I had my initial doubts about Russell Crow as Robin Hood, but I was pleasantly surprised. If you're bored and want something to do, go see it.

Right before the movie I was having a blood sugar low. The reason why is because we went for dinner at an Italian place, and normally when I eat Italian food I must inject enough insulin to cover extreme amounts of carbs (pasta, bread, etc.). The thing is, though, that real Italian food doesn't have all that many carbs ... the pasta was a side dish, and the remaining food consisted of chicken, tomato sauce, and fresh mozzarella with tomatoes. Plus, we drank wine, and I've noticed as of late that alcohol has a tendency to lower my blood sugar when it's not coupled with things like margarita mix. So, in the end, my blood sugar dropped and so Will waited in a horrendously long line at the theatre to get me some British candy (really good stuff, too) to bring it back up. After that, I was fine, and we enjoyed the movie.

Now we're on the bus, on our way back to London, where we will catch another bus to Norwich. Will's mom is taking the afternoon and evening off of work to meet us, and then on Sunday (I think it's Sunday) I'll get to meet his dad and stepmom, Jan. I've really enjoyed Will's family thus far -- I loved his mom when I met her last January, and Sophie was a really amazing person as well.

The English countryside, which I'm viewing from the bus, is just gorgeous. I'm really loving this country, and am therefore dismayed at how quickly the days are flying by. Will is sleeping next to me on the bus, and because I'm feeling rather tired I would join him ... except that I don't want to close my eyes and miss the view.

Time in Oxford

Will and I are now heading towards the end of our second day in Oxford. This is strange, mind you, to realize that it's just after 4:00 in the afternoon over here, but I know that for some of you on the West Coast of the US, it's still only 8:00 in the morning, and 9:00 in the morning for those of you I know in Logan. So while most people I know are either still in bed or waking up with coffee, I am sitting in a pub in central Oxford drinking beer.

Let me say that our time in Oxford has been amazing. Yesterday when we arrived, we checked into our room (we're staying at Wadham College, courtesy of Will's sister, Sophie), and then Will showed me around the various Colleges of Oxford University. My particular favorites were New College (where Will will be writing his phd dissertation), Trinity College, and Christ Church College -- all of them were just so beautiful. Will and I fell into a sort of game, in which he pointed out everything which was older than my country -- which, turns out, is basically the entire city. The university itself has been there since the thirteenth century, and has expanded since.

I then got to meet a few Oxford professors, and Will and I went to the pub with them to drink some beer and discuss our work. (By the way, one thing I've learned about England is that drinking beer is a favorite past time -- whether you're finishing dinner, finishing shopping, out for a walk, or whatever, the common response is, "We should go get a pint.") After drinks with the professors, we met Will's sister, Sophie, for more drinks and dinner.

Today, we got up and had a nice breakfast in the covered market, walked down by the river in Oxford (an extension of the Thames) and then went to see a few museums (really wonderful museums, too) and found a bookstore where I was able to find a copy of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables in it's original French. Now we're out for drinks with Sophie again, and the pub happens to have free Wifi, which was great for me as it meant I could update my blog and hopefully upload the pictures I've taken thus far.

Before I close, here are some interesting things I've learned about England:

1) The bathrooms don't have paper towels. It's always, always those air-blowers you have to use.

2) In Oxford, there are parking lots right in the middle of the street.

3) British girls really like to wear tights -- not the leggings that we like to wear in the US, but real, full-length tights.

4) British beer is warmer and more flat than American beer. That isn't to say it's not good beer, because it is -- but it's different.

5) Oxford undergraduates party much harder than any American student I've ever known. Ever.

Anyway, our time here has been absolutely wonderful so far. Tonight Will and I are planning on going to the theatre tonight, maybe to see Dracula . Tomorrow we're off to Norfolk.

Have a wonderful day, everyone, seeing as how most of you still have the whole day ahead of you!

Driving on the Left Side of the Street and Other Misadventures

My plane left Montreal yesterday with no further problems, and I can gladly say that I am now in London. We were supposed to arrive at 10:20, but due to the ash clouds the plane took a detour north of Iceland, which put us in London at, instead, 11:40.

I didn't mind this -- after all, I was finally in London, and a small delay was nothing compared to what had happened the night before. The problem was that, by the time I made it through customs and collected my bag, the train station was closed, meaning that I had no way of getting to Paddington Square, where I was supposed to meet Will. To make matters more difficult, my phone has absolutely no service here in the UK, and so getting a hold of Will was not that easy to begin with. As it happened, he had been waiting a few hours for me at Paddington Square, and his phone had died, so there was no way to get a hold of each other anyway.

So I waited it out in the airport at a lovely little 24-hour coffee shop (the coffee here is amazing), and then took a cab to Will's friend's place in southeast London, where I was finally able to get some sleep.

The cab ride was fun, though, especially when I remembered that, yes, the English do drive on the left side of the street. :)

The bit that I've seen of London so far, though, via cab ride, was amazing. It's not unlike many other big cities I've been in, but very, very large (much bigger than I had ever thought). The residential areas are charming, though, and I was reminded both of fairy-tale stories (because of the stones and wear from age) and industrial-era England (because of those rooftops -- you know what I mean). There's really no way to describe being someplace that you've waited to go for so long. I think I may have almost cried when I saw Westminster Abbey up close, the resting place of many people I admire, including Anne Boleyn.

Okay, time to go. Next stop, Oxford.

Stranded in Montreal

Wow, my life is more exciting than I thought.

You know what I've always wanted to do? Board a plane destined for London at 9:30, when it was scheduled to leave at 7:30, sit for two and a half hours in my seat, then be told to exit the plane because the flight was canceled, queue for an hour while you and everyone else on the plane goes through customs (again), and then queue for another hour in order to arrange a new flight and get a hotel voucher.

No, this isn't something I really wanted to do, but I did experience it yesterday. We never did find out what the problem was concerning the first delay of that flight, but engine problems kept us from leaving altogether. And trust me -- only in Canada will you hear the pilot come on over the loudspeaker to announce that the technicians were currently consulting a user's manual in an attempt to discover what was causing said engine problem, all while a frantic male flight attendant dashed up and down the aisles with a single bottle of water and a stack of plastic cups, as a small glass of lukewarm water is apparently the best way to appease a plane full of tired and frustrated passengers.

So here I am in Montreal, when I'm supposed to be in London, waiting to board an airplane at 11:15 (which will put me in London late tonight, something that isn't bothering me too much seeing as how I'm thankful that the gave me a new flight altogether).

And I got to watch The Lovely Bones . Not many people can say that they've boarded an airplane, sat down and watched an entire movie for free, and then proceeded to exit the plane and be put up for free in a very posh hotel in Montreal.

I can. I guess there are "up" sides to almost anything.

Airport and Coffee

Here I am at the airport, rather tired, trying to ice my insulin and enjoy some coffee (and, apparently, blog). Starbucks isn't my favorite coffee in the world (I know, as a former barista I'm being traitorous), but it works perfectly fine at 6:00 in the morning. I'd rather not be at the airport at 6:00 in the morning, especially since my flight doesn't leave until 11:15, but let me explain why I am here (along with other misadventures of the morning).

My flight leaves at 11:15, but Will's leaves at 7:00. So, instead of doing the logical thing and dropping him off this morning with the intention to return to the airport closer to my flight time (which we didn't think of 'till we were both already here), I arrived with him at 4:30. And have been here ever since.

Nobody else was really here at 4:30 -- most particularly, there were no staff here at 4:30. So we waited around for them to arrive, and checked Will in at about 5:00 or so. Since he still had a few hours until his flight, he agreed to go down to the next terminal with me so that I could check in (so we could spend more time together, but also because my bag feels like it's about 200 lbs, and I wanted him to carry it for me :) ). So, anyway, I'm flying Air Canada, but here at the Salt Lake City airport I had to check in with United -- the only place that had a queue practically out the door.

To make a long story short, we waited (quite a long time, really, partly because there were many passengers about to miss their flight to California, and were thus allowed to skip through the line ahead of us), and then got me checked in (a process much more chaotic than it sounds now). Will went to his gate, and I went through mine, which brings us to the present at which I'm sipping coffee and trying to keep my insulin fresh underneath a mound of ice in a Starbucks cup.

And, in five hours, I'll be on my way to Chicago, after which I'll be on my way to Montreal, and then (finally) on my way to London. Seeing as how there are 24 hours in between now and London, I'll most likely see fit to spend some more empty time blogging about other airport experiences and random things no one else cares to know. :)