Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Travel travel travel travel

The Desert

The trip with Rob and Jason was amazing. (You remember: flying into L.A., renting a car, driving into the desert. OMG, we saw GWAR!)

Sekrit plans were made, bonds were formed, we laughed, we cried.

… wait, okay, there wasn’t any crying. A bit too much drinking, though.

Anyway, it was a great trip. I have an ease with those guys that I haven’t found with many other people in the world.

Anyway anyway, on the last night of the trip, (which largely consisted of bopping around Venice Beach and getting into trouble,) I was finally starting to burn out. Not with Rob and Jason. Frankly, I wish those guys were my next door neighbors.

But I was starting to burn out with … travel, the road and hotels. I was starting to miss my bed and my cat. (Also Elina, but she was already in London by that point.)


Of course, within an hour of seeing off Jason at the airport, I flew up to NorWesCon and panels and shmoozing and critiquing and even more sekrit plans (and even more late nights and drinking.)

Needless to say, by the time I got back to Eugene (and my cat) I was completely wiped.

… and of course I jumped right back into the day job, and … whew.

Paris, etc

I mention all this because I’m going on *another* trip in the next few weeks. Elina’s going to meet me in Paris and we’re … well, we’ll definitely make the rounds of Paris awesomeness. But I also want to see some other parts of France etc …

I realized last night I was stressing about where we’ll go first and second and third and I …

… I feel ridiculous and bourgeois. What a hugely first world problem. Should we go to Southern France or Italy? There’s also Vienna, or Edinburgh again?

Part of what makes it possible is that travel, once you’re in Europe, is ridiculously cheap.

I mean seriously, like $9 plane tickets to Turin.

Anyway anyway anyway, it’s looking like the trip will be something like Paris > train to Marseille or Nice > fly to London (where we’ll meet up with Damien and maybe a few other folks.) Maybe Elina can show me some parts of London I missed last time I was there. 🙂

All of which is a long form way of saying … *SQUEE.*


Oh, also … I’m on the road

Posted by ON in Travelogue

I’m currently on the road with Rob and Jason.

By the time I got on the plane to meet up with them, our sum total plans were:

  1. Meet in L.A.
  2. Rent car
  3. Desert? Boat?

…we’re awesome.

So far, our trip has taken us to a number of dive Mexican restaurants, a neighborhood in East L.A.,

a tiki-themed lesbian bar

, a vegan diner, Joshua Tree national park and a drive-in theater out in the desert near the biggest military base in the United States.

This was all by day two.

As of this morning, I’m finally caught up on sleep. As soon as the other guys are awake, we’re going to flip a coin and head somewhere else, maybe the Mojave.

See you later …


6000 miles from home: London to Baku, Azerbaijan

On the flight from London, they handed us very hot towels, which was awesome. I already felt scummy and it was a good start to wipe my face.

Everything felt five times more intense than my original trip to London. I kept saying to myself, “I’m over the North Sea, i’ve never been this far from home. I’m over the Black Sea. I’m over the Caspian Sea.”

The flight was so empty that most people lay across their seats like a bed. I tried to stay up for the entire flight because i knew i’d have to reset to another five-hour time difference, but ended up sleeping for a few hours, which really just made me groggy and gave me a neck crick.

They showed what may well be the BEST INFLIGHT MOVIE EVER. I think the name was “Fantomas,” but i can’t be sure. It was originally in French and then poorly translated (i could still hear the original dialog underneath the translated voices) into what i assume is Azerbaijani.

Did i say AWESOME? The villain looked like he’d dipped his head in lime-colored rubber and the police chief occasionally had three arms.

By the time i landed in Baku i was sleep-deprived and extremely nervous about language and customs and, i don’t know, being arrested for having purple hair or something.

Okay, fine, it wasn’t as bad as i’d worried, but i did have to run through four people and they took my passport for awhile and made me sit.

The Baku airport has smoke everywhere. Everyone smokes! As far as i can tell the airport is run by eight guys in grey suits with cellphones who rove around handing out boarding passes and pointing to gates.

Within an hour getting into Azerbaijan i saw not less than three men and one woman with entirely gold teeth. Entirely. Gold. Teeth. My camera battery died as soon as i left London, so i don’t have any pictures.

When i left again through the smokey airport, the pilot walked through the airport yelling, “Aktau! Aktau!”

Our plane died on the runway …


There was a lot of discussion, heated discussion, i didn’t track any of it … because it was all in Russian and possibly Azerbaijani. They sent a bus to bring us back to the airport while they got another plane.

Yes, this was kind of stressful and i briefly considered living in Baku forever or taking the train.

Once we did take off toward Aktau, they gave us onion-potato knishes, which sort of made everything okay.

Whitwell to Leicester to London

House-sitting in Whitwell was largely a success. Matt and Klara, the owners, were funny and interesting. Matt picked me up at the train station and Klara made me dinner. Rocky and Milo, two Yorkshire terriers, were the kind of dogs that magically appeared on your lap the second you sat down. The night before they left I stayed up till far too late talking about American politics and theater. Their house was awesome, big and comfortable. They left me with a ton of food for the week.

I spent a big chunk of the house-sit writing and learning mandolin. The dogs were pretty hyper, Milo in this sort of chill way. Rocky was … well, Rocky was a very angry dog. I mean he liked me, but was enraged that people would dare walk by the front window and on walks he was constantly trying to mix it up with other dogs, seriously ignoring that just about any dog in the world was two to four times larger than him.

I once accidentally stepped on his paw and he was seriously going to KILL THE SHIT out of my shoe. I just sort of stood there and held out my shoe out for him to maul until he got it out of his system. After a few angry minutes, he eventually forgave me.

So, like i said, the house and the dogs and the owners were all nice. The town of Whitwell itself … well i’m not sure the people liked me all that much. There were some exceptions. The folks in the chip shop were friendly and there was this really nice guy at the Boot & Shoe pub, but in general the vibe was distinctly “foreigner go home!”

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The worst moment was when I went to the pub across the street from the house. I literally had one of those movie moments where everyone stopped talking and started at me till I left.

There’s not really anything to do in the town and i started to go seriously stir-crazy by the end of the week. I even took a bus to the nearby towns Clowne and Worsop, but people still didn’t seem really that into me and there weren’t markedly huge things to do. The Worksop pub, which felt disturbingly close to a Denny’s, didn’t help much either. After the worst Guinness i’ve had outside of America and a DEEP FRIED VEGIBURGER (??!!?) i gave up and spent the rest of the week in the house watching movies and writing.

Once back from their trip, Matt and Klara graciously drove me to Leicester, right to my friend Damien‘s door.

Damien, as always, was awesome to hang out with. He was great host and played tour guide around Leicester, giving me a feel for local flavor, history and political vibe.

I liked Leicester a lot, but Damien says i still have to see the dark side. We spent most of the day and night talking writing and books. Unfortunately I had a house-sit to get to the next day, so I had to take a train in the morning.

In London now. More on that soon.