Monday, April 17, 2006

The Crooked House

Just a couple pics of The Crooked House. We usually manage to stop in each time we have visitor's come through, although I didn't get a chance to take my parents for a pint of Old Rosie. We took Erin for a drink on her last night here and I remembered to bring my camera this time. The pub has been there forever, but used to be a house. They now have a (straight) restaurant built on the back. It's crooked because of the mining in the Black Country area. There are a few buildings like this that have sunk into the ground due to the mining underneath.

No, my camera is not crooked, that is the house.

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Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter trip to Aberystwyth

We had a long four day weekend for the Easter holiday, so we decided to take a little trip. Nikki and I were going to go to Newquay in Cornwall, but I decided we should stay around so I could meet Bri's friend Erin who is visiting this weekend and go out with them (we've postponed Newquay for early July). We all ended up out in Wolverhampton essentially doing the usual Saturday night. Sunday we dragged ourselves out around 1PM and headed to Wales for the afternoon. We drove to Aberystwyth, enjoying the beautiful views of Welsh countryside on the way. Spring was definitely in the air. There were tons of sheep and a lot of little lambs that looked no more than a couple weeks old grazing the farms as we drove along. The daffodils were in full bloom and the sun came out just as we were crossing the border into Wales. As Nikki said before the we saw the sign welcoming us to Wales, the landscape definitely looked Welsh. We quickly came into countryside with small mountains (or very large hills, if you like) and the trees and grasses began to change. We didn't make it to Aberystwyth until about 4PM, but we checked out the amusements, got some good walking in and enjoyed the sea air for the afternoon. I also won a Mini! Although, it's only about a foot long so I don't think it will be too easy to drive.

After Bri and I stuck our feet in the cold water, Nikki posed for the camera. I took my flops off to wade in and almost lost them in the rocky shore, they sunk down so quickly.

We had a little lunch and walked along the shore to head up for a better view.

In the center there is a cliff railway you can take to the top but we walked it- with Brianna and I both in flip flops...and her's were platforms.

Once we made it to the top Nikki and stopped for a little rest and this picture, that somehow came out black and white, but I think it works.

This was my embarrasing moment of the week. I leaned near the edge to take this picture and almost lost my balance. I reacted and said a little curse word, which a little boy standing near me repeated about three times and asked his dad what I was saying. I walked away hanging my head in shame.

Views of the seaside and surrounding town and countryside from the top....

After we came back down we got some ice cream and the girls took a little break. That's from left to right, Brianna, Erin (Brianna's friend who has been visiting) and Nikki.

We walked to the other side of the harbour to check out the ruins of this castle. It's been in ruins for a few hundred years, so it wasn't much to see, but a nice little park area.

They did manage to have a cannon for Nikki to pose on, though.

View from the grounds of the castle site.

Almost every town has WWII memorials in England, but I thought this one was particularly nice as it was a bit more unique from the regular ones.

The memorial from the front.
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Monday, April 03, 2006

Okay, so I jumped the gun a little. . .

So, those close friends of mine that got that email from me last week, you may want to chock it up to my typical rantings when I get in a mood and think I've made up my mind. . .and then change it again. Something about the impending birth of Uma and finding out the next child in my brother's clan is going to be a girl had made me a little homesick. I'm really missing you guys in the States, but I don't really miss the States (if you catch my drift). By the next day of sending out the email and getting the wonderful responses from you guys, I realized as much as I want to be back with you all, I can't give up on opportunities to experience as much as I can before it's time to come back to the western hemisphere and be a suedo-adult again. Hopefully, I should be able to take two months and have enough money to basically go wherever I want. How can anyone pass that up???

So then the next dilemma arises- where to go? I have been talking and thinking about this a lot. Those of you who know me well know about my passion for the continent of Africa and this strange obsession with lands I've never seen. I ended up kind of ruling it out because some of the countries I want to see just aren't safe for a single gal traveler like myself. Or, perhaps not that those countries are not "safe," but just that I am not savvy enough to do it on my own. So then, with my recently renewed fascination with Eastern philosophy, I started thinking Asia. India and Nepal, perhaps? But I could spend two months in India alone easy and I am not sure about Nepal's politics at the moment. So then it brings me to Southeast Asia- perhaps a tour of Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and some bits of Thailand I didn't see last time. There are just so many phenomenal places in this world, I just can't decide! Chats with friends here and a little forward Julia sent me has got me thinking about Africa again, though. There are plenty of amazing countries there that would be just as amazing as the ones I've dreamt of living in since I was little. Now, I have got Brianna on the scent and I am working on her to leave her job early and go with me. We even started thinking tonight we could both find short-term volunteer projects somewhere on the continent and relinquish that lingering desire to join the Peace Corps. Perhaps it's just The Constant Gardener on her brain.

Who knows folks??? I can say that regardless in the next year I will be home. Even if something crazy happens and I don't come back for good, I will visit! I think I am just a bit giddy and optimistic because I have a new crush, and I don't get those very often. But no worries, I'll settle down eventually somewhere, and I have strong reason to believe it will be with you all back home.