Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Absolutely lovely.  I could definitely see myself living there for some time.  My goals are to take language classes in french, italian, and german.  Possibly others too but those are the biggies for me.  Wow, where to begin with Paris.  I can not believe I just spent four days there and each day was jam packed.

Here is some terrible advice that works really well-  the lines of people to museums can be a 30 minute wait and up and also cost about $15 dollars each.  So learn how to save money and time... I would walk to the front of the line and playing dumb, ask if that was the line for the museum.  Then like a true tourist- Id turn around  and smile as if John were taking a picture of me.   --Come on people, why would we want a picture in front of a line???-- so then I subtly turn around and merge in behind the people I just talked to.  The funny part is most of the time they do not speak english so they just stair at you, but the people that you just cut in line also do not speak english so they may think you just said hi to your friends that were saving your spot in line.  Then John steps in behind me and playing dumb, asks if this is the right museum also.  Then 5-10 minutes later we are supposed to pay for our tickets.  I pull out my british accent I got in London because anyone from the UK gets into museums free, but US has to pay.  They will ask to see ID or passport and simultaniously John and I look at each other with our professional baby faces and slop our shoulders.  We explain how we were told to not keep our ID or passport on us, then with sympathy they usually give us free tickets.  Only once did they reject us.  --Thanks dad for teaching me some of your little tricks. -- Another way to get in is when a guard is scanning the tickets, blend in with a big family and do not make eye contact as if you are a busy person.  I "blended in" with a Chinese family one time to get into a museum!  It was more of a hilarious thrill than anything.

By day two in Paris, we got too excited by thinking we were pros at the metro system from getting around london fine.  That night we ate our words... or should I say until 3am.  Everything takes much more time than you expect, 3 hours in the Eiffel Tower, 3 hours in the Louve, etc.  The unfortunate scene is that the underground trains stop running about midnight.  Then you are left to the buses that can be confusing along with a whole bunch of drunk peoples advice.  We got directions from a sober group of people (I think) and about 3 buses and an hour later we were out of Paris and in the middle of ghetto nowhere.  We walked up and down so many streets, claiming that every next one looked familiar... every street looks the same.  Keeping an eye on our backside, at one point we got freaked out from a guy that could have been following us and had the wonderful opportunity to run for our lives through the streets of France.  With my tazer in one hand and heavy purse in the other, there aint no stoppin me now.  Finally we met a wonderful couple riding bikes about 3 am that told us we were in a completely different town.  We safely got to the hotel by taxi. 

Paris is incredible because it does not get dark until 1030-11pm and by midnight it is still a completely happening city.  There were still so many people out eating, walking and shopping, or taking pictures of the most known post card images in the world. 

The Eiffel Tower is breath taking!  Incredible incredible incredible!  We rode an elevator to the top.  A fun fact is that Mr. Eiffel made a small apartment for his daughter at the top and there were wax figures of them meeting with Thomas Eddison to show him the eiffel tower building.

finally blogging...

hello everyone I love and miss you all.  We are currently in switzerland but I will start from the beginning of our trip.  I hope to give much advice when traveling or interesting experiences with different cultures. 

LONDON.  Are you okay?  ... That is what the English say in comparison to how the US say, hey, whats up or how are you?  The awkward moments are when you do not realize that.  One morning when I was walking down stairs for breakfast and a person asked me if I was okay.  I smiled and answered yes but in my mind I was wondering if I had done something wrong or I did not look okay.  Lo and Behold,  he was just askin WhatZ Zup. 

Never be timid to ask too many questions, just make sure they are to the right people.  It is much better to know you are on the right train than the wrong one.  Once we arrived in London July 13 around noon, we did not get details of the correct routes to take to the families house we were staying with so we ended up riding multiple busses and about 7 hours later we arrived in Stevenage, UK which should have been about an hour ride.  Ya live and learn, it is an interesting journey.  The buildings and scenery are beautiful.  The toilets and sinks are interesting- to flush the toilet, you push a button on the toilet or the wall behind it and some of the sinks have a cold spout and a hot spout for water.  I am so thankful we were with a helpful and friendly family at our first destination because they showed us the ropes of the train and bus stations.  I do not usually like tea but the tea in London was great, along with a Nigerian rice dish- with excellent sauce and chopped peppers mixed in.  Before I left for Europe, I was under the impression that most of the culture was in the major cities in Europe but now I think it is moreso outside the large cities where tourists do not effect the towns character.  In London, all the price tags looked that same as they would be in America but you have to remember that is in pounds.  The UK one pound equals the US $1.50 so you have to remember to add half the price on top to realize what you are actually paying.  Also, at the exchange rate companies- whoever exchanges your money takes about a 5% commission out of what you wanted to exchange so good luck not being bitter about that one.  An awesome thing about London is that there is no tax and it is not necessary to tip any waiters etc.  I am pretty sure the tax is already added in, but it is nice when you purchase something-and it comes out to the exact amount you added up in your head.  Waitresses and other works do not need tips bacause they tipically already make a nice hourly wage.  Europe is incredible in the mind set that if you can not afford it now- do not charge it.  They are not in debt from credit cards and everyone seems to be more humble.  It is just a different mind set.  In Arizona, if you do not have a car and ride the trains or busses it could mean you are financially hurting but in Europe way more many people take trains and busses, I can not tell you how many business men with suits, classy old ladies, to your average college student I saw on the trains and busses. It is not a Lesser Than mind set, I think it is a I Am Smarter Than The In Debt Americans mind set.  When traveling, bring tennis shoes because you will do more walking through all of Europe than you have through out your life.  Also, a light jacket because the weather changes before you know it.  I think it is smartest to bring one of those Camelback water backpacks and drink that through out the day because 2.50 pounds for 1 water bottle is crazy and you will just end up not drinking water and getting dehydrated.  The fashion scene was not as intense as I had dreamed but I think I just did not hit the correct locations.  Picadilly Circus in London is amazing and all the fashion stores are 2 to 3 stories high.  It is a learning experience bargaining with the brandless or tourist stores.  Wait to buy what you see the first time, because it will probably be cheaper around the corner, or you can always walk back to get what you first saw.  Whenever I heard an English accent it was so hard for me to not smile and laugh a little because they sounded so funny and I have come to the conclusion that it takes much more effort for them to speak because they are so proper and have to take many more breathes when speaking. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Here is the first official blog for BACKPACKING EUROPE BABY!!!!!!!!!!!

John Opuroku and I will be fashionably haulin' our suitcases around Europe (not legit backpacking though cause it's absolutely necessary to bring my high heels and dress adorable in Europe!!!)

Here is the most updated schedule and we'll see how it changes as time goes on:

July 12-16 LONDON
July 17-20 PARIS
July 24-31 CRUISE TO ITALY, GREECE, COATIA, TURKEY (starts and ends in Venice)
August 1-4 ITALY
August 6-October 13 LONDON w/ family; for a fashion job (if all goes well maybe I'll keep the job & get an apartment etc)