About Me

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I'm a 30 something who loves to travel.  I have a full time job and enjoy writing (or blogging) about my travels.  I've traveled through several countries in Europe as well as Russia and Egypt.  I also enjoy domestic travel in the United States, including Disney.  My long term travel goal is to do a round the world trip.  

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Disney makes flying easy

I have two older sisters with children and both are going to Walt Disney World in May, separately. On one hand I secretly hoped one would invite me, on the other I was there a year and a half ago, I don't feel like I need to go back. There's still a lot of world out there to see. But who can resist a giant friendly mouse? Well the invite came last week, and I actually had to think about it. I am supposed to go to Las Vegas in August and then to Scotland in September after all. But in the end I decided to go because my Mom is going and she might need support. Watch out giant friendly mouse!

But the good news is that finding a flight there was MUCH easier to do then finding a flight to London and returning from Scotland. My choices for non-stop flights were Jetblue, Southwest and Delta. Jetblue won! Delta and Jetblue prices were the same, but the cheaper flights with the times we wanted were all on Jetblue, not Delta. Plus we can each check a suitcase without paying. Southwests flights were a bit more expensive and didn't have as good of a selection.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Picture of the Week: Itter, Austria

Itter, Austria. This place was like heaven! A small town nestled in the mountains outside Innsbruck. The place had picturesque views (hence the photo,) the neighbor had cows and there was a small castle. The place was so magical that a couple on my tour got engaged here. When I look at this picture I wonder if this place is real. Oh, it is!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Keuruu to Helsinki

Day 18: Keuruu to Helsinki: We continue southwards to Helsinki, Finland's capital. Our sightseeing tour takes in the Olympic Stadium, the massive underground church and Sibelius Park, a memorial to Finland's greatest composer in the 'White City of the North'. (Breakfast included)

Hotel: Satakuntatalo Summerhotel
Breakfast: 8:00 Bags to the bus: 8:45 Bus departs: 9:00

I got up a little before my alarm today so I got a jump on getting ready. The bathrooms were cool at this campsite. Each stall in the bathroom had a toilet, sink and shower which made it a bit easier to get ready. On the bus I played Crazy 8's with Nancy, Karl, Cathy and Jacqui. We had one quick break, when they realized we were lost, and got into Helsinki a little after 1. After we got lost Dion and Che decided we should play Coach Olympics, since I was in the front of the bus and everything had to go to the back of the d? But apparently the other side of the bus had pretty much given up, I guess I didn't have to rbus I didn't do much. Until they wanted an ipod with Eye of the Tiger paused. OMG, that's me! So everything in my backpack went flying (poor Nancy was trying to keep my stuff organized), I finally found it then couldn't find the song, I guess I was a little overly excited. I was rushing like crazy because who wouldn't have Eye of the Tiger on their ipoush so much. We won the point and the game! Yea for cheesy music! On the bus we also did comment things about the tour and Che and Dion thanked us for a nice tour. Dion also told us that he had been lying to us, it was actually his first tour as a Super Cook, how cute. Well the other thing that happened is that my watch stopped, not a very useful watch now, why is everything breaking?

When we got into town we stopped for pictures at the Lutheran Church and at Sibelius Park. Then I had lunch with Kate, Andrew, Kieran, and Marie. We walked over the the Rock Church (Temppeliaukio Church), a church built into a really big rock. After that we walked over to Olympic Stadium from the 1952 Helsinki games, apparently Kate likes seeing the Olympic sites, I'm not the only one. I heard later on that you can go up the towery thing, but we didn't really have time for that anyway. On the way back we saw the statue to Paavo Nurmi, an Olympic runner/medalist. I was going to try and get my watch fixed before our 5:15 pick up, but in the end we ran out of time.

A couple people almost missed the bus to the Hostel. When we got there I got in the elevator with my bag, I knew where my room was, but I left Nancy to get the key, I just hadn't told her. So Dion let me store my bag in his room while I tried to find Nancy. By the time I got back downstairs Nancy had already gotten the key. But in the meantime I met a couple people from the Russian part of the tour and said a quick hello. On my way back up to the room the floors were all screwy, room 410 would be on the 6th floor, crazy. Eventually I found my room. There was a doorway that led to a set of rooms, about 6 rooms, which were all filled with people from tour. It also had two toilets, but only 1 shower - that would be interesting. Nancy was in our room and we had a balcony, with a view of construction, Yippy!

We had quite a while to get ready so I decided to find a place to get my watch fixed, since I didn't know how possible that would be in Russia. The front desk sent me a couple blocks away, I got a little lost on the way, but eventually found a mall. One of the first stores was a watch store and I waited a while to get helped. The girl said it would take 10 minutes, I went for a drink in the meantime. When I got back the girl was helping someone else. I left her alone for a few minutes but it started getting late so I had to interrupted her, either way I needed the watch back so I could get back in time for our Russia meeting. She quickly finished and only charged me half the price since it took so long.

I got back to the hostel with 10 minutes to spare before our Russia meeting with Maggy. I quickly changed and fixed myself up for our dinner and night out then went down to the meeting. Maggy introduced herself and Ash (the driver) and gave us a little basic info before taking the Russia group to dinner. She advised us to have a good time tonight, but not too make it too big of a night since tomorrow would be a long day getting into Russia. We still had a few minutes before going to dinner so I went back upstairs to properly get ready. Some people were very dressed up and I felt like I should do myself up a bit more.

At 7:45 we walked to dinner, we were eating (as was the other group that had gone a half hour before us) at Armadillo. I sat with Cara, AJ and Renae. Since this was our last night with the Scandi only group we took lots of pictures at dinner. After dinner we all met at some bar down the block. Later on I heard that the bar next to ours had an ice bar in it, a couple people had gone to it, but I didn't bother since I had been to the one in Stockholm. When we first got there I talked to some of the Russia tour people and had last minute bonding with the Scandi people. It was an interesting evening. Che had quite a bit to drink and Tania had an accident. She fell out of an elevator onto the floor, went unconscious and cut her head and was bleeding. It's a good thing Karl was with her (I'll leave that to your own imaginations), she had to go to the emergency room and get 10 stitches in her head. Later on I saw the pictures of her in the ambulance and she didn't look too upset.

I left the bar at 1:20 with Lis, Jilly, Kate and Andrew since the rest of the group was going to a club and I wasn't interest in that. Poor Kate's shoes were hurting her feet so much that Andrew had to carry her part way back. We ran into some others on the way, including Kevin who tried to get a ride on Andrew's back - only to get spun around, which he didn't seem to enjoy, but the rest of us did. When I got back I tried to call home one last time before going to Russia where my phone rates would be much higher, but I just got the answering machine.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Photo of the Week: Las Vegas at night


Las Vegas at night, taken from the top of the Eiffel Tower at Paris, the hotel, not the city.

Why I like this photo? I learned about shutter speed a week or so before this trip and this is the result. This is one of those pictures that was a new learning experience and it's a great picture of the strip.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Reading Travel Reviews

After my looked into flights to London and Scotland I realized I didn't know much about Air France. The obvious solution was to go look at Airlinequality.com for reviews of Air France. To my frustration I found the same problem that I have at other review websites. There are too many people complaining about things that aren't really related to the airline. There are a lot of people complaining that their flight was canceled and they couldn't get through to the phone support. Well if there were a lot of cancellations for the airline, say due to weather, then of course you can't get through to phone support because everyone is doing the same thing. Or you get the complaints about delays, well every airline has delays and they all have them for the same reasons some of which they have limited control over. Based on one flight they will rate the airline really, really low. I liked the guy who doesn't like the use of the term "bed" when referring to the business seat that doesn't lay flat. Maybe I'm a geek or a dreamer, but I often take a look at airlines premium class cabins and see what you get, if someone is so interested in the terminology, didn't he look at that before flying? He then tried to compare the wine offerings from Business with the offerings on Singapore Coach class - an airline that many consider the best in the world and something that isn't exactly a secret if you looked it up. As for the customer service complaints... First, it's a French Airline, the French suck at customer service why do they think it would stop at their airline? Not that it's an excuse for bad customer service, but if you're expecting great customer service then I wouldn't choose an airline from France. I'm just saying.

But this is a common theme when looking at travel reviews. Chris Christensen from the Amateur Traveler podcast and This Week In Travel once said that you learn more about people's trips in some hotel reviews then you learn about the actual hotel. It's true, and it makes it hard to find good information about travel things. For the airlinequality website I now just skip the reviews with a zero, they're pissed about something on their flight and are on a rant and I know that that person would probably fly with the airline again if it offered the cheapest price. I also suspect these are the same people who get up to the counter and yell at the person and get screwed. You then walk up right after are nice and the person gets you whatever you want. I know I don't think like that person.

Then of course there are the people who visit hotels and tell hotel owners that if they don't do something for them they will write a bad review on tripadvisor. Between those people and the people who complain in their review about every little thing, they walked in behind a tour bus and had to wait too long to check in or the sheets were scratchy in a $50 a night hotel who knows what to believe. Some reviews are entertaining, but not helpful.

So how to find good reviews? I personally like it when websites, though I can't think of any travel websites that do this, that allow readers to rate if the review was helpful or not. Short of that I avoid reviews that give the lowest review possible, this is usually the person who is mad and wants everyone to hear how horrible they were treated, but they don't offer information that is helpful in making a decision. This is especially true if there are a lot of high markings. Do they offer examples of what was wrong. "The room was dirty" is subjective. But, "there were stains on the carpet, and bedding," that tells me what was wrong and is useful in making my decision. I often don't spend much time on the 5 star ratings, they really liked I don't need to read too much about that. I like to concentrate on the middle of the road ratings.

In the meantime you should all know that you can't lie flat in Air France Business class, and you might have to contort to sleep. WHAT? In business class you can actually contort so that you CAN sleep, now that's worth money!

Monday, March 22, 2010

British Airways, Air France, Delta, American, Continenetal, Virgin Airways

ACKKK! So I'm very seriously considering doing a Contiki tour of England and Scotland in September. The biggest thing I need to know is when my next surgery will be and if I'll be good to travel by then. I picked the date of the tour, but haven't booked or anything.

Here's my problem, picking an airline. I had originally thought I would just do the Scotland tour, but it's so short and I would miss the first couple days with tourmates, making it harder to get to know people, I know this because I've done the "join a tour late" thing already. With my original plan I thought I would try an economy plus ticket for flying, probably with British Airways. Obviously depending on the price, but it really didn't seem like that much more money and I would hopefully be better rested when I got to Scotland. But, to add on the England part of the tour is more then the cost of the upgrade of the plane ticket, so now I'm not sure if I'll just do economy or if I'll go with the economy plus.

So I started my search, and I'll admit that even the economy tickets are a little more then I expected for September, though it is early for plane tickets. But I noticed to take Delta/Air France was about $200 cheaper. So I looked, Air France does offer economy plus (but with a different name) and the prices were still reasonable if I decided to fork up the money. Problem - I have to fly through Paris.

The tour starts in London but ends in Glasgow but I was thinking of going back to Edinburgh for a day, maybe two to meet up with some other friends (though I'm not sure that will work out, it was a better idea when i was just doing Scotland).

Here are my route options -
with British Airways (American is the same except part American flight and part BA flights and not economy plus)
JFK to LHR (Heathrow)
EDI to LHR to JFK

With Delta
JFK to LHR (no economy plus service)
EDI to Paris to JFK (Air France)
EDI to Amsterdam to JFK (with KLM)

Air France
JFK to Paris to LHR
EDI to Paris to EDI

Continental
EWR to LHR
EDI to EWR

Unless someone from outside of NY is coming with me, then I'm not going to Newark Airport, it's just too much of a pain to get to and to make someone take me to and pick me up from.

Lufthansa is also an option, but then I'm connecting through Frankfurt, and they are a bit more expensive then British Airways and Air France, but they are in a better alliance then Air France, one that I would like to earn some FF miles on.

With Delta, American/BA I get a non-stop flight to Heathrow, with Air France I have a connection both ways. All flights force me to connect coming home.

So questions I have to ask myself -
How important is economy plus?
Do I want to fly an American based airline?
Do I want to fly with Delta, an airline that's getting beaten over the head for poor redemption of miles and I'm not sure their alliance will help me much in the future.
Is $200 worth an extra stop over in Paris going to London?

I don't have the answers to these questions, but I think I'm getting a headache thinking about it. I hate to make my flight choice based on frequent flyer miles, but I do like the idea of knowing that my miles are going to a good alliance to build up miles so I can hopefully fly free one of these days, maybe even in first class.

I should say that I originally wrote this on a Thursday and went to do some editing after and when I looked at the flights, the prices were all a lot closer (within $100) between BA, Air France and Lufthansa.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Rovaniemi to Keuruu and a visit to Santa's Office

Day 17: Rovaniemi to Keuruu: First a visit to Santa's house before we head further south to Keuruu. Perhaps a game of volleyball or a sauna at our lakeside camp. (Breakfast and Dinner included)

Hotel: Camping Nyyssanniemi
Breakfast: 7:45 Bags to the bus: 8:30 Bus departs: 8:45

My morning started like this:
I woke up at 8:08 and said, "Nancy, it's ten after eight."
Nancy: "What?"
Me: "It's ten after eight."
Nancy: "What?"
Me: "It's twenty minutes till bags to the bus!"

It's never good when you're day starts like that! And so started the mad dash to get ready in 20 minutes. One nice thing about a campsite is that when you wake up late you have to walk by everyone at breakfast in your PJ's so they all know you woke up late. It really adds to the experience. It figured it would be today too! Today was one of the days I was really looking forward to, we were going to see Santa! But not everyone was talking about us getting up late, since they had Corey to talk about, he apparently had too much to drink the night before, nothing is a secret on Contiki.

Anyway, at 9:00 we got to Santa's Village. I jumped off the bus to get to Santa to get my picture taken and still have time to shop. I was the first to find Santa and had a little chat with him while we set up for my picture. After I got my pictures I wrote up some post cards to send from Santa, and sent a picture to mom at home, I had bought the 5 postcard pictures for 25 euros so I could give them out to the family. After that I took some cheezy photos of me at Santa's and did some shopping until we left at 10:00. I even managed to have enough time to grab a pastry to eat for breakfast. On the bus I played Uno and Crazy 8's with Karl, Leah B, Jacqui, and Marie.

Our next stop was for lunch at 1:00, we were at a mall and for the first time in what felt like forever I didn't have to make my own lunch, someone else made me a cheeseburger. This made me very happy, I think if I had another roll, an apple and a banana for lunch I was going to turn into a fruity roll. After eating I found a pastry shop and got a pink frosted donut, it was good, but not as good as dunkin donuts. Then I still had a few minutes left to look around the mall and in the distance in a store I thought I saw a giraffe. I did! I bought myself a cute little giraffe and named her Clara. The only problem was that half the people on tour didn't think it looked like a giraffe because she didn't have a long neck, they thought Clara was a cow. We finally settled on referring to her as a ciraffe. But Clara and I knew the truth.

On this leg of the journey Karl, Jacqui, Marie and I played Crazy 8's, then Cathy, Marie, Karl, Kieran and I played Uno. As much as we played cards on the bus, it isn't always easy to do, but it makes the time go faster.

We got to the campsite at 6:30 and had half an hour to get ready for our meeting on the Russia part of the trip. The campsite was on a lovely lake, but the cabins were TINY! I don't know how someone actually thought 4 people would fit in it, let alone with luggage. But Lis, Jilly, Leah B and I made the best of it. Our suitcases were only opened when we needed them and at some point Leah took hers outside to get to her stuff.

At our meeting the mosquitoes were everywhere, and after Jilly's blood. Che told us about Dodgy Serge in St. Petersburg and Dodgy Michael in Yartsevo, as well as about Maggy our hyperactive Tour Manager for Russia. He also talked about the Russian Experience Package, and explained that it was an excellent value and that it would make our stay in Russia much better. Some people were a bit skeptical and hadn't budgeted for it. Then he had us fill out our applications for our Belarussian Visas.

After the meeting I ran for some bug spray wipes I had brought with me and then went to dinner. We had mild curry chicken which wasn't to bad, then Dion brought out Champagne and Ice Cream. It was Raspberry Champagne and one of the only times I actually enjoyed Champagne. After dinner I hung out by the fire with everyone talking. I even had the 3rd of my 4 Smirnoff Ices (I had the 2nd on the way to Nordkapp). I had been slow drinking them since I had a cold and wanted to get better. But I was feeling a bit better now so I figured I would have one. I had a nice chat with Dion, Wendy and Kevin tonight, which was nice since Wendy and Dion weren't going to Russia and I wanted to hang out a bit more with the people I wouldn't be seeing. At 12:30 I decided it was time to head to bed, tomorrow we were going to Helsinki and it was a bit of a transitional day since we would be meeting the group that was going to Russia with us.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Giving it all up and taking to the road...

Ok, not me, but the thought has crossed my mind. I was at dinner the other night with my sister and her husband. Her husband was talking about how dumb a girl he used to work with is. She left his accounting firm to be a Comptroller at another company. After 2 years she wanted a very large bonus (more then most people make in a year by a lot), she got part, but not all of it. She quit her job and went to some country in South America (sorry, I can't remember which, but that's not the point.) My sister also thought she was dumb and they laughed at her wasting all her bonus in South America.

I look at my sisters life - she's a stay at home Mom and her husband makes a lot of money, but he also works a lot of hours. He's up early in the morning to beat the NYC traffic and gets home too late for dinner most nights. Subsequently, he's not the biggest help with their kids. What type of life is that? Travel isn't for everyone, but earning money to buy "things" isn't for everyone either. And when you don't get much time to enjoy your "things" are you really enjoying the life that your money provides?

FYI, I'm not saying that my sister and her husband don't have a nice life and don't enjoy their family. But I wouldn't want their lives (not that I think they would want mine either.)

Naturally, the day after having this conversation I read this blog post, thanks Gary for reaffirming my feeling that this woman wasn't dumb.
You can find Gary at http://everything-everywhere.com he's got AWESOME pictures on his blog.

Monday, March 15, 2010

House Keeping

No, I'm not going to write about hotels, that would require me to actually go to one. Instead I'm going to just make an announcement. Drum roll please...

After listening to a recent episode of This Week In Travel I'm going to start posting a weekly photo. One of the things I love when traveling is taking pictures, I'm not expert, but I have a fair amount of good pictures that I think people will enjoy looking at.
This picture was taken in St. Petersburg, Russia around 9 or 10pm. I took it after leaving a Russian folklore show. Who doesn't love a sunset photo? But I also love the composition of the photo with the strongest sunlight behind the building, then the larger tree to the left of the photo. Most interesting to me, I took this on a moving bus.

I think this is a good time to mention that all of the photos I post on my blog are either mine or occasionally a friend or family members photo that was taken when I was with them. However, all of my pictures of the week will be my photos.

Enjoy!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Hammerfest to Rovaniemi

Day 16: Hammerfest to Rovaniemi: We leave the mountains of Norway to travel south through the lakes and forests of Finland. Cross back over the Arctic Circle to Rovaniemi, the traditional home of Santa Claus. (Breakfast and Dinner)
Hotel: Taveco Ky
Breakfast: 6:30 Bags to the bus: 7:15 Bus departs: 7:30

This mornings hot breakfast was chocolate pancakes, since Dion couldn't find any regular milk, only chocolate, they were tasty. Then we started our drive South to Finland, and saw a sign that the temperature was 11° (52° F), not wonder I was always cold. We had a stop at 9:30 at a supermarket, I tried to finish off my Norwegian Kroners since this was our last stop in Norway, but ended up with 50 Nkr left. Then we had another stop at the border to get back our Tax Free monies, I got 100 Nkr back. We entered Finland at 11:48 and had to set our watches ahead another hour. We made two more stops on the way to camp before arriving around 7:00.

When Che handed out the rooming sheet earlier he had neglected to mark which rooms were male and which were female. I had fallen asleep after signing up and am not exactly sure what transpired after, but shortly after I woke up Che came by asking if I minded sharing with Karl. I said ok, Karl is a sweetheart and totally harmless, it was only one night anyway. So my roommates were Karl and Nancy. Karl volunteered to take the pull out bed. After scoping out the campsite (there were 4 co-ed bathrooms - getting ready in the morning would be interesting) and declining an invite to play soccer (I didn't feel the need to embarrass myself or hurt myself like others had done throughout the trip). Instead I waited on line to use the internet until dinner, but ran out of time and lost my place in line to eat dinner.

We had a nice dinner of roast chicken, which made up for our average dinners the last few nights. I then made a made dash to the internet so I could write home. Because there was only one computer here and pretty much everyone wanted to use it we had to limit our time to about 10 minutes each. At least everyone at home would know I was alive and well.

After that I hung out in the bar for a while chatting with everyone and having a few drinks. It was a nice night since we all got to hang out together, some got to play pool and others danced. Nancy and I decided to head back around 1am, and Karl stayed behind. When Karl came in a little after 2am Nancy and I were still awake. Apparently he had waited a while so we would have time to get ready and go to bed before he came back, but found us "giggling" in bed instead. I set my alarm for 6:45 and went to sleep.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Finding Love...

A couple weeks ago I was talking to my friend who was telling me about her new boyfriend, they met in the airport. I was surprised, I spend a lot of time in airports (ok, more then the average person does) and the best I've done was have a conversation with another woman on a plane.

I've found the answer to finding love in the airport - Jetiquette! The Jetiquette radio show recently did a Valentines Day show about finding romance at the airport and on the plane. I had a lot to learn... Maybe it's the stress of traveling or all the strange things that happen at airports, but I never really thought about the airport or the plane as a sexy place. But with all those airport employees and airline personnel it kinda makes sense.

Some of the tips I picked up:
- Don't wear you PJ's to the airport. Dress up a bit and look nice, something you should do all the time. Hey, you never know when you'll meet the man/woman of your dreams.

-Look at people, as a NYer it's considered rude to look people in the eye, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be looking at people to find a nice looking one.

-When you find that person that looks good, look them in the eye and say Hi.

Things may or may not work out from there, but all that is a good place to start.

All of a sudden I want to go to the airport and see how it works. But if you get there first, good luck!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Getting back on my feet and Air Traffic Control

Last week I had surgery on my mouth and it has had me down a lot longer then I expected. I had some stuff set up and ready to go, but not enough. You can read more about that on my blog about my dental issues - Creatingabeautifulmouth. So I'm really just now getting back on my blogging feet and catching up with the travel news. I have a couple ideas about some posts I would like to write, as well as continuing my travelogue on Scandi and Russia.

One thing I do want to write about briefly was the air traffic controller who let his kid go on the radio, it's been all over the news... One blog I read said they didn't think anyone was in danger, other people are outraged. I think the guy was dumb, he was trying to give his kid a cool experience and maybe in another area with less traffic it would be cute. But it's one of the busiest areas of the country, if not the busiest. I don't think anything truly tragic would have happened, and if Dad and the boss were really paying attention they probably would have averted any problems. But if the kid made a mistake there could have been an almost accident, that would just freak out a bunch of people - the air traffic controllers, ground crews, the pilots, flight crews, anyone who saw it, anyone on the plane... Even if there was one injury, was it worth it? Air Traffic Controllers make mistakes from time to time, do you really want to risk your kid making one too? And did this guy not think anyone would notice? The kid sounds young enough to go running to school the next day and tell all his friends, and then they tell their parents... Obviously the pilots noticed too, and all it takes is one person to complain. But I guess he realizes all this now. But it got me wondering if this is just a problem with this one guy and his boss, or is this a societal problem where Mom's and Dad's are having trouble raising their kids vs being cool....

Monday, March 1, 2010

Hammerfest

Day 15: Hammerfest at Leisure: After a relaxing morning, why not check out the local town. (Breakfast and Dinner included)

Hotel: Hammerfest Turistsenter As
Breakfast: 11:00

I set my alarm for 10:30 so I would be up in time for breakfast, but woke up at 10:00. I thought about taking a shower, and waited so long it stated to rain, and decided not to shower. So I got out of bed at 10:40 and got ready for breakfast and got my stuff ready for a shower, this way I could climb down the hill for breakfast then take a shower while I was still down there and save myself a trip up and down the hill. When I went to dry my hair my hairdryer just stopped half way through. I tried a couple different ways to fix it but nothing worked - ugh!

After my shower I did some laundry and talked to Nancy. We discussed walking into town, but it never happened. Apparently we didn't miss much. Everything in town was closed since it was a Monday and a Holiday, Pentecost Monday. When I finished my laundry I folded it in the cabin while talking to Lis. I told her about my hairdryer and she suggested that I put it back on the US voltage (it was a travel dryer with dual voltage) and then plug it into my converter, it worked. It didn't work as well, but it worked. It rained on and off all afternoon so I took a nap for an hour and a half. This was a nice day of relaxation.

In the afternoon a bunch of people had gone down to the water and arranged to go fishing. Contiki used to offer a fishing trip for this day of the tour, but the guy sold the boat and they had not yet arraigned a new optional, so this had to be arranged separately. When I woke up after my nap I was hungry and concerned that we would be having fish for dinner, which I don't like, so I went and had a hotdog. In the meantime I found out that we were not having fish for dinner (unless you had gone fishing). We also found out that Dion didn't have much of a plan for our dinner - pasta with Sweet and Sour Sauce. Skye and I helped save dinner. We had him get canned tomatoes and crushed them, so we would have spaghetti for dinner.

After dinner I decided that it was time for ice cream dessert, so off Lis, Jilly, Kate and I went to the Statoil. After that it was a big night of Uno with Kate, Andrew, Lis, and Tom. Then Jilly and Leah B came in. While all this was going on a bunch of crazy people on tour did a polar bear plunge. I decided it was too cold to go outside, let alone in the ocean. I couldn't even be bothered bundling up to watch. During the Uno game Tom saw Corey outside and waved, so Corey came over to talk for a bit. Somehow we got onto a conversation about stereotypes people have about people from particular countries. Australians do not all have Kangaroos and Koala Bears (which are really just Koala's). So I said, yea and not every American has a gun (this had come up several times during tour with several people). I followed up with the fact that half of Americans actually own guns. Corey said that most of them don't know how to use them, huh? what? Wasn't sure how this related. It then got heated while we were trying to figure out what he was talking about. Leah B, "but Corey." Then Corey would interrupt, this went on a couple times until I lost it. I'm not really sure what I said, but half the room was laughing, the other half in shock and Corey dropped it. Sorry Corey, I know you meant well but I got frustrated. Not to long after that Corey and Andrew left since we were getting ready for bed (Kate had left a bit earlier, before my outburst), Tom was going to leave too, but we ended up talking about something else for a bit.