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Bath, Lacock and Stonehenge (Day Two)

Friday, May 22, 2009
I wake up late and rush down the four flights of stairs to the main office. Scottish dude is working again. He is intrigued by my burlesque endeavors and checks me in for another night as Mirabelle. Since I now know I am staying in one place until at least tomorrow, I feel free to poke around for a few hours. I know I could eat free hostel breakfast, but I ask for the nearest grocery, which is my favorite find in the UK - Mark and Spencer's croissants, fresh yogurt and OJ every morning (just under three pounds). It's just a block away from my hostel.

I decide to shower then attempt a pay phone call to a tour company offering transportation to LaCock and Stonehenge. This doesn't go well, and I have to be short because I'm out of change. The lady on the other end of the line was understanding.

Around 1pm, I venture over to the roundabout where the bus will pick me up for an afternoon tour. On the corner, there is a small sandwich and ice cream shop. I grab a fresh baguette with turkey, brie, lettuce and tomato to starve off hunger for the afternoon (Just a warning - I'll probably talk about food a lot, since it was SO GOOD over there). I made this sandwich place a daily stop. Ridiculously simple, but delicious.

Our tour guide is a mulleted, ex-truck driver. He is extremely great - gruff but kind. Makes a million jokes about his wife. He does an amazing job manuvering around England roads and takes us through a roundabout of Lacock, one of the oldest cities in the country - and home to a lot of the filming done in the Harry Potter movies.

From there, Stonehenge. It's a pretty dreary day. We skate through and I make it around in about 45 minutes, then spend about half an hour back on the bus talking to an older, retired couple who are from Pennsylvania - they seem to have just the right perspective in life and are enjoying themselves now in their older age.

I return back to the hostel, catch up with Scottish dude and then head out in hopes for a walking tour of all of the Haunted spots in Bath. I think it either 1. did not gather that evening or 2. I missed it, so instead, I eat a quick dinner and then go to a Comedy Venue for "Treason" which puts English humor to good use - mostly poking fun at the swine flu and USA Government:

"Uncle Sam is gonna SCREW YA, take you out straight to the loo, yeah."
I was only mildly amused, and began falling asleep in my Guinness, when I was awoken by male frontal nudity on stage.

I get back a little phazed, and the Scottish boy invited me to "Derrik's" - which is really a small, white bar just across the street in The George Inn ran by a guy living in the hostel. His name? you guessed it - Derrik. The entire hostel staff drinks for free - this is their routine nightly activity - and apparently I now have the in, as the Scottish boy has been flirting and seems to be interested. Something seems off, so I keep my distance, but enjoy meeting all of the people anyway.

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London - Bath, England (Day One)

Thursday, May 21, 2009
First off, I ended up extremely lucky on the plane ride over. I was put in the first row in the back, which probably makes no sense - but in front of me was a wall - which meant a bunch of legroom.  My airplane companion, Simon is a CFO for a tech company in London. He gives me lots of helpful London tips and can solve a rubic's cube in 77 seconds. 
I make him do this twice for proof. He is definitely skilled in the art of Rubic.

I arrive in London at noon and still have not decided what to do the first three days of my trip - so I get to Paddington Station and decide to get on the first train to one of my three recommended locations: Cambridge, Bath or Brighton.

The Bath train leaves in four minutes, so it has been decided.

About an hour and a half later, I arrive in Bath - it looks like, what I imagine to be, Rome. I learn later that the city is the interior of a volcano. So cooooool.

I walk about three blocks and into the first hostel I see. I am greeted by a very sarcastic, dark-haired guy from Scotland,  is nice but biased against Americans. He asks me why I'm not talking more loudly, then promptly marches me up four flights of stairs to the very highest room in the hostel.

I lay in bed for a minute, exhausted. Lest we forget, I have been up since 7:30am, American time the previous day so... if I arrived in Bath at 3:30pm, that would be... about 25 hours. 

Regardless, I feel pretty good. And safe. I decide I better get out and about.  I sit at the front desk and visit with the Scottish dude for about an hour. I honestly can't remember his name anymore, which I think is OK, because I'm not sure he ever told me his real name. He started out cool... ended up teaching me the lesson that there are douche bags in every country (more on this later).

I walk around as much as i can to really get the feel of the city. Bath reminds me of Chatteau Montelena in Napa Valley, CA and parts of Pikes Place in Seattle. Since I'm drawn to Seattle, I take a detour in the tunneled coves of boutiques and eateries and end up in an adorable dress shop. I buy a scar for nine pounds, and then discover the English are smart and include all of their tax in the price, so the price is what it is. Yes!

British women (at least in Bath) are not beautiful and nearly everyone smokes. Their voices (accents) are mostly obnoxious and these three things make me feel pretty.

After three hours of sight-seeing, including too many Pizza Huts, Burger Kings, Ben and Jerry's and worst of all - Starbucks, I head over to a movie theater. I know, right? Travel 5,000 miles to go to an American movie. I don't know either.

I go to buy a ticket and find that I have an assigned seat. Lame. I end up sitting next to a bunch of loud children. I like our system better.  I pull my hood over my head and fall asleep while sitting up for about 25 minutes. I wake up laughing, but at myself, not at the film.

Just as I'm about to give up and go to sleep, a girl from New Zealand (everyone calls her Kiwi girl) and another guy from Australia grab me and scoop me away to a bar across the street. It's very... Florida meets homey-dungeon.  There, everyone assumes I am 21 or younger (score) and have drinks with a South American (Michael), German (Marco - who looks exactly like my step-brother), an Australian (Krisso - he asks to marry me for a US Visa) and Gemma, the Kiwi Girl.  I meet an English girl at Uni who is wearing a Black Hills Gold Ring and decide that yes, the world has just gotten a bit smaller. 


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On this day...

Monday, May 18, 2009
I am mindful that today could have been the four year anniversary of one really [not] awesome relationship.

Instead, I remind myself of a response from my ex after 15 months into the relationship. At the time, we were maintaining things long distance, and one day, I called to tell him about all the fun and amazing things I wanted to do; goals I wanted to accomplish and dreams I wanted to mold into reality upon moving back to Denver. His response was one of those defining moments that I should have listened to then instead of a year and a half later:

"I thought you were moving here to be with me."


So instead, Happy Singleton Day. Aside from the excrutiating lonely moments at night - I'm staying on track with all the stuff i proclaimed on that phone call and don't have a grumpy kid in the back seat crapping all over my party.

Cheers!
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damn IT

Sunday, May 17, 2009
Damn my hotmail account for closing up years ago and losing all of my ssb e-mails.

i am trying to track down my "first love" all the way from england. he had the cutie accent. he spun records. he was super sweet to me. he'd send me loads of home-made cds at christmas, along with charming love letters. then i met a dude in college and broke his heart. figures.

He flitted off with his broken heart and decidedly shunned me from his life. it's ben... oi. a long time. but he still crosses my mind every now and then, and damn it. now that i'm going over there in three days, i'm dying to reconnect.  Why do I remember his birthday, but not his e-mail address? Why are there a million people in England with his same name? why can't he just pop up... :( dizaamit!
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Patience

Sunday, May 10, 2009
All human wisdom is summed up in two words - wait and hope” (Alexandre Dumas Père - French Poet)

Patience is waiting. Not passively waiting. That is laziness. But to keep going when the going is hard and slow - that is patience.” (Unknown)

"Patience makes lighter what sorrow may not heal." (Horace)

Never think that God's delays are God's denials. Hold on; hold fast; hold out. Patience is genius. (Comte de Buffon)

Patience is the art of hoping. (Vauvenarques)

Endurance is the crowning quality, And patience all the passion of great hearts.  (James Russell Lowell)

Humility is attentive patience.  (Simone Weil)

He that can have Patience, can have what he will” (Ben Franklin)

We'll see...  



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Some people really suck

Sunday, May 3, 2009
Mostly my ex. Double-life-living jerkface. Thanks for constantly telling me how wonderful I was to my face only to talk about how awful you thought me to be behind my back so everyone would hate me. Didn't you know that when you're with someone you represent them as best as you would represent yourself? Lord knows I stuck up for you a million times while you wee calling me unmentionables and punching me in the face. Sucks for you now that everyone sees you for who you really are and you're alone and have nothing and I am sitting here with the entire world in front of me. Thank GOD i cut my losses and let you go.

No, i don't apologize for sounding cocky. I went through HELL with you and am better for it (this is a small amount of anger and hurt I have left for the three and a half years I poured into someone so terrible). "You can be bitter or better." I choose better, and you're still sitting there rotting around in your stupid lies and crap world you've built out of tissue paper and cotton. Hope its created a soft place for you to land, because in the end, you're still going to be alone and miserable. 

I hate you. 

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Antony and the Johnsons

Friday, May 1, 2009
While finishing up a book last night, I receive a text saying:

Oh my god. If you are still up turn to CBS right now! The late show with Craig Ferguson.

Why?

It just went to commercial! I don't know who it was but it was a man - i think - who was really scary looking - I can't even describe it.

She wasn't wrong. Ten minutes later I am looking up Ferguson's guest list and find the man to be lead singer of Antony and the Johnsons.  I admit upon first glance -  I expect him to be terrible. I have apparently missed the first grade lesson on judging a book by its cover. 

How can you really be this eerie and be so famous? I mean, musicians are weird. There are some really strange ones on record that are brilliant and phenomenal but...

But...

Then i start listening to his music, and he kind of reminds me of hmm...  Jeff Buckley with a titch of Tiny Tim (had to).  Of course, no one will ever match Buckley, but this guys voice has the same kind of haunting beauty. Extremely uncomfortable, awkward beauty, but beauty nonetheless. 

I  kind of like it





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About me

I'm Sami Jo From Denver, CO, United States Samantha loves to travel, lose herself in a good book, practice yoga at her favorite local studio, The Yoga Mat, and connect with friends, old and new. Her love of working with creative minds extends into her personal endeavors, as well. She and her husband conduct a project called "Songs For Jake," a music collaboration channel designed with the simple mission of getting great songs to one really big music lover. Through her business, Roger Charlie, Samantha focuses on publicity and management, working closely with authors, musicians, and creatives who find value in a more personal approach through communications.
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