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Travel

what a week…

Kicked off last week jet lagged by 8 or 9 hours in a plane… gah! Hostel was very nice, although I was glad when we got accomodation later in the week.
On Monday I think we went up The Sears Tower. The sky was overcast but it was still an amazing view – Mairead, sorry for ringing you from there, I know it was very later back home!
We spent Tuesday looking for an appartment. I called into the office, met Ed, Jim and others. We got to use a PC to browse appartments.com and found a few nice ones – we arranged an appointment with Carrie in Printers Square for 3pm. Unfortunately all their appartments were simply way beond our budget however.
While we mulled over our accomodation options (live in a cardboard box or an expensive studio!) back at the hostel that night we were given tickets to a baseball game that night. It was on at 7pm, we had 30 minutes to get to Wrigglyville so we rushed! I thought the tickets would be among the cheaper seats, but no, they were for a suite! We joined a line of well dressed people, and stopped outside the Fox Corporate Suite. 🙂 Opening the door, I asked, “Are we in the right place?” We were, and Brett, a marketing executive for Fox made us feel very welcome! It was the first baseball game I’ve been to, and it was brilliant! It’s the infamous one where Sammy Sousa used a corked bat and was discovered when the bat split. It’s been all over the news the past few days. I’ll post pics here tomorrow!
The John Hancock Center is amazing too, although the elevator up hurt my ears no end, and swallowing or breathing deeply never helped. Does the elevator in that building go faster than in Sears?
Finally we managed to find an appartment. It’s up north between Irving Park and Montrose and we’re sharing with 2 Irish girls and an English girl. Thankfully, they aren’t TV Soap fans!
First impressions of Chicago? It’s a great city, and I think I’m going to enjoy my time here! I’m not looking forward to the summer heat and humidity, but as long as I’m in an air conditioned office or appartment I won’t mind too much!
Oh yeah, Owen – Dream Theatre are playing here on July 19th AFAIR, I’ll let you know for sure by email!

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Travel

Pinging!

I’m still around!We got accomodation a few days ago, and I start work on Monday, expect a large update then!

Categories
Travel

Hi from the Windy City!

This is just a short ping from Chicago to let you all know I’m alive!
Got in yesterday around 5:30pm, jet lagged.
If anyone knows someone willing to sublet an appartment/studio for 3 months, or willing to rent the same for 3 months to an Irish couple, just drop me a line at donncha@linux.ie 🙂
More later…

Categories
Travel

Travel Insurance, and last minute stuff!

Getting travel insurance is a pain. It’s my own fault really as I didn’t go about getting it earlier. bah!
It’s nigh on impossible to buy insurance from most travel shops in Cork. You have to have booked a flight/holiday with them as well. One shop was willing to sell me insurance, but then they discovered their internet connection was down so they couldn’t order it online. I offered to get them up and running again but..
Eventually, after queueing for about half an hour in various shops I tried USIT. It was full of students looking for J1 visas and that took another hour. Thankfully I had Stunt Car Racer on the 7650 to keep me occupied!
The VHI were no help. Their Global product costs from €2,000 to €4,000 for the 3 months. Their Plan B only covers me up to $65,000 which isn’t much in the USA.
Everything’s sorted now, met up with Ruairi and Louise. Congrats to the two of you! The ring is lovely! Bumped into Peter Flynn too. We must start the CorkLUG meets again when I get back!
Now to pack..

Categories
Travel

Chicago Info

Hmm, must make a “Travel” category.

Thanks Darren for the following links, I’m putting them here as a reference when I’m stuck using a net cafe next week:

  1. Accommodation
  2. O’Hare Transportation
  3. Other

I’m travelling on Sunday, have a week to find an apartment. Looking forward to it now!

Categories
Travel

My trip to Crete.Right, a bit …

My trip to Crete.

Right, a bit more detail then. Crete is amazing. We went on a package tour to Hersonissos. The town itself is simply a tourist resort with lots of pubs, restaurants and shops selling exactly the same stuff (lots of it bore the tag, “Made in China”).

Drink is cheap, Players Cocktail Bar offered two drinks for the price of one, so 4 cocktails for EUR10 was great (but the atmosphere in the bar was terrible!). The Camelot nightclub is very cool and Martina and myself danced a night away there! Drink is expensive there though, costing even more than in Ireland. Kelly’s Pub was much better and that’s where we spent most of our nights.
The “PR” people outside bars were very annoying but they disappear when the area is busier later in the year. A lot of the bars weren’t crowded as it’s early in the season. It was great that they stayed open until 4am during the week, and could stay open for 24 hours at the weekend!
We watched the Ireland/Cameroon match in our appartment block, Blue Sky Apartments, but only managed to catch the second half as we somehow slept in. *grin*

The traditional Cretan Night was really good, it was set in a small village in the mountains (Kato Karouzanos, population: 15) and had a mix of traditional dancing and plenty of local wine. We were treated to a shot of Rakki first and I bought a bottle of the local brew for EUR 3! It’s very strong stuff but I haven’t tasted that bottle yet. The dancing was excellent, first with Cretan dances, then Greek dances. Martina and Rosanna were dragged up a few times, and I also did a few dances myself! hehe.

Then there was the trip to the former leper colony of Spinalonga. Our guide was very enthusiastic about his work and it was obvious he had a deep affection for the island. Took lots of pics here too.
Oh yeah, there’s 7 rolls of film to develop. Lots of good stuff!

Of course, I can’t forget Star Beach where we spent way too much time! John went overboard on the Bungy Jumping and did it 5 times! Rosanna, Martina and myself did it just the once and I can tell you, it’s the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done! I just switched off once I got to the top of the 50m crane and thought about diving into the cold waters of Church Bay near Cross Haven. Once I dived over the edge of the platform I realised how far it was to the water, yelled “shit” but there wasn’t anything to do but carry on! I still get flashbacks of it and experience the terror all over again! Martina took pics of me doing it, as I took photos of the others. When she was jumping, Martina took her time on the platform before diving off and I broke out in a cold sweat imagining the terror she must have felt. Glad I did it, and I found out afterwards that guys at work had laid bets on me jumping or not!
Not quite as stressful or terrifying, but still exciting was paragliding. Martina and myself went up together. We were suspended under a parachute and dragged along by a speedboat. Very nice! Of course, getting dumped into the sea afterwards was a bit shocking especially when you have a large parachute strapped to you!
On Thursday night, Martina and myself took a cab up to the old town of Hersonissos for dinner. It was beautiful up there and a lot quieter than the more touristy sea-shore area we stayed in. Meal was excellent and staff very friendly, pointing out the better traditional dishes on offer. (“it’s all Greek to me!”, oh alright, I had to say that somewhere!)

Do I recommend Crete for a holiday? Yes, without a doubt! If you go on a package holiday to a resort then make sure you get out of the town. We never got around to hiring a car but the excursions showed us a lot of the surrounding countryside.

Back to work tomorrow. *sigh*

Categories
Travel

Quick update from Crete! We're …

Quick update from Crete! We’re in Hersonissos and the sun is splitting the stones. Temperatures in the shade are at 22 degrees C. woo!
What have we been up to? I went para gliding with Martina (have pics, will scan them in!), John went bungy jumping, twice! Lying on the beach, soaking up the rays, visiting water parks, going down slides. (wow!)
We’re going to go to a Greek Night tonight with traditional food and wine, boat cruise to a former leper island tomorrow..
Hoping to hire a car on Friday or Saturday and visit Krista in the mountains or a plateaux that’s about 40 miles south of here, we’ll see.

Cretan people are very nice and polite, it’s amazing! Every night we’ve been out there have been people on the street extoling the virtues of this pub or that restaurant which got annoying after about 5 minutes. Even when you ignore them, or say no, they’ll say “thank you” or “have a nice time” – they just don’t get angry!

There’s a couple of Irish bars here too, Kelly’s Bar was the nicest, although O’Donaghue’s was nice too!

BTW – hangovers and water parks don’t mix!

check back for more updates in a few days!