Friday, June 18, 2010

Well Halifax was to say the least…..interesting. Instead of touring me and my mother spent most of the daytime at Walmart or Cosco, so typical of my mother. I met a lot of people just in our hotel, the Westin was sold out because of Semester at Sea participants, but almost right after meeting them I forgot all their names. On the night before departure AnneMarie and I met up with Henry at the pub below his hotel. Not to my surprise Henry was already there with three girls also participating in Semester at Sea (whos names I also forgot), pretty soon the girls had also called their friends and Henry was at the head of the table surrounded by 8 beautiful ladies. It looked like some sick monogamous relationship, and the two old men seated behind us asked him what his trick was. The parents later joined us followed by tequila shots to get the night going. Once the tequila started to hit us we decided it was time for a change of scenery and bailed the parents for a bar we were told contained a lot of semester at sea participants called Cheers. Cheers was probs the most appropriate name for this place considering all we were saying once we got to the bar was “HERE’S TO SEMESTER AT SEA, CHEERS!”. What was also weird about Halifax was since it snows there from November to April they get around town by using what the call “catrails”, these catrails are essentially tunnels all across the city that take you from one building to another, across roads, etc. so even the Cheers was several blocks down the road, we never had to go outside to get there. Several shots of tequila later and a fifth of vodca, it was time to go home to awake at 8 and depart for the boat. And no I did not remember anyone’s names.

The day of departure should have been a day of pure excitement and anxiouness, but instead it was a day of annoyance and frustration. Before you are able to get on the boat you must go through customs at the Halifax port, give them your luggage to scan and put on the boat for you, and they then scan you. My appointed time to enter customs was at 9:45, and I arrive at 9:45 only to find the line around the block with hundreds of other students all carry several luggage pieces. Apparently it is a lot harder to get out of Canada then is expected. To make matters worse my mom had to leave a little after we got in line so I was left to move two large dufflebags (one of which being 75 pounds) and a huge backpack. Two hours have moved by and I have finally reached the doorway for customs, I have been battling windchill hunger dehydration and hangoverness, when it is all of a sudden shut in my face. Apparently in Canada they have unions and in their code they get a break from 12:00-1:00. I look down the street and the line is longer then when I had entered it and these people refuse to stay a little bit longer because of their stupid union code. This is why I’m republican and don’t believe in unions. Talk about so close yet so far. Anyways I’m left outside once again in 60 degree weather for another hour when they finally open the doors back up and I’m able to go through customs.

Once I am on the ship, mind you this is about 2, I take it upon myself to tour it. The ship is HUGE fully equipped with a gym, pool, spa, sauna, nail saloon, pool bar, coffee bar, three dining halls, and o yah classrooms. It isn’t til about 6 until the ship actually finally leaves port and almost immediantly after we are told we have to start to practice emergency evacuation procedures. This was a RIOT, all of us had to wear our huge bright orange life jackets and stand out on deck literally shoulder to shoulder back to back, if you want some image of how close we were to each other Henry was directly behind me and could literally rest his chin on my head. It was very funny/awckward trying to shake the hands of random strangers your literally holding hands with while wearing this ridiculously large and obnoxious life vest. Needless to say I got to know the people next to me very well and I assured them that orange just wasn’t my color. Later we all enjoyed dinner while attending random meetings and meeting some new people. It was kind of hard to fall asleep later, the boat was rocking, literally we were in 10 foot seas and the boat was going back in forth, I heard a lot of people got sick.
Classes start tomorrow and I’m not sure how I feel about 9 AM classes for eight days straight but I guess its worth it if that means at the end I’ll be in Barcelona. Our first pub night is tomorrow as well, and Henry is very excited about his three beers he gets. Keep you all posted much love.
O and as of now I can only remember two names.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

We have just arrived here in Halifax, thanks in most part to my dear friend Jack Daniels. I am just now waiting for the arrival of my dear friends Henry Pyle and AnneMarie. Halifax is actually pretty cool it reminds me of a smaller downtown San Fransico, only the upside is the drinking age is 18 and we can gamble....WOOOWEEEE.

Here is my agenda for the Summer

June 15 Depart for Halifax Nova Scotia
Barcelona Spain June 24-27
Naples Italy June 29-July 5
Doborovnik Croatia July 8-July 11
Athens, Santorini, Myconos Greece July 14-July 18
Istanbul Turkey July 20- July 24
Alexandria Egypt July 27-July 31
Casablanca Morocco August 7- August 10
August 21 Arrive back in Virginia

will post blogs after each country, feel free to keep in contact with me via facebook or my email