Eurotripping across the pond

A few weeks ago I went home to Illinois to hang out with the parents — I hadn’t seen my Dad in nearly a year, so I felt it was time to head back and enjoy the long weekend with me Dad.  It was amazing, we had a really good time, which included a 22 mile bike ride through my college town – it was the furthest I had ever biked – my dad calls this a mere warm up.  It was a perfect last minute planned trip home.

One of my connecting flights back to Wilmington brought me into Charlotte with a 2 hour layover.  What to do, what to do?  I started wandering the different terminals to find dinner, and finally settled on an overpriced sushi spot (it was really good!).  For dessert, I decided to head over to the Rum Bar in Terminal D for a pina colada.  I wasn’t flying the plane!  I sat up at the bar and a few moments later, the gentleman to my left asked where I landed from.  I answered and asked him where he was headed.  “Dublin, Ireland, with my friend here, ” he said pointing to the guy sitting next to him; both had been drinking heavily.  “Then we’re spending a few days in London.”  I smiled.  These were 2 of my favorite cities in Europe and I told him he would have a fantastic time – it was their 1st time out of the country.  They planned to drink their way through both cities and enjoy the sights.  They couldn’t have been older than their late 20’s.

“So, do you have any tips?” he asked.

“Well….,” I began.  I’m not really good at small talk and I had no idea what their itinerary was.  I mentioned the touristy spots in Dublin and then started inquiring about their trip.  These poor gentlemen had no idea about international travel.

I told them that most credit card companies charge a surcharge when using the card on foreign currency.  They also neglected to alert their credit card companies that they were leaving the country.  “Call them, right now, or you’ll use it about 2 or 3 times before they put a fraud lock on them.”  Their eyes got big as one of the guys got on the phone straightaway.  They were also misinformed about the Eurozone: England is on the British Pound, not the Euro.  They tried to tell me different, but even the Israeli guy sitting kitty corner from us, listening to our conversation was getting a chuckle out of that one.

“Where are you staying in Dublin?”  I asked.  “Not sure, we got a few leads on hotels,” came the reply.  I gave him the address to the hostel I stayed at and told him it was central to everything and my great experience there.  They had never experienced a hostel before, and as most Americans, they were leery about the whole experience.

“How are you getting to London?”  “Well, there’s a train thing -”  “No, use Ryan Air!”  They wrote all this down.  I explained what a “watering hole” (a bar) and “the tube” (the subway in London) was.  I also suggested this hostel in London.

We talked a bit more about travel and what to do and then it was time for my flight.  “Thank you so much for all the information,” the guy said as he shook my hand.

I then sprinted to my gate and I got there just as they were announcing to board.

I was glad I was able to help someone’s European adventure and save them from the pitfalls of international travel.  I keep wondering how their trip went, what kind of adventures and discoveries they had.  I never got their names.  I’ll never know how it all turned out.

Ah, but such is the life of a traveller and those you meet along the way.

The Party

I’m not much of a partier, but a friend from work was having a “let’s blow off steam” party at his house.  He’s a really sweet guy and I thought it would be a fun event.  I grabbed The General after work and we headed over to the other side of town for the festivities.

I think I’m too adult.  It wasn’t an adult party.  It was a college party with veins of work.  And oh my goodness.

We arrived at the house, mind you, where 3 recent college grad boys live.  It was a quintessential college boy house: sparsely furnished, decorated with beer posters, a beer pong table, and an epic patio that made me jealous (hello hottub!).  It was clean, but obvious there was no female influence.

Everyone, except me and 2 other people who were driving, were drunk.  It got loud.  Really loud.  I’m surprised the cops weren’t called for noise ordinance violation.  The fun part came when we were around the fire pit out back: one of my quiet co-workers was beyond drunk and talking loud about everything.  Once I joined the circle, I quickly became a topic of conversation.  “You know who hates your guts?” she asked.  Uh-oh.  And then she proceeds to tell me about all the knives in my back.  Wonderful, just what I wanted to hear.

Oh, the truth serum of alcohol.

It got better: next topic of conversation was my butt.  For those of you who don’t know me, I’ve got a big rear end.  I’m a pear shape body.  My hip measurements are 40″.  Yes, I’m bigger than Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian by a few inches.  My black co-worker summed it up: “You’re built like a black woman.”  I started laughing.  I laughed because I knew it was true.  I am.  Then they all joked that it’s what attracted my husband to me.  A “Woo!” from The General across the way made everyone bust out laughing.

After awhile, I turned into the den mom.  “You’re not having another beer until you finish this glass of water, ” I said to drunk girl who was enlightening me about who is upset with me, as she’s attempting to open a pop cap on a beer bottle with a kitchen knife.  Luckily the host picked up on it and made her a gin and tonic with a lime…..and no gin.  She didn’t know the difference.  We smiled knowingly at each other.  Even though he was drunk, he still had a frame of mind to keep his eye on what was going on.  I cleaned up the kitchen.  I reset the time on the microwave so it matched the stove.  I got cornered by a drunk stranger who was a few inches from my face spouting off racial issues.  It was quite a night!

The night had it’s success:  I found a penny in the bathroom.  After talking with another co-worker in another department, I found that she traveled to Germany and speaks a little German!  Sweet!  I have someone to talk to in German now!

We left around 2am and finally made it to bed around 0330.

Yup, college party.  Stone cold sober.

Gettin’ hot in The Kitchn

I am really getting into this whole cooking thing.  And I’m not sure what spurred this all of a sudden, but I am enjoying the experiment.

Tonight for desert I made this ice box cake.  With real cream.

It seemed innocent enough until I did the math: my desert (total) is about 4,000 calories.  Even though it contains strawberries, it’s far from healthy.  A whopping 650ish grams of cholesterol with about 200 grams of fat.  I couldn’t figure out why everyone was saying to use Cool Whip instead.  I started having chest pains just looking that this awesome creation.  I used vanilla wafers instead of gram crackers (they were cheaper, lol).  Holy Atherosclerosis, Batman!

Tonight’s menu includes homemade pita bread (if this works out, I am set for life, I LOVE pita bread) with kabobs in a made-from-scratch marinade. Nom.  And for desert, we have a heart catheterization an ice box cake!

I’m not obsesed with this website, honest.

Oohh, oven preheated! Bring on the pita bread!