Saturday, December 11, 2010

11/12/10 Updates

         Money, tickets, passports! Money, tickets, passports!  It's 11 pm here, or I should say 23:00, and we have to be up in about 4 hours to get ready to leave for Barcelona.  Our bags are packed, my guidebooks are weighing down my purse and my camera is charging.  I can't wait!  Unfortunately Sean told me that he has to do more work than planned while we are there so now we'll REALLY have to be strategic with what we see.  I don't want to see any of the really good stuff without him. Although it all seems like good stuff!   We are both excited to see Sagrada Familia, Guadi's basilica that's been in the making for the past 128 years (I think it's something like that) with hopes of it being finished by 2026.  It reminds me of reading 'Brunelleschi's Dome' then getting the opportunity to climb to the top of his masterpiece.  Or walking through St. Peter's in Rome and being just blown away by that grand, massive, Holy space.  I am sure Guadi will not let me down.  I can feel it.   There's something about these giant churches and their feats of architecture that just wildly tickle my soul.  They make me giddy.
       It's a two and half hour plane ride from Gatwick airport to Barcelona and I think we'll spend that time flipping through the books together, picking out the places we need to hit in our short visit. I have my good walking Pumas packed and I've been trying to study Google maps to get a feel for the layout of the city streets.
     Sean was gone the past two days to do more cases in Southampton.  I did some much needed painting and drawing.  Warming up for Barcelona ;)  Last night, Friday night, hooligan night, was actually really quiet. I was only woken up once at 3 am by someone knocking REALLY loudly on the building next door. I thought someone was at MY door.  Come to find out Oge thought someone was knocking on their door too.  It was a loud knock that shook the 303 flats.   All in all though, a quiet night.
       This morning, a guy from BT stopped to look at our phone lines!  Jerry checked every phone jack, looked in our closets and hooked up all his fancy instruments to every exposed wire.  What he found was dead dead dead wires.  I showed him the lines out in the alley that were sticking out of the ground. He tested those. Those were dead too. He told me they weren't phone lines but I think he was lying.  I'm pretty sure they're phone lines.  Even I know they're not for cable tele Jerry!  But anyways, we both explored the alley trying to figure out if there were any more phone lines. They're weren't.  The whole time he had that look on his face, the look that reads "you're F'ed, you're screwed".  Squatting down in the corner with his little meter readers he made the comment "you Americans and Japanese, you like you're phone lines". What? Yes, yes we do Jerry.  We also think it's silly that some Irish guy would rebuild four flats and just bury the phone lines somewhere deep in the ground and say "screw it".  So anyways.  We made a plan of action.  Jerry was going to put in an order to BT to get a surveyor out to see how lines could be run to our place. Yeah, that sounds like it won't take long at all. Then once they figure out how to run lines they'll get someone to come out and run them.  THEN we'll be hooked up.  Oh ok, sounds easy.  I asked if running new lines would be easy and Jerry replied, with that same look on his face "yeah, they'll probably just have to dig up a trench in that alley and lay new ones". Easy peasey.  Jerry and I  made a plan of action, I took notes so I could tell Sean what happened, he even tried to call the landlord to find out more info about what was going on with these little stupid wires in these four flats.  My heart sank.  We NEED internet and a phone. Sean NEEDS internet and a phone line.  Gahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!! So, what I'm hoping is that Jerry, who just happened to be in the neighborhood, doesn't really know what he's doing, and the next BT guy will just see the wires out in the alley and just hook them right up.  Jerry was really nice though, he asked me lots of questions about New York City and Macys and American sports.  He may not have fixed our phone lines, and he may have crushed any hope we had, but at least he was a pleasant Londoner.
       Sean came home and I gave him the news.  He called one of the landlords who said "oh yes, oh yes, we'll get this sorted I'll call you tomorrow". ugh.  Our hopes of getting internet by the new year is melting quickly, seeping out to meet with the churning muddy waters of the Thames, washed out to sea then sucked back in by murky tide waters.  Two steps forward, one step back.
       Trying to push this bad news behind us we headed to a late yoga class. I am HOOKED on this sweaty, 90 minute retreat into hellish heat.  For 90 minutes you push your muscles and tendons, staring yourself in the eyes in the mirror and focusing. Focusing. You are tempted to gaze out to Turnham Green and the buses passing by but instead you stare straight ahead and ignore the gallons of sweat dripping off the tip of your nose.  You kick your leg back harder, stretch your spine, coax your shoulders down away from your ears, open up, breathe deep, sweat,  and forget about Jerry and his mumble jumble of phone lines.  Bikram yoga is the same 26 poses every class which may sound boring at first but it's a good way to challenge yourself to go an inch further than what you did last class.  It's easy to set goals when you know what pose is coming up next.  I love it even though I have always been skeptical of hot yoga classes and pushing those strong tendons and muscles to their breaking point.  But it's not like that.  It's focusing and listening to your body and what it can do and what it wants to do.  It's loosening up your joints and your fascia and melting away all those stuck spots while your heart beats against the heat in the room, the blood flowing into all those open spaces you've just created.  I love it. Sean looks like he's a bright pink candle melting but he says he loves it too.
       We came home and started packing.  I think Barcelona will be a little warmer than what London is.  But I just threw whatever I could in the bag.  Sean was out doing some errands and decided to head into "Ochre" the Lebonese restaurant directly across from us.  We had been thinking that this place is just a front but really, it's a night club.  It's busiest days are Friday and Saturday.  AHA!  That is where the hooligans are coming from.  That is why we never ever see people in the street level restaurant!  The owner, Shaw, was very nice and gave Sean a tour of the place.  Apparently there's a whole basement night club where he packs a hundred or so party people into.  He also explained how the toilets back up and if Shaw doesn't fix them asap they cause our toilets to back up.  There was a water truck out front fixing the sewers tonight.  Awesome. But at least we're aware now.  It was probably a good plan to meet the owner of this nightclub and discuss the shenanigans that have been going on in our alley. He seemed more than happy to make amends and promised to keep the noise down.  I'm sorry, I'd love to believe this guy, but everyone we've met here has just blown smoke up our asses. Told us exactly what we wanted to hear to shut us up then never follow through. I'll believe this Shaw guy when I get a good Friday night's sleep.  On the other hand, it may be fun to go out on a Friday night and check out this club.  If you can't beat them, join them. Right?
        Oge and Snowflake stopped by later in the night and we updated them on our BT visit.  I think this will work better if we form a big army of angry Americans who want internet!  Again, we had a nice visit and we neighbors shared more stories of what we've discovered that week and made plans of attack.  We've got an army of four now, with alliances with Shaw and Jerry.  All we want for Christmas is a working phone line.  That's all.
      Ok, so things aren't going as smoothly as they could be going.  We've discovered that the idea of  customer service here is a joke.   Whether its dealing with someone from Dell or a landlord.  These guys over here have become experts at blowing smoke up people's asses and making them feel like everything is going to be ok.  Then a week later you realize nothing has happened and that they all lied.
     But, we need to stay positive!  Hey, we're going to Barcelona! We have awesome neighbors and a great city at our fingertips.  I've busted out my art supplies and I feel inspired.  We've discovered Bikram yoga which is less than a five minute walk from our flat.  Sean and I discussed making a date every week where we go out exploring into the city, trying new restaurants and cafes, just getting out for the evening and peeling him away from work for the night.  We've both been stressed and it's been such a challenge to try to keep each other calm.  At times I feel like we need to remind each other where we are.  When we sit all cramped up in our flat it feels like we never left Boston.  Then we say hey we're in LONDON! Let's get out there!
        I tired to get tickets to see James.  They were playing Thursday night in Hammersmith which is the bourough next door.  I probably could have walked to the venue. It was sold out. Of course.  But I tried and he's been the soundtrack to my days lately. My fascia and muscles are nice and loose and I can dance like he does.
     Oh boy. I need to be awake in 3 hours.  It's an hour cab ride to the airport though.  I will guarantee that I sleep the whole way.  Cheers! Goodnight! I will try to blog from Barcelona!!!! ooooohhhhhhhhh I CAN NOT WAIT!!!!!  I will leave you with a James video from youtube. Makes me want to dance.  Getting Away With It

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