Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I'm back!

Yep, I'm home... for now... ;)

My last week in London and Holland was funpacked (hence the non-writing of this blog :P)

I left Wednesday to go to Holland, where I met Monique.. I had grand plans of frying my brain solid for 3 days.. but got an email from a placement agency, the day I arrived, saying they had openings for jobs and was I still available... HELL YEAH!!!! the choices were 2 weeks in Qatar (I checked, women are recognized as human being there so I could go without wanting to kill everybody after 5 sec), 4 weeks in the UK or 2+ weeks in Norway. I replied immediately saying YES GIMME A JOB PLEASE! Only thing is, when you go offshore, you have to pass a drug test... so I was denied the spacecake I dearly wanted, and passed my frustration with 2 days of compulsive shopping instead.

The day before I left, I finally got a reply from the agency... sorry, we cannot place you anywhere, you don't have enough experience.. but we do keep your cv on file and if anything comes up we will contact you ... errr WHAT?!?!? why the fuck did you send me the email in the first place then?!??!?! >:S
best explanation is that it was a mass email and they didn't check the details of the people they were sending it to... damnit!!!

That night I went out with Monique and her friends (lovely people!) and we got completely pissed and danced til 3am, while watching the local fauna of tall, muscular, blond guys :P

Which brings me to my 2 main observations about Leiden (not to generalized for the whole of the Netherlands)... 70% of the population is blond! and all couples are color coded! not only by skin color, but hair and eyes too! blond hair/blue eyes together, blond hair/brown eyes, brown hair/brown eyes. Every single couples I've seen were matched like this, expect for 3, 2 of them being tourists (they didn't speak dutch) and I didn't hear the last one talk so I cant say for sure...
After the ultra-multi-cultural London mix it felt very weird indeed...

On the bright side, people are sooo tall!!! Guys AND girls!!! which means that all the clothes are long enough and they always have my size in shoe stores!!! ho happy days!!!!
Found so many beautiful things during my shopping spree... some of them I brought back, others I will go back for after I'm done with my first job (and have cashed my first paycheck :P).

But (I'm talking to the girls here) don't get your hopes up too much about Dutchmen... seems like they have a problem with the whole dating/meeting women...
Girls cant make the first move or they feel emasculated and run away :S but they wont go and talk to a girl because their ego is too fragile to face the possibility of rejection... so they prefer not to risk it, unless they're sure the girl is interested in them...
So what you have to do is look at them, and make eye contact just long enough so they know you've notice them, but not too long so they don't feel threatened... and then they will come talk to you, thinking they made the first move... and we thought WE had problems lol!!!
All Monique's friends were fed up with the guys there (I suggested they move to Montreal... they were all extremely beautiful, models type, who would cause riots anywhere in North America.. but were being completely ignored in Leiden.. go figure...)

Back in London I went to Camden Town one last time.. found a huge techno store (how on earth did I miss it the other times I have no idea!!!! with the black lights and blaring music you'd think it obvious enough...). It's called Cyberdog... when lsd goes retail this is what you can expect as a result.. mental place! got a shirt.. and the website for future purchases :P

So that concludes my adventure in European territory...
lovely to be back, couldn't wait to empty my 3 tons suitcase, cant wait to see all you guys again and party at the new Passeport!!!

but I also cant wait to receive that phone call/email that will ask me to leave again, and get paid to do so for a change...

in the meantime.. let's get pissed!!! ;)

Sunday, May 18, 2008


A day in Camden town.. love the look on that guy's face, all impressed by the mohawk :P

Already a week in London! And only one week to go before I come home :( ...not that I don't want to see you all again, but it's fun here... (on the bright side I'll finally be able to empty my 3 tons suitcase of all the whisky and shortbreads :P)

Last weekend, I went with Nila to her sister's house, north of London, in the country. We had a bbq, drank wine and practiced target shooting in the backyard with her boyfriend's gun :) We then went to the airfield where they work (they're both pilots) and had a look at the planes.

During the week I went to Kingston and Richmond, visited Hampton Court and got lost in the giant maze they have in the palace gardens.

In London itself, I walked around quite a bit, but I feel like a hobo everywhere I go outside of Camden Town. People are so fashionable it's not even funny! But they are also very cold and snobish... all the women look like they have something smelly under their noses.

Camden is different... that's where all the long hair/dressed in black/hippy/rockabilly/rasta dudes hang out... basically it's where all the beautiful people are. And it's also where the Stables Market is, the closest thing to a souk you can find North of Marakesh. It goes from Chalk Farm to Camden. Stalls after stalls of clothes, food, decoration, a whole section for antics and vintage clothes... a girl could go nuts in this place! I remember going there last time I was in London, but either I had a memory lapse or the place has quintuple in size since then. I remembered the Black Rose being the biggest goth store of the place, with not much around it.. now it looks teeny and lost in the middle of a million other stores.
I did my best to control myself, but got a couple of new tops that were too good to pass :P and bargained the prices so they were still a good deal despite the dreadful money exchange rate.

Tomorrow I'm going to visit the tower of London with Nila and then we're having tea at the royal garden hotel (we were suppose to do it on Saturday but it was cold and rainy so we postponed it).

Tuesday I'm flying to Holland to see Monique, until Saturday. Then it's back to London for the weekend.... then home.... Booooooo!!! Hopefully I'll get a job soon and bugger off towards the ocean again. :)

I've sent about 70 cvs all over the world (literally!) , got some answers.. mostly
"we-are-not-looking-for-employees-at-the-moment-call-back-later-thank-you" but a couple of people in Ontario and one in Florida (the treasure hunters!!!! YAY!!!) said they might have new projects soon and they were keeping my infos not too far to call me again in a couple of weeks. cross fingers and toes... go FLORIDA!!!!!

Friday, May 9, 2008

I'm coming out so you better get this party started!

I'm in the train, on my way to London, where I'll meet Nila at 5:30pm, pack my shit in a locker and head straight to the pub to celebrate her birthday properly :) (woohoo for technology! I have internet access in the train!!!)

The week in Aberdeen has been good, I saw Carla and Paul. They have a flat on the corner of where my place was! (Paul was at The Center until 3 weeks ago, they are on some of my party pics). I was a bit busy with the offshore survival training but still managed to walk around the city to take pictures and get a feel of it... it's grey... they don't call it granite city for nothing.. grey grey grey.. very nice, beautiful buildings, clean... grey

It was a shock coming here from Fort William... I was between a lake and a mountain for 2 months, stumbling in a big city felt weird... What was even stranger was going in a pub and seeing no heads turn whatsoever! On the first night I wanted to get some food but didn't feel like being the center of attention. I finally muster up the courage to enter a pub.... and passed completely unnoticed :P
I then remembered that in the normal world people don't go nuts when a girl arrives. In Fort William I was just about the only one, so every time I went to the pub, I'd have 75 persons (guys) starring at me as I passed the door... and strangely enough I got use to it... now I feel weird that no one is looking at me (that'll burst your bubble missy! hehe)

The offshore training was ok and it was nice to see Tom and Slawec again. The best part was being stuck in the sinking helicopter. I was a bit wary about it cause holding my breath under water is just unnatural! We do the exercise 7 times, building it to more “difficult” task each time. So at first you sit down and strap, they dunk it slowly and, holding your breath, once your under water you count to 7, undo the buckle and go out the window. Then you do it with a rebreather (a lovely device attach to your life jacket that you inflate and then use to rebreath one breath over and over... gives you enough oxygen for about 1 minute). The last one is with the rebreather, they sink you, turn the helicopter upside down, you count to 7, push the window out and swim up... felt just like a very expensive ride at an amusement park :P

The rest of the training wasn't as fun and I do hope I never end up in a tempsc in my life! (totally enclosed motor propelled survival craft)... utterly uncomfortable and sea sickness guaranteed in about 5 seconds! I don't get sea sick but in this I'm pretty sure I would be and so would the 25 other guys cramped in it... urk...

I also did an helicopter lift, with harness and all... got lifted allaway to the side of the pool! wooooo! For the firefighting part I used different types of fire extinguishers and felt my way out of a room full of smoke wearing gas hood/mask.

The last exercise was trying the skyscape (google “skyscape chutes” to see it... scary shit!).. and of course I managed to pull my shoulder doing it :P The way it works is you slide down in a tube and control your speed with your folded arms.. or are supposed to anyway... When you go in, you sit on the platform, slide in the first module and stop yourself with your feet, to swing sideways and start sliding... when I did it I missed the bar so held back on the ropes with my hands, which twisted my shoulders backward resulting in pulled muscles :S ouch...

So now I'm fully certified and ready to work... I passed some cv along yesterday.. but in Aberdeen the general answer was that they have all the trainees they need and wont need anymore until September, when a new cycle of work starts... They do need supervisors, but I couldn't talk my way into getting the job :P (though I'm pretty sure I can kick any of their trainees' asses in about 5 sec :P). It's a bit frustrating to hear that some of these guys have been hired/trained since January (the last cycle of hiring) and still suck at it. I know I can do the job!!! anyway.... big world small planet, I don't care where I go as long as I can play with my robots :)

So that's it for now... my new coming home date is May 27th... in the meantime I'll be in London and Amsterdam, sending cv, hoping for a job and seeing my Utila friends again! :)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

I'M A PILOT!!!! (for real)

both graduating rov groups
1st row : Paul (teacher), Simone, Guillaume, Cathrina (other group), Jeff(other gr), Steeve (t)
2nd row: Gareth, guy in other gr.,me, Robin, Tom, guy in other gr., Kevin, Slawec, Rob (t)

I did it! I'm an ROV pilot/technician grade II!

I don't know where the last two weeks have gone... I blinked and it was over :S and now I'm suffering from ROV withdrawal... I better get a job fast cause I already miss flying my robots!

We had a little ceremony Friday... speech, diplomas, group pictures... it was fun, but now it's a bit sad to see everyone go. I'm the only one from my class left at the Center this weekend.

The weeks of flying have been really fun! Stressful and demanding, but excellent. I got a lot of numbers and contacts from people here to start looking for jobs. Some say it'll be really easy to get hired others say it might take 3-4 months-but-don't-give-up-you'll-find-something... we'll see how things turns out...

For my last night in town I went out with the divers from Lindy's class. They had been pub crawling since noon when I joined them at 8pm.... We did Crofter then Volunteers arms. They were on fire and I laughed my ass off all night. I have some compromising pictures of them, that will be put on my last Fort William album soon. :) Sham was especially funny, I just learn that his new nickname is paki smurf (because he is of indian descent and the overalls at the center are smurf blue). When he said it I nearly chocked on my Guinness! You kinda have to know the guy to understand... I'll explain in person when I get home :P

I've met so many great guys (and a couple of girls too :P) in my 7 weeks here I'm still a bit dizzy... but it's reassuring for future jobs if the people at the center are representative of what I'll see offshore. Most of them were great, a couple were completely awesome and just a few were idiots...

So this is it.. all my bags are packed, I'm ready to go. Next step, Aberdeen. 3 days of firefighting and escaping sinking helicopter...

Good bye Fort William, it's been, if not always fun, at least eventful and interesting... and who knows, I might just get back around here one of these days.... so many whiskys I haven't tried yet ;)