giorno due
9am Local time (+2hrs GMT): Arrival – there are few things more beautiful than flying over the alps on a sunny blue skied day – with not a cloud to mention. the sleeping woman sat to my right, had she unclosed her eyes, found me for a good part of journey peering over her shoulder to stare out of the window. i love flying – i always have – something probably quite ‘little boy-like’ about it all, but come on – it bloody rocks.

touch down in treviso airport – which, for those of you who haven’t landed here before, is about the size of my apartment. a few tips for you should you decide to visit:

1. get some euros before you arrive – the beaureu de change where you can get your cash doubles up as the ticket office for the buses into venice and treviso centrale, and as the bus is really the only way of getting anywhere from the airport – every member of the flight which has just landed is queing up to get tickets. when you only need �20 for a taxi – you don’t want to be waiting – especially when the weather outside looks just perfect.

2. learn some italian – simple :)i’m quite chuffed that already by the time i’d got into the cab – i’d been mistaken for not being an english speaker – my pronounciation of ‘bon giorno’ and ‘ciao’ must be perfect. although, then when you get talked at in rapid trevisian – its not long before you’re pleading ‘non parla italiano’ and looking at your feet for a while.i arrived into treviso and the apartment where i’ll be staying for the next week – met angela, my delightful host, and promptly wandered off to do the walking thing which i seem so attached to. first things first, get my bearings in this place – which is not the easiest of tasks – the streets are a labryinth of winding passages, dead ends, loops, trapdoors, ladders and snakes – but using the mcdonalds as my point of reference – i was soon able to get back to the apartment, have a shower and shave, put on some clean clothes and wander back into town.

i stopped off at a little wine bar, i suppose you would call it, down an alleyway, sat outside and attempted to order a glass of wine – which i did – but the food was a little more complex, and fortunatly the waiter spoke enough english to suggest a mix of italian tapas – which i gratefully received – fantastic food – stuffed courgette fried in breadcrumbs, small fish cake like balls, little blini type breads with seafood in a creamy sauce on top, and what i can only describe as a scone with bloody spicy salsa and cheese on top. i took the chance to flick through my handy TimeOut guide – and decided to walk to the train station to go into Venezia – which is a costly �3 for a return ticket (Ha!). Once i’d worked out how to get to the platform, and how to validate my ticket (find the yellow box on the platform, and put your ticket into the hole – simple really, but i was tired okay?), i stood waiting for the train to arrive listening to my walkman – and for some reason, every time a station announcement was made, i took my headphones off to listen – i don’t speak italian, and lets face it – most train station announcements aren’t that audible are they? so don’t ask why *each* time the ‘dingdong’ rang, i took my headphones off – force of habit perhaps.

not paying attention when the train pulled in, i almost lost my head – no yellow line you see – and regaining composure, jumped on the train and within half an hour or so, we’re passing across the massive bridge which takes you from the mainline to venizia santa lucia station.
i walk out of the station – and instantly, you’re faced with the grande canale and i do my best cheshire cat impression. imagine venice like the bastard lovechild of crystal maze, kevin costner’s waterworld (why does that film title always make me think of a rubbish wet’n’wild style water park in the north east of england which is only open for two weeks of a year?), and treasure hunt. The year is 2037 and cars have been abolished, the streets are water, and your mission is to find tourist attractions before the sun sets – GO! you’ll spend more time doubling back upon yourself and passing the same point three times over before you actually find the intended destination. it truly is half the fun of it.

i eventually reached Piazza San Marco – the drawing room of Europe, and was actually surprised by its size – i always expected it to be bigger – but size doesn’t matter, i’m a firm believer in that – and truly it didn’t, apart from the �8 0,3l bottle of beer – that was simply wrong – paying for the music which was being paid at a whopping �3,50 – also wrong – but i didn’t care – i’m on holiday and if i’m going to visit turistica centrale, that will be the price i’ll pay.
i wandered back to the station after sitting out in some delightful sun for a few hours, and having missed the train by about 2 minutes, i wandered back across the Grand Canal and sat on the steps of a church for 45 minutes waiting for the next train.

when i got back to the apartment, angela and chris were already preparing for the party later that evening. a birthday party for paula, and it seems half of Fabrica would be there, not least suggested by the amount of food we made to feed the masses. I did my mingling thing, and by the end of the evening, i was holed up in the kitchen, where all good parties congregate, and lo and behold, chatting with a group of english people about london. don’t get me wrong, i’d spoken to plenty of people from other countries around europe and indeed the world, but naturally, all the english slumped together in a corner. call it homing instinct. to further the idea that the world is shrinking at a dramatic rate – i happened to end up talking to one of the lecturers from my MA course, who is over here staying with one of the guys who set up my MA course, who i happened to end up talking to also. Too bloody wierd.

2am rolls around, and the booze had ran out some hours previous (its wierd going to a party and not having a drop of beer, all red wine, all evening – in fact, the house wine which we’d started off drinking was from a shop where you can take your own bottles (ie. and old 1,5l water bottle) and they’ll fill it for the paltry sum of �2 – which equates to roughly �1.50 – thats 25p for a large glass. I like these economics), so onto a bar – which was just some minutes walk away, and had closed, but the group of people i was with seem to have a fairly good handle on things and managed to get us a round of beers/bloody marys/spritz/vodka anyway, and then a few bottles of beer to take with us to paula’s flat – which quite neatly managed to sit next door to the bar.
i think i crawled into bed at around 5am after we got back and did a little tidying up post party bomb.

bendy forks
everything is a bit too sensitive here – the flushes in the loo are touch sensitive, the taps are touch sensitive, the cutlery in garfunkels airside is … plastic. i’ve been frisked a couple of times already – which i have to admit, for 4am, is a first for me. the cute girl i saw in the check-in desk queue who was on her own has just walked past with her boyfriend, so i’ll have less chance with her now, although the way my stomach is feeling after i gave up waiting for an all day breakfast at one cafe, and went across for an ‘american breakfast’ at another, i’m not sure i’ll be getting off the plane upright anyway.. proper hearty breakfast though – strong cup of coffee, orange juice, eggs, bacon, sausages, tomato, pancakes, maple syrup and these tiny little potato square thingies – which i think they tried to pass off as hash browns, and had a core temperature somewhat hotter than that of a small star. so i’m sitting at the bar at ‘metro – eat and drink here or in the air’ – inspired marketing taglines. the ryanair stewardesses have just passed me in formation, somewhat like a scene from catch me if you can, heels in perfect harmony tapping along the hard floors towards the departure gates. i’m in the ‘eager beaver’ crowd – those sad few who were first in line to check-in, and first at the gate – as if we all have a sneaking suspicion that the plane may leave 15 minutes early just to catch some people out. i also notice that all the beavers (i shall shorten our demographic to this if you would be as kind as to indulge me) are single / travelling alone – apart from two guys over there who’s faces look somewhat near to what you’d expect if disney was to start a cloning laboratory.

its getting light outside now – and in just 25 minutes, the gate will open to allow boarding. i’m going to be keeping my eye peeled at the window to see if i can spot any examples of abuse against luggage – whether my own or otherwise (the other eye is staying firmly shut until i reach italy – i am still having a hard time believing that i’m awake at this hour.
i did notice though, that around 3am – there was a very odd transitional phase where yesterday became today – everything was quiet for about 3 SECONDS and then noise started up once more to signify the next day had begun. i’m meant to be at a party this evening – it smacks of similarities to another time i went on holiday – was up for a good 36 or so hours, and then went straight to a party – where i proceeded to drink vast quantities of champagne (2 glasses) and beer (half a bottle) and did the toilet hugging dance. i hope you will pray with me that i do not follow habit this evening.

daylight prevails over stansted now – albeit a foggy one – and 15 minutes to boarding. the world’s local bank is welcoming me to the entrance gangway – and i stand poised with my copy of jane eyre and a CD full of mp3 to last me the rest of my journey. i shall also be flicking through TimeOut guide to Venice, hurridly hunting for a pronounciation guide to help me speak to the taxi driver upon arrival. i have a feeling i may do a great deal of pointing and mime over the next seven days. thank god i did drama at college – marcelle marceau will be proud.

queuebuster
there are people who have done this before – you can spot them – they are the smart ones with soft padded bedding, a duvet or sleeping bag. cunning – it only takes one three hour stint on lying on cold faux marble flooring to realise that next time you should come more prepared. however, fortune is smiling upon me, because as i awoke, it happened to have fallen asleep, by pure coincidence, infront of the very two desks where i need to check-in – which is nice. so, now i’m waiting for the queue to.. bloody hell – there are already six people in it.. build and the desks to open so i can leave my rucksack in the capable hands of ryanair. i have already attempted to order an all day breakfast from the cafe around the corner, but all day only begins at 4am.. ten people in the queue now.. i must join it before my clever napping location fails to pay off.. ack 12 people.

travelling geek

Oh come on, you truly can’t be surprised that i’m blogging whilst on holiday? This is a wireless GPRS blog from the concourse at Stansted Airport.. where i have five hours to wait until i check-in.. so of course, i had to set up my laptop. Actually, i have to admit, its pretty cool that it is so easy to get online and do work whilst you’re in the middle of nowhere.. in fact, if i had a wifi card.. i wouldn’t even have to use my mobile.. but enough gadgetry.. soon enough i shall be camping down for a few hours sleep before my flight, on the cold marble floor of the airport (and maybe plugging into this handy power socket which i seem to have accidentally lay down next to.. what?! i pay my taxes, i’m sure i deserve a little free electricity courtesy of stansted airport.. don’t you? :)

still getting old..
at what point do you think its okay to wear your spectacles around your neck on a cord of somesort? i’m sure it was never a fashionable item when my parents or grandparents where children, but there must have been some ‘switch’ where suddenly you don’t care how it looks, but realise its really quite handy to have them where you can always reach them.
maybe its at the same age you think cardigans are the best thing since slipper socks? in which case – i’ve already started wearing cardigans.. not long before i start laughing at the tesco adverts, and i’ll be into middle age.
i lauged at a tesco advert on sunday. oh save me.

four, five, sex
There is a kiwi fruit on my desk. each time i look at it, i’m sure that i see it quickly glance away, not to catch my eye. Its sitting kinda slumped over to one side as if we’ve just had an argument and it doesn’t want to talk to me anymore. I think i’ll eat the insolent bastard.

Getting Old
Hmm.. i used to be able to last a little bit longer than working until 2am. I remember the good ol’ days where i could happily code away until 5am, and then wander down Bethnal Green Road paranoid about who would jump out from the superloos and either mug me, offer me sex, drugs or a bagel.

Now i’m lucky if i can manage to keep my eyes open past midnight, and there is certainly no sex, no drugs, not even a bagel. I suppose i’m getting older, and there isn’t a dotcom bubble anymore. Its 2003 you know. I’ve been in london for almost 4 years. Scary. More scary that i’m still writing this blog, you can watch me doing it on the webcam and i still have the stubble, sideboards and quiff.

Taxing Day
The new budget was announced today and most importantly:

Beer up 1p
Wine up 4p a bottle
Cider and sparkling wine tax frozen
Spirits tax frozen

Anyone for a strongbow or babycham?

Jesus H. Christ
Its not every day that you find yourself in a pub with the son of God. Okay – technically, every day He is everywhere you are – what with that omnipresence things going on, but last night, i found myself actually shaking hands with the big JC and complementing him on his performance in Jesus Christ Superstar at the Actors’ Theatre in Covent Garden.

Okay okay, he’s probably not the real one – for a start he was ginger, and i have a feeling the original son of the messiah had darker hair, but he said “Bless you” after I told him how much I enjoyed the performance. Perhaps he’s getting a little too Brechtian.
And for those who complain about me using words they don’t know the meaning of, and are too bloody lazy to research themselves, or scared to ask about – here is a short piece on Berthold Brecht.

Happy now?

Probably not, so i’ll make subtle references to Prof. Gunther von Hagens, and how post deportation after packing up his desanguinated and plasticised bodies and shipping ‘em back to whereever they were conceived (mentally of course), he’s managed to sneak back into the country and do some sidelining as a wedding DJ.

You know you’re a geek when..

… you receive an automated reminder that the domain which you purchased so you could have a flat specific email address is about to lapse in 90 days.Which of course means, that i have less than that time until we leave here.
Thats quite a scary thought in itself.
I think i need to start shipping things home now, so i can move out with not much more than a rucksack and tesco bag filled with cutlery.