Monthly Archives: August 2001

Elevation

Dear All,

Titled so because the U2 song has been played rather a lot in the car. I am warning anyone showing this to a younger viewing audience, you may want to check through it before showing it to them.

Right so the last place that I emailed from was Nashville. Shortly after I emailed we walked down the street and Chloe bumped into an acquaintance which was highly amusing. Such a small world. We then stood on the street chatting to her whilst also watching a country music video being made for some revolting looking country looking music band. We were actually in it which was quite amusing. The worst thing about Nashville was that we never got to record our CD which we were SO hoping to do. The place that it mentioned in the Rough Guide was not there anymore. Oh well probably for the best really as some of the boys SERIOUSLY can’t sing!

We then moved on to Memphis, I drove some more and had no complaints this time, I think that Kevin has well learnt his lesson by now. Thanks Tom for the comment it really made me laugh! Memphis was brilliant. Of course we all did Gracelands which we really enjoyed. It was very cheesy and tacky but it so had to be done. I am certainly not an avid Elvis fan but he has definitely grown on me since visiting Gracelands. Do you know he spent more money on doing up one of his private jets than he did on actually buying the thing in the first place? It had gold buckles on the seats and a gold basin in the guest bathroom. The bloke did give a lot of money away to charity though and I never knew about this side of him before. I have to say he really was a very generous man. It looked like he would have been a really good laugh to be around.

(Elvis was only 22 when he brought Gracelands for $100,000 in 1957. It was then considered one of the most desirable properties in Memphis, now the neighbourhood is slightly less exclusive as the main thoroughfare – Elvis Presley Boulevard is lined with motels and fast food joints but surprisingly only a few Elvis Souvenir shops. You start the tour of Gracelands on the opposite side of the road and then you are ferried across by bus up to the house itself – its LITERALLY across the road?! You go through a musical gate called “The Wall of Love” where fans have scrawled tens of thousands of messages. Throughout the tour there are clips and so on of the king himself and various members of the family and friends. The interior of the house is a frozen tribute to the taste of the Seventies with some choice rooms like the Jungle room which has a waterfall and green shag carpeted ceiling where Elvis recorded “Moody Blue” and some other gems from his latter years. There is the navy and lemon TV room (where I got told off for taking a photo with flash!) which has three screens that now display 1970s talk shows. There is the trophy room which displays all of the gold, silver and platinum records that Elvis received as well as stage costumes, outfits from many of his 31 films and his extensive gun collection. The tour of the interior ends with the racquetball court where he played on the morning that he died. Elvis (Jan 8th 1935 – August 16th 1977), his mother Gladys, father Vernon and his grandmother lie buried beside the swimming pool in the Meditation garden. Their graves are strewn with toys and flowers sent daily from Elvis fans. His body was moved here 2 months after his death after there were security concerns at the cemetery (where he initially lay.)

There are still many personal items of Elvis’s strewn across the house for fans to see such as a TV that was punctured by a bullet fired by Elvis himself (he also shot his fridge, his stereo and even Lisa Marie’s slide), his HaiKarate and Brut aftershave. You can go and see his personal airplanes including the Lisa Marie which I mentioned earlier. The tour ends in the Elvis Presley Automobile Museum which has a Harley Davidson golf cart in it and a powder pink Cadillac and a reconstructed drive-in showing clips of his films.

We went for a night out in Memphis as well which was highly amusing. Thankfully not so much of the country music but mainly blues which reminds me of a band called the Nightloosers that I saw a couple of times in Romania. We spent a large majority of the evening drinking and ended up in a bar called Wet Willies, which just gave us the giggles in the first place so we all felt that we had to go in. It was a karaoke bar and looking back on it we were the only white people in there, had I actually realised that at the time I’d have felt SO uncomfortable. Oh well. It was all rather amusing.

Chloe and I managed to do our washing when we got home, I mean putting it in the machine, nothing more than that. I have no idea how Chloe was managing to walk, all I know was that I was a pretty good support! None of us had bad heads in the morning and so we headed on to New Orleans.

I had sooo been looking forward to going to New Orleans after hearing so much about it and being so highly recommended by Jim, my neighbour at No 55 (Faulkland Road – Farts). Well, all I can say is that we went on a weekend and so everything was pretty packed. That was not so much the bother but I think that we must have gone to the worst part of town as we ended up in Larry Flynt’s Hustler Bar (on Bourbon Street). Enough said I think. Chloe and I were none too impressed with the lads to put it mildly. I don’t think that they seemed to understand that we see enough of our own everyday, we certainly don’t need to pay to look at other people’s. I think that they thought that it was funny. I can laugh about it now, but I CERTAINLY couldn’t then. We were waiting to go and the boys promised me that we would go on to a proper club, not that that is really my scene either really but DEFINITLY more so than the Hustler club. We never made it; they wanted to go into a place called Big Daddies which was even more tasteless than the Hustler, if you could get much worse. I put my foot down and walked away as I really felt that they were being more than a little selfish. They also had the audacity to say that they would never take their girlfriends or sisters (if they had them) to a place like that – made us even more angry I have to say. They had said at the beginning of the evening that we should all stick together and not to worry as they would look after us as it was really crowded I was concerned about loosing Chlo in the crowds etc. To me it is just one of those things but it is really hurting Chloe as she has paid for the car pretty much and they are totally taking advantage of her. She spent a lot of time in tears when we made it back to the hotel and I was ready to go hell for leather at them. I was also severely gutted not to have experienced anymore of the city that I had spent such a long time looking forward to visiting. My lasting memory of New Orleans will never be how I had wanted and even better was that the following morning we were on the hunt for the bloody trainers for Simon so there really was no other side to New Orleans that we saw at all sadly. AND thinking about it I let them go to a fish restaurant & they all had seafood & I was really sick in the loos from the smell/ possibility of having something that shouldn’t have been in my battered & fried courgettes (pretty much the only thing on the menu that I could eat/stomache).

Anyway. We didn’t get to the NASA Space Station in Huston like we planned as it bucketed down with rain, a nightmare to drive in. Also we spent a lot of the day driving around town trying to find shopping malls where the boys could get some trainers that they wanted. When we found it they had not even got them! It was whilst trying to find the blessed shops here that Simon’s now classic line of ‘where is your establishment located?’ was said which had us in fits and I’m sure will do so for sometime! But a serious, you had to be there moment.

Now we are in Austin staying with Audrey, Terry and Hannah. Audrey used to baby-sit for me when I was younger. The others were hoping that she was going to have a few embarrassing stories about me. I am pleased to say that she had none and she also said that I was really good. Tee hee hee! The weather is still bad and we are now on to our second night as they invited us to stay another night which we gratefully accepted. I have to say it is lovely to stay in a proper house rather than an Econolodge! Catching up and so on has been great fun and we have been taken to a few places. We are going to a good steak house tonight for supper; the boys have all been dying for that! I went shopping with them this afternoon (the blokes) and managed to find some good bargains of things that I need back in the UK anyway. I was pretty impressed with my buys.

We move off tomorrow to El Paso for a night or so and that should be good and then we are heading to Vegas for the weekend, it will be mad because it is Labour Day weekend, like last day of the summer holidays and so everyone will be out. The 2 boys go back on Sunday (Bob and Simon). They keep trying to convince Chloe and I that we will miss them, I think not lads! Seeing as we are constantly being called their bitches and gypsies and Barlow’s (as if in Ken from Coronation Street, so boring – it took me a while to cotton on to that one!). I have been given one compliment; well I think that it is, coming from them anyway closest thing to I guess – but that doesn’t say much for me really thinking about it?! That is that I am a geezer bird. Only because I drink beer and follow sports and take about 10 min to get ready for going out.

Right I am off now, I had better go for a run to make some room for my massive steak that I will be having this evening. 3 weeks left now nearly. Golly that feels like a hell of a long time. I am still missing you all madly. Keep in touch. Loads of love and hugs to one and all,

Em

xxx

Em – fab news about the house, it will be quite a hike if I have the location right. It will be ok though. Glad that that is all sorted. I am back at the end of next month.

Row – I am not sure if I will be able to make the party as I have a wedding up in Scotland the weekend before your birthday. I will try though.

Hels – Please pass a message on to Phil – CONGRATS! Have fun. Glad that all is well with you. Update on Eastenders please, you are getting VERY slack!

Farts – I am still not brown – you horrible girl!

Ile – I hope that you are starting to pack, Ani should have given you a message that I tried to call last weekend but that you were not there.

Anca, Lili and Mara – I hope that the Christening went well. I look forward to seeing photos of her, miss you.

Matt – Happy birthday for the first.

Laura – I hope that everything is ok I am still thinking and worrying about you until I hear form you.

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Dear All,

Yes it is another of those oh so friendly updates! I came to emails today for the first time in 3 or 4 days and I had a hideous amount of junk mail which has taken me a while to discard.

The title is what it is because we are about 1/3 of the way across America. For those of you following on a map we went from New York to Washington, Washington to Nashville. We have found good line of cheap and clean motels just outside of the big cities and we have been staying in them the whole time, amusingly they are called Econo Lodge. The first one that we were in just, outside of Washington, Chloe and I couldn’t get into our room as the key just wouldn’t let us in. We had fits of hysterics as we thought that it was just us being stupid. We nearly snapped the key (credit card type thing) in the lock. Managed to get them to somehow change it and we could finally get in and out with ease!

Washington DC left us all a little annoyed as we were all really hoping to see the Pentagon and even get a look around it. That was not to be. We have not had very much luck on finding very good maps; it certainly does not help if Bob leaves them in the hotel room the whole time!! We were relying heavily on my Rough Guide and it was well, useless. Although I was not believed and was told that I must be reading the map wrong. Perhaps I was wrong about Kevin being stroppy. He is certainly patronising. I was meant to be taking over the driving once we were out of NY so that I can get a feel of the car and get used to driving on the other side of the road and am not scared by it ready for when it is just Chloe and I and in the last few weeks. Seeing as Chloe can’t see the road signs I need to get used to the feel of the car now so that in time I will be able to read map and drive the car at the same time. It was made perfectly clear by him that he didn’t want me to drive, which was driving me up the wall. When after 5 petrol places (we were meant to be stopping at the first) we eventually stopped and he said “Oh are you taking over the driving?” I was ready to punch him. The others all soon realised this by the looks I was giving them and the tone of my voice. I had practised in the car at the airport when we had picked it up and got comfortable with it very quickly and certainly had no problems in finding the controls and everything. It was like going on a driving trip with good old Mr Cooke my driving instructor. ‘Now you need to slowly come to a halt and check your mirrors, put out your indicator and ease up on the accelerator.’ He soon stopped when we had comments from the back like “Em, you do realise that this is a car don’t you?” (Eternally grateful to Bob for that one!)

We visited the Capitol and did a tour around it which was fascinating. It has housed congress since 1800. George Washington chose the site for it during his presidency, hew laid the corner-stone on September 18th 1793. The original building was completed in 1826 and the contemporary changes include an extension of the east front in 1962 and restoration of the west front and the statue of freedom. Inside we saw the room where the House of Representatives met from 1807-57. In 1864 each State was invited to contribute two statues in marble or bronze of deceased citizens known for historical reasons or for civil or military services. By 1933 there were so many statues that some had to be moved to another part of the Capitol. The ceiling contains the seals of 50 states, 4 territories and the District of Columbia. When the house is in session the Mace can be seen on the speaker’s right. The 435 members of the house, 4 delegates and 1 resident commissioner are not assigned individual seats but traditionally the republicans sit on the speakers left and the democrats on the speaker’s right. It was first occupied in 1857 but underwent a complete remodelling between 1949 and 1951. We also visited the Senate chamber where the President and the elected officials from across the country make all of the major decisions for the country. The President of the Senates is the Vice President of the USA. In the niches of the gallery are busts of 20 Vice Presidents. The room was completed in 1859 and renovated along with the house 90 years later. The rotunda of the capitol has a fresco in the dome that was completed by Constantino Brumindi in 1865 and it is called “The Apotheosis of George Washington”. The dome is one of the largest in the world and it is made of cast iron and is believed to weigh about 9 million pounds. All visiting heads of state are received in this room.

We also saw the Lincoln Memorial (West end of the Mall in West Potomac Park) which is modelled on the Parthenon; it was from here that Martin Luther King in 1963 said his famous “I have a dream” speech. Inside the monument there is a statue of Abraham Lincoln grasping the arms of his throne like chair in deep thought. There are inscriptions of two of his most celebrated speeches – the Gettysburg Address and the Second Inaugural Address carved on the north and south walls. We only saw this one from a distance but we walked right up to and past the Washington Monument. It is an unadorned marble obelisk built in memory of George Washington. It is 555ft high and is the tallest all-masonry structure in the world towering over the city at south of Constitution Avenue on Madison Drive. Work started on the monument in 1848 but with various internal arguments and the Civil War disrupted the construction so that it was not complete until 1884. When the US Government took over the project in 1876 marble from a slightly different source was used and the transition line where work resumed can be seen at about 152ft. There is an elevator to the observation deck but we did not go up – it was way too hot and we didn’t fancy paying!

The White House has a neoclassical edifice which was completed in 1800 by an Irish immigrant called James Hoban who modelled it on the Georgian Manors of Dublin. Thomas Jefferson added the first loos just before the British burnt the place down in the war of 1812. It was quickly rebuilt and expanded, often in such a hurry that the whole building was on the verge of collapse. Harry Truman had to move out for four years from 1948 while the structure was stabilized – all the rooms had to be dismantled and a modern steel frame was inserted. Truman also added the balcony to the familiar south portico. For nearly 200 years it has been the home and the office of the president of the United States.

Anyway enough about driving and facts on what we have seen, it will worry the parents too much! Thankfully the car had air conditioning which is a dream as it is so close to 100 and soooooooooooooo hot in the sun, eurgh, sweat city! I am maddeningly not going brown yet though. Frostie still remains white Farts, but is not melting away!

Had a delicious supper last night of a Domino’s Pizza (I have never had one back in the UK and I didn’t actually think that they were that bad) I shared it with Si and Bob. We all sat in the boys’ room watching VH1 as all of the restaurants had closed at some ridiculously early hour. The time has gone back an hour now and so I am 6 hours behind UK time.

We are in Nashville, Tennessee at the moment. Reading the guide-book it said that it was a dry state and we were all pretty darned worried about how we would survive. Thankfully it isn’t, the Rough Guide lies!!

Well I have no more news for the moment. We are all off to go and try to record a CD now just down the road. We are going to be backing track singers I think, just how touristy is that! Then I think that we are heading off to Memphis tonight as it is only 100 miles. From there we are going down to an Indian Reservation and then down to New Orleans and then we are hoping that Audrey’s invitation is still open, if not we have spotted a very good Econo Lodge just outside of Austin. I guess that we might be with you about Wednesday of next week. I will have to call you though Audrey. It may not be today as I said in my message, garbled! Sorry I hate answer machines.

Well I guess that you have all probably had enough of me now and so I going to go and try (ha ha) and prepare my vocal chords ready for later. This should be amusing!!

Loads of love to one and all and I hope to hear from you all again soon. Ooh if anyone needs to get hold of me a.s.a.p. you can text or call Chloe’s mobile on 07710020036 it is a Vodaphone and cost you no extra. You will understand why I might be a little rushed though as Chloe pays for the call as well.

BIG HUGS, as always,

Em

xxx

Here are some personal bits.

James – Glad to hear that you made it out of BA. More importantly, it is good to hear that your brother is doing much better. I am glad to hear that we made your birthday so special. At least you can’t forget us now!

Roy – Great to hear from you. I hope that you are doing ok and that it is not too boring being back at Uni. I have got you on my list now so you will get the group emails of my trip around the States. It is very weird here without the others.

Hugo – you pillock, I thought that you said that you were typing me an email as you were speaking to me – SO WHERE IS IT???

Em – Best of luck in finding a house, for GODS sake find one NEAR ME! PLEASE, I won’t be able to survive otherwise! (Tell Ez too) I am not sure if Tim would appreciate that thought though. I don’t know him well enough! The lads are random acquaintances of Chloe’s. Si is the elder brother of a friend of Chloe’s form Uni and she had never met him before and Bob and Kev are friends of his.

Mike – Thanks for the text babe. Glad that you are missing me!! Ha ha ha just felt I had to make you totally jealous. Hope that the job hunting is going well.

Ed – don’t worry about the price of the photos – APS are always expensive. Like you say I am sure that they are worth it.

Neddy – Hello! Land of the living. Great that you are going to be in Jolly old Milton Lilbs for a bit when I get back so I will get to see you before you head up north. Glad that you are having a cool time in Taiwan. Pity about the night on the floor of the airport.

Mum and Dad – I hope that you had a good time at York and with all of the others that you are visiting. I hope that you won loads of money on the nags! I wonder if you saw Chris and Janice?!! LOVE YOU, MISS YOU XXXXXXXXXXX

Anca, Lili and Mara – I hope that the christening goes well on Sunday, I so wish that I could be there. I am going to try really hard to call you. I am not sure if I will be able to get the timing right though. I really need to buy my little niece a pressie and also I want to know what her godparents and so on have given her so that I don’t give her the same thing! Love you and miss you loads.

ILE – so where is this email then? I want to know how V2001 was. You lucky so and so.

Leah – tried calling your Mum but there was no reply, I will keep trying. I have a really horrible feeling that we are going to miss each other. How long are you in Spain for? May be we could meet from there?

Hannah – How long were you away for, I am sure that you are meant to be back by now? I want to hear from you, I miss our regular phone calls.20110829-202234.jpg20110829-202453.jpg20110829-202357.jpg20110829-202554.jpg20110829-202512.jpg20110829-202437.jpg

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Phew!

Dear All,

Hola! I am now back in the Big Apple, such an apt name seeing as I am travelling with the world’s biggest fan of apples! It is darned hot and sticky here yet again.

Boston was fabulous I have to say. Very pretty and quiet. We stayed in a YMCA in the Naval Yard just next door to the USS Constitution (www.ussconstitution.navy.mil) – Ed it was GREAT for I’m the King of the World!(Charlestown YMCA (Now known as the Constitution Inn) 150 2nd Avenue, Charlestown Navy Yard Tel 617/241-8400) We made a trip to Salem, where the witch trials in The Crucible were set. It was pretty eerie I have to say. Chloe and I both had our Tarot cards read by a modern-day witch. Hope that she doesn’t cast an evil spell on me as I forgot to give her a tip! She was surprisingly accurate about my past and said that I am half way down the road to recovery which is pleasing news and that by this time next year I will be prey much ok. I was pleased. Chloe on the other hand had a threatening of a pregnancy or a scare of it which made me laugh, those of us that know her know that she is the LAST person that would be having children!

We came back into Boston and went to the pub that inspired the set for “Cheers” I have to say it was quite surreal going in there. (Bull and Finch Pub, Beacon St.r between Brimmer Str. and Charles Str, Beacon Hill, Boston ) I hate the fact that you have to be over 21 to drink here. They reused to serve me in the pub even though I had my ISIC card on me as ID but it is the rules of the state that they don’t take that as ID ( It is a photo ID too!) how stupid, but then I guess that is America!! Also went in and had a quick look at Harvard, amusingly it is in an area of Boston called Cambridge. Well it made me laugh anyway!

Managed to get back to NYC and hour later than we planned because of horrendous traffic. We were meeting the lads at the hostel and had a slight problem, I had never met any of them before (I know, another brave step!) and Chloe couldn’t for the life of her remember what Kev looked like. He was arriving first and on his own. Anyway when checking in we were both eying everyone up in the queue in case he was there (I had no clue) when I suddenly heard my name as he must have recognised my voice or something – relief! Well so far he has not lived up to what I thought he was going to be like, a relief I have to say as I just linked him with the stroppy teenager in the Harry Enfield Series! He does have slightly ginger hair but not long and lanky!!! That’s the only vague connection with him!

Went out for some food and stuff and waited for others to arrive – Si and Bob. We did get quite worried as I am sure that they emailed and said that they landed at 3:40. Obviously not, as we managed to find them in the lobby at about 8. Had no idea what to expect from Simon – I just associated him with a big envelope as he was bringing over my calligraphy results and other post from Dad – UNOPENED of course! Bob, thankfully, is not a builder. We had the Bob the Builder song on the brain all of yesterday it was quite amusing. We managed to get it out of our heads just in time not to sing it to his face!

We went out to get some food as we were all pretty hungry and from there we went to the Tequila bar around the corner that I had spotted previously on one of my random ambles. It was called Tequilaville (12 Vanderbilt Ave Between E 42nd St and E 43rd St, New York, NY 10017 tel (212) 681-8441) I love that name, I think that it is class! I had a shot of tequila (read FIREWATER) with Kev and Si, not as bad as the only other time that I have had it. But still, not me fave!

I think that we are planning on going up the Empire State Building (34th Street and Fith Avenue Tel 212/736-3100) at dusk so we get to see it in daylight and at night-time and then onto the Hard Rock Café (221 W 57th St Between Broadway and 7th Ave, New York, NY 10019 Tel 212/459-9320) and then I think that we are going on clubbing whoopppeee I can’t wait. (SEVERE sarcasm there). Going to cost a fortune, might see if I can get in with a bottle of water in my bag. We will see! I doubt that I will actually last that long. I didn’t sleep very well last night. Chloe said that it was like sleeping on a boat I made the bunk bed rock so much with my tossing and turning! The Empire State Building has been a tourist site since it was completed in 1931. It is 102 storeys high and was once one of the tallest buildings in the city. Its basement in an underground marbled shopping precinct which has may Art Deco finishes around it. An elevator takes you to the 86th floor which was the summit of the building before the TV and radio mast was added.

Been shopping this morning and left the boys to sleep and what ever. I was meant to be going to the Met (Metropolitan Museum of Art 5th Avenue and 82nd Street tel. 212/535-7710) but I really can’t be bothered and I am sure that I will be back in NY soon enough and so I can do it then. Managed to get a couple of items of clothing for when I am back in school and I brought myself a mini Psion Computer thingy that I have been wanting for ages and managed to get it way cheaper here.

Moving off tomorrow and going to Washington which will be really cool. I am very much looking forward to hitting the road. Hopefully not literally though!!!

Best be off, on the expensive PC as can’t be bothered to walk up to the other one in the heat!

Hope to hear from you all soon,

Loads of love and hugs

Em

xxx

James – wish I was there to support you. Thrilled to hear that the operation went well. Still thinking of you – lots.

Ed – my parents don’t live in Bath chuck its just me. Parents are in Marlborough – 35 miles away. They are away till the 28th but give them a call after that. They won’t mind at all. They will be intrigued to meet you, particularly after all of the stories – yes they have heard them all!!!

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DeCaf, Low Fat Latte please

Yes I heard one of these being asked for this morning I could not believe my ears, I nearly burst out laughing!

Just about recovering from the grey hair incident of yesterday. I am now worried that if it rains my t-shirt will change colour as I don’t think that she washed the dye out properly so I am going to have to really seriously scrub my head later!

Beds are REALLY bouncy here, which is totally different, as I used to jump into bed on the top bunk in Buenos Aires and stay there. Last night I nearly bounced right off again as I jumped, or rather fell, onto my bed. Scary moment! Chloe got up and went for her swim this morning at what felt like some unearthly hour but it was actually about 9:45am. I was not going this morning. I think that she gathered that from my usual sleepy-eyed Worzel Gummage look that I gave her this morning!

Well we actually managed to walk to the cheaper internet place, Easy Everything – its like being in Scotland Ile! The man on the other side of the screen from me has clomping great shoes on and keeps treading on my toes. My poor little toes are in pain! I keep saying ‘OW!’ in a loud voice hoping that he will realise that it is him. Not working though! Maybe I should not try to be so polite!

Still warm here but not so muggy as yesterday, I think that it was like that yesterday as there was a thunder-storm and it was really close. There is actually a breeze today – WOW!!

That’s all for now. Loads of love and hugs to one and all and hope to hear from you soon,

Em

xxx

Grey Hair

Dear All,

What a hellish flight! Went through hell trying to sleep, unsuccessful as usual. USA officials darned rude again, I thought that I had done well filling in a form that was written in Spanish, they nearly made me fill one out in English as I “wouldn’t have known what was on it” apparently. I decided not to wear my “It wasn’t me!” T-Shirt this time as they didn’t find it too amusing last time when I was in transit. The Americans are such an unfriendly race compared to all the different countries that we visited in South America. Lads – be warned – kiss their merry little asses at customs!

It is incredibly warm here, very very humid. I walked out wearing a bright pink shirt, I am now wearing one with darker pink spots – it is raining! It is very refreshing I have to say. There is meant to be air conditioning in our room, yeah right, pull the other one! I had forgotten just how huge all of the sky scrapers are here, they are very oppressive and it makes me feel a little claustrophobic. It is a big change from South America.

Well after a sad goodbye to James yesterday we had a few problems. Came to check in when we arrived here in New York at our hostel and they were most unfriendly. (Vanderbilt YMCA 224 East 47th St, New York City) They told us that check in time was 3 pm. We arrived just after 7am. Thankfully, but very begrudgingly, they let us have a shower in the ladies locker room in the gym part of the hostel. They wouldn’t give us access to the other facilities other than that though. Chloe, poor thing was a bit miffed as she was relying on doing her exercise there. I, on the other hand, was bloody glad as it meant that I couldn’t be dragged along with her. Had a shower with a towel provided that was the size of a bath mat. They don’t seem at all concerned about wandering around without any clothes on. I decided not to join in though and found some way of getting the bath mat around me ample figure!!! What a sight, I know!!

We decided to head off to have a wonder and see what was close by to us and so on. Don’t worry lads I have found an O’Neill’s around the corner and plenty of other suitable drinking holes!! (O’Neill’s Irish Bar, 729 3rd Avenue, between 45th and 46th Streets, New York City) We really wanted to book in to have some pampering done that we had both so long been promising ourselves. We managed to find ourselves a place that did everything that we wanted, including the possibility of me having blue streaks in my hair. At last I have finally had the courage to go through with it. I wish to god that it was that simple! I had my whole head back to the usual purple that all of you are so fond of by now I am sure. I then had it bleached in parts, an interesting sight I have to say as most of them went BRIGHT orange, this not meant to happen the woman said – No shit love! I sat for hours, yes literally, with bleach on my head. I then had the blue put on and it came out a pale blueish. I wanted it darker and so it was all washed off and dried and put on again. Nope. And again. OH MY GOD, I AM A GREY FREAK!!! There is no way on earth that I could have walked anywhere, let alone to the bathroom with hair like that. I was desperate. The woman finally managed to get it back to its original purple tinge, but at a price of a mere $273.10. Oh my god I nearly had a heart attack. Considering I spend no more than a fiver on a bottle and do it myself. I had my nails done, both sets and I am really pleased with them but I still can’t get over the price. Chloe though had a lot more done and it cost just under double so I think that it was just a really expensive place. I have been pretty breathless ever since. I am really not too sure how Monsieur Le MasterCard will cope with that one!

Managed to find my way to the loo which is a fair distance walk from our room, I really hope that I won’t need to go in the middle of the night. I met some English whilst rushing there, hilarious to first meet someone when on the loo the cubicle next to them! Quite embarrassing to run into them again though really.

I have been here a day and spent 8 hours in a beauty salon. I may have taken on my father’s tendency to exaggerate but this is NO JOKE!! Chloe and I had supper in a deli around the corner. Chloe had almost a whole forest full of fruit and I had Chinese style pork ribs, got a pink face now, it matches the top quite nicely actually, and some noodles and stuff. It is really nice to choose what you are eating! I have been very tempted to say ‘Gacias’ instead of thanks though and I really have to stop myself. It is weird hearing English, if you can call it that, spoken everywhere. Twice I have been asked to repeat what I have said because they have not understood me. I really have to stop myself from saying what it is with a really bad American accent so that there is a possibility that they might actually understand.

Right. I hope that you all appreciate this little jollity as it is costing me and Monsieur Le MasterCard a merry fortune at $18 an hour. Yes Mum, I got desperate. More like I didn’t want to walk to Time Square in the pouring rain to let you all know that I am fine and dandy, even if a bit hot!

Thanks Nobby and Laura, I will take one of you up on that when I get back just don’t delete them all PLEASE. The rest of you, thanks but I now have volunteers for the reproductions of all of these fine pieces of writing.

Loads of love to one and all and here come the personal bits to those that need a little extra info or so on.

BIG HUGS

Em

xxx

BOB – Right, Chlo got sent weird email, not sure what it was but I think that she emailed it to Kev and Si so I hope that you can get it sorted. If not I am sure that we can squeeze you in some where along the line. Looking forward to seeing/meeting you. We won’t be at the airport to meet and greet. You are big boys and should be able to find your own way! Taxi is a merry fortune from Newark, I think that is where you are arriving into or is that just Kev. $50-$60 + $10 and $35 flat fare from JFK – just so that you know.

Bob, Kev and Si – thought that we would start off the trip in true American style and do dinner in the Hard Rock Café on the first night, not booking obviously but we thought we would hit you with the idea now. Also good to go whilst we all have slightly more money than we will do later!

Si – Mum and Dad have sent you my post – I doubt I am a popular girlie and so I doubt that it will be that bulky.

Kev – seeing as the others have got a personal bit didn’t want you to feel left out – Hi!

Laura – My darling, I am thinking of you. I really hope that all goes ok. I will keep my fingers crossed and await more news. Thinking of you and the rest of the family.

Monkey – At last Sainsbury’s have freed you. Hope the bananas taste good in Jersey and that the kids take care of the adolescent youths! Blast Becca’s birthday. I don’t have her address or anything. Please text her and tell her a happy birthday from me. Look forward to seeing more photos of the other hairy ones.

James – HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU

HAPPY BITHDAY DEAR J – A – M – E – S!

HAPPY BIRHTDAY TO YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!

Hope that you have a wonderful day, even if it is without us. We wish that we were with you too. Glad that you liked our little touches. Well we wanted to make it one to remember. PUT THAT HAT ON!!!! Loads of love. Missing you already.

Nob – you are alive! Where on earth are you in the world? I have a feeling that you are on a boat somewhere, pestering the locals, or rather the local women.

Ed – God it’s VERY bizarre without you. Hope that you had a good flight and that you got what you wanted within 24 hours of you arrival!!

Audrey and Leah – I am in the country, beware, I will be calling you soon to catch up on all of those lost years.

Oh my god I have been on-line for 45 min and it is already $20. Bye

Sorry Monsieur Le MasterCard.

Love you Mum and Dad

Bye Bye South America

Dear All,

            Well it is about half two and I am leaving this evening with Chloe and flying up to New York at 8 this evening and we arrive tomorrow morning at some unearthly hour!  It will be very strange leaving here I have to say.  It has been odd saying goodbye to Ed this morning as he has gone back to London. I don’t think that I will really miss him until it is comes to leaving this evening when I will be looking around for him!  I will be sad to say my goodbye to James as well, the friendly Ozzie that we met in Foz.  It has been so nice that we have all become such good friends.  Who knows when I will next see him again though?  Hopefully he will come over to the UK at some point; otherwise I will have to go all the way over there!  I am very much hoping that he will keep in touch via email as he is going on to do a lot more travelling of South America and I am looking forward to hearing about his experiences and also what he decides to do when he gets back home, if he ever does!!

Chloe and I went on a bus tour of the city yesterday, which was good.  The main part that I particularly enjoyed was going to a part of town called La Boca, which is where all of the multi-coloured houses are.  Well from the guide book and the amount that you hear about them you would have thought that they were all over the district.  That is not the fact the case!  Instead it is about one street that has them on, probably just for the tourists.  We went into all of the tacky tourist shops and I managed to find the most wonderful albums that I will put all of my South America pictures and bits and pieces in.  Not very cheap but they will look really good once I have finished.  (We took in such places as the Teatre Colon, which we had already been inside for the opera.  We saw Atilla and sat right up in the Gods.  The girls had to sit on one side and the boys on another and it was REALLY cramped.  They were standing seats only and so we were rather uncomfortable after a while!  We have no idea what on earth it was all bout as it was sung in Italian and translated into Spanish – neither of which we could speak!  Anyway we went as the acoustics are meant to be the best in the world out there.  It was built in 1908 and is thought to be one of the world’s finest performing arts venues and the largest theatre in the southern hemisphere until the construction of the Sydney Opera house in 1973.  La Boca was settled and built up by Italian immigrants along the Riachuelo which is a waterway that is lined with meat packing plants and warehouses that separates the warehouses from the rest of the city.  The bright colours come from the brightly painted houses and the corrugated metal roofs of the Caminito, which is a popular pedestrian walkway, and former rail terminal, which takes its name form a popular tango.  The Estadio Dr Camilo Cichero, known by its nickname – La Bombonera is the football stadium of Boca Juniors, which is the former club of Diego Maradonna.)  It is not a safe area at all and, seeing as I am going now I can tell you, Mum and Dad can’t get worried about me, why I didn’t leave the hostel for a couple of days.

When we first arrived there was an Irish guy that was staying in our dorm and he got robbed at knife point, against his windpipe, in the La Boca area, near to the football stadium andhad all of his stuff taken, I am not quite sure why he had so much stuff on him but it was a lot of money and his cards, plane ticket, passport, camera and walkman. (He was leaving that afternoon and took everything with him instead of leaving it in the hostel.)  It was because of that horror story that I was a little reluctant to go out for the first few days.  We have also heard about several other people that have been mugged and so on and I am glad, touch wood, that nothing like that happened to us here!

We all went out for supper last night to a really delicious restaurant to celebrate James’s birthday, which is actually next Tuesday.  We managed to get a cake with a candle in it for him, which he was really chuffed with.  There was a piano player already playing music and he suddenly turned it into “Happy Birthday” when they brought out the cake, it was all really well done and I think that he was really chuffed.  He certainly won’t forget it in a hurry!

So onwards then.  Last email from South America, wipe those tears away from your eyes everyone! Said goodbye to one and on Friday and we say HELLO to three complete strangers.  Excellent!  No I am really looking forward to meeting them, they sound really nice, well what I have heard of them so far! They are sweetly bringing out my post from Mum and Dad’s and No. 55, hopefully it won’t have been tampered with (by Mum and Dad, not the boys!)!

I have packed already, I managed to do it at about 1:30 last night and I have no idea how but I managed to have more room this time. I have given Ed a few things to take back for me, like my guidebooks that I don’t need and a few pressies.  Not sure who they are all for so don’t all get your hopes up!

Loads of love to one and all and I will let you know a.s.a.p. that I am A OK in New York as soon as I am awake enough to send you an email, I doubt that I will manage to sleep on the plane.  Oh well at least there will be more chance of having films in English on an American Airways plane!!

This is quite weird.  I am not sure that I really want to sign off; it is a little final for South America.  I hope that you have all enjoyed the journey so far.  I do have a favour; if anyone has saved all of my messages in their inbox I would really appreciate a copy of them all at some point.  Someone in the hostel was suggesting this to me; I can then remember anything that I might not have put in my diary.  If you could let me know by email as I don’t want loads of them and I will tell you soon if anyone has managed to do so!

Once again, love and hugs to all,

            Em

            Xxx

EM – yeah I moved at the end of last semester seeing as Charlotte is going I can now move into your group.  My teacher from school thought that I would be a better Key Stage 2 teacher and seeing as that is the second person that has said that too me I have decided to change.  Keep an eye out for Ileana, she is going to V2001 in Chelmsford though, I guess that you will be going to the one in Leeds.  I so hate you for seeing David Gray.

ED – Hopefully you will be safe and sound by the time that you get this.  Could you send the films that Chloe put in my rucksack back to me at my parents unless you were getting them developed first?  We couldn’t remember between us.  Gave the things to James.  You left the bread in his room.  Hope your flight back was ok and looking forward to hearing from you.

MUM AND DAD – Ed will be sending you some stuff of mine but he will probably address it to me.  Don’t open it as it has pressie inside and things that I don’t want you to peep at before I get back.  I will call you from the USA tomorrow.  I love you.

Don’t Cry For Me Argentina?!

Dear All,

            Oh my god you would have been SO proud of me, I actually ventured outside today, rather begrudgingly I have to say, but all the same, I made it outside!!  We went to see the mass cemetery in a part of town called Recoleta.  It is where Eva Doarte’s tomb is and the rest of her families.  The cemetery is full of mausoleums for all families and it is like walking around a mini town.  The smell in some areas, it has to be said is fairly unpleasant and of course it took a while to find the actual thing.)  I t was all pretty moving in general.  (Cementerio de la Recoleta was started in 1822 and holds many families of the upper class in Buenos Aires and it was not the first place that Eva Peron’s body lay after her death.  It first lay in an obscure cemetery in Milan then moved to her exiled husband’s house in Madrid before returning to Buenos Aires in 1974.  Juan Peron does not lie in this cemetery but instead across town which is far less exclusive called Chacarita which was openined in the 1870’s to accommodate the yellow fever victims of San Telmo and La Boca.)

In the afternoon we went ot a place called Plaza de Mayo where bloody vicious pidgeons attacked me, this one in particular kept following me around.  I have to say that I got really freaked out by it.  I can now see where my friend Caroline from Uni has her fear of birds!  We went to this square as it is here at 3:30pm every Thursday that the mothers of the Plaza de Mayo campaign for a full account of the Dirty War atrocities.  You will all need more info on that as I doubt many of you are aware of what happened in this city from 1976-1982.  Many females at the time were thrown in jail and their husbands were thrown into the sea.  Many of these women gave birth in prison or had small children and they all mysteriously disappeared and it is thought that some of the children were given to military families and so on.  So there are many confused children and desperate parents in this part of the world.  That is a rubbish explanation I know, but I am not too sure about the finer details either and I am going to try and get a book and read more about it on my return, so in time I am sure that I will be able to tell you all more about it!  (In the centre of the Plaza lies the Piramide de Mayo, which is a small obelisk that covers an earlier monument.  At the east end of the Plaza is the Casa Rosada which is the Presidential Palace and it is from this balcony that Juan and Eva Peron (and many other politicians) made speeches to try and rally public support.)

Chloe and I then did some window – shopping and I got a couple of English books as I have already finished the five that I brought out ages ago!  And now, I am en route to the hostel.  Ed has the key unfortunately and so I wont be able to get to all of my stuff for a while.  Darn I keep forgetting about it.  I can write my postcards for a while though and that will keep me busy and occupied!  There is a bbq going on that everyone is organising at the hostel this evening.  I am going to have the pasta that I brought last night and then join them as it should be a good laugh.   

I am meeting a random relative tomorrow afternoon and I am quite looking forward to that I have to say.  We are going to get her to take us to a good place for presie shopping and Chloe and I quite want to look into getting a gold charm and we hope that she will be able to help us out with that too.

That’s all for now.  Hope all is well with all of you.

            Loads of love to one and all,

            Em

            Xxx

HELEN – sorry have not had any emails, I managed to put your address in with an a!

ILEANA – Where the bloody hell are you?  I am still worried.

MUM AND DAD – Love you!

ELENA – Happy birthday for tomorrow!

Buenos Aires

Dear All,

Well here I am in the last country on the list in South America. What a strange thought. Colonia was a bit of a sleepy seaside town and we had a bit of trouble trying to find some accommodation. The first hotel that we tried was full, the next one we tried there was no answer and the final one had turned into a restaurant! In there we were offered a bed in a family home which we could not turn down really as we were at the end of our tethers as it was pouring with rain and we were tired and fed up of carrying the bloody rucksacks. The owner kept on talking to us in Spanish and as soon as we told him that we didn’t understand he carried on blabbering away. Very amusing! (A Portugese man called Nanoel Lobo founded Colonia in 1680. It is in an important position being so close to Buenos Aires and as a result there are plans in the pipe line to build a huge bridge over to Argentina’s capital but it has been given much criticism on economic, environments and social grounds. There is a 19th century lighthouse, which you can go up, only on weekends though from 10:30 until noon, odd timings but there we go! There are some Jesuit ruins here and so as we didn’t get round to going to the ones in Argentina that we saw that adverts for back in Foz we felt fine having seen these!)

Boat journey over here was very quick and we had our bags on our knees the whole way as we didn’t realise that you had to check your bags in.

Ed and I are in one hostel that is just what I expect of a hostel, mass dorms and loads of friendly people. (El Hostal de San Telmo, 43006899, Carlos Calvo 614, 1102, Buenos Aires, Argentina) Chloe didn’t want to stay in a dorm and they had no rooms anywhere else so she is on her own around the corner. James, the Ozzie, is around the corner the other way and we have left a message with his hostel, as he was out when we popped around earlier.

Hoping to catch up with him later.

Better go, have no pesos and I am on a tab with Ed at the mo and I don’t want to go over my limit!

Loads of love to one and all and I hope to hear from you all soon,

Em

Xxx

HELS – Thank you for the updates. Oohh how scheming! Wish I was there watching it. Wish Phil all the best for his results.

MUM – tell me more, how much, how long? You know what I am talking about!

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Gustavo Poyet

Dear All,

Odd title you may think. Sadly Chelsea has sold the star player that originates from this country but all the same I am still on the look out, I have seen no sightings though!!!

Bus journey, I am sure you will be glad to hear, was MUCH more comfortable than any of the others that I have previously been on. I even managed to get about an hours sleep, so I felt well rested when we arrived!! We had our bags checked at the border, was not pleased as all of my stuff would have taken HOURS to squeeze back in. Luckily they saw nothing and it was all over very quickly. Ed was worried as he had his gay porn in his bag and had not checked out what Uruguay thinks about such things, luckily it was not spotted, he was VERY pale for a while though!!! (it was quite a funny moment – I think that you had to be there though!) They were basically looking for any fresh food, so Chloe was not happy that they took all of her fruit: Luckily my choccie stash does not count as fresh food – phew!

Arrived in Montevideo this morning and it was like a ghost town being very early on a Sunday morning. It was most bizarre. It has very Eastern European like qualities which, of course, I rather like! We have a room to the three of us again and we are almost all in one bed! (Hotel Palacio tel 9163612, Bartolome Mitre 1364, Montevideo, Uruguay) We are going to take timer photos of us all in bed this evening which I am sure will cause much hilarity and the rest of the occupants will probably wonder what on earth we are all doing as I don’t imagine that the walls are very thick! We have a large balcony so Chloe has had some room to skip twice today and it gives us great views out over the port and some of the town. We have a brass double bed and antique furniture in the room, quite a hotel that we managed to spy in the book, I have to say! (Montevideo is the capital of Uruguay and about half of the country’s population live here – 3.2 million. The port links the country with the rest of the world. Plaza Independencia was the closest tourist site to the hotel in the centre of it is the Mausoleo de Artigas at which an honour guard keeps a 24 hour watch (except there was no-one there when we first arrived!) it is topped by a 17m 30 ton statue of the country’s independence hero. On one edge of the square was the Palacio Salvo that was the continents tallest building when it opened in 1927 with 26 storeys and is still the tallest in the city. It was from here that British agents spied on the German destroyer Graf Spee that was then at anchor in the harbour. We didn’t see masses of the city as it was a weekend and so everything was deserted.)

Seeing as the computer is making so much noise it feels like it is about to explode I had better sign off now, also the connection is really slow and I am paying well over the odds.

Love and hugs to one and all as always, missing all of you,

Em

Xxxx

CHRISTOPH LAMBIE PIE – so good to hear from you sweetie and your flood situation out in China. Glad that you are still in the land of the living. Looking forward to chatting when we both return. Have a great time travelling and keep in touch – preferably more often than you have!!!

ILE BABES – UNDE ESTE DRAGA???? CE MAI FACI? I am worrying, get in touch

LAURA – Glad you are still living the highlife up in the smoke. Camden market sounds just like my scene must go up there one day. (Preferably with and empty wallet and no plastic!)

BATS – Waitrose mag, if any articles get put in let Mum know and she will go and buy it for me!

HANS – have a wicked time in Canada. Look forward to hearing more about you on your return.

TOM – Did I already send you a personal one? Can’t remember if it went or not. Glad that you got the card and that the party went well.

ALEX – good to hear from you. I love Sinaia. Enjoy your cousin’s wedding; take some photos of you all dressed up.

ERICA – I am not back in bath until the end of Fresher’s weeks, not sure how jet lagged I will be on the weekend of it. Give me a bell though and leave a message on my answer machine and I will call or pop in or whatever to see how you are. Enjoy the rest of your time out in Romania. Lucky girl!

NEDDY – have a good flight to Taiwan; let me know you arrived safe and sound!

HELLS BELLS – News on the court case my love?? How is it looking, is he going down or is Phil getting caught out?

That’s all folks!

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The Last

Ha ha so you thought that this was the last of the dull round robin emails from me, well I am afraid that you are wrong.  This is the last email that you will be getting from Brazil.

We are in Porto Alegre, which is near the bottom of Brazil.  I have seen practically nothing of the city as once again I did not sleep on the night bus and so I spent most of yesterday in bed and relaxing and doing things that I wanted to do and generally having some me time. (Hotel Uruguai tel. 2287864, Rua Dr Flores 371, Porto Alegre, Brazil)   It is quite hard to go from living on your own and doing what ever you want whenever you want, to travelling with two other people.  I am coping quite well.  Even after my little sleep I was exhausted though.

We went out last night for supper in a really nice restaurant that was recommended to us by a tour guidey personey.  We couldn’t find it so we went to a pizzeria, which was delicious but not really very suitable for Chloe.  She had two salads though and was still hungry, not a lot we could do about that I’m afraid.  We then moved on to a place called Strike.(Strike 410, Rua Cristiano do Patricinio, Porto Alegre, Brazil)  It is a bowling alley come nightclub in one and it was mentioned in my Lonely Planet, so we felt that we must go.  It was the most incredible place.  The bowling was done under ultra violet light and was brill.  There was a karaoke there too and pool and a live band and a dance floor separate to the live music that played the most appalling music that Ed and Chloe had a bop to – not my scene at all.

In Buenos Aires we have James booking us tickets for the opera, which I am really looking forward to.  I have no idea which one it is though!

We are going to watch Almost Famous in the cinema this afternoon, like now actually, so I had better hurry!  We are catching the bus to Montevideo this evening and have left our bags at the station, saves us breaking our backs carrying them around all day!

Well I had better go now or I am going to be late!

Love to one and all, 3 weeks in and I am missing everyone sooooooo much!

BIG HUGS

Em

Xxxx

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