An Aussie in London
Moscow and Yuri the Speed Freak
'I'm not flying Aeroflot and that's it. Bugger the expense Paul. End of conversation'.
And so our seventh morning in Russia began.
After a little more than half a year of living off my limited cunning, some fairly rudimentary maps of South East Asia and an overdeveloped sense of smell, I was almost at the home of my forefathers. The thieving bastards! Six months of bartering, dubious personal hygiene, baksheesh and Nasi Goering for breakfast had me longing for the familiarity of an English speaking country. Shit, New Zealand would have done. I had a problem though. A five foot two Welsh, ex-girlfriend in the midst of a bad hair week, who, as it panned out, had watched one to many documentaries on Russian air safety.
'It's a morning flight kiddo, surely the vodka wont kick in till after we're safely on the tarmac. May even help', I offered optimistically.
'Paul', when in the mood she had a way of saying my name that could coax me from a coma, 'if you make me fly Aeroflot, that's the end of anything we've ever had'.
'Bite me', I thought, but didn't say.
Never mind the fact that I owed Lithuania's current account deficit to VISA and had yet to invent a resume that could fool the masses, Aeroflot was now out of the equation and in effect another hundred and fifty pounds had just been added to my spiraling debt. I rang KLM, then made a mental note to start authority classes as soon as I had the nerve.
After a breakneck trip from Moscow's Hotel Rossiya to the airport with Yuri the speed freak who dabbled in taxi driving and speaking a mound of crap, we discovered our flight had been delayed by an hour. To add a diarrhea icing to the dog log cake, we were now going via Amsterdam. A night of hallucinogenic cigarettes, scantily clad women, canals, daffodils and clogs held merit. But four hours spent tantalising close to the debauchery of Europe's capital of sin was a kick in the cod piece. I consoled myself in the knowledge that Schipol had a casino, spent the remaining hundred and fifty pounds in my wallet on two toasted cheese and tomato sandwiches, a beer with freaky writing and a newspaper that offered more than just pictures to hold my attention.
The bleakness of my predicament started to hit home. Life on the road was hours away from being a memory and the inevitability of a new home away from home held more anxieties than hopes. My meager belongings were now on their way to the belly of a Boeing, I was probably seven or eight hours from Heathrow and then, who knew what. I had to a find a job, accommodation, money for a non-tropical wardrobe, a new stable of friends and an attitude to match. I wanted to sleep, but I had a plane to catch.
23 Photos Of London Photo of the Day
2014 marks 60 years since the first appearance of the iconic Routemaster, five years since the launch of the RT-type bus and 100 years since the B-Type, the world's first mass produced motor buses, were converted into 'Battle Buses' to carry soldiers to the frontline during the First World War.read the article...
For many young Australians the draw to the United Kingdom is undeniable. For more and more Aussie kids it's becoming a rite of passage. Something Mum and Dad did back in the 80s and 90s. They make their plans, spurred on by tales of Antipodean share houses and bar jobs, of weekends in Paris and trips to Munich for Oktoberfest or Pamplona for San Fermin.read the article...
"La Serenissima" — the "Most Serene Republic" which Truman Capote said is "like eating a box of chocolate liquers at one go." There's nothing like your first ride on the Grand Canal or your first view of the Veneto, the Venetian Lagoon, shrouded in mist. The city is unlike any place on Earth — a medieval Disneyland filled with the spirits of merchants and boatmen.read the article...
In Sydney, the largest, oldest, and most beautiful of Australia's cities, the monumental doesn't figure prominently. There are no great pyramids, no historic ruins, no monuments or buildings that warrant a tedious day of touring, except perhaps its Opera House and Harbour Bridge. But those two landmarks aside, it's Sydney's colourful neighbourhoods and their inhabitants that will give you the most enjoyment. And within the city's sprawling boundaries and its rugged hinterland, you'll find a microcosm of all Australia.read the article...
For the most part, the transition from Australia to the UK is usually fairly straightforward - apart from the stark contrast in weather of course. Culturally, the two countries share a great deal and then of course there is the convenience of a common language. You can count on some friendly banter between 'Poms' and 'Aussies' and generally Australians in the UK rarely feeling like outsiders.read the article...