motetus: (art / film camera)
I would make a boring and terrible travel writer, so my three weeks in the USA are going to summarised in a handful of photos, with minimal droning on. And a couple of sketchbook pages, except those are entirely unrelated to anything I saw on holiday, because I refuse to pretend to be a Proper Artist.

San Francisco to Portland, Hawaii )
motetus: (art / film camera)
Am back from Budapest and Vienna! Not that I was ever that far away from LJ because I did have some internet access, and good thing too seeing as how productive my beloved little Eagle fandom was last week.

The good: Budapest was gorgeous at night but it was Vienna I really, really loved, even if it did make a mockery of my intended budget. But I was good! I did not buy either the giraffe-skin coat nor the outrageously expensive but delicious-looking chocolate truffles. I got my fill of museums there (maybe not so much art as I would have liked, but Wife is trying to talk me into going to Florence later this year for a long weekend), got to see the Venus of Willendorf, and visited a very lovely little Roman museum where I squealed audibly at all the Mithras carvings.

The not-so-good: My god, the weather. TOO HOT. "No Wife, Istanbul is going to be far too warm this time of year! Let's go somewhere in Europe instead, I'm sure it will be much cooler." Ahahaha. At least the Turks know what air-con is; the B&B in Vienna didn't even have a fan, and lying in a puddle of your own sweat listening to the drunk people on the street below and your neighbours having very loud, very enthusiastic sex, while amusing, isn't that much fun when you find yourself doing it at 3am.

Also, and I blame this on the heat making me only able to think GET INTO SHADE FIND BEER/ICE-CREAM, I lugged the beast of a camera everywhere yet I took exactly 27 photos, none of which I'm particularly proud of, so you are all spared the tedium of my holiday snaps. I think from now on, for city breaks I'm only going to take my smaller and lighter film camera. God, I sound like I'm complaining way too much. It was fun, really!

Oh wait, I lied. Here, to prove I haven't entirely forgotten about this meme, here's another of those 30 photos things. Totally fake tilt-shift photo of the view from Budapest's St. Stephen's Basilica (boring photo? JUST USE PHOTOSHOP), and believe me when I say that after a full day of non-stop walking up hills, climbing a million steps is not the best way to cool down. Nice views of the city though.



P.S. I will spare you all my ranting because I think you may have heard it all before, but I would like to point out my new tag. ARGH.
motetus: (rome / atia)
Hooray, wife and I have finally booked our holiday this year - a week split between Budapest and Vienna, leaving next week. Not my favourite time of year to travel but we didn't have much choice, having discovered that once you are financially stable and can afford to travel without having to stay in the dirtiest dodgiest backpacker hostels you can find, you just can't get the time off work. Anyone who knows of things to do in either of those places, please advise me for I have no clue. I just picked Budapest after googling Hungarian food and getting peckish.

But yes, holiday! I AM GOING TO GO HAVE FUN AND NOT THINK ABOUT HOW SHITTY MY MASTERS IS TURNING OUT.

However, I need to rewatch this to calm myself down after the horror of all the extra charges Jet2 springs on you. £33 for one item of checked baggage and then another £30 to check it in! EACH WAY. Thieving fucktards, you're not getting that from me. I will only take carry-on and will wash my knickers in my hotel sink just to spite you.



And, and, and, the weekend after we get back from that I am going down to Oxford to meet up with [livejournal.com profile] ainsoph15 for Old Roman Shit and Boozing, then two weeks after that it's up to Scotland to be fed Nutella crepes by [livejournal.com profile] goblin_dae and gush over her new little terror kitten!

My, it's almost like I have a social life.
motetus: (films / kinsey)
[livejournal.com profile] temve and [livejournal.com profile] shrieking_ell's wedding was the BEST WEDDING EVER and they really are a ridiculously adorable pair. Thank you both for such a wonderful evening, I enjoyed myself so much that I may have even committed dancing (dancing! I never dance!). I also had a lovely time getting to know [livejournal.com profile] lea_ndra[livejournal.com profile] raina_at and spes_unica who before Saturday I've only ever known as names on other people's LJs and were really awesome people. [livejournal.com profile] franzi1981, I am so embarrassed that my introduction consisted of me blurting out hello and then stumbling away. If I had been more sober, I really would have tried harder!

[livejournal.com profile] goblin_dae and I managed to successfully navigate Frankfurt for a few days and avoided getting into too much trouble. We even escaped the human trafficking trade! (no really, we were in line for train tickets to the airport when this guy asked us if we wanted to share a car with him to somewhere like Essen, and our first thoughts really were - Taken!) Aside from going through a lot of awesome German food, ice-cream and beer, we visited the archaeological museum, a Roman fort with [livejournal.com profile] the_little_owl who makes the best ever tour guide/translator, and the zoo. I won't bore you with all my zoo photos (and the Roman ones are all ones I only took for more Eagle art references), but here is a thoughtful-looking gorilla )

- Also this weekend I found out that a) it is not advisable to put contacts in after chopping up a massive amount of bird's eye chilies, and b) neither should you try to rinse your eye out with what you thought was just normal saline contact lens solution, but was actually the stuff with hydrogen peroxide in it. OW. I'm surprised I still have eyeballs left. But if you're trying to come up with a 28 Days Later zombie costume on the cheap, it's very effective.

- Dear Germans, please feel free to take over the UK whenever you want. Häagen-Daz cafes at train stations? YES PLEASE.

- Goats! I love goats and I GOT TO PET GOATS. What lovely animals they are with their adorable beards, little butty horns and precious bleating noises. WHERE ARE MY GOATS [livejournal.com profile] goblin_dae, I WANT MY GOATS, AAAAALLLLL THE GOATS.

- The wife reminded me just why I tolerate him and baked a huge chocolate cake for me to return to. ♥ ♥ ♥
motetus: (batman / batslash)
Am off to Frankfurt with [livejournal.com profile] goblin_dae today for a long weekend and the Big Fat Lesbian Pirate Wedding experience of the decade. OH GOD, WHERE IS MY PASSPORT?

And to make sure I do not have a repeat of the humiliating experience that occurred the last time I was there, which neither the wife nor my three dearest friends get tired of reminding me about, let me just make sure I've got that essential phrase memorised:

EINE FAHRKARTE NACH FRANKFURT, BITTE
EINE FAHRKARTE NACH FRANKFURT, BITTE
EINE FAHRKARTE NACH FRANKFURT, BITTE
EINE-

Fuck it, I'll just just get Goblin to do all the speaking for me. I hope she's written down the important words we'll need like "beer", "crepes" and "please help us, there is a man in our hostel room who is asking us about lesbian threesomes while masturbating."

See you on Saturday, all you lovely people who will be there!
motetus: (food / dumplings)
The last batch!

At the heart of the medina is the Djemma El Fna, the main square and marketplace. During the day the square doesn't look busy or impressive at all, just orange juice stalls and people trying to earn money by posing for tourist photos - water sellers in their traditional red costumes, snake charmers and men dragging about chained Barbary apes (who got a very curt response from me when they tried to get me to pose with them). I hate being pestered for money (and I never seemed to have any coins on me), so I didn't try to take photos of any of them. At night though, the place really starts to get lively. Food stalls are set up and the square gets filled up with storytellers, beggers, henna artists, dancers and musicians. Who also harass you for money if you look at them, let alone take photos.


The Djemaa El Fna and the souks )

Uh, so when I said my massive photospam was almost over, I neglected to mention that I took the camera along to the Lake District this weekend, and we actually had really nice weather (though I don't have a huge amount of photos, because some people were more interested in beer than long walks). You'll have a short breather of a few days while I attempt to master Photoshop's HDR function and try to produce photos that don't look as if I do my post-processing while taking LSD.
motetus: (nature / pink flower)
Not too far out of the old city is the Majorelle garden, a pretty little place designed by a colonial-era French artist and once owned by Yves Saint Laurent. It's small but very peaceful away from the noise of the rest of the city and is filled with yellow and cobalt blue pots, and a blue art deco villa. Also enjoyable if you've got a cactus fetish.


Lots of planty things )
motetus: (food / tea)
Here's the first lot of photos - I'm going to be that boring relative at family reunions who insists on sharing their thousands of holiday snaps, I'm afraid.

I'm a little disappointed by the photos I took - or rather, didn't take. The most interesting subjects weren't the buildings but the people there, but because I don't have the balls nor the charm required for street photography (and I took just my Giant Vacuum Cleaner lens, which is has neither the long focal length or the size to be stealthy) I didn't take any portraits. And judging from the response of the locals to other tourists sticking their cameras at them, I'm glad I didn't try to.


The medina - the fortified old city )
motetus: (rome / niobe)
Just back from five days in Marrakech spent trying to not be run over by every motorbike, bicycle and donkey in the city. I have hundreds of photos to process and sort, but here's a teaser (nicely fitting into one of those photo prompts) while I'm waiting for the hot water to heat up and finally wash all the dirt and grime off me.

Ben Youssef Medersa:



Oh, and on a completely unrelated note, I got news that my paper from St. Andrews (okay, I am first author on it but I didn't write a single word, just contributed some data, so I feel a fraud calling it mine but my ego likes it) got accepted by a very good journal. Aw, I feel like a proper little scientist now.

(until I go into the lab tomorrow and realise my work is going nowhere and cry)
motetus: (travel / hierapolis)
What I should be doing is looking up what to do in Marrakech, but no, I've decided I want to go to Syria instead.

Some reasons why )

Who wants to come along with me? I'll pack sandwiches.
motetus: (games / raccoon mario)
The postdoc who works on my project emailed me from her conference in Australia telling me that everyone she speaks to is very impressed with my "dedication and enthusiasm for this protein." I'm fairly certain that by "protein" they mean "lost cause."

Still, I'm not feeling sorry for myself about how work is going. I also had an email from my RAF friend who is currently in Afghanistan. She's been spending her days airlifting kids who were hit by IEDs - little 7-year-old girl lost her leg. Puts things into perspective, doesn't it?

-

Somehow I've ended up with a busy few months ahead - in a good way. I've got a weekend in Glasgow seeing uni friends next week, 4 days in Marrakech in October (the proper honeymoon!), a weekend at a cottage in the Lake District with school friends in November, and a weekend visiting [livejournal.com profile] goblin_dae in December. There were even plans to visit my aunt in Warsaw over Christmas, but flights weren't quite cheap enough. I'll probably be broke by the end of the year but who cares, it all sounds like fun. :D
motetus: (food / dim sum)
Well, feeling much better and back to sleeping normally (now that the holiday is mostly over, har). I'm doing what Singapore is best for: eating masses of food, lazing around waiting for the next mealtime, then eating masses of food. I am going to have such painful cravings for hawker stall food when I go back.

The final wedding party is over and done with, hurrah. This one was probably the least fun of them all - the most entertaining part was watching my very drunken brother (currently a rancher on a cattle farm in Australia, soon to be a trolley dolly for British Airways - interesting career path) try to hit on my cousin's underage friend. That was certainly better than when he started telling me about his other sexual conquests in graphic detail. What is wrong with my family?

So, onto the obligatory photo part of this post. )
motetus: (films / renton)
Okay, 10 days of jet lag is getting ridiculous. I'm not even still stuck on UK time, I'm just unable to sleep for more than 4 hours at a time. And then I picked up a wretched cold which hasn't helped - between that and the sleep deprivation (and the puking up purple liquid - not quite sure what caused that) I've felt completely out of it ever since I left the UK. I've been living off painkillers, decongestants and strepsils, and tonight I'm adding sleeping tablets to the mix, plus antihistamines when I get back to Singapore. Ah, I love drugs. :D

I need a holiday after this holiday. Do I sound like a whiny little bitch if I say I'm not really enjoying this trip very much? And why are the wife and I not on holiday somewhere pleasant by ourselves like every other normal newlywed couple? Ah well, back to Singapore tomorrow. I can eat myself better, at least.

We did get to spend a couple of days in the city center, but the combination of rain and feeling crappy meant I only ended up with a handful of unoriginal photos. I'm still inflicting them on you though. )
motetus: (x-files / scully)
...where I am bored out of my mind. I hate doing nothing on holiday, and my camera is sulking because I've only taken it out once this week. But we've spent enough time with family now to be able to escape - tomorrow we'll take a train down to the city and spend it wandering around, taking photos and trying not to keel over and fall asleep in the street.

Ah yes, sleep. Bloody jet lag, a week should be long enough for it to go away and leave me alone. Mind you, the wife and I didn't exactly help by taking a nap this afternoon, sleeping through the alarm and waking up four hours later. Tonight should be fun.

Oh, and I've discovered I'm allergic to something at the house we stayed in in Singapore, and the symptoms are still hanging around after a few days in Australia. Which is odd, because I've made it to 25 without ever being allergic to anything.

Anyway, here's a couple of photos from our wander around Singapore's city center. I could do without the heat there (winter in Australia is lovely however, but I do wish I had packed at least one jumper) but the food makes it worthwhile. I introduced the wife to roti prata and he now fully understands why I've been bitching about not being able to get it in the UK for the past 6 years.



(not pictured: her older German partner who was wearing the most amazing pair of lime green trousers. Wish I'd got a photo of him, he was quite impressive)

3 more )

P.S. A very happy belated birthday to [livejournal.com profile] sue_chose_this! Hope your day was lovely.
motetus: (batporn)
(it's nearly over, I promise!)

Cappadocia )


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