Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Let the Games Begin

Is tomorrow really June 1! Where the heck did May go? I realized I haven't posted in a few weeks, but life has been so crazy busy I haven't had a free moment to sit and write. Sorry to all my readers out there who have been waiting patiently.  As many of you know, back in November I started playing volleyball with a team of athletes from all parts the world. Our regular season is over, but we were invited to play in the Scottish Volleyball Open tournament this past weekend in Perth, Scotland. I haven't played in a proper volleyball tournament since 2002, so I was so excited and nervous to see what the weekend had in store for us. 

As stated on their website, "The Scottish Open Volleyball Tournament is the largest annual volleyball tournament in Great Britain and attracts over 1000 players from around the world. It is for all standards of player from recreational, district league and national league level who play on our 36 outside courts on the North Inch, a large parkland setting in the centre of Perth. However, there are the Divisions of Honour for world class players who compete in the adjacent Bells Sports Centre on 5 championship standard indoor courts. The tournament not only attracts teams from around the United Kingdom but we have also had teams from Russia, America, Czech Republic, Poland, Australia, Belgium, France, Italy, Netherlands, Eire, Venezuela and the Faroes." 

 When we arrived to the tournament we walked through the camp site, but since we were playing indoors we stayed down the road at the Holiday Inn. Thank goodness for the Holiday Inn because it was too cold for me to want to sleep outside in a tent on the ground! 

The spirit outside was a lot different than the volleyball going on inside the sports centre. Outside teams dressed in theme clothing, including a team of doctor's in their scrubs, lifeguards from bay-watch, and my personal favourite team where's waldo. In between our matches it was fun to come outside for a bit of fresh air and sun to watch these teams play. 

Our team played in the Women's Division of Honour. There were players from all over the world including a team from the USA! (yes we loss to them but hey- if we had to lose I am glad it was to my fellow American's) 

Our team played in a great facility, the Bells Sports Centre. 

And since we aren't spring chickens any more, most of our down time consisted of stretching and taping up our broken bodies. We could hardly walk on Sunday afternoon, but I guess 7 volleyball matches in 2 days will do that to anyone. 

We ended up making it to the semi-finals, but were so exhausted after 6 games we didn't make it onwards to the final match. Even though we lost, the weekend was such a blast and I can't wait to go back next year if we are invited to play!  Love my NUVOC Tigers! 

Until next time, I will see you on the internet. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

An American Picker with a Dog Day Afternoon

This past weekend my friend Lynsey and I decided to check out a local antique fair in the Burgh. I was so excited to hear about this fair because as a kid my dad, who is a collector, would drag me along to auctions, yard sales, antique fairs, and flea markets. Many say, one's man junk is another man's treasure, and I am always on the look for treasures with a good deal attached. I am also a fan of the TV show American Pickers, and my dad and I always enjoy watching this together when I am home in the States. I am really looking forward to my visit back to the USA which is less than a month away! Something my dad always use to say is, "the early bird get's the worm," and I think Lynsey's dad also has this same philosophy because we were in the queue bright and early to be try and get the best bargains of the day. 

I really had to laugh at some of the items for sale. 

I think this must have been made before it was discovered that smoking was a carcinogenic. 

Lysney and I had a good laugh with the vintage clothing. I was wondering who in their right mind would ever wear the polka dotted pants in the picture below. 

I was having a good time playing with some of the vintage hats and hater blockers. All classy girls need a hot pink feathered hat, don't they?!

Then I stumbled upon the music man's stall, I was pretty excited as you can imagine. 

My dad has a few train collections, and I kept thinking how much he would have loved the old train car's. This picture is for you dad! 

This union jack chair is awesome, simply said. If I had a bigger flat, I would have bought it. One day....

Apparently the UK has their own version of Antiques Road Show called Bargain Hunt. They were actually filming and episode when we were there, so Lynsey and I nonchalantly walked in front of the camera a few times. If anyone watches this show, and see's us on TV please let me know! 

I only bought one item that day, but I think it was a great find. I am a HUGE Beatles fan, and as soon as I saw this I couldn't even keep a poker face to negotiate. The lady who was selling it could see how excited I was when I picked it up, and she gave me a great deal! Her junk was definitely my treasure that day. 

Both Lynsey and I were super excited because we had noticed a sign on the way to the antique fair that read "Dog Show," so since we're both dog lovers we had to check it out. Some of the dogs were so cute, while others needed some help. This little guy was naked! 

Dogs are so funny with their expressions! I love the black one's smile, he was so friendly. 

This guy needed a little nip/tuck action. 

This was my favourite dog from the day,  Baxter a 7 month old Clumber Spaniel. How cute is this little guy?!

Some of the faces on the dogs were priceless. It made me miss my dogs at home, but luckily we will be reunited in a few weeks! 

Overall it was so great to have a fun Sunday searching for treasures and then playing with dogs. I never know what awaits me in the Burgh, but I sure loving living here! 

Until next time, I will see you on the internet. 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Jailbreak from the Straight Life

In 1976, the legendary Bon Scott wrote a song titled, "Jailbreak" which was featured on the album Dirty Deeds Done Dirt cheap by AC/DC.  I recently learned that Scott regarded this single as one of his best songs ever written because of the metaphor the song uses for life. According to Clint Walker, who wrote a biography on this legendary musician, the term jail was being used as a blunt metaphor for the "straight life." For those of you who follow my blog, you know my life has been a bit off the "straight life" path for a while now and things have been quite crooked. But crooked in a good way. The past nine months have been a roller coaster ride, moving to Scotland, starting a new job, and especially in the past 2 months. Spain, Ireland, Portugal, and Morocco, life has been so adventurous recently. And the past 36 hours was definitely a jailbreak from my day to day life in the burgh.  Now some of you may remember back in March I traveled with my friend Lynsey to Dublin to celebrate St. Patrick's day. While there, I met a crazy german joker who introduced himself as Shaggy Shamrock. Some of you jokingly call him Sven, and others refer to him Rawlf, but I like to simply call him the German. Since Dublin, the German and I have kept in touch and discovered that we have a lot in common, one being our passion for music. And not just music, but rock and roll.  I like to think I am pretty educated on the topic of music. I grew up in a household with 6 jukeboxes playing songs from all eras; thanks to my dad! So when the German told me about this AC/DC Live at River Plate show in London, a world premier event, I knew I had to enter to try and win tickets to the show.  So I entered and as luck would have it, I won! Of the thousands of people who entered to try to win tickets, this American girl won.

I got the email last Wednesday, and let me tell you, I don't think I have been that excited in quite some time. But not just because I would get to see AC/DC in one of the greatest venue's off all time, the Hammersmith Apollo in London, but because I was able to share this experience with a true die hard AC/DC fan. So just 72 hours after returning from Morocco, I returned to the airport and hopped a flight to London for the premier show Friday night.  And as I walked out of the gate, and saw the German standing there with a sign he made with my name on it, I knew at that moment I was in for one crazy 36 hour trip.
After a quick drop and go of my bag at the hotel, we headed to a pub right around the corner of the Apollo to meet some other die hard AC/DC fans. There were Italians, Germans, Australians, Scotts, Irish- people representing from all parts of the world. There was even a girl who had flown in that morning from Canada just to see the world premier. Before I knew it, we were heading to the theatre where fans packed the outside of the Apollo trying to get a glimpse of the rock legends themselves. The atmosphere was electric, and I was loving every minute of it. 

Then into the theatre we went where the band came on stage to introduce the film, after a quick message from their friend Ozzy Osbourne. The next two hours were spent rocking out to the Live at River Plate show. It was awesome! The Angus Young solo which was 15 minutes of him sleighing the guitar was some of the best talent I have ever seen by a musician. I was honored to be in the same room as him. Before I knew it, the show was over, so it was time to reunite with more fans for a night out on the town. 

The German had decided that he would plan our Saturday's itinerary, and I wasn't allowed to know any details of the plan. Even though I spent a lot of time nagging to find out any information I could get, he wouldn't speak a word of what I was in store for. This drove me a bit crazy, but I was pretty impressed he could keep the secret. Finally on Saturday morning, he got out the ipod and started playing Bohemian Rhapsody.  I have another rock and roll love affair with the band Queen, specifically the legendary Freddy Mercury, and as Freddy belted out, I was presented with a print out of two tickets to the musical We Will Rock You. I have seen a lot of musicals in my day, but this by far was the best, and I would see it again in a minute. If any readers out there are traveling through London and looking for a musical, see this one. It's like being at a rock concert.
After the musical we spent some time wandering the streets of Soho where we stumbled upon a few vintage music stores. Then we found the best hater blockers in the city!

We even took a rickshaw ride through the district, checking out chinatown,  until grabbing some drinks and heading to a local park to just sit, enjoy the weather, and people watch. It was a fabulous day.

 Unfortunately as the sun started to set, I knew I had to be up at 3:45am to catch a night bus to make it all the way to London Gatwick, so I could make it back to the Burgh for work today. As we said our goodbyes, in the early hours of the morning, I was sad to see the whirlwind end, but am ready for the 18th of May when the German will be visiting the Burgh. Top weekend in London, no doubt about it!
 Until next time, I will see you on the internet. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Camels Anyone?

Today the girls and I decided to take the road less traveled and headed out into the desert right outside of Marrakech. We were looking forward to our camel expedition since we have arrived, but were worried about the weather. It has been raining on and off for the past two days, but this afternoon the sun came out in perfect timing as we were getting to the camel camp. 

When I envision a desert, I don't envision trees. However, it was pretty cool to see the North African desert of Marrakech. 

We had a lovely family of camels to take us on our adventure. 

And of course, I had to take a video.

My camel was named Stan. He was the male of the group. 

Stan the Man

His baby was called J-Lo. She was one year old and followed behind us the entire trip. 

I was really enjoying taking video's of the excursion. 

 Our camel excursion lasted over an hour. I was getting bored, so I decided to mix things up a bit. I rode my camel on my knees...

And on my back....

and on my front....

somehow I even got turned around at one point.

Towards the end of the trip, we had to share the main road with a taxi. A heard of camels riding along the highway, nothing new for Morocco. 

The three of us were loving every minute of the ride. We couldn't stop laughing. Camel rides are pretty bumpy, but I would definitely recommend trying it once. We are back to the Burgh tomorrow, so it was a great way to end our Moroccan Adventure. 

Until next time, I will see you on the internet.