European Tour Pictures

European Tour Part I: I now have some pictures from the European Tour Part I posted. Part I of the tour consisted of London, Windemere, Barrow in Furness, and Bracknell in England. I did work for my customer most of the time, except for the weekend, in which I proceded to get sick. However, sick as I felt, I still managed to see the countryside. Here are pictures of lakes, hills, friends, etc. which we saw while there.

European Tour Part II: European Tour Part II consisted of the Netherlands: Haarlem, Amsterdam, Edam and Zaans (where the windmills are). We visited various places in and around Amsterdam and I worked in Haarlem.

Greenville II

You know, this picture is kinda funny. There are only 12 gates at the airport, two baggage claim belts and a rental counter but there, in the middle of the baggage belts is this BMW Z4. Nothing else. Nothing to explain that all BMW Z and X series cars are manufactured in Greenville – and shipped back to Germany, no less.

I don’t have many pictures of Greenville as I have been working here from dark to dark. I haven’t seen much of the city except the road between the office and the hotel. And the local sushi restaurant.

Jet-Lagged

I’m back. I’ve been in the US for four or five days, but I still feel like I’m getting up way too early and getting sleepy way too soon. That’s what 3 weeks in Europe will get you. I wish it were more fun, but the trip’s over now.

I don’t like Amsterdam nearly as much as I liked England. Next time this customer calls me to go back, I’ll stay at a hotel closer to the work site in Haarlem and not even bother with Amsterdam. That city is way too crowded and just too gritty. Trams going everywhere at all hours, impossible one-way streets around and through the canals, the ubiquitous bicyclists… quite a dificult city to relax in. There was good food, though. While we were there, Laura and I had Thai, Indonesian, Italian, Greek, and even Dutch food. All was quite good.

For fun, we took some tours on the weekend to the countryside surrounding Amsterdam. We went to Edam and walked around the town (quite a lovely little place), then to a place where there were old windmills still working. We even got to go inside one while it was running. Then, we watched them make some wooden shoes and cheese. (We brought some cheese home with us, of course.) That night, we went out for “Museum Night”. It started at 7pm and went until 2am. For one fee, you could visit as many museums as you could manage, ride free trams and canal boats and go to the zoo and aquarium. We did as much as we could, but were exhausted by 2am.

On Sunday, we went to church at an English-speaking church in the attic of an old house in the city center. They had awesome music and there was even good food there (American style…). We got to hook up with one of Laura’s old classmates from SFA.

But: it’s really good to be back. This weekend was so relaxing. I never realize how much I miss home until I’ve been gone for so long. The only thing that kept me sane is that Laura was with me. Of course, now that I’m back, I’m gone again. I’m now in Greenville for the next few days until I come back to head back out again for Cozumel. But that… is another story!

Speaking of Changing…

Originally, my European Journey was to last through November 6th. However, I am now staying until the 13th.

England was beautiful. The leaves are changing color for the fall and the view is breathtaking. It was mostly sunny the entire time we were there. We saw friends in London and got to attend services at our favorite London church, London’s Victory. Laura also attended several meetings and events with them and others. We didn’t do much sight-seeing as I was working so late and it got dark so early.

So, for the weekend, we drove up to Cumbria to visit some more friends. That day, I happened to get sick with some sinus thing. Took me down a notch or two… We stayed in a little bed and breakfast (Laura was really craving the “Full English Breakfast” so she got one here!) where I tried to get lots of sleep and get well. Later in the morning, we went out to take a boat ride on the lake. Later, for dinner, we met with her friends Wayne and Cora and had good conversation and food. And found out that Wayne had just that day bought a new M3!

Sunday, after attending Wayne’s church, we drove to see more friends and then went back to the London area. Instead of taking 5 or 6 hours to return, it took us over 9. The traffic was awful. There was much road work…

We stayed out the remainder of our stay in England in a secluded manor house converted into a Hilton. I know where I’m staying next time! On Tuesday, we flew to Amsterdam and we’re here now. Not much has happened since then except me going to work…

I assume I’ll write more about the Netherlands later.

Ever-Changing Schedule

Hmmm. Why is it that when you make plans, they get changed by someone? This week’s work schedule has been set for some time. My expectations of what would happen have also been fairly accurate. Until tonight. Tonight, I expected to be here until 5am. I probably won’t be that late now. Why? Because these guys here are doing too good of a job! Too good, you say? Well, I checked out of my hotel this morning fully expecting not to sleep and to drive straight to the airport and fly home. However: they are finishing early which means, either I sleep here on the floor or go beg for my room back. Not that I’ll really have to beg … I hope.

I am ready for my trip to Europe. I have good, comfortable seat and Laura will be with me. We’re excited – this will be our second business trip together (last one was to California). We have lots of friends we’ll be going to see and just generally have some good visits.

I have just now printed out the maps of where I’m going to go. I was getting nervous about exactly where everything was…

I’m A Travel Junkie

I must be, or I wouldn’t be doing this job. This week, I flew to Orange County, CA again for the first half of the week. Then, I flew all day long on Wed. to get to Greenville, SC. Quite a long trip – 7am to 5pm or around there. I was in Greenville for two nights – one full day. Then, flew back home. Next week, I fly to Greenville for three days then leave Thursday to go to London and from London the next Thursday to Amsterdam and from Amsterdam the next NEXT Thursday, back home again. Nice, eh? As I said: I’m a travel junkie.

The good thing about this is that I will be bringing Laura with me. She will be having all kinds of fun while I work. Not only while I work, but while I work the night shift! Of course, this schedule means that we will have the weekend to relax and sight see. I think that I’ll be travelling constantly for the next month entirely.

74

74 hours. That’s what I worked last week. It was not fun. Way not fun. Sometimes, I wonder why I even do this job. But then, they’re supposed to send me to Europe which would make up for it. … unless they make me work another 70+ hour week… in which case I won’t even SEE Europe… I will only see the inside of an office building and then it will be dark. So much for my relaxing business trip to England.

Well, I’m hoping it’s not that bad. I’m anticipating that I can get a co-worker to come out with me so we can ‘share the pain’ (and the warm English beer…)

Anyway, I’m still tired from last week. I’m sure I’ll be going to sleep early for a few days this week. Of course, I will be travelling many thousands of miles this week: Houston to Orange County, CA to Greenville, SC and back to Houston. Quite a week. At least there’s no working ’till 5am this week.

Nice Weather

Well, I’m back in Houston for this week and will actually be working here for once. However, I don’t know where I’ll be after next week. I was supposed to travel to England for this project, but it doesn’t look like that will happen this soon. It will probably be two more weeks until that happens.

We just had a late lunch with Mike and Jason. The weather is so nice here: it feels like California, even. We ate outside which is something you can’t normally do here in Houston. It’s so nice, that I think I’m going to go out of my balcony and have a cigar. When I get to Cozumel, I’m sure Jason and I will be enjoying some Cubans… Well, maybe one or two. 😉

Mortality

Ever have one of those days where you really stop and think how fragile your situation in life really is? I’ve just heard about several layoffs in my group. It makes me truly grateful that I have a job. Yeah, sure I complain about it, but I’ve been working through the entire ‘recession’ and other hard times. I have to thank God that he’s lookin’ out for me – now, it’s ‘us’, too!

So, in the spirit of thankfulness, I would like to state my thanks to God for some of the simple things in my life:
1) My wife loves me. This totally rocks.
2) I have a job. Even when it sucks, I still get paid.
3) My cell phone is working today. You never realize how important this is until it’s taken away.
4) I have a cool house. Even though I have to climb up and down 4 floors, it’s still cool.
5) I’m slowly paying off my consumer debt. It was getting larger, but now it’s getting smaller!
6) I get to go diving this year. I didn’t last year, but God provided a way this year without increasing my debt.
7) I have cool friends.

Life is too short to be a whiner. (Talkin’ to myself there…)

Back To The Ole Drudge

Well, I’m back in California, this time without Laura. It was so nice having her here to see where I work, sleep, eat, etc. I could get used to that. We’re planning another trip out here in November if things stay the same with the schedule. Hopefully, they will. I’m also eagerly anticipating news on the possible work trip to the UK.

It’s a bit lonely out here without her.

I’m researching potential dive gear for our next dive outing and have decided on going with Poseidon regulators. These seem to be the choice of equipment for cave divers and since I’m headed that direction and need to upgrade my equipment (slowly over the next few years – it’s expensive!) I’m probably going to buy the new Xstream Duration.