Thursday, 17 December 2009

Avatar - a review!


Three years ago I got whiff of a new movie about to grace our screens. The story was set in a fantasy world on a planet far away. Always a sucker for fantasy movies I got excited but soon forgot all about James Cameron’s latest project. Until a few months ago, when the first theatrical trailer was released. Catching a glimpse of Pandora and it’s blue skinned inhabitants I nearly wet myself with excitement. Ever since that moment I had been waiting for the day it was to hit the big screen.


Last night I finally saw Avatar – sadly not at an IMAX screen like I had wanted but still on a big enough screen to make it justice. And of course; in 3D.

The film opens with Jake Sully, (Sam Worthington) a wheelchair bound soldier, waking up from a six year long sleep. He is about to ‘inhabit’ his late brothers ‘avatar’ – a sort of hybrid body of the indigenous Na’vi tribe of Pandora. This distant planet houses thousands of tribes of these humanoid creatures that live in peace and have a very strong spiritual bond to the nature that surrounds them – until mankind, led by Parker Selfridge (Giviani Ribisi) arrives to mine for precious metals buried underneath Na’vis dwelling.


Under Professor Grace Augustine’s (Sigourney Weaver) guidance Jake as his ‘avatar’ begins to learn about the people of Pandora and their way of life. His initial goal is to infiltrate the Na’vi, become a trusted member of the tribe and then negotiate for them to relocate so that humans can access their precious mines. As ‘princess’ Neytiri (Zoe Seldana) teaches Jake everything there is to know about their way of life Jake inevitably falls in love with her as well as the Na’vis beliefs.


As time runs out the humans move in to bulldoze their habitat and Jake is faced with a difficult choice – follow the orders of his human commander (Stephen Lang) or help the tribe he has come to call his own.

This movie is a cinematic masterpiece. I cannot fault a single second of it and in all honesty I cannot wait to see it again. As with all movies you always miss great details the first time round and I believe this magnificent piece of art deserves not just a second but a third and a fourth viewing – if you can sit through an epic such as this that many times. Majority of the film is set in a CG animated world although it is hard to tell as every aspect and attention to detail is so microscopically perfect it’s on the verge of sickening.


Considering the movie has been in the making since 1995, James Cameron decided to stall the scrip until technology has caught up in order to correctly portray his vision. I am glad he did as the result is magnificent. The film touches on a lot of current issues and affairs and you can easily see similarities to Columbus discovering the Americas, colonies settling in Africa, the George W. Bush administration and also subtle references to the 9/11 attack. In a way it’s also an eye opener to how the human race is used to devour anything in it’s path – regardless of the outcome and consequence.


I am thrilled to say that there are two sequels planned for the future. Cameron jokes that if they see the day of light depends on the profit Avatar makes. Judging by all the sold out dates til January I am certain production has already started. At least I hope and pray that they have..

Dan

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

A Hugo & Cat Christmas...




A Hugo & Cat Christmas...

'Twas two weeks before Christmas and I must confess
So much planning and organising caused a big stress.

Everyone was working, busy with deadlines,
Immersed in projects, as if they were gold-mines.
Rachael and Johannes wouldn’t argue with that,
Cos each was a goldmine for Hugo & Cat.



The teams have been busy with lots of new sites,
And all of this work has caused somewhat of a fright



Fearing the worst Simon is losing his hair,
Even though NAT’s success was incredibly fair



Nokia’s project was filmed in conditions below zero
that’s how Karolina and Yannick became their new ‘Heroes’

Sony are hoping a scoop of the gifts
Yet all we really want is just a new lift!



Adding to the work the office move is underway,
With wires and cables shortly here to stay



Gareth was mourning the server that died
The internet went bust and the circuits were fried.



So he’s been expecting new servers from Dell
Finally they arrived, the wait had been hell.



There are servers and backup and storage to boot,
for Takeo, Caroline and Murray to fill with their loot.



Some guys came to install the new fingerprint alarm
Glad it’s not laser as eyes could have been harmed.



The last bit of code Joanna finished with care,
lighting her face with the monitors glare.



The teams have been busy with lots of websites
All the computing and tech stuff built up appetites



Suddenly outside there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my desk chair to see what’s the matter.

Above the scaffolding something appeared
in a tiny red sleigh drawn by eight tiny reindeer,


and a little red driver so lively and quick.
Mahen knew in a flash; It must be St. Nick

Those granddad pants look familiar, Rich Kivell said
But they are not mine, they’re Santa’s instead.



Federico and Davide, with Italian speciale
exclaimed in unison; Buon Natale

The corners of his mouth were turned up in a grin
and a fluffy white beard hung down from his chin.


A bottle of Isklar in his left hand was held
and a Sony Reader was strapped to his belt.



He was chubby and plump, a right silly old elf
Made Bastian laugh despite of himself.


Santa looked up, opened his mouth to speak
But nothing came out, his voice was too weak.


De La Cruz giggled like a little school girl
And Mumford joined in, spinning in twirls.



Kristof declared he knew what the problem was
Some rum was missing for poor Santa Claus.



After his tipple Saint Nick tried anew
This time success as his voice grew;
“Now it is Christmas, it is time for a break,
Sleep and relaxation and presents to make
Take some time off and some time to rejoice
Holiday season for all the girls and the boys.

“Hang on a minute, is this the right place?”
said Santa and turned red in the face.
“Rob has been naughty and Lee was a new dad,
sounds to me that too much fun has been had!”

“Ever since Ian found his girlfriend
Hardly any free time with work he’d spend.


When everyone gathers on Fridays for drinks
He’s gone like a flash before the eye blinks.”

Hmmm, who else is missing, let’s have a look
Josh is not here, he’s not playing by the book.

And where did Ulysses go, I can’t help but wonder
A long holiday taken to escape all the thunder.


He’s gone to see family very very far
I hope he brings me a Cuban cigar.

This is disaster Santa Claus said
I knew I shouldn’t have stepped out of bed
The journey was a long all the way to Bluebird
And look I even stepped in a reindeer turd.

Shaking his head, profanities he muttered
While all of the group just sat there gutted.

Drunk and disorderly Santa stopped his attack
He left with his reindeer and didn’t look back.


Afraid I must stop , because just as I knew;
spent too much time rhyming while I've got so much to do.

As I very well know, you care not of my plight,
so I say Merry Christmas and to all a good night.


:)

Dan K

Saturday, 17 October 2009

DAN'S IMPROMPTOU PUFFY PIZZA


DAN'S IMPROMPTOU PUFFY PIZZA

1 sheet of puff pastry...
3 large chopped tomatoes
1 red pepper
5 close cup mushrooms
1 red onion
6 pepadew peppers
8 rashers of black forrest serrano ham
100g feta cheese
2 tbl spoons powdered parmeggiano reggiano
A pinch of provencial herbs

Heat oven to 225 degrees.
Lay the pastry on an olive oiled baking tray.
Finely chop tomatoes, mix with chilli, salt, pepper, tabasco and evenly smear across the pastry.
Top with chopped vegetables according to taste. Add cheese and ham.

Cook in the middle of oven for 20 minutes.

Voila and Bon Apetit ;)

Friday, 2 October 2009

The Delicate Confessions of a Neurotic Love Addict..



I woke up the other morning hugging my pillow tightly to my chest. I’d dreamt I was still in Berlin, in bed with the boy I’d met not so long ago. I quickly realised I wasn’t and the gloom swept over me like fog rolling in over San Francisco bay..


After the ordeal with the neighbour I decided to take a chill pill and focus on my writing instead of wanting for romantic encounters. I reckoned that if something is meant to be it will happen regardless of you going out and looking for it. But it was a lot easier said than done. It’s like there is this pounding urge inside me that constantly keeps looking for a fix. Like a drug addict chasing the next high, whatever it may be..


Now, don’t get me wrong. I am far from starved for affection or desperate for love but there is this, almost sick need for affirmation. I can’t really put my finger on it nor can I understand it myself – I guess all those years on the shrinks couch were wasted on me.


It dawned on me that during my 30 year old life I have probably slept with more men than are named and numbered in the Bible. But only a microscopic number of them stuck round long enough for it to be classified as more than just a fling. Looking back at some of these encounters I shudder. Some were just drunken mistakes, some were ‘honest’ mistakes and some were just; ‘Oh my God – what the hell was I thinking’ kind of mistakes! Then there were a few good ones that I simply scared off by my own insecurities.


Now, a very close friend of mine told me that whenever something starts getting a bit serious with someone I pull away and run. It baffled me at first as I didn’t really have that view of myself and my relationships. In my own opinion I only ever pull away when something doesn’t feel right. There are certain criteria that I’m looking for in a prospective partner (Isn’t everyone?) and if some of that criteria isn’t met then I weigh the pros and cons – does the good outweigh the bad or vice versa and how much am I willing to compromise. For example: ‘Am I prepared to overlook his £600 a month drug addiction for the good sex we’re having?’ or ‘He’s still hooked up on his ex but maybe one day I’ll mean just as much to him?’ I am aware that we all have a certain amount of baggage and that nobody is perfect – but there are times when everything does FEEL perfect – and that is what I’m looking for.


When things went sour with the downstairs neighbour I felt like shit. For the first time in a long time I liked someone who seemed to like me and then suddenly I was dumped without as much as an explanation. I felt a bit deflated and my confidence was knocked down a few notches. I felt like I had to do something drastic just to pick myself up. So I posted an advert on the singles page on Gumtree. (I know, I know, reading about that dead Philippino woman in the suitcase that went on a Gumtree date was long after I posted my ad). I wrote extensively about what I was looking for and what kind of men I wasn’t interested in. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect and left it for a few days. When I logged on to check my emails there were 103 responses in just 4 days. Within another 3 days the total number had risen to 183. Reading through all of them certainly took my mind off things and as much as I hate to admit it, it made me feel better. But as I read through I noticed that none of these guys were anywhere close to the kind of man I was hoping to meet. Majority of them hadn’t even read my advert. They just saw my pic and sent off a dirty proposition and a phone number. A total turn off and the complete opposite to what I was looking for.


I’m not going to knock down every fish in the polluted sea. There were a selected few that made it through the screening process and we started corresponding regularly before agreeing to meet up. In theory some seemed perfect but in practice not so much. Sometimes it’s easy to lose yourself in the written word. As you read on you start to build up a fantasy of the person writing it and if this goes on for a while, more times than not, you’re setting yourself up for a fall. That was the case with me. I had built up some sort of expectations and once I’d met the guys I felt somewhat let down. They turned out to be really nice guys but I had expected a lot more than I got. Needless to say, none of the dates led to a second one..


Then one day, some friends came over from Berlin and stayed at mine for a few days. They had brought another friend that I’d hadn’t met and before I knew it little innuendos kept shooting at me from every direction about how cute this guy was, or how funny he was or how sweet we’d be together and so on and so on.. I admit, even without the innuendos, the chemistry between us was incredible. It was electric and sexy and it was exactly the kind of thing I was looking for. Suddenly here it was. Completely unexpected.. The bank holiday weekend passed and the boy went back to Berlin. We both had an amazing time but neither of us questioned the future. It was what it was. Until we met online and slowly started fantasizing about ‘What if..’


A few weeks later I went to San Francisco on holiday. I had a great time but the Berliner was still playing on my mind. So much so I decided to make a detour on my way home and stop over to see him. We spent a great week together and suddenly it was time to go home. Once again I was confused. Why was I feeling so strongly for this guy? Any prospects of a future together were squashed by the 1000 kilometer distance as well as the language barrier, amongst other things. (Did I mention he only speaks Spanish and German and no English?)


Then the question came; why would I so foolishly want to pursue someone that unobtainable?
Is it because the hopeless romantic in me thrives on such dramatic encounters? Perhaps my desire to leave London took over and this looked like a perfect excuse? Or is it simply because I know that this romance was doomed from the start and it’s easier to deal with it dissolving than dealing with an actual relationship?


The words of my dear friend keep ringing in my ears. Maybe I AM running away from potential relationships as a precautionary measure? Maybe it’s a built in defence mechanism programmed to auto pilot when things get too serious?


Or maybe, just maybe, could it be possible that I simply haven’t met the right man for me?


Dan

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Coprorate Hell




Last May, like so many others across the globe, I too fell victim to the Credit Crunch. I had been working as Front of House manager for a prestigious PR company in West End for over 3 years when suddenly the carpet was pulled from right underneath my feet. I didn’t even smell it coming. I suppose I’d grown so comfortable in my position and my last salary increase, just a couple of months prior, had masked what the future held pretty well.


Then one day I found myself sitting with the MD and HR manager in a meeting room, proclaiming: ‘Say what??’ to the shocking news presented to me. Suddenly my entire life flashed before my eyes. I’d really gotten used to my job. Heck I can even admit (now that it’s gone!) that I actually loved it. And believe you me; there aren’t many jobs I can say that about. My hours were great. My colleagues were fabulous. My salary was more than satisfying and the most important thing; I could wear whatever I wanted and I never had to shave. Now if you knew me personally, you’d know that my designer stubble is a vital part of my image and my dress sense is my way of expression. Obviously it complied with the company’s smart but casual ethics but I always put my own twist on it – for individuality’s sake.



I was devastated. Not only was I losing a great place to work and great colleagues but I had also booked ridiculously many holidays that summer. Holidays I’d been planning since January and now I feared how I was going to fund them. That’s where my redundancy package came handy. See, it was the first time in my life I’d ever been made redundant and I had no idea you get a substantial sum to pay you off. All of a sudden things didn’t seem that bad. The sum covered my rent for four months, it was enough as spending money for each of the holidays planned and there was even some left over for when I returned. So off I went. During June, July, August and September I’d spent two weeks in Gothenburg, Sweden, a weeks stint in Berlin, Germany. Then Belgrade and Novi Sad in Serbia for the Exit Festival. I actually stayed in Serbia for a whole month. I then continued my summer in Ibiza, twice. I was enjoying life to the fullest. No cares in the world and least of all worrying about work. It wasn’t until I returned back from Ibiza Closing parties in October that I suddenly realised my money was quickly running out and I didn’t have a job. Nor did I even think of applying for Job Seekers Allowance (and they DO NOT back date!). I realised that all in all I had been unemployed for over five months and I hadn’t sent out one job application. I panicked. I spent two manic weeks searching every possible job site I could find. I registered with any agency that would have me and I sent out my CV left right and centre. And then I waited..



Out of the 60 odd CV’s I’d sent out I only received two call backs. One job was as a chat room moderator for an interactive channel on the SKY Network and the other a front of house role for a bank in North London. After attending both interviews I got offered both jobs. I was confident enough I’d nail it once I met people face to face. I’m good like that. It’s just getting an interview that was a bit tricky considering how the number of applicants for each available position had quintupled in the last six months.



As my finances had taken a downward spiral I felt compelled to take on both jobs. Monday to Friday at the corporate company and Friday and Saturday night shifts as a chat room moderator. Needless to say I had no social life. By 7am Sunday morning I’d come home, dead to the world and yet had to stay awake til Sunday evening so I could turn my day round and be OK for work Monday morning. It was a challenge but I managed to keep it up for a good three months before finally caving in. I guess a salary increase after my 3 months probation period at the corporate place helped.



If it had been down to me I would have chosen the chat room job. But it was a financial matter and I had to go for the better paid but very boring option. Today I realise what a mistake that was.But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; Everything happens for a reason!
Shortly after my probation was over things turned sour at the bank. The management started acting really bizarre towards my whole team. In meetings they’d praise us for the amazing work we were doing yet they felt that taking away privileges such as our limited internet access would make us work harder. This decision came despite all of us scoring top points in any review we’d had. But it didn’t stop there. Suddenly being one minute late was cause for a disciplinary meeting and they introduced Gestapo like surveillance on us, monitoring our start/finish time as well as our breaks. It was like being in the Big Brother house minus all the fun.But it wasn’t til I was called in to a meeting and asked to shave TWICE a day that I decided enough was enough. Apparently, one of the ‘big shots’ from the bank had complained over my three o’clock shadow on a few occasions and I was asked to shave in the morning before coming to work AND during my lunch break – to avoid any further complaints.



Now, I don’t know who they think they are, but no person in their right mind would put themselves through that kind of scrutiny. It’s bad enough shaving once a day and getting a burning rash from the cheap polyester shirts and ties rubbing up against you. Sadly we couldn’t choose our own uniforms. We were given cheap and uncomfortable shirts and suits (that we had to pay for!)



I couldn’t believe what was being asked of me and in a moment of clarity I wrote an email to the person that had complained about me asking him why suddenly, five months down the line had my grooming become an issue and not before. My response came in the guise of a disciplinary meeting with my supervisor and area manager, both fuming over the fact I had sidestepped the chain of command and contacted Mr Big directly. Obviously this rubbed him the wrong way and he asked for me to be ‘sorted out’ – whatever that meant.Turned out what he meant was; get rid of him! So they suspended me for two weeks to investigate my user account at work. After failing to find any flaws in my work (I do my job VERY well) they decided to go through my email account. In there they found several personal emails, altho none of which was derogatory or malicious towards the company, and they decided to call my use of company email for personal matters as Gross Misconduct. And without warning they asked me to pack up my things and leave. No verbal warning, no written warning, no salary in lieu of notice and no notice! I was shocked. I couldn’t believe what was happening.



Now, I don’t know who they thought they were dealing with but I for one know my rights!I’m no mug you can just toss aside and I certainly wasn’t going to take their sh*t lying down.I began a long and tiresome appeal process against them. At first I thought I didn’t stand a chance, but after doing my research I noted all the flaws in the way they handled my case. In all of this, I didn’t want my job back. Geeez, I wouldn’t want to work for them if they were the last employer on earth. All I wanted was my salary in lieu of notice.



With no legal background I set off emailing them on a daily basis pointing out their breaches of my contract. At first they didn’t seem to budge. They stuck to their guns and acted unbothered by my tirade. But then a flashing idea popped into my head. I realised I had the emails to ALL the BIG bosses of the company and decided to forward them all the previous correspondence as well as a final email where I claimed a major publication was willing to interview me in regards to my case and how I had been treated. Suddenly and email popped into my inbox offering me just the sum I had been asking for. I couldn’t believe it. I had won!
A compromise agreement was signed with the help of my solicitor friends and the case was closed.



Since leaving that God forsaken place I have found another job. A much better job. A job where I am encouraged to be who I am and dress in what I’m comfortable in. It’s chilled out and relaxed and it’s absolutely perfect for me. My colleagues are great and my bosses are even better. Like I said; EVERYTHING in life happens for a reason and this was my reason!



Someone up there is looking down at me and smiling :)




Dan

Friday, 4 September 2009

British powerhouse with a cracking foundation


Kate Moss has graced the pages of fashion magazines for over 25 years and she shows no sign of retiring any day soon. In an industry that ruthlessly uses and discards models after their sell-by date she has managed to stay on top. But what is the secret behind her long lived career?


A few weeks ago Snappy Snaps got some great publicity with claims that an increasing number of customers have been asking to have their photos digitally enhanced. Looking at any glossy magazine today it’s not hard to fathom why someone would want to digitally alter their image. Social networking sites such as Facebook, My Space and Bebo all encourage their users to upload their photos for all to see. No one wants to show themselves off in a bad way and as such Photoshop and other image editing software come well handy. Manufacturing a brighter smile, smoother skin, red eye reduction or even a few inches off the waist is not uncommon with todays technology.


In August some tabloid news papers published pictures of a tired and wrinkly looking Kate Moss on holiday in St Tropez and the whole nation gasped in shock. How was this possible, people asked? She had just appeared in three major campaigns, Top Shop, Cavalli and Longchamp looking fabulous. Why all of a sudden did she look old, exhausted and haggard? It didn’t add up and people felt let down and betrayed, not necessarily by Kate but by the publications.

In an era where a models life expectancy doesn’t pass the 30 mark, Kate Moss has managed to stay on top even at the age of 35 and she shows no sign of leaving that coveted spot any time soon. A lot of that is thanks to modern technology and airbrushing to be more specific. It has become increasingly easy to extend a models career simply by digitally reducing the fine lines around the eyes or the dreaded wrinkles below the jaw line. Over the years Kate has graced 29 covers of British Vogue and over 50 Vogue covers worldwide. That is more than any other model in the world could ever dream of. But looking at all these covers you start to notice that Kate looks practically the same age throughout.


‘I love Kate Moss’, says Monica Stephen, 29, a web editor from California. ‘She is a complete icon exuding both internal and external beauty. I just think it’s a shame when magazines airbrush her beyond recognition. It kind of deters from reality. When everyone knows her real age then she should be portrayed as such and it wouldn’t come as such a shock to people when they finally see her real face.’


‘Working in the editing industry myself I know how the technology works’, says Ms Stephen,‘I have followed the evolution for the last ten years and it’s incredible just how far it’s come. In my own personal opinion airbrushing is something that should be considered carefully - there are some very stylized and highly designed adverts that I don't mind airbrushing on because its part of the overall 'slick' look the ad is trying to achieve. But when adverts are looking to represent 'real women', 'real situations' etc, they should stay away from airbrushing because that is completely missing the point and is negatively affecting people looking at it and trying to identify with it.’


Ms Stephen goes on to say; ‘Here in the States we have plenty of tabloids and ‘gutter press’ that thrive on candid paparazzi shots of celebrities looking their worst. But up until these latest photos we haven’t had that much coverage on Kate Moss since the ‘cocaine scandal’, which subsequently went on to land her more fame and more work than she’d previously had.’


A scandal like that would have been enough to destroy anyone’s career. Just look at Kerry Katona and Daniella Westbrook. But Kate Moss is not your average career woman. She is a multibillion pound corporation in her own right. Moss has worked hard and she has endured the perils of being an international supermodel. With over 25 years in the industry the mother of one has battled addiction and heartbreak in equal measures. She’s travelled the world time and again and partied with the crème de la crème – so is it really that strange that this national treasure has started showing signs of ageing?


After a career of that magnitude I’m sure even the best of us would start crumbling although Kate is doing pretty well.


Thanks to modern technology it is clearly obvious that this impressive British powerhouse, despite showing a few cracks in her foundation, will no doubt withstand the test of time leaving behind an ageless legacy.

By Dan Kreckovic

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Love thy neigbour..


‘Where have all the good men gone?’ is a question I have asked so many times before. Perhaps it’s time to rephrase that question to something along the lines of; ‘Why do I seem to repel all the good men?’


To paint a clearer picture; A few months ago I moved in to my best friends’ apartment after he immigrated to Berlin to be with his loved one. I love my new home and I thoroughly enjoy my new flatmate. I’ve also been familiar with the two neighbours in the building for some time but it wasn’t until after I’d moved in that one of them started this slightly inappropriate but ever so exciting flirting game. It all began after we’d been burgled one day and I got my neighbours number from my friend to call and inform him of the unfortunate incident. Luckily his flat was the only one that escaped the ordeal but nonetheless he was very concerned about what’s happened. That evening when he came back from work we both stood in the doorways of our flats, which are facing each other in a very narrow hallway, and we talked for some time all the while this chemistry was building up between us. At first I couldn’t believe this was happening. As a major ‘Friends’ fan , ever since Monica and Chandler got it on in season 5, its been somewhat of a secret fantasy of mine to have a fling with a neighbour. Suddenly it seemed my fantasy was becoming reality..


What followed were countless text messages, a few phone calls and a couple of impromptu visits to each others flats. The first one was an invite to join me for a pint of shandy on a warm Tuesday evening. It was nice and chummy but with an electric undertone. All this time I kept thinking to myself; ‘Is this really happening or is it all just in my head?’ And if it was for real was I prepared for the consequences? What if things didn’t work out? I couldn’t help but wonder. Plus my best friends words kept ringing in my ears; ‘You don’t s*it on your own doorstep! Remember that!’


Looking back it was a warning I should have taken seriously at the time but a few days and many texts later I got an invite to watch a lazy Sunday evening movie at my friendly neighbours. I was excited. To me, a tell tale sign that I really like someone is when I get butterflies in my stomach. And on this particular evening there was an entire swarm of them. I was actually nervous.Showered and dressed I knocked on his door and he greeted me with a hug that lasted a little bit longer that it should. It became very clear that we were both on the same page here altho neither of us wanted to rush anything. Drinking a few beers, we were comfortable on his sofa watching ‘Milk’, a movie I’d been meaning to see but without anyone to see it with. It was a perfect ‘first date’ type of movie and as it went on I noticed my neighbours arm getting closer and closer to mine. I could feel the warmth of his arm against mine and suddenly there was a reaction.. Ehm..


The movie finished and I made my excuses. It was getting late and we both had an early start the next day. For a moment I’d forgotten where I was and suddenly the realisation of crossing the hall to get to mine became apparent. This will make the goodbye a bit awkward, I though. Once again we stood in the doorway and just before saying goodbye he opened his arms to embrace me, again lingering a bit longer but this time placing a gentle kiss on my neck as he pulled away.I could feel my face getting red so I said ‘Goodnight’ and closed my door. My heart pounding so loudly in my chest I could have sworn he heard it through my door.


After that day our texts became more obvious. We liked each other and we were both looking forward to the next meeting. He had a very busy schedule with work and wasn’t sure when he’d be free but each day he found time to send a few flirty texts.
We finally agreed on a Saturday the following week. The anticipation was immense and I couldn’t wait for the day to arrive. We’d agreed to spend the day in the sun, weather providing. It didn’t look too bright seeing as the whole week had washed away in torrential rain and I was slightly anxious we’d have to stay indoors all day, not that I would have minded much but thought it’d be easier being out and about. Kind of takes the pressure off the whole thing. Saturday finally arrived and the two month long courting game culminated in a day to remember.


I woke up with a slight hangover from the night before and noticed the sun shining outside. Miraculously I instantly felt much better and the butterflies started fluttering inside my belly as I was looking forward to my date. He called and we arranged to meet at his. We then drove up to Hampstead Heath in his brand new BMW listening to Black Eyed Peas latest album.
‘I gotta feeling that tonight’s gonna be a good night..’ blaring through the speakers as we kept glancing at each other in the mirror and smiling. During conversation every now and again he’d tap my knee with his hand then nervously retracted it. I thought it was sweet. Made me feel at ease about the whole thing and I’d respond with a big grin.


After we arrived in Hampstead we went to M&S to get some pick nick food and then continued through the park to find a perfect spot. We settled down on a slanting hill, secluded from other people and unpacked our lunch. We talked about everything. He told me he’d been single for a long time and finally felt ready to settle down. He told me about his work and how time consuming it all was and how he’d welcomed our little break to clear his head off of things. I told him about my new job and how I came to be in London in the first place. He confessed that in the past he’d had commitment issues and that he’d deliberately look for flaws in people in order not to have to see them again, regardless how ‘right’ they were. He then said he’d gotten over that now. Pointing out that my love for junk food would have been enough to send him running in the other direction, health freak as he is. We were getting to know each other and it felt nice. The sun was shining, soothing beach house was playing from my iPod and suddenly he leaned in and kissed me. Everything around us seemed to stop. I closed my eyes and kissed him back..


‘Wow’ I thought to myself. I normally judge a guy by the way he kisses and if it doesn’t feel right from the start then that is enough reason for me not to continue. But this.. This felt so right. We looked at each other and we giggled. He laid down and put his head on my chest and told me he’d thought of this moment for months and never expected it to feel this good. I agreed but told him I was a bit scared and apprehensive about the fact we practically lived together and how it would defuse the whole dating process. He assured me everything would be fine. After all we’re both grown ups and there was no reason to make things awkward. That calmed me down a bit and I felt a lot more comfortable with what was happening.


A few hours later we went for a drink at The Freemasons Arms and sat in their garden. We opened up to each other and he told me about his insecurities. I told him about my deprived childhood and at one point stopped myself, wondering if I’d said too much. He put his hand on my thigh and pulled me in to his embrace reassuring me that it was ok. He said he wasn’t ready for the date to end and asked if I wanted to go for dinner with him. The butterflies in my stomach started running havoc. I couldn’t believe just how well things were going.


He drove us back home and we went back into our flats to freshen up and met an hour later downstairs. A little more nervous this time I kept thinking to myself; ‘Do not screw this up!’We walked down to Clapham and he asked me if I’d ever been to the Metro Garden . I told him I hadn’t and he smiled, saying he was taking me out for dinner to celebrate my first week at my new job. We got in and he seemed to know the owner; a feisty lady with a wicked sense of humour. She told us that our table will be ready in a moment and brought us two beers. The restaurant was lovely and incredibly romantic. Tables for two everywhere, candles and fairy lights lighting up the garden with canopies and plants making me forget we were in London. It was perfect.


The date couldn’t have been better. It was a warm summer night, good food, a nice bottle of wine and not to mention the great company. He kept grabbing my hand under the table and we kept gazing into each others eyes. I couldn’t help but wonder if this was for real. I hadn’t been on a date like this for a really long time and last time I did I ended up in a relationship with the guy.


Neither of us wanted the date to end so we went for a martini at The Rapscallion. We agreed to meet in the week and catch a movie before embarking on the short walk home. We both knew it was going to be awkward once we came to our house but neither said anything. Finally we were home. He asked me if I wanted to come in for a bit. My mind kept telling me I shouldn’t. ‘Just kiss him and say good night. Make him wait. Make him want it more’ I kept hearing inside my head. But I wanted to spend the night with him so badly. I wanted to fall asleep in his arms. But most of all I wanted to wake up with him next to me..


The following morning I sensed that something had changed. I wasn’t quite sure what it was and I couldn’t put my finger on it. He seemed preoccupied but still attentive. I told him I should go home and he said he had some work to sort out and was meeting friends for lunch later. I got dressed and walked across the hall. So much for a walk of shame..


Inside I was happy. I couldn’t wait for our next date but the little voice inside my head kept saying; ‘Take it easy now. Don’t push things and just go with the flow.’A part of me was waiting for a text, just to say hello if nothing else. But none came.Coming back from the shop that evening I saw his car was outside and the lights were on in his apartment but he hadn’t called or texted. I left it that day but with a growing concern that things had suddenly changed. The following day I asked when he’s free to catch that movie and the reply came that he was swamped with work all week and didn’t quite know when he’d be free next.


Hmmm.. It doesn’t get any clearer than that, does it!?


I sat down feeling deflated and confused. What went wrong? Did I say something I shouldn’t? Did his old habit of finding flaws in people suddenly re appear? What flaws did he find in me? I couldn’t stop mauling over these questions in my mind but none of the answers made any sense to me. Not after a date like the one we had.. I felt hurt. He didn’t even give me chance. Not even half a chance.. If I was good enough yesterday then what's wrong with me today?


What is he so afraid of? What went so horribly wrong?


So I am rephrasing that age old question Bonnie Tyler asked back in the day ‘Where have all the good men gone?’ to ‘Am I repelling all the good men?’


I am usually a very good judge of character. I’ve had a lot of practice, but I never saw this coming. I can’t believe that I bought into all that and let myself get swept away in all the mush.


I feel silly for having had such great expectations. I let my fantasy run away with my emotions and built up this fairy tale romance in my head and then the bubble burst.


Now every time I get home from work and see his car parked outside and the light in his apartment I can’t help but think about what might have been. The constant reminder of a fling gone sour over reasons completely unknown to me.. I just wish he’d been man enough to tell me to my face and be completely honest with me, just like he was during our first date. Maybe then I’d know for next time what to avoid or how not to act.


Someone once said; ‘Love thy neighbour as thyself’ and as much as I’d like to agree and comply with that statement I think I’ve learned from my mistakes..


I’ve certainly learned never to sh*t on my own doorstep again! Its the hardest kind of mess to clean up!


Dan

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Wednesday, September 24, 2008 - back dated!


Mr A-Z.


So there I was doing my make up, minding my own god damn business when suddenly my best friend Johnny calls me to tell me he won't be able to accompany me to a gig I've been looking forward to attending for quite some time. You can imagine the shock horror! My manscara went all across my face as I tried to grasp the meaning and gravity of this situation. To be fair it wasn't actually Johnny's fault. I had foolishly bought the tickets almost 4 months ago and it was meant to be a special treat for someone I was seeing at the time – yes yes, I'm a foolishly hopeless romantic and I jumped waaaay ahead of myself hoping, somewhere in the back of my mind that we'd still be seeing eachother. I had forgotten about the tickets and remembered them just in time to find a new willing victim to come with me – or so I thought.

Turns out not a lot of people knew who Jason Mraz was and were very reluctant to try something new. Or the ones that did look up his website turned out not to like his music. So my quest for company continued – in vain. And suddenly I realized just how alone I felt – my best mates are all busy in relationships and hardly have any time for stuff like this, unless of course their partner is included too. Monica's all the way across the pond in San Fran, Rob's moved on to warmer pastures in Dubai, Caitlin is Frenching it up on the Riviera and everyone else seems to be so consumed with work..
Luckily I managed to snag a poor girl from work who just happened to know who Jason is and actually also likes his music.

So I am now on my way to Royal Albert Hall to watch a lyrical prophet live in action. I've been waiting for this moment ever since Mon did some promo work for him back in -99. It's been a long time coming..

Watch out Mraz - I'm coming to watch you!

Aftermath - needless to say the gig was amazing. A hell of a lot better than I originally expected. I knew Jason had a great voice but just how good it is live is hard to tell untill you hear it first handedly.

Thanks to Rachel from work we had a ball and both of us at one stage screamed; Marry me Jason! - luckily it was muffled by the rest of the screaming teenage girls at the Royal Albert Hall.. Phew! Could have been quite embarrassing - if nothing else then simply for the fact that he'd probably taken Rachels offer sooner than mine..

Oh, and one more thing - I don't reeeeeeeally wear make up! ;)


D.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008 - back dated!


Credit Crunch


Well... Last week I got some news from my employers basically telling me that I've been made redundant and my position will no longer be available. After 3 years loyal service and hard work I was shocked over the decision to just cut me off like that.. But after spending the weekend contemplating what had happened I realised that perhaps it was a blessing in disguise. See, it wasn't long ago that I epressed my concerne to me best friend that I feared I was going to be stuck in my job for all eternity seeing since they kept upping my wages every 6 months..

And in all honesty I WAS getting a little bored in the end..


But slightly worried over the fact I had 4 holidays booked up and paid for over the summer months I realised that it was gonna be a bit harder to find a full time job. So I decided to do some temping work in the meantime and enjoy the summer rest of the time..
That was until I had dinner with Mon last night. We were talking about how excited she was over moving to San Francisco next thursday and suddenly she just burted out; "You should come with me!!!"


Suddenly I'm sat there, motionless, with butteflies in my belly and my mind conjouring images of all the 'Tales of the city' novels.. OMG!!! I WANNA GO TO SAN FRANCISCO!!!


Ummm... Should I??


I really need to think about this! But the main thing is that I have NOTHING holding me back here in London!


HEEELP!!


Should I stay or should I go??


Dan

Sunday, March 16, 2008 - back dated!


The Common life..

Gosh, I know its been bloody ages since I posted a blog last and I know I’ve deleted a few as well. There have been some drastic changes going on in my life and I’ve not really had time to sit down and compose anything worth reading I guess.. I have started working on my EGYPT blog and altho I’m half way through I can’t bring myself to quite finish it.. I don’t know if its because I feel that if I get it all out it won’t feel as special anymore or if I’m simply affraid of loosing that amazing memory.. I don’t know really.. I have posted the first half but think I'll keep the ending a secret, just for me.. :)


After returning from Egypt in December it was obvious that my then boyfriend and I were going to go our seperate ways. It was a really tough process to go through especially as we lived together. He moved out shortly after New Years and left a huge void in my life and my environment. For a split second there I felt so lost I wasn’t sure I could ever find my way back to my old self again..


That feeling didn’t linger for too long. Egypt had brought me and Johnny closer together and helped us rekindle our friendship, sadly at the cost of depriving his boyfriend some pre Xmas quality time, but I’m sure that by now I’m forgiven. Johnny had planned my ’recovery’ down to a T and had a solution to every problem or issue that I tried to get off on. I really didn’t have much say in the matter - my life was (once again) in his hands.


Now, almost 4 months down the line, I feel like a brand new person! I guess that sometimes we need to embrace the changes that head our way instead of trying to fight them. I’ve always said it and I’ll say it another million times over - everything happens for a reason - and to resist is futile.People, things and experiences will enter our lives and make an impact in one way or another causing us to in turn make decisions that will subsequently alter our lives. I seemed to need a kick up the backside after spending the last two years in a smoke cloud and I’m glad for the way things turned out.

Mon decided to set off on her own adventure and opted for San Franciso, her birth town. I am so jealous at the opportunity she’s been presented with and I’m extremely excited for her. If only she could feel the same way. Needless to say its not really my problem. I have tried getting her excited about it but her head is still so far up that smoke cloud that she’s unable to see through it yet.. In time (I hope). So the decision was made not to renew our contract for the Tower Bridge apartment and go our seperate ways. The hunt was on and after two gruesome months of frenetically looking for a new home I found this lovely little Clapham Common pad. Don’t get me wrong, its a far cry from the glitz and glamour of Tower Bridge and it aint no Buchingham Palace, but its cosy, its homely and its cheap! Plus my flatmate seems cool enough and we get on well. My room is great and we even have a garden (in need of some TLC, but like life itself it’s a work in progress) and we’re 2 minutes from the actual Common. I can’t wait for the summer when I get to whoop my rollerblades out (and probaly kill myself or run someone over in the process) and just basque in the sunshine.


Work is going really well, in the sense that I’ve got another raise. In a way I’m a bit sad as its making it increasingly harder for me to move on from my position but its putting some extra dough in my pockets. And from the savings I’m making on the rent I’d be surprised if by summer 2009 I haven’t put down a deposit for my very own pad!

On top of this I’ve finally recieved my provisional driving license. Its been a few years in the making and I realised that it was on my Things To Do B4 I Turn 30- list, No 5 - Learn To Drive! So I’m studying the Theory DVD/CD-ROM and I’ve set up a couple of lessons with an old friend who just happens to be a driving instructor and who’s given me a discount on the going rate - just for being me :) Johnny even found a car that he thinks will be perfect for me, a silver Ford Puma. Its kinda cute but I’m not 100% sold on it just yet. Maybe once I’ve taken it for a test drive?


Johnny’s also put me on a strict almost army-like traing regime and I’ve been going to the gym almost religiously. Up to 5-6 times a week. I’m currently also on a detox and cleansing my body of all the toxins. My diet is being strictly monitored and I have todl Johnny that he’s slowly creating a monster. LOL I’m seeing some incredible progress and once this construction is finished all I can say is - Watch out!!!


But the biggest change 2008 has brought me (so far) is the courage to discover myself and my roots. I haven’t been to my place of birth, Novi Sad, Yugoslavia, since I was 14 and had come out to my mom. Our relationship deteriarated and there was noone to take me back there. Now, 15 years later, I suddenly have this urge to discover where I came from. I tracked down my aunty Radoslava and spent a couple of hours on the phone to her explaining where I’ve been all these years. She couldn’t believe it was actually me and was really happy to hear from me. She put me in touch with my cousins Dusan and Jelena and after chatting with them on Facebook for the last couple of months I’ve decided to go back to Novi Sad and get to know them. I’ve bought my tickets and I’m flying to Belgrade on the 7th of July and returning to London on the 19th. A good 12 days I reckoned was enough to scratch on the surface and leave me wanting more..


While I’m there I’ll be attending the notorious EXIT Festival in the Petrovaradin Fortress. It will be its 4th year and everyone who’s been says I can’t afford to miss it! If only some of my favourite acts were performing that would be the cherry on top. A they have a proper Dance Arena I would have loved to see Bonnie Bailey, Basement Jaxx or Robyn on that stage.. *sigh*


Ah, and Bonnie Bailey, the beautiful songstress that could change the world! I feel so happy and priviliged that I have actually established contact with this girl and that I’m getting to know her. After all she is the inspiration to mine and Johnny’s new tattoo. To celebrate our 15 years of friendship I have decided to put my mark on him!!! Moahahaha! I designed a tattoo that will go on the inside of our left forearm. We’re having them done next tuesday at Frith Street and I’m so excited I could just.. spit!! :)


So, the moral of this particular blog is that 2008 seems to be a year of changes. Not all good, I’m sure, but life altering nonetheless. And I stand here with open arms, stare diversity in the face and welcome anything that life throws at me.


After all, EVERYTHING happens for a reason..


Dan.

Travel Blog - PRINCE(SSES) of EGYPT - Thursday 31st January, 2009



I know I know I know.. You don’t have to tell me!I’ve taken for ever to get to this stage but now I’m finally ready to write the long awaited blog about my AMAZING Christmas Holiday. For those of you who kept asking about it - thanks for your patience ;o)


I had been waiting for the 17th of December for what seemed like a lifetime. Since I’d bought the package deal all I could think about was cruising down the Nile, haggling with the locals and climbing up a pyramid. The day just wouldn’t come soon enough. Then there was the little issue of a traveling companion. Seeing as I had originally meant for the trip to be a birthday present for Arron and a combined xmas present for myself, when we broke up it seemed a bit weird to go ahead and go on this trip together. I wanted my first experience of Egypt to be a fun one, not one filled with sad memories of a break-up.

After a lot of thinking and consideration I asked my best friend Johnny to accompany me on a holiday of a lifetime. And boy am I glad I did. First of all I need to mention that Johnny and I have been friends since we were 14 and we’ve always been close. But since moving to London our friendship has been strained with the stress and fast paced lifestyle of La Londres and we found ourselves drifting somewhat apart. I looked on this trip as a way of bridging that gap and thankfully it all paid off.Johnny had been to Egypt before when he was asked to DJ in Cairo and on that trip he made some nice friends. Just how nice I was about to find out..
Monday 17th of December

At 5am we made our way to Gatwick airport. Both equally excited we boarded the plane and snoozed through the 6 hour flight. As the plane started to descend I looked out over the vast deserts of the magical land below. I had butterflies. I was so excited I could just.. spit!
Although I’d never been before I imagined the heat to be excruciating but to my surprise we were met by a light breeze and quite a comfortable climate. I was told that December was a good time to go as the temperatures were quite bearable and we’d miss out on the massive fly infestation that reigned during the hot summer months. We’d made our way through the passport check and headed towards the transfer buses. I tried to suck up as much of the surroundings around me as I possibly could and although I’ve been told that Egyptians will lure you into tipping them for something as trivial as showing you in the right direction I didn’t mind parting with a few pence when a boy dressed in a traditional ’galabya’ took my bag and moved it a few feet through the exit doors. Oh well.. Every little helps I thought and smiled.

In the package deal Hotel Emilo was meant to be our home for the next 7 days. Before we left Johnny cheekily asked me what star rating Emilio had. I told him it was 3* bang in the middle of Luxor and his face turned all twisted, like I’d fed him sour grapes. ’No, no, no, no, no’ he exclaimed suddenly, ’I am NOT staying in a filthy 3* shanty. I’m booking us into Sheraton, darling!’ And that he did. But seeing since my curiosity took the better of me I persuaded him to let the coach take us to Hotel Emilio just to check it out.
We got there and immediately got checked in without actually meaning to but then thought ’Ooooh, this could be fun’! The hotel was in the middle of a busy intersection, crammed in between two mosques and with traffic, horses and people running havoc all around it. Up in the room we noticed that our balcony was looking out at this intersection and even though all windows were closed the noise was just unbearable - not to mention the AirCon in the corner that blew an unstoppable arctic wind into the room sounding like a Dyson on crack.We took some photos just to document the horror before running down to Reception and asking to check out. The receptionist looked at us surprised and asked why, to which we replied – ’This place is filthy, we’re off to Sheraton’. LOLHe wasn’t happy! But at least we were! ;o)
Our driver/tour guide Rafat, took us to Sheraton Hotel which was further down the Nile and when we arrived he asked us what we’d like to do whilst in Luxor. We compiled a list of things and after exchanging numbers we trusted him to sort all of our excursions out for us.After checking in we both breathed a sigh of relief when we saw our deluxe room. It couldn’t have been any better - thank God for Johnny’s persuasion and stubborness!

Suddenly his phone rang and it turned out to be his friend in Cairo. He demanded we got on an early morning flight, already booked, and made our way to the capital. My heart started pounding and I literally thought it was going to jump out of my T-shirt. That night I barely slept for being so excited.
Tuesday 18th of December

With puffy eyes but a big smile on our faces we had breakfast overlooking the Nile. It was breathtaking. We took a tour around the hotel complex and I couldn’t fault a single inch of it. After packing for a 3 day trip we flew Egypt Air to Cairo all the while looking through the window at the beautiful and mesmerizing landscape below. Suddenly this ancient city appeared and seemed to be swallowing the desert. ’That’s Cairo’ Johnny said as my jaw dropped to the floor. I had no idea it was THAT huge. It seemed to be going on forever...

As we passed through customs a man held a sign with our names and smiled when he noticed us. I guess we weren’t too hard to spot - two screaming queens lost in an Egyptian airport LOL. We got picked up in a brand new black BMW and the driver greeted us with a smile and pumping house music blasting from the speakers. We knew we were in the right place. He told us that our host (I won’t mention any names for security purposes - but lets just say he is VERY WELL known in his country) was busy at the moment but we we’re being taken for a day of touristy sightseeing and gave us our own Egyptian mobile phone so we could call him whenever we needed him.
Our first stop was The Egyptian Museum. Little did I know that it was going to be the only touristy thing we’d do that day. It took us almost 4 hours to get through all the amazing artifacts, statues, sarcophaguses and mummies. I could have spent a whole week in there alone. There was just so much to take in and in retrospect I regret not agreeing to have a guide show us round. But then again had we had one then I wouldn’t have been able to secretly film short clips on my phone. I knoooow. Im terrible.. ;o)

Exhausted we got taken to our hosts ’humble’ abode where we were served traditional Egyptian food. Not that I remember what anything was called but it was bloody delicious! The only thing I had trouble getting used to was the servants. I found it hard to deal with but we were assured that the staff were very happy where they were and that they were properly looked after. Still, I don’t mind clearing my own plate or emptying the ashtray - only here, we weren’t ’allowed’. Left to our own accord we freshened up and when our host finally arrived I was caught like a pig in knickers fresh out of the shower, trying desperately to cover myself up. To our hosts apparent delight there seemed to be no need for that.. An immediate attraction arose on both parts! But I won’t reveal too much.. That would be un-lady like.. ;o)
We were taken out on a personal tour of the evening lit Cairo and I was taken aback by the apparent class differences that divided the city. The phrase; ’How the other half lives’ took on a whole new meaning. I saw people living in meager shanties and some people living on unfinished building sites. A part of me kind of expected it whilst the other part was shocked over the fact that a civilization as old as Egypt were still developing at such a slow pace. The whole experience was more than just an eye opener – it was a wake up call!

After driving around for a while we stopped at a place called Wabi Sabi where we were treated to a feast of the best sushi I had ever had the pleasure of putting in my mouth. And believe you me, my mouth has tasted one or two things in its day. Who would have thought that a Japanese delicacy like that would be best served in Egypt?On our way home I couldn’t help but notice trucks and trucks filled with cows passing us by. Not one, not two but dozens.. When asked what was going on our host explained that it was the Egyptian New Year and as tradition the wealthy slaughter the cows and distribute the fresh meat to the ones less fortunate. According to history, Mohammed was asked to slaughter his brothers to prove his faith but God spared him the task by giving him cows to slaughter instead of his brothers. Fascinating story if not a little disturbing. So we came back to the mansion to find a brown Mama Muuu stationed in the garden. Johnny was shocked and asked what was going to happen to her. When told she’d be dinner the next day he pleaded for its life asking if he could trade me in for her.. Cheeky cow! Not the actual cow; I’m referring to Johnny!! LOL
As we were going to bed the flirtation between myself and our handsome host escalated but like I said – a lady never tells.. ;o)
Wednesday 19th of December

We woke up to another sunny December day. With rumbling bellies we all went to Starbucks for breakfast. Somewhat surreal but nice nonetheless. Our host was off to work but left us in the competent hands of his driver who drove us through the length of the city all the way to the Giza plateau where the Pyramids were carefully guarded by the majestic Sphinx.
He introduced us to his brother and his nephew who took over and brought us two sturdy mares. I hadn’t been on a horseback since I was a kid but I was told it was like riding a bike – yeah right – a living, four legged bike that runs and jumps and has a will of its own. Not quite the same thing, so don’t let yourself be fooled. Johnny however seemed more at ease as we trotted through the streets heading towards the desert, but then again he’s got more experience in the ’riding’ department than I do.. He he he..

As the desert opened up our guides muttered something in Arabic and suddenly my horse took off with lightning speed. Before I even had a chance to say ’My Cha Cha pumps’ I was flying through the desert sands like a warrior princess on speed, holding on for dear life. Suddenly the pyramids rose before us and as we stopped I was mesmerized by the sheer size of the colossal buildings. Who originally came up with the idea of building them? Why were they aligned according to the stars? How many people did it take to raise all those blocks? How many lost their lives in the process? The questions were endless..
We got off the horses and walked up to one of the pyramids for a Kodak moment. I went completely snap happy when I saw our guide talking to some armed guards. They were pointing at us and I noticed the guards nodding their heads at the mention of our hosts name. The guide came up to us and asked if we’d like to climb up the pyramid. My heart nearly skipped a beat and both myself and Johnny looked at eachother and exclaimed in unison; YES!!
The trek up was quite difficult and filled with danger, it was a long way down and the weathered sandstone seemed treacherous in places. About 2 thirds up our guide decided it was as far as we’d go, for our own safety. But even that exceeded any expectations. Johnny and I had a moment to ourselves, just sitting on the edge of a giant block of stone looking out over the vast desert planes. It was the most beautiful of sights. I had tears in my eyes as the realization dawned on me that I had fulfilled one of my childhood dreams and to be able to share that moment with my best friend was the greatest gift I could have asked for.
After climbing back down we were taken on a tour around the rest of the plateau. Fascinated by the extensive architecture it wasn’t hard to imagine just what a magical place this was in its prime. All the feasts and rituals held here thousand of years ago still had a presence that can be felt to this day. Somewhat in a daze we rode back the waiting BMW and sat in silence as we were driven through the setting sun to the Marriott Hotel for a spot of food. The hotel itself was an old palace built for Empress Eugenie in the early 1800’s and was quite a magical place in its own right. After dinner we were taken back to our hosts mansion where needless to say I slept like a baby and my dreams were filled with images long lost to history..
Thursday 20th of December

I woke up early and left Johnny sleeping as he looked so sweet immersed in some exotic dream. It was a shame to disturb him.. Nah, that’s a load of crap.. I was hoping to get a moment alone with our host ;o) and that I did. He smiled at me as I entered the front room and asked if I’d like to join him under the blanket (it was a bit chilly!!) and ’watch Gray’s Anatomy’ for a while. I took him up on his offer and cosied up next to him, our legs intertwined for a short while.
Suddenly Johnny appeared and looked at us with a puzzled glare! ’You dirrrrrty little stop out’ he said ’I can’t leave you alone for 5 minutes and all of a sudden you think you’re the Prince(ss) of Egypt. Sheew, get back to your room and put some clothes on!!’ I did as I was told! LOL

The rest of the day went by incredibly fast. It was our last day in Cairo and we still had to go to El-Khalili Market for a bit of shopping. After another breakfast at Starbucks our host flagged down a taxi and asked him to look after us for a few hours.The driver, Yussuf, looked at our host in awe and nodded frenetically, smiling at us with a toothless mouth, reassuring that we were in safe hands.
Yussuf drove us to the market and accompanied us to wherever we wanted to go. Our first stop was a perfume factory as I’d heard about these fragrant oils that last forever and smell like anything you’d be able to buy from the high streets in any major city. The shopkeepers were very nice but when it came down to the price suddenly they became all business like and tried to rip us off. At this point Yussuf jumped in and explained whose guests we were and the price went down by 50% as they apologized with nervous smiles.
We continued through the market and found a wicked little shop called Oscar’s. Oscar himself was this chubby little man with a lot of cheek. He enticed us into his shop by telling me I was pretty. Now c’mon – wouldn’t you stop and hear him out?? LOL Once we were inside he offered us some tea and a spliff to awaken our spending appetite. I have to say it worked as we ended up buying everything from papyrus to marble capotic jars (which would be handy for storing.. stuff in..), ashtrays, fridge magnets and a white marble head of Queen Nefertiti – don’t ask!
It was an amazing experience but I have to admit that we felt a bit like Patsy and Eddie in Morocco, all bedazzled and in a bubble.On our way back to the car I noticed people looking at us and pointing. Some smiled while some looked puzzled. I mentioned this to Johnny and he shrugged it off as weed paranoia. It wasn’t until we heard two teenage girls mention our hosts name after smiling at us that we figured out that the word of whose guests we were had spread throughout the whole of El-Khalili Market. A very exciting moment I must say! He he he..
When we got back to the mansion we were served an amazing feast of traditional Egyptian dishes. After a days shopping (and some help of Egyptian home grown) we’d worked up quite an appetite and tucked in. It wasn’t til after we’d finished that our host started to laugh wholeheartedly. When Johnny asked him why he was laughing he said; ’Didn’t you notice something missing from the garden?’

’MAMA MUUUUUUUUUU!!!!’

Oh nooo, we’d just eaten the lovely little cow Johnny wanted to trade me for. Oh well, at least that meant that I was free to carry on my adventure.We packed all our stuff and our host drove like a true boy racer through the gridlocked traffic leading up to the airport. I guess traffic restrictions didn’t really apply to him!?After a heartfelt goodbye and a promise of meeting up again in the near future we boarded the plane and were on our way back to Luxor for another 4 days of historical extravagance.

But that is another story..

;o)

D.

Thursday, August 23, 2007 - back dated!

FEELING BLUE

FIRST A WARNING! THIS BLOG IS JUST RANDOM THOUGHTS COMING OUT COMPLETELY RANDOMLY SO DON'T EXPECT IT TO MAKE MUCH SENSE! I JUST NEED TO CLEAR MY HEAD!


Life works in mysterious ways!

Now isn't that an understatement of the century!? Full of surprises and unexpected turns you can never prepare yourself fully for what lurks around the corner.

You think you have it all mapped out and you enter the future with your hopes high and your mind set and then WHAM BAM you find yourself sitting in the disabled toilet at work blurring your eyes out and asking yourself; 'What happened??' I'll tell ya what happened. You got exactly what you bargained for! By thinking you're invincible and by arrogantly mapping your own life way ahead of you it looked back at ya and spat right in your face. The question now is; What are you going to do about it? Are you gonna just sit there and take it and wilt like a flower? Or are you gonna take the bull by the horns and show it who's the boss?

Now there is a decision that will either make or break you!
As I write this I'm feeling lost and confused after some of the blows I've been dealt over the last couple of weeks. Altho none are of any particular magnetude, they all seemed to happen simultaneously, causing the foundations of my world to slowly start cracking.

Ever since running away from home as a teenager I've always looked after myself, never wanting to burden anyone else. But being on my own, what I learned along the way I learned from strangers and sometimes when I felt homesick I would think back to old family values. From one troubled marriage my mother fled to another, to another country. Confused and divided between Sweden and Yugoslavia I guess I've always struggled with my identity. So I ran away to the UK - hoping that things would be better.

I can honestly say that I've never felt more confused that I am right now. Its funny though. I used to think that as people grow older all the pieces of the puzzle wold fall into place and BAM one day you'd feel comfortable in your own skin. I know now that its not as simple as that. Lifes generally more complicated and in order to understand life you need to embace it and accept it for what it is; A massive whirlwind that can't be manipulated nor controlled.
Changing your ways of thinking and living isn't the easiest thing, especially not if like mine your mind is so set in its ways that rust has appeared around the edges. But its worth a go. There are times in life when all you want to do is start afresh on a clean slate and something's telling me that that time is about to arrive... once again.

Right now I find myslef in a place where I've just had to sever all ties with my abusive, alcoholic mother after I found out that she completely humiliated herself (and me) during my fathers dead wifes wake. She told the whole (Serbian) party that I was gay - now don't get me wrong, I'm proud of who I am and I would never hide it - but my family in former Yugoslavia are so conservative that they don't understand the meaning of the word. What they picture when they hear the word GAY is death, desease, sodomy and eternal pergatory. Not the healthiest of outlooks for their first born son and grandson. To add salt to injury my mother decided to file for divorce (from her third husband) and wants to seperate my brother Maksim from his sister Marina. She wants to take the girl and start a new life back in Yugoslavia, while the 'bastard' boy is left with his dad in Sweden.

Tell me, are those the actions of a healthy and loving mother?

Now I'm battling an inner turnmoil as I try to come to terms with the fact that I'll probably never get a proper chance to see my family from my dad's side. After this ordeal I'm shitting bricks just at the sheer thought of having to explain to them how I've chosen to live my life, wich coincidentally is putting sticks in the wheels of me furthering the exploration of my roots - adding to the confusion and feeling of being lost.

To top everything up it was brought to my attention that my flatmate, best friend and 'sister' has been having great difficulties accepting my boyfriend. Now you can imagine just how big a blow that was considering that we've all lived together for the last 6 months. This new found information is squeezing my heart to pieces and I feel a panick attack coming on. How did it all end up this way? In the beginning she loved him, I'm sure she did, the look in her eyes said everything. Or was I maybe fooled by her relief that I'd found someone so that she doesn't feel guilty for spending most of her time with her own boy?! And now when her own relationship is showing cracks she's made a U-turn on mine?

The feeling of being stuck between your best friend and your lover is such a headf*ck that I cannot possibly begin to describe. It literally feels like my head is about to explode and I am regressing back into a 3 year old just so that I don't have to deal with this issue.
I feel guilty for being in love with a person my best friend doesn't like. At the same time I feel guilty for my boyfriend not liking my best friend! I feel even guiltier for being the one responsible for them living under the same roof - as it was ME who instigated it, it was ME who made it happen and its ME who's now having to sort it out. But how?

She's already said that she want's to move out. Although I know that her financial situation is more reason for that decision than anything else, I still feel bad. I feel bad for 'choosing' my boyfriend over her. True enough, I've known him a fraction of the time that I've known her - but she can never give me what he can, and vice versa. But nonetheless I feel guilty..
Now, she's planning to move out, leave us alone, save up some money and head off to San Francisco where she's gonna try her very own Fresh Start! And as much as I'm sorry to hear that she wants to leave I feel like maybe, just maybe I can have a fresh start myself. But then there's the guilt again and the uncertainty. Will it work? What if it doesn't?? Then what do I do? When my best friend's on the other side of the globe and my loving boyfriend has long forgetten about me?? Then what...?

Like I said; Life is like an whirlwind that cannot be manipulated nor controlled so I'm gonna spread my wings and let it lift me and take me where ever it wants to. I'm ready to accept life for what it is instead of trying to manipulate it into what I'd like it to be.
Maybe this way I won't be facing as many disappointments..

Dan

Thursday, August 02, 2007 - back dated!


Walk like an Egyptian


Since I can remember I have always been fascinated with ancient Egypt. As a kid I used to steal my moms kohl pencils and paint my face Egyptian style and fashion different head gears as I pretended to be a prince(ss)..

As I grew older my passion followed, unfortunately not in a way that could have enabled me to actually use it as a career move. If I'd played my cards right or if someone had noticed the burning interest within me perhaps they could have guided me in the right direction. I didn't have such luck. Instead I pursued another dream - I wanted to be an actor. But that dream crumbled and nothing came out of 3 years of acting school, apart from learning to improvise (which proved VERY useful in latter days).

Now at last I have another chance to rekindle my childhood passion. I've decided to take the plunge and against all odds head to the land of the ancient pharaohs. I booked the tickets a while back (when I still had some money) and as the trip was a part of Arron's birthday present I couldn't really talk about it. Can you imagine just how much I wanted to scream; I'M GOING TO EGYPT!!!!!

I told Arron about it just before we went on holiday as Mon kinda ruined the surprise by giving ME an Egyptian Guide Book for my b'day. Arron's a smart cookie and kinda figured it out and altho his birthday isn't until December 19th we're both ecstatic over the trip. A while back he mentioned something about wanting to spend Xmas somewhere completely un-Christmassy and what better place than Egypt to do that in?

I'm completely over the moon about the whole thing and although it was meant as gift to Arron for his 21st it was as much a gift to myself as I couldn't have thought of a better person to experience it with. Lets just hope he feels the same way!
We fly out on the 17th of December and stay for a week at Emile Hotel in Luxor.
Apparently on the top floor of the hotel there is a swimming pool overlooking the Nile on one side and Karnak Temple on the other. Across the river we're just a camel ride away from the Valley of The Kings (AND Queens) ;) as well as the Ramesseum and a handful of museums. I'm already secretly planning a night train excursion to Cairo where we'll get to see the pyramids and sphinx and everything else that crosses our path.

Yalla Yalla BRING IT ON!!!!

Dan

Tuesday, July 24, 2007 - back dated!


Friedship VS Love

Getting stuck in the middle between a dear friend and someone you love is a horrible thing. I know that it happens all the time but just because it does happen doesn't make it easier to deal with.

What do you do when both sides seem to have a valid point? How do you choose between the two? Can you stay neutral at all?

I find myself stuck in the middle today and it feels as if I'm literally being ripped apart. I can't concentrate on work and my head feels like its about to explode!

The last week has brought on more headaches than I can remember ever having and right this minute I just wanna crawl down and hide under my desk. I feel like I've suddenly become a parent to two kids and its up to me to inflict peace and wisdom upon them - even tho I can't think of anything peaceful OR wise to say to either of them. The more I try to make things better the worse I seem to affect the situation.

I'm confused and sad and scared and lonely!

I wish this was all a bad dream and that soon i will wake up. Sadly, I'm old enough to distinguish dreams from reality. All I can hope for is a miracle!

D.

Travel Blog - Rhodes, Lindos - Friday, July 13, 2007 - back dated!


Well, I know we've been back over a week now and that I should have posted this blog a little sooner but thanks to my notebook disappearing in the depths of my holdall I had to wait til I found it. Not that my memory fails me or anything but its better to have all the facts right than to be making stuff up as I go along.. ;o)


Wednesday June 27th


I woke up all giddy and excited. We were leaving the rainy gloom of London behind us and heading towards warmer lands. I had never before been to Greece even tho I was born not too far away from it in Serbia. I have met a few greek people throughout the years and always felt comfortable in their surroundings. Their mentality reminded me very much of what I was used to from home and I guess it was just a natural progression. That and the fact I'm Orthodox - the ruling religion in Greece - and altho I'm not practicing it I am very familiar with the stories and drive behind it.We got to the airport and after changing money, buying goggles and adapters we realisd our flight had already borded. In blind panic we rushed through the crowds as we heard our names announced through the speakers; "Will passengers D. Kreckovic and A. Jones please go to gate 19 immediately. Your flight is ready for take off." Narrowly escaping our plane leaving without us we struggled to catch our breath in the seats. Sweat was running down my forehead and I thought Arron was going to have a asthma attack - remembering that his inhaler was left on the nightstand!


We landed in Rhodes after a 4 hr flight. I was glad I brought Paul Burstons 'Star People' to keep me occupied otherwise I would have struggled to cope with the amount of crying infants and frantic teenagers eagerly waiting for their holiday to begin. The moment the flight attendants opened the doors to the plane we we're hit by a tremendous heat blast and suddenly I looked at my longsleved cashmere sweater and wondered what the hell I was thinking when getting ready this morning. We later learned that Grece was experiencing the worst heatwave in 10 years and with temperatures reaching as high as 52°C it wasn't hard to believe. It was already 8pm by the time we landed and we were taken on an hour long coach transfer to Lindos. Knackered we made our way to the reception by the pool and were greeted by Eleni, the owner and manager of Eleni Studios. She took us to our room, No 13, and told us that if we wanted aircon we'd have to pay 50 Euros to have it switched on between 10pm-9am. We didn't see much point in arguing with that even tho it came as an unexpected expenditure on our already limited travel budget.
While filling our fridge with breakfast stuff from the nearby supermarket we noticed that it was broken and couldn't be turned up to cool faster. We also noticed that for a Self Catering hotel they didnt really provide enough utencils for you to be able to cater for yourself. Ironic but we didn't let that bring us down. After all we'd gotten the trip at a bargain price.
We unpacked our things and finished the evening on the balcony taking in the sights of the clear starlit sky before turning in to a turbulent and sweaty nights sleep..


Thursday June 28th


I woke up early, excited about the day ahead. Arron needed a couple extra minutes to come to life so I strolled down to the pool area and relaxed til he joined me. The sun was baking hot and we later found out that it was 45°C and a lot cooler than it had been the previous couple of days. Apparently they didn't have any wind for a week and as the heat wave soared the city of Lindos was like a boiling cauldron. It looked as if we had arrived in perfect time, just as the heat was subsiding. We went to stock up on some more necessities and returned to catch the Thompson Rep Lynn in the middle of her introduction. She was a little Glaswegian lass that couldn't stop sweating. As she spoke, sweat beads were trickling down her face and neck causing her shirt to stick to her back and as a result we could barely understand her as she hurriedly slurred through her speech. We decided that whatever information she could give us we'd be better off finding out on our own from the locals and headed down towards the main beach. I wanted a lilo and Arron was more keen on a ring so when he'd fallen asleep in our plastic white sun loungers I sneaked off and surprised him.


After a little persuasion we headed off on a little mini adventure. The beach was within a bay and further out were two little islands guarding the entrance to the bay (as you can see in the top pic above). We decided to pack up all our things; water, phone, books, camera and towels and on the lilo and the ring paddle out to one of the islands.


After about an hours paddling we reached the volcanic rocks and climbed up on to the island. We suddenly realised that we we're in a very remote spot and that the wind and tide had suddenly changed. This meant that going back would prove quite difficult as the wind was blowing away from mainland and behind us was the open sea. But what's done was done and instead we decided to enjoy the space we'd found It was an interesting landscape consisting of what looked like hardened lava, with holes and crevices scattered all around it giving plenty of opportunity for wild sealife to thrive. It wasn't as accommodating to our feet tho. I'm not sure just how many cuts we received out there. Arron's biggest attraction was a big rock reaching up to 15 meters above the sea that he decided to jump off from. My heart skipped a beat as he lept off into the blue I was too chicken to try instead we went skinny dipping and even engaged in some sexual activity for good measure... ;o)


The journey back was gruesome. The tide was forcefully leading us out to open water but we were determined to make a shore. After almost 2 hours of struggling and gurgling salt water we finally reached land. We were exhausted and slowly made our way back to the hotel where we crashed for a few hours before freshening up and going for dinner in Lindos town. We were ushered in to Alexander's and I was delighted to see they had white bait on the menu. After the food arrived it dawned on us that we had ordered way too much.. Lesson learned for next time.

Needless to say we both slept like babies that night!


Friday June 29th


I woke up in a weird mood. I had already checked and knew that the full moon was just around the corner and by being prepared I hoped I could escape the effect it usually has on me. No such luck altho this time I was more aware of it and could deal with it accordingly.
We made our way through the town of Lindos to another beach that was slightly hidden compared to the main one. But the biggest surprise was their wooden sun loungers and straw parasols, a vast improvement from yesterdays.We spent most of the day just soaking up the sun and snorkeling in the sea. This time keeping a bit closer to the shoreline.


Making our way back through town we couldn't resist taking a donkey ride up to the Acropolis (video). After all Lindos was known for its notorious donkeys and it seemed like a cool thing to do. I enjoyed it, not sure about Arron though.. lol They took us all the way up to the old ruins of the Acropolis where we were amazed by the extraordinary views. We found out that the locals have started a project where they are trying to restore the castle to its former glory or as close as they can get. I'm sure it will be a success.


After exploring the old ruins we descended down back through the shopping streets of town where I tried to haggle but unlike in Turkey where haggling is expected in everyday life the greeks get very angry. Lets just say I learned my lesson well. We returned to Eleni's to shit, shave and shower and decided to try the very first restaurant in the entrance to Lindos, called MedEast. To our surprise it was a very nice place. The layout of the restaurant was great with stunning views of the beach and the ruins, the service was friendly and the food delicious. With their main specialty being meats Arron was in heaven!


Before returning back to the hotel we passed a little tourist hut where we found out you can book excursions and cars and bikes. We decided to get ourselves a Quadbike for 3 days and also booked a lazy day boat trip for the following day.That night I could barely sleep; tomorrow was going to be an exciting day and we were picking up the bike in the evening. Arron on the other hand couldnt sleep cos he burned himself..


Saturday June 30th


The alarm woke us up at 8am. Even for holiday time that was waaaaay too early. But considering we were going on a boat trip for the day we managed to soldier through. A red Peugeot came to pick us up outside Flora Supermarket and took us to Vlicha Bay where Captain Stergios was waiting on his boat. When all 12 passengers had been collected we were off. As the first to arrive me and Arron got the whole back of the boat all to ourselves giving me enough space to lazyly lap up the sun.


Captain Stergios was in his early 50's and a very funny man with knowledge of several european languages as we found out during the day. He'd start by telling me and Arron in eanglish about any sights worth noticing then moved on to the front and repeated the same thing in German, Italian and French. It was funny 'cos there we're no french people onboard. Nonetheless, his efforts we're highly appreciated. He took us around the bay of Lindos main beach and we could see the back side of our 'Deserted Island' he then continued round through some rocky formations resembling a huge mushroom in the water and a lions head until we reached a strip of crystal clear turqoise water close to Pefki.


We stopped for a while so everyone could have a dip and cool down and then headed back north towards Haraki (video). In Haraki we stopped for a bite to eat. Arron and I didn't like the look of the beach front cafe and headed towards the town centre til we reached Tommy's Taverna. A cute waiter with a monobrow served us and Arron wanted us to adopt him and take him home - but only if we tweezed his eyebrows! After finishing the mousakka and burger we ordered we left Mr Monobrow behind us and returned back to the boat. The captain told us with excitement about this secluded beach that noone can get to except for by boat and once we got there it wasn't hard to see why. It was a remote strip of sandy beach with a massive wave of a hill sheltering it from the rest of the island. The only way to get down to it would have been by rope or jumping down off the ledge and hoping for the best. The other passengers from the boat scattered themselves all across the sand and we tried to find some shade as Arron was deliberately staying out of the sun. He was hot, bothered (video) and complaining about bugs a lot. None of wich bothered me...YET!

After about an hour and a half Captain Stergios honked the horn and we all climbed back onboard the boat. This time we were heading back to Vlicha Bay to disembark the vessel and head to Lindos Tourist Office to collect our Quadbike. I've never seen Ron so excited. Like a kid who'd just won his own amusement park. After going through the security and all the relevant information we needed to know we took the bike for a ride south of where we we're staying. It was great fun but as it was already dark we headed home to prepare for our massive roadtrip around the island the following day.


But before we got back to Eleni's I remembered an old story my nan used to tell me. She said that back in the day when they had been out working the fields, especially the men, they'd come back sun burnt and aching. And when they did the women would rub natural yoghurt across their backs and shoulders to draw the pain out and to soothe the skin. Well, after 8 hours on a boat, chasing the sun around and having the wind cooling me down you can just imagine what I looked like when we returned - so I decided to stop by Flora Supermarket once more and pick up a tub of Natural Greek Yoghurt. As I went up to the old lady to pay, she looked at the tub, then at me and said with a massive grin; AAAAH, YESSS, FOR FACE, HA?? and nodded knowingly. That gave me all the reassurance I needed.. :)


Sunday 1st July


After a great nights sleep, although with quite a lot of tossing and turning and definitely smelling of yoghurt we both woke up at the same time. We packed our backpack with towels, sunscreen and plenty of frozen bottles of water and headed on our first day of exploring the island on the quad bike. With a tiny beach map as only reference we took off from Lindos Town and headed North up the highway. I don't have a driving license and wasn't allowed to drive out in traffic - but I retaliated by refusing to drive at all. Instead I opted for the more relaxing role of the passenger (click link to see video). Apart from the slight banging against my lower back caused by the helmet box I didn't have many complaints. I just sat back and enjoyed the amazing views of the island as we drove by. For only having 80 CC's the quad bike did a good job getting up the hills with us on it.

Not really sure about just how far away everything was it took a while to find the right roads. Especially considering all the roads are marked in Greek. Once again that's where my Serbian heritage lent a helping hand - being taught in an Orthodox Sunday School as a child I could still remember Cyrillic - the alphabet used by the ancient Greeks - and could easily decipher the correct route (with a few stops and failed attempts of asking for directions).


We finally found the little side road leading to our first destination - Epta Piges - or Seven Springs. Judging from the guide books we had and after speaking to some locals we imagined a large spring welling out of a mountain and streaming down through caves and into a large lake where people could jump in. The reality couldn't have been further from our imagination.


We arrived to find a tiny little puddle welling up from underneath a couple of trees. Each 'spring' was marked with a number on a stick and some gees and ducks were cooling off in it. The water then ran down rocks and through a manmade tunneled canal, about 150 meters long. Still unknowing what awaits at the other side we mustered up the courage to go through the pitch black tunnel even though some local women refused to step foot inside point blank! It was a weird experience and I had to keep taking photos in order to be able to see anything - totally oblivious to the fact my sunglasses were still on!The end of the tunnel didn't have much to offer. What we thought would be a lake waiting was in fact a dried up canal containing nothing but mud and goose droppings.


Before venturing off towards our next destination we decided to have lunch at Seven Springs Taverna. Lucky we did cos the food was exquisite and dirt cheap for the portions we got. Highly recommended!


Somewhat more confident of the roads we decided to take what seemed a shortcut to Petaloudes through Arhipoli and Psinthos. Little did we know that we'd be traveling down a remote dirt road for miles until we finally got to The Valley of the Butterflies (video). The valley itself was gorgeous and definitely worth a trip. It was a man-made haven for millions of Tiger Moths inhabiting even the tiniest of crevices. Massive clusters of moths hanging on to cliffs, tree branches and caves following the waterfalls from top to bottom. Apart from the moths there were also other forms of life there such as sweet water crabs and what looked like leeches but later turned out to be tiny black snails. We walked around and took photos and at times Arron tried to stir the moth clusters with handfuls of dust only so we could get a good shot of the magnitude of the insects.


After an hour or so exploring the woodlands we wanted to head back home. We were hungry and thirsty and starting to get a bit tired. Arron drove towards the airport and then we had to follow the entire highway all the way to Lindos. After a foodstop in Faliraki (video), and purely to be able to say that we'd been there we continued home. Driving down the busy road we didn't anticipate it taking as long as it did and to make matters worse all of a sudden the quad bike slowed down and came to an absolute standstill. Not too far from Lindos but still a VERY steep hill away it wasn't an ideal situation. Luckily we'd just passed a petrol station and managed to fill the tank and return home safely.


By the time we'd returned neither of us was very hungry so we tried to drive back to one of the beaches we'd visited with Captain Stergios but once we arrived (at Lindos Memories Hotel) we noticed that the lovely turquoise bit was quite far away from the shore so we stuck round and tried to catch crabs and sea urchins before finally returning to Eleni's where we crashed for the night..


Monday 2nd July


I woke up very excited knowing that we we're going to explore Rhodes town today. I had been looking forward to it all week. So much history to experience and to see for myself what I had only read about in the past and to see the Sound & Light show that we'd heard so much about. But Arron wasn't quite where I was. He'd woken up in a bad mood and it seemed one bad thing only led to another. Before we'd even taken off he'd cursed the mosquitoes that bit him during the night, he managed to burn our breakfast (not his fault, I blame the crappy pans) and he burned himself as he got on the quad bike. By this time it had already been in the sun for a few hours.


We were finally on our way but as the journey progressed, his mood only deteriorated more and more. Stray stones hitting his face on the road we're swiftly followed by bugs flying in to his mouth. Holding on behind him I just kept my mouth shut and hoped for a miracle. After about an hour and a half we'd reached the entrance to the city but as we got closer the traffic turned nastier. All of a sudden we reached a set of traffic lights (one of 2 on the whole island I'm guessing?) and we were surrounded by at least 15 scooters tightly followed by an endless number of cars and trucks. With no signs indicating any directions we struggled to find our way around but finally reached the walls of the Old Town and knew we were in the right place. Arron was NOT happy and without stirring things up too much I suggested we go for a stroll through the ancient streets of Old Rhodes.


It was amazing walking down the cobbled streets and you can literally feel the history around you. It was really picturesque and I couldn't help but wish I had a castle the size of this.. lol One day!!! ;o)


With the bad mood unchanging I thought maybe some food might do the trick and we went down to the harbour to eat. I ordered a Greek omelet accompanied by my signature dish a Greek Salad and Arron had a pizza. I couldn't have anticipated that a pizza would only make matters worse. It turned out to be soggy and doughy and I chose to shut my face in order to keep the peace.


We walked along the water to Mandraki Harbour where one of the Wonders of the Ancient world once stood; the Colossus of Rhodes. A giant bronze statue that stood at the entrance of the harbor with one foot on each side, majestically guarding the ancient city. It is believed that an earthquake caused the Colossus to disintegrate and fall piece by piece into the ocean - although no parts of it have ever been found!?


We carried on walking til we reached a heaving beach full of tourists. Shingled, it didn't seem as nice as some of the beaches down south but it was by far one of the largest on the island. Following it round the northern most tip of Rhodes, past the Marine biological Museum we were met by a sight to remember. Massive waves (video) splashing the turquoise sea up against the beach. Not many people dared to enter the wild waters as the current was extremely powerful but it was no match for me. I ran and dove in with my clothes on turning a few heads along the way. I didn't care. It was an incredible feeling just letting yourself go in the waves. Arron shortly joined me and his mood seemed to let up a little bit.. Just a little though! We spent a few hours on that beach swimming, chilling out and just watching the world go by. On the other side the mountains of Turkey could be seen and although we could have we decided to give that excursion a miss.


The sun started to set and after a change of clothes we went to explore the Old Town (video) some more. We found the Street of the Knights of St John. There was a House of England with the traditional English rose as a symbol followed by the House of France, Germany and so on. But the thing that baffled me the most was the abundance of umbrella and fur shops!! Yes FUR shops!!! In a land that has more sunny days than they can handle it just seemed a little strange anyone would want to cover themselves up in a massive coyote fur coat! Is it just me or does that seem a bit wrong?? lol Passing through these shops we also came across a little mannequin of a boy - or more the Seed of Chucky (video). It became a standing joke with us and I wish we could have brought him back with us.. ;o)


I had tried to keep my cool about Arrons rain on my parade and even suggested we give the Sound & Light show a miss as it was another 2,5 hrs til it was supposed to start but he wasn't having any of it, saying how it was one of the reasons we'd come in the first place. So we headed back towards the beach to get a glimpse of the famous Rhodes sunset. On the way we found an Orthodox Church (video) and I couldn't resist entering. All the lessons from Sunday School as a kid came swooshing back to me and I recognized the many saints gracing the walls but even I couldn't answer Arrons question; 'Why does Jesus have 3 cardinal points in his halo?'
All I DO know is that they are NOT cardinal points!


Needless to say by the time we reached the seafront the sun had already set and we had to return back to catch the show. After paying 18 Euros for the tickets and a programme we expected something extraordinary but what we got was not even worth pissing on if it caught fire!! It was such a disappointment and I could just feel the blood bubble in Arrons veins. As people started walking out of the show I daren't speak a word and pretended to enjoy it (as much as I could)! What was meant as a recreation of the Sound & Light show in Athens was merely a nice garden with a few colored lights lighting up to a pre recorded dramatization of the Knights of St John. Trust me it SOUNDS nicer than it is and apart from a sore back and a sleepy bum we didn't get much more out of it.


So the journey home was about to begin. The wind had picked up and Arron was upset over how cold it would get on the bike so I gave him my spare shirt and vest top and fastened the rest of our stuff on the quad bike.We drove through the mental traffic only to time and time again end up in dead ends or one way streets. And to add salt to injury once we finally found an exit a small explosion scared the shit out of us and we swirled off the road only to discover that the bungee strap holding our bag to the bike had snapped and the bag had fallen off. I rushed off the bike to chase the bag but it was too late; it had already gotten run over and most of our belongings had been destroyed.At this point Arron was the calm one while I felt the temperature rise in my temples. I was about to have a fit and then I suddenly saw it. The moon. And it was RED! A blood moon is never a good sign and although not much it gave some explanations to all the wrong things that had happened today.


We continued the drive out of Rhodes town in silence. I didn't have much to say as I was holding on to Arron for dear life as we drove almost 2 hours through darkness. Along the way we stopped for some food but we couldn't wait to be in bed.
Once sat on our balcony with a spliff to calm our nerves we looked at the burned and run over remains from our backpack and just burst out laughing.At least we'd remember this day forever..


Tuesday 3rd July


We deliberately refused to get out of bed early today. Originally we were gonna drive down to Prasonissi, where the Aegean and the Mediterranean seas meet in one straight line. Apparently its a really beautiful place with lost of nice beaches and an interesting geological spot to visit. But not for us and not today!


I think we were still a bit shaken by what had happened during last nights return journey and we also didn't have a bag to pack all our necessities in anyway. Instead Arron looked through our burnt and mangled Berlitz guide book and found a nice sandy beach not too far away from Lardos, which was literally down the road. Determined to get one last use out of the ring and mattress I'd bought on our second day I held it over my head as I straddled the quad bike. It wasn't the easiest thing to hold on to at 80km/hr but we managed to get to Glystra beach all in one piece.


We paid for the sun loungers and I headed out to sea on the inflatable rubber ring and got swept out by the strong current. As I tried to paddle back to shore I noticed something BIG and DARK 'swimming' just to the left below me and I guess you could say that I panicked slightly.. Frenetically trying to side-paddle around this 'monster' from the depths I ended up getting swept out further out to sea. Finally I made it back to shore and Arron went out to do some snorkeling while I got lost in Paul Burstons 'Star People'. After about an hour I looked up and I couldn't see Arron anywhere. My heart slowly began to race as I was trying to spot him or his snorkel in the water. Each time I saw a snorkel sticking out I focused my attention on that person, til they came up and it turned out it wasn't him. All sorts of images clouded my mind. I saw him getting an underwater asthma attack or getting water in the snorkel and drowning or drifting far out to sea without even noticing it himself or worse still; he got eaten by that sea monster I saw earlier!!!I had visions of me having to call his parents and tell them I'd lost him somewhere in the sea and they'd hate me forever and ever..


And just as I thought things couldn't get any worse a German woman 2 sun loungers away started shouting at her husband. It immediately caught my attention that her son, who was about 6-7 years old, couldn't be seen anywhere. Both parents rushed up towards the water and started calling his name. It took several minutes for him to re-surface behind some bushes behind the backs of his worried parents.


Suddenly I panicked! I didn't know what to do!?? Should I start calling out Arrons name too?? Should I inform anyone? Or ask for help?I hid the camera and my phone and headed out towards the rocky formation where I'd seen him snorkel just hours ago. My heart was racing as I climbed the sharp rock and for every movement I noticed thinking it was Arron it sank at the fact it wasn't. Its weird to explain, but I felt like a parent loosing a child. The fear started to consume me from within when all of a sudden I saw him. He was strolling along the bank a few meters away, snorkel in hand and a big grin on his face as he noticed me and waved. I DID NOT wave back! The fear I'd felt swiftly turned into anger as I shouted at him that I thought he'd drowned and that he'd been gone for almost 2 hours. I made my way back to our chair with him miles behind as he was barefoot and I had the advantage of flip-flops against the rocks. He joined me on the beach moments later and I was still fuming, pretending to read my book when in fact I had to read and re-read every page twice as I kept loosing concentration. Then it dawned on me that he was fine and I didn't have to call his mother to tell her she'd lost a son and I asked him if he wanted an ice cream.. lol


As we munched away on our fast melting ice creams I told him about the 'monster' I'd encountered in the deep and when asked to point out exactly where I was told that it was just a patch of tall growing sea weed.. Oh well, how was I supposed to know?? It was huge and it was moving.. ;o)


A couple of hours later we were ready to head back to Eleni's. We had to return the quad bike and freshen up for our last supper on Rhodes.We decided to return to to MedEast after spending the last of the holiday funds in some of the shops. Great glass art and jewelry and I even got a hand painted, blessed Icon of Jesus for my multi religious Nan.


That night I couldn't sleep. Arron had already fallen asleep as I was laying awake thinking about how much I'd love to live a life of leisure like a lot of people on this island. Opening up a hotel somewhere and making enough money during the summer season that I could spend the rest of the year relaxing and enjoying a stress free life. I started thinking about some of the plans me and Arron had discussed. More dreams than plans I guess, about one day building our dream home, renovating an old castle and adding our personal touches to it. I fantasized about our future adventures and what the future may have in stock for us and I looked at him laying there, smiling as he dreamt and realised just how important this boy has become to me over the last 6 months.. I finally drifted off to La La land and I too had a smile on my face.


Wednesday 4th July


The alarm woke us up at 10 am and since we'd already packed the night before there was no need to rush. I washed the dishes we'd accumulated, with a sock and tidied up the mess we'd made. The key was returned to Eleni and we spent the rest of the day by the pool. I thought it would be a shame to throw away the rubber ring and mattress and asked a girl next to us if she'd like to take it. She was delighted and we got talking. That was the first proper conversation we'd had with any other guests at Elenis. It turned out they weren't as happy about their stay as we we're. They agreed to the fact that there wasn't enough toilet paper and that they'd always had to ask for it. Same thing happened to us though but we never realised that NOBODY had any loo roll at times.I asked how much they'd paid for their holiday and as I heard her reply my jaw dropped to the ground! The same trip that me and Arron only paid about £270 for (with flight, transfer and accommodation) set them back over the £1000 mark. I couldn't believe it! I would have been absolutely appalled if Elenis was where I'd end up for that kind of money. I mean, don't get me wrong - Elenis is a nice place with great views and nice friendly atmosphere but for £1000 I'd expect more than that. A LOT MORE!


On my way to the loo I managed to come across a very rarely seen bug but one that was making HORRENDEOUS racket! The Cicada (video). It looked like a HUGE fly with vained wings and massive eyes. Apparently they make the noise to attract partners - not this one tho!!! Tee Hee.. ;o)


The Thomson coach arrived just after 4pm and took us to Rhodes Airport (video). We went to pick up some bits and bobs from the tax-free. I stocked up on olive paste, cigarettes and some chocolate and spent the next 2 hours reading The Daily Mail that someone had left behind. That's where we found out about the terrorist attack on Glasgow Airport and the failed attempts to bomb a nightclub in London and suddenly I started stressing again. I thought about all the work waiting for me when i get back, the crowded masses struggling to get to work in the morning, packed like sardines. I thought about all the bills waiting for me and I thought about the fact I'd have to give up doing fun and interesting things for yet another couple of months. I was ready to cry. Arron wasn't in a much better mood himself. We both traveled home in silence and when we got in there was yet another surprise waiting; Mon had a HUGE package waiting for me in our room and as I ripped open the paper a Samsung flat screen LCD TV that connects to the PC :o) - a belated birthday present from her and her boyfriend Ed.


As we lay down to watch our holiday snaps all the worries about going back to work disappeared...


Dan