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Spongebob in Monaco

On September 6, 2012, Ivan and I had the buffet breakfast.  The boat was in Monaco which is the prettiest port.  Ivan, Lil Dave and I got off the boat at 9:30 am. 

We wanted to get a small car to rent (like a golf cart), but it didn’t look like the company had any (it’s by Stars & Bars).  We walked to the one right by the cruise ship.  This company had a big red car with 4 seats for more money.  Andres and Caroline came off the ship and wanted to rent a car as well.

The 4 seater was a lot more powerful.  We thought that we’d make a lap and come back for Andres and Caroline.  I noticed Mark and Clare walking and Ivan told them to jump in.  We drove around with the music pumping out, and Ivan talking corners like he was on the formula one track! (which in actual fact he really was!)

We drove by the other rental place and they had more cars.  Mark and Clare jumped out to rent one.  We told them we’d be back to see if we could find Andres and Caroline.  There wasn’t a sign of them – so either they didn’t get a car or they had already taken off.  We thought it was weird since we would probably see them pass by. 

Ivan drove us to where Mark and Clare were renting the car.  We took off towards the Monte Carlo Casino hoping that we’d see Andres and Caroline since Ivan told them they should head there.

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Ivan brought along the iPod and the speakers.  He pumped up the music and we drove around the city pissing off all the locals with our music.

At one point, we lost Mark and Clare since we went down a part we weren’t supposed to or it was a bus lane.  Monaco is really small so we thought we might find them again. 

We did find them a few minutes later.

I drove for awhile so Ivan could navigate us around (I’m not that great with maps). 

Ivan started driving again.  He started driving down a small street which I think was only meant for pedestrians, but of course Ivan didn’t care.  A car was coming right at us.  He was backing up.  We went one way and though Mark would follow suit, but he didn’t.  We lost them once again.

Ivan drove us around more.  We chilled and took some pictures near the heliport.

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We drove by the palace and saw the Scottish couple walking around.  

We took a couple of pictures at a nice park area.

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Later on, we found Mark and Clare again.  Their car was really low on gas which wasn’t enough for half a day like they bought.  We drove to the car rental place.  They told the lady about it.  Ivan mentioned that they should get a refund since it didn’t last the whole time and they got some money back.

Mark and Clare joined us in our car.  Ivan asked if they went to the palace and they said no.  Ivan dropped us off, so we went up there to take pictures.  You can’t park right by the palace for safety reasons – the French police go mental.  We saw the guard marching outside the palace. 

We ran into Andres and Caroline.  They had parked the car since they didn’t know how to get to the palace.  I’m sure they were given a map, but maybe they didn’t check it out.

We hopped in and went to a great place for a picture that Mark and Clare didn’t go to.  Monaco is just gorgeous.  I love the view of the marina and all the boats. 

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It was almost time for us to board the boat.  Mark and Clare jumped out before the rental car place to take some pictures.  We said bye.  Ivan and I returned the car. 

We went to Stars and Bars to try to use the free wi-fi.  It was pretty slow though. 

We boarded the Carnival Breeze at 1:30 pm.  It was packed everywhere for lunch since it was the last day and everybody wanted to stuff their faces before leaving the cruise ship.  Lil Dave went to meet up with his monkey friends at the monkey buffet.

I told Ivan the Italian place looked really quiet.  So, we had lunch at Cucina del Capitaco which is free for lunch and dinner you have to pay a fee.  You can pick your pasta, sauce and ingredients.  Ivan and I got red clam sauce with pasta and shrimp.  It was delicious with the red clam sauce.

We went to listen to Timmy Pierce at the pool – he has a great voice.

We checked out the Art Auction for the champagne but the free champagne was already all gone.

Ivan and I went next door to the Thrill Theater.  We didn’t know that you could pay a fee of $14.95 for unlimited rides for the whole cruise per person.  If we had known we would have purchased it.  We went on Spongebob and Mumble’s Wild Ride for $7.95 per person.  We had to put on 3D glasses – it was big enough to go over my eyeglasses.  It was 4D with water spraying at you and things poking you.  We really enjoyed it.

It was time to chill in the jacuzzi for awhile. 

Later on, we got ready for the show.  Ivan went to see the show Latin Nights.  I was late and only caught the end of it.  He thought it was a great show.

Ivan and I each had the crab cake for a starter which was tasty. Most of our meals on Carnival are very tasty.. every now and then a dish isn’t the best. I had the vegetarian Indian meal for my main course which was delectable.

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For dessert, we shared the diet apple pie which was pretty tasty also!!

We took pictures with our tablemates. 

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We had lots of fun with Mark, Clare, Andres and Caroline.

Some of the couples went to the casino.  Ivan and I were tired so we headed off to bed.  We put in our ear plugs since tomorrow we knew there would be announcements really early in the morning to leave the ship.

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Indian Freedom

On August 15, 2012, Ivan, Lil Dave and I woke up at 8:15 am.  I found out some bad news about my friend (who used to be my boss) who passed away – he was really sick.  So, I was crying during the free breakfast.  The lady who works at the hostel asked me if anything was wrong.  I said no.  I bet she thought I was crying coz the breakfast was bad.. but I wasn’t.. the breakfast was quite good with cereal, cheese, meats and boiled eggs.

I packed my things up (Ivan packed his last night) and we got into a taxi at 9:40 am headed to the bus station.  We got the bus to the airport which took 40 minutes. 

Check-in, Security and Immigration went by pretty fast.  We were early for once.  There was no free wi-fi at the airport.  I wrote postcards and Ivan and I shared a salmon and cream cheese bagel.

The plane left Dubrovnik, Croatia at 12:30 pm for Edinburgh, Scotland.  Our plane landed at 2:30 pm.

We got the bus to the centre of Edinburgh.  Then, we walked around with our backpacks to try to find a taxi to the Airbnb apartment we were staying at during our Edinburgh stay. 

10 minutes later, we arrived at the apartment and met Adriana.  She’s a nice woman who showed us around the apartment and  said if we had any questions we could ask her.  We also met her boyfriend.  It was great that we were able to have things sent to their apartment.  I bought some books for our upcoming cruise and a few presents for Ivan’s birthday next month. 

Ivan and I took showers and later went out.  It started raining which is typical Edinburgh weather. 

It was time for dinner.  Ivan was glad we were having Indian food at Kama Sutra.  He has been missing it since at home we cook Indian every day for lunch. 

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Ivan and I shared pan fried crab with yoghurt, daal, pind de choley (chickpeas dish), vegetables with curry sauce, aloo gobhi (potatoes).  Lil Dave had a banana tikka masala.  We had our food with a lovely Syrah from Spain which complemented the spicy food.  It was a delicious meal.  We will definitely be returning back for more.

Next, it was our first Edinburgh Festival Fringe show Stand up for Freedom.  The show that benefits Amnesty International which is a group that protect people wherever justice, fairness, freedom and truth are denied. 

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Hannibal Buress

We saw lots of comedians and acts like David O’Doherty, Josie Long, American comedian Hannibal Burress, The Boy with Tape on his Face and Frisky and Mannish.

The hosts talked about one of the causes Amnesty International was currently supporting.  A Russian feminist rock band named Pussy Riot performed a punk prayer inside a church saying that President Vladimir Putin should be removed from office.  3 of the band Pussy Riot were arrested and are awaiting sentencing soon.  This has brought on international support from such celebrities like Madonna and Stephen Fry. 

If their name was something normal, I don’t think I would have remembered their name.  Plus, I felt that the band had balls for doing something political in a church.  Girl power!  At one point, we were asked to stand up for a video being made. 

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We had to scream FREE PUSSY RIOT!! and asked to throw our fists in the air.  I did so and even pulled a mean face.  The sentencing was for ‘hooliganism’ (seriously, they were charged for this!! I didn’t know people got charged for that! Haha.. just sounds so funny). They have now unfortunately, been  sentenced to 2 years in prison.  Quite harsh!

Credits: Hannibal Buress photo

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Indian Rain

Ivan, Lil Dave and I took the train into Central London at 1 pm on July 4, 2012.  We had lunch at the healthy restaurant Leon. Ivan loved it – I wasn’t so much of a fan.

We went to see the musical Singin’ in the Rain

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The story is about 1920’s Hollywood and the silent movies are very popular.  Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont are the biggest movie stars.  But, the talking movies are new and gaining popularity.  So, the studio decides to make a talkie with dancing and singing.  It’s a great story and the dancing and singing are wonderful.  I would definitely recommend this musical.  When the actors dance in the rain.. at the end of the musical, it seemed like they were splashing the audience on purpose too much.  Ivan thought that they should just dance and sometimes the audience would get splashed.  He thought it was a bit too farcical that they were splashing the crowd so much. 

After the musical, we rushed to the tube to head to Liverpool Station.  We walked to Spitalfields Market.  We’d be making our own Gromit from Wallace and Gromit.  Gotta love these cool free events!  We all got some white, brown and black clay and an instruction sheet.  Jim Parkyn from Aardaman Animations was there telling us what to do. 

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I was having a bit of trouble making the clay look like the clay in the instruction sheet.

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My dog was starting to look like AT-AT Walker from Star Wars.  Lil Dave was helping me, but he wasn’t really being much help.  He wanted to make a banana instead. Ivan was doing pretty good though.  Our friend Jo met up with us late and started making his own dog without following the directions very closely.  Ivan’s Gromit turned out the best.

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We started walking towards Brick Lane.  This street is filled with great Indian restaurants.  Its literally Indian restaurant after Indian restaurant….We went to Aladin for dinner since Ivan saw it was highly rated on Tripadvisor.  For starters, we got poppadums. 

Ivan and I shared balti fish curry, and a vegetable jalfrezi.  Lil Dave got a banana poppadum, banana naan and chicken jalfrazie.  Our waiters were all so very nice – I thought they were over the top nice which was a bit annoying.  We chatted about life, traveling and our first honeymoon in Alaska.  I thought the food was quite tasty, while Jo thought it was just average. 

Ivan thought we should go to a pub and have a drink.  Jo was feeling tired.  We said that he should get a coffee to wake up.  We started walking around.  I saw Dirty Dicks pub and thought we should go there.  Jo ran into an old schoolmate that he hasn’t seen in 15 years.  This guy right away told us that he ran a hedge fund.  I had no clue what that was.  He kept saying it over and over.  Nobody was impressed.  We met Raul and his friend Aristotle.  Ivan and I thought it funny that his name was Aristotle.  Who names their kid Aristotle? That’s like naming your kid Zeus or Hercules.  Aristotle looked Indian, but he was Venezuelan. 

Ivan asked if Raul had a Facebook and he said he couldn’t have one because he owned a hedge fund.  What does that matter?  Jo asked what he does with the hedge fund, but he said he couldn’t say.  Ivan asked what he are is it in – he said Futures.  Ok, what does that mean?!

Raul was full of lies.  Jo tried to get his phone number and he mumbled something.  Jo ended up paying for Raul’s whiskey.  He asked for his e-mail and he stormed off.  He was drunk and a pathological liar.  Some people have problems.

Jo reckons that Raul has been jealous of Jo since school and he felt the need to lie to make himself look better.  All it did was confirm that he was a big twat.

We chatted about our upcoming Ibiza and Barcelona trip and drank cider.

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Ivan, Jo and I get along really well.  I really wish Jo lived in Las Vegas.  We’d have so much fun there!

We walked to the bus stop.  Jo had to go the other direction.  When the number 8 bus came, Jo had to hurry across the street.  We said good-bye and waited for our bus to come which took awhile for some reason.

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