Tuesday, June 30, 2009

28-06-2009 (Week 24) - Perpignan

Bonus Blog:

This weekend went very quickly. It was Brian London and Aaaron Ticknor's last weekend in France, so we went into the weekend with the goal of trying to make them miss their flight. Fortunately for one of them, that didn't happen. Although that person did bail out on us in the middle of walking into a discotech....
This night involved me wearing Doherty's clothes to have the ability to get into a discotech, and someone getting body slammed to the ground by Brian. I still can't recall exactly how that went down.
The highlight of the weekend, however, was when Doherty and I packed our bikes into the back of the car and drove to Perpignan. We stayed in some old hostel with a very crotchity old man at the counter. But we basically spent our day either on the beach with topless European woman, riding our bikes up and down the coast, and getting ridiculously burnt in the process. So burnt that I have put together a video to show you how bad it actuall was...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

20-06-2009 (Week 22-23) - Bordeaux et Paris

This week Becky and Chris came into town. After they arrived safely, we spent the next day heading out to the Bordeaux region. It was in St. Emilion where we embarked upon our wine tasting adventure. After trying to convince the nice young woman that worked at the information session to give us the inside edge on where to go taste wine, we sulked out with a map and 100s of wineries to choose from.

The first place we visited was the Clos de Menut winery. This was a nice visit because of their cellar. It was a massive cellar packed full of wines dating as far back at the 50s. And of course after touring their fine cave, we managed to sample a few wines there as well. After having a long french lunch we eventually made it to another winery called Chateaux ... This was a great experience for me because the person working there didn't know much english, so I had to put my French skills to the test. It turns out that I passed (At least I think), because I was able to relay most of the information he gave us to Becky and Chris. And it was a success for that Chateaux as well, as we walked out after having shipped 12 bottles back to the U.S.

After we left St. Emilion we made our way to Bourdeaux to try and scope out some dinner. Turns out we didn't have a whole lot of luck, but all in all, we still ruled the day a success. On a side note, on our way out of St. Emilion, we saw a Harley Davidson bike gang (at least 15) drive into St. Emilion on their Harleys. Must've been an interesting site for the people of that small French town...

The next few days while I worked Becky and Chris headed down to Barclona. Then later in the week, we headed up to Paris. I was lucky enough to have my company send me on a trip to see the Paris Air Show there. So I drug Becky and Chris along because I thought it would be nice for them to spend some time in the famous city as well.

I was preoccupied with the airshow while I was there, but I'm sure that didn't bother Becky and Chris as it gave them a chance to explore the city without an annoying little brother around. We did hang out several times though including Becky's first escargot tasting, a fine french restaurant recommended by Rick Steves (and I even made reservations over the phone), and the catacombs.

While Becky and I were separated, I got to see some more sites that I missed the first time I visited Paris. I got a chance to see the Sacre Coeur (famous church) and a Picasso Museum. The Picasso museum wasn't as interesting as I had imagined, because it was mostly his earlier work before he got all crazy, but it was still interesting.

And of course, I got to go to the world reknowned Paris Air Show. This is probably the greatest spectacle in my industry. It gives aircraft companies from around the world a chance to come together to schmooze each other and show off some of their latest equipment. It was filled with great planes, a great airshow, and tons of companies. The best part about it was that Spirit gave us the chance to go to their Chalet to watch the air show. This was a big deal to me, beacause they put us up in this posh room with free drinks right on the air strip with front row seats to the show. And afterwards, they even decided to serve us lunch.

All in all the trip was as success. Becky and Chris had a good time. And I also might add I was proud of my sister for her French knowledge and mastery of the metro system (which is quite grand). Becky and Chris left for Denver from Paris and I made my way back to Toulouse...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

07-06-2009 (Week 20-21) - Ultimate Frisbee

The last weekend Margalit and Scully were in Europe we met up in Geneva, Switzerland for a tournament called Talampaya. Our team name: The International Joint Commission. Oddly enough, the IJC actually exists (http://www.ijc.org/) and the were kind enough to actually let us use their logo on our jerseys. This made sense because the team was mainly comprised of Americans and Canadians (with some coming from the Netherlands as well).

When I first arrived (I travelled alone), I had a bookbag on my back and a frisbee in my hand. Lucky for me, there were people on the lookout for travelers carrying fribees. One player found me and gave me directions on how to get to the fields. Later, he skyed me in match play...

The tournament was great. We were what I would call a middle of the road type team, not the greatest, but certainly not the worst. One thing we were the best at was dodgeball. Each time we played a team in frisbee, immediately following we challenged them to dodgeball. The results were always the same. Our team always won. Afterwards we had north americans vs. matches. Results still the same: America!!! Our spirited play in dodgeball after each game led our team to take home the coveted spirit award for the tournament. Unfortunately for me, I wasn't around to witness the victory, as I headed back before the 3 day tournament was over.

The following weekend I played in a local tournament in Toulouse called 'Hot Tolosa.' This was a hat draw tournament. For those not up to date on their ultimate frisbee lingo, it means the teams were chosen randomly. Unfortunately for me, I had to work the Saturday morning the tournament started. It had been raining all morning when I arrived, but once I got there, the skies cleared up and it turned out to be a beautiful weekend.

My team wasn't the highest skilled team at the tournament, but definitely the most fun. We enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of the hat draw tournament, and I even got some of them to drink some budweisers (which i found in the local supermarket here).

That night there was a big party, which started with a large dinner followed by a wine race. The wine race was actually a relay race with 4 people on each team. The goal is to send one player down at a time to drink wine. After each player has drank their fill, they are tasked with spinnign in a circle 10 times before racing back to the original starting point. Of course, the fourth person must finish off the bottle, so it is important that each person drinks their share of wine.

Afterwards everyone went back to their respective tents for a good nights rest before the next day of Ultimate on Sunday. I haven't played this much ultimate since college....