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"To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower; Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour." William Blake


Restaurant Update

September 26th, 2006 by sunflowers

As well as investing in the restaurant I stupidly decided to send over additional money to convert a house that my business partner and staff were staying in into a b&b in order to help subsidise the earnings of the restaurant but told her that I only was able to borrow 10k to invest. After a few weeks she asked for more money and I told her that I couldn’t borrow any more so she said that she would look for a partner who could.

After a deluge of insulting emails today my business partner has demanded another 11k otherwise she is holding me responsible for any losses that we made over the summer due to not being able to complete the renovation work on the house. Of course I don’t have an additional 11k to invest and am still paying back the loan for the money I did send over. I have requested the financial details of the business and specified from the start they were to be provided and I have never gotten them.

Looking back I know it sounds like I was taken for a ride but the bits and pieces of these situations build up a little at a time and she never was nasty when I was sending the money. I wonder how many times in ones life that you really wish you could go back in a time machine and make a different decision. The whole thing is currently giving me a headache most of the time and I feel like and idiot. Eating huge amount of sweets today didn’t make anything better. I keep on telling myself that by no means is it the worse thing that can happen to someone and that I should just look forward to my excellent adventure across the Americas paid for on my credit cards 😉

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Battle of Hastings

September 25th, 2006 by sunflowers

Bjorn in HastingsToday I went for a ride down to the coast with Bjorn who I met through kiwi Pete another overlander rider. Bjorn is planning to ride to Australia in 2008. Bjorn wanted to ride along the B roads for the sake of riding and I wanted to ride somewhere for the sake of seeing something. So we compromised with a ride along the B roads to Hastings. I chose Hastings as the Battle of Hastings in 1066 is famous in British history as the last time that Britain was conquered by a foreign power and in this case it was the Normans (French).Battle

MarilynThere are some really cool place names in the UK. Along the way we passed Uckfield, Cross in Hand, Three Cups Corner and Battle which is just before Hastings. The picture of the castle building is in Battle. The white stone house is where we didn’t have enough money to stop for tea as they didn’t take credit cards. It turns out that Hastings looks a lot like Brighton with a big pier and shops that sell fish and chips and rock lollies (sticks of hard boiled sweets) and a statue of Marilyn Monroe. But we did find a place that did Banoffee Pie (desert made with toffee, bananas and biscuit base) which I convinced Bjorn he should try.Tea Shop

My bike at HastingsThe ride down and back was ok. Doing the B roads I realised I still have to work on my bends. When I got home I was going to finish off my work for tomorrow and then work on my website sorting out a few of the pages but my business partner finally emailed me and instead of sending the figures I have been requesting for over a month was just abusive which was pretty upsetting. If anyone ever goes into business with someone be really careful. I thought that I had done the right things, got the contract drawn up by a lawyer, did a further agreement on how things were to be run etc etc but it wasn’t really a good idea to invest in a country where I can’t speak the language or is easy to get to. It is just that she seemed really trust worthy and I always thought that I could tell if people were good or not. Guess I can’t.

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Bedroom Dweller

September 24th, 2006 by sunflowers

Bedroom WindowOne of my favourite things is lying on my bed and either reading or being on my (work’s) laptop. My flatmate in Wellington used to call me a bedroom dweller. In a shared flat your room becomes your only sanctuary. I never thought that I would still be sharing flats at this age but the cost of having your own decent sized one bedroom in London (£1000+ ($US1900+) in Holloway which is close to the city but not the nicest area) means a lot of people living in London have flatmates.

I have found a ’93 KLR that might be for sale on the HUBB. I think that my mission for today is to go and find a Kawasaki dealership and actually see one in real life. As I am now thinking to get back here early spring, find a job for the summer and then in the autumn bike from here to Russia and down through Japan. It means that I would have to update my newly purchased URL to 1girl2bikes1world.

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The Angriest Man in Holloway

September 23rd, 2006 by sunflowers

SimonLast night I got a phone call from someone else who is planning to bike around the world and he asked me whether I had shipped the bike yet. Now I am getting slightly worried about shipping my bike. Today I really should have tried to sort something out and instead I spent all day doing absolutely nothing. Lucky the day was redeemed when Simon (another fellow biker who biked through Africa) phoned me as he is leaving the country and I had asked him to check over my bike as he used to have the one. As he lives a five minute ride away I popped over and he helped me sort out the throttle sticking and gave me some pointers about what I need to do to crate my bike.

Free Bike Update
I finally had to write to the bloke who was offering the free bike and say that it didn’t look like I would be able to get it out of the country. But there is someone else that might be interested in selling his bike.

Holloway News
My flatmate was coming back from the gym yesterday morning and saw a gang of youths putting the boot into a boy on the ground. Him and this other women went up and the gang ran off. Then tonight when I was at the local supermarket this guy starts yelling and swearing at the check out staff and manager how there was really long queues and why didn’t they open more tills. He then threw his basket full of food across the shop. Lovely chubbly.

ps. I have named this post after a character of one of my favourite authors Nick Hornby who writes about living in North London from his book How to Be Good

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No .Net and Date Update

September 22nd, 2006 by sunflowers

Turns out the contract required .net experience which I don’t have so the recruitment agent didn’t submit my CV. On the other hand the date went really well. Apparently there is a much higher rate of single career females than non-career females so I didn’t mention work, the trip or investments. We mainly talked about families (he is the youngest of three males and I am the oldest of four females) and being bullied at school (I was and he wasn’t). Today I got a text saying he had enjoyed the evening.

Good news, broadband back!

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Restaurant in Turkey

September 21st, 2006 by sunflowers

Today a friend sent me a job advert for a six month contract that looked like my job description so I decided to send in my CV. Why you ask when I am suppose to be leaving in two months. After deciding to do this trip I saw an ad for someone looking for an investment partner for an upmarket seafood restaurant in Alaçati a historic village near Izmir. I knew it wasn’t really such a good idea but thought that I would meet up with the owner just to find out the details. She had started the restaurant the year before and was really passionate about it. According to the business plan I would have gotten most of the money I had invested back at the end of this summer.

I then went over there and realised that we needed more money to start off the summer so I borrowed against my credit cards to send money over which I will finish paying back hopefully this month. Again she assured me that even if I didn’t get my initial investment back this summer I was suppose to at least get the money that I sent over for the expenses back.

changeOnce I had sent over all my money and more I realised that my partner has no concept of watching costs. I had to finally had to go over there again to go through the books and realised that we were losing money every day but she was hoping that she would make up for it in August and September. About three weeks ago I emailed my partner to find out whether it was likely that I would get back any money before my trip and I haven’t heard from her since. Most of the time I try not to think about it as I feel quite angry and a bit stupid.

The decision to invest in this restaurant was made when I really thought that work would give me a sabbatical as I have been there over five years and our employee handbook says that the company allows for life/work balance and will consider sabbaticals after five years of employment.

So a six month contract earning more than twice as much as I earn now would really help but I also really don’t want to delay my trip again. So I am going to put it into the hands of fate and if I get the job take it and delay my trip by six months or just go as planned and do it on my credit cards. Still went I sent in my CV I felt really happy. I don’t know if it is the thought of leaving my current job even sooner than planned or the idea of having an additional six months to prepare for the trip.

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Deliciously Dutch but not Dooced

September 20th, 2006 by sunflowers

KissI do think that the Dutch are the most friendly, down to earth and attractive nation of people that I have met. Which was the saving grace of my trip to the Netherlands today. I am tempted to include my dissatisfaction with work but do not want to get dooced http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dooced (a thank you to Bran there for informing me that there is officially a term for being fired for blogging about work).

EindhovenAfter a forty minute delay at Standstead as they had to remove baggage as some passengers didn’t show up it was a beautiful flight in over the flat expanses of the Netherlands into Eindhoven (I will add photos later of the train station – this and airports is all I usually get to see). I did have an hour to wonder around Eindhoven but it turns out that there isn’t really any attractions to see there but I did remember to pick up cigarettes for my colleague (€4 per packet as apposed to €9 here).

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Love and Marriage

September 19th, 2006 by sunflowers

Shoe came apartWhen I first started at my company six years ago I worked in Oslo for three months and made two of my closest friends who were brits working out there as well. One got married in April and the other one today at the Camden Town Hall. I arranged the reception upstairs at the Camden Tup. It was a lovely ceremony. While the pictures were being taken afterwards I had to rush home as my cheap Thai shoe had totally came apart.

I am still looking. My dinner dating in the dark on Monday has been cancelled but I do have a date with someone off the internet on Thursday night and this time I am going to dress up rather than going straight from work so fingers crossed.

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Arrggh – Update

September 18th, 2006 by sunflowers

Orange (5 weeks and still not working)
I spent two hours on the phone with Orange yesterday first trying to get the status. I was told another 48 hours. When I asked the support person to go back and ask the tech team what had been done to resolve it they upped to 72 hours for having the gall to ask. That is when I decided to try and cancel my contract. First I was told that you can’t cancel a contract while there is an outstanding issue to which I said something about right in this country to have the freedom to have internet. I then talked to another three or four people about cancelling my contract and it turns out because I signed an 18 month contract and I will have to buy it out.

Free Bike
It appears there is no legal way to get a foreigners bike out of the country in Argentina after the import papers have expired unless the owner is there. I have written to 9 solicitors in Argentina (none have written back) and had countless discussions and emails on the subject. I am very very tempted regardless of the possible threat of jail. Surely there are fines you can pay and be done with it.

My Bike Status
Walking into the last HU meeting and been known as the girl whose bike doesn’t work my latest report is I think my brakes are buggered as the back wheel doesn’t freely spin and apparently the front aren’t particularly good either. Oh, and when the kids in my neighbourhood pushed over my bike into a brick wall they broke the kill switch and the throttle gets stuck so I now have cruise control on my bike.

Shipping
Still have not heard from any of the shipping contacts (except air freight for £1400). Worried that the cardboard boxes (crate?) that I could get from BMW won’t cut it after seeing an example of a shipping crate on the HU. Both the above points are why I am considering the third. That and my absolute lack of having managed to save any money and work not giving me a sabbatical (it would have been a lot easier to rack up credit card bills if I knew I had a job to come back to).

Stress
Part of the reason I was so keen to do this trip is that I really felt like I needed a decent break. At this rate I will be lucky not to have a break down by the time I leave.

Silver Lining
Last night I visited my mate Lisa and she gave me a funky new hair colour. It is pretty Camden but slightly toned down for West London where I work. In exchange I sorted out a domain and a holding page for her new cosmetics company.

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Infinity and Draggin Jeans

September 17th, 2006 by sunflowers

Today to make up for the totally lethargic day I had yesterday I was up at eight and by nine was visiting Lisa who is the girlfriend of the bass player from the band I was managing. Lisa is a makeup artist for Indie bands and is in the process of starting an organic cosmetics company. Usually I just get my hair cut when I am in countries that are cheaper than the UK or at barber shops. But this morning Lisa cut my hair and tomorrow she is dying it for my friends up coming wedding on Tuesday.

Secret Nuclear BunkerThen I went to Infinity (motorbike chain in London) that I was crying outside of yesterday and bought a pair of leather gloves (my summer gloves have a hole in them even though I haven’t fallen off with them – £14.95 will only get you so much) and a pair of Draggin cargo trousers (pants for those in NZ, Can, OZ and US – in the UK pants are your knickers and caused me a bit of confusion when I moved here seven years ago and told someone that I only had two pairs of pants for a four day holiday). Draggin Jeans www.dragginjeans.com.au are made out of Kevlar and the shop had a pair that someone had apparently come off wearing at 80 miles per hour and were reasonably intact. I am well pleased with them as they are soo much better than my sweat inducing textile trousers. Also the kind blokes at Infinity www.infinitymotorcycles.com gave me a 10% discount when I explained my philanthropic motive for my trip.

Then it was up to North London to get my eyebrows threaded (an Asian technique). A painful but much cheaper process than waxing them. Plus they are now died brown to match my roots.

High Beech Tea StopThen I picked up my mate and showed her how I can now do country lanes fairly fast!

We are now sitting at the pub in order to use the free internet (well if you call having to buy three pints of cider between us free) so I can update my website. Ps. I took her to Beech Hill (bikers tea caravan) and I will add a photo tomorrow.

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