dreadhawk

greece, albania, montenegro, & croatia 2018 - part 3: kotor, dubrovnik, split, seattle

TASTE OF THE BALKANS
part 1 | part 2 | part 3



saturday, september 29
Day 6 : From Montenegro to Croatia

We'll continue through the tiny country of Montenegro today, en-route to Croatia. Before leaving, we'll enjoy a guided tour of Kotor, which sits on the edge of the amazingly picturesque Bay of Kotor - a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We'll explore its old town and city walls before visiting the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon which was built in 1166. We'll continue along the stunning southern coast towards the Croatian city of Dubrovnik, famous for its distinctive old town and massive stone walls built in the 16th century. Once we reach Dubrovnik, we'll head out on a guided city walk, which will provide spectacular views of the Adriatic Sea. On the agenda is also a visit to the Big Onofrio's Fountain - a large fountain which was built in 1438 as part of a water-supply system that involved bringing water from a well approximately 12 kilometers away.
OVERNIGHT : Dubrovnik hotel


breakfast in montenegro featured some kind of cold pork roll stuffed with nuts & herbs, & it was a bit rich for breakfast, but delicious. Bobbsey noted the bacon is getting crispier as we go further up the coast. i had forgotten to plug the fridge & phone back in, but i did remember to tell the front desk, & i'm 90% sure they had no clue what i was talking about, haha. at 8:15am, we packed up the van & went on to kotor's "old town".

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thanks for reading.
dreadhawk

greece, albania, montenegro, & croatia 2018 - part 2: gjirokastra, tirana, budva

TASTE OF THE BALKANS
part 1 | part 2 | part 3



thursday, september 27
Day 4 : From Greece to Albania

We say goodbye to Greece today as we travel to Albania. On our way there, we'll visit the Ottoman town of Gjirokastra, located on a valley between the Gjerë mountains and the Drino, 300 metres above sea level. Known as 'the city of a thousand steps', Gjirokastra is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From Gjirokastra, we'll make our way to our hotel in Albania's capital city of Tirana - one of Europe's sunniest cities. You have the rest of the day to relax at your hotel or explore the city independently.
OVERNIGHT : Tirana hotel


despite the thin walls of the hotel - i could hear EVERYTHING in the halls before i went to bed - everyone stayed blissfully silent & i wasn't awakened. i skipped the breakfast bar & headed to the van for our long drive to albania. on the way, beckham played his albanian music cd again, & i sang along to track six, which i swear had a chorus of "you spoon me up some of your goo". (i later found the lyrics, for those interested in the albanian translation of "your goo".) we passed the huge green hills of western greece, & saw sheep & some little towns in the hills. i bought a carbonated lemonade when we stopped for gas (C-) & we all walked to the nearby coffeeshop where jovo insisted on buying my agros sour cherry juice (A++). the coffeeshop itself was titled something totally unreasonable like "the blood & flesh of christ" - okay, dude, whatever works.

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dreadhawk

greece, albania, montenegro, & croatia 2018 - part 1: seattle, athens, meteora

TASTE OF THE BALKANS
part 1 | part 2 | part 3



sunday, september 23 & monday, september 24
Day 0 & Day 1: Arrive in Athens, airport to hotel transfers included.

Your Balkan's adventure starts in the ancient Greek city of Athens. Upon arrival into Athens airport (ATH), you'll be met by one of our representatives who will then transfer you to your hotel. The rest of the day is then free for you to settle in, relax after your flight, and have a look around the area independently before meeting the group and starting the first sightseeing tours tomorrow morning.
OVERNIGHT : Athens hotel


so this trip started out... yeah. overview is i left at 11am sunday to seatac, was delayed 1.5h to vancouver, got to vancouver during boarding, made it to munich, found my athens flight canceled, rebooked through venice adding a fourth flight & two more hours in the air, was delayed another hour leaving to venice, got to venice during boarding, finally arrived to athens to find they'd utterly lost my luggage, spent a damned hour waiting in line to report my bag missing, & then found no transport waiting for me 'cause he'd fucked off when i wasn't out with the rest of the correctly-luggaged passengers. after two international phone calls to the tour company & twenty-six hours of travel, i made it to the hotel, washed my panties in the sink with bar soap, then had to call at&t for a half hour because no texts were coming through despite paying too much for their international plan, & they had to open a ticket to their engineering team. what a great trip this is already!!!

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dreadhawk

south africa & swaziland 2018 - part 4: johannesburg, soweto, paris, seattle

12 Day Classic South Africa with Robben Island
part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | part 4



DAY 11 - Saturday 4-14-18 - Soweto Tour
After an early breakfast depart on a half day tour of Soweto. Experience a fascinating glimpse of the bustling neighborhood life of Soweto, the most metropolitan township in the country, setting trends in politics, fashion, music, dance, and language. Drive by the former residence of Bishop Desmond Tutu and visit Nelson Mandela's former home, before proceeding to the Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum, dedicated to one of the first casualties of the Soweto uprising of 1976. Continue to the Apartheid Museum, where you will journey through the racial segregation experienced by millions of South Africans. This evening enjoy a Farewell Dinner with your Tour Manager and fellow travelers.
Overnight: Johannesburg


the best part of breakfast was a chicken & peppers dish that seemed decidedly un-breakfast-like, & there was also beef liver, lots of fresh fruit, the vanilla-pear yogurt i had on safari, & south africa's version of lox - same stuff, but just called salmon. we were off at 8:45am to soweto.

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thanks for reading.
dreadhawk

south africa & swaziland 2018 - part 3: kruger national park, johannesburg

12 Day Classic South Africa with Robben Island
part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | part 4



DAY 9 - Thursday 4-12-18 - Kruger National Park Game Drive
The day begins at dawn with coffee, tea, and rusks, a South African dry biscuit. Upon departure from the hotel, a pre-packed breakfast will be provided for you. Then, on to Kruger National Park for a thrilling full day open-vehicle game drive. Larger than the state of Connecticut, the park offers some of the best game and wildlife viewing opportunities in the world, and early morning is an optimal time of day. You may have a chance to see lion, elephant, giraffe, or zebra in their natural habitat. After stopping at a rest camp for lunch on your own, continue your game drive. With any luck, you may even see cheetah and leopard. After the day's excitement, relax by the pool and enjoy dinner at the hotel.
Overnight: Hazyview


the game drive in hluhluwe was one of my favorite activities, so i was really looking forward to more at kruger national park. & i was in no way disappointed. we woke at 4:45am, snacked on rusks in the lobby (tasty as hell! also suuuuper crispy & dense, so i made a bunch of jokes about being unable to hear anyone while eating one), then left in the dark for kruger national park. ahmet chatted about the "big five", the "ugly five", & the "little five". there are 510 recorded bird species in kruger, & over 100 reptile & amphibian species. south africa has the largest "civilized safari"; kenya has wonderful safaris too but they're not so luxe.

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dreadhawk

south africa & swaziland 2018 - part 2: durban, kwazulu-natal, mbabane

12 Day Classic South Africa with Robben Island
part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | part 4



DAY 6 - Monday 4-9-18 - Flight to Durban, Game Viewing Cruise on the St. Lucia Estuary
This morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Durban. Upon arrival in the early afternoon, drive to St. Lucia. Later, embark on a game viewing cruise that takes you on the St. Lucia Estuary. This tidal estuary is home to Nile crocodiles, hippopotami, sea turtles, and even sharks, making it a fascinating and uniquely diverse ecosystem. This evening, enjoy dinner at the hotel.
Overnight: Hluhluwe


the wake-up call came at 5:30am for an 8:30am flight to durban, south africa. the durban airport was fine but ahmet told us there's a TON of theft, & it's by the staff - "they were caught on camera & they kept their jobs". he advised locks & not putting any electronics in checked bags. i was glad i had decided to pack tightly into a carry-on sized piece, since half of what i take anywhere are electronics, so i didn't risk checking anything. they served a surprisingly decent chicken omelet on the plane, & obviously my stuff was fine... but another woman on the tour had her lock removed... i don't know if anything was stolen from her.

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dreadhawk

south africa & swaziland 2018 - part 1: seattle, amsterdam, cape town, gansbaai

12 Day Classic South Africa with Robben Island
part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | part 4



DAY 1 - Wednesday 4-4-18 - Depart for South Africa
DAY 2 - Thursday 4-5-18 - Arrive in Cape Town

Arrive in Cape Town, undeniably one of the most beautiful cities in the world. As you transfer to your hotel, you’ll see the towering symbol of the city - Table Mountain. The rest of the day is at leisure in this magnificent seaside city.
Overnight: Cape Town


another trip to a place at the end of the earth. i paid extra for a seattle departure, having learned that it's worth the extra cost to check my bag straight through & not have to pick it up in new york or LAX & transfer terminals before heading home. luke was kind enough to take me to the airport on top of his accepted reptile maintenance duties. the guy who checked in my bag at seatac was from cape town originally - what a huge coincidence. i had two ten-hour flights & they were pretty basic. i napped on both planes a bit - i had one quick transfer in amsterdam (smoking permitted in restaurants IN THE AIRPORT - doubly weird) - & customs was a breeze in the beautiful cape town airport. (also hey, delta's new baggage tracker is fucking awesome, especially considering the scare i had in ecuador.) adjusting to the time difference was pretty easy, as i was in a decent state to sleep when i got to the hotel at about eleven pm.

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dreadhawk

guns & computers, mostly

so back in december i got my concealed carry permit, & since then i've been shopping various guns. with my fucked up back, i really can't carry much weight, but lightweight guns are often horrible to shoot. i love my 686+ partly because it has such low recoil, but it wouldn't exactly work for concealed carry unless i wore a parka every day &, you know, didn't have a fucked up back.

finally i tried a sig sauer P238 at the range, & it was great - good caliber (.380; read: not a .22), light weight (about a pound loaded), & while it considered jumping out of my hands when i fired it, it was plenty controllable. so i bought it! i didn't have a five-day waiting period due to my CCP - an unexpected bonus - & i brought home some hollow-points for it. also of import is the P238 in black - as i purchased - is listed on sig sauer's site as the NIGHTMARE MICRO-COMPACT, which is obviously my new nickname.

it was amusing at the range - i'm actually a pretty great shot, for no particular reason since this marked literally my fifth time at a range ever, & two of those were back when i was 19. so i'm testing out the range's P238 with the salesman behind me, showing me how all the parts of a semi-auto work (i've always been more into revolvers), & i fire the six-shot magazine at my favorite human-shaped target... i clear the gun & turn around, & he goggles at me, "ummmm, you put all of them in his neck & three of your bullets went through the same hole." i replied that yeah, i do okay. :D

i'm working on making a holster deal for concealed carry - can't carry above the waist for the sake of my spine; can't carry in or outside my waistband because i'm thin & it'll print like mad; ankle holsters aren't actually good... so i'm building a sort of thigh bag that will look maybe steampunk-ish/festival-ish & will allow quick access directly to my weapon without scaring the mundies. comment if you're interested & maybe i'll post pics when it's done.

on another note, seeing roger waters in person in june was fucking awesome. the visuals were exceptional, as expected, & there were only a handful of songs played from roger's solo work - it was nearly all floyd. plus they played one of my top favorites, "dogs", which was a huge surprise as it's 17 minutes long. it took forever to get home from the tacoma dome (I5 went from 4 lanes to 1 for construction, yay), but i didn't mind... it was 75-degree top-down weather & i was blasting billy joel, causing triple takes from those around me: you could see people going through "who the hell is blasting billy joel" to "what is driving that porsche?" to "WHATEVER IS DRIVING THE PORSCHE IS SINGING ALONG TO BILLY JOEL...?!??!" much fun.

morocco was sadly canceled due to low interest in the tour, so i'm watching for another good deal. i'm sure i'll find somewhere else to go this year.

& phil helped me sort out parts for my new computer, currently traveling to my home. it's been a while since the last upgrade, & it's definitely time once again. here's the new setup - wish us luck.

case: https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811144275
mb: https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128841
proc: https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117728
power: https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817182044
mem: https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231945
hdd x2: https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148907
burner: https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827136250
edit: & the cpu cooler i forgot i'd need: Zalman CNPS5X Performa CPU Cooler. (i'm not linking to it because the major corporation i bought it from treated me like such utter shit that i ended up getting it free *&* getting their manager written up.)

off to minnesota soon...!