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Travel with "beernut"

Email Reports - Page 1

From Greg Lemin's - 1998 World Trip

- 08 June 98 - 23 December 98

NOTE: Greg "joined" our List of ICQ "Travelin' Partners" on 27 November 97, as our 63rd "listmember" with the following "listing". Prior to leaving, he obtained an online email account from "hotmail" which would be accessible worldwide - as long as he could access the internet - and has graciously included us on his email list for reports as his travels progress.

Rick & Linda's - TRAVELIN' PARTNERS - ICQ List (Page 1) "The List"
Real Name Homepage Nickname Photo PAGE ADD Remarks Language
Greg Lemin beernut  PAGE | ADD  Am planning around the world trip on my own starting early 98. Have only been overseas once before to Austria, Germany, France, England and Ireland and loved it. Hope to get to New Zealand, USA, Canada, Europe again (especially Germany, Czech and Belgium, England and maybe Ireland) and a safari in Africa if I can manage it all. I live in Perth, Western Australia. Other interests include beer and brewing.  English, some German 

Page 1 - New Zealand, Canada, and the USA (This Page, 17 Feb - 20 July 1998)

Page 2 - Europe & England (20 July - 13m November 1998)

Page 3 - Africa (This part of the trip cancelled - 9 October 98)

New Zealand, Canada, and the USA

Date: Tue, 17 Feb 1998 - Greg, from Perth, 10 hours to departure

Date: Sun, 01 Mar 1998 - Greetings from the Wanderer in NZ

Date: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 - Made it to Vancouver

Date: Mon, 06 Apr 1998 - Greg, from Vancouver, BC Canada

Date: Mon, 04 May 1998 - Greg, from Portland, Oregon USA

Date: Sat, 16 May 1998 - Greg, On to Los Angeles, California USA

Date: Sat, 30 May 1998 - Greg, (Re. On to Los Angeles) - Replies to Rick's note

Date: Sat, 30 May 1998 - Greg, from Kansas City, Missouri USA - Next is Chicago

Date: Mon, 01 Jun 1998 - Rick, (Re. Next is Chicago)

Date: Mon, 08 Jun 1998 - Rick, Trip Reports shared with "the world"

Date: Sat, 13 Jun 1998 - Greg, Re: Trip Reports shared with "the world" - Sounds great (from Montreal)

Date: Thu, 18 Jun 1998 - Greg, Chicago, Montreal and Ottawa

Date: Sat, 04 July 1998 - Greg, Ottawa, Ontario,Toronto, Niagara Falls, Syracuse, Boston, Baltimore, Washington DC

Date: Mon, 20 July 1998 - Greg, Baltimore, Washington DC, New York City and ... on to Europe ../.. Amsterdam, NL

Date: Mon, 20 July 1998 - Rick - Sorry to have not gotten to meet you - Happy Travels as you continue ...

Subject: Goodbye and Hello

Date: Tue, 17 Feb 1998 17:12:12 PST

From: "Greg Lemin"

To all my contacts, friends, beer buddies, ICQ contacts, old friends, new friends, virtual friends etc. etc. on my travelling email list (blind copies to respect privacy).

A quick goodbye to all at home as I fly out in 10 hours, and a hello to all my new virtual friends I am yet to meet (I will contact you individually as I get closer). Email access will be more erratic now as I travel around, so may take a little while to get back to you again. I probably won't have much ICQ access though.

Look out world, here I come.

Have fun everyone, I know I will...

Cheers, Greg

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From: Greg Lemin

To: Rick Langdon

Subject: Greetings from the wanderer in NZ

Date: Sun, 01 Mar 1998 00:38:08 PST

Hello from New Zealand to my friends - virtual, real and otherwise. (Blind copies to keep privacy). Well my flight across went well. No delays, cancellations, detours or disasters. Also no sleep.

Arrived to a rather wet Auckland early in the morning. Hopped a city shuttle bus to my youth hostel where I was booked in for a few days. Spent first day roaming around city centre. With about 1.3 million people (the largest city in NZ) it's comparable to Perth but the city area itself is smaller.

Smaller in area, building heights and seems to have much less people in the streets. They must all be hiding in the suburbs I guess. The city area is experiencing major electricity supply problems so lots of black outs. Meeting lots of new people in the hostel from around the world so my contact list is increasing.

Seems to rain one day, then sunny one day, then rain again. In between the blackouts and rain have visted a pub-brewery, some local sights and a gay/lesbian street parade. The parade was good fun, colourful, entertaining and much bigger than expected. Over 40 floats. But we all got very, very wet by the end of it.

Visted the Les Mills Aerobic and Gym centre on the edge of the city centre. A rather run down looking building and not too impressive inside. Lots of classes to choose from though, but at NZ$15 per session I chose not to do any while I was in town.

After a few days in Auckland I joined the Magic Bus tour and headed off to Waitomo for an overnight stop. More rain. Got to wlak around see some scenery (NZ has lots and lots and lots of hills. Mostly very, very steep). Visted the Glow Worm Cave and Museum. Interesting tour through cave which explains and shows about cave formation to finish with a short boat ride through darkness to see thousands and thousands of tiny glowing dots on the inside roof. Next day headed to Rotorua. (Oh Kari Kari Ana and so on). Lots of steam coming out of ground, mud pools, spas and geysers. And the air smells strongly of sulphur. Attended a Maori concert and Hangi for a feast after spending the day walking through Whakewarawa forest and getting very wet again.

Then on to Turangi for a night. A bonus - they have a (very small) brewery right there at the youth hostel in the pub and restaruant. Very late finish for the travelling mob that night. The next day I got off the Magic Bus at a half way point to spend some time on a farm. Free accomodation and food for a few days of work. Have been herding deer, cows and bulls. Vaccinated and weighed cows and bulls. Very messy job getting right in there with them. Thank goodness for old clothes and gumboots. Have driven a tractor, a small truck, a four wheel motor bike and a sailing ship (me on the water??!!) over the last few days. Tomorrow I join up with the bus again and head for Wellington and then on to the South Island.

Until next time, have fun everyone - I am.

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Subject: Made it to Vancouver

Date: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 14:18:27 PST

From: Greg Lemin

To: Rick Langdon

Hi gang, NZ was really great - except for the weather. Lots and lots of clouds and rain and wind with a couple of days of sun. So lots of scenery, photographs and activities were missed. Still I had a great time travelling on the Magic Bus, meeting new people and hostelling. Some of my new friends I will be able to catch up with as I travel to their home countries. Some of the more interesting things I did was walk on a glacier, ride a jet boat down a canyon river, walk through forests, walk up and down countless number of hills and hills and more hills, worked on a farm for a few days, went sailing, museums, pubs and breweries naturally, coastal walk to see seald and dolphins, no aerobics (too expensive in NZ and active anyway some days), got rained on, stayed out of rain, got sunburned, watched lunatics go bungy jumping, skydiving and other silly stuff. Auckland sort of has most of the lights switched back on again now.

Well I made it to Vancouver - just. The third leg from Honolulu to Vancouver was really, really rough. A bit scarey, a number of people ended up feeling sick, even attendants didn't look too good. But I got to hold hands withe a nice young lady next to me from Calgary. Been a long day, up for 40 hours so far so need an early night. Vancouver bay seems quite pretty as still snow on the mountains. Not sunny though, cloudy 12 degrees C but dry. Will need to check out what's available that fits in with the weather and see what happens. Will let you know soon.

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Subject: I'm in Vancouver still - but not for long

Date: Mon, 06 Apr 1998 11:51:25 PDT

From: "Greg Lemin"

Hi everyone, Canada is great. I really love it here. I think I could easily move and live here. Great scenery and people. The Rocky Mountains are a real mind blower.

One of my internet contacts, Rand, has been showing me around and looking after me. He has been great. I think it's the people that make all the difference. Having a local that can help you out is fantastic. Thanks Rand. Have met lots of other great people as well, especially in the hostels.

I'm still in Vancouver at present but will probably be moving on to the States and other parts of Canada very soon. Have also been over to Vancouver Island, very pretty in the few places I saw but still lots to see and do. As it's the end of winter over here a lot of places are not open. may seems to be the beginning of the busy season. Whistler mountain and ski village is great. Expensive and very clicky though. One day I'll get to try skiiing, when it fits into the budget better. Seeing the Rocky Mountains covered in snow, frozen lakes, glaciers, wild black bears, frozen waterfalls, humungous mountains and so many of them was undescribable. I loved it. I want to stay.

Still haven't had an aerobics fix yet. $12.84 for a casual "drop in" class. ($11.99 plus 7% GST). Expensive.

Have toured a few breweries though. Both organised tours and unofficial, just drop in and annoy the brewmaster visits. The people and beers have been great though. Microbreweries and making quality beers are very poupular and growing over here.

The weather has not been too bad. Occasional bits of sunshine, but lots of clouds and a fair bit of rain. Day temperatures have been around 10 degrees Celsius, even up in the Rockies. Can get below zero at night though. But not as bad as -40 like in winter.

I was hoping my USA rail pass included the Canada rail system but I found out today it doesn't. So I will be heading south to the States soon as I can travel for no extra cost, but I think Canada might be better. Still, I'll never never know if I never never go.

Take care and have fun everybody, I know I will. Greg.

PS. For my new contacts in the States and eastern Canada I hope I can meet up with some of you. I'll let you know as I get closer.

Cheers, Greg....Where ever you go, there you are.

Blinds copies to all to maintain privacy. Let me know if you don't want to get regular updates.

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Subject: Back in Portland, Oregon

Date: Mon, 04 May 1998 16:09:10 PDT

From: "Greg Lemin"

Hi again everyone, (oops better ignore the re-sent "Made it to Vancouver" message, sorry, itchy trigger finger).

I finally left Vancover, British Columbia, Canada after an extended stay. The first time I tried to leave, the immigration officer explained I could enter the US for 90 days only. As I fly out on July 15th. it was too early to enter unless I change my leave date to earlier. No problems, I just stayed in Canada a bit longer rather than re-schedule flights etc.

On second attempt, a different immigration officer gave me a hard time about my exit date. He said the 90 days started from when I first entered Canada (as it is an adjoining country and covered under the same visa waiver as USA and Mexico) asked me lots of repetitive questions about who, what, why, where, when etc. partially serched my bags and gave the impression he wasn't going to let me in until I had changed my exit date. Eventually he let me in and stamped my exit date in passport as being 3 months from when I entered the USA - so not sure what all the hassle was about. I checked with a US Immigration officer in Seattle and she said as long as I leave by the stamped date all is OK. She did not seem to understand my question as to whether time already spent in Canada was included or not. I'll check with an Aussie embassy just what my entries into both Canada and the USA are when I can. In the meantime I'll assume all is OK but I don't what to come unstuck when I go back into Canada later on and then try to re-enter the States again as this will probably be after the 90 days from when I first entered Canada but not when I entered the States for the first time.

For the last few weeks I have been to Seattle, walked around town a fair bit, visited the Seattle Centre, with the Space Needle building at the Expo Centre. Did an underground tour of the city which was entertaining and interesting about the history of Seattle and how it was physically built up from its original street level. Yes, some more rain again, but most days of sunshine. Visited a few pubs and breweries thanks to meeting Don, who kindly invited me over for a barbeque and a beer or two (what a well stocked bar and fridge he has). A man after my own heart who enjoys Belgian and German beers among many others. He also kindly showed me around several pubs, introduced me to people and forced me to consume a number of excellent beers. Hopefully we can meet up again in Europe as he is also going to Munich Oktoberfest. Thanks Don, you made quite a difference to my Seattle visit and I look forward to meeting you in Europe.

Next was Portland, Oregon. One day of sun then dismal, cloudy, rain and even hailstones. The hostel here is awkward as it is clsosed from 11 am to 5 pm during the day and you can't get in. If already in, you have to leave during these hours. again I walked around town a fair bit, trying to stay out of weather. Oregon is overflowing with brew-pubs and microbreweries. It even has pub-cinemas where you can watch a reasonably late release movie for $1 while enjoying beer and pizza. (Pizza by the slice seems very popular in the pubs etc. here. there is even a pub-bakery). Neon signs are everywhere as well in all the shop windows. Especially, OPEN, food and beer brand signs. Another Aussie guy, from Adelaide, and a couple of Pommy guys hired a car between us and I drove up to volcano Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Hood for the day. Very interesting. At St. Helens it cost $8 to get into the park area but that included admission to 3 different visitor centres and a wide screen movie about the mountain and the eruption. Lots of interesting audio-visual and static displays. Could spend a whole day just in the centres themselves if had enough time. As it was, it took over 13 hours to drive up, look around and come back via Mt. Hood, a ski area.

I've just spent a week helping out on an organic farm in Cottage Grove, Oregon. Some days of sun and some of rain. A small family runs a totally chemical frre farm mainly of flowers and tomatoes and peppers for local markets as well as their own produce. Was interesting, varied and not too hard physically.

Now I'm back in Portland to work out where/when to go next. Probably around San Francisco and to Yosemite National Park. Travelling by train on Amtrak Rail Pass is a bit limited as to where I can and can't go but also includes some busses. Travel by car is probably the best way to get around the States in retrospect.

Well that's it for the moment, unless I can get free access to an internet computer soon (paying in US dollars makes everything so much more expensive due to exchange rate).

Until next time, take care and have fun..

Cheers, Greg....Where ever you go, there you are.

Blind copies to all to maintain privacy. Let me know if you don't want to get regular updates. Special thanks to those who are passing on my messages to others.


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Subject: On to Los Angeles

Date: Sat, 16 May 1998 23:27:36 PDT

From: "Greg Lemin"

Hi everyone, well San Fransisco was hilly (in some places only), less friendly people than where I have already been, cloudy, overcast and always threatening rain, lots of people begging for money, but otherwise not too bad, like other cities. Did not make it over to Alcatraz or across the Golden Gate Bridge (due to not trusting the weather).

Yosemite National Park was great though. I travelled on the Green Tortoise Bus with about 25 other people where we travel, sleep and cook together on the bus.

We left late Friday night to wake up early Saturday morning inside the park to cook up breakfast and prepare sandwiches for lunch. All food was vegetarian but really great tasting, variety and quantities. Then onto Yosemite Valley, the main tourist spot inside the park to have a full day of hiking, riding the free shuttle buses around the park, lazing around or whatever. I hiked with a group of 4 others up passed a couple of waterfalls, got covered in mist, sore, tired legs, great scenery, lots of trees, very rugged, sheer rockfaced mountains formed by glaciers, snow still around in places. A great day up and down steep hills and steps for about 7 hours.

That night the bus travelled to Wowoma camping ground to set up for the night. One of the girls, Kylie from Australia, twirled fire sticks to entertain us after dinner while we set up the campfire and dodged the rain. Aussies outnumbered the rest of the group, about 10 of us against a few americans, a couple of Poms, some south americans, swedish, spanish, german etc.

Sunday morning after breaky we went to Mariposa Grove to see the giant redwood Sequoia trees. Not the tallest trees in the world, but overall the largest. In the afternoon we headed back to Yosemite Valley for a few hours hiking or whatever. This time climbed up to Yosemite Falls. On the way home that night the bus stopped at a country pub for a couple of hours then on to San Fransisco to get back early Monday morning. A very enjoyable trip.

Spent most of Monday avoiding more rain, then a get together with some of the Tortoise mob that night for drinks before we split off into different directions.

Now I'm in San Jose staying with John and his wife Anne. I used to work with John at QPSX. Tomorrow I'm heading towards Grand Canyon, but it works out best with the train to have a night stop over in Los Angeles. Originally I planned to bypass L.A.

Looks like my USA Rail Pass won't get me to Yellowstone National Park without paying for a bus or something, so might miss it altogether as running out of time.

Well gotta run now, well get some sleep on a nice, warm comfortable waterbed actually, so be in touch soon.

Take care and have fun, Greg.

Cheers, Greg....Where ever you go, there you are.

Blind copies to all to maintain privacy. Let me know if you don't want to get regular updates. Special thanks to those who are passing on my messages to others.


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Subject: Re: On to Los Angeles

Date: Sat, 30 May 1998 07:19:37 PDT

From: "Greg Lemin"

G'day Rick and Linda from Kansas City,

>Just a short note to let you know that we've enjoyed your "travel reports". Sorry to hear that the rail pass is not working out >quite as well as you (we) may have hoped. And, I was surprised to hear about the difficulties you encountered at the border >concerning access and time allowed in "The States". I see your handle indicated as online by ICQ from time to time and don't >really know if it's you or maybe someone back in Perth using your 'puter. Have attempted to make contact by message a few >times with no reply - so I think that maybe it is not "you".

You're right. It's not me. A mate is using my PC and internet account while I'm on walkabout. He's not familiar with computers but good to hear he is making use of it. Even I haven't heard from him since I left home.

>Do your travel plans include the South East US? If so, we certainly would hope that you might stop in with us in Birmingham >for a day or so on the way thru.

I hope so. Will play it by ear as I have one month to travel the east coast before leaving mid July.

> We have been forwarding your travel notes on to Helen (aussiedreamer) and Mike Roseler in Sunny Corner, NSW and to >Jansen (DocHolliday) and Tracy (Tshinta) Stafford in Devenport, Tasmania.

That's great.

>Helen has been talking a bit about the falling exchange rate, so I hope things are holding up for you.

Unfortunately, each fluctuation affects me. My money is on my credit card which I access as needed at ATMs. So the exchange rate is whatever it is for the day. Makes everything more expensive for me.

>Let us know if you're headed in this direction.

Will do, and Thanks.

Cheers, Greg.

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Subject: Next is Chicago

Date: Sat, 30 May 1998 23:48:56 PDT

From: "Greg Lemin"

Hi everyone, hope you are all well and happy. Here's the latest update of my juants since San Jose (So yes, I know the way to San Jose now, since I found the Target store). Sorry this is a bit long winded, but have been busy doing things lately.

From san Jose I called in at Los Angeles. My original plan was to avoid this very large, dangerous, awkward to get around, not too friendly, monstrous metropolis. But the train schedules and directions meant an overnight stop to head towards Grand Canyon. Arriving after midnight I shared a taxi with a couple of other guys travelling on the train to the hostel near Hollywood Boulevard. Bit of a sleazy area, but not as bad as expected. Did not venture far that night. Next day caught a bus to Universal Studios, but did not go in ($38 entry) just looked around the shops and cafes on the outside. Saw "Graucho Marx" and "Marilyn Monroe" wandering around talking to people. Next caught a bus to "near" the huge HOLLYWOOD sign to get a photo. Ran out of time to see Venice (Muscle) Beach and Santa Monica which are meant to be much nicer areas to be in. Caught an overnight train to Flagstaff near Grand Canyon.

Spent day wandering around Flagstaff, visited a brewery where Rick showed me around and chatted for quite a while and sampled their fine brews, called in at Lowell Observatory (that discovered Pluto I think) to check about night visits and chatted with an "interesting" mob of people at the hostel. Liz has her own car there so a few of us arranged to visit the Grand Canyon with her the next day and share fuel costs. Much cheaper than the cheapest tour for $31.

The Grand Canyon is BIG. Mind boggingly big. Words, pictures, photos, videos, etc. can not do justice to its size and multitude of colours. You just have to see it to believe it. (And we only saw a part of it). I won't even try to describe it, but it looks like the pictures you have probably seen, only hugely better. Was a fine sunny day when we arrived, but canyon was rather hazy due to smoke blown up from huge rainforest fires in Mexico. Lots of information centres scattered around (all with gift shops of course) and a slide show to see in the main centre. Wandered around the southern rim with Liz, Fiona and Jakob (who separated and went on a short 6 hour 14 mile hike down into the big hole) for most of the day. Went on a guided fossil walk for over an hour but the weather changed late in the day. (Surprise, surprise - more rain for my holiday). In the end we were all freezing from wind and rain. We had planned to stay to see sunset and changing colours in the canyon but abandoned the idea and headed for dinner at home.

The next day Liz and I drove to Sedona. Took the scenic route and stopped off at Slide Rock State Park for a wander around. Lots of trees and mountains of exposed, rugged rocks of various colours - mainly reds and browns. Stopped also at Red Rock National Park for lunch, a hike, a movie about changes to river system in the area and to enjoy the spectacular scenery for a while. The visitor centre there was small and simple but much better, more educational, entertaining and informative about the areas geology, flora and fauna than at the Grand Canyon. As Liz was still keen on seeing a sunset against the countryside we settled on heading back to a place we had seen earlier by an interesting modern chapel to relax and enjoy the changing colours against the rocks.

The next day I planned to head off to Albuquerque on the way to New Orleans (by train). So had Liz (by car). So once again I tagged along with Liz. (She put up with me quite a bit, thank goodness - but was great though. Thanks Liz). This worked out well for us both as we stopped off for more sight seeing, which travelling our own separate ways we would have missed. We chose to skip the Meteor Crater as $8 entry fee to see a big hole in the ground and headed straight to The Petrified Forest and Painted Desert National Park. Wow! What a place. The marbled colours in the quartz trees were incredible. The trees (didn't look very scared to me) were only the remaining trunks of what fell into the river and ended up in a swamp to become fossilised. All were broken/fractured. Mostly into large segments, but some into tiny fragments. Also saw some ancient petroglyphs, 700 year old building remains and ruins of an old trbal village/fort many centuries old and some brightly coloured "moody" lizards. The Painted Desert, like the Grand Canyon, also has to be seen to be appreciated. The whole area for miles and miles is layer upon layer upon layer of volcanic ash in many different colours. Mainly pink, purple, grey, brown and black. An enormous area has been eroded by a river to create a rainbow canyon, hundreds of acres in area. This is the bit that can be seen. The rest of the whole area is unexposed. The amount of volcanic activity, the area covered and the time involved is amazing. At the visitors centre we watched a movie about the area which was a mixture of real footage of modern tropical areas to represent what the area may have looked like, and animation, computer graphics. Again this does not do justice to the size and colours though of the petrified trees and desert. Eventually made it to Albuquerque late afternoon. For dinner we tried some goat meat at a mexican place. Dry, stringy, tough and chewy with a flavour that seemed to remind me only of rabbit. You would not want to eat a lot of it.

Liz headed off to Texas next day and I stayed in Albuquerque. Visited the National Atomic Centre at Kirtland Air Force Base which is all about the race to develop the atomic bomb. (I walked a lot of miles to get there and back though). Lots of info, a movie, photos, "Fat Man" and "Little Boy", and many displays of actual atomic, hydrogen, nuclear bombs and missiles and planes, rockets, submarines, a B-52 etc. Interesting but also saddening to see. Next day I visted an Indian Pueblo where they had a small museum, lots of gift shops (naturally) and some traditional dancing, which was interesting. Was sunny/hot while I was in Albuqurque. A nice change. Then caught a train down to El Paso, Texas, to be able to link up with train to New Orleans.

Stayed overnight in El Paso and next day walked across to Mexico. Visiting Mexico was not in my plan so another bonus. Simple. Just walk or drive across the bridge over the river by following the hundreds of others. I walked. 25 cents fee and no customs or immigration check going into Mexico. El Paso is not an expensive place and the bits of Mexico I saw even cheaper. A visible difference in affluence level crossing the border. I expect that there is a lot more money here though than in the rest of Mexico. A fairly dirty and smelly place. I wouldn't want to eat the food served in the market area. Water is probably not much better. But some buildings and shops were air conditioned. I bought a one litre bottle of Teachers Scotch Whisky duty free for US$4.50. Another 25 cents to cross the bridge back into America, but a customs and immigration check this time. Canadians and US citizens need only show ID such as drivers license. Others show a passport. No stamps. Only questions are what are you bringing back into the country so as not to exceed limits. So officialy, no record of me being there.

That afternoon caught train to New Orleans. Arrived 5 hours late, at midnight. New Orleans has the highest crime rate in the states so caught a taxi to the hostel and settled in for the night. Had hoped to get out and see some music and culture but had to wait till next night. The French Quarter (a safe area) is a real zoo. Lots of people, mainly tourists, drinking, music (blues, jazz, cajun, rock, pop), drinking, sex shops, drinking, music, female impersonators and strip joints, music and drinking, cars, people, smells like rubbish dump, heat, humidity, drinking and people. Open 24 hours but busiest at night time. Many places have happy hour 3 for 1 drinks, dacquri and handgrenade cocktails, beers served in plastic mugs for take away and wander around. I just wandered around for a while "sight seeing". Many places have a minimum of one drink to be purchased per set of music played if you are inside. Makes for an expensive night on my travel budget and probably need to take a taxi home if getting a bit late - even though street car and buses still running at reduced services. So I left about 9:30 pm by tram.

Next day caught train/bus/train to Kansas City. Met up again with Fiona though as she arrived in New Orleans by bus. (Have fun while you are there Fiona, it's a crazy, fun, active, hot and humid place). Travelled overnight (difficult to get a good sleep on train though while sitting up) and almost missed connecting train in St. Louis as train running late, to meet up with Ron in Kansas City. Ron is a contact I made through internet before leaving home. He offered to show me around and put me up for a couple of days. Thanks Ron. One of the first things he introduced me to his best friend. A grey bird called "buddy". (The winged variety of bird - African Grey Parrot with a stong sharp beak, ouch). Then a scenic, informative tour of the highlights of uptown Sugarcreek. I blinked and missed them, but caught them on the way back. Tried some local cuisine, Mexican for lunch (no goat this time) and a cafe/diner for dinner. French dressing on salad here is a bright pink colour and creamy texture. Then into the big town of Kansas City to sample the night life. Stopped at a jazz/blues area (Kansas City is the home of blues) to find only one place open with a small number of people and some not so good music. Not really happening here, and it's Friday night. Off to another section of town with various clubs, pubs and restaurants. Stopped at an Irish Pub to sample a local wheat beer. Did not need to dress up, or queue up to get in which was good. Not packed inside either. No live music as well and after a couple of drinks there was less people than when we arrived. Went for a wander around the area. A fair number of people around but not a lot. Back home for some much needed sleep and for Ron to check on his favourite lady. Saturday morning, Michael (a friend of Ron who also likes beer and learning German) joined us for a day of entertaining and showing me around. he could only stay half a day as family committments though. Visited Fort Osage an old cavalry fort and trading post (I'm glad I didn't have to live there in those days), a quick look inside a large mormon church/auditorium and lunch at a German restaurant. Not enough time to see through the Harry Truman Museum though. Dropped Michael off and headed over to Lawrence in Kansas to visit some German friends of Rons (extremely nice people) and visit a few local brewpubs over there. The first was new, interesting and OK. The second was great. Really nice food, not expensive, very popular and excellent beer. The third we looked at quickly but avoided (like most everybody else in town seems to have done). This was followed by a very secenic tour through the grounds of the local university before saying goodbye to Rons German friends and heading home.

All this has taken a while to write (slow fingers and brain) so Ron has been watching TV with his bird all over him on the couch. Tomorrow I leave for Chicago early morning and it's already the middle of the night. So bye for now, have fun and take care everyone and a special thanks for Ron for a great time here.

Cheers, Greg....Where ever you go, there you are.

Blind copies to all to maintain privacy. Let me know if you don't want to get regular updates. Special thanks to those who are passing on my messages to others.


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Subject: Re: Next is Chicago

Date: Mon, 01 Jun 1998 11:04:47 -0500

From: Rick Langdon

To: Greg Lemin

References: 1


Received your May 30th "trip report" - I guess that you had some "extra" online time while you were visiting with Ron Harmon. (Hey, guess the list has proven good for some real life contacts as well *sm* Sent off a note to Ron and it seems like ya'll had a nice visit.

I'm almost embarrassed - you've seen more of the US than we have - particularily the western US. Really enjoy your reports. I've included links below to two Birmingham area sites that you might want to visit while you're online.....

The first is to the Vulcan Brewery (the best of our local micro-breweries) we'll have to visit their brewpub while your here - http://www.vulcanbeer.com/

The second is a listing of "Birmingham Area - Day Trips" ... something to give you some ideas of things you might want to see while here in the area -http://www.bunsofsteel.com/daytrp1.htm

Pretty much anything listed would be an easy day trip (except for the new McWane Center - which probably will not be open yet). If you can, please give us at least a few days advance notice of your planned arrival -- and also, if possible, plan on staying with us for a 3 or 4 days. Take a break from "the road" and enjoy being our guest!

The last link you may or may not already know, I just found it myself, is to "Pubcrawler", which is a site dedicated to Microbreweries, Brewpubs and Beer Bars in the U.S. and Canada - it currently contains a searchable database of nearly 3000 establishments & breweries. Quite interesting. http://www.pubcrawler.com/Template/

Looking forward to hearing from you again.


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Subject: Trip Reports shared with "the world"

Date: Mon, 08 Jun 1998 12:28:46 -0500

From: Rick Langdon

To: Greg Lemin


I've taken a "liberty" and hope that you don't mind. I've taken the trip report emails that I've received, put them together as a web page, and linked them as a page for you associated with your listing in our ICQ list.

Your listing ... https://members.tripod.com/~RickinBham/RLicqList.htm#beernut

& "Our" new page ... https://members.tripod.com/~RickinBham/4beernut.htm

Please let me know what you think. If there are some that I may not have received and you'd like them included as well - please forward them. If you don't like this idea - that's fine too, let me know and I'll take the page down.


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Subject: Re: Trip Reports shared with

Date: Sat, 13 Jun 1998 14:12:10 PDT

From: "Greg Lemin"

To: Rick Langdon

Hi Rick and Lyn,

>I've taken a "liberty" and hope that you don't mind. I've taken the trip report emails that I've received, put them together as a >web page, and linked them as a page for you associated with your listing in our ICQ list.

Sounds great. I've had a quick look and it looks fine.

>Please let me know what you think. If there are some that I may not have received and you'd like them included as well - >please forward them. If you don't like this idea - that's fine too, let me know and I'll take the page down.

I notice that one of my earliest reports is missing so I have pasted it below. (See March 19)

I will update my signature to include a link to the page as well.

Hope to catch up with you later. I'm in Montreal at the moment and it's raining again so haven't been to the beer festival yet.

Cheers, Greg.

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Subject: Chicago, Montreal and Ottawa

Date: Thu, 18 Jun 1998 17:01:01 PDT

From: "Greg Lemin"

To: Rick Langdon

Hi everyone, here's the latest update of my walkabout.

Chicago was great. First I met up with an internet beer contact, Win and his wife Carrie, who was busy working at a huge book dealers fair. Then I booked into Arlington House Hostel. This is the worst I have stayed in so far. More expensive than advertised and has a pathetically stocked kitchen. Two cooking pots and not many more plates, cups and cutlery. Tiny kitchen with a stove top that partially works and oven that doesn't, a toaster that toasts one side at a time, a smelly fridge and a microwave. The bathrooms are not much better. The hostel also serves as a "halfway house" for handicapped people and has a dining room which serves up cheap meals that sort of compensates the kitchen. I don't think any of the hostellers ate in there though, most ate out or a few jostled in the kitchen and complained as lot. The location is excellent though. A few miles north of the city area, close to Lincoln Park Zoo (always free), cafes, restaurants, blues music places, Lake Michigan foreshore and a trendy, very safe area to be in.

There was a huge Blues Festival starting just after I arrived. Four days of outdoor, free music that included Ray Charles, Charles Brown (did not play due to illness though), Otis Rush, Joe Louis Walker, Steve Cropper and many others. It was great, especially being for free. Saturday was wet though, but the other days were fine. Chicago has lots and lots of free, outdoor music festivals virtually all year round. Also there are a number of art galleries, museums etc. that have different free days during the week. So it's possible to be culturally busy almost each day for free.

A lot of people are into fitness here and rollerblading, cycling, jogging etc. are very popular. Especially along the lake foreshore where miles and miles of paths have been set up. Lake Michigan is huge. It's just like looking out over the ocean stretching passed the horizon. It is very clean and blue as well. There are lots of very attractive women around so lots of lovely legs to look at. I really miss my workouts, especially my favourite instructor, and my fitness level and muscle toning have really decreased. Casual classes here are expensive, about US$12 -15, I think.

Win showed me around to a few beer stores, (over 950 beers to chosse from), and Goose Island brewpub. Their beers were fine, especially their 10th. year celebration ale. Also a night at his home he introduced me to a number of local and imported beers. It makes qujite a difference having a local to show you around and fill you in on places a tourist would not normally get to. Thanks Win and Carrie.

Chicago is a fairly expesive city, especially with the exchange rate to Aussie dollars. Even the supermarket wasn't cheap. Alcohol is cheap in the States though, as well as petrol at around US$1 per US gallon (extra 25 to 35 cents state tax in Illinois though). Canada is around 50 cents Canadian per litre.

After Chicago I took the train to Montreal, Canada. Crossing the border was OK for me this time, but a woman from the States was taken off the train for further questioning as she couldn't give the address of where she was going to see her boyfriend (who had recently moved there) and they became suspicous. The rain from Chicago seems to have followed me up to Canada, again. It has been warm, wet and very humid for the few days I have been here and looks like it will continue for a while.

I booked into the HI hostel in Montreal which is excellent. A hotel that has been converted. Huge kitchen, information desk, a bar, en-suite bathrooms etc. all in very clean, comfortable condition. Unfortunately they were fully booked for the weekend and I couldn't stay. Aaron, a beer internet contact, came to the rescue and offered some floor space to sleep on. He and Brigitte have been entertaining me, showing me around the local downtown area, pointing out places of interest and history, introducing me to some traditional local foods - poutine (chips in cheese curd and gravy) and a smoked meat meal. French is usually spoken here but it is a bi-lingual city, so can get by with speaking English usually. But it's great to have locals look after me again. Lots of well dressed, sexy women around too.

Aaron is also a home brewer, makes some excellent beers, and we went to the beer festival together on Sunday. Unfortunately due to the weather it was not too comfortable. A bit disappointing, CDN$7 entry and 80 cents to $4 for a small sample. With over 300 beers, mainly Belgian imports and copies, English, Australian (Coopers), American, Polish, Czech, German, Mexican, Cambodian etc. there was a lot to choose from. However as I have had many of them before, or will hopefully be getting to try them more cheaply as I travel around there was not a great deal for me to choose from. I was not too impressed with some but others were excellent.

Another beer contact in Montreal, Algis (who collects beer bottle caps and stuff) also looked after me one night. He introdeuced me to Montreal Bagles and another brewpub. Thanks Algis for your generosity and gifts. I'll keep sending more caps as I can while travelling.

Aaron also introduced to an alternative transportation method around Canada. It's called Allo Stop and is a cheap way of getting from place to place. Basically you arrange through their network to get a lift from someone travelling from where you are to where you want to go. A few dollars go to the organisation and a few dollars go to the driver, who may be taking several people at once. It cost me only CDN$10 to get from Montreal to Ottawa. (A bus fare is around $30 I think). To get from Ottawa to Toronto is around $20 to $24 on Allo Stop. (My USA rail pass gets me in and out of Canada but does not include travel within Canada). See their web page www.allostop.ca for more info.

Some other bus travel options I have found since arriving in the states include Green Tortoise, Moose, ANT, Canada Bus (or is it Can Bus?) and U.S. Bus. They have web pages or can be searched for more info.

Now I am in Ottawa, (more rain) for a couple of days and friends of Aaron are looking after me. I got to get out of the city to a lake in the country side today, which was great. Thanks to John and Jenny my visit to Ottawa is much more interesting. The Ottawa hostel is interesting too. A converted prison. Some of the cells are still intact and tours are offered for $2.

Well off to Toronto tomorrow so catch up with you all again soon.

Cheers, Greg....Where ever you go, there you are.

Blind copies to all to maintain privacy. Let me know if you don't want to get regular updates. Special thanks to those who are passing on my messages to others.

Here is a link to a web page of my trip reports kindly compiled and provided by Rick and Lins travellers ICQ pages. https://members.tripod.com/~RickinBham/RLicqList.htm#beernut


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Subject: July 4th celebrations

Date: Sat, 04 Jul 1998 11:16:17 PDT

From: "Greg Lemin"

To: Rick Langdon

Hi everyone, here is the latest installment of my on going travelling saga.....but first a correction from last time. The web address for Allo Stop is www.allostop.com (I was cofused with the address for the free beer and brewery tour www.aletrail.on.ca). Charlie picked up the error and let me know. CanaBus is the name of the bus tour company I found in Toronto. (Don't think you can smoke it though).

I am currently in Baltimore, just next to Washington DC. Charlie has kindly offered to let me crash at his place a few days and we will be going into DC this afternoon for July 4th. celebrations and fireworks. Similar to our Australia Day celebrations back home. Possibility of rain spoiling things tonight though. I'm sure it's following me around. I met Charlie 2 years ago when he was visiting Perth and have stayed in touch on and off through email since. It's nice to not be in the centre of a big city again. Lots of trees and greenery around here. And some very nice brewpubs as well. Found an excellent one last night, The Brewers Art, that makes Belgian Ales only, including a cherry ale, a double at 7.5% and a triple at 10.5%. Also visited Sissons Brewpub, Capitol City Brewpub and Ellicot City Brewpub. Still more to see such as Blue and Gold and Wharf Rat and others as well as in Washington DC. Oh yes, I musn't forget there's other tourist attractions as well, such as parks, zoo, monuments, museums, galleries, memorials, stautes etc.

After Ottawa where John and Jenny looked after me and showed me around I took another Allo Stop ride to Toronto. Another hot, humid city but fortunately the summer hostel was air conditioned. Unfortunately I couldn't organise any one with a car to take me on the Ale Trail so missed out on the free brewey tour. I did catch up with Mary and Phil who I had met while travelling on the Magic Bus in New Zealand. Phil and Mary say hello to those of you from the Magic Bus. They kindly offered me a room at their house to save some money and a chance to catch up with them. As Phil was busy working most days he had only limited time to show me around their hometown, but when he did it was quite interesting and informative. Phil works as a tour guide (multi lingualled) and it shows. I had a great time. Visited Ontario Science Centre (like Sci-tech back home, their OmniMax theatre is much smaller though), Casa Loma (a privately built castle) which has an excellent self guided audio cassete tour, free jazz music festival, ferried across to Wards and Centre Islands with lots of greenery where it's easy to forget you are only 10 minutes away from a large metropolis, Old and New City Halls. etc. Also visited some brewpubs, surprise, surprise - Upper Canada Brewing co. (just bought out by Sleemans Brewing and will be shutting down in a couple of months), Granite Brewpub makes excellent hoppy English Ales, Dennisons Brewpub makes great German lagers and hefe weizen. Thanks mary and Phil for your hospitality and generosity. I really enjoyed my time there.

One of my internet contacts, Doug and his wife Louise, turned out to live literally around the corner from Phil and Mary (the world gets smaller each day) picked me up one night and took me to Bow and Arrow pub to sample a number of local brews. Thanks for a fun and interesting night. Meeting up with locals makes a difference.

From Toronto I bussed to Niagara Falls as my Amtrak USA Rail Pass didn't cover the trip as I'd hoped. In Niagara I met up with Roger, another internet contact, who took me down to Niagara on the Lake for a couple of beers. It's great to catch up with my contacts as I travel around and finally put a face to the messages and find out more about them. Roger is an author and researcher and has also written a couple of beer books. Niagara Falls, while very touristy, is a great place. Lots to see and do. I saw an IMAX movie about the falls and people who have tightroped across it, fallen into it, deliberately barrelled or boated over it (many don't survive) and a small musuem with some of the boats and barrels etc. Went up one of the nearby tower buildings for a birds eye view, rode on the Maid of the Mist boat which takes you right up to the bottom of the falls themselves. Very noisy, windy and wet - just as well they provide plastic ponchos for the ride - gives you an idea of the amount of water 1 million bathtubs per minute and the forces.

From Niagara Falls I walked across one of the bridges to get back into the USA. Real quick and easy customs check this time as I have my green form stub and exit date already in my passport. Nothing was searched and the only question I got was where are you going to in the States? Wish it was always this easy. Then i walked about 30 minutes to the train station to travel towards Boston. A stopover in Syracuse to get a connecting train the next day.

The hostel in Syracuse is quite nice. It's in a quite suburb away from downtown. It's basically an old style house with lots of timber fixtures and carpetting, an upright piano and feels very comfortable. It's also cheap at $10 per night. However the Amtrak station is a fair way out of downtown and the bus service is not the best. It cost $12.50 to taxi to the hostel in lieu of waiting over an hour for a bus. I might have been able to get an earlier bus from a shopping centre near by (a few hundred metres only) but no-one tells you that, depending on the schedule. Apart from a few permanent residents andstaff and one long term US guy staying there I was the only guest and had a dorm all to myself. Next day I caught bus for $1 to the shopping centre as only 3 buses to the train station on weekdays and walked across to the station. Train was a couple of hours late so had to just sit and wait.

Boston is not a big place and the public transport is quite good and cheap. 85 cents for most trains and 60 cents for buses. The hostel is close to a metro station. I stopped only for one day in Boston and did part of the free Freedom Trail. The National Parks Service gives a free guide to a section of the trail and tells about the history of settlement, events and people such as Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, Ben Franklin and others. The lead up to the Boston Massacre and the battle and Boston Tea party etc. were quite interesting. Lots of history in Boston. The Freedom Trail can be done on your own but I don't think it would be the same if just looking at buildings and sites without knowing what was going on. Out of Boston centre is the Samuel Adams brewery which has tours and samples for a suggested $1 donation. Unfortunately not on the day I was there. There is also a Samuel Adams brewpub which I stopped at. They don't have tours though. I tried a sampler tray of Ale, Lager, Cherry Wheat and Cream Ale. I couldn't drink the Cherry Wheat, it was sweet, sickly imitation cherry syrup flavour to me. The others were nice though. There is rain and thunderstorms coming again tonight so back to the hostel for a quiet night in front of the TV before heading off to Baltimore tomorrow.

Well now I'm in Baltimore and leave for Europe from New York on July 15th. In retrospect travelling the States would be best by car or camper. It's a large country to get around in. The train doesn't go everywhere, buses go to more places but aren't a nice as train travel. The country is really geared more towards the automobile. Lots of roads, cheap petrol, limited public transport etc. It may have been better to travel using "Drive Away" vehicles and things like Allo Stop had I known about them before leaving home. Camping grounds and such are usually a fair way out of town and not many hostels in the cities have tent sites. The ones I have seen advertised, it is more expensive for a tent site than for a bed in a dorm, so I haven't used my tent yet. Hopefully I get to use it in Europe and get to save some money. I'm already about $2500 over budget and will need to save money in Europe where the Aussie dollar is not doing too well. I expect it will be expensive anyway, peak season in summer etc. Hopefully I can stretch things out to last for the Munich Octoberfest and the African safari I have booked. Staying with friends and contacts makes travelling cheaper and a lot more interesting.

The work front at home doesn't look to promising at the moment either. Some of the people I used to work with still haven't found new jobs yet. when I get home I'll need to find something straight away as the bank balance will be nearly depleted and bills to pay. In the meantime I'll just keep enjoying myself, seeing new places and things, meeting new people. There's always something new to look forward to so I'm not homesick or anything yet. Maybe if I stayed in one place for a while I might feel different.

It's the people I have met that make the biggest difference. So far the most impressive thing has been seeing the Canadian Rocky Mountains, vancouver was a great place that I really liked as well as Portland Oregon. The South Island of New Zealand was also very impressive to see.

Still lots more ground to cover yet, so until next chapter take care and have fun everyone.

Cheers, Greg....Where ever you go, there you are.

Blind copies to all to maintain privacy. Let me know if you don't want to get regular updates. Special thanks to those who are passing on my messages to others.

Here is a link to a web page of my trip reports kindly compiled and provided by Rick and Lins travellers ICQ pages. https://members.tripod.com/~RickinBham/RLicqList.htm#beernut

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Subject: From USA to Europe

Date: Mon, 20 Jul 1998 03:38:19 PDT

From: Greg Lemin

To: Rick Langdon

Hello again everyone. I have made it to Europe now after surving the USA.

In Baltimore, thanks to my friend Charlie (see previous email) I was able to ride the back of his motor bike, borrow his car, meet some of his friends, do some sightseeing, (NASA Space and Flight Centre, a Wildlife Research centre), stop off at an Australian Outback Steakhouse, visit some brewpubs and the July 4th. fireworks and celebrations. The celebrations involved music and entertainment in the parks of The Mall area and the fireworks were pretty impressive. Similar to Australia Day celebrations back home in Perth the fireworks were synchronised to music and lasted non stop for about 35 minutes. Lots and lots of people to fight your way through to get back home, so Charlie and I detoured past Brickskeller Pub (over 850 beers available) but it was disappointedly and surprisingly closed. So we headed off to Bardo brewpub instead. Next day I had to move on into Washington DC so Charlie dropped me off at a train station. Thanks for all your hospitality and help Charlie it was great.

In Washington I have a couple of friends to catch up with, Jane who I met at a hostel in Portland and Nutan who I had met on the Magic Bus in New Zealand, but hadn't heard back from either of them. Checked into the Hostel International and headed off to The Mall area where the Smitsonian Institute galleries and museums are. In Washington DC there are a lot of large museums, galleries, monuments, the White House, (all within walking distance), the Pentagon, FBI building etc. that are all free entry. You could easily spend a couple of weeks looking around. I spent the afternoon looking at about one third of the National Space Mueum before it closed. Still no word from Jane but contacted Nutan and arranged to meet up for dinner. Nutan showed me around harbour area of Arlington near her home town and shouted me dinner at the Arlington Beverage Company brewpub. We caught up on what has been happening since New Zealand, looked at photos etc. and had a great time. Nutan sys hello to our Magic Bus friends and hopes you are all doing well. Next morning I did a free guided tour of the Pentagon. Lots and lots of corridors, offices, photos, paintings and displays of the various armed forces, navy, air force, marines and army. In the afternoon I saw one of three floors of the Natural History Museum. Eventually caught up with Jane and what has been happening since Portland which was great as I thought I was going to miss seeing her. Spent the next day wandering around the quaint, older area of Georgetown and stopped at John Harvards brewpub for a quick, interesting tour and sampling of some very nice German and English beers. Checked out of hostel to meet up with Nutan for drinks with a few of her friends. Next day Nutan dropped me off to catch train to New York. Thanks Nutan for looking after me and putting me up for the night.

In New York City I checked into the Big Apple Hostel as more centrally located than the Hostel International and Paul and Stephanie who I met in Boston were also there. That's one benefit of hostelling compared to staying in hotels and such on your own, is the people you meet and mix with along the way. Makes a huge difference. New York City is a fast, busy, dirty, smelly, not too friendly city. Probaly the dirtiest city I have seen in the States. Tall buildings, cars, lots and lots of yellow taxis just like on TV and people everywhere. One of my beer contacts, Bruce and I played phone tag for the next few days trying to arrange meeting up. Another of my beer contacts, Toby and his wife Evelyn, were happy to meet me for food and drinks at the nearby Times Square brewpub. Toby is from New zealand, grew up in Australia and married Evelyn in California. After dinner Toby and I headed off to the Heartland Brewpub where the beer is better. Thanks guys, it was great. I enjoy meeting up with new locals as I travel around. Next day was spent with Paul and Stephanie (also Aussies) wandering along 5th. Avenue looking at expensive shops and the Trump Tower then up to central Park for the afternoon. The park is huge being about 50 blocks long, so it's easy to forget you are in a big city. Lots of grass and trees, people sun bathing, walking, jogging, cycling, rollerblading, rollerdancing, buskers, musicians, free concert on stage areas etc. I spent next morning downtown through Greenwich Village area and to an old fort, Castle Clinton, and where the ferries take the masses of people over to Ellis Island and Liberty island to see the Statue of Liberty. The afternoon was back at Central park for free Northern African music. Next day I caught up with Bruce who took me to his favourite pub (see www.andyscornerbar.com ?? link contained no data ??) in New Jersey for a beer or two and meet up with a couple of his mates. I also met Richard from Beers International (see www.beersinternational.com). Later we went back into New York to the DBA pub and meet some more friends. It was a fun night and again great to meet up with locals. Thanks Bruce, look forward to meeting up again at the Gret British Beer Festival in London (see www.camra.org.uk) in a couple of weeks.

Checked out of hostel following day and headed off to JFK airport in the afternoon to fly to Amsterdam. Plane was running a few hours late but we eventually got there. Then had to wait for gate to be vacant to park the plane. Baggage unloading problems caused a further delay, but otherwise flight went well. Two meals, a few drinks and a movie filled in the 6 hour flight and with 6 hour time difference no sleep on the plane that night. At the airport while waiting for baggage met up with Rene, a local who helped me work out the train ticketing system and getting into the centre of town to find hostel.

Welcome to a European summer - guess what - it's raining again.

Amsterdam is literally full of tourists. Everywhere there are backpackers and various foreign accents. Lots of dope smoking going on in the streets, coffee shops, bars and cafes etc. Could probably get high just walking around and breathing. Supposedly just about anything you want is available. Amsterdam is also big on sex with shops etc. all over but mainly in the red light area. The locals working in the hostels and shops etc. also seem to be rather impersonal. Not unfriendly, but not willing to do or offer more than asked for, rather blunt in their responses. Maybe due to the very large turnover of people passing through that seem to be treated as just another of the sheep. It doesn't get dark until well after 10 pm either. One of my contacts in The Netherlands, Mark, I have not heard from for quite a while (nor some of my Belgian contacts) so will probaly not be able to meet up with him and Rian, who I met on the Magic Bus in New Zealand (yes, another one) I also haven't heard from, but I left a phone message for him to let him know I was here. Spent some time waiting for rain to stop then wandered around town for a while. So many people, and things are expensive. 35 guilders for the hostel room, but it includes breakfast. No kitchen however to make your own meals, and take away is very expensive in Europe. Looks like a lot of hostels don't have kitchens in Europe so making cheap meals could be a problem. That night Rian rang me so I arranged to travel down and meet him the next day. As I pass through Amsterdam 3 more times before I leave Europe for African safari I can see more of it later.

Caught the train and a bus then walked about 1.25 hours (some rain and wind) to get to where Rian lives as it's out in the countryside. He is renting a house that's part of a farm property. It's very green, cow and pig country (smells like it too) and crops of corn, potatoes etc. so its very open and quiet around here. Much, much better than in the city area. Rian took me out to dinner to a local town. As the small towns are fairly close together in Europe is doesn't take long to travel from place to place. We stopped off at a small carnival on the way home. As it is summer holiday time starting here there are a number of carnivals around the place. The next day Rian and I went out to the small airport where he does his skydiving. Weather was not looking too good so he was worried he might not get to jump today. It turned out he could, but from only 6,00 feet instead of 12,000. He's such a daredevil - this is only his 97th. jump. He will pass 100 next weekend on a trip to Belgium. That night we went to another nearby town to check out a larger carnival. We went on a ride that spins around and throws you around with negative and zero g forces. I felt a little queazy after it. Then we spotted an even more twisty, turny ride. I passed, but the daredevil couldn't refuse. After the ride and look around we joined the mobs to squeeze through for a few (not very good) beers. On the way out I had to sample a local snack of raw fish and onions. Not too bad, but strange texture. At home caught up on photos, videos of Rians bungy jump, parachuting etc. Had a few beers and chatted to mid morning. Needless to say a late start the next day. Rian took me out to see my first windmill. Yes, it's very, very flat around here. Lots and lots of canals and dykes. Countless numbers of cyclists of all ages and sizes. It really seems to be the way to travel around here. Maybe I should look into it for getting around once in the various cities and towns I visit. Then we went to visit where Rian currently works in another town at a company making bells. From small to very large, several tonnes. They even made the American Liberty Bell here. On the way home we stopped near the Bavaria Brewery for a drink as it's getting warmer now (well, any excuse will do). A quiet night at home with take away food and a video as Rian has to work tomorrow.

Now I need to plan getting around Europe and where/when I'll be. The next 10 days I plan to travel around Belgium, Luxemburg and back to Amsterdam. Then off to London (via Paris) for the Great British Beer festival and a reunion with friends from the Magic Bus (more of them!!), then back to Europe to travel through Amsterdam (again), Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Germany (again), Switzerland, Paris (again), Belgium (again) and Amsterdam (yet again) before heading off to Africa. I hope to be able to catch up with as many of my contacts as possible as I travel through your area. I'll be in touch as I get closer.

In the meantime everyone take care and have fun.

Cheers, Greg....Where ever you go, there you are.

Blind copies to all to maintain privacy. Let me know if you don't want to get regular updates. Special thanks to those who are passing on my messages to others.

Here is a link to a web page of my trip reports kindly compiled and provided by Rick and Lins travellers ICQ pages. https://members.tripod.com/~RickinBham/RLicqList.htm#beernut

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Subject: Re: From USA to Europe

Date: Mon, 20 Jul 1998 11:43:44 -0500

From: Rick Langdon

To: Greg Lemin

Greg Lemin wrote:

> Hello again everyone. I have made it to Europe now after surving the USA.


It has been great hearing about your travels and "exploits". Had really hoped that you might have made it down to Birmingham - but after reading this last note - we certainly understand that you've been busy since the 4th and your flight out to Amsterdam on the 15th.

It sounds like you are having just a fabulous trip!!! Can't quite imagine how you're managing ... but think it's GREAT that you are.

Sounds too, like you have a good plans in place for Europe. From our trip over there last year - I just have one suggestion - DO NOT miss out on a day or two in Brugge (see our trip diary page or Photo Page) about 1 1/2 hours West of Brussels by train, and you might also want to try to make contact with our friend Paul De Meyer (see his listing for ICQ contact) who lives just south of Brugge - I'm sure that he'd be happy to join you for a sampling of some of that fine Belgian Brew :-).

(The published version of this will contain a few "hot links".)

We Look forward to receiving, and publishing, your continuing "trip reports" as you travel thru Europe and on to Africa. Going to start some new pages for these reports....

Happy Travels,

Rick & Linda

P.S. You might want to change your "signature file" link to your trip reports directly to "your" page (it's back-linked to our ICQ list) but would be faster loading as it isn't "quite" as large a file.


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