travel back in time

Wednesday 10th November, Madrid, Spain
*scroll down for the latest journal entry. It's at the bottom, mate*
Eight days since my last update. Almost a record. You might think I've been pretty quiet lately, but in fact I've been anything but. Last night I was hunched over my laptop till 5:00 am and now, at 10:00 am, I'm back, staring at that little tiny screen while outside, Madrid wakes up to a gorgeous Autumn morning.

I've been busy doing the following:

* Stressing over money, something I vowed when I left Australia without a dime that I would never do. Still, with a number of book payments still outdtanding, and no work forthcoming to cover my daily living costs (potato crisps, pork rinds, dried figs, hot chocolate) the credit card is still looking ill. With a huge trip to Russia and China in the pipeline, I think it's difficult for this not to be a source of stress.

* Transferring the 1757 pages of this website, as well as thousands of photographs, to a new server. This should help me to reduce the ever increasing amount I am charged every month for increased bandwidth.

* Writing my November newsletter, or more accurately trying to configure my email settings so that I can send this letter to 1200 people, complete with images and formatted text- the first time I have tried this. No, it is not as easy as it sounds. Not when you're using webmail!

* Working on two new competitions, in conjunction with www.pac-safe.com and www.couchsurfing.com - more details soon.

* Co-ordinating late orders (and late payments!) for "Everywhere but Missouri, Mate!", with fifty or so copies still remaining, scattered over three continents.

* Writing a second edition 'addendum' -a special 35th chapter- to be included in any future edition of "Everywhere but Missouri, Mate!" That will be available for viewing online. Again, more details soon.

* Trying to make some sense out of the whole 'Russian Visa' situation. In the end it seems the only sensible way to obtain a visa is to pay a Russian company what amounts to nothing more than a bribe, and let them look after it for you.

* Co-ordinating with our numerous potential hosts along the way- in Berlin, Czech Republic, Poland and Belarus.

* Contacting dozens of great companies, trying to get some sponsorship (thermal underwear, warm gloves, socks etc..) for my upcoming assault on the frozen mass that we call Russia. Have had one positive response this morning. More to come, I hope.

* Cooking again, this time for Maria's uncle Joaquin and his boyfriend Juan. I was shocked to discover- after I had prepared a large dish of cauliflower and broccoli au gratin- (now my signature dish!) that the only things Juan doesn't like are Cauliflower or Broccoli. I noticed he came back for second helpings of both!

* Trying to spend time with my girlfriend. I reckon that's kind of important too, don't you?

* Christmas shopping. Honestly! I found the most adorable presents for my little nieces. *You pesky kids better not be reading this! hmmm... I better keep it to myself*

* For now, I have dishes to wash, groceries to buy, DVD's to return to the rental store on the corner. It's the closest I've had to a 'normal life' in over two years. If I only had a 'job', I would almost be normal. In the street, it's a crisp, cloudless day in Madrid and I might even take my time while I'm out.

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