[morgueatlarge] Another statistical anomaly

So I know one bloke in Rome, and I run into him.

Naomi has journeyed on to the Greek islands leaving morgue to head back west. Highlight was the ferry from Patras (Greece) to Bari (Italy), where I met a Brit named Haith and a German named Martin and we shared a bottle of Ouzo on the deck as the night wore on. There was an enormous wedding celebration, I’m guessing it was a second marriage because both parties were older, but what it meant was – first, a mass on the boat, led by a priest who looked like he was the Pope’s bodyguard – and secondly, lots and lots of singing and clapping and more singing late into the night. The groom gave us wine, as is apparently traditional. Excellent stuff.

Every time you are on a train in Italy someone will have an argument.

Anyway, Haith misses his connection from Rome and goes wandering. Sure enough, he finds me. We look at pretty things (love the Trevi Fountain) and
are off to see more today.

Then further westward. Hopefully today I’ll work out how to get to Portugal…


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[morgueatlarge] Athens

Museum fatigue does exist.

I’ve been writing interesting stuff in my notebook (thanks Leon!) but I can’t be bothered transcribing it to here. So instead, I’ll say this:

In the National Museum in Athens there’s a weird little wobby figure from 3000 years ago. It has articulated legs and a stripey red body. It looks like the Mayor from Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas.

This is the inspiration for the Athens Olympics ‘characters’.

And I think that’s cool.

In other news, Leon has a job in London already – go Leon!

There is no other news. Athens is hot, but nice. Buses are the enemy of tall people. Ferries, less so.

I’m turning around and heading back towards Portugal, as of tomorrow.


~`morgue (museum fatigued)

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[morgueatlarge] The Pink Palace redeemed

(this is a bit old but I don’t think it got sent. Hmm.)

All right, so it’s pink.

At the end of the season it’s sort of like that 21st you went to that they’d massively overcatered for – you know, hiring a hall and DJs and getting lots of alcohol and lighting – but not many people actually came. And so everyone wonders whether they should get into the spirit of things or bail to the other, better 21st they’re going to later in the evening.

The main difference is, there’s no birthday person about whom you care one whit.

Agios Gordios is a little township totally sold to the tourist trade. You can see why – its little crescent beach is the archetypal small Greek island swimming paradise. Golden sands (well, sort of brown, really) against spectacular cliffs spiked with those pointy Greek conifers, and the clear bright Med waters rolling in. And they really were rolling – it’s been very heavy on the surf these days, and apparently three people died on a nearby beach yesterday.

I went swimming today and didn’t drown. It was good.

I’ve met lots of people. I’m starting to understand the logic of hanging around with Kiwis and Aussies in a situation like this – they’re the only people who aren’t completely mad. (Several wise Canadians excepted, of course.) And they’re all good people. I think we want similar things out of travelling, and certainly there’s a generous irony in how the group I’ve fallen in with has enjoed the plate-smashing ouzo circle and lengthy, ridiculous happy hours.

The booze cruise hasn’t run because of the weather.

In a few hours I start out for Athens.


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[morgueatlarge] Please forgive me

I am at a place called ‘The Pink Palace’

We were greeted off the bus by a shot of uzo, at 9am

everything stopped making sense on the way out of Naples

Or even in Naples

I think all I have learned about Italy so far is that to understand it I’ll
need to experience it a lot more, but that’s a nice lesson to learn


There is a beach. There is nothing to be done, literally.


I cannot believe I am staying at a place called the Pink Palace. Weird.
Google it and see what I mean.


In brief: email is hard to find and expensive and, lets face it, low profile. So, I went to Rome, went to Naples, went to Pompeii, went to Brindisi, ferried to Corfu which is off Greece, had uzo, checked in here. Now you know. Travelling with Naomi, and this guy erik we met on the ferry. Who knows where next??



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[morgueatlarge] Euro’s don’t run the world, yet

Getting from Ciampino Airport to Rome central was an adventure in itself.

There was a bus laid on, sure, if you wanted to fork out ten quid. I didn’t. But at the airport… well, I search around a while to find a lady behind a snack counter, who nodded sagely when I asked about getting to Termini. 1 euro for the bus to the train, and I jump on happily. The bus takes a while, no-one on it knows what’s going on, and then it’s off, rattling through the streets like a train off its rails. I’d heard about the driving here but hadn’t seen it. When it pulled up at a red light I was ecstatic, because there at last was proof that there were in fact road rules in Rome.

Then at the train station the machine wouldn’t take Euros unless it was primed with smaller coinage first. So I borrowed a 2 cent coin from a friendly local and promptly gave it back when it spat it back out with a ticket. And then on a train to Termini! Patrick the French-Canadian kept me company, equally as bewildered, and we shook hands as wished each other well as I sought out Naomi.

Naomi is a wonderful friend who I made at Massey Design School. She was a student, which is how I first met her, but then got a job doing admin and some design work in the office. We became good buds and when she went to London to work – well, good on her, actually. Anyway, when news came she was leaving London to wander Europe when I came over, and wanted a companion, everything fell into place.

So the wee gem had booked and paid for my bed for the night, and waited for me to give me an extensive night walking tour with running commentary. Excellent fun! I saw lots of postcard stuff, none of which I’ll go into here, but it was quite awesome in its way, although not quite so awesome perhaps as the way people drive here. As Nomes says, to cross the street you just walk out in front and they stop. Well, it’s worked so far.


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[morgueatlarge] Thames Festival

So Sunday night was the Thames Festival. On the south bank the whole riverfront was packed with people and stalls and buskers and more people. It was exciting just being there, it had hit the critical mass of people required.

There was a parade departing from just under Waterloo Bridge, and this was a great thing to behold. Rank on rank of people all decked out in river-themed finery and shining lights, lots of children, cultural groups dancing and making music, enormous uncanny creatons floating past. We danced and clapped the whole time.

Then the fireworks. Tugs darted about on the Thames letting off gouts of fire into the night as ominous music rumbled almost beyond notice, and bodies crowded in until the first blast of light and crack of sound erupted. Explosion upon explosion, delicate shivers on the membrane of sky or thunderous bangs slapping down to earth, trails of shimmering light and flashes too bright to watch, it became something I felt in my body, in the way my heart was beating.

I don’t know that I’d ever really understood parades and fireworks before this, not really.


I’m staying with Elizabeth and Roland. Elizabeth was one of the Todman St flat founders back in 99 and I haven’t seen her since the end of that year, so it’s been a tremendous chance to catch up. Roland is a genius character, too, and it’s been great getting to know him a bit. They live in Lewisham, which is south of Greenwich, which is south of London. It’s about a half-hour into the middle of town. There’s foxes at the bottom of the garden but I haven’t gone to look just yet.


Tomorrow I go to Rome.


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[morgueatlarge] correct mobile number, but no new insights

Of course, the number I sent out last time was wrong. *sigh*

It should be 0781 7772635

The girl told me wrong over the phone! (Or I heard wrong. But I’ll blame her, better for my ego.)

Also, to all those people wondering – yes I mean it about the tube, yes I’m still in novelty stage, but it’s so handy! I’ll love it while I can love it, huh?


[morgueatlarge] Why probabilistic statistics are fundamental to all learning

4.5 hours after leaving Heathrow, Leon and I met two guys from our seventh form year. None of the four of us were particularly surprised.
(For what it’s worth, they were Michael Rogers, soon to depart, and Jeremy Cain, just arrived.)

Important things to know about London:

* damn good tube system. I finally understand why everyone makes a big deal about ‘no eye contact’ on the tube – after all, isn’t that the case with every public space? – it’s because, on the tube, the seats all face towards each other. You’re face to face with another traveller the whole journey. This makes eye contact a central factor in the whole experience. (I’ve since been told that most public transport outside of NZ is like this. Except, in my experience, planes.) Anyway, it felt to me like there was a real sense of camaraderie with my side of the train. I really felt that if someone sitting on the other side had started something, my whole side woulda been ready to jump in and mix it up. Their side two. However, this didn’t happen on any of the train journey’s I’ve been on so far, which I put down to the reticent character of the British.

* it has been warm and sunny two days in a row. Don’t believe the hype. But the haze is real. I makes London look like a photograph of London.

* and everything is brick.

The moment when I felt ‘holy crap, I’m in a new place’ – walking down Regent St and seeing the high stone buildings curve away from me over crowds of people.

As you may have noticed, nothing interesting has happened yet. But I’m
working on it.


(actually, that’s a bit of a lie – on the plane Leon and I met a guy called Joop Jagr. No lie. This guy is completely mad. We’ve got his number, and have made vague plans to meet. I hope we manage to, he’s a party all by himself.)

(morgue’s brand new cellphone number: 078 1772635. I don’t know how you dial it from NZ, maybe put 0044 in front instead of the 0? anyway. morgue now has a cellphone. how about that.)

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[morgueatlarge] Initiation Ceremony

Full Name: Morgan Geddes Davie

(Geddes is the name of my mother’s family. I’m carrying the lineage of both
sides, but without a hyphen. Very nice.)

With: Leon Verrall, whose middle name I don’t recall. Old friend – one of
the oldest, well over a decade now – and a man with whom I’d trust my life.
(Note to my mother: I don’t intend to ever be in a situation of
life-entrusting necessity. Relax.)

The plan: Go to London. Arrive. See London. Let one week pass. Then go
to Europe sans Leon. Meet friend Naomi. See Europe. Let several more
weeks pass. Then go to Portugal (which, granted, is in Europe) and meet
friends Dean and Kerry, and once again Leon. Let another week or two pass.

At this stage, count coins.

Now you know the plan. The rest is story.


(Wayback Machine copy of original message)