Friday, May 29, 2009

Europe Itinerary

Ok, it's all finally completed. I get exhausted looking at this itinerary. I realize that with the 8 flights and 7 trains and 1 bus that something is bound to mess up. I'm not too keen on flying to begin with and don't know why I'm making myself do all the flying but in this economy (Europe is getting hit even harder than we are) the flights are pretty darn cheap right now.

The housing will primarily be done through except some nights in Spain where I'll stay with friends that I lived with prior.

So here it is, June 1-29.

June 1: Noon flight to Madrid
June 2: 10:00 a.m. Arrive in Madrid, Spain
June 3: Madrid, Spain
June 4: Madrid, Spain
June 5: Day trip (speed train) to Toledo, Spain
June 6: Day trip (speed train) to Segovia, Spain
June 7: 8:00 a.m. flight to London, England
June 8: London, England
June 9: 6:55 a.m. Train to Paris, France
June 10: Paris, France
June 11: 8:25 Train to Amsterdam, Netherlands
June 12: Amsterdam, Netherlands
June 13: 7:30 Train to Berlin, Germany
June 14: Berlin, Germany
June 15: 9:00 a.m. Train to Prague, Czech Republic
June 16: 4:30 p.m. flight to Milan, Italy
June 17: 2:00 p.m. Train to Lugano, Switzerland
June 18: Lugano, Switzerland
June 19: 10:15 p.m. flight to Liverpool, England
June 20: Liverpool, England
June 21: 9:35 a.m. Flight to Dublin, Ireland
June 22: Dublin, Ireland
June 23: 9:55 a.m. Flight to London, England
June 24: London, England
June 25: 2:35 Flight to Barcelona, Spain
June 26: Barcelona, Spain
June 27: 10:00 a.m. bus to Madrid, Spain
June 28: Madrid, Spain
June 29: Home.

Also, you will be able to track me on throughout the trip via videos, blogs and live interviews via Skype. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Housing crisis

No, this is not a rant on the nation's housing crisis yet is primarily focused on the fact that starting June 1 I will officially be homeless...kind of. 

I move out of my apartment on May 31 and did not renew, primarily because I will be gone the entire month of June and do not want to pay for rent and bills when I absolutely will not be here for 29 days. That said...I don't know where I will live starting July 1. Kinda scary. I was really hoping to nail down some big decisions on downtown housing for purchase before heading to Europe but I kept noticing a trend, I am not rich enough to afford 95% of the downtown housing and I'm not ashamed to say that.

How can I be ashamed of the fact that I'm 26 and can't afford a $250,000 condo? I'm not saying that the prices are too high or even implying that the facilities are sub-par...because I really like them. I would move into any of them tomorrow if I could. What I am saying is...."Why do developers in OKC not want to have people in their 20's living downtown?"

Sure, I know about as well as any that there are three or four condos that around $150,000 but that's it. There may be even one or two that reach the $130,000 mark...but with something near 100+ condos coming online in the downtown area how are there less than 10 condos for under $165,000?

Is that space really that expensive? Is $190+ per sf the lowest a developer can go? I understand the basic business model of supply and demand, but right now the demand is being yelled by many young professionals...the supply is where? 

I am actually thinking I won't get to buy a downtown condo and find myself begrudingly living a few miles outside downtown. My generation cares about the environment surrounding them ...not baseboards or high ceilings...they care about walking to the grocery store or park, not about chandeliers and fancy rugs...The surrounding environment is already there AND growing. Please oh please don't force my generation into the suburbs too.

This blog is to hopefully to get the word out that yes, there are plenty of downtown housing options...but almost none for the generation that thrives to live there. All this talk on prices and development is not meant to knock all the develments themselves yet merely to point out the fact that there are way tooooo many developments for the upper class and not nearly enough for (cough cough) young professionals.

I have looked into The Leslie at Maywood and applaud their efforts of offering 8 of their 24 units at $99,000. Pretty interesting although it won't be developed for another couple years I am interested to see the finished product. (the other 16 units are no cheaper than $230,000)

Here are links to the Web sites of many downtown housing option developments. Enjoy.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Planning out Summer 09

Yesterday, I sat down and started detailing my trip this summer with my friend who is traveling with me for part of the trip (June 7-16, my entire trip is from June 1-29). We laid out museums and historic landmarks that we want to make sure we see and purchased a few tickets to museums...The Louvre in Paris and Anne Frank House Museum in Amsterdam. But as we planned out many of these "must-see" attractions I started thinking about wanting to be apart of in not just viewing something but actually witnessing something happening. 

While living in Madrid (August 2006- April 2007) I never got to see a bullfight. That became priority number one when I get to Madrid, my starting point and final destination on my trip. Then I looked into soccer (futbol) matches because I've always heard of the excitment and importance all around the world of soccer and want to witness an 80,000 crowd for a regular soccer game, yelling in a language I barely understand...kinda sounds exciting. 

I will miss running with the bulls by 1 week. I'm very bummed at that. I also barely miss the Tour de France and the British Open just barely. It is hard to complain, however, considering all the great historic sites and museums I will get to see along with beaches like Barcelona but I still feel like there are events that I'll be missing out on. Events that only locals usually witness. Can anyone think of any events or games I could attend? I racked my brain and I'm falling short. Euorpe in June...there has to be more going on.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Couchsurfing host

I just completed my first couchsurfing as a host experience. 

I received an e-mail from on Sunday night while I was watching the Wolverine movie with my brothers at AMC. I waited til I got home to view the persons profile to see what they were like before I would accept.

The arrival time was set for the following night, Monday night, and since everything (references, friends, personality, age) all seemed to work out and so I accepted. She, Stephanie, did mention, that she would not be able to arrive until late...9ish. I replied telling her that I was playing tennis from 8:30-10 and because I wouldn't be home and showered unyil 10:45 I told her I would be unavailable until 10:45 and she agreed and said she would just go grab something to eat until I returned...

The next morning I received an e-mail from her telling me that her plans of staying in Cali for the summer just got canceled because of a living situation that ended up not being available.She also said that she still might go in a few days depending on if she can find alternative housing. Bummer. I said no problem and if she needs to come through in a few days let me know.

2 hours later...I get an e-mail telling me that she found extra housing and that if I was still willing that she would still like to stay here that night but because she left a few hours later than planned her arrival time would be more like midnight. (oh the stresses of traveling never stop...and I know that as well as most.) "Sure thing, see you tonight."

The next day it rained like crazy and was merely impossible to do anything during the day/lunch hour so she just stayed at my apt working on some internship forms for the summer while I was at work. She had mentioned to me the night before about her plan on staying in OKC that night and the next day driving to Amarillo for a day then to Albuquerque (she had 5 days to get to Cali). I told her Amarillo would be boring. So, when I got home from work (Cinco de Mayo) I told her of plans I had to go out with my friends and how bummed I was that she never got to really see any of OKC. She, very shyly, asked if she could stay another night. 

"Of course you can. Now let's go to Bricktown."

Walking all around Bricktown and "pitching" OKC as the wonderful place that it is I get a text form my friends that they are now headed over to Iguana Grill, perfect timing as we were ending our walk around Bricktown. So, at 9:15 p.m. we show up to meet about 10 of my friends and had food and drinks til midnight. Then walked over to the Memorial where we all walked around sharing stories and enjoying company.

After lunch the next day she packed up and left for Albuquerque. Have a safe rest of the trip, Stephanie, and we'll see you in August when you head back home to Tennessee.

Her facebook status: "in love with oklahoma city and is sad to leave. SOOOO very thankful for how the nights in oklahoma city turned out... i had a blast with casey and his friends :0)"

Stay classy  Oklahoma City.