Technical Issue!

AsperJosh has suffered a heavy impact. Every picture on every post before the Africa one has been lost due to an album online becoming corrupted.
I have almost every picture stored across 2 laptops and will slowly begin to re-upload them to my posts over a long period of time!
I will be starting from latest posts and work backwards to re-upload the pictures.
Thank you for understanding!
Joshua :'(

UPDATE - Fixed Posts

2015 posts fixed so far:
- Tough Mudder 2015 - MCM Expo 2012 + Past Experiences - Telling People, I Have Aspergers - 5CPS - Marvel Phase Three - Attack On Titan - MCM Oct 2015 - Interstellar - Star Wars VII - Star Wars Original Trilogy - Star Wars Prequel Trilogy - Star Wars Battlefront - The Fault In Our Stars - Chronicle - Evans Night Out + Winter Wonderland 2015 -

2014 posts fixed so far:
- A Year's Progression At The Gym - 5CPS - The Land Before Time - X-Men Premier - X-Men DOFP - Halloween 2015 - Online Dating - Macbook Pro -

House MD, 3 Years Driving currently in progress.
More to be mended

Thursday, 19 February 2015

My Adventures With My Friends From Greece

Like I mentioned in my Fishing Trip in Oceania Club, Greece, I have been going to Greece for a decade now and have known an amazing family since our first time there. In fact, we are like family really and this year at last, Doukeni and her boyfriend Aggelos finally came to us for some British sight-seeing last Wednesday for a week. Here I'm mentioning the highlights from Wednesday to Sunday (cause I am working Mon-Wed unfortunately), still it's all good!

Our families have been close friends for just about 10 years and we even feel comfortable for our dads and myself to call each other (for fun), the word "Malaka" which is Greek for "Wa*ker" ha ha ha, yep that's how cool we are with each other.
Doukeni has been my closest friend in Greece because we are just so cool together and have amazing taste in music, anime, films, actors etc and I just love easy it is for me to be myself every year when I join her everyday on the beach where her, Nikos (her bro), Giannis (her dad) and Aggelos (her bf since 2009) are all working on the watersports (Dad and I pitch in on helping the other guests at the hotel with rules, prices and explaining things to those who are hard of hearing). She is one of my non-related big sisters.
Anyway, I was made aware a month ago that Doukeni and Aggelos were finally coming over to England on the 11th February for a week after we've been going to Greece for years. It felt really awesome that this time instead of us going all the way to see others that this time they were coming to us for a whole new experience and adventure. Mum and Dad refused to tell us what they had in-store for us all cause it was a surprise for me and Becca too.

Wed 11th February:
After a long day's work, I headed straight for home cause Doukeni and Aggelos had arrived at 2.30pm, so as I got into my house and was embraced by them with a long over-due hug, my first thought was "Am I in the wrong country?" ha ha. I was so pleased to see my friends again and this time they were in our country instead of Greece, it was weird at the same time since you know we usually go to see them and this time they made the effort and afforded the money to come to us. After everybody had arrived home, instead of cooking, I suggested we could all go to Sussex Barn since I've had many memories there during my college years with Lewis, George, James, Sam, Peace etc and I think this was the first time I had taken my family with me to an amazing BBQ themed restaurant. We all had such a wonderful evening (I didn't take a picture sadly, but there's plenty more to come) and in the night I even got to see David (my old mate from the night out for Kathy and Alex's 22nd Birthday Party) working and I even saw Jack and Amy as well from the same night and had a quick catch-up as well as asking me on how the date went.
I had to sleep on the 3 seat sofa whilst everyone had beds (because they don't love me... I'm kidding, I'm being the honorable one and doing the right thing).

Thurs 12th February:
Our first day was actually an overnight stay in London, so we all ventured up to "Westminster" where we were staying at the Premier Inn by The Eye. Mine and Becca's room was the best according to everyone which felt super and we had little time to enjoy the room as we had a lot to do and show our friends! I'll do my best to not drag this out and not overdue on the pictures ha ha.

Our first stop was "Covent Garden" to look for a nice pub to enjoy lunch but too bad The Freemasons Arms lunch period was done. Seeing as we were in Covent Gardens, I suggested the awesome American restaurant that Lewis and I discovered when we saw Eminem last year, Five Guys. Everybody loved the quality (it was still bloody expensive) but so worth it on the taste and that dynamite drinks machine full of many eccentric flavors that made my mouth water. Cause Doukeni and Aggelos are Anime lovers like me and Becca, I took the opportunity to take them to the spectacular Comic-book/ Anime/ Manga/ Sci-fi/ Nostalgic Megastore that is Forbidden Planet (same place Lewis and I went to before Five Guys during the Eminem day) because this was too perfect to not miss out showing them a great place for them to purchase anything A-W-E-S-O-M-E from this place (too bad they have no space in their suitcases, oh well at least they got to see stuff and made a note of it for another purchase through me or to look-up online).

Hello, is that the emergency
services... then which
country am I speaking to?
Dad said why don't we just walk all the way back to "Westminster" while sight-seeing since I too hardly ever just walk around London cause I rely on the Underground since I understand it so perfectly. So whilst wondering about en-route back to the hotel, we just popped into random shops whilst Dad was the "tour guide" for everyone. We also all had fun taking cool and funny pictures including me in Urban Outfitters after Becca found some nostalgic vinyls (I was pleased to have found Eminem - The Eminem Show and Gorillaz (self-titled album) and we all took turns popping into a Telephone box and dialling numbers. We even went into the Covent Garden Market and the most weird thing we found but also nostalgic for us all was The Moomin Shop...yeah. The intro came right on into my head as I was climbing the steps to see the store full of Moomin collectibles and plush toys ha ha (my mind works like that).

We soon found ourselves by "Leicester Square" (my previous time here was on disappointing terms thanks to the X-Men: Days Of Future Past Premier) however we saw that tonight's premier was the 50 Shades Of Grey Premier (which we couldn't get near so we took a couple pics from the distance and instead we were all entertained by this awesome and insanely talented football street performer Lukas Munka (I'll try and upload Doukeni's video sometime soon). Right before arriving at "Piccadilly Circus" we saw the Bubba Gump Shrimp Restaurant (that's brilliant!) and Doukeni and Aggelos kept on taking pictures from different angles in the square and throughout the long walk. We weren't that far from "Trafalgar Square" where we were not far from the long road to Buckingham Palace but we had no time for that as we really needed to head back to the hotel to freshen up and get ready for tonight's surprise.

Tonight's surprise was to the special restaurant that Mum and Dad had been to on a night out with special friends, we went to the Benihana Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Restaurant near "Piccadilly Circus". This amazing and entertaining restaurant was sooo worth it (despite the extortionate price at the end) but the food was great and it was all prepared in front of you which is called “Teppan-yaki” and is a real treat to watch. Our chef for the evening was a very charming and cool dude who was talented with flipping the knives/ spatula and salt shaker about whilst preparing our food for us. "Playing with Fire" was a major highlight as all the chef's used oils and a special technique later on to make an onion ring into a Native Indian Hut and then light it up like a house on fire (of course, it was under control and I wasn't afraid like some other people in the restaurant).
We were all given Shrimp, Onions and Courgettes as mini tasters whilst our main courses were preparing. My main course was the Benihana Special which was Hibachi Steak & Lobster Tail (I had never tried these two types of meat before and didn't want to pass up this chance (though it was a heavy £50... Woah). My food was delicious and everyone else enjoyed theirs, I even tried out Sake which I'm unfortunately fond of thanks to the taste (to me it was like drinking nail varnish or something). For dessert, Doukeni and I had some Green Tea (I usually have it at Horsham's Wagamamas anyway), I made it look peaceful when the photo was taken ha. I even asked for a photo with the chef before leaving since it looked too good to pass up.

We even got them to sing Happy Birthday for Doukeni
(though her birthday's not till December). We just wanted to see this ha ha.

Before finishing after a long day, Dad had planned for us to head to "Liverpool Street" because we have another good friend called Alex from Greece who had moved over a year ago with his wife Arishka (we knew them both from being staff members at Oceania Club the last 4/5 years). We went to the New Street Grill to meet and surprise Alex and Liviu (another member from Oceania Club) but it sucked that Arishka was working on the other side of London. Alex fixed us all up fancy cocktails (I tried a Hemingway Daiquiri which wasn't really tasty for me, I prefer a Long Island Iced Tea, cause then I can say "Call the Mad Hatter, I'm having a tea party!" ha ha). Still after a short stay and Liviu went home, all of us including Alex and another Alex "Alex 2", Alex took us to a pub round the corner which had such a naughty/ innuendo name that it's too funny to say Dirty D*cks (I can assure you it wasn't a gay bar, oddly enough). Within I think it was 20 mins, it was time to leave already cause they were closing. So now it was time to call it a night, so my lot got a Taxi back to Westminster whilst the Alex's went home.

It was really cool seeing Alex again since him and Arishka came to stay with us back in May 2013 and they came with us on the weekend to Brighton, we showed them the lanes, the anything goes kinda rule and of course showing them that the pier was safe to walk along was funny cause they'd never seen a pier before, but it was such a good day and memory.

Fri 13th February:
After a good morning's full English breakfast and packing our stuff away, we left our bags at the hotel so we could have one more day of London tourism.

Sunday's first attraction was a first timer for us all, The London Eye (we had bought the tickets yesterday). Despite the day being cloudy, I was still keen to venture onto the gigantic Ferris Wheel with the others (except for Mum and Dad who chose not to come on). The panoramic view was eye-raising and I felt alive being this tall up above London and see out across the capital though it's not like I was on The Shard but I did see that too from here (too bad the sky wasn't clear). Everybody in our dome were going crazy with their cameras like me and taking pictures from different angles, I even offered to take a cute young couples picture for them (aren't I nice?!) After a good long 30 mins and touching back down to the ground, we took a quick look round the gift shop (I got a cool 3D London Eye Bookmark and Doukeni bought a Telephone Box Piggy bank). Oh and Becca, Me and Doukeni turned one of our pennies into a flat special design coin thanks to this wheel machine (I felt like a pirate whilst turning the wheel/ helm).

Next, Doukeni had an old friend who was living in London come and meet us and tag along for the day called Maria. I wanted to show everybody the Namco Funscape (where Jemma and I had our first date) because this place is like heaven! Doukeni and Becca had a go on the Dancing Stage EuroMix 2 and I had a go driving through 4/5 zones on hard on mine and Lewis's favourite Kick-ass Arcade game, Outrun 2. Rebecca kicked ass on the Pac-Man machine (so proud of my sister) and I wanted to look cool and take a picture of me on a Gatling gun arcade machine. Next time, I'm gonna play more games to my heart's content and I hope I have more company who have good taste in gaming, being a kid and just having an amazing time at such an amazing place!

On the tube, we had a surprising duo performing some music on the train with a violin and guitar (they even did "Ring Of Fire by Johnny Cash").

Our main highlights for today were the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum in "South Kensington".
History has always been a big fascination for me (even if I sucked at it back at school), I like watching documentaries about the Earth and the ones by David Attenborough and most of all, anything to do with Dinosaurs!). Instead of showing the 50+ pictures I took of the Dino's or the ancient animals, I'll just say, the Dinosaurs were my biggest thrill when we were in the museum.
I was being a little know it all in the group like explaining that the Velociraptors in Jurassic Park are heavily exaggerated and aren't the real dinosaurs.

The correct dinosaurs in that film were most likely Deinocheirus orDeinonychus (more specifically) because of their physiology and appearance relation (but the animatronics were still awesome). I figure the name Velociraptor was given to them because the name itself sounds thrilling and much better to say in fear than the other Dino (if anything, Velociraptors are no bigger than a chicken and aren't as fast as a Cheetah or smart as a Chimpanzee as the film counterparts suggested them to be.) That sorta bothers me, but at least this alteration gave the films a good secondary antagonist threat besides the big tyrant Tyrannosaurus Rex (or the Spinosaurus in Jurassic Park III).

I was surprised and extremely happy to see a huge (I don't know if the model's accurate) Tyrannosaurus Rex animatronic in the room and it even twitched it's head and roared a little (but not as terrifying as you'd expect, we can't have it scaring children too badly).

I even noticed whilst reading all the facts on the boards and seeing the sculptures and skeletons, that they included a fact about The Land Before Time (mentioning Dinosaurs that had been used in films) and all my knowledge and memories came flooding back into my memory including the scenes and music. I had a few tears in my eyes since the film's quite emotional for me and it also made me realise that these lizards once existed on our planet and aren't with us anymore and as badly as I wish I could time-travel (logically impossibly sadly) back to the "Jurassic" or "Cretaceous" periods to gaze at these creatures in their prime before their demise by the meteors...
Even though everything has it's time, these magnificent creatures would be my first thing to see let alone encounter (safely) if I had the power or chance to however the option/ method is offered (it's odd how I can't decide if I would or wouldn't want to go to Jurassic Park ha ha).
But despite all that, the film is still important to me (like I said in the review) and even if it's sad, I still have a connection to it and enjoy watching it every time even if it hurts a little, at least the ending leaves me overjoyed. Oh and I also mentioned to everyone that the Brachiosaurus isn't the biggest dinosaur on record anymore, it's actually a Titanosaurus Sauropod species - Argentinosaurus! I love being a Dino nerd (though I'm no Paleontologist like Ross Gellar).


A Vampire Bambii?
That's one big pair of Antlers!
They'd make a good coat hanger, I joke
We also went exploring through the Animals exhibit and got to see ancient beasts like the Sabre Tooth and other mammals and creatures that have all evolved through time. I was amazed at all the big mammals hanging from the ceiling including the Blue Whale. We all recognised a lot of the animals already and all made jokes too to add some humour to our little pack. Some of the animals looked weird like some Elephants with sharp horns on their lips (like a Sabre tooth) and a Rhino looking creature had two horns, ancient species really are different from their up-to-date descendants. That's sorta good isn't it, they'd look quite intimidating if they still looked the same.

I wonder if those bikes were suppied by Halfords or Evans Cycles? ha ha
Our other museum to visit was all to do with Science (which did get cut short a little). I wasn't too heavily fascinated at the time with this place (unless it's to do with Space and Time) but that was more to do with me being tired and hungry but I was still blown away by the enormous models on display in the Space exhibit. Seeing our history and fascination with the universe and space travel was really fascinating because it's something so mysterious that the film Interstellar and other amazing films help bring out the true mystery and stunning displays/ experience and wonders of the universe. The Apollo Lunar Module, Sputnik 1 (Russia's First Satellite) and Sending a Satellite via Rocket model were all sensational seeing up-close along with the dazzling Earth Sphere which was a spherical green screen and had projections on it whilst it was hanging on a powerful string which helped it look like it was levitating (sadly I couldn't find the Hubble Space Telescope).

I wasn't too bothered on the ancient ingenuity and history on industrial work at the time, I wonder if next time I visit, my thoughts will change). But some of the models like the V-2 Rocket and seeing the original Gameboy and (SNES) Super Nintendo Entertainment System behind the glass, certainly put a grin on my face since this place had good taste in nostalgic gaming.
But because we were in a hurry to find food, the whole experience got cut short and I didn't get the chance to go and see the Hidden Universe 3D Experience in the IMAX (yeah there's an IMAX at the museum!) But I hope next time I come, there will be more time to check out the whole museum and this time I won't feel so pressured into taking so many pictures due to the sub-conscious thought of needing to add so many examples for here of Facebook, but thanks to the ones I've used for this post now, I now have less pictures to focus on taking on my next trip!

Very pleased to have come
home and found this little
f***er... (possibly another
False Widow Spider) *ugh*

We all went to "St. James's Park" to look for a small pub for a late lunch. We found the Adam & Eve Pub round the corner from the Underground and had food there. It wasn't bad though the old lady there was, if I'm honest "rude" since we admitted our friends from Greece were with us and she commented on "how awful if must be to live there?!" Ain't that lovely? Disrespecting your customers... So after a group photo it was time to leave and say goodbye to Maria on the train when we got off at "Westminster", grabbed our bags and got the loooong train back to Horsham (18 stops which took 1hour25mins *argh*).
We weren't gonna cook anything once we got in, so a Pizza was in order and all falling asleep later on.
The picture I used at the top is where I took the photo at the pub with Maria.

I enjoyed this which I bought
at The Eye (so did Aggelos)
Sat 14th & Sun 15th February:
Saturday was a well deserved R&R day for everybody.
Only real thing was, I got to show Doukeni and Aggelos a special Anime film that I've always loved by Hayao Miyazaki - Spirited Away. I'll write up a review on it sometime this year since it was mentioned in my New Years Resolutions on writing up on more things on my shelf.

As for Sunday, it was disappointing but I was doing my best to be understanding for the right reasons. I was expecting to go on my 2nd date with Jemma but after seeing a Saturday night status on having an awesome night out, I had a feeling that Sunday wasn't happening since she'd be tired and maybe a little ill ha ha. Honestly, I'm not happy with not being made aware of things or being kept in the dark about planned events no longer happening, but seeing as it was her and I had an assumption already, it was much easier to understand. But I knew that this wasn't being "stood up" or ignored and luckily I remembered that her birthday was at the end of the month and she wanted me to go with her and her friends on a night out.
And on Monday lunchtime, I got the Facebook invite to her event and it'll be in her hometown. So I'm hoping to drive up (it'll be an adventure) and join her and the others for a night out. I hope to stay there or in a hotel cause I can't drink and drive but at least this special event means I get to celebrate with her and it'll be my second meeting and I cannot wait until next weekend!
So for that Sunday, everybody (except for Becca who was working sadly) went to show Doukeni and Aggelos round Horsham town, the park, the county mall etc. I wasn't in the mood in the morning so after some thinking and urging myself to get out there after not training for almost 2 weeks, I went out for a long jog round the park alone. I managed to do 9.70km in 1hr3mins and 36 seconds. It's not better than my last jog where Richard and I did just under 10km in 1hr6mins but it was something and with all this distance, I'm getting better and better whilst preparing for my life's biggest challenge yet, The Tough Mudder.
The Park was really peaceful today with a clear blue sky whilst jogging around the outer-area of the park through the path and trees. I had Adam Young's work - Owl City, Port Blue and Sky Sailing all to keep me company during my hour exercise and on a day like that, what could have been better? His work always comforts me and sometimes makes things much better because his words help shine the sun on my cloudy days and help make my head and heart feel better (I gotta start writing this down on my future review on his work and history). So it was a productive Sunday in the end instead of moping around.

Mon 16th & Tues 17th February:
I returned to work on Monday and I think everybody including Becca went to The Royal Observatory at the Herstmonceux Castle Estate. It sounded cool but I wasn't really missing out and work was more important.

As for their last day in England, on Tuesday, everybody (except for Me and Becca) went to Brighton for an adventure along the sea-side on a glorious sunny day. They told me all about it when we all got home and how they really enjoyed the culture, seeing eccentric people, walking along the pier (which they've never been on before).
Anyway, Doukeni and Aggelos had bought me a couple things from Brighton to say thank you for having them and because they are awesome too! I was given an Adventure Time Mug, a personalised Chocolate Bar with my name on it and an amazing purple special design Iron Man t-shirt. Becca showed them all the funny show Impractical Jokers (that show is embarrassingly hilarious!) and once they packed away everything, we all spent a lot of time in the evening just watching a couple shows like Friends (even they knew what that show was). And as I began writing this up last night, it was time to say goodnight and see you next time to my amazing friends, I was so honoured to have them with us for a great week of fun. Ha I told Doukeni, "since we've been coming to you for 10 years, looks like you have another 9 years to follow up on" ha ha (I'm kidding) but it'll be brilliant the next time they return and hopefully with more company like Giannis and Tereza (his gf) or her brothers Nikos (My Greek bro) and Apostolis.
We had to mention to her that, we won't be returning this year because like every year, the price goes up and up even though we are given discount for being frequent returners plus this year, we all wanted our own little adventures with our own friends (something new for a change). I wanna go to Florida with Kurt and whoever else can make it from our group, Mum and Dad might go back to Corfu from when they went for a week and Becca and I looked after the kitties. I wonder what Becca wants to dot for this year.
I hope for us all to keep on returning (even if it does seem boring to others), it's a sensational experience full of highlights and seeing all the staff again are what attract us to keep on returning. Hopefully in a year or two, plus the new hotel just opened up and it's super expensive at the moment. I think around June/ August, I may write up a big blog post on the highlights to Oceania Club and my treasured memories with the staff and Giannis's family (do any of you have close connections with friends you've made on holiday?)

So for the Wednesday that's passed, my friends are now back home and I am relieved that I get my bed back and also to have shared another memory with everybody whilst doing something new and with the right company.
Now, I look forward to when I next see Jemma and get back into training for The Tough Mudder (I'd better write up a post for that soon and share the donation link for the charity) and just keep on smiling each day and take it all in stride like I have been doing since January and I've felt so much better as a person and I think I come across in that way too, for the better.

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