Friday, 25 September 2015

Tallahasse: State Capital of Florida.

It was nice to have a break from the roaring sunshine in Texas, but Tallahasse was still morbidly humid. It did however, mean that I was able to go for walks without sweating profusely. I took full advantage of this and trekked into the centre. This city literally has the worst transport infrastructure I have ever come across, the lack of buses is astounding - so, in reality, I had no choice but to walk.

There really isn't much to downtown Tallashassee at all - it was completely dead when I was there. The university is what makes the city, but that's not located in the centre so I suppose I missed out on the 'good part'. I did, however, end up doing some archival research in the state library on the youth assembly that was formed to assess the drug situation in the country in the 60s. It was really interesting work and a nice little gem to come across. I also visited the state capitol building - it was hugely disappointing and was an ugly monstrosity. Weak in comparison to Austin's beautiful site.

My CS host, Jessie, was such a laugh and one hell of a crazy chick. She is a 27-year-old lawyer in the city who loves a constant party. She was contemplating going to the gym, and, well, equipped with my new trainers I had been dying to go so forced her to. On the way back we grabbed some unhealthy junk (classic) and did some food shopping before spending the evening getting drunk with a friend of hers in her house. She was so lovely and even dropped me off at the Megabus stop the next morning at 7am in our hungover state. So, Orlando bound!



Ugly state capitol building.

State library - Where I did my research.
Florida State Senate.
Florida House of Representatives. 
Statue to show the importance of literacy in building a strong community and supporting democracy.
Very run-down! Supreme Court of Florida.



Death in a machine...

Thursday, 24 September 2015

The Party in New Orleans Never Stops.




Cathedral. 
Andrew Jackson statue.
Drunk friendssss.

Outfits for Mardi Gras carnival.

State Museum.
'Witches', aka fortune tellers.

Music Legends Park.
Famous Bourbon Street.

Power to the people! 

Jazz in the Park Thursday night.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Motorbike Tour of San Antonio.

My CS host is better than yours. The city was totally stunning.








Sunday, 20 September 2015

LBJ: My Favorite President.

So, research has begun. Two, cram-packed days, photographing every document I can get my hands on relating to the drug trade for my dissertation this year. All of the staff at the library have been beyond helpful and are really wonderful people.








Thursday, 17 September 2015

Lubbock: Fraternity Style

So, Lubbock! What can I say? I've had a blast here, it has been so much fun and everyone was lovely and welcoming. Texas Tech has such a beautiful campus and great atmosphere around it. There's a huge sense of team spirit as everyone, I mean everyone, goes around with TTU t-shirts, phone cases, leggings, car signs etc. even the side of the Wells Fargo building has a neon sign on it. Without the university the town wouldn't really exist, so every company tries to get noticed by students as they can't afford to alienate them. 

Friday morning I arrived 6:30am and got an uber to Carolyn's apartment - it was absolutely beautiful! Blows all of our student accommodation out of the water. She is, however, paying $800 a month (including bills), but then it has a kitchen, bathroom, laundry and a huge flat screen TV etc. I napped for a bit and caught the bus to campus and found the Vietnam archives at Southwest Collections. 

Unfortunately the lady assisting me there wasn't very nice, which was very surprising given the warm welcome I have received from everyone in America. She was just too demanding, though trying to be 'helpful'. Doing research just made me feel so old - I'm 20 sitting in archives in Texas trying to calculate what search queries will produce the best results to sift through. Annoyingly, I didn't need half as long in Lubbock as planned, I could have gathered the info I needed in 2 hours and left... That's because most of their items are digitised but copyrighted, thus, they can't allow you to download them over the Internet as it counts as 'publishing'. However, you can bring a memory stick in and save it to that - therefore all I needed was to download them and view them at home.

We will always remember, 9/11 memorial at University. 
Cartoon on the Vietnam War.

Anyway, after lunch and note taking I left at 5pm, determined to find some way of making the evening a good one! After several declined yik yak invites, I took a walk around the fountain apartments area and saw some boys blaring music of a balcony drinking. In my best obviously British accent I asked what there was to do in Lubbock on a Friday night and they invited me up. There were a few girls and guys there, we all just drank and headed to Phi Delta Theta frat party. It was not at all how I imagined it, mainly because it wasn't in a house... It was in a warehouse and had bouncers on the front door putting an x on those under 21 to prevent them buying dollar drinks. The music was ok but the venue was way too big for the small amount of people they had. I made a lot of friends and luckily a lot of 21+ who would get the drinks for me. There were loads of police around though so I had to quickly chug them all! Anyway I got bored around 1 and a pledge drove me back.

Phi Delta Theta Party

Saturday I paid $20 and went to the Raiders football game. Amazing spirit again - classic USA - cheerleaders, mascots, marching band at half time etc. I accidentally bought tickets for the opposition side and was wearing a tech Jersey... Luckily I managed to sneak into the student seating section and look like a loner there. I pretended I didn't know the rules (well I don't perfectly... But I know a bit) so asked some guys behind me who then... Just like yesterday, invited me to their party that evening and shared their alcohol with me throughout the game. They picked me up at 7pm and I went to their friends house to pre drink with like 20 people before a pledge came and picked us up and took us to the party.

This one was a lot more how I expected a frat party to be. It was on Greek row so where all the huge houses are, hosted by Sigma Alpha Epsilon. Though the party wasn't in their main lodge, they had a building next to it that they used. Two of the boys showed me around the inside of the main lodge, it was gorgeous and very fancy. It had all the old members in photographs and all the awards they had won. In some of the older photos there were even girls included as members 'sweethearts' were put in the frame as well. The pledges had been learning the Greek alphabet so that was all over the table too.

At the party they had this one room that had around 20 vodka and 20 1L whiskey bottles with a table full of mixers for anyone to drink. Thing is though, only girls are allowed to go for free. Boys who aren't frat members pay like $50 to go! 

I was talking to some pledges and loads of them didn't believe I was English, one even refused to talk to me because he thought the other members were joking with him. So I found one of the members I came with and asked the pledge to do 20 push ups - the member ended up doing it with him too trying to show off but failed on number 14 haha. I feel sorry for the pledges as they have to drive all the members around and stay sober... But in a way that's so good because it stops drink driving. Carolyn told me though it's because 15 people alone from tech last year died from it. Besides, pledges only do it for 3 months as new ones come in and take over.

The Greek culture at tech is different to a lot of other universities because they don't live in their houses. They just use them for meetings. These days apparently Greek life only really exists in the Deep South.

Wreck 'Em Tech
Guns Up!
Mascot
Friends outside Frat House
Pledges learning the Greek alphabet, cute.
1982 members with their sweethearts.

Sunday I was so hungover/ ill that I did nothing. Carolyn came in at 3pm, was great to see her but she only had 10 minutes before having to go to work till late. I ended up just watching TV and sleeping.

Monday I headed to the library and watched a few VHS's on tunnel rats, but nothing was that useful so I returned back and Carolyn was at work again so I binge watched every series of Sherlock hahaha. I'm so cool. Some of Saturday night boys invited me to chill with them but I couldn't be bothered to move and was too engaged with Sherlock. 

Tuesday I decided was a sunbathing day. I went to the apartment complex swimming pool, it was beautiful! Shame the water wasn't kept very clean, never mind though, still beautiful. Carolyn got back from work at 11:30pm and we went for some drinks. It was great reminiscing about primary school and digging up all those lost memories! The bar shut at 2am so we headed home and gossiped/ watched Legally Blonde 1 and 2 till 6am with a few more drinks before passing out.

Today we attempted to find me a new laptop chord at best buy but couldn't, so just got 5 guys to eat and I laid in the sun whilst she did Spanish homework. She dropped me off at greyhound station around 9:45pm for my 10:30pm bus... Turns out it was delayed till 1am!! The people working there didn't even know this till I told them as I tracked it online (they didn't know this was possible... How stupid). When the bus finally did show up it was so cramped and just an awful experience. I just wanted to sleep but couldn't because I was too busy panicking over the fact I was due to miss my connecting megabus, this would mean I wouldn't get long at LBJs library! And well... My tutor is paying me £40 an hour to be his assistant researcher and take photos of relevant documents... Kaaaachingggg.

Carolyn and I.

Some days just require laying by the pool!