Jaza's World Trip

Eccentric encounters

Christina from California

Christina's at the tail end of a 3-month trip around Europe, where (among other things) she's gone with several of her girlfriends on a road trip through the south-east (including the former Yugoslav Republic — brave girls!). She's in Bath for a few days (at St. Christopher's), before continuing on to Cornwall and south-west England. She's from the Bay Area in California — even better, she's a Berkeley girl.


Ayuko is a lovely Japanese girl, who's studying to be an English teacher over in Birmingham. She came here to Bath for a weekend holiday, and she's staying at St. Christopher's along with the rest of us. Her English is pretty good, but she'll have to keep working on it before she can start teaching it. She enjoys the odd cocktail or two, and she carries origami paper with her wherever she goes — in case she needs to make anyone an emergency Japanese souvenir.

Scottish girl, Aussie man

This unique couple are staying with me at St. Christopher's, here in Bath. The guy is from Harvey Bay in Queensland, and he's been travellng and working for about 2 years straight; and (in true Aussie backpacker style) he has no idea when he's going home (if ever). The girl's from somewhere in Scotland, and nobody can understand a bloody word she says — lucky I'm not going to Scotland!

Tom from Melbourne

Nice bloke who's staying at the same hostel as me, here in Bath — St. Christopher's. Tom's also on ye 'ol round-the-world trip, although (like most Aussies) he's spending considerably longer in the UK than I am.


Garth is a colleague of my Uncle Paul, who's just started doing a Master's in Economic and Social History at Oxford. Paul was kind enough to let Garth know about me, and Garth was kind enough to take me on a tour around Oxford university today. Garth's a great guy, and he has a lot of ambition — I guess that makes Oxford the perfect place for him to be.

Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush

I'd just finished my tour of London this evening, and I was wandering around Leicester Square, when I noticed a big throng of people near one of the cinemas. I went to investigate, and it turned out that the red carpet was rolled out, in anticipation of no lesser stars than Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush (two of the biggest Aussie names in the world): they were coming here, for the UK premiere of their new movie, Elizabeth: The Golden Age! Cate didn't come very close to the crowds; but Geoffrey came right up to where I was standing, and signed autographs — so I got some good shots of him. Check it out.

London Dutch couple

This young couple from Holland were two of the people that tried to come on the tour this morning — they ended up bailing out, and doing a bus tour instead. They're staying here at The Generator, on a short trip from home for a week. Very strange set-up that they have: they're best friends, but strictly not boyfriend and girlfriend; they have a private room here in the hostel, but with two single beds! Anyway, they're very friendly, and wish they could be travelling longer.

Yves and Vicky

This lovely Canadian couple are, they claim, from the French-speaking park of Ottawa. They've just finished a few weeks down in Portugal (which they report as being cheap and sunny — not a bad combo), and are now on their way back home. I did some touring around London with them today, to enjoy the sights and the sun of the city while they lasted.

Uncle Paul

Paul Bempechat is Janine's older brother, and hence also my dad's first cousin. Paul's a pianist, a writer, and also a Harvard professor. We saw him at the barmitzvah; and today, we also had lunch and a university tour with him.

Filed in: BostonEccentric encountersFamilyYids

Geoff Epstein

We've been seeing a lot of signs around Newton Center lately, telling us to "vote for Geoff Epstein". Well, this afternoon we finally met the mysterious Geoff himself. In a ridiculous turn of coincidence, Geoff Epstein is an Aussie ex-pat, who's been married and living here in Boston for over 30 years. The signs are up all over town, because he's running in the elections for something to do with the local council. Geoff seems like a friendly guy, although we're not sure whether or not we're related to him.