Anthrocon - The Best Place in the Whole Wide World
H E Y T H E R E P E O P L E!
It already passed more than a week since i returned from THE MOST EPIC JOURNEY IN MY LIFE! Sorry i'm late with this journal, but i had many things to settle since i came home X3 - My work piled up since i was gone, as same as more sweeter things like many messages on dA and other networks :3
Well, i don't wanna be boring with rants, so, let me get to the thing :3
A T E N T I O N : this journal is quite lengthy, and consists of two parts - London and Anthrocon! Who doesn't want to read about my London adventure can skip right onto '...HALF-A-WORLD-AWAY...' - otherwise - read-on *** PREPARATION ***
- As someone knows, i was planning to go to Anthrocon since February! Well - the idea actually came suddenly during the talk with a good furriend of mine, and was in form 'Yeah, then we'll go -- Yup, we'll go!' - After a brief thought about 'What have i just said...' i elaborated our idea to my parents. To my surprise, they received this with approval, even encouraged me to go :3 -- So... it was done deal!
The time was passing and as the day was nearing i started to organize my trip, accommodation and every little thing in between! During that time, my furriend that should go with me had some trouble and then said he cannot go this year... That was sad news and we were sorry because, but still, i haven't given up - Many other furriends were still coming X3
Till the last moment i struggled between finishing all current work i had, making con-badges and little gifts, making my tail
and confirming all travel arrangements including Visa for US... (no need to mention this was the biggest adventure so far - never before i traveled that far away from home, never organized flights and accommodation abroad - and all this just by myself -- it's half-a-world-away!!)*** THE INCREDIBLE JOURNEY *** Saturday, 19th of June
...And there i was standing - still fuzzy - loaded with cameras and all the gadgets, with gifts and stuff, my tail and infinite excitement - IT WAS THE DAY! My parents and sister gave me lift to the nearby city of Pula, from where my plane takes-off. We were there in no time, as it's only 25 miles away, and soon after, i checked my baggage and was ready! We said goodbye to each-other and i went to the plane... Then - first surprise - in matter of moments, nasty thunderstorm crawled over the airport and we had to wait more than two hours to finally take-off. Luckily, we spent all the 'bad luck' in the mere beginning, so the rest of the journey was utterly pleasant.
*** LONDON ***
Two hours later, i was on the ground again, standing on the Britain soil :3 I landed to Stansted Airport and had to catch a bus to Heathrow airport. As our plane was late, i feared that i missed the bus - luckily there was another one and driver just let me in despite my ticket was actually overdue. Nice fella :3 - After hour and a bit of driving through countryside and London suburbs, i arrived at Heathrow Central Bus Station. After brief talk at info-desk, i learned which is the next bus i must catch to get to Feltham and to my hotel. Soon that bus came and took me till the very entrance of the hotel :3 After doing check-in and settling in my room, i decided to take a brief walk around Feltham. In meantime, i talked with
about me visiting him tomorrow! As it was already late, i grabbed something to eat - well, pure classic, fish&chips - and few minutes later ended in the bed. Sunday, 20th of June
I woke up early and bought train ticket to Norwich (city nearby the place where
lives). Train first took me to the Waterloo Station, from where i used Tube to come to Liverpool Station, from where i had the train for Norwich. The train trip was pleasant ride trough idyllic and lush green English countryside, ending at the Norwich station some two hours later. After sending a message to Fangs, he recommended me to go and visit local castle/museum till he could come, as he was still on the work. So i did - and i must say i was surprised how organized and interesting the exhibitions were! After that, i took a stroll amongst many stores in that part of the city, waiting for Fangs to come. Finally, he arrived!
That were emotional moments... because meeting someone you know for long time, and that someone happened to be from distant country and actually the first online furriend you met in real-life is something special! We went to the local pub and talked for hours. I gave him some furry gifts including b-day gift as his b-day was just week ago :3 -- Alas... time flies so fast, so we had to say goodbye soon :/ - He drove me to the train station, and soon i was on my way back. Fangs is really nice and fun in RL as he is on the net, and i really enjoyed talking with him...
On the way back i had quite an adventure - as when i came back to Liverpool Station, i learned that the Tube line i had to take is temporary under construction (despite the train clerk that reassured me the line will be operational)! So, i had to go in bus-catching! Well, that wasn't that bad at all - i met London-By-Night and all the different bus passengers at that late time (bus ride was from 1am till 3:30am!). Finally, after at least 30 miles of travel, i finally arrived at the hotel around 4am and crushed on the bed...
Monday, 21th of June
I woke up a bit later than yesterday and went for breakfast, just to be on the way to train station only few moments later. Today, i was going to Cambridge - actually to Newmarket - town few miles from Cambridge. Place where
- two dear friends of my live. The 'drill' was similar to yesterday - just with the difference that first station was Victoria and second was King's Cross. Roughly one hour later i was at the Cambridge station, from where i called
asking him instructions on how to get to his town. After catching another train i was there :3 - Jay came for me at the station and we went across the town to his... well actually Sof's home X3 (long story - ask
if he wants to tell ya X3). After refreshment we started to talk and eventually Jexith came to say hi
(for those who don't know - Jexith is Jay's dear friend, gift from a very special someone
). And so... we were chatting and playing some games on PS3 when
finally came together with her BF. We talked a bit more, took some photos and soon after went back to the train station. We had big group hug and then was the time for goodbye...
This time i haven't had any problems with transport, and soon i was standing back at the Waterloo station. I still had time till the train back to my hotel, so i decided to take a ride on one of the symbols of London - on the London Eye! That was amazing! Gliding through the air, reaching more than 400 feet over the river Thames and having whole London like on your palm! I took many great photos up there, and enjoyed late walk on the Southern Bank afterward... Came back to hotel around midnight and fell asleep moments later...
Tuesday, 22nd of June
Today was the day for sightseeing! I took a shower and quick breakfast and rushed back to the Waterloo station, from where the Big Bus sightseeing tour starts. I bought daily ticket for all three lines and got bonus Thames boat trip. - Soon the bus (touristic double-decker) came and the sightseeing could begin! Every bus had it's guide which explained all the monuments, buildings and happenings we came across on our tour. That was really fun and educational - alas, London has sooo many interesting places that you could be visiting them for days and days. Unfortunately, this was my last day in London and i had time just to 'run around' and try to remember as many stories as possible. No need to mention i took loads of pictures and learned many interesting things about London and Britain. After the bus completed the route, i jumped down and went to the boat cruise - that was pleasant half-an-hour ride on the touristic ferry under the city bridges and alongside many attractive sites. After the cruise, i took a walk around House of Parliament and Westminster Abby, under the Big Ben and all the way up to Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus. Afterward, i took Tube till the St. Paul's Cathedral, to end crossing the Millennium bridge and walking on the river bank walkways until the evening settled over the city and the time to return to hotel came...
*** ...HALF-A-WORLD-AWAY... *** Wednesday , 23rd of June
I packed my stuff and napped for maybe hour or two... Checked and rechecked all and went down to check-out. It was around 4am when i caught bus from Feltham to Heathrow airport. I ran across the network of corridors and conveyors to finally arrive at the Terminal 3, from where my plane was taking-off. I had to wait for another hour before my check-in opened... Finally, i got to the desk, to be scared by the flight attendant who said i need Visa for Canada also (even though i checked before and the embassy said it's not necessary). After few moments she went up to the Immigration and came back with relief -- i was right! So, soon after i was on the plane and ready to go to the 'land across the pond' as we use to call US of A.
The flight was calm and pleasant. I had many entertainment options, like video-on-demand, music and games, but still, i overslept most of the journey X3. After 7 hours of flight, we were ready to land in Toronto... - Moments after landing, we were rushing towards US customs and towards another plane which will take us to Pittsburgh. I've passed US customs surprisingly easy (because my furriend warned me this can take awhile) and went to catch my next plane. When i arrived to the gate, i noticed few guys around waiting for the same plain - it turned out that they're fellow furries, also heading to the Con
so we ended talking all together.
Another hour passed... and i was there! - Pittsburgh! I got my bags and searched for the transport to hotel (which was like 15 miles away, in campus area in Oakland district). I found out that there's bus that runs straight from airport, almost to the doors of my hotel - and all that for $2,75 - Great ^^ - When i got out from the airport i was really surprised how hot and moist climate Pittsburgh has. It took me awhile to adapt, but luckily, every bus and every store had air-conditioners set to the lowest possible temperature so it really wasn't big deal. And yes, while waiting for the bus i met few other furries :3
The same moment we hit the highway you just knew you're in USA - large multi-lane highways, huge traffic signs and vast avenues - not to mention the skyscrapers in the downtown... - But i liked it! I really did! Everything looked so neat and familiar (of course, when i saw this countless times on TV... and now i was here
). After approx. half hour, the driver dropped me mere block away from my hotel. Five minutes later i had all the papers done and room key-card in my paw. - Then, the next pleasant surprise... the room was HUGE, same as the king-size bed in it! Furniture was all solid wood, with big TV, two phones, my own DSL router, coffee machine, iron and ironing board and many fresh towels! Darn, this room was as big as my whole apartment back home X3 -- Quickly i unpacked my stuff and took a shower (wanted to get a walk around the place as soon as possible) - but, when i got out from the shower -- there was shower outside, followed with thunderstorm! Disappointed, i sat on the bed and wanted to watch TV... but next what i remember was me waking-up and staring at TV many hours later (i had spontaneous slumber -- which completely devoured my jet-lag X3). As it was almost morning, i packed my backpack and prepared for the next big step -- The Con :3
Thursday, 24th of June
Caught the bus for Downtown (had around 3 miles to there) and disembarked few hundredth meters from David L. Lawrence Convention Center - current home of the Anthrocon ^^ Took a walk around the center and finally entered! There, the guys on the desk asked me for preregistration. As i haven't had preregistration, they informed me that registrations begin at 2pm! So... i had plenty of time till then so i decided to take a walk across Downtown Pittsburgh! I crossed the bridge over the Allegheny river and took some neat pics of the center and the surroundings. After that, i walked by the river, ending in the Point State park - where two rivers meet into Ohio river. Then, i walked across the Monongahela river bridge and took the incline to Mt. Washington, from where i had a view of the entire city! After making great panoramic photos, i returned to Downtown via another incline.
It was almost 2pm, so i returned to the convention center and entered Westin lobby... and there the fun started :3 Lobby was already packed with many furries and fursuiters - someone just arrived, someone already making fun around. Stayed there and watched for awhile, till i decided to search for registration desk. I crossed to center area, and after few moments found the line already waiting for registration desks to open. Registration passed quickly and i had my tag and AC guides/materials bag ready in no time! And then surprise -- i almost literally stumbled on
- one of my favorite artists i admire from the day first here on dA - i couldn't resist not to pounce-glomp her! We introduced and talked for awhile - she was nice and invited me to join her and her company! I was so excited and honored with that! We ended in the Zoo (meeting point in one of the Westin convention halls) and hanged there for awhile. It was great feeling to see and meet with so many cool people around! I've met
and many other familiar faces in fursuits or without. I watched Seel drawing whilst, as many others, we tried to fill the looooong survey we got in the bag. Then the Fursuit Charades started together with all other kinds of fun :3 Ow, and the staff even brought milk and cookies for us all ^_____^
Around 11pm the company decided to go take a change for the dance
and that we'll catch-up later, down in the ballroom. I took another walk around the Zoo and then went to the dance :3 - THAT was something unbelievable -- i was on many parties, but this was out-of-this-world! Even though at first there was still few people around, the music and the 'feeling' was awesome! Soon people started to pour in and things got even better! Seel's company arrived and we danced together for awhile surrounded with fursuiters and light-stringers... Alas, time passed so fast and at 2am all was over (regulations... no music after 2am :/)- Raver
and me stayed till the end, to find ourselves flowing with the crowd back to the Zoo after-wards. We hang there for awhile more and then went to the room/hotel. I caught cab and arrived in my room around 3:30am - naturally instant-crushed on the bed sleeping till the morning.
Friday, 25th of June
Today was the day Anthrocon officially starts! I was at Westin around 10am and went to the Zoo first. Wandered around for awhile, meeting people and enjoying fursuiter hugs - so cute X3 - to finally end back in the ballroom for the official opening ceremony. Uncle Kage (chairman of the AC for those who don't know) welcomed us all and told us about news and the program - introduced Guests of Honor - James Gurney who is famous illustrator and author of book series Dinotopia and Jim Martin who is director and puppet-builder for Sesame Street, Muppet Show and many other puppet stuffz. Kage also entertained us with his puns and jokes, together with the 'Hunt for Mysterious Mr. H' - a guy who was apparently found last night hanging over the river on the flagpole X3 and because of whom the roof access was off-limit! After the opening i went to the panels for newcomers and advices for new fursuiters together with Kage's panel on Furries and PR. All that was really fun and educational. After that i made another turn around and ended on tour at Artist Alley in search for
and her company... And there she was! I spotted Frost plushie on her shoulder and unmistakable tail - instantly i knew it's her
After glomping each-other i finally knew her in person together with
- her BF and
- her good friend. They invited me to be with them and we started talking about everything. Few steps later, i met also with
's dad who was also on the con X3 -- We sat in the hall first, and then went to the Zoo, talking whole the time. In between, i gave them little presents i made for them :3 ...after hours of talking and browsing through sketchbooks we went to the panel about watercolors. Ow yes, before that
made a little drawing for
and met her finally as she's also her big fan x3 ...Then, they gone to find something to eat and i ended on 2's Rant (stand-up performed by the Anthrocon's '2nd in command' - 2, the Ranting Gryphon) - i was crying with laughter! He's brilliant! Then, i made another stroll and returned to the dance
same as night before! Even more people were there tonight, and again, i really enjoyed in excellent DJing and great fursuiter dance exhibitions... The rest of the story was almost the same as night before.
Saturday, 26th of June
As the day before, i was at Westin around 10am, and went to the Zoo first. Then, i continued to Gurney's panel called Imaginative Realism. After that i caught a bit of panel about acting your char and 'Making Your Fursuit Alive'. Afterward, i went back to the Artist Alley and again tagged with Zero and her company, just in time to find good places to watch the most anticipated happening of the day The Fursuit Parade!
- That was quite-a-site as there were more than 700 fursuiters passing by in all their glory :3 ...Soon after we all went to Gurney's another panel on Color and Light - nice and educational stuff... After, they chilled for awhile and i watched a bit of fursuit masquerade, where fursuiters competed in acting or by playing/singing/dancing. Then we concluded we're all hungry. They invited me with them to the nearby sushi-bar. Many furries were there already, but we found free table and ordered various 'eastern' delicacies =^__^= nom nom
(first-time had sushi actually). We finished our dinner just in time to get to Uncle Kage's Story Hour - that is considered best comedy on AC - and... t'was even BETTER! Kage is too good! Utterly hilarious! Our stomachs hurt out of laughter! After the show we were back at the Zoo. There we met with
and his friends, together with the Shujin Tribble - who is DJ from SecondLife if i got it correctly, who also runs a bakery, and other good guys from the radio who, together with music, also provided furs with load of delicious apple-pies and Japanese tea! Soon after, Zero and others went to the hotel, and i continued my routine and went to the dance and tagged with
again till the end. That evening the ballroom was packed - everyone was there and we had a lot of fun dancing together and bouncing around in furry conga lines... until 2am when the music had to stop :/ - Slowly, we returned to Zoo and later to Westin lobby and hang there. Then
went to his room and i got out in front of Westin, where group of furries invited me to chill with them accompanied with neat stories and waterpipe X3 Awwww they were nice bunch to talk with... ow yes, and there was also
We talked about drawings, writings, furries and succha things... and she's pretty cool :3 - I was around for another hour maybe and then, around 4am called for cab, ending in the bed in no-time :3
Sunday, 27th of June
And so it came... the last day :/ I was at Westin around 10am, wanting to drop the survey at the desk, and, as the desk was in the Artist Alley, i decided to take a look at the art galleries before panel about fursuit construction. After, when the panel ended, i decided to return to Alley and browse for something to buy :3 - After long and thorough scouring, i got some little gifts for my sis and furry friends back home, and i bought Citra shirt for me (yayz Citras are too cute ^^) - wanted to ask for some commissions, but the artists were already overbooked, and unfortunately, i don't have space for big poster-like pictures back home :/ So, that was all i got. Ow, and i've met/seen many famous people around, like
and many many others! I met
and her company there and we hang around again. Later, we went to the art auction as Jenn had her pictures there too. And she went very well! Uncle Kage really liked her art as same as two people who placed very nice bid on the pic
! She was pleasantly surprised by the price it achieved in the end :3
It was funny afternoon as fursuiters done various performances and funny things to entertain the public including various team games like mime competition. After that, there was charity show by Uncle Kage and 2 (earnings from show tickets were intended for animal shelters and care). The show was ok, and immediately after that there was official closing. Even though we were all sad because the ending was near, it was still funny, both for Kage's 'drunken comments' and the facts about this years con. In meantime, Jenn and her company headed back to Alley to pick up the remaining stuff there. I caught them up in the Zoo after the closing ceremonies, and we decided to go to 'Spaghetti Warehouse' for some Italian dinner :3 The place was very nice looking with many interesting details to see and the food was excellent!
After the dinner we returned to Zoo again. Most of the people returned there and hang around, whilst many already packed and were on departure. Many fursuiters were around also and that was great opportunity to catch cool pics with them! Flux
is so cute :3 and he gave me one of these
was there also, and Doryuu
and many other great people :3
Soon, Jenn and her company had to go... That were sad moments and we had long goodbyes... i almost cried and all - but we said that we need to do this again, and i promise i'll do everything to claw my way back to AC next year! ...And then they were gone
I returned to Zoo and hang with
again for awhile and then went to 'Dead Dog Party' - an unofficial party at one of congress rooms in Westin, made up out of two speakers, deck, nice DJs and bunch of furries, accompanied with still interesting performances, games and furpiles XD - That was lot of fun and helped to forget (at least for awhile) that everything is over... We danced again and had fun till 2am when the music ended again... and that was it... Fursuiters and others began to scatter, so i hang around for few more minutes, and then, i was gone also.
*** BACK TO REALITY... *** Monday, 28th of June
I woke up earlier, still feeling a bit gloomy because all was over, and packed my stuff. Around 10am i've checked-out from the hotel, but left the baggage at the desk and went for last walk around and to get something to eat. I had my plane around 3pm, so i still had plenty of time. I strolled down the streets with many shops and bought some souvenirs, sent few postcards and got something to eat. Then, i returned to hotel and took my stuff, to be at the bus-stop few minutes later, waiting for the same bus line which brought me here at the first place. Soon, i was on the way to the airport... Ow, and on the bus i met with Rexwolf
who makes fursuits, and we talked all the way to the airport about fursuits and fursuit making.
There were still many familiar faces on the airport, but they were worried as their planes were late... late a lot! Soon i noticed that my plane is also late because of the nearby storm! I was afraid, because my flight schedule was pretty tight as i had to change 3 planes and a bus in-between! But... all i could do is to wait! - Finally we took off and were in Toronto in about an hour! I headed straight to the check-in and, luckily, got the tickets and all right on boarding time to London.
Tuesday, 29th of June
Flight passed without problems and we landed Heathrow on schedule. I took my baggage and caught my bus to Stansted as planned. From there, another plane took off - heading to my homeland... The rest of the journey passed without any problems and i was back in Pula around 3pm, where my mom and sis already waited for me... And... THAT'S ALL!
This was unbelievable experience! I had great time and loads of fun! Met many great people, seen amazing things and honestly, i still feel like in a dream!