Alphen – Last full day in the Netherland’s

On the last day, I wanted to pay Peter back for all his hospitality, by taking him out for lunch.  I know this doesn’t really equal all the things he has done for me, but at least it is a start.

Peter suggest we go to a lake not far away, where they do water sports.  I guess they have cable tows, that pull water skiers across the water.  Sounds pretty cool.

On the way to the lake, Peter says, “We should rent a boat for an hour or so and go through the canals.”  This is a great idea.  A few minutes later we are at the boat rental place.

The canal boat is electric with a steering arm at the back.  Pretty simple.

Peter calls me “Captain!” and I know this means.  You are driving!  The first 3 minutes goes smooth and I hit nothing.  Already a Pro at Canal Boats. LOL.

The Canal ride takes a little longer than expected because of the down wind and lack of power in the electric boat, however, it is an amazing day.  One of the cool things is some of the bridges are just not high enough, so we have to jump off the boat and wench up and down the bridge, by hand.

I can’t thank Peter enough for this adventure, as it is one of the best parts of my week stay here. I really loved it.

We are now starving and head over to the lake for lunch.  Unfortunately, it is still too cool for water skiers, but the view is amazing.  Food was pretty damn good as well.

Later that evening Karin, and Marielle stop by for a last goodbye.  It was really nice seeing them again, and I can’t wait to see them again.

Well tomorrow I am off to Toronto, then onto home.  Goodbye Family and Holland!  I can’t wait to come back again.

Netherlands – Visiting Family

In the Netherlands I have family from my Dad’s side scattered all over and today I get to visit my distant cousin Honey and her husband Lex,  They are going to take me around the city they live in and then after her son August and his family will stop by for dinner.

I have not seen Honey since I was 12 years old and I am not sure if I will recognize her at all, but I was wrong.  When she opened the door I could definitely see a familiar face.  Maybe a little older, but I still remember her.  She tells me, she sees the same in me.  Wow. This is truly amazing, that someone you have not seen in 24 years you can still remember them.

This is my first time meeting Lex and my first impression is he is a really nice guy.  Speaks very good English as well, which makes for getting to know each other a lot easier.

Before we head out on the town, we have a quick bite to eat.  A traditional dutch lunch of fresh cheese and bread.  I am really starting to love this type of food.

The city they live in has a lot of old buildings from 1500’s, and I love this.  In Canada, we have very few structures older than 1930’s.

One of the places we visiting is a church that was first built sometime during the 1400’s and took a few hundread years to build.  I can’t even image how they would build something like this without cranes and heavy equipment like we use now.

There are also canal rides which go through the town and under the buildings.  This would have been pretty cool to do, but there is a 2 month waiting list.  Next time!

The tour through the city was pretty cool but I am starving, so we head back to meet with August.

August, his wife, and 3 kids arrive shortly after we do.  August and I have have not seen each other in 24 years, but I have seen him on Facebook.  So it is to no surprise I recognize him.

We have lots of time before dinner, which gives me the chance to get to know August and his wife better.  Very shortly into our conversation, I realize I wish I kept better contact with August.  He is a really great guy.

It’s dinner time and Honey has cooked a traditional Indonesian dish, which I love.  Rice, with Peanut sauce and veggies.  Life can’t get better than this!

Not long after dinner Peter arrives to pick me up and I say goodbye to some old and now again new friends / family.

What a great day!

Amsterdam – Canal boats, great food and even better company!

Peter and I got up early so we can beat the long line at the Anne Frank house.

Well, it opens at 9 am and we arrived at 9 am.  The lineup was around the corner and down the block and around another corner.  My estimate is well over 2 hours, maybe even 3 and since I am only in Amsterdam this one last day, I decided this was not that important.  I can come back and do it again someday.

Next time we will arrive at 8 am!

Peter and I know have to kill time until 1 pm when the girls arrive.  By girls, I mean Peter’s two girls and their mom.

Marije you met in my last post, and her older sister Marielle who you have not yet met.  Marielle is pretty cool girl just like her younger sister.  She is taller than me, and loves shoes.  I don’t mean a little love, I mean, her room is filled with them. lol.  But who is counting (30+) shoes, right?
I don’t know why, but this is the only picture I have of her.  She is beside me.

Karin their mom is a lot like the older sister Marielle.  She dresses very nice and always looks her best.  Unlike me, who gets up and says, yeah, this will do!  Oh wait, pants.  Now we are good.
Karin and I relaxing on a Canal ride.

Anyways, while Peter and I are wasting time, he introduced me to Amsterdam’s best Apple pie, and yes, it was just that good.

Then we walked for a while to burn off the 1,000,000,000 calories we just consumed.  We checked out some cool cheese shops, and one of the daily markets, where you could get some yummy dutch food and items.

It’s now 1 pm and the girls arrive. We have a quick drink and head to the canal for our Canal Boat Ride.  This I am excited for,

I can’t even explain all of the cool things we saw on the ride, but below are some pictures I took.  The guide explained why the houses are slanted, and where people live and all kinds of cool facts.

After the boat ride, we spent a little more time walking about Amsterdam and then off for an amazing dinner at De Burgemeester.  Again Peter treated us all.  Someday I need to pay this guy back for spoiling me so much.

This was the end of another special day in Amsterdam with the best company I could ever ask for.

Rotterdam – Oh Marije you are a true artist :)

Last night was a pretty crazy night, so today Peter and I took it a little bit easier and spent the day driving around seeing some amazing sites.  Peter is truly a great tour guide, even though he says he is not.

One of the places we drove to, was the Kettle 1 Vodka brewery, but we only got to drive by, as the tours are booked well over a month in advance.

After a few hours of driving around, we headed off to Rotterdam to pick up his youngest daughter Marije.  She lives in Rotterdam during the week while in her Art school, and on weekends back home with dad.

When we arrived to pick her up, there is a small music festival going on, and her art class is doing some weird art thing.  I don’t know what to call it, so I will just explain.  They all made these cool costumes/puppets out of cardboard, and then danced around the music festival in them.  After 30 minutes of dancing, they all smashed them together into a big pile of broken cardboard.  I guess it symbolizes something?

If you look closely in the first picture, under the left eye, you can see her blue hair and face.  She is also in the last picture with the blue hair.

Yeah, I don’t know what it means, but it is something you do in college. 🙂  It was cool and rather funny, and you could tell she was having a great time.  So who am I to say, she is funny and different.

When we arrived back home, Peter ordered us pizza and we all sat around talking and catching up.  I have not seen Marije since she was 12 years old and she is now 21, a young women.  She still has a little kid left in her, which adds to her great personality.

This was yet again, another great day visiting my distant family!

Amsterdam – With Mr Peter and Hello Space Cakes

Peter and I decided to take the bus into Amsterdam so we can have some beers and not worry about driving.  The buses were easy to navigate and well planned out, but expensive.  It cost us 11.50 pounds ($17.85 CAD) each, one way to Amsterdam.  In a car it would be a 30 minute drive.

In Amsterdam, our first stop was the Heineken Experience.  This is where Heineken was first brewed many years ago as in, well over 100 years ago.

The tour took us little over an hour and was great!  It went from showing you how they brew their beer, to the history, and then onto tasting it.  I don’t know what part I enjoyed the most, but tasting it is a favorite thing to do.

Now that we have had a few yummy beers, we head off to the streets for some people watching and food.
Peter first treated me to some Dutch Mini Pancakes.  Mmm damn good!

Some pictures on our walk.

Next is to head over to the Windmill Brewery for some beer tasting.

A nice little tasting tray of beers! I loved the Belgium Triple.

The beers went down nicely, and now Peter and I are off to see more of the city.  I forgot to take pictures of the Red Light district, but it was nothing special.  Just a bunch of girls standing in windows.  None of the girls looked Dutch, they all looked Russian or Ukraine, but I could be wrong.

After walking down several streets, I tell Peter I want to try space cakes.  He wasn’t sure what they were, so I explained to him what I knew.  My understanding is, they are cakes, or brownies baked with weed, or hash, for people who hate smoking.

He says, OK,  Lets get one.

We head into one of the more famous Coffee Shops, where all you can smell is weed and a lot of it.  I order a space cake and Peter gets a coffee.  We find a place to sit down and we split the cake.

Just sitting in these coffee shops, you could get seriously high.  The amount of smoke in the air is unbelievable.

Well, it tastes like a normal Chocolate Cupcake.  Hmmm, I don’t know, is this a good thing or bad?

We leave the coffee shop and walk around town for an hour.  We both notice nothing different and no high feeling.

Peter says, maybe we buy another one.  I agree, and we find another coffee shop.  This time the guy says it will work for sure, and we get a brownie with weed/hash in it.

Hash Brownie and a little treat for you all.

Well, 45 minutes later, no real feeling, and it is late.  So we jump on the train to head back to Peters.

On the train, I feel this crazy urge to relax and sleep.  No high feeling, but major sleep feeling.

I had a very hard time staying awake during the train ride home, and when we arrived home, I feel asleep right away.

Well Shaun, and if you are reading this, you know who you are.  I didn’t go and see the paintings, but I did eat space cake!

Just another amazing day with Peter!

Deventer, Netherlands – Seeing where my Oma and Opa grew up

Since I was very young, I always wanted to know and see where my grandparents grew up.  Well, today I am in the Netherlands staying at my Dad’s cousins house, who would be my distant cousin, Peter.  Peter is a pretty amazing guy, and offered to have me stay at his house while visiting.  I believe I have only met Peter 3 times in person, when he and his family came to Canada to visit.

Before I get into today’s trip, I want to quickly talk about my first day here.

I arrived in Amsterdam on Tuesday around 1:30 pm, after more than a 28 hour commute from Thailand.  Peter met me at the airport and drove us back to his house.  I don’t know how, but I am not that tired yet.

The first hour or so Peter and I just visited and caught up on each others lives and just before dinner, Karin arrived for a short visit before she went off to work.  Karin is also a distance cousin of mine and it was great seeing her.  Hopefully will see her a few more times before I leave.

For dinner Peter treated me to a meal and beer at a local pub.  I am already getting a taste of the true Dutch life and am loving it.

That night I went to bed around 9 pm and quickly passed out.

The next day Peter offered to drive me to Deventer to show me where some of my dad’s family grew up.  This is what I have been waiting for, for years now and am very excited.

Off to Deventer we go!

Back side of my Oma’s house.

We park on the same street and get out for some pictures and a walk around the city.

The house where my Oma grew up.

During our walk through the Deventer, Peter points out a building in the oldest part of Deventer and in that building is a museum with some artifacts from the cities history.

Peter again being the amazing guy he is, treated me to a walk through the museum.

You wouldn’t believe it, but the very first painting I see, is one from my Great Opa.  He is one of the famous Deventer Trio (Three).
Hendrikus Johannes Balsink

Another cool picture is of the WW2 cans that were dropped from planes with food and supplies.  At the back of the picture.

Little more walking around the city and then off to see where my Opa lived.

Sorry Peter for the bad picture of you, but you have to admit, I look cute as a button!

This is the house where Opa grew up on the left side, and on the front corner is where the Pharmacy used to be.

The people owning the house now have a bottle and labels from the old Pharmacy in the window.  I am glad they were not home, because I would be wondering who the heck this hot looking bearded guy is, looking in our windows.

Our next great stop was to see the street named after my Great Opa and the sign even has his birth date and death on it.  Pretty cool!

The last stop is at the grave where my Great Oma and Opa were buried along with their 4 year old son Hein.

Thank you Peter for the amazing trip, and being a tour guide.

The last time I saw my Oma and Opa.  See you soon again!

On the way home we stopped at the local grocery store, where they have a cute dutch girl handing out free coffee.  Why do we not have this in Canada?

Anyways, with the food we bought, Peter cooked me a damn good meal.  It has been forever since I had something home cooked and definitely missed it.  Oops, I don’t think Peter wanted anyone to know he can cook.

I am now heading to bed and cannot wait for our next big adventure in the Netherlands.

Phuket, Thailand to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysa – Where’s my F^#^% Wallet?

My taxi ride to the airport was rather funny.  The car pulled up, and it was an older Honda Civic, with dual fart canons and blackout windows.  This is not a popular thing in Thailand.  Then the driver gets out, and he is a male in his late 30’s, dressed like a hip hop wanna be.  My first impression is, this is great!  My ride to the airport will be quick!

I was right!  He drove down each street hitting the top speed allowed, where most drivers drive rather slow because of the amount of pedestrians.  As I always say, survival of the fittest.  If you don’t look both ways, your problem.

To top it off, he had an aftermarket DVD player in it, and can you guess what it was playing.  Yup, Fast and the Furious.  He loves that movie and wants to drive like them.  However, he actually doesn’t.  He drives a little fast, but not really.  Slow to what I am used too.

The ride to the airport was great, and now I am going through security.

As always I pull out my laptop from my carry on and toss it into a bin.  Actually, I first put in my smart phone, then at request, my passport, then my laptop on top of those items.  In my hand I have my wallet, which I never toss into a bin and always hold it.  Only a few times in my life have I been asked to put it into a bin.  Anyways, the girl makes me.  So I toss it on top of the laptop.  In case you didn’t get the order of the bin, it is, Phone, Passport, Laptop and now on top my wallet.

Well my bag and bin go through the scanner and I walk through the metal detector with no alarms.  However, the pretty looking young male security guard decides he wants to frisk me anyways.

My bin at the moment is being pulled through and the girl also decides my laptop needs a swipe test, so she pulls it out of the bin.  Remember my wallet is on top.  Well, it falls off and goes under the scanner.

I did not notice this because my new BFF is tickling my ribs and I am sure he got some side boob action.

The Tickle Monster, as I know call him, is finally done and I pay him.  I mean, I don’t.  Wow, that is twice in the Thailand I got felt up with out paying.  Damn good odds for me.

Anyways, I grab my phone, passport and laptop and head to through customs.  10 minutes later I am at my gate, and all of a sudden, I realize, “WHERE THE FUCK IS MY WALLET!”  I take a second and run each step through my head and remember I never got it back and I also clearly remember the bin was empty.

Shit, did someone take it, or did it fall out?

I speed walk back to customs and tell them my wallet is missing and I know I lost it at security.  The girl doesn’t understand.  I pull out my phone and use my translator app.  She then understands and tells me to go there quickly.  You don’t have to tell me twice.

I get to security and explain to them the situation.  They stop all traffic and start looking for it.  We also re-scan my bag, to prove it is not in it.

A few minutes pass and no one knows where it is.  I tell the people, it must have fallen out when you swiped my laptop.  Look under the machine.

A girl does and there it is.  OMG, thank you!  I am so happy, I even tell the guy he can pat me down again if he wants.

Anyways, I go back through customs with no issues and get to my gate with a few minutes to spare.

This plane ride is only 75 minutes long, and we land in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysa with no issues.

So that’s start of my commute to Amsterdam.  Wish me luck on the rest of it.

Patong Thailand – Hooker teaches me a lesson in life!

Most days I ate breakfast before 9 am at the free buffet included with my room and then relaxed by the pool with a coffee.  Enjoying a dip every so often and then back to being lazy.  Around noon I would go for a walk around town.  Some days I would take in an hour massage for less than $10 CAD.

My afternoons always varied, sometimes drinks at a bar, or more pool time.  The beach in Patong is really nice, but very sandy water, so you can’t snorkel.  It’s also a little too hot for me to hangout there for more than 45 minutes.  Also, you can’t leave anything alone on the beach because it will be stolen.  So the pool is a great option.

The one after noon an older Aussie guy came over to me at the pool and started a conversation.  He ended up inviting me to join him and his friends at Roscoe’s pub later that day to watch the rugby game and of coarse I did this. Pierre and his friend Phil were really cool Aussies.  Phil’s team was loosing, so we kindly reminded him of this throughout the game.  My favorite line was, “Which team is yours? Oh, is that the one with the score 0 beside their names?”  It was a great game and a lot of fun with some new friends.

The next day they invited me again to watch another Rugby game.  When I arrived at the sports bar, Pierre says, “Oh no!” and then I realized why he said it.

Yes, this was not planned, but somehow we all dressed alike. These two guys are pretty amazing and damn nice guys.

The one day I went for a massage on the road my hotel is on.  Normally I would never do this as most massage places are also happy ending places and if turn them down, it becomes awkward walking past them.  Like the old saying, “Don’t shit where you eat!”.  However, the reason I went to this location is because there is a girl I see everyday and she is always smiling and never harasses me for a massage. The one day she offered me some grapes when I was walking by.  She seemed like such a good person, I thought why not.

So this is how it went.  The massage was supposed to be an hour, but she gave me well over and hour and then never asked for more money or a tip.  She also was such a sweetheart, asking about my life, if I would ever date a Thai girl, and telling me about her life.  She is the same age as me, and has never been married and has no kids.  We had such a good conversation, I thought, why not take her out for dinner.  Who knows, maybe someday we will meet again.

Well, that was a big mistake!  We agreed to meet here at 4 pm, and when I showed up.  She tells me she can’t leave work unless I pay for the time.  Which actually makes sense since they do not get time off for lunch, type of thing.  Then she begins to tell me, she works 11am to 11pm, and we can meet after work.  I agreed and said, that works just fine.

At 11pm I meet her and she tells me, she doesn’t drink.  Well there isn’t much to do in the area that time of night because it is so damn noisy from music, and the drunks.  We decide to just hang out at the hotel.

Our conversation continued from earlier about dating, and moving to Canada, that sort of thing.  All speculation, but she was curious how hard it would be if we did end up dating in the future.  That sort of thing.

Anyways, the night progressed and she ended up staying here until the morning.

This is where it truly goes down hill.

Just before she leaves, she holds out her hand.  I look at her and ask what she wants.  I was going to give her some money for lunch, because I know she doesn’t have much.  But then she says, she wants a few hundread Euros.  I laugh because I thought she was joking, and then she made it obvious she is not kidding and tells me her time is not free and we hung out all night.

At this point I explain to her, she never said anything like this before and I was sure she was not a hooker.  It doesn’t get any better, and she shows me video of cops beating tourist up and other things to somewhat threaten me.  At this point I truly know I was played.  Something I never thought would ever happen.

I only had a few 100 baht on me and offered her it in hopes to resolve this. She then tells me she does not want it, unless it is full amount.  I told her, I do not have the full amount and would never pay for her anyways.  I also told her I showed my intentions from the beginning, and it was clearly not for a hooker.

She become even more frustrated and leaves without me paying her anything.

This is where my mind starts to play tricks.  I start asking myself, “What is she going to do?”  I know Thai police have killed several expats and tourist over the years, and even a few this year.  All were up north, not down here.  Either way, if she decides to tell the police something, Thais stick together and who knows what will happen.

The other scenario is she waits for me to walk down the street and have some thugs follow me, and I know this is very common and happened only a few weeks ago in Patong.  Two guys got stabbed and one killed.

Well, I decided to stay in the hotel that day and just swim in the pool and hope for the best.

It is now the day after and no police, so I think I am safe in that scenario, but I still don’t know if I can walk down the street without being harassed or possibly worse.

I still have to catch a taxi to my flight to Amsterdam, which means walking down that street.

I will tell you this, I was definitely a little worried shit might hit the fan, but with luck, all was OK.

If you are reading this and think you can meet a girl in Thailand for friends and maybe more, those are only 1% of the city population.  Always ask upfront two major questions, are you a ladyboy and are you a hooker?  These two questions will save you.  I only asked the one question.

Lesson learned!

I still have that last step, to catch a taxi to the airport, but I have a gut feeling all will be fine.

Anyways, Thailand has some amazing scenery, great food and some very interesting people.  From my short stay here, I would be very careful traveling here.  It is a safe country, but the people are almost always out to get more out of you, than expected.  So be smart, enjoy the view, and be prepared to spend a little more then your budgeted.  Thailand is the one country I don’t have any solid plans on coming back too.

Don’t forget to check out my short click on Patong Beach, just click here.

My next post should be from Amsterdam.  Hello Peter and family, here I come.

Patong Thailand – Where everything happens! ladyboy pulls my zipper!

In this post I am not going to go day by day, but give more the highlights over the last 3 or 4 days.

It all started a few minutes after I check into my hostel dorm room.  As soon as I arrived and dropped my bags, I said Hi to everyone in the room.  This is a new thing I am doing to make it comfortable right away.

The first person I meet is a guy from Croatia, who has the bed across from me.  The next guy is on the bed above me, and he is from Istanbul.

The three of us start chatting and decide tonight we will all go out together.

A few hour later, we are out and about!  Or first stop is a small bar for a few beers.  Croatia buys a flashlight taser, and yes you read that right.  A Flashlight Taser!  We all ask the other person to try it, but non of us do.  Lol.  I hate electricity.

The night was rather laid back until Croatia decided we should see a Ping Pong Show.  For all of you who do not know what that is.  Well, read this.

A street guy takes us through a Go Go Bar, into the back where there is nothing, and then into a hallway where it is starting to look like the Hostel from the movie Hostel.  At one point we all look at each other like, “What the Fuck did we get ourselves into!”

Then in this dark, dirty hallway, two doors open up, and there is a bar with a tone of people in it.  He takes us all the way around the bar stage, to the side corner and hands us a drink menu.  The drinks are priced at 900 baht ($36 CAD) per drink.  I say, no way!  Croatia argues and says, 200 baht or we just leave.  The guy agrees and gets us 3 beers at 200 baht ($8 CAD) per drink, per hour.

The show is already in progress and I know this by the ping pong ball that just went flying by my head.  The entire time we were arguing about beers, I didn’t notice what was going on, on the stage.

Well, there is a older girl on stage with a mini skirt.  She is pushing ping pong balls up her man hole and then shooting them out at the audience.  At this point I am laughing, but also doing my best to avoid being hit buy one.  Like, Ewwwwww!

The next show is two younger girls come out and dance, while dressed in mans white dress shirts and thongs.  These girls know how to move.  Like DAMN!

After doing some sexy dancing, like the type I do in the mirror when no one is around.  They pull an older guy up on stage.  He has no idea what shit he just got himself into.

They quickly pull off his shirt and shorts, he is now in his boxers.  The girls try getting them off too, but he refuses.  The one girl tricks him and puts a towel around him and he agrees.

He is now laying on his back with the towel around him and all 3 girls are giving him lap dances and teasing him.  You can see he is extremely embarrassed, and the more it is obvious, the more they tease him.

They continue teasing him, grabbing his junk under the towel not showing us what they are doing, but we can guess.  The next thing we see, is the one girl yanks his towel off and runs away with it.  Everyone cheers, and claps, trying to make the dude feel comfortable.  However, there is no chance in hell I would have done what he got suckered into.

This is where he says enough and gets off stage, where they take him in the back and …  He was back there for 30 minutes, so I am guessing they gave him a bonus for going on stage.

The next act was a girl using her garage door to shoot darts at balloons.  Again, very interesting.

At this point it has been an hour and we either buy another drink or go.  We decide to go as I am corrupted for life anyways.

The next day Istanbul checks out and I say goodbye to another really cool friend.  I hope to someday visit his country.  He made a very good impression on me.

That night Croatia and I go out again, but this time we just have a tone of beers and walk around, being amused by the ladyboys and massage girls.  At the end of this night, we decide tomorrow will be our crazy night.  This will be his last night in Patong.

The next day I check out of the hostel and book myself into a hotel with a very nice pool.  I got an amazing deal online for less than $20 CAD per night including a breakfast.  The hostel was $5 CAD per night, but had no common room and I wanted to catch up on my blogs.  I also thought, this is my last few days in tropical weather, so why not enjoy it to the fullest.

It’s time!  I meet up with Croatia at the hostel and we head out to buy a bottle of rum and mix.  We also grab some take out food and head back to my place to sit by the pool.

Scarfing down this amazing BBQ food, Croatia says to me, “This is pretty awesome that you can meet a person, hangout and have such a great time, and not know each others names!”  I respond with, I was just thinking the same thing.  So we finally tell each other our names.

Croatia’s name is Kazimir, but I call him Kaz.

I do have to expand on this.  Traveling as I used to, to hotels I never met anyone or hung out with random people.  Going to hostels and backpacking is by far the best way to travel.  The people you meet, the things you learn about other countries are amazing, and worth every second.  This has been the best journey of my life.

Well, we are now both full of amazing BBQ shrimp and rum, and are ready to start the shit show.

Down on Bangla street we start by grabbing some more big beers, and walking around.

Kazimir and the Ladyboys

Here we are watching a magic street performer.  He is extremely good and I tip him a few dollars.

Uh oh, the shit show is well on its way.

Here is a silly Russian fighting with the police.  I guess he sucker bunched some guy for no real reason.  I am sure he is in for a bad night.

How stupid are you, to get into shit in Thailand, where there is evidence the police have tossed two tourist off of the 14th floor of a building already twice this year.  Oh yes, but both were set as suicides.

Some more random pictures of the red light district street.

We didn’t know this but at midnight they can no longer sell beer at the 7-Elevens.  Here the beers are 51 baht for a 1 liter, and at the bars a .330 liter beer is 120 baht.  🙁 so sad.  Anyways, we find a side street where a girl is selling large beers and we barter her down to 110 baht for a large beer.

When I am paying for the beer, a ladyboy comes over and grabs my arm.  I politely say, no.  He, she, it then grabs my stomach, and I push its hand away and say. NO!  Then it tries pulling down my zipper, and I then push its hand away and say, “Fuck off, do not touch me!“.  It gets mad and starts yelling.  Luckily I had my beer paid and we quickly walk away into the crowd.  This is the only annoying thing you have to be careful of.  You can’t get to aggressive with them, because Thai people stick together, even when they are in the wrong.

My advise, when this starts to happen, say no and walk away fast.  Do not argue or try to reason with them.  They do not care!

Anyways, that was the end of our pretty rad night.

The next day, Kazimir is off to Bangkok, and we both send each other emails saying goodbye.  Kazimir tells me, when I come his way, to make sure I message him and stay at his house.  I tell him the same. I will miss our funny drunk conversations.

Kazimir, I wish you the best of luck in you travels, until we meet again!

Bohol – White Beach – Philippines – Got my days mixed up! Demon Gecko that smiles

Today I am heading over to Bohol to see the Tarsier monkey and Chocolate hills.  My first step is to purchase a ferry ticket at the Supercat terminal.

My taxi driver stops at the ticket counter, and I run in to get my ticket.  I request a return ticket for Friday, thinking it was Monday.  This gives me a few days to explorer on the 10th largest Island.

However, the ticket girl informs me, Friday the ferry is closed due to some holiday, that I later find out is Easter Friday.  Anyways, the sign shows 500 pesos one way, and the girl tells me with the return it is 750 pesos.  Great I save 250 pesos!  OK, I actually still got ripped off.  I later see on my ticket receipt it is 300 each way, when you buy both ways and I also confirmed later that it is 600 pesos.  So, I still got ripped off 150 pesos.

What the hell is wrong with some people?  Why do they rip off tourist any chance they get?  I find this so sad, being such an awesome place.  Tourist provide them so much income and they still feel the need to be less than human!

Another example of getting ripped off, is later the same day I bought 4 items from a bakery.  All items are 5 pesos which comes to 20 pesos.  The girl very sneaky charged me 30 pesos, and being an honest person I didn’t think anything of it until a few minutes later.  I find this low, because I know she would not do this to a local.

Anyways, back to the story.

The ferry ride over to Bohol only takes 2 hours and then another 45 minute ride on a motor trike to my hostel.  The trike guy originally wanted 300 pesos, but agreed to 250 pesos.  When we arrived at the hostel, he was such a nice guy and tried to carry my bags in for me, but had a hard time lifting it.  He also gave me tons of information and was super nice.  This is the type of guy that deserved more.  When he gave me my change back from 500 pesos, I ended up giving him the extra 50 pesos and told him I wanted to pay more because he is a honest, great guy.  By the way, 50 pesos is $1.30 CAD.  He thanked me 5 times before leaving.

Good people deserve good things!

I checked into the hostel and in my dorm room I meed two young guys from Norway.  Over the next few days we have a few great chats about Norway and places they have been that they loved.

That night I took a nice walk along the beach and decided to spend a few extra pesos for a nice sunset dinner on the beach.

The next morning I eat breakfast and head out looking for ways to get to the Tarsier Monkeys and Chocolate hills.  This is where I realized I missed up.  Today is not Tuesday, but Wednesday and I am leaving tomorrow on the Ferry back to Cebu.  Grrr, I missed today’s excursion and the only other way is by taxi which cost way to much on my own.

Screw it, its OK.  I am coming back and will see these cute little beast one day.

I head back to my room and grab my mask and snorkel.  I am going to see animals one way or another. 🙂

Down at the beach, I find several great spots for snorkeling.  Check out these great pictures of star fish, little fish, and something I do not know what it is, but it is cool!

I spend most of the day enjoying the beach and eating super cheap, but yummy with some side street BBQ vendors.

Next morning my trip to Bohol is already over. I pack, and head down to the street to find a motor trike for a ride home.

As I am looking for a trike, a car pulls over and asks if he can give me a ride to the terminal for 300 pesos.  I asked if he was a taxi and he said no, he is on his way there and was hoping to make an extra few dollars for gas.  He looked like an honest guy, so I said sure.  A nice AC car for the same price as a uncomfortable trike in the already 30 degree heat.

I get in and within a minute he starts with the common questions asked like, “Where are you from?, how long are you in the Philippines for? etc”  I welcome his questions and also ask some back about him.

Fun part of the story, is he starts telling me about a girl her knows who just finished university and is working in the medical field.  He tells me she is 25 and very pretty, the type of girl I should be looking for.  He eventually tells me, this is his daughter and shows me a picture.  Damn, is all I can say.  She is super cute!

When we arrive at the terminal, he gets out of the car and gives me his name and number.  Ronnie tells me, if I come back to the Philippines to give him a call and we can all go out for dinner 🙂

Ronnie is such a cool dad.  I thought he was only 45 and he told me he is 62 this year.  What do they drink here?

We say goodbye and I wish him the best!

The ferry ride back to Cebu is only half full and very relaxing ride.

The taxi ride to the hotel was another, lets rip off the tourist.  As he is driving I am using my GPS to see where he goes.  I see he adds an extra few turns for no reason, when the road is straight to my hotel, and he didn’t need to make a left and two rights to get back onto the same road.  So I ask him why he took these roads for no reason, and I know he added an extra kilometer just to rip me off.  He had no response and I could see it in his eyes that he knew I was right.

When we arrive the hotel he then drives past the front door, which was obvious and then slowly reverses trying again to get the toll higher.  I then said stop very loud and aggressive.  He stops and starts to get out without stopping the meter.  I lean forward and his stop on the meter for him.

I then explain to him I would have given him a tip but am very unhappy he thinks he can rip off a tourist.  He tried acting like he didn’t know what I met, so I showed him the path he took and where he should have gone.  He then says sorry and I give him 5 pesos less than the meter said.  5 pesos is nothing, but I wanted to make a point.  He didn’t argue as there was a security guard for the hotel standing beside me listening in.

I am a little frustrated at how people from 3rd world countries think sometimes.  I don’t mean this always happens, but when it does, it is frustrating.

Anyways, I am at the hotel and my opinion quickly changes again.  I love Filipino people for the most part and this is one reason why.

Two small young guys that work at the hotel want to carry my bags up for me.  I try to stop them because the one guy could barely get my backpack on.  But then I decided to just help him get it on his back.

When we get to the room, they set my bags down, shake my hand and leave without asking for tips.  As they are walking down the hall, both guys were signing.  People here are always singing. I love it!

I am now at the hotel and ready for some needed R and R.

I normally would stop my blog post here, but since there is only one day left in the Philippines, I wanted to add my last little story to this blog.

The next day I headed out for some water, and when I came back, the same two guys were standing near my door way.

As I put my hand on the door knob a small gecko was on it and scared the shit out of me.  I jumped like a girl when it moved.  The two young guys couldn’t contain themselves and they started laughing like little kids.  Ok, I agree, it was funny as shit.

The gecko is now 5 feet from me on the floor, looking at me.  I decided, this is my turn to pay him back.  I start stomping my feet as I ran towards him, trying to scare him.  Well, it didn’t work and he ran between my feet and once again, I jumped like an idiot trying not to step on him.  The young guys are now almost falling over laughing.

I didn’t know what to say, and I was now laughing too.  

The young guys finally stopped laughing and we talked for a minute, and then I went into my room feeling dumb and silly at the same time.

A little later on I went into the restroom for a tinkle.  As I pull out the anaconda and start to relieve myself.  That demon gecko ran across the top of the toilet, and spooked me again.  I fucking pissed on my feet and hand.  I know this is the same gecko, as I saw a smile on his face.  The little bastard.  I now think he is doing it on purpose.  This is why I have named him Demo gecko.

That is my last story for the Philippines, as tomorrow I am heading to the Airport to fly the Thailand.

Talk soon all!