Pursat – What a ride!

The ride to Pursat from Osoam Village was even more fun than the ride to Osoam.  This time we are 5 plus a baby in the car, but have also include propane tanks, that look like they are ready to explode and other junk.

The road from Osoam to Pursat is much worse, and floated in spots, then coming to Osoam from Koh Kong.

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One spot the driver gets out, and walks through the water to see how deep it is, and if the bottom is muddy or not.  He gives me a thumbs up, but I can see the water is up to his nuts.

Hmmm, can a 1980 something Toyota really do this?

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As we are going through it, the car starts to lug a little as the water is up to the mirrors, and over the hood.  I quickly put my laptop over my head, as it was on the floor.  The girls in the back start laughing and telling me with sign language, I am big man, I can push us out.

Oh yeah, I am massive in Cambodia compared to them.

Somehow, I don’t know how, it we make it through, and up the moody hill.

A few minutes later, there is another crazy mud hole and a steep hill on the other side.  I see many people have been stuck here, but our driver doesn’t even hesitate.  He drives right in.

The good thing there is a big truck ahead of us, and he waits to see if we make it.

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Somehow, again we make it.  I don’t understand it, but we do.

I pat the dash, and say, “Good Car!”  The driver looks at me and smiles, and says something similar I am guessing in Cambodian.

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4/5 hours later we arrive in Pursat, and he drops me off at a guess house that Lim told him to take me too.

I thank him and give him his $10 dollars.  Yes, only $10 for over 4 hours in a shared taxi.  I love Cambodia!

The guess house turns out to be a very expensive $8 per night, with hot water, clean sheets and a comfy bed.

My first goal is to shower, as I am covered in 4 days of jungle dirt.  Then a nap, then dinner.

Tomorrow I will explorer Pursat.

Koh Chang – I got here and upset someone

Getting to Koh Chang was really easy.  I booked a minibus from Pattaya to Koh Chang Island using https://12go.asia/en .  I was a little skeptical using the site, as I was unsure if it was a scam site or not.  However, it turned out better than expected for 500 baht.

When booking it, it showed I would get a minibus to the ferry, and the ferry in the price.  I thought after the ferry I would have to find a way to my hotel.  But, that wasn’t true, the bus came onto the ferry and dropped me off at my hotel.

So anyways, on the minibus it was all Thai people, but one couple who I could tell were not Thai, or Russian, but I wasn’t really sure where they were from.  And being the bus is 5 hours long, I am going to make new friends.  Yes, I am using them to make my trip shorter. lol.

The couple turned out to be from Lithuania, where I was only a few months ago.  This started off a really great conversation, and lasted the entire bus ride, and ferry ride.  During the ferry ride we made plans to meet on Koh Chang and go for dinner, but I forgot to get their contact information. Uhhh, so stupid!  Well, maybe I will run into them on the beach.

On the side of the minibus is a pretty odd and funny warning signs.

No Dogs, I think?  Not sure of the next one, then no guns, and no pokeyman?

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Here are some pictures from the ferry.

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The hotel that night was interesting.  The owner is an Italian guy, with a wife or friend who is Thai running it.  She is super nice, and speaks pretty good English.  He is just odd, speaks OK English, but again, is ODD!

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This is how my arrival went.  I walked in and asked if they had rooms, and they do, for 450 baht.  This is great for a night.  As I am at the counter, pulling out my passport and money, he starts taking my laptop bag.  I do not like anyone touching it because it is not really strong enough to hold my laptop and I don’t want it to rip.  So, I stop him and say, no I have it.  Then keeps saying, come come.  He wants to show me the room.  So, being clueless, I grab my money, and totally didn’t see my passport, in my passport holder/wallet sitting on the counter.

We get to the room, and I set my bags down.  He goes back downstairs.  2 minutes later, I am like, “Shit, I left my passport down stairs.”  I know it is safe, but I rush down to get it.

So tell me this.  If you saw someone left their wallet, with passport in it, and you knew who’s it is, what would you do?  I would hold it, until the person came back, or taken it to them.  This is NOT what he does!  He opens the wallet, goes through it, pulls out my passport and starts copying it.  In Thailand it is law for hotels to take a copy of your ID.  However, I do not think this is right that he does it without asking me.

I see him with my wallet and say, “That is mine” with a smile, thinking he was holding it.  Then I saw my passport was not in it and he was copying it.  I said to him, “Why is my passport out?”, he says he is copying it, and I reply, “Why is my passport not in it my holder?”  He gives me a look, of, go fuck yourself!

Anyways, I get it back, pay the 450 baht, and leave it at that.  This does piss me off though, as I think it is really disrespectful to go into someones wallet, when you already know who’s it is.

So that night, I made a video reviewing the room as I always do.  Check it out here!


In the room, there were two small issues.  One the bathroom light didn’t work and two, the sink drain was not attached.  So when I brushed my teeth before bed and then spit in the sink.  The spit and water went directly onto my feet.  A little annoying.  This was mentioned in the video.

The next morning they somehow saw the video, gave it a thumbs down and didn’t want to talk to me.  It was really awkward leaving, but whatever.  I really hate when you show the truth, and the other person gets mad for people knowing it.  Sorry, but if you don’t want bad reviews, do some basic maintenance!

If you watch my video, please give it a Thumbs Up!

My first full day on Koh Larn was not bad.  I explored the little town, and found a nice empty beach, I then found some great market food.

So far, I am really liking Koh Chang.  Tomorrow I am moving down the Island, to White Sand Beach.

Some pictures from around the area.

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Jomtien Beach – Pattaya – Some last fun with my friends

Back in Jomtien Beach and I know this is going to be a good couple of days.  I get to see Anastasia, Olga and Kosta again.

However, before I go visiting, I have to check into my hotel.  I booked this one online, and it had decent reviews, but some were not so decent.  You can see my review here!

How much can you truly complain at 499 Baht a night!

It is evening and I am meeting Anastasia, Olga, and Kosta in Pattaya Park Night Market for some great eats.  One of my favorite places to eat.

During dinner we talk about going to Pattaya walking street, but Olga and Kosta don’t want to go, but that is OK.  It will be a great night, if you know anything about this street.  It is crazy, full of drunks, bars, ladyboys, and just about everything else.  Example below!

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Anastasia and I finish eating and head down to walking street.  Let this shit begin!

We walk all over looking for a bar without prostitutes and ladyboys, when we find a bar with a band playing.  Looks great.  Inside it is not bad, lots of people and the band is awesome.  There is a Thai girl singing rocks songs, which is kind of cool, she is a decent singer.

After a few songs, she is done singing for the night and the other guys in the band take over.  They are pretty funny, and good.

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A few more songs and they are done for the night.  We head over to the 7/11 for some cheaper beers.  Always a good way to advance the night!

The rest of the night we spend walking around, chatting, and just having a great night, with a great friend!

The next day I spend doing some online shit, since I finally have internet.  Get this, they have 1 GB Internet connection and no I do not mean, 1 GB router network connection, I actually mean, Internet connection.  However, the router is wireless N, so you can’t use the full speed.

I did benchmark my connection to the net, and I got over 90 MB/s up and over 40 MB/s down. Explorer.net, why did I only have 5 MB connection in Canada?

My last day in Jomtien Beach, I convinced Anastasia to come to Pattaya Park for swimming and waterslides.

It was awesome!  I think we went down the slides 100 times, and we were laughing and playing like little kids.  What a day to remember!  She even got to try a Snow Cone.  How do Russian’s not have this!  Maybe it is a Canadian thing.

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After the park I headed back to my hotel and Anastasia went to Kosta’s.  I decided not to come back into town for dinner, but later thought I should have, so I could give a proper goodbye to Olga and Kosta.  They gave me many good memories!

Well tomorrow I am off to Koh Chang, where I will start traveling again.  I am really excited for this, I have been in one place way to long.

Goodbye to my Amazing Russian Friends!

 

 

 

 

Koh Larn – The Russians are here!

After last nights crazy Thai adventure, I still have to get up and meet Anastasia at the ferry around 10:30 AM.  She is coming for a night with her sister Olga, and friend Kosta.   This is going to be another 2 days of really awesome fun, with my friends from Jomtien Beach condo.

Right on time, the ferry pulls into Naban Port and just a few minutes later I see the 3 Russians.  We all say hi, and walk back to the hotel, where they will check into their rooms and we will take our motorcycles for the day.

I have no idea what the plans is, but I think I will try and show them all the beaches, and end off the day with a sunset from Monkey Nual Beach.

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Nual Beach, also known as Monkey beach is the furthest away beach.  But come on, we are on an Island, it is only 8 minutes away. 🙂

We spend about 2 hours on Monkey beach swimming, snorkeling, and watching the monkeys fight.

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Selfies don’t always work under water

Onto the next beach.  Only 5 minutes away is Samae which is just around the corner, and over the hill.

As we are going up the big hill, the bike starts to run out of gas, but we make it to the top and easily make it to Samae beach.

Samae Beach is full of people and no real place to sit.  So we decide we want to go to Tien Beach, but before we do, we have to head back over the hill to get gas.  I am not sure if we will make it.

I was right, less than half way up the hill, it runs out of gas.

Within seconds of running out of gas, two Thai girls on a scooter stop and ask what is the problem.  I tell them we ran out of gas, but had hoped to make it over the hill.  I kind of felt like a stupid tourist!

The girls said, “wait 5 minutes, we will be back.”

While we were waiting to told Anastasia to push the bike up the hill.  She gave me a nice look, which I take it as. No, that is not going to happen.

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About 5 minutes later the Thai girls come back with a liter of gas and fill our tank.

I ask them how much I owe them and the girls says, it is 45 baht per liter.  I give her 60 baht, and they refuse to take it.  They give me 20 baht back and tell us to enjoy our holiday.

I am amazed!  This is the second time a Thai person has done a selfless act of kindness and wanted nothing in return.  I am extremely grateful.

Well, the Russians and I are back up and running.  We turn the bikes around and head to Tien beach.

Tien Beach is a lot like Nual Beach, but smaller.  We find a great place to lay our towels down, and we all jump in the water.

Tien beach is really pretty.  There are rocks on each side of the beach, and then the beach itself is soft, yellow sand, with warm water.  Just prefect.

While at Tien beach we also have something to eat, as the prices at this beach are a little more normal.  Unlike Nual (Monkey) Beach.

It is getting closer to sunset, so we head over to Nual beach for our view.

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The sunset was pretty awesome, but it is now time to leave the beaches, and head back to the hotel to get cleaned up, and go for dinner.

For dinner that night, we went to the Koh Larn Weekend Night Market, and guess who I see.  My lady friends from the street.  On weekends they set up here to sell food.  I love it.  They saw me first and yell out, “Friend, Friend, BBQ here” and as normal, are laughing like crazy.

I also see the owner of the hotel.  Wan.  I find out, the one lady is his mom.  This is really cool.  I feel like I am with friends.

Wan gives us, as he calls it, VIP treatment.  We all get discounts on the fish, and Wan also brings it back to our hotel to eat on the patio.

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Anastasia, Olga, Kosta, and the Amazing Rob!

A great meal, with amazing friends.  The best way to end such a fun day!


Day two starts off with Seafood Rice and coffee on the patio, which takes me a few minutes to wake up.  Maybe one to many rums last night. Haha.

After breakfast, we hop back on the motorcycles and head to the view point from near our hotel.  This overlooks Tawaen Beach.

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From here, we go to the next view point that over looks Nual, Tien and Samae Beaches.

This is the view point with 1 billion steps, to reach the top.  The entire way I complain about how many steps there are.  But I make it to the top.

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For whatever reason, I am getting the same heat sickness I got back in Indonesia.  Back them, it was everyday, within 20 minutes of being in the heat I would get feel sick.  I hope it doesn’t last all day.

Anyways, the view from here is awesome!

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After the view point we head over to Nual Beach where Kosta and I drop off the girls and head back to the hotel to give the scooters back.  We only had them for 24 hours.

Kosta and I take a scooter sidecar ride back to the beach, where we have a little fun accident.  As the scooter driver is going down the driveway, he locks the front brake up, and doesn’t release it.  The back of the scooter comes up in the air.  Kosta and I both fall forward, and then the bike stops.  He still doesn’t release the front brake.  So Kosta moves to the back of the sidecar and the back wheel comes back down.  Neither of us got hurt, and I told the driver, this was fun, can we do it again.  He says sorry, and I say, no worries.  All part of the authentic Thailand experience. haha!

We spent the entire day at Nual beach, and the highlight was when Anastasia got the courage to feed the monkeys.  Everything was going great until one of the baby monkey’s decides she wanted to touch Anastasia on the shoulder.  I even said, “here one comes.”  As soon as the little one touches her, she jumps and screams.  Oh My God! it was funny.  I spent the rest of the day teasing her about the little tiny monkey who scared big girl Anastasia.  hahaha!

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After an amazing two days spending with my friends, it is now 5 pm and they are heading back to Jomtien Beach.  The good news is, I will see them again in a few days when I leave the Island.

See you soon friends and thank you for the amazing time!

Video of our 2 days!

Home – Remembering a Lost Friend

This blog is not going to follow my normal style, but it is something I feel I want to do.

Only a few hours ago a friend, a person who I admired, and was a true mentor passed away from cancer.  He is the 2nd person in less than 6 months, that I know was taken way to early in life.

How do I know Bill?  Well, the story goes like this.

When I was 15 or 16, my best friend, Kris, who still is one of my best friends, was working for his Uncle, Bill.  But Kris was moving onto a new job, and gave my information to Bill.  Kris being a great friend told Bill I was awesome and Bill agreed to have me come work for him.

I was to meet Bill at the Athens fairground that Saturday at 7 am.  I remember this day, just like it was yesterday.

I arrived a few minutes early to see a guy my dad’s age in a big yellow rain suite washing a transport.  I walk over and ask if he is Bill.  He says Yes and  gave me instructions to put on the other rain suite and start working.  My first day we worked 13 or 14 hours, and not easy hours.  Who thought washing trucks would be hard, but trust me, it was!

Very quickly I learned Bill was a damn hard working guy, and rewarded people who also worked hard.

The agreement on the phone was $6.50 per hour, which at the time was just above minimum wage.  However, at the end of my first day, Bill said to me.  He really liked my work and decided to give me a raise to $7.

From that day on, Bill worked me damn hard.  We averaged 10 hour days on weekends, and it wasn’t uncommon for us to work 14 hours a day.  But he always rewarded me.  Almost every day he bought us coffee and toast for my first break, and when we went for lunch, he always paid.

There was a few times I tried paying, and he would let me, but the next day he would fill my car up with gas.  So, did I really ever pay?

That was Bill, a hard working, extremely generous, and kind man.  Just being around him made me want to succeed in life.  He was actually the first person to inspire me to travel.

I remember he went to Acapulco, Mexico for vacation and when he got back he showed me pictures of his trip over a Crown Royal, and Coke.

That reminds me of my favorite quote from Bill, “I like Crown Royal!” he would randomly say to me when it was near his birthday or Christmas.  One Christmas I actually bought him a small bottle and left it in his truck to find.

Bill also got me my first job as a welder at Tackaberry’s, which lead to me going to school to be a software developer.  If it wasn’t for Bill, I would not be the person I am today, and I probably wouldn’t be where I am today either.

One thing I will never forget about Bill, is he loved to give people nicknames.  One of the funniest ones was when a friend of mine from school came to work with us.  His name is Ben!  Ben is a big dude, and always missed washing under the truck boxes.  Bill nicknamed him, Bend Over Ben.  There is a second reason he named Ben that.  One night Ben and I went drinking, the next day at work we were a little hungover and Ben bent over to puke.  Bill saw him and made a comment to me, “he can bend over!”

His nickname for me, was Knob!  Yep, that is where my company name came from!

So, this summer I had a chance to go see Bill.  I even dreamed about showing up with flowers and a bottle of Crown Royal and telling him how much what he did for me, meant to me, but I didn’t.  You know why I didn’t!  Because I was thinking about myself and was more concerned about leaving, and traveling.  I thought, I will do it when I get back.

I rarely, if ever, have regret, but this time I regret not going.

I learned a lot from Bill, and my memories of him will never fade.

Before I wrap this up, there is something I must say!  Don’t let life pass you by.  Do what makes you happy, and don’t forget the people around you.  AND never procrastinate when it comes to telling someone how much they mean to you.

Thanks Bill for everything!

Pattaya – Jomtien Beach – Extending Visa

My original plan was to spend a month in Jomtien Beach, and then extend my visa for another 30 days, and spend most of that time up in Chiang Mai, which is in northern Thailand.

Well, one day when I was filling up my water jug, I met an Aussie who owns one of the condos in this building.  He tells me I can only get a 7 day extension because I am on a Visa On Arrival, and not a tourist Visa.

That changes my plans a little and I wonder if it is really worth the hassle for another 7 days.

Fast forward a few days, am I am walking past the immigration office. I don’t have my passport with me, but decide to step in and see if they can tell me how long I would be able to extend it.

The officer at the information desk tells me, I can get 30 days.  Just come back with 1900 Baht and my passport.

So, if this is true, I am back to my original plans, but I do know not to plan until after I actually get the extension.

Monday arrives and I head over to the office.  When I get there, the parking lot is a little empty.  Weird!  Then I see it, a note on the door.  It is closed until Wednesday for holiday.

I ask a few locals what holiday, and they don’t know either.

A few days have passed and it is now Wednesday, so I head back to the immigration office.

When I arrive it is busy as shit, and I am starting to wonder if I should wait until tomorrow.  Then I think, screw it, I am here.  How long can it really take!

I walk in and ask where I go to extend my visa, and the officer asks, for how long.  I say 30 days.  I might as well try for 30 right!

He then hands me a stack of about 10 papers to fill out.

I fill out the first one and then flip to the second page.   I have no idea what this page is talking about.  So I walk back over to him to ask, but then a young Thai girl says, come with me.

OK!

She takes me into a room with several desk, and other people filling out the forms.  She takes my form and starts filling in the second page, and so on.  She then asks for proof of address, and I show her a picture of my condo agreement.  She says, go across the street and print it.

I walk over and the shop already knew what I was there for and we print a copy.  This cost me 40 Baht.

When I get back to her, she has finished filling in the forms for me, and says, I need a picture, “Stand here!”  She then takes my picture, and she gives me 8 copies.  Cost was 165 Baht.

Everything is going very quickly.  I have only been here for 25 minutes and already my forms are filled in, I have pictures, and am now waiting walking over to the waiting area, to meet with the immigration officer.  This person decides if I can extend or not.  Oh, I almost forgot.  The girl that filled in my forms, also gave me a number to wait with.  174.

Just as I sit down in the waiting room, 174 is called.  The immigration officer takes my forms, 1 picture, and asks for 1900 Baht. She then says, “Please sit and wait.”

Less than 5 minutes later, another girl calls, 174.

I stand up, she walks over to me, and hands me my passport and says, “Thank you, enjoy Thailand.”

So, that is it!  A total of 2115 Baht ($80 CAD) and approximately 35 minutes later, and I have a 30 day extension.  No questions asks.

While in the office I never knew what I was doing, it was very fast paced, and I just followed directions.  However, it was painless and easy.

So, if you ever want to extend your stay, just head to the immigration office. Easy as that.

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Pattaya – Jomtien Beach – I got Raped!

I have been in my condo for a few days now and even though I have been a good boy, not going out and partying, somehow things still happen in Thailand.

The first few days, I spend the majority of my time in the pool, or just walking around Jomtien Beach seeing what all there is.  I haven’t ventured much future out, or into Pattaya yet.  As I said, that didn’t stop me from seeing and having some crazy experiences.

Lets start off with a less crazy and more funny thing that happened.

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The one day I was relaxing in the pool, enjoying the sun.  There was a little girl, maybe 5 years old, not really sure how old, and her mom in the kiddy pool.  Anyways, the mom decided it was time to go and was trying to dry her little girl off and get her changed.   Well, this is where the funny starts.

The little girl was waiting for her chance, and when her mom turned for a split second.  The little girl tossed the towel at her mom, and ran butt naked towards the pool, laughing, and saying, “I am naked, you can’t get me!” and then jumps back into the pool.  Still laughing as loud as can be.

If you know my good friend Dave, this is exactly how I pictured him at that age with his mom.  Oh yes, he is the same now with his soon to be wife when she tries to dry him off, and get him out of the pool.

Thinking of Dave, and watching mom chase the little girl around, I seriously could not stop laughing.

Awwww, I love not being a parent!

Another funny story is, in the building there is a little shop that sells miscellaneous items.  The guy who runs it, is really nice, but doesn’t speak any English.  We always somehow figure out what each other is saying.  Anyways, the one day his daughter is working.  I would guess she is under 10 years old.  She speaks a little English and when I walk in, she takes over from Dad.  Telling me each item in the store and price, and tells me what Ice Cream cone I would like and at 50 cents, I am getting one.  The funny part, is when I am paying, Dad goes to run the cash register, but the girl was not having it.  She takes over and does it for him and says, she is Manager, he is owner.

She has been very funny, and every time she sees me, she calls me Sir.  Okay, that part isn’t funny.

Now onto the real stuff, the stuff most probably wouldn’t tell if it happened to them, but I don’t really have any shame left in me.

Massage in Thailand is really cheap, on average ranging from $6 to $11 dollars CAD and with those long flights, I need it.

I go during the day, knowing that when it gets dark, there is no such thing as a legit massage.  I really didn’t want Mister Pointy to get rubbed today, I just wanted my back and neck to stop hurting.

Anyways, I see a place that looks legit and they offer a deep tissue with oil massage for 300 Bhat ($11 CAD) for 1.5 hours.  Sounds good to me!

The girl giving me the massage was in her 20’s, and dressed professionally, so I think nothing of it.

During the massage, I am nude, but wrapped in a towel.  This again is normal!  I think!

She does a decent job on my neck and back, and then moves onto my legs.  Again, decent pressure, but her hands get way to close to my coin purse, for me.

Next she starts on my gluteus muscle (outside of your ass/leg), which really does help with lower back pain.

Then it happens!  Her hand goes way to close to my inside leg, and the second stroke, her finger goes into my ass hole!  OMG! I jump forward, pulling on the bed sheets.  I think I am tightening my ass muscle so hard, I almost give myself a stomach pain.

She stops and says, “Oh, you no want!”

I replied, “No, No! Only massage!”

She says, “Ok Sir!” and continues for another 15 minutes or so.

After the massage, I give her 300 Bhat, no tip, since I already got the tip!

I now know what a prisoner in the USA feels like the first night.  I have had several massages in Thailand, and never had that happen.

On my walk, or should I say waddle home, every time a ladyboy waves and says hi.  I look down, thinking that they know, somehow they know!  🙁

So much for waiting for marriage!!!

I was going to add more to this blog about the good food, etc, but I think I will stop it here, while I get a beer, and another shower.

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Athens Greece – I am a tour guide?

Back in Athens I check into Zorbas Hostel, just 10 minutes from the city center.  The hostel is pretty nice, and I got a bottom bunk.  Thank god, because these bunk beds don’t have stairs.  You just climb up!

My stay at the hostel is pretty good, and I meet several cool people from all over the world.

In my room, is Jamie from New Zealand, who is doing something really cool.  He is volunteering at the refugee camp here in Athens.  He did not plan on doing this, but during his stay he met another person doing this and he tagged along one day.  Now he has been working there for almost 10 days.  I wish I knew about this before I came, I would have joined him.

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The one morning we are all sitting outside on the patio having coffee and cookies, and I meet my first traveler who hates Canada.  I truly mean hates Canadians and Canada.  He tells me, Canadians are ignorant and clueless about how much they pollute, he even states we are probably the worst country.  I at first got really defensive in my mind, but somehow controlled myself and only said, “I don’t know any Canadians who litter, and I am certain you might get punched in the nose if you did!”.  He then changed his wording and said, “Maybe you don’t through garbage on the ground, but you all drive bug trucks, burn oil, and so on …!”.  I didn’t argue back and just said, “Yes it is true that many Canadians don’t notice what their carbon footprint is on the world, and also our tar fields in Albert produce more carbons in the air than most of the world.  And I am sure most of the people I know, don’t know this.”  So, sure!  I will let him have his opinion.  The last thing I said to him was, “I wouldn’t hate a country because of this, considering there is no country that does not pollute more than they should, but maybe instead, help educate the people so they can make a difference.”

Anyways, the guy is from Israel, where I know they pollute a shit load also, but why argue.  He actually was a really nice guy, other than hating Canadians. LOL.

Back to the cool people I met!

One Aussie guy was super crazy and really fun to chat with.  He was always drunk as shit, and still talked very educated, about the coolest things.  He told me all about the Anarchist in Athens and where the area is.  So, of course I had to walk through and check it out.

This is what I remember him telling me.  Basically the cops no longer go in this area, only a few days ago there was a riot here, which happens often.  The Anarchist basically took over and run the entire area, don’t pay taxes, that sort of thing.  Oh, and sometimes when you walk through the area your throat gets a little sore.  This is because of the amount of tear gas that has been released over the years.

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In my mind, I felt the sore throat, but I am sure it was in my mind.  However, walking through the area I felt safe other than one street.  I got a lot of stairs, and this is my own fault.  Being a clueless Canadian, I wore my tourist hat, with my Knob Apps shirt.  Yes, I was obviously not local.

Onto the next group of cool people I met.

The one day I was just wondering around looking lost, when I saw 3 Aussie’s from the hostel.  We all said hi in the street and then they asked if I wanted to tag along to the market. I had never been, so yes and off we go.

Our walk to the market turned into me showing them all the free and cool things to see.  Since I have been here for 7 days already, I have don’t a tone of exploring.  The market we were looking for, turned out to be just one of the streets with open store fronts.  I had been here a few times, but it was great hanging out with these 3 Aussie’s and they told me I was a good tour guide.  Hmm, new career?

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Nice pose Aussie!

On my last day in Athens, I was taking it very easy.  Actually doing nothing, as tomorrow I will be traveling for 30 hours to Thailand.

Then he walked into my life.  A cool American!  I know, I know, Americans are not as cool as Canadians, but they all right!

Qasim had a 8 hour layover on his way to Egypt and took a bed in my hostel to toss his bags in.  We spoke for a few minutes, and then he said he was off to get something to eat.  So I invited myself, as I was getting bored.

While we were eating, I told him all the cool Athens sites are within a 45 minute walk.  He should do it, and heck, I will take him free of charge, since I am still in Tour Guide Training.

So just like that, I went from being bored to a 3 hour tour with a cool American.

We went through all the awesome sites, and then walked back through the Anarchy area.  Yup, we did it all with an hour to spare for Qasim to get back to the airport in time.  He was really a thankful guy and I loved our chats.  We had a lot in common, from girls, to traveling, to political views.

Back in USA/Canada, I know I will visit him again.

A great picture of us at the half way point of our tour and an added bonus, I got to see some of the sites after dark.

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Athens, Rios, Patras, Greece was amazing and I hope to come back but visit the Islands and some of the other cities.

Thanks to all of my friends that I met, and I hope we meet again!

Patras Greece – Living with the crazy locals

From the bus stop, I take a taxi to my apartment.  It only cost 6 Euro for a 15 minute taxi through rush hour.  Not bad, if I compare to home it would have been closer to 10 Euro.

Shortly after arriving at the apartment, Nicolette, the young girl who is renting it, meets me.  She is super energetic, and full of smiles.  A very nice welcome!

Nicolette spends a few extra minutes with me, showing me great things to see in the area and where they are on google maps.

You can see the video here.

My first 2 days I spend in my local area walking around, meeting locals and finding groceries stores.  Another little adventure and you can see some of the things I bought here.

When booking this apartment I had read one negative review that said there is no hot water and at first I believed it.  I had the coldest shower ever.  I am now guaranteed to never have kids, it was that cold.  I guess that is a good bonus, who the hell wants kids.  Ewwww!

Anyways, as stubborn as I am, the next day I have another ball freezing shower.  After, I think, maybe I should call Nicolette and ask her why, or is this normal.

Well, she informs me, all I need to do is turn the switch on in the breaker panel.  Seriously, that’s it.  Well, the breakers are not labelled, so she sends me a picture showing me which one to turn on.  I turn it on, and 15 minutes later, I have smoking hot water. I quickly have another shower, and realize, I found my friend again, and he does exist.  Hi, big guy!  Awww, I am now completely loving this place.

Oh wait! Does this mean I might be able to have kids. Grrrr!

The next day, I head to Rios to see the bridge and go for a swim.  It’s about a 15 minute bus ride into the city center, and then I take a train to Rios.  I had no idea how much the train would be, but it ends up, it really cheap.  1.40 Euro each way.

One of the greatest things about traveling and not speaking the language is getting to meet people who will do anything to help you.  Before I continue talking about my day, this is a great place to talk about meeting amazing people.

While getting my train ticket, the girl at the booth was very helpful and even went out of her way to explain other options and other places to see.  This happens often.  The one grocery store I go into, only one girl speaks a little English, and every time I walk into the store, she comes over to help me find things and translate the labels.  Trust me this is helpful as I almost bought 50% cream for my cereal, and I did buy cheese in a tube, that I thought was sausage meat. Lol.  Another instance was at a convinced store where the young guy asked where I was from, and after, he told me everything he knew about Canada, and asked when I can come back to talk.  He helped me with directions, items in the store, and so much more.  Great guy.

People like this is why I travel!

Anyways, back to my day.

The train is nice and I love trains now, ever since my journey in New Zealand going through Arthurs pass.  They are comfortable, relaxing, and you get to see a lot.

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20 minutes later, I am at Rio(s).

One thing I don’t understand, is Patra(s) and Rio(s) are spelled two ways in English.  Sometimes with an S and sometimes not.  No have idea why, but my guess is, one is how we pronounce it, and the other is the correct spelling when translated.

I head straight to the water, to see what the beach is like.  I brought my ManKini just in case it is nice and it is.

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I change, find a nice spot near an umbrella and walk in.  The water is a tiny bit cold, but not as cold as the Black Sea.  As far as I know, it is called Ionian Sea.

I spend about 20 minutes just treading water and taking in the view.  The bridge is pretty cool.

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I love the water, but I am not one to spend a day at the beach, I get bored very quickly.  So, after an hour or so, I dry off and start walking around town.

On the other side of the bridge, I see something that looks old.  This is something I must see and find out what it is.

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Well, it ends up being the Fortress Of Rion that was built in 1499, with an actual mot around it.  So friggn cool!

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As I am walking around I start to think.  Can you image how many people have been killed here? How much history is in the spot I am standing?  The fort has been taken over many times in the last 500 years and is still somewhat standing.

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Some pictures from inside the Fortress.

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The fortress Of Rion is pretty amazing, but it is well after lunch.  I head back to the beach area where I saw some patios.  Would be a great place to relax and have some authentic Greek food.

I look at a few menus before I decide on this one location.  My decisions was Based on the menu having pictures and the location is right on the beach.

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The waitress as always is extremely helpful and answers all of my questions and gives me a suggestion to try the mix grill.  It’s only 7 Euro and looks great, “You don’t have to take my word for it”.  Can you guess who I am quoting? Post it, if you know!

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Rio is not a big town and was able to walk around most of it in an hour or so.

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The train ride back was uneventful, and from there I walked to the city center to catch the bus.

 

On my bus ride home, a lady misses her bus stop and decides it is the bus drivers fault.  She starts aggressively arguing with him while he is trying to drive the bus.  Fight on bus again!  She even blocks people from getting on, basically just being a real retard.  I just sit back and enjoy the show, as this is very common here in Greece.  I hate to say it, but I really have gotten the impression that Greeks are a bit rude, and selfish people.  I know this is generalizing, but this is definitely the impression I have seen over the last 14 days.  However, the good, nice people make up for the selfish, rude, and ignorant people.  And as a added bonus, the scenery is amazing.

I almost forgot about the one incident at my apartment during the 7 nights here.  It seemed to happen at least once a day where someone would ring my buzzer.  I would just ignore it, and after 3 or 4 rings, they would go away.  I had no reason to answer it, as I know no one here.

However, the one day my buzzer rang on and off for 15 minutes.  Then it stopped! 2 minutes later someone was knocking on my door.   I ignored it for a few minutes, and then I went and opened the door, ready to politely ask them to leave.  As I open the door, it is a crazy lady.  I told her, English only, but she kept talking in Greek.  I said it again, and waved goodbye.  She kept talking, so I slowly closed the door as I waved goodbye.

A minute later I heard the guy next door yelling at her.  I guess we had two different approaches to asking her to leave.  He yelled for a good 5 minutes and not softly!  This is a good example how they deal with issues, compared to us in Canada.

I just added this to my authentic, Greek experience.  This is why I rented a local apartment, to truly see how the locals live and I loved it!

Something you all need to try while in Greece, is there two Greek Hard Liquors.  One is called Ouzo, which tastes a lot like sambuca (Black Licorice) with an alcohol between 38 and 44%.  The other is Tsipouro.  This one taste like acid, and maybe like licking a 9 volt battery.

Here is a link explaining in detail what each is.
http://greece.greekreporter.com/2012/11/18/a-guide-to-greek-drinks-and-drinking/

I found a shop and that actually home-brews both, and bought a small water bottle of both.

Me tasting both!

I don’t even remember drinking Ouzo that night, but the next morning I knew I had.  haha.  Tsipouro, I dumped out.  It is too nasty to drink.

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Some final pictures of my 7 night stay in Patra, Greece.  Next will be back to Athens, and then onto Thailand.

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To live is the rarest thing in the world!

So I just heard two people talking about if they won money, and surprising it was in English and then I logged into Facebook and saw the quote below.  This caused me to write this blog post.

I don’t know how many of you read the annoying quotes people post on social media all the time, but some days I do.

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”
― Oscar Wilde

This is so true!  That is where I was a year ago, when I realized life does not have to follow what people are taught to expect.

I was always told, not just by parents, I mean by teachers, friends, media, etc, that to live, you must work, and not just work, I mean, work everyday!  This is so not true, and it still drives me nuts.  When I was home for the summer the most common question I was asked was related to work.  “When are you going to work again?”, “Working this summer?”, “Did you work when you traveled?”.  I was asked this more than I was asked, how was your travels?

One of the dumbest sayings I hear people say is, “If I won the lottery I would still work, what else would I do!”  Oh my god! I can give you a list of 1 billion things you could do, work is not one of them!

Sure, have hobbies you love like, painting, restoring cars,  buying a bulldozer and digging holes for fun, buy a remote control car with a camera and chase your neighbors annoying rat sized dog, stand at the entrance of your local grocery store and help every single person you meet with carrying their groceries, but, do not work!

Hmmm, what would I do if I won the lottery?  Well, first I have never purchased a ticket, I see it as just another tax, as I call it, Dummy Tax.  But if I did, I can tell you one hobby I would have.  I would find where my friends work, pay their bosses to let me sit across the room and shoot elastic bands at them all day.  Or I would start a charity, give all my friends great jobs, and tell them they will be fired if they don’t let me annoy them all day, example from last statement.

Awww, the dreams we have.

Anyways, back to my rant after reading Oscar’s quote.

Start living your life, don’t get stuck in some stupid rut, or job that you just go to everyday, and come home, over and over.  Start working towards getting out of that, and I don’t mean in 20 years when you retire.  I also am not relating to only work.  Get out of the house and enjoy life.  Call a friend you have not seen in ages and go visit, start taking nightly walks, and take a different route every time, and you’ll be amazed at how your life will change.   Everyday you waste sitting, is another day wasted in a life you only live ONCE!

Leave me comments on how you stopped just living your life, or what you would do with lottery money!

Thanks all for reading.