Odessa – Ukraine – Let the good times roll!

Now that I have the cell phone issue resolved, I can finally get onto exploring Odessa.

If you read my last post, you will recall the 3 people who helped me find my hotel location, just 5 minutes after arriving in Odessa.  Well, the one guy Mike, asked for my Facebook before I got into the cab.  He told me he would be back from Kiev in a few days, and he could show me around Odessa.  I only knew the guy for 2 minutes, and he is offering to show me around.  Now that proves no matter where you are, there are good, even great people.

The next day Mike adds me to Facebook and also starts a conversation between, Mike, his sister (Lesya), and myself.  He tells his sister, I am a nice guy, and asked if she could show me around until he gets back.  She says yes, and adds me to Facebook and then sets a time and place to meet.

Let me ask you this!  What girl do you know, would meet a total stranger, who her brother only met for 2 minutes, and would show them around their town?  I don’t know many, if any at all.  I mean, I could be a complete ass, mean, a pervert, she has no idea who I am, yet, she was completely willing.

We are going to meet Wednesday at 6 pm, in the center of town.  Today is Tuesday morning, so I have sometime to waste until then.

Tuesday, I just walked around the local area exploring, looking for food, pubs, etc.

While going in and out of the hotel a few times, I became friends with Anastasia the receptionist.  We decided we get together Thursday on her day off, so we are not talking so much during work.  That’s cool!  I am impressed at how easy it is to make friends here.

Well, Wednesday evening is here and I head out to catch the tram into the city center.  I love the trams here.  They only cost 2 UAH, which is like 10 cents CAD.  How cheap is that!

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I make it to our meeting spot, which is the water fountain in the city center.

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Lesya is on her way, as I am a few minutes early.  While waiting, you never know what you will see in Ukraine, and I got a pretty good show, of a drunk / high girl bathing and dancing in the fountain.  I never took a picture, because she scared me. lol.

A few minutes later, Lesya walks right up to me with a big smile and says hi.  She is not shy of meeting me at all and recognized me from my profile picture.

I had not eaten yet, so she takes me to a nice patio restaurant where she orders for me, two Ukrainian food items.  One is a beat soup, and the other is some kind of Haring Fish paste, that you put on bread and eat.  I will tell you, both were pretty damn good and I want to have it again.

Our next stop is across the street to a local craft beer place.  We were going to walk around, but our conversation is going so good, that we decided to just have drinks and chat.

I really like this girl, she is so nice and has some really awesome stories about her travels.  She has been in the USA twice.  Last time was just a few months ago, and when she was younger, she did a high school exchange student thing for one year.

Well, it was getting late and she needed to get home.  She works tomorrow. hahaha, I don’t!  Anyways, her brother is back in town and is walking around downtown.  He tells her to invite me to meet him.

Just down the street, I meet up with Mike, his friend from work, and the guy and girl that helped me the first night.

We basically just walk all over downtown and Mike explains what everything is.  The only problem is I am a bit drunk from my earlier meeting with his sister.  Lol.  She is a bad influence, I take no responsibility for myself. 🙂

Some of my drunk, trying to take pictures below!

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It was a pretty awesome night, and I truly enjoyed finally getting to know Mike, his sister, and some of their friends.  Mike has invited me to go to the beach with them tomorrow, but tomorrow I am supposed to hangout with Anastasia.

The next morning, I get up, feeling a little hungover, but this hotel has a great breakfast.  I also have to see when Anastasia wants to meet up. I think she only works until 8 AM.

When I get down to see her, she acts like I am a customer, and not how she has been acting with me. Hmmm, I am like. OK, either she decided she doesn’t want to get together, or she got into trouble for talking to me so much, by her boss.

I just ignore it, as I have other plans now.  I can meet up with Mike and go to the beach.

Later I find out, she did get into shit with her boss and I completely understand.  In Odessa, you are very lucky if you have a job, and a full time job even luckier.  There is a lot of no income families here and the average person only makes $400 a month.  It is not that cheap here!  So her not wanting to jeopardize her job in anyway, I understand.

The next few times I saw her, she always gave me a big smile, and I smile back, but I don’t bother her unless she comes to me.  Even then, I keep it short.

This post is getting long, so I will continue my beach day in the next post.

continuing …

Samsung, we had a good run!

Last night, my one true travel companion’s screen died and now, like Old Yeller, I have to take her out to the back shed, and pop one in her head.

My Samsung S4, has had some issues the last few months.  One day she is going strong, her memory is great, and the next day, there is no life in her battery.  She is only 2.5 Years old, and in human years, she is in her late 60’s.  Oh well, time for a new cell phone.

Doing some searches on the net, I see there is a cell phone screen repair place not far from me.  Maybe, I can give it a second chance?

I head down to the hotel receptionist area, asking them if they can call the store and ask if they can replace the screen on my S4.

Yuri, the very happy, honest, receptionist calls the store and they tell him, they can do it today for 750 UAH ($36 CAD).  This is great news!  Yuri gives me directions and also his phone number.  He tells me the guy on the phone does not speak English, and to have him call Yuri, so he can translate.

Wow, have you ever heard of such great service from a hotel?  Not, in my travels!

I get to the location and there is no store in site, but there is a cell phone provider across the street called, Cell Planet.  I go over and ask if they repair screens.  They do, but their guy is away until tomorrow.  They call my original store and ask for directions.   I guess the store has moved.

Cell Planet also calls me a taxi and gives me great advice about getting there, etc.

So, I arrived at the location and I do not see the store.  I ask a local security guy and he points me to mall, with a cell phone area.

At the cell phone area, I ask the desk where True Cell is located.  The young girl says, she will walk me there and translate for me.

Wow, again, great help for no real reason.  She could have just pointed me in the direction, but instead, she walks me to the store, and then waits with me for 15 minutes.

After 15 minute wait, the guy says, he can fix it for 3000 UAH.

She asks, why he said 750 on the phone.  He says, he never talked to anyone on the phone.

At this point I give up and ask where I can find a taxi.  She calls one and then also comes outside with me to wait.  We have a really good conversation as the taxi takes about 10 minutes to arrive.  I thank her for all of the help.  She gives me a big smile and waves goodbye as I get into the taxi.

So, day 1 of trying to get a new cell or repair mine has been at a loss.  All I really know is, True Cell doesn’t exist, but does exist if you call, with great prices. 🙂

Day 2, I head back down to Cell Planet to see if their guy can fix the phone.  When I arrive, they tell me he is in at 11, it is now 10 AM.  No problem, there are a tone of used and new cell phone stores in this area.

While I am waiting I go to at least 10 stores looking for possible options if mine cannot be repaired.  This is more fun than I really wanted.  The scams, begging, etc, is crazy.  As soon as they see you are English they think you are dumb, and will pay anything.  They also assume I am an American.  Maybe that’s why they think I am dumb?  Every store gives me prices in USA dollars, and each store I explain I am Canadian, not from USA and only to give me prices in Ukraine UAH.  The best price I could find was on a used Samsung J7, for 4000 UAH ($200 CAD).  Actually an OK price, but I do not want to pay that much for a 1 year old phone.  The worst prices I got were 4000 UAH for a S3.  A 5 year old used phone.  I was told by Yuri later, he could buy that phone for 500 UAH.  Scammers!

Anyways, I look up and see the Sun is at 11 AM, so I head back to Cell Planet.

The repair guy is there and he tells me, it is not worth fixing, the parts here are too expensive because S4 was not sold in Ukraine.  They had some A series I guess.  He then suggest me a great phone (Xiaomi Redmi 3 2GB/16GB Dual SIM), and tells me, the camera is better than mine, and the battery life is 3 times stronger.  Added bonus, is it is 3400 UAH new.

I ask where I can get one, and he says.  Give me 5 minutes, I will go find one.

5 minutes later he shows up with 2, A 5 inch and a 5.5 inch.

I take a look and see they are damn nice phones.  He lets me use his computer to do some research on them, which shows excellent reviews.

So, I am now a proud owner of a Xiaomi Redmi 3 2GB/16GB Dual SIM, Cell phone and it has been a day.  He was spot on with the battery life.  A day later and it is at 70 percent still.

What did I learn from this?  There are two types of people in Ukraine, the very honest, helpful, nice people, and the struggling, dishonest scammers.  However, if you have any common sense, you will know the difference.

My advice if this happens to you.  Never buy right away, do some research on the item, and ask a local who you know is honest.  Do not spend above your budget, you will eventually find what matches your needs.

Thanks to Yuri and Cell Planet for being honest and extremely helpful.

My first selfie on the new cell.

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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.

 

Kiev, Ukraine – I am so confused!

The short 1 hour commute from Vilnius to Kiev was quick and painless.  My flight mate was a guy who respected space, like I do on a plane.  So, that was a nice change.

When I landed, I was quickly harassed by a cab driver, but he actually seemed nice and then helped me find a SIM card and then bank machine.  Yes, Yes, I know! He was being nice so I would use his cab.  Well, why not!  He worked for it and the price was reasonable.  It was 35 KM or more to the hotel, and that cost me $600 UAH, or $31 CAD.  I know I could have found cheaper, but whatever.

He was also a pretty cool guy and told me about the current scams to tourist including what ATMs to use and what to look for on them.  People have been adding second scanners that are hard to notice.  But he showed me pictures, so now I know what to look for.

Anyways, my hotel room is a single bed, private bathroom, but fucking weird layout, for all under $20 CAD a night.  I needed a break from people.  No offence to everyone I have met and seen over the last few months, but I got tired of you. 🙂 and need a break.

I am also on the 17th floor.  Some nice views!

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I won’t go into each days details, but so far, they have been similar.  Wake up in a fucking hot room, no AC or fan.  Go down to the coffee cart where the hot 19 year old works and get the same coffee for 20 UAH, $1 CAD.  Mind you this is specialty coffee, not Tims for a buck.  Next, go up to the room, drink coffee, shower, eat banana, poop and then go for a walk around town.

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Evenings consist of, Holy Shit that is cheap beer, for 30 cents CAD.  Yup, been drinking to much.

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Sometimes I sit at the bar where another hot girl works and I dream about her back end when she gets me cold beer from the bottom shelf. 🙂  Oh yeah, worth that 1 dollar.

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I also got a haircut for $60 UAT, $3.00 CAD.

So lets get onto the, What the Freggle Rock was Rob thinking parts of Kiev.

Well, I signed up for Tinder, not Grinder as I saw just before installing.  Made a prfile, added my sexy mug shot, and then started liking all the hot Ukraine girls, in hopes of finding love.

Oh, in case you don’t know me, I do not believe in love and think it is a big HOAX.  Yes, most of your parents love you, but that is called Forced Love, they made you.  Other than that, it’s not real.

However, I keep trying to find that Miss Right between all of the Miss Right Nows.

I got several likes in Tinder, and all super hot.  I mean 9 or 10s.  Way out of my league, but we all know that is why Americans come here.

All of the girls, but 1 asked me for my support.  Which means, I pay, they touch my doodle.  Not what I am looking for.

One girl my age, who is super cute messaged me and asked to meet for coffee and a nice conversation.  Sweet!  Her name is Sveta, and she is 38.

My thought was, she is older and more mature, maybe this is for real.  Nope!  during our coffee conversation I explained to her that I was backpacking and am very cheap.  Within seconds, she said she had to go.  Yup, as soon as she knew I was not a sugar daddy, she bolted away, faster than a gay chasing the Oscar Mayer wiener car.

Sveta Profile Picture

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My impressions of Ukraine women online so far. I very much doubtful there are any that are not hookers, or users.  Too bad, they are friggn smokin hot!

Well, why not try it once more, “but this time with feeling!”

So, I meet Jasmin.  I think she is mid twenties, 1/4 Asian, 3/4 Ukraine. Oh my god, hot.  160 CM tall, super skinny, and cans that make my eyes water, and WTF, she wants to meet.  OK, why not!

It actually goes really good.  We hang out for a day, she never asks for gifts, just for me to pay for lunch, dinner, breakfast *wink* *wink*.  Anyways, I had the best time of my life, until that late morning.

She tells me she has to go, gives me a hug and kiss.  I think to work, but sometimes she mixes Ukraine, with English, so who knows.  Anyways, as she is leaving, I noticed her eyes are watery.  Being me, this means nothing more than a sneeze coming on.

1 hour later she text me this, “I really like you! I don’t want to be sid all days. Sorry. :(”  I know sid, means sad and all days means, because I am leaving, I live in Canada, sort of, and she lives her.  Maybe I should not have told her how long it takes to get a visa into Canada, for Ukraine’s.

I tried texting her back, but a day later no response and she blocked me on Tinder.

Only Pictures I have of Jasmin are one I snapped with my back phone camera, and other from her profile picture.

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So, that is where I currently sit in Kiev, and I think I will just enjoy the sights here and move on soon.  Where I am going next!

Vilnius – What did we get into?

OK, so today started off pretty relaxing.  Woke up a little late, almost 9 am.  Tony was just about to go for a walk, and I asked if he wanted to get coffee together.  He is like, “Yes, come with me.  I will show you great coffee for 10 cents!”

Cheap coffee, obviously I am in.

It takes us about 10 minutes to get to the joint, which is called Hesburger.  It sort of looks like Burger King our way, but they actually have espresso machines.  He was not kidding, a coffee is 10 cents Euro, which is like 16 cents CAD and damn good.

We sit for an hour or so just enjoying all of the views, and I don’t just mean old buildings.  The Lithuanian women are the hottest I have ever seen, and too add my pain, there is way more women then men.  Even google it, it’s actually a fact.

Every girl here looks perfectly fit, even the ones with 2 kids.  I don’t know how they do it, but I am not complaining.

I do have to say, their facial expressions are lacking though.  I even discussed it with a local.  It is normal for a girl, to look down at her feet when passing a male.  They rarely smile, unless they know you.  I guess once they know you, they are pretty cool.

Later I test this fact!

Picture while waiting for Tony to tinkle.

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After coffee Tony and I walk around the town in the areas we have not been in.  Not taking any real direction just following others and going in the direction of things we think in the distance are cool.

We are both getting hungry and start looking for a place to eat.  While walking by a couple eating something that looked amazing, we decide, lets eat here.

The place is a vegetarian restaurant and cheap!  I don’t exactly recall the price, but I think it was $10 Euro for two of us.  So like $7 CAD each?  The place is called, Radharane, and here is a snap of my plate.

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We are now both happy and decide to go for a pint at a patio we saw earlier.  They have large pints for .99 Euro, $1.60 CAD.  Yes, this turns out to be the start of me corrupting Tony.

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I wish I had a picture of Tony, but for whatever reason, I lost most of my pictures from today.  Anyways, Tony is from the UK, where he is a teacher and I have to add, a pretty cool, nice guy, but not for long. 🙂

After 3 pints, a group of local girls sit at the patio table beside us.  I noticed they are laughing, which is not common to see.  So I say to Tony, here is my chance to get some answers. LOL.

So, I lean over and ask if they speak English and they do.  I proceed tease them and ask them questions about girls their age, not smiling.  I even add, I am extremely good looking and most girls don’t look into my beautiful eyes.  For whatever reason they are into it and we start having some really good conversations with them.  I find out they are all local and about 24 years in age.  I tell them I am also 24, which they don’t believe me, but seem to think its funny.

Did I mention all of these girls are 10s?  No joke, Tony even thought they might be models.

During the conversation the one girl never smiles or says anything, and it seems like I am annoying her.  I am used to this, I annoy a lot of people!  Then a bee starts flying around her, and she takes a knife and tries catching the bee with it.  I use this opportunity tease her and call her a bee killer, and to not to get on her bad side.  She loves this and her attitude changes.  So much so, that when Tony and I stopped talking to them, she poked me with the knife to get me to continue talking.

Anyways, eventually we are on our 7th pint, and I am almost to drunk to make any good conversation with them. I think I gave them my card and number, but that part is a bit foggy.

We then pay and head out for a walk, to sober up a little.

Next we find ourselves in a grocery store buying more beer.

The rest of the night gets foggy for me, but I do remember teasing a group of local guys skateboarding, trying to get them to show us some skills.  Next was at a restaurant where I meet a guy in line for food.  We talk about salaries here verses Canada, etc.  He was a cool guy, but I don’t recall what else we talked about.

Later the shit show continues with me teasing some local girls, outside the restaurant and I don’t even remember, but Tony said it went well.

Our night ended with us finishing our last beer and going up to bed.

The next day, Tony was leaving for home and he thanked me for the best day on his vacation.  He told me, his entire 3 weeks vacation he never really talked to any local girls, but one day with me, we talked to several and all were laughing with me, I think!

Anyways, I will miss Tony, he was a fun guy.  A little shy, but a great guy.

A couple of pictures that I still have!

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The next day I didn’t do to much.  Just ate some pizza, catch up on my blogs, and relaxed.  As Tomorrow I am flying to Kiev, Ukraine.

Vilnius, Lithuania new friends great views, no sleep

I arrived in Vilnius around 10 pm, and jumped onto bus 88, that I already knew would take me close to my hostel.  The bus is only 1 Euro.  Pretty cheap.

On the bus I meet a French Canadian who is going to meet her boyfriend and backpack around the Baltic countries for 2 weeks.  She is really cool and I use my phone maps to help her find her stop.

From the bus stop to my hostel is 1 km walk, but looks like a not so nice area.  The good news is, I made it without any issues.  You never know when you are new to a country and it is dark out.

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Checking into the hostel was a breeze, and cheap at $10 CAD a night.  But I only booked one night in case the hostel itself is no good.

There is only one bed left, which is the top bunk.  I hate the top bed because I am not a climber, but for one night, that’s OK.

20 minutes later I am trying to sleep but one guy is snoring so loud, that its impossible. Actually I have never heard any snore that loud in my life.  I mean, it was almost screaming.

Another guy in the room got so mad, that he woke the guy up twice, so we could sleep.

The next morning I see the guy who was snoring and he looked like an idiot.  He did not look like the type of person I wanted to chat up.

But let this be a lesson, never judge a book by its cover.  Later that day he came into the room when I was going to try and catch up on sleep I missed last night, and he started to apologize to me for snoring.  It turns out the reason he looked like a not nice person was because he was extremely embarrassed about snoring.

We had a really nice conversation and I found out he is from Spain, and is traveling around to meet his girlfriend who lives in another country.

He and I later took a walk to a cheap supermarket, he knew of.  What a truly nice guy.

That morning two of the other guys in the room took me out for breakfast.  My egg omelet was 1.90 Euro.  Love the cheap food already.

During the day, I walked around Vilnius and just explored.  Check out some of the cool pictures.

 

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In the evening I didn’t do too much, just tried getting some sleep, but mister snorie was at it again.  Meh, what can you do.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot.  The hostel turned out to be really nice, so I am staying 3 more nights.  But who knows where I will go after that.

 

Mariehamn Aland Finland – Super Trooper Malin and Crazy American

Day 2 started off with some fresh coffee and talks about what to do.  Last night I don’t remember their names, but two of Mike the crazy Americans friends stopped by and told us about a honey fair at Stallhagen brewery, which sounded cool.  So, Malin and I headed but on our hats and head off the fair.

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Since nothing is far on this Island, we were there in about 15 minutes and walking around.  The place is pretty cool, very nicely setup.  They even have a floating concert area, where they have live bands and theater.  Now that would have been cool to see.

The honey fair was pretty small, and only took about 2 minutes to see it all.

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Well, it is almost noon, so we head into the brewery to check it out.  Malin asks if they have a sampler rack, or something like that. They don’t, but they do have small glasses for $2 Euro and 10 different beers to try.  Sounds like we might as well as get 1 of each, and try them all 🙂

All of the beers are damn good! but I am driving so we stop after just sampling them. Either way, this is pretty awesome, sitting in Finland trying local beers.

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After our beers we cruise around for a little bit and then head back to drop off the car.  We then take a walk around Mariehamn and watch some of the Pride parade.  Why do I always show up to a down on Pride day?

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The parade was nothing special, so we decide to jump through a few pubs for some beers.  Malin is one hell of a host and pays for these rounds.  I am starting to love it here. 🙂

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Food in this town is way to expensive, so we head back to Malin’s for dinner.

That evening Mike’s oldest daughter invited a few friends over and the night starts all over again.  This time with even more of a bang.  By around 11 pm we head out to jump through some of the local bars.  I can’t give much details on this, because by then I was beyond happy. What I do remember is a lot of great beers, and talking to many Finish people.  Just don’t ask me what we talked about, or what their names are. 🙂  Here is one of them though.

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I think the night ended around 4 AM, and what a night it was.  🙂