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!

Athens – Bahrain – Bangkok – Pattaya – Jomtien Beach

I wake up late, knowing I am just going to be wasting time until 5 pm, when I head to airport to catch my flight to Bahrain.

My checkout time at the hostel is 11 AM, but they have a locked room where people can store their bags during the day.  This is great.  I lock up my bag, pull out my laptop and almost start to work, when the crazy Aussie sits down beside me.

A few minutes later a German couple also sit down.  We chat all afternoon, until just after 3 pm when they all have to leave.  I decide I might as well as do the same thing.

I catch the two buses to the airport, check in, and head through security and then customs.  Both are very fast, as I am one of only 4 people for some reason.  Good timing I guess.

Time flies right bye and I am on my plane.

The plane is full, and as I guessed it, I got an annoying guy beside me.  He has no concept of space, and consistently puts his arm over the arm rest into my seat.  I can’t stand this.  We all have our own seat, the armrest is the border, don’t CROSS IT!.  I try several times to tell him this seat is my seat, not his.  He doesn’t understand, and continues to elbow me the entire flight.

The hardest part is you can’t even say, “Excuse me!”, so they get the hint because they don’t understand any English.  Thank god the flight is only 4 hours long.

I arrive in Bahrain at 11:30 PM, and have a 9 hour layover. Sleeping in helped, I am not tired.

I walk around the airport looking for place to relax, but there is nothing.

I check the prices at the two lounges, to see how much it is to rent a bed for a few hours.  If I remember she said 80 Bahrain, and I thought great, until I found the conversion.  It is $168 CAD for 7 hours rental.  Screw that!

Well it is now 1 AM, and I need to find a toilet.  I find the only one that is not locked, and there is a 4 man line up, with 2 stalls.  I cramp up, but make it into a stall just in time.

I don’t know if you know or have seen what clean toilets are like in Persian countries, but they are more nasty than the overfilling squat toilets in Asia.

Picture this!  A toilet with no seat, no toilet paper, piss and shit sprayed all over the bowl and tank.  A garden hose to wash your brown eye with, that people who should be experts in using, still spray water everywhere but in the toilet.  The floor is half an inch of water.  Oh yes, I am wearing flip flops, not half an inch thick!

Well, at least I made it into the toilet, get my business done, spray my third eye clean, and leave with a wet ass.

This actually clues me into why these guys where long tailed shirts.  It is to cover there stained wet pants!

Let me explain one thing here.  This is not a dirty airport!  Bahrain is a rich country and it shows.  They have 3 guys in the washroom with mops cleaning constantly, but they can’t keep up, with how the people are.  I think they are just used to having people clean up after them.

Yes, you can win this in the airport!

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That is where the excitement ends and the 7 hours of boring wait starts.  I just sit, listen to music, and go for little walks, for the remaining time.

My next flight is there, and I am so happy to be getting on.  Now, just another 7 hour wait until Thailand!

This plane is full again, and the guy sitting beside me is a big dude.  All I can think of, please no, not another annoying dude.  I have not slept in 24 hours!

BUT! I am wrong.  He tries hard to keep from putting his arm on me even though the seats a little to small for him, and “Thats whats I appreciates abouts hims!”  Another bad quote!

Half way through the flight he and I start talking.  He is from Bahrain and is a retired flight attendant.  We have some really great talks.  This flight is 7 hours long, yet, I enjoy it, even with a sore back, no feeling in my ass, and neck pain.

We land in Bangkok and I am so excited.  Within an hour I will be at my hotel sleeping 🙂

Customs again is very fast.  I am second in line, and my bag came out quickly as well.

I walk out to the taxi pickup and the next taxi guy in line asks where I am going.  I show him it is only 5 KM away and he says, “No No, not from me.”  He explains he has to pay an entrance fee into the airport and he has to charge me that on top of my taxi ride, which is less than the airport entrance fee.  He then walks me to the airport arrival area, and gets me a taxi from there.  These taxi’s never enter the airport, so no fee.

If I would have taken his taxi, it would have cost me 300 Bhat ($10 CAD), but the taxi he got me, cost me 150 Bhat ($5 CAD).

Online you read about all of the taxi scams, but here is a perfect example of a good Thai person.

My hotel had bad reviews, but I am getting great a reading between the lines.  A lot of people expect 5 stars in Thailand for $20 a night.  I am sorry, but get real!

I paid $19 for a night for a clean room, comfy bed, and even with a very nice pool.  Check it out!  Oh yeah, and everyone was super nice, unlike the reviews said.


The next morning I leave the hotel at 10:30 AM to the airport, where I catch the bus to Pattaya.

Bus to airport was 150 Bhat ($5 CAD), the 2 hour bus to Pattaya was 120 Bhat ($4 CAD), and then a shared taxi to my condo was another 100 Bhat ($4 CAD).  These were all luxury, clean, new buses.  Can you get that in Canada for this price?

I meet Earthie, the young Thai I am renting my condo from.  He is a really nice guy, and he gets me settled in quickly.  This is a place you have to see!  12,000 Bhat ($447 CAD) for 31 days, plus the service fees, which he has no control over.

Can’t believe this is where I am living for the next month!  Right on the beach, with an amazing pool!  Jealous, I hope so. 🙂

 

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!

Athens Greece – Just amazed at the views

AirBnB has been a great tool for meeting locals.  Hostels are great as well, but normally you meet other travelers, and not the locals.  I would rather meet locals, and learn how they live.

So, in Athens I booked a room with Paulina.  It is her first time hosting someone from AirBnB, and I am the lucky one. J When we first meet, she has a very big smile and I can tell right away that she is a super nice person.  By the end of my stay, this holds true.

The room is really nice, clean, and big.  She has a medium sized dog that I never learned the name of, but I really like her.  She never barks, and is a little scared of me, but I pet her a few times and show her how awesome I am.  Then I get the see the crazy wagging tail.

My first day in Athens I find out to enter all of the cool ruins, temples, etc, it cost 30 Euro.  Uhh, I am cheap.  So day 1 I decide to just walk around and find out where everything is.  Tomorrow I will make the decision if I pay to go in, or what I do.

As I am walking by one of the tour bus sales girls, I decide to allow her to give me her sales pitch.  I already know I am not going on the bus.  It is 18 Euro, and I can take the public bus or walk for less than 2 Euro.  Anyways, as she is talking, I ask her if there is a combination price, where I get the bus and entrance into each location.  She says no, but tomorrow, all of the entrances are free.  It is International day!

Well, you know what I do the next day!

I still spend several hours just wondering around town taking in the views and enjoying some mixed nuts from this guy.  Damn they were good!

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Here are a few pictures from today.  Some great views!

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The next day I get up early and bus it to the busiest site.  Acropolis of Athens and yesterday it had a line-up down the road.  Today, I am there just after it opens, and there is no line up and it is FREE!  Yes, I am doing a little happy dance.

I first admire some of the stones, and then onto Theatre of Dionysus.  I can’t believe 2000 years ago people sat here enjoying their evening out and here I am now doing the same.  I sit here for about 15 minutes just enjoying the amazing view and dreaming of what it must have been like.

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Well, it is time to start walking up the hill to the Temple of Athena Nike.  I am
almost wondering if I can even do this walk.  Look at it!  But I must, this is a dream coming true being here.

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I get about half way up and see another amphitheater, Odeon of Herodes Atticus
Archeologikos Choros Theatro Irodou Attikou.  This one is bigger, and is even more amazing than I could ever imagine.  It first opened in 161 AD and my ticket today was Free!

I hope you can see what I am talking about from the pictures.  I am truly amazed at why, and how they build such a thing, in such a hard to get at area.

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Hey, can you picture 5,000 Canadians watching team Canada, beat team USA from here, again!  Yes, it held 5000 people.  Crazy!

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I continue walking up, and up until I reach the top.

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There are 3 large buildings up here and I can’t picture how they would build them back in 420 BC.  I mean, I am out of breath taking my time walking up the stairs and they only had a path!  All I can think is how amazing people are.  This is what can be accomplished when a community comes together to build something.  When everyone has a common goal!

Why do we not have this now?  Back then they had thousands of people working together.  Now it is hard to get 3 people working in tandem without bitching, complaining, and screwing up.

However, it just shows what we can do, if we really want too!

I spend a good hour or more just walking around up here.

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After my decent I stop at a local cafe for an amazing Frappe Coffee Grande.  Mmmm so damn good!

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Next I am onto the Temple of Olympian Zeus, and this place is just as amazing as the last.  Can you believe construction began in the 6th century BC during the rule of the Athenian tyrants, and was not completed for another 638 years.  Hmm, I worked for software companies that had projects take that long. 🙂

I take my time walking through here, and imagining what it must have been like so many years ago.

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Over the next few days, I spend about 4 hours a day walking around finding new hidden gems around every corner. Just look at the pictures below.

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On my last day I head to Glyfada Beach, recommended by Polina.

 

It takes about 45 minutes on the public bus to get here on bus A2.  Definitely a nice place to spend a day!  Beach, sun, and pretty girls.  What more can I ask for?  Oh yes, cheaper beer, but that’s OK.

Little Video of that day!

Tomorrow I bus to Patra(s) Greece, to spend a week in an apartment I rented.  More to come in Greece…

Odessa Ukraine to Athens Greece – One more step!

My night starts off around 9 PM, while I am laying in bed thinking, “Oh, I better set my alarm, I have to be awake at 4:30 AM to catch my flight.”

Next, I pack my bag and organize my things, so in the morning, I do not disturb the other people sleeping in the dorm.  I mean, this is a normal thing, I think everyone would do.  However, not everyone gives a shit about others.

I share a dorm room with 5 other guys.  At around midnight all 6 of us are in bed, but one dick, decides he wants to read.  He leaves the very bright light on in the room.  I get up and turn it off, as it is after midnight.  He turns on the other light, which is just as bright.  I don’t say anything, and just try and sleep.

Well, 4 am arrives and I still have not slept because of this fucking bright light, and the guy decided around 2 am to start typing on his laptop.  Oh yeah, I asked him around 3 am if he could just go to sleep, because I have to wake up at 4:30 am.  He says, yes soon.

4:20 AM, he turns off the light and says, Good Night!  I say, “Wonderful, you are a kind person!”

I truly don’t understand people who do not think about how, what they do, can and does affect others.  It’s simple, don’t be a stuck up, selfish person!

4:30 am, my alarm does not go off!  Why, because I am awake, and turn it off before.  No point in making the noise, right!

Anyways, I am already not in a great mood, but I get over it.  I quickly and quietly, get my stuff out of the room and head to the receptionist desk.

My plan was to remind him to call a taxi, and while the taxi is coming, I will brush my teeth, and be ready.  Not what happened.

I first have to wake him up, as he is sleeping on the floor behind the desk.  Then I remind him about the taxi, and he calls.  He tells me 15 minutes and they will call him back to let him know if they have a driver.

This is not looking good.  So I try to ask him to call another taxi place, but as I am typing this on my translator, he says.  “Taxi, Taxi, Taxi” and tries taking my laptop bag.  I stop him and say, “Wait, I am not packed.  I have to toss my tooth brush and jacked in my bag.”  He then tries to take my backpack.  I again say.  No, Wait!  He takes it anyways and starts heading outside.

I am like … FUCK!!!!!!!!!  I toss my tooth brush in my bag and look around quickly for my other stuff. I see nothing as I am more focused on my backpack, running away!

I run after him and he is already putting my bag in the trunk.

Ok, so I went from not sure when a taxi will come, if ever, to, shit my bag is leaving without me in a matter of seconds.

Oh yes, so in the rush, he never gave me my key deposit back.  Oh well, it is only 50 UAH, like $1.10 Canadian.

As I arrive at the airport, I check in and get my tickets.  Everything is looking good. I have an hour before my plane.  I grab some water and relax.

My plane is about to board, and all of a sudden my stomach starts turning.  I have to shit, and I have to shit NOW!  I love IBS-D.  It is great!  I make it to the one toilet, with no seconds to spare.  I sit down so fast I almost fall off of the toilet.  Somehow I managed to shit on the seat, but nothing is on my pants, or underwear.  Score me!  I see an upside to this, except my plane is loading.

I wrap it up and get to my plane just in time.

So here is another bonus to my bad day.  The plane is full but 2 seats, and that one seat is beside me. 🙂

I take some pills for my stomach so I don’t shit myself again.  I still have another flight.

As I am sitting here, thinking, it’s a bit cold.  I think, “where is my jacket.”  Every curse and bad word is now running through my head.  In the rush to the taxi, I left my very expensive Burton jacket sitting on the counter in Odessa.

I love this jacket!

OK, so I try to think positive.  Maybe they can mail it to me, but wait. I don’t even know where I will be from one day to another.

I dunno!

Anyways, we make it to Kiev, where I will be catching my next plane to Athens, Greece.  This makes me smile again, because this has been a dream to see Athens.

As I am waiting in line to go through the security, I always seem to get someone behind me who doesn’t know personal space. Just because you are in a line, does not mean you have to stand on the person ankles in front of you.  However, the guy behind me does.  After the second time, I asked.  “Can you not do that?”  He says sorry and does it again 2 minutes later.  That time I turn around and said, “Thanks”.

This next part I am going to put on the bonus, good side of my scale.

As my ankles are getting bruised, I am watching this other guy get security checked.  They choose him for a random pat down.  These pat downs are very quick, and they miss a lot.  Anyways, as they finish patting down his back, the officer says, “Please sit here.” and points to a chair, while they check his bag.  The guy heard it as, “Please bend over” and the guy touches his toes like he is going to get an anal check.  OMG, I tried so hard not to start laughing.  This was awesome and I apologize for laughing at someone, but this was funny.

Then there is this lady with a zipper sweater on.  The officer asks her to take off her jacket as he thought it was a jacket, not a sweater.  She has nothing on under it but a bra, and actually starts taking it off.  The officer is like, “Oh, no no, keep it on.”  Again, I loved the show and laugh a lot inside.  I love Europe and their free way of thinking!

My next plane arrives and we load.  Great, full plane, and I am sitting against the window, with a giant beside me.  The only thing I hate more is when there is a screaming kid.

Oh but wait,  the seat in front of me is a mom, dad, and a little boy and you guessed it.  He is very well behaved! Not!  The little ass climbs the seat and starts trying to grab my sunglasses.  I say, somewhat nicely.  “GO away!” and give his dad a look.  If I climbed over seats at that age, I would have my ass kicked by my dad, and then if mom got mad, look the fuck out.

They finally, somewhat control the little monster.

Then it happens.  A SCREAMING, and I mean SCREAMING baby is 5 rows back.  Please make it stop.  I am actually starting to contemplate what would be worse, listening to it scream, or opening the door and tossing it, while chancing crashing, and killing everyone on the plane.  Well, we would have at least 1 minute of peace?

So, yes, the plane ride was long, for a 2 hour flight.

But wait, good luck comes my way.  My bag is one of the first off the plane.  Score me!  Customs goes easy, and I am now in Greece.

Some pictures while landing in Athens.

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As I exit the airport, I remember I have Euro’s still from when I was in Finland.  Score me again!

My AirBnB host left me a message saying I catch the bus 95 into the town center, and then A2 to her place.  Sounds easy, and it actually is.  I do take way longer than if I knew where I was going, but that is OK.  I am in Athens, Greece.

Here is one teaser, for the next post!

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Odessa – Beach Life – Great Friends

So what’s been going on the last few days.  Well, I move into my new place, which I rented from AirBNB for 19 CAD per night.  It is 4 minute walk to the beach, and not far from my friend’s Lesya home.

Check out the video here!

While renting my beach house, I noticed a tone of dogs walking all over the streets.  I was pretty sure they are not owned by anyone, and just wild.  Later Lesya confirmed these are wild dogs.  Something you would never see back home in a city.

The one little dog, who I have nick named, “The Instigator” walks up and down the street and barks at other dogs, and when they start barking uncontrollably, he leaves and goes onto the next dog.  This is the first dog, I think I would kick, and maybe even have a competition on punting distance. 🙂

OK, dog lovers, get over that comment.

I would say, that is the only negative I have found while living at this house.  I really like it, and the price you cannot beat, and to add to the positives, it is a 5 minute walk to a nice, small beach, with beer.  And if I have the energy, I can walk the beach 2 KM down, to the more popular beach.  I did this a few times.

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The first Saturday night Lesya met up with me, and we went out for Sushi and drinks.  Our conversation is always random and pretty funny.  Again, our intentions were to walk around, but we ended up just having drinks at the Sushi restaurant.

During the week, Lesya was busy with work, so I just went to the beach everyday and enjoyed the good life.

Checkout what you can buy on the beach for under 2 dollars.

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The next Sunday, it was the first day, were it was no hot, so no beach.  However, this ended up in my favour because Lesya’s beach plans were canceled. We can now hangout.

This is another random, funny day!

We meet around 11 AM, at the bus stop close to my place.  I was hungry and craving Sushi again.  So we walked to the same place as last Saturday.  At the restaurant the waitress, was happy to see us, and tells us she was hoping to see us again.  OK, I don’t remember making any kind of impression last time, but I guess we did.  She even told us, she wants us to come back more often.  Very random, but cool!

During lunch, yes, you guessed it.  Wine was way to good, and the next thing I know I am drinking Ukraine Cognac.  This is actually my first time ever drinking Cognac and for a dollar a drink, I have a few.  I really like it!

After lunch, I am feeling pretty good, Lesya is obviously feeling happy as I can see in her eyes, a little buzzed look.

We walk to a local grocery store where we buy more wine, and she buys stuff to cook us dinner as well.

Lesya buying bottled wine.

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While buying wine, a girl and her husband start talking to Lesya.  My understanding is he is a marine pilot, and Lesya works at another marina office for cargo ships.  They end up exchanging information and the next thing I know, we are invited to meet up later for drinks.  Very random!

After the grocery store, we walk over to Lesya’s house to give her mom some of the groceries.  I get to meet her parents and see where she lives.  It is a nice condo/flat and her parents are really nice.  They do not speak English, but with a little help, we have some good talks.

We head over to my place where she cooks grilled wraps, and I have to say, she is one hell of a good cook.  It’s a few days later as I am writing this, and I am craving them again.

Few pictures of us before the drinks get rolling.

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I did not know this, but in Ukraine, a girl does not pour her wine, the guy always fills the glass, and it better not get empty.  I know back home, if I was to touch one of my old girlfriends wine bottles, they might bite or hit me.  Never touch a girls wine. lol.

The couple we met earlier messaged and are going to come to my place for drinks, and a few minutes later, one of Lesya’s friends also messaged and is now coming also.

I will skip ahead to all of us drinking on the patio.

The guy’s wife is crazy, and drunk.  She talks a mile a minute, and seems always upset.  The guy is also a bit moody.  If I do not pay attention to him, he gets a little attitude, but i’ts all good.  We have a pretty good night.  He brought Vodka and Gin and he kept giving me shots.  By the end of the night, I know I was more drunk than I wanted.  Not what I was planning 12 hours ago.

He also gave me two gifts.  One was a picture of I dunno, I am not religious, and the other was 25 Soviet Union Roubles.  This is really cool, as they do not exist anymore.  I will definitly keep the 25 Roubles with me!

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Lesya’s friend, Korina is really cool.  A very sweet girl.  She only speaks a little English, but enough we have some good conversation.  I can see why the two are friends.  Both really great people.

Well the night eventually ends and everyone leaves.  I see a pretty good mess, and I only clean up the food, so no animals get into it.  Tomorrow will have to be clean up day.

The next day I was a little hungover, and I am very happy I do not have to checkout of the house until 3 PM.  This gives me time to clean up, wake up, and pack.

3 PM arrives and the owners show up, with their daughter.  She speaks English and can translate. 🙂  This is a needed for sure.

She helps me get a taxi and also adds me to Facebook, on her mom’s request.  They want to keep in touch and read some of my past blogs.  They are really nice people.  Someday I hope to come back again and stay in this place.

Well, I am now in a hostel in the city center.  In a day I will be flying to Athens, Greece, leaving this amazing country.  I will miss hanging out with Lesya.

We are trying to meet one last time, but it is raining like mad with some good wind, so we might not be able too.  If not, I know I will keep in touch with her on Facebook. Hopefully we will meet again.

Odessa – Ukraine – Beaches, Boating, and Batman?

Beach time with Mike and Yusif has arrived and I am heading into Odessa city center to meet Mike.  I have been here for a few days and have yet to actually swim in the Black Sea.  This is always really important to me.  I love swimming!

I meet Mike and just across the road is Yusif.  Yusif tells me he had a wonderful sleep.  He woke up to cockroaches in his bed.  My first thought is of the movie, Joes Apartment. LOL.  Yusif doing a little song and dance with them, and they all living happily ever after.  However, he tells me this did not happen, and he has moved to a new apartment.

Instead of walking to the beach, Mike tosses his thumb up to hitchhike right in the middle of the city.  This is a little new to me.  I guess if you speak the language, you can make a deal with a local to drive you to the location you want, for a fee.  Normally a little cheaper than a taxi.  Almost like car pooling, mixed with taxi / hitchhiking.  Not recommended if you do not speak Ukraine, or Russian though.

A lady picks us up and drives us to the beach.  Pretty cool, considering in Canada, I waited 2.5 hours and never got picked up and here we get a lift from a lady!

At the beach, Mike gets us a bed with a large umbrella for 200 UAH ($10 CAD) for the day. You don’t have to rent one of these, but it is nicer than sitting in the sand.

Mike and Yusif sitting on one of the beds.

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The day at the beach was really nice and relaxing.  I am sure I fell asleep for 10 minutes while laying on the bed.  The water was cool, but refreshing, and the girls. Amazing!  I love you Ukraine!

Later in the day, Mike and Yusif take a ride on what is called, Batman.  It a big blowup thing, that they use a Seadoo to pull.  If it goes fast enough, it gets lifted off of the ground.  I did not go on it, because I was worried it might hurt my back.  I have to say, watching the video, I am a little jealous.

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Some random pics from the beach.

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The beach was pretty fun, but its time for Mike’s next adventure.  He is taking us on a boat cruise around Odessa.

Mike’s friend, and his girlfriend, pick us up in their car and take us to the boat.  For whatever reason, I do not remember their names.

Anyways, the boat tour was pretty awesome.  It lasted about an hour and we got to see some nice views of the beach, and water front.

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After the boat tour, we were all hungry and headed to the best place in Odessa for pizza.

I wish I had some pictures of the pizza, because it was awesome.  I ate way to much, that is for sure.

After pizza, that was it for the night.  It is late, close to midnight and I decide to walk back to the hotel from the city center.  Almost a bad mistake!

I was a few blocks from my hotel, in that really nice area I told you all about.  As I pass 3 younger guys standing on the side, walk.  One starts to follow me, and quickly gets beside me.  I had a bad feeling about this and also noticed there is no one else in site.  So, as he says something in Russian, I know the best thing to do, is not to let him know I am a tourist.  I say nothing, but my hand directly in his face, in a stop position.  Give him, I will kill you look and keep walking.  They end up following about 5 meters behind me until I cross the street to my hotel.

I still have no idea what he said to me, but I know it was nothing good.  Maybe asking for money, or asking if I want to fight.  I heard random guys will do this in the streets.  However, I cannot confirm this, as I do not understand what he said.

Another amazing day, hanging with friends, ended with a little heart racing.  Still wouldn’t change any part of it.

A few pictures of the area my hotel is in.  During the day, not so bad 🙂

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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.

 

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.