Pattaya – Jomtien Beach – Russians?

The last few days have been uneventful, as I am really just waiting to go to Koh Larn on November 8.  I have explored pretty much the entire area here, except for the paid tourist parts and I will say, I do enjoy the area, but it is time to move on.

Another 5 days until I move to Koh Larn and I thought these 5 days were going to be a bit boring, until my ride home from the Market today.

A young Russian girl is sitting across from me in the back of the truck, and out of the blue says, “I think we are neighbours!”  I respond with a smile, “Paradise Condo’s?”, and she says, “Yes!”  This turns into a nice conversation until we reach the elevator where we say goodnight and nice meeting you.

I am really happy, this is the first time I have had a conversation with a Russian.  Normally they will say hi, but that is as far as it goes.  That might be because they don’t all speak English, I am not sure.

Anyways, a day goes by and I didn’t see her around the condo.  I was hoping I would, I really enjoyed our conversation.

The next morning I am a little bored and decide I will walk down the street, catch a truck bus and see how far it goes.  This is a good way to explore a new area.  Basically, get lost, and then find my way home.

As I am walking out of the condo building, I see Anastasia.  She is also walking towards the truck Pattaya bus.  I say hi and ask what she is doing today.  She tells me she is going to a market in Pattaya, one that I have never been too.  She then asks if I want to come with her.  I say yes, of course.

When we get to the market, we first look around to find her sister.  We did not think we would find her in this massive market, but we do.

Her sister Olga I have seen around the condo before, but have never said hi.

Olga seems really nice, but doesn’t speak a lot of English.  However, we do speak a little here and there.

We all spend the morning wandering around the market, while the girls shop for clothes.  I was just enjoying spending time with people again.  I think it has been around 4 weeks since I actually did this.

Shortly after lunch, Olga leaves us to go meet another one of her friends.  Anastasia and I walk around a little more.  She helps me find a few items I have been looking for.  I didn’t buy anything, because she also tells me back in Jomtien, it might be cheaper.

Eventually we decide we have had enough walking around and head back to the condo building.  Before leaving each other, we agree to meet again tonight to go to another Night Market that she knows of, that I have never been too.  I am excited for this, as I am getting tired of eating at the same place.

Around 7 PM we meet up and head to the Pattaya Park Night Market.  It is only another 10 minutes by bus past the Jomtien Beach Night Market.

When we arrive, I am very happy.  It is a lot bigger, nicer, and more seating.  Also tones of different food, including Greek and Russian.

We meet up with her sister Olga, and her sister’s friend, who I have no idea what his name is, but he turns out to be a pretty nice guy and not just because he gave me drinks of Rum. Lol.

We sit in the market until after 10 PM enjoying some drinks and really good food.  I had Greek food, and chicken skewers.  Mmmmm, me so happy!

By the end of the night, Anastasia and I have already made plans to meet again tomorrow night for dinner.

During the next day Anastasia was away on a day trip to one of the Islands, and I spent it swimming, and planning where I am going after Koh Larn.

Around 6 PM I meet her at the Jomtien Night Market where we sat, ate dinner, and had another couple of drinks of Rum.

I have to say, I am really enjoying her company.  She is always smiling and has lots of great advice about traveling in this part of Thailand.  She and her sister have been coming here for the last 3 or 4 years, and not just for a month or two.  They are normally here for the entire winter.  What an amazing life!

After dinner we head back to my condo where I am going to give her some movies I have on my laptop.  Tomorrow she is traveling 12 hours on a bus to Laos, where she will extend her visa for 90 days.  She will definitely need some movies to entertain her.

Unfortunately when she arrives back, I will already be gone to Koh Larn.  But, we make new plans!  She is going to come to Koh Larn during the week for a visit.  This will be awesome!  Now I have so many cool things to look forward too over the next week.

It is getting late and she will have a long day tomorrow.  So she gives me a nice hug, and we say goodnight.

Until we meet again on Koh Larn!

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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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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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…

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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