Sunday, November 25, 2007

Helsinki Journal Entry

Journal Entry;
Nov 20th, 2007,
Helsinki, Finland:

Dear The Horse,

I ate you.

The End.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Hungry, Hungry Hungarians

Backtrack to Nov 15th...

I woke up this morning to the stiffled tears of our Hungarian friend Anita. Her brother, Szabi, had gone off early to return in time for a lecture in Klaipeda and she didn't get a chance to say goodbye (no doubt this was a result of staying up until 6am drinking cheep beer in the reception lounge). She tried to tell me that she was just being emotional because of her hangover, but after spending the last few days with them I knew it was more than that.

Being siblings, they had always enjoyed their rivalries, but on this trip they had finally realised that they were perhaps closer to best-friends than just brother and sister. Inasmuch, she was devestated by his sudden departure.


Last night, over Caipirinhas in a Cuban Raggae bar in Latvia, Angie and I were regaled with sincere invites to " housed in [their] home in Budapest, Hungary!" Once this invite was further illustrated to include details on how we would have to stay for "at least a week," be privately squired about the city on a historical (and judging by the tears in their eyes, emotionally patriotic) tour by the dramatic Szabi, and spend long nights watching movies and smoking Shisha in their appartment, we were ever more inclined to take advantage.

It would appear that we had met the most generous duo in Europe. Even if it had not been for their generosity though, I think we would have been tempted to further stalk them just for more samples of Szabi's flare with the English language. While Anita spent a number of years in California and speaks fluent American English, Szabi is still trudging his way through the language with a certain flourish unlike any other...

Example 1.
Szabi: "Is this fish rude?"
Angie: "No, but it is raw."
Szabi: "Ahhh, so this American here is raw!"
Kaare: "Rude, not raw, Szabi..."

Example 2.
* on the subject of musical covers...
Szabi: "Yes, and Tom Petty also sang that song Anal Sunshine"
Group: *silence...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Body Hair Update


I've finally decided to stop using soap in my hair. I'm on day 4 right now and I have to say, "ew". It's effin' disgusting and I don't think that those of Italian decent are genetically capable ... or allowed to do this. So I'm living by this credo:

Save a baby cow,
Use the grease on your head to butter your bread!



Uncut for three weeks now, this is a new record for me. It's gross, and I have to wipe food out of it on a regular basis. I can't eat the local stroganoff because it's too soupy and it gets stuck for indefinite periods of time.

I have to comb it.

I'm a nordic hero.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Zen & The Art of Stealing a Drum

Alright, so here's the blog that basically conclude's Angie's last entry.

As you well know, we spent the beginning of last night hanging out in our hostel dorm getting to know a Hungarian brother and sister named Anita and Sabi (his name is actually "Saboich"...but I don't want to commit to that spelling) and an Australian fellow named Shane. Our conversation had turned to something completely morbid and uterly disturbing about serial killers, properly commiting suicide, and a story about some American in the late 1800's that lured tourists to his "house of horrors" where he actually murdered them en masse with acid vats, lion dens, spike pits, etc (I have yet to find anything about this on the interweb)... It was about this point that we decided to go out for dinner (which in Eastern Europe always leads to ruthless intoxication).

We started off at some University bar, where the only table was amidst a huge crowd of students attending some sort of Lithu-African drum party. We were absolutely surrounded by thin, Eastern European girls gorging themselves on beer towers and fried bread, heavy browed Russian brutes delicately nibbling at salads and an entorage or obese Lithuanians dressed in gaudy African regalia beating an assortment of hand-drums. General absurdidty ensued, during which much beer was consumed, ample servings of nearly everything on the menu devoured, and the bill was eventually settled with no-ones tab being over $10.00CAN. Awesome.

It must have been that the group was some sort of student enthnic submersion project as there was an organised audience participation component where maracas (made of beer cans filled with rock Eastern European) and cheap Djembes were liberally distributed amongst the crowd.

Inevitably, we ended up with one such drum on our table, and after discovering that I'm an absolutely brilliant hand drummer it was well received that we should probably steal the drum. In fairness, I did voice a contrary moral opinion, but it was quickly shot down by the Hungarians. Fair enough, I now had a drum.

Out to the streets we headed, an air of confident possesion of our new instrument high on our faces. We pushed through crowds or writhing, drunk, horny college students without much contestion but at the door, one of the enormous, Soviet monsters guarding the door reached out in front of me. I pushed forward, confident that if I ignored him he wouldn't stop me...this drum was mine after all. There was a definite moment of tension with all participant theives and then, "BAM" the doorman just struck a beat on the drum and smiled. Well, what else to do but lay out a Djembe dance party?

We stepped out into the first snow we've seen this year and started a full out tribal dance / drum show which was liberally participated in by all the smokers freezing their asses off out front. Even the doormen started to move with the beat...though they looked rather like albino gorillas trying to avoid stepping on the cold ground. Well enough.

So here we were, 5 beautiful foreigners dancing off down the snow-covered cobblestone, hurling snowballs and stringing the random English adverts we passed into some semblence of a song: "megaSpeak Razr love time good good cozy bar sexy tan!"

And then back to that notorious bar, Ibysh, where we found our old friend Mantas and kept him stuck behind the bar until 6am. At one point Angie was leaned drunkenly over the bar taking uninvited photos of Mantas for a full 5 minutes. I've seen these photos...he was clearly not impressed, but then it was his fault for feeding her triple Camparis.

*stumble, stumble, stumble

1:30pm rolls around and we find ourselves in a rather rough state. Angie is still decidedly drunk, and the two Hungarians look like someone is routinely bouncing a hammer off their skulls...I however, came out unscathed from the whole ordeal and corralled us into a pancake Sunday "brunch".

Here we stayed, gorging ourselves on all sorts of crepes and deserts for a full 2 hours. Before we finally packed up for the day (at this point, about 4:30pm) Sabi made a point of stealing the absurdly small salt shaker.

Note of advice: Do not call Hungarians, "Gypsies" This is not a funny joke to them, and I very nearly lost two new friends over it. Let them take as they will, and never, ever call them Gypsies!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Poland Is a Liquor Store

Well, this is me, happily situated at my hostel computer with a beer the size of 2 newborn children...fat ones.

My beard: glorious
My belly: full of kebab
The Weather: snowing
My Hair: greasy / unwashed
My Experiences Thus Far: heartbreaking at times, elevating at others
My Love Life: null
My Life: apart from the aforementioned "null" excellent

Things have been carrying on rather excellently of late and here is why:

I realise that my favourite part of traveling (other that meeting and learning from strange new individuals) is the hardships. For instance, today we arrived in Warsaw without a hostel booked. It was raining / snowing / sleeting all at once. Despising the Polish phone system (which is actually quite good) we decided to walk to the nearest...that's not true...cheapest hostel in the vicinity. It was full up except for a triple bunk room costing 55 zloty a night (about $22.50 Canadian); scoffing at this price after walking up 10 flights of stairs we headed out to Oki Doki Hostel in hopes of a room (here they were only 50 zloty...a steal!), but found that this was impossible as there was no vaccancy. We then had them book a hostel for us at Nathan's Villa, and conquoring our fear of the Gypies associated with this name, we packed up and walked another 3km there...only to pay 55 zloty each for the night anyway.


Following this, we met some "interesting individuals"; among these a PHD potential named Mike. Mike is American, weighs 210lbs, plays rugby, is covered in tattoos and speaks fluent Russian. He learned Russian so that he could become cozy with Eastern political refugees in order to interview them to collect data for his disertation on the migratory patterns and theories of political extremists. Mike is awesome. Also, during the several seconds it took to ascertain this profile of Mike, he drank no fewer than 32 tall-cans of extra strong Polish beer. We love Mike. He has a cute little sniffle and sounds nasaly.

We then found ourselves caught in the crossfire of a debate over where the best Kebab was in town. After 30 minutes of heated debate (including a break by one defendant to sample some cottage cheese) we learned that we simply had to cross the street.

At last we arrive moments before this blog, wherein we discussed the culture and Slavic/Baltic/Anglo/Germanic/Soviet history of Poland, at last learning how to pronounce, "Bydgoszcz," the city in which we had originally landed in to gain access to this country of Poland.

"y" is, in fact, a soft "i"; "d" is more or less pointless, "sz" is a hard "sh"; and "cz" is a hard "ch". In conclusion, we could have effectively saved ourselves alot of time by simply calling the place, "By Gosh!"

Saturday, November 3, 2007

D-D-D-Depeche Mode

To start (and this is really out of context, but I can't contain myself), there's an absynthe bar next door to this hostel from which I am blogging. 'Nuff said.

Back on topic though, when we head to Estonia in the next couple of weeks we'll be bunkering down in a city that's famous for...blah blah blah...I don't really give a shit. The important thing about Estonia is this:

It has a pub called Depeche Mode Baar.

I give, I don't care about any other part of Europe...all I want to do is fly straight to Estonia and spend a week getting polluted at Depeche Mode Baar. I know that you're probably reading this in silence, but SHUT UP FOR A SECOND...EVERY DRINK IN THIS BAR IS NAMED AFTER DEPECHE MODE SONGS AND...yes you guessed it...ALL THEY PLAY IS DEPECHE MODE!!!!!!!!!.

Canada is sooooooo gay compared to Depeche Mode Baar

*Angie and I fought over who got to blog about this...I let her take over for the actual experience blog...this is just a teaser.

Friday, November 2, 2007

So here we are...Poland. For some reason we deemed this to be the gateway to Eastern Europe and jumped the Extra-Foods coloured Ryanair jetline to get here. Granted it is a slight imporovement on the dreary dregs of England; where I realised that Wallace and Grommit was so accurate an approximation that visiting the place itself was almost superfluous.

Landing in Poland was at first beautiful (in no way un-aided by the bounty of super-model gorgeous women here) and then absolutely bloody terrifying. I won't go into much more detail as you will be able to read further on the landscape through Angie's blog.

Here's something that Angie skipped over though: Perogies.

Holy-good-goddamn, I don't understand how, in The Land of Starch & Delicious Lard these women manage to stay so fit. Granted the men seem to succumb to it once over the age of 25, but the women...goddamn.

Enough of this though. I'm going to go figure out how to operate a Karta Telephonyczana.