St Petersburg Russia- land of hipster Russians

IMG_20180813_224157_420.jpg

Welcome to St. Petersburg

I didn’t know it before I landed but apparently St Petersburg is where you travel to if you are wanting to become a famous Russian musician. Sort of like the Hollywood of the United States. Totally different from Moscow where it’s all business oriented, everybody’s suited up with ties and nice shoes. St Petersburg is quite the opposite. Hipsters dressed in ripped jeans, cargo jackets and musician hats. You’ll even see the odd man bun. The streets are clad with ancient architecture and full of pubs, dive bars, Jazz bars and live music. There are all kinds of restaurants as far as you can imagine from Turkish to British and of course Russian cuisine establishments all strung along the gorgeous canals of St P.

After Pub hopping all evening, head down and watch the drawing of the bridges. it’s a sight to see! Everybody stops partying for 45 minutes and then take to the streets to watch the bridges go up. There’s even a big fireworks celebration as it happens. Then when it’s over, head back indoors to your newest favorite watering hole and start making Russian friends. Or rent a horse and ride it around the city while buzzed. There are many available! Whatever you’re into, St. P will not disappoint you!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Peterhoff Palace is a great place to visit with your time in St P. With it’s wonderful array of magical fountains and perfectly groomed shrubs. There’s also many parks with different themes and a very nice view overlooking the ocean.20180813_130103.jpg20180813_130220.jpg20180813_130144.jpg20180813_130144-1.jpg20180813_135652.jpg20180813_133106.jpg20180813_132610.jpg20180813_132953.jpg20180813_135446.jpg

Please put Russia near the top of your bucket list. I implore you to visit this great land. Go see for yourself how friendly and polite Russian culture is. You will be pleasantly surprised to be able to leave all the western media generated stereotypes behind. There’s great beer and great vodka free flowing for a great price.

St Petersburg

Landscape – 7/10

Price- $$$

Food- 8/10

Alcohol Price- $$

Locals- Very Friendly and all spoke English very well

Helsinki Finland and Weekend Fest!

Welcome to Helsinki

I flew into Helsinki from Copenhagen Denmark. Now if you thought Denmark people were nice then you’ve never been to Finland. Finish people have got to be the nicest and politest people on the planet. They may seem nosey at first but they are genuinely interested in where you came from, who you are, what you are doing and how you are doing! And this was all before I even left the airport. I went outside and took a taxi to my hotel which was about a 30 minute taxi ride away in Tapiola, and it only cost me about 20 euros. Tapiola is a very nice area across the bay from the main core. It’s quite with well groomed trees and shrubs everywhere. I highly recommend staying in this area. Its gorgeous.  The taxi driver was very polite and was very knowledgeable and he gave us a little history tour while driving the city and veered off course at no extra charge!

I had rented an apartment through Airbnb for about €90/night, since we were going to weekend Fest, a beautiful festival on the water in a very nice park in downtown Helsinki called Hietaniemi.

Day 1- we walked around downtown Helsinki and took in all the old Architecture and cobblestone roads. There were really talented street performers playing on every corner. The general vibe of the city was a grunge music vibe, with all the young adults wearing black tshirts and ripped Jean’s, supporting black mascara and painted black finger nails. It was kind of like the Hollywood of Europe! Being so close to St Petersburg, Russia it had the same general vibe as there. It was the place to flock to if you were a young and upcoming musician.

Day 2- Weekend Festival

Weekend Fest is a three-day Festival that is usually on a weekend but for this particular event we were only going to attend one night. Saturday night . The Festival hosts such DJs as David Ghuetta, Axwell and Ingrosso,  knife party and then other musicians such as Macklemore and The Prodigy,  Etc . The festival Gates opened at around 7 p.m. so we took a taxi down to the main Park area. The Park area was flooded with young drunkin adults. Oh what a time to be alive. Upon entering the gates the first sight we saw, was five security guards tackling a drunken young adult that had obviously caused a Ruckus just previous. This is the corner stone of knowing you are walking into a great festival!

Everybody in the crowd was super friendly. You could just go up and say hi to anybody and then be best friends with them. Which is also another Cornerstone of any Festival being great, the people and how friendly they are. But in all reality every Festival is full of happy-go-lucky party people. That’s what makes Festivals so great. Joining people from around the world and making new international friends. If you haven’t been to a festival yet, I highly advise you to go to one as soon as you can. Simply put, it will change your life for the better. I promise.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Finland

Nature/Landscape- 6/10

Food- 7/10

Price- $$$$

Alcohol price- $$$

Locals- extremely friendly and all spoke perfect English

 

 

 

Copenhagen, Denmark – Dont be Copenhatin!

Welcome to Copenhagen

My first Scandinavian country. I had flown in from St Petersburg Russia and was going to go on a Scandinavian tour. I had expected all Scandinavian countries to be the same but I was definitely wrong. Copenhagen was my first taste of a Scandinavian country and I was pleasantly surprised with how nice the people were as soon as I landed at the airport I was bombarded with people saying hello to me and asking where I was from. What I was not pleasantly surprised about was the price. I took a taxi from the airport to my hotel which was realistically only a five minute drive away and it ended up costing me approximately 40 euros. But now i was at my hotel and I could take the metro and buses anywhere else I wanted in the city.

Day number one I took the Metro to downtown Copenhagen in search of the street food market. Stopping at Pub to Pub along the way getting a little day Buzz going the beers were approximately no cheaper than 10 Euros each. I walked along the pier and went down to Nyhavn Street and got the famous selfie along the water with the multi colored buildings in the background. And also seen the famous author, Hans Christian Anderson’s house. Continue to along the wharf seen the Opera House and then went to the Star shaped Fortress and walked around it. Then went over to the Raging Bulls fountain got a picture with it and then continued to walk the entire downtown core as I do with any City when I first arrived to get a feel for it and the people. I finally found the street food market and it was glorious. A cornucopia of different small restaurants and vendors where you grab a small dish at any one you prefer or any amount of them that you prefer and you go take your plates outside to the sitting area where you can eat and drink and socialize with all the patrons. My recommendation to you would be to grab a bottle of wine at the grocery store or liquor store before heading to the street food market considering a glass of wine was 11 to 13 euros each and drinking in public in Denmark is perfectly legal and acceptable. There were lots of people there with bottles of wine sitting and socializing having a glass and just hanging out. Walking by the parks there are many many young adults sitting having beers, playing hacky sack, throwing frisbees and having a good time.

Copenhagen is a city that loves its gays. Gay pride banners and flags were flying proudly and widely all over the city. Rainbow colored cross walks around the famous walking street in Copenhagen are a must-see. A vast array of shops and pubs on walking Street will be enough to fulfill the needs of any migrant tourist.

I recommend you go see the hippie Village down in Freetown Christiania.  Where there is a wide variety of little multicolored shanties and friendly hipsters where they openly sell marijuana but it is forbidden to take pictures, so do not pull out your camera because many of the hippies actually live there and it would be like people standing on the street taking photographs of your house while you look out your front window.

Overall Copenhagen is very expensive, where an average dinner will cost you 70 euros. Part of the price is due to all food in the city is organic unless you are told or it is labelled otherwise. You can just go to the grocery store for snacks and sandwiches to save yourself some money and then go for a nice fancy dinner once a night. The people in Copenhagen are very friendly there’s lots of Migrant workers all drinking beers after work smoking joints and just being friendly. You can talk to anybody on the street and everybody will politely obliged you in conversation.

Copenhagen, Denmark

  • Nature/Landscape – 7/10
  • Food                               – 8/10 (very good)
  • Price                               – $$$$
  • Alcohol Price             – $$$$
  • Locals                             – Super friendly and all spoke English

 

Cambodia- Beers, Rocket Launchers, Grenades and Cows

Welcome to Cambodia

I have friends that have family over in Cambodia, so when they offered for me to tag along on a family trip, I gladly accepted! The year was 2013 and we gathered a group of about 8 of us and headed over to Phnom Phen. We landed, and OMG what a fucking shit show at the airport to get a visa on arrival. Basically you stood in a line up for 45 minutes, then handed a man your passport and he runs off with it out back and does’nt return. Then the other airport workers are shoving you over to the waiting area, which by the way has zero seats and little to no air-conditioning. you are standing there sweating thinking, “well this is it, Cambodia has me now. My mother always told me this would happen. God dammit why didn’t I listen to her.” and 30 minutes later a man appears from behind the wide open counter with an arm full of passports. Yells something to the heard of eager migrant tourists that we were and dumps a pile of passports on the desk. For a second everyone looks at each other confused and then the heard stampedes toward the counter just hoping one of those passports in the strewn about pile is yours with a fresh Cambodian visa in it. The man comes in waves of every five minutes with a fresh armload and you have to endure the punishing heard until you realize its every man woman and child for themselves so you start throwing elbows and getting violent until finally, “YES” there is yours you’ve found it! Off to the next line up, Customs. When you get to the front of the line, the man speaks no English and you just have to assume what he is saying to you are the standard questions. “How long are you hear, where are you staying?” you answer politely, hoping he cannot smell your fear until finally he pulls up that large entry granted stamp and gives it a good hard wack down onto your newly stickered page in your passport. Freedom you think to yourself as you run toward the luggage carousel in excitement. Then you realize you are officially in Cambodia. “Is this country free? why did i do zero research before i came here? shit!” well lets just get my bag and get a beer. You pick up your bag and head outside to a barrage of Cambodians yelling, “touk touk, touk touk” and then one approaches you, “you want to shoot rocket launcher?” you think to yourself, “fuck ya i wanna shoot a rocket launcher” but you are questioning shooting a rocket launcher in Cambodia. you think you should probably do something like that in a safer place such as Texas! But what the hell its an option for later. We take a group of touk touks downtown to the river front and check into what is hopefully destroyed at this point, a hotel called the Kmher Royal. There was nothing fucking royal about it. I had a single bed with one thin sheet and a window that looked into a parking garage. A shower tub with no curtain and black mold in every crevice of the bathroom. The best part about it was the lobby bar had ice cold $1 draft Cambodian beers and hell it was $20/night. so we did what anyone would do on landing day and got a good day drunk going, went and got some average supper and took it fairly easy. Walking down the streets there was a lot of beggars and street kids selling small merchandise approaching. I bought some bracelets off the kids and moved along.

10361411_10152455667694670_4646860577446882538_n

 

27369148_10156174323339670_2327777816946073391_o

Rocket launcher day. Today was the day we all decided to go to the shooting range. The one piece of research I actually did about Cambodia before entering the country was shooting a rocket launcher. It was my one sole reason that I was very excited to go to Cambodia. There wasn’t another place on earth that I had heard of being able to do this. So we rented a van and a driver for the day at a grand cost of $50US. He drove us to the gun range in the city. We exited the van into a warehouse looking building. On the inside was about 5 Khmer guys and a pleather of guns basically laying around. There was no official counter like as you would see in an American store. Nope just the odd wooden picnic table. One of the men sat us down and handed us all literal menus of guns. They had M60’s, Ak47’s, a Browning machine gun, and of coarse there was the rocket launcher for $300US/Rocket. In my opinion, worth it! And what was this hidden little gem at the very bottom of the menu? A little picture of a Grenade for $100US! No way i exclaimed. “Can we throw a hand grenade?” i asked. “Of course”, the Cambodian man said. “Okay sign me up for one rocket and one grenade i said. We went around the table and Wes, Tony and Phil all decided on a rocket and Tony also opted for the Grenade. The man convinced us into the M60 machine gun as well. So there it was we all reached into our pockets and dropped $1500US on the picnic table. The Cambodian man gathered it up and yelled something in Khmer to his staff members and it was on. 4 Khmer guys running around the shop gathering up rockets, rocket launchers, grenades and Machine guns. They hustled them into the back of our van, told us to get in. His exact words being, “hop in, we drive one hour to mountain.” “Okay” we all proclaimed and piled into the van. So there we were, Tony, Wes, Phil, Wes’s girlfriend, myself, a range staff member and of course our driver who was surprisingly non chalant about the whole situation. Like he sees it everyday! So there we are driving through downtown Phnom Phen, Cambodia with a van load of heavy artillery. You had to pinch yourself to know it was real. But yes it was real. You could tell by the distraught look on Wes’s Gfs face. She was not happy about driving in a van full of explosives. To tell you the truth i think we were all a bit nervous about the situation as i said, “could you please avoid any potholes sir?” To the driver. Its funny because that’s an impossible expectation for Cambodian roads.

The guy had told us one hour but after 3 hours we pull up to what appears to be a military compound of sorts with a gate guarded by two Cambodian soldiers. Our driver pulls up and rolls down his window. After some exchange of words in khmer, the driver pulls a $1 bill out of his pocket and hands it to the soldier. He pockets the $1US bill and lifts the gate and waves us in. We all look at each other and wonder, did we just bribe our way into a military compound for $1US. We drive for about 5 minutes through the compound and then into a slightly wooded area. We round a corner where the trees open up and there on a picnic table are 5 Cambodian men in military fatigues all drinking beer with all sorts of weaponry strewn across the table. They are surprised by our van pulling around the corner but then immediately spring into action. They open our doors and let us out, and they grab our weaponry from the back and start a little rocket assembly line on the table as well. We all crack a beer and cheers some of the soldiers. “Jol Kay Mou”! While the rocket assembly line and beer drinking is taking place, one of the guys asks us, “who wants to blow up a cow?” Now i had also researched this. I heard of being able to blow up a cow or whatever farm yard animal you wanted to actually before coming here. I had pondered the idea. I am an animal lover, so that part of me said no, but the devil on my shoulder was telling me, “Nick when are you ever gonna get the opportunity to blow up a cow with a rocket launcher ever again? it’d make a great story!” I’m like, “i know evil part of Nick, but i don’t think i could live with myself after doing something like that to a poor innocent animal. I eat cows and that’s bad enough. But at least that is using the cow for a purpose. And blowing up a cow with a rocket launcher is purely for sport and i’m not into that!” So we bartered with the guy anyhow just for fun while pondering the option. I had researched that a cow should cost $200. The man started at $400 and then i worked him down to $200. But after only a little bit of deliberation I decided ultimately that it was immoral and Karma would get me later in life for doing such a thing, so i declined. After about 10 minutes the man that was assembling the rockets asks, ” okay who’s first?” I quickly raise my hand and proclaim loudly, “meee!” Alright he says, lets go. He takes me to a berm and there is a mountain in the far off background probably about 700Meters away. I ask him where to aim? he says. “you shoot high, you shoot level, but don’t shoot low!” I said “okay sound good.” I decided i’d go dead level and make it hit the mountain side in the distance. He hands me some tissue paper to put in my ears. I wedge it in and he hands me the RPG. He helps me place it correctly and I ask, “so its live? ready to go? just pull the trigger?” he says, “yes i give you count down then pull trigger” my friends all have there phones out. I’m shaking I’m so nervous. But in the best way possible. He says, “three….. two…….. one”

BOOOOM! Nothing prepared me for how loud that was going to be and how much smoke there was after. I own guns and have been shooting them my entire life, but Jesus nothing compares to that! Then after about 2 full seconds another Boom far off in the distance on the mountain side, incredibly exactly where i aimed it. You could see a tiny explosion and a puff of smoke in the distance. The back blast and gases expelled out of the trigger area had cut my thumb and I was bleeding but not to badly! haha i was shaking from enjoyment.

In the next 10 minutes, Wes would shoot it then Tony and then finally Phil. The Cambodian man gives Phil the same countdown, three, two, one……. “click”………(and nothing for about one second)…. and in that second, Phil looks over at us, tilts the RPG Launcher slightly down and BOOOM, it goes off. and then a large Explosion and fireball directly in front of us about 100 Meters out. we all look in amazement. it takes me a full second to realized what had just happened. Phil shot the ground in front of us. the one thing the Cambodian man told me not to do! I look down at my legs and chest area, give myself a good scan. I’m amazed I’m okay because that fireball was so close to us. the Cambodian man grabs the launcher from Phil and walks by me, looks at me and says, “very bad shot, I never see so close before”!

Time for the Grenades!, he takes us over to a berm and again I go first. For safety reasons he gets me to throw 3 rocks in a very specific location over the berm. All three of my rocks land in the spot he pointed out. He says, “good now you throw grenade right there.” I say, “okay.” He gives me the grenade, I pull the pin and after that pin was pulled I realized this thing I’m holding is now an extremely hot potato! I panic a bit and launch that thing far past the spot I had thrown the three rocks! He grabs me and we both take cover. Boom! Haha it was another exhilarating experience that I highly recommend any gun enthusiast do before they die!

Cambodia

  • Nature/Landscape – 6/10
  • Food                               – 7/10 (you can find good and bad!)
  • Price                               – $
  • Alcohol Price             – $
  • Locals                             – Super friendly and mostly spoke English

Thailand- Koh Phangon- Full Moon

Full Moon Party, Mushrooms & Adults Crying at a Kids Table!

Welcome to Koh Phangon

After a long hitch at work I had saved some money to go travelling once again. I had a seven hour drive from work to the Edmonton airport, then a 13 hour flight to Tokyo, 5 hour flight to Bangkok, 45 minute flight to Koh Samui and an hour boat ride. 27 hours later, enter Koh Phangon. Iarrived at about 10am. the island seemed desolate as I stepped on, Except of course for a crowd of taxi scooters and Thai people cleaning up the beaches from the mayhem the night before. all the party goers were obviously still sleeping in a hung over comatose state.

I had arrived a day early to the night of the full moon party such that I could gather my barrings and see what this island was all about. I went and grabbed some breakfast and a beer, strolled along the beaches, helped some Thai people pick up garbage, which they were very appreciative of actually. then I went and checked into my hotel and had a well deserved nap.

I woke up around 5pm. perfect timing I thought. grab a shower and time to hit the streets. when in Thailand showering at anytime besides bed time is useless. It always seems to be 35 deg celcius even at night and 40-45 during the day. Being from Canada, I sweat profusely at all times of day and night no matter where I am. I’ve made the mistake of jelling my hair and going out a few times now. the gel only last for about 15 minutes before I look like a sweaty whore who just made $50.  So i head out and grab a beer at the 7/11 and start walking around and chatting people up. i walk randomly into a shop that has singlets for sale. I need a bright-colored one for the next night and some paint.  I’m browsing around and all  of a sudden I lock eyes with another dude across the singlet rack from me. “hey buddy, shopping for some Full Moon Singlets I see?” “Haha ya he says”. then holds up a bright pink one in front of him and asks, “does this one make me look gay?” “nah you pull it off bro!” “great, my name is Tyco!” he replies as he sticks his hand of the rack for a handshake! Success, I’ve made a new friend from the USA. We exchange details and make a plan to meet a bit later. Now I had met a pretty cool guy in the Tokyo airport that i had exchanged contact details with earlier on the way here. We had figured out that we would both be at the full moon party together…. “Ding” my phone goes off and I look and it him! For the sake of this story his name is Matt. The exchange in the Tokyo Airport was a very interesting one involving a third member.  I was doing my usual airport routine of sitting at the bar having a drink and Matt was  the random person beside me this time so we start talking. Figure out we are both from Alberta, Canada and have a lot in common. we both travel a lot and share interests. Now enter third random guy sitting beside me. He pipes into our conversation after he over hears that we are going to Thailand. “I’m going to Thailand too!” he proclaims. Matt and I turn our attention to him. “Ya i got every year for a couple of months. My boyfriend lives there in Pattaya” he says. Matt and I both reply, “Awesome dude”. “Ya” he says with a big smile. This guy is really skinny, with a haggard face and very large wood framed glasses. If you were to think of what your stereotypical pedophile would look like, this is him to a T! “Ya I’ve got a boyfriend…..well he’s a lady boy” he says, “oooooooh man do I love Thailand and the lady boys!” Matt and I are having a great chuckle at this guy. hes very open and talking loudly from being a couple of beers in at this crowded Japanese bar in the Tokyo airport! haha anyway that was my first experience with a guy that straight up admitted that he loved them.

anyways back to the story! So i meet up with Matt at a local beach bar. He’s with about 5 new-found friends that he had just made. Excellent work Matt! commence crushing beers in liver preparation for the full moon party the next night. now Matts new friends had other friends wanting to meet them on the beach, just a ways down for drinks. we all head out and meet up with even more new-found friends. This is the reason I rank Thailand as my number one favorite country on earth. It’s the perfect ratio of Gorgeous, cheap, friendly tourists, friendly locals and the party’s are great. Also when making friends, they just snowball. So we crush beers for hours and get to know each other. We eventually meet up with Tyco along the way too. At this point we have a group representing all around the globe. We had, Australia, Britain, New Zealand, USA, South Africa, Spain, even a Thai native and of course Canada.

Its getting dark when Tyco hits me with it! “we should find some Ecstasy!” he says quietly to me! I give him a strange look as if to say why would you pick me out of this crowd as being the recreational drug user! but he was right! he must have had a good eye for these things. “no bro, I’m not risking that in this country. besides anything we find will be fake anyhow!” “oh common man, i wanna get some for the full moon party tomorrow night and I need a solid wing man as back up for dealing with these people” he says. Now at this point I had a good buzz on and was feeling fairly confident, so i tell him, “alright ill go with you, let’s do this!” we wander around and start asking the locals and then finally wind up asking some taxi drivers. they say yup they can get some for us. We are like okay let’s do this. “follow me” the one guy says. And we walk down the road for a while then, yup as you would have figured takes us into a dark alley. me and Tyco look at each other and give a slight nod as if to say, shits getting real, game face. we walk down the alley but then it opens up into a larger gathering area and there are many taxi drivers there just hanging out. Tyco gives him the money, the guy walks over to his fellow taxi driver and then comes back after a short minute. he hands Tyco a package and off back to the beach we go. we stop of course for a short inspection of the package. Tyco opens it up and discovers 4 gelatin pills with a dark brown powder inside. “looks like legit MDMA to me”, Tyco says. “looks like it yup”, I respond. “crack one open and lets lick a bit of it to see if it tastes like it”. Tyco cracks one open and we taste it. Now me being from Canada I know what celery salt is. not many people have heard of this. but it is a famous rimmer for a Canadian drink we have called a Ceaser. I say it right away, “that tastes exactly like celery salt!” Tyco being from the states has no clue what celery salt is or what it tastes like. anyway he is convinced its real and he gives me one for being his wing man on the deal. I pocket it and save it for the next night unsure if I will take it or not.

we meet back up with our international party group and they decided they wanted to go to the clifftop bar. I had not heard of this bar before, but one of the people in our group had heard that’s where they sell the mushroom shakes! my eyes light up! “mushroom shakes? let’s go!” Where I am from in Canada Magic mushrooms grow from the ground naturally and we use to get dressed up and eat them every Halloween and head to the bars! it was our Halloween tradition! so I had a fair amount of experience with them. we head up to the bar and I look around and see many people drinking mushroom shakes. I approach a few people and ask, “how potent are they?” everyone tells me to drink at least 2 if I have previous experience with them. so I go to the bar and order two and slam them back. 45 minutes later I get a buzz. just a slight buzz. I knew they were there for sure! the shakes are legit. a little weak for the price but legit. i guess it’s better that way, they don’t want random 18 years olds drowning or jumping off the cliff thinking they can fly from being high on mushrooms for the first time. we ended the night just chillin out at the clifftop bar, since it was a chill zone really anyhow. lots of foreigners drinking mushroom shakes and smoking joints. we eventually all went home and made plans to meet up the next night for the long-awaited full moon party.

   Full Moon Party Day

I’ll skip right to the gory details. 5pm commence, the DJs are setting up on the beach. they are starting to play loud music. Our international group of friends all meet for supper. We eat, drink, and discuss where are we all going to get ready for the party. I offer up my room wanting to be friendly, not a hundred percent knowing what i just offered. Since most were staying at tiny hostels and i had a hotel room, It was settled. everyone to Nicks room to paint our faces and pre drink.

It was finally dark and the music was pumping and you could hear the heard on the beach! We head out into the mayhem. 10,000 party people partying on the beach. oh sweet jesus! we drink and dance for hours. Tyco approaches me, “i’m going to take mine”, he proclaims and I see him throw a pill into his mouth, take a chug of his beer and swallow. “okay fuck it” I said. I reach into my pocket and I was literally sweating so much from dancing that the pill had melted in my pocket! haha, I was slightly aggravated about that but no worries I said, I wasn’t really in the mood for that tonight anyhow. I had my heart set on another little fungal fun friend! We eventually lost the group and it came down to just Tyco and I. And yes indeed, he did get super high from that pill. he was obviously in his own little world of fun in his mind, so I coaxed him to the bar on the cliff. “I’ve got a mission bud, let’s go” as I grab his hand and pull him along with me like a toddler, weaving in and out of the thousands of people on the beach. we reach the bar and I storm up to the counter, lay my money on the table, “5 shakes” I proclaim loudly and proudly. the Thai guy mixes up 5 shakes and sets them on the counter as he takes my money. I down the first one and second one immediately, but from wanting to get the job done and also it was so hot and they actually tasted really good! an icy smooth and cool milkshake texture with a strange twang of Mushroom involved. as I grab the third one and start downing it, the Thai guy from the bar comes running back to me, “No no no” he is yelling over the music, “those are not all for you?” he questions my ability. “yes they are as I set the third empty glass down and grab the other two before he could take them away from me like a spoiled child! I’m walking away giggling and he smiles and says “have fun buddy”, I’m like “oh i will”. i down the next two shakes, grab Tyco and take off back out of the bar down the long flight of rock stairs to the beach. I tell Tyco, I’ve got 45 minutes until shit gets weird. Tyco reaches into his pocket takes another pill and says, “yup me too!” now Tyco is an extremely friendly sociable guy normally. But not tonight, he is mostly swaying his head back and forth barely keeping his eyes open while staring up at the stars mostly on this particular evening! But that fine, I’ve been there! Any recreational drug user has been there!

Zang! the mushroom shakes have hit me like a punch in the face. Tyco is gone. Lost in a sea of ten thousand people ironically beside the sea! Or so I come to realize in my strange mind. Oh well time to make some new friends. I scower around scoping for a target. I see a big group of probably 15 people standing in a circle up the beach. I approach and wiggle into the circle. It was shoulder to shoulder in the first place so my wiggling in did not go undetected! Everyone stopped talking and looked at me. “Hi I’m Nick, I’m with you guys now” I say. Everyone giggles and chippers right up, “Hi Nick!” the group was very welcoming for such an absurd approach. I ask them where they are from, they tell me Estonia. I’m like, ‘right on”. they begin asking me where I’m from and asking me other questions. I am conjuring up answers but quickly realize after about 2 minutes into this conversation that i have the attention span of a gold-fish at this point and I’m not able to carry on such a sophisticated at a grade 10 level conversation. these people were definitely not drunk enough for me. I giggle politely mid sentence and back away from the group proclaiming “yas are very nice people, nice to meet yas but I gotta go, bye” and I run off into the darkness. definitely not representing Canada well. well to some that’s a perfect representation. but anyway I had grown tired of the beach scene and it was now time to move inland to the town streets to see what they had to offer. I stop in at the 7/11 to grab a beer. I couldn’t quite make up my mind as I stare into the cooler at all the different assortments of beers and wine coolers and vodka drinks, the colors and the shapes dancing around like a little beautifully orchestrated ballet. had they been practicing this before I had got here i wondered. these sneaky little fuckers seen me come in and started dancing just for me. I open the door and realize how amazing the cooler cold felt. I wiggle as far into the cooler as I could and tryed to shut the door on myself, but it was no use it was not deep enough. an Australian girl approaches, looks at me funny and asks what are you doing? im like it is so hot out there. I noticed she was perspiring out of control as well. she says “yes I know it is!” I open the door quickly and grab her arm and yank her in saying, “quick get in”! she laughs but simply thinks im strange, rightfully so and pulls away. grabs her drinks and leaves quickly. well I thought, id better do the same. i grab a big beer and head out. at this point the party is dying down on the beach and the streets become flooded with hundreds of people heading toward their rented homes. the streets are literally packed with people walking all one direction. I follow the heard when all of a sudden i find myself walking toward a fully grown adult male in his late twentys sitting on the curb sobbing. and i mean full blown crying heavily with his face barried in his palms. i’m like oh fuck! not a single other person seemed to notice him. so I sit down right beside him, I put my arm around him, he looks up at me, I look him straight in the eye and say, “whats wrong friend? what happened?” He replys while tears stream down his face, “my girlfriend left me and I don’t know where she is, we came together, and we got into a fight and she took off with other people……” he’s going on and i’m trying to listen but at the same moment, across the street a spot a kids table and four kids chairs. I look at him again and say, “hold that thought buddy, ill be right back” I take off running across the road, grab the table and place it in the middle of the street. people are wondering what i’m doing because the table starts dividing the flow of one way traffic. I run and grab the chairs and set them up accordingly. I run over and grab my new-found sobbing friend, grab him by the arm and drag him over to the table, “sit with me” I command to him. he accepts. I put my beer on the table and tell him, “okay go on”. he continues to tell me his story and now i’m just trying my hardest to focus on his fuzzy face. my eyes are making everything around me fuzzy and the store fronts are changing colors. focus! i’m asking him little follow-up questions that don’t really matter to me, but just to keep convo going, “whats he name? who were these people? where do you think she went? how long have yas been together?” there’s hundreds of people walking by staring at us wondering what we are doing sitting at a kids table in the middle of the road one man sobbing another blinking heavily and hard-drinking a beer looking all around.  just then another drunk friendly guy sits down, “what are yas doing? can I sit here?” im respond, “absolutely, this guys GF left him and he’s really upset about it!” the new drunk friendly guy jumps up, “oh no! ill be right back”. i see he runs over to the shop and comes immediately back out with 6 beers and places 3 of them in the middle of the kids table. and disperses the other three to the crying guy, himself and I! we crack them open, “thank you man, cheers!” now crying guy recaps the story to new friendly drunk guy. there only one chair left at this kids table or sorrow! it’s not long before we have a fourth! “who’s amazing idea was this?” a fourth friendly guy sits down! the four of us chatted for about an hour and cheered the crying guy up. at least he had friends now. the streets became barren about 5am in the morning rolled around and i went home. a very successful full moon party had been had!

FB_IMG_1542798063563.jpg

When on Koh Phangon, make sure to hit up the Slip and Fly party! it is an amazing afternoon activity for inspiring a good day drunk!

Thailand

  • Nature/Landscape – 10/10
  • Food – 8/10 (very very good)
  • Price – $
  • Alcohol Price – $
  • Locals  – Super friendly and all spoke English

Trolltunga – Norway

IMG_20180821_175148_532

Welcome to Norway

The Tongue of the Troll! I didn’t really have too much hiking experience before I had decided to embark on the most extreme hike of my life. I had read plenty about this hike before hand and most experienced hikers were putting this one into the category of a “serious” hike. Somewhere in between Moderate and Extreme! and I have to say that is a highly accurate statement. Located in Tyssedal, Norway, this 20-28km hike is the most gorgeous area of the world I have ever seen. From sheer cliffs with beautiful lake views to enormous waterfalls gushing millions of liters of water per day, I will tell you right now, all of Norway for that matter is one big gigantic gorgeous post card. It doesn’t matter where you are in this country, you will have an epic selfie, worthy of becoming your newest Facebook profile photo. I highly recommend you put Norway on your bucket list. However bring your wallet, because this country is hands down one of the most expensive countries i have ever been to! I hear Greenland is worse, but I digress. Yhe country also seems to have a major anti alcohol agenda. A single beer at the liquor store will cost you between four to seven dollars Canadian. And yes they only sell beer as single bottles in Norway. So when you pick up that 12 pack and look at the price of 44 NOK ($7/Canadian) and think wow that’s cheap, don’t be fooled and end up paying 536NOK ($84 Canadian) for a case like i did! The price is displayed per bottle. That and the fact that the liquer stores all close at 6pm. However you can buy beer at the grocery store or markets, if you wanna get a drink after 6pm and have missed the liquer store. You can go to a bar or pub, but a beer there will be at least double that price. I recommend you visit other European countries, that celebrate your alcoholism first, then use Norway as a half way point in your vacation in order to sober up and enjoy some amazing nature. Go hiking, get back in shape before heading of to another party area of Europe!

Lets dive into Trolltunga. How do you get there? okay, what I recommend and did for myself was, fly into Stavenger, a town of only 150,000 people or so, and spend one night there. Rent a car, get some groceries, either you should bring a tent with you or buy one there, gather up all necessary supplies for the drive and hike and then head out to a small town close to Tyssedal Norway. Personally i stayed in Odda at Odda camping. it was a great little campground full of friendly foreign hikers and expats working in the town for the summer. Great vibes by all. You are going to want to wake up super early in the morning in order to head to the starting point of Trolltunga located in Skjeggedal. you’ll take a right turn in Tyssedal where it says Skjeggedal & trolltunga car park. You are going to want to arrive at the car park no later than 5:30am if you want to have a hope in hell in being able to drive the first 4km of brutal uphill to the upper car park. The upper car park has about 30 car spaces, so the first 30 cars lined up in the queue for that will be the lucky ones. A true case of the early bird gets the worm. This will shave 8km off of your hike. Which is why i said earlier about the hike being anywhere from 20-28km long. Don’t do what i did and arrive at the initial car park and pay thinking it was the upper most car park. I was there at 5am and I could have made the line for the upper car park but thought i was already there. The lower car park im speaking of holds probably around 100 cars. just for your own reference when you arrive. Anyhow long story short, I did the 28km roundtrip hike. The first 4km from the lower car park is walking on paved road up to the upper car park, which is a pretty extreme uphill walk consisting of switch back roads. Youll be questioning whether or not you will be able to do another 24km of this. But dont worry, from the upper car park the real trail begins. Your next 1 km will be slowly rolling up and down hills, just enough to make you start thinking “oh man this hike will be easy from here on out”. however if you think that youll be dead wrong. because the next 3km are pretty extreme up hill mountain side as well. Dont worry there is no rock climbing or cliff face repelling or anything. Im just saying its a daunting elevation gain. In total youll gain 900 meters of elevation before the hike is through. the last 4km are ups and downs which are nice because they even each other out. This is my favorite part of the hike. Especially the last 1km because you know you are getting close and the adrenalin starts flowing heavily and you are so excited you dont even realize how exhausted you are anymore. Then you crest that final hill and it all opens up right in front of your eyes as if you were blind and had a miracle occur and you’ve just seen your very first sunrise! One of the most magnificent views I have ever had bestowed upon me! Trolltunga! spend a few hours there, have some lunch and a rest, take a few hundred pics for editing them later and you are set to turn around and make the long 10-14km hike back to your vehicle. In total i did the hike in about 10 hours. that was with an hour at the rock ledge. But i had a really steady pace going the entire time, with only one quick sandwich break each way.

20180821_073113

There are bus transportation options as well from the nearest towns that you can look into if you didn’t want to rent a vehicle. But if you are going to Norway, you’ll want to check out some of the other amazing places and hikes they have available such as Kjeragbolton rock and Preikstolen. These are just two examples you can look into if you havent heard of them before I highly recommend you google them. Unfortunately when I was there it rained everyday except one and that was the day I went to Trolltunga. And be warned, they will shut down these trails if it is raining so you’ll want to have a few days at each place as a buffer zone in case the weather is bad.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Supplies for hike; at the minimum you should have, a backpack, flashlight, rain jacket and pants, warm sweaters, food for the day, enough water for yourself, hiking boots, hat and sunglasses. They recommend that you should bring walking sticks with you, but those people piss me off so i’m not recommending that at all. You’ll look like a douche with them and nature didn’t intend us to walk with sticks.

There will be a lot of people hiking this trail with you and there will be a long queue for the picture-taking at the rock ledge. So be prepared for that. A lot of people had full camping gear with them. You are allowed to set up a tent along the trail, but off the trail and camp over night. But for god sakes take all of your garbage with you and I don’t think you are allowed to have fires either. Anyhow, if you decide to camp out over night you’ll be able to get great pictures at the cliff at sunrise and sunset. Be careful not to get up in the middle of the night to pee and fall off of a cliff!

Norway

  • Nature/Landscape – 10/10
  • Food – 4/10 (not very good)
  • Price – $$$$$
  • Alcohol Price – $$$$$
  • Locals – Super friendly and all spoke English

Moscow

Moscow, The Business City of Well Dressed Russians!

Welcome to Moscow

Overall Impressions- I loved my time in Moscow. Everyone was super friendly and polite and it’s very English friendly. As in most Russians in Moscow know how to speak and understand English. But its wise to learn a bit of Russian before going and at least try. they will smile and giggle at you and then speak to you in English! it is a business oriented city so there is little to no poverty that i saw anyhow and everyone is dressed well. lots of Dapper looking Suited up Russian folk walking around the streets.

I traveled to Moscow in August 2018. After some lengthy and a little bit expensive Visa application processes, I got accepted. Off to meet up with a Russian friend. I landed in Moscow and headed to the Novotel Kievskaya. I was surprised to see the tight security at the hotel when i arrived. it was on the fourth floor of a tall building and upon exiting the elevator there was full blown airport style security you had to go through before even entering the hotel. which is kind of annoying but makes you feel safe at the same time. when you go to Moscow there are a couple of must see attractions. of course i’m going to say the Kremlin and also St Basils Cathedral, but what i’m always more so into is the food and party scene. when i arrive at any major new city i like to start drinking with the locals. so for these kind of shenanigans, head down to Old Arbot Ave and also New Arbot Ave. they are about one block away from each other and just west of the main center of Moscow. New Arbot is obviously newer with nice pubs and restaurants everywhere layed out down a busy road but has large walking areas on either side. Old Arbot is more of a European style walking street with lots of little cafes and pubs. my recommendation is to head out there at night and pub hop and make some new international Russian friendships! Start off by saying, “Dobri Vecher, ya govoryu tol’ko nemnogo, ya hochu tebya 😉

When in Moscow i advise you to take the Metro everywhere. its super cheap and very punctual of time. The metro stations are simply incredible. Every station has its own art theme and displays as seen above. It will honestly make you wanna stop at every station and get out just to walk around and look at all the cool stuff they’ve got displayed everywhere. Or you can take a taxi as well. They are really really cheap in Russia!

Moscow

  • Nature/Landscape – 3
  • Food                          – 8 (very very good)
  • Price                          – $$ (cheap)
  • Alcohol Price           – $$ (cheap)
  • Locals                        – Super friendly and mostly spoke English
  • Transportation         – $ (Super Cheap and effective and efficient)

 

A tell all tale of Nicks wild adventures around the globe in no particular order with the odd recommendation!