Sunday, June 19, 2011




One of the passengers (who shall remain nameless) was approached by a lady who asked (bad English) if he had anything to drink. He took her to his room and gave her a drink. She then pointed at the bed and held up three fingers. Apparently, she was wanting some extra spending money when she hit Georgia. She was politely refused.

Andries who'd learned to play backgammon the previous night was annoying people who'd played all their lives by winning. Repeatedly. He has a sharp mind.

The boat stopped a distance outside of the harbor. Apparently, it's a busy harbor. After waiting there for a couple of hours, the boat made it's way into port. Everyone was assembled ("mustered") in the lobby room to wait for customs control. That took another couple hours of people shamelessly cutting off each other. People are really horrible at queing in this part of the world.

After that, we went to the non-functional elevator for awhile then eventually managed to exit the ship. I was given incorrect directions by someone who worked there. Idiot.

And then on to Georgia!


For some reason I can't fathom, hostels aren't listed on all of the various hostel pages. You'd think if someone had a hostel, they'd spend a few hours at regular intervals finding all of the hostel web pages and making sure they are listed on at least the major ones. This doesn't seem to be the case. Andries and Inga found a hostel that is Batumi - I didn't know it existed. So, I decided to go with them to it. If I like Batumi, I'll stay there longer. Andries and Inga will be in Batumi for a couple days before going on to Tbilisi. We'll see what I think of the town but I have no desire to crowd them. But if Batumi sucks, I'll follow them to Tbilisi.


The Russian dubbing is the worst I've ever seen. Usually, one person speaking in a monotone doing both sexes parts.

I personally detest dubbing because it strips the actor's personality. Even if I am watching something in Chinese, I prefer subtitled.

Stubbornly speaking Russian... It's almost as if the people in charge of the TV station want to prevent folks from learning another language. I was thinking about this because Andries mentioned that subtitled TV helps a lot with learning a language.


"There is no adventure in working for someone else, only drugery and security - but that's fine for most people." - Logan Horsford.

Whenever someone asks me 'What sort of music do you like?' my answer is always the same. "None. I'd rather listen to you." Normally, people don't ask that question unless they are planning to subject you to the crap they think of as 'good'. No matter how good you think a piece of music is, no matter how it uplifts your soul - there will be other people who hear it and say it's shit. Music is too individualized to be subjeted to the general asses. It is my belief that public music is a form of noise polution. I'd rather listen to whatever music I like on headphones.


In both Sweden and the Netherlands, when you sit too long, you can say that you've gotten 'wooden ass'. A very strange phrase for Sweden but I could see it in the Netherlands to go with their shoes.


"Watching the cat come out of the tree". This refers to the Dutch custom of waiting to see how someone reacts/is/handles things so that they will know how to interact with that person. With each other the Dutch are very direct but they will never tell a foreigner to their face they don't like them.


Discussing what type of TV shows they like may be deemed 'too personal' of information to divulge by some people. Honestly, I don't know how they make friends - or maybe it's just me. I don't know.


Cup of mediocre coffe aboard ship - 8 UAH.
Can of mediocre beer aboard ship - 24 UAH.
Bottle of decent vodka aboard ship - 100 UAH.
Small can of peanuts aboard ship - 24 UAH.
Pepsi aboard ship - 16 UAH.


If you are not sure of the exact (ie it's not printed on your ticket or for all travel by ship) departure time, do your shoping the night before in case you have to run screaming out of the door like a maniac.

Ships in some parts of the world have narrow gang planks that go onto them. Imagine a ladder. If you can't carry your shit up this, you may be fucked. Try to pack stuff that you can lug up one. If you are carrying a rolling bag up there, be aware you might drop it into the sea and possibly land on your head on the docks after falling ten or more meters.

For rooms and such, an even number of travelers is always best.

After getting clear of the nightmare airports have become, a real Swiss Army Knife seems to be a good investment.

When you're getting onto a boat or long haul transport, always be extra nice to people you meet in the ticket office, waiting room, etc. You will be living in very close quarters with them for several days. If possible, bring food/alcohol in such quantities that you can share it with a large group of people. This helps set the mood for a friendly journey. I'd personally suggest several bottles of very good - but inexpensive alcohol. The problem (for me, and maybe you) of course is the weight of ten large bottles of alcohol - but it will make you very popular. You don't need to bring them out all at once. The big parties are when the boat initially leaves and (I suspect but have not yet experienced) before it docks.

Bring a lot more money for the ship than you think you'll need. All prices are literally x2 to x4 what they were on land. This is what a lack of competition does.

Tobasco or some such spicy sauce may really help allieviate the blandness or otherwise horrible taste of much of the food in Central and Eastern Europe. If you do carry one, be sure to get a bigger bottle than you think you'll need so that you can generously share it with everyone at your table. And, perhaps people from other tables that wander over and request it.

Always try to arrive at a new place during the daytime. Walking around at night with a heavy bag on containing all of your worldly possessions in an unfamiliar place sucks and increases the risk.


[A lot of this came from Andries as he is an extremely experienced traveler.]

Ships have to be completely self reliant. The larger vessles have a machine shop to make parts should something break.

On all Russian transport, it is necessary to know what time it is in Moscow. All Russian transport runs strictly on Moscow time. This time also appears on your tickets.

Some ships update their clocks as they pass into new time zones. Others, like the one I'm on, update to the new local time once they make port.

To measure the speed of a boat, drop something off the front, measure how long it takes to get to the back. [I thought knots had to do with a knotted rope, but I was told the knotted rope is used for measuring depth.]

If you go down stairs and gangplanks of a ship backward, it minimizes the distance you will fall.

According to Inga, it is usually illegal to photograph harbors and train stations. [I'm guessing all transport hubs are included in this.]


In an effort to make life a bit easier for those of you who don't know how to see someone's other albums within Photobucket, here is some help:

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{{2011}} London, GB | Rail N Sail | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Prague, Czech Republic | Budapest, Hungary | Sarajevo, Bosnia | Romania | Chisinau, Moldova | Ukraine: Odessa - Sevastopol | Crossed Black Sea by ship | Georgia: Batumi - Tbilisi - Telavi - Sighnaghi - Chabukiani | Turkey: Kars - Lost City of Ani - Goreme - Istanbul | Jordan: Amman - Wadi Rum | Israel | Egypt: Neweiba - Luxor - Karnak - Cairo | Thailand: Bangkok - Pattaya - Chaing Mai - Chaing Rei | Laos: Luang Prabang - Pakse | Cambodia: Phnom Penh | Vietnam: Vung Tau - Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City

{{2012}} Cambodia: Kampot - Sihanoukville - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat | Thailand: Bangkok | India: Rishikesh - Ajmer - Pushkar - Bundi - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jasalmer - Bikaner - Jaipur - Agra - Varanasi | Nepal: Kathmandu - Chitwan - Pokhara - Bhaktapur - (Rafting) - Dharan | India: Darjeeling - Calcutta Panaji | Thailand: Bangkok - again - Krabi Town | Malaysia, Malaka | Indonesia: Dumas - Bukittinggi - Kuta - Ubud - 'Full Throttle' - Gili Islands - Senggigi | Cambodia: Siem Reap | Thailand: Trat | Turkey: Istanbul | Georgia: Tbilisi

{{2013}} Latvia: Riga | Germany: Berlin | Spain: Malaga - Grenada | Morocco: Marrakech - Essauira - Casablanca - Chefchawen - Fes | Germany: Frankfurt | Logan's Home Invasion USA: Virginia - Michigan - Indiana - Illinois - Illinois - Colorado | Guatemala: Antigua - San Pedro | Honduras: Copan Ruinas - Utila | Nicaragua: Granada | Colombia: Cartagena | Ecuador: Otavalo - Quito - Banos - Samari (a spa outside of Banos) - Puyo - Mera

{{2014}} Peru: Lima - Nasca - Cusco | Dominican Republic | Ukraine: Odessa | Bulgaria: Varna - Plovdiv | Macedonia: Skopje - Bitola - Ohrid - Struga | Albania: Berat - Sarande | Greece: Athens | Italy: Naples - Pompeii - Salerno | Tunisia: Hammamet 1

{{2015}} Hammamet 2 | South Africa: Johnnesburg | Thailand: Hua Hin - Hat Yai | Malaysia: Georgetown | Thailand: Krabi Town | Indonesia:
Sabang Island | Bulgaria: Plovdiv | Romania: Ploiesti - Targu Mures | Poland: Warsaw | Czech Republic: Prague | Germany: Munich | Netherlands: Groningen | England: Slough | Thailand: Ayutthaya - Khon Kaen - Vang Vieng | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2016}} Thailand: Kanchanaburi - Chumphon | Malaysia: Ipoh - Kuala Lumpur - Kuching - Miri | Ukraine: Kiev | Romania: Targu Mures - Barsov | Morocco: Tetouan

{{2017}} Portugal: Faro | USA: Virginia - Michigan - Illinois - Colorado | England: Slough - Lancaster | Thailand: Bangkok | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2018}} Ukraine: Kiev - Chernihiv - Uzhhorod

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