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Sunday, June 12, 2011

PREAMBLE TO THE BLACK SEA JOURNEY

DRINKING WITH KATIA

Katia is from Siberia. Had a great drinking session with her. Unfortunately, I am not smart enough to learn Russian and she just started her English lessons. So, it was some guesswork, a bit of German and a lot of Google Translate.

Still an interesting night. She does journalism (human interest) in Siberia.



WHAT DAY?

I've talked to a lot of people who have never been to America. We've discussed how swearing is pretty much the norm, even in casual conversation. Some of these people I've talked to about it said "Yes, sure." however I could tell that down deep, they had doubts as to whether this was correct. To add to the mounting pile of evidence I would like to direct you to "I don't give a fuck" day.



STATES

For a wildly confusing (to people who English is not their first language) look at all fifty American states, check here. Thanks to Michelle and Bob from Facebook for sharing it.



GOLDMEMBER QUOTE

Since I have been reunited with Henriette, while she was eating breakfast I got to tempt her with
"A smoke and a pancake. You know, flapjack and a cigarette? Hm? Alright. Cigar and a waffle? Pipe and a crepe? No. Bong and a blintz? No? I can see there is no pleasing you." (Goldmember) It did get her to laugh but it is her own fault for being Dutch.



PREAMBLE TO THE BLACK SEA JOURNEY

Most of this was typed in notepad while I was on the boat to Georgia. Notepad doesn't seem to have a spelling check. When I copy/paste it into Blogspot, it defeats the automatic spell check that it has. Any grammatical errors, spelling errors and so forth are the fault of my not having a good editor. Should this ever be deemed interesting enough to be edited extensively then any spelling errors will be the fault of the editor. Till then, suck it up, buttercup. There isn't much access to internet in the middle of the Black Sea for some reason.

I've also been asked if I thought that a blog like this (ie painfully honest) will turn people off of traveling to some of the countries I've been to or doing some of the things I've done. It might. For many Western travelers, they may consider some of the customs and conditons here to be 'appaling'. Personally, I'm having a great time. If I wanted everything the same as in the USA, I'd have stayed in the fucking USA. I come here for differences. If you are the kind of traveler who bitches if there isn't a mint on your pillow with the beds freshly turned down at night you will either need to spend a lot more money than I do traveling or seek different places to travel. My travel is travel on the cheap. It is a bit more adventurous than most people will consider but not nearly as adventurous as many of the people I've met.



TICKET QUEST

I went to an office I'd been directed to by Adam and Sylvia (owners of the hostels I'd been staying at in Ukraine) to see 'Vladlin Tarasenko' about buying a ticket to get a ship from Illichivsk (the harbor near Odessa) to Batumi, Georgia. Vladlin is one of those energetic people who gets calls constantly while you're talking to him trying to get your business sorted out. I think that much activity would kill me inside of a year. I know it wouldn't drive me to drink because I think I'm already enjoying as much as I can handle. While I was waiting to get my ticket, I got to watch a German who would become one of my shipmates (Franz R) buy his. Franz's ticket was a lot more complicated as he was bringing a motorcycle with him. He's going to be riding it through Georgia into Armenia.

I'm sure the folks who have traveled with me are rolling their eyes and saying "Logan's not even on the ship and he's already meeting passengers." True.

My 1550 UAH ticket for the three day ocean voyage got done without any real problems. Vladlin told me that the ship would be ready for me to board either and 14:00 or 18:00. I figured great, time to shop the next morning and get everything ready. I think if I left before 11:00, I should be there early, even if I get to board at 14:00.

So, I decided to hang out with other folks staying at the hostel. And drink with them.



DRINKING BEFORE LEAVING ODESSA

I was having a few drinks with another Russian from Siberia named Katia. She didn't speak a lot of English but we had a nice night drinking. Google Translate was also in fine form. Katia is a reporter and does human interest stories. I've noticed in a lot of the countries that communism either was or is, a lot of the reporters I've gotten to know have either done sports or human interest stories. I'm thinking it's a lot less deadly tha something like 'investigative journalism'. This get together was two nights before I left. Drinking with the Dutch (below) occurred the night before I left.

The night after, I was having a couple drinks with two gentlemen from the Netherlands, Ivo and Igor. They were traveling around checking out different things. Both have a great interest in the cold war. Unless I've gotten the two mixed up, Ivo works at times for the prime minister in Amsterdam doing various historical work and Igor works as an editor of a car magazine. These two gave me some more information on the Netherlands.



INFORMATION ON THE NETHERLANDS

The Netherlands has it's own Protistant 'bible belt'. This starts in the SW part of the country and heads NE, ending well before the border. There are some strict villages - straw hats are worn, women in skirts with black stockings, no TV on Sunday (yea! I fucking hate TV anyway!) ad other such strict religious observances.

I asked what the greatest challenge the Netherlands faces and they discussed welfare. It's costing a lot and the governnment keeps making cuts to keep it sustainable for the future. The other problem is they currently have a xenophobic party who is preaching things like 'all Muslims are terrorists' and so on. The politicians are working on playing on peoples fears and turning it into votes. [To me, this sounds very American.]

The best thing about the Netherlands, they said, is that people have a economically viable government. "We don't have to complain."

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PICTURES

{{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

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