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Sunday, September 27, 2015

HALFWAY AROUND THE WORLD

LIVE AND STAGGERING TOUR THANK YOU TIME


Now that the travel funk is finally starting to clear from my head,

I wanted to take a minute to thank all of the people who made the "Live and Staggering" tour so much fun.

In order,

Diana Barátosi​ and Baratosi Sorin​ in Romania. You guys are awesome to hang out with. It feels like we've been friends for years. I mean even more years. It's a great feeling and I look forward to visiting you in the future!

Paweł Boczkowski​ and his lovely girlfriend Ola Kazalska​ in Poland. Pawel, I've got to say 'working' at your bar got me drunker than I've been in the last two decades; the drunkest I've gotten while on this tour. Ola, thanks for putting up with my shenanigans. And Pawel's! You guys make me want to come back to visit Poland again. Next time, I want to see more as I now know of the 'Milky Bar' and know I can always get fed. The teachings of Pawel. Yes, I know we forgot to get the interview but let's try for next time. Unless you distract me with alcohol. Again.

Levan Mania​ and Alena in Czech Republic. Wow, I can't wait till Sebastian is older. If I survive till then, I will flip him off and help his daddy draw eyebrows on him for 'old times sake'. Levan, it will be epic though we may both have to hide from your wife. Jana Luhanová​ and Honza Luhan​ - it was great to catch up with you guys again! Jana, I look forward to having a beer with you in a couple years and hearing a story. ;) Holger Schluenzen​ in Germany. Can you believe this guy literally gave up half his bed for me? No, it's not like that - he moved one of the two mattresses onto the floor. It's a damned comfortable mattress. Holger, I hope your zombie killing only grows to encompass more games. Your place is an interesting one filled with interesting people. Thanks so much for making me feel like part of the group. And not testing my German.

Henriëtte Klijnstra​ in Netherlands. She literally moved out of her place to let me have it. For extra time since one of the other guys dropped out at the last minute. What can I say about that other than THANK YOU. Though I'd have preferred to see you more. Both in the clean and wicked sense, yes. :) I hope in the future you get a job that gives you more of your life back. And sleep.

Matthew Lunn​ in England. We made that shit work. I hope your relative who is in the hospital (keeping it vague here) gets healthy enough to take up kickboxing. And win! Thanks for providing me with literally everything. England is stupid expensive. We need to get together in a country I can afford.

But I just wanted to sincerely deeply thank each and every person who gave respite (and alcohol) to a weary traveler and made him feel very lucky to know such people.


Even with such awesome people, I am a bit surprised we pulled it off.  There is so much that could have gone wrong.  Jobs, relatives and other unexpected crap.  It is very cool that it worked.

So why do I do it?

Normally, I get to meet people just for a short time.  They stay a night or two in the same hostel that I do, or I meet them for drinks or some other chance encounter.

If you get to go stay with them for a week, you really get to know them.  And that is very interesting.  If they have time, inclination and knowledge, you even get to find out something about their country, their culture and people in a way that no casual tourist ever will.

"By using our official tourist service, we guarantee you will never have to interact with any of the locals."

It is 'da bomb'.

Yes, they sell these as decals.  No, I'm not sure what kind of person buys them.  I feel dumber just using the phrase.  Perhaps the decals are a way of displaying this stupidity?  Who knows.

If you would like to host Logan (me!), get in touch via Facebook.  If you are not in the USA, keep an eye on my Facebook feed till it seems I might be coming to your country then get in touch with me.  It could be epic!



HALFWAY AROUND THE WORLD


Well, you have to be.  Otherwise, you are back where you started and that wouldn't be very exciting, now would it?

Due to the high cost of just getting around anywhere near London, Matt left me to my own devices in regards to the tube from Slough to Victoria Station.

Victoria Station!  Now - with more Britishness!

Fortunately, there are workers all over to ask.  Unfortunately, they often say things like "They don't know what they are talking about - the best way is to go this way..."  And then you have to figure out who to believe.

They also have occasional 'Foul Ole Ron' types who wander around yammering to themselves, threatening people and spitting.  I've no idea how they can afford London.  Seriously, just getting the tube and a fast food meal was 22 BPS.  Stupidly expensive here.

Once you get to Victoria (tube) station, you get to hike your ass about four blocks to Victoria (Coach) station.  It seems like a ways when you have all your crap and some fast food in hand.

Because Burger King likes misogynistic ads.  Women didn't object because...hunger?

The bus made it back onto the ferry.  If you have pounds (BPS), the prices are merely exorbitant.  If you need to switch EUR to BPS at their expressionistic exchange rate, the prices are stupid.  Bring your own food and drink.  If you want or need wifi, you can drop 3 BPS (or 6 EUR at their exchange rate) for an hour and a half of it.


Eventually, we made it back to Brussels.  Their public transport is very nice.  I don't even remember much about the trip from the train station to the airport (via train) other than being very punch drunk and chatting with other people.

Once in the airport, Jet Airways informed me of their policy of not allowing any cigarette lighters - either in the carry on nor in the checked luggage.  I failed to inform them of my policy of ignoring any rules I think are stupid and that I believe I can get away with ignoring.  They did have the next to last laugh as India itself (still a couple steps behind) does not allow any cigarette lighters in the carry on luggage nor the checked luggage.  Even though I was merely transferring from one plane to another, they confiscated all of my lighters and even got the ones in my checked luggage.  Except one.  Which kind of gave me the last laugh except that I was down about seven lighters.  Bastards.

With just one of these, India believes you can take over an airplane.  Or destroy it.  "And he who can destroy a thing controls a thing!" - Paul 'Muad'dib' Atreidies

I figure that when all of the countries were acting like scared children and outlawing lighters, someone in India discovered they could make a few rupees reselling them and is loath to give up this extra income.  It's just a suspicion.

For now.

"Look how much money we have made from Logan's lighters!"

I got lucky on the longer of the two plane rides (Brussels to Mumbai) because the plane was only half full.  Got to have an empty seat next  to me.

From Mumbai to Thailand, not so.  And the guy ahead of me was happy to steal what little space I could get by leaning back.  I don't lean back because in the interest of profits the seats are stupidly close together and I want to be considerate of the poor sap behind me.



THAILAND, LAND OF MISINFORMATION

There is a bus station no where close to the airport called "Mo Chit".  What came as a surprise later is there is also apparently a "Mo Chit 2".  Possibly more.

While you can indeed take their lovely skytrain (I did) on one line then the other to 'Mo Chit', this does NOT put you anywhere close to the bus station.

A lovely system that often allows you to bypass scummy taxi drivers by just going to the basement of the airport.  In this case,  however, spending three times the money and getting a taxi would have been better.

When you talk to taxi drivers and say "Mo Chit to city X", you realize how terribly important good public schools are and how few qualifications are needed to become a taxi driver.  Before you say that is unfair, I would point out that even showing this to them  in their native language does not clear it up.  They just don't understand.  And again, never ask "Do you speak English" because the answer is rarely truthful.

"Huh?"

Eventually, after a lot of walking and interviewing twenty three confused taxi people, I got a taxi to Mo Chit 2.  From there, I found a minibus.

The best thing that can be said about traveling by a minibus (ie small van) is that it 'beats walking'.  Or, at least it is faster than walking.  Usually.

On the plus side, the fare is cheap.  Seventy THB - a bit over  two dollars.  Since I had bags, they wanted me to buy two seats.  Knowing locals often didn't, I negotiated for the front seat with my bags next to me.  They liked the deal and off we went.

"Is there a high table or desk in the room?"  Oh yes.  Oh, but no there isn't.  They just want to lure you up to the room in the hopes you will be so awed by seeing it that you will suddenly forget about the only thing you asked them about.

After doing that a couple of times, a tout (though I believe she lives there) took me to her place.  It does have a swimming pool but I've no desire to try it out to see if it is properly up-kept or just a new variety of poison water for my eyes.

So, I am in Thailand.  The name of the city is the unpronounceable (to me) Ayutthaya.  Not said how it is spelled.  There is not a lot here but the room is moderately comfortable and the wifi decent so I will stay here a few days to  figure out my route.

So...confusing...



I AM A THIN WAFER

Logan wears a 3XL.  This goes up to 14XL.  Fuck you, rest of the world.  I am medium sized (and apparently getting smaller) in the USA!

From here.  Thanks to Derek for knowing just where to get a 'I beat anorexia' shirt.


Monday, September 21, 2015

TO ENGLAND!

ONWARD TO LONDON

For some unknown reason, you can only check in for the Eurolines bus half an hour before it is ready to leave.  Not earlier and if you show up with only fifteen minutes to go, you're out of luck.  It's a narrow window.

Can I get my bag into the over head compartment?  No idea - every bus is different.  Do I have an assigned seat?  No, it is a mad scramble.  Cool.

As we are cutting through France, the police pull in front of the bus then turn on their light.  They guide us to some way out of the way spot and surround us with other waiting police and drug sniffing dogs.

Passports from the people on the bus are checked and they have the dogs work the bags.  Usually, once is enough for drug sniffing dogs but they had these dogs go over the bags four times!  It was like they had gotten a phone in tip that a couple of bricks of heroine would be on this bus and they couldn't believe they weren't finding it.

They didn't find shit.  Fifteen or thirty minutes later we were on our way, the driver pushing hard to try to make up for lost time.  Or just escape France.

Not everyone made it out of France.  We lost a passenger.  He was carted off by the authorities.  I wanted to specify the authorities did it so you wouldn't get the wrong idea.

Among the possible signs that an anal probe is coming your way soon...

The other, more common sign...


After passing through France we got to the English border control.

Just like every other time I've gone into England, they grilled me like I was wearing a shirt that said "Ask me about rape and pillage!"

Other bus passengers were saying things like "They sure talked to you for a long time!" and so on.  No idea why the hell I get the fascist treatment every time I set foot into England.  I was even told I was not allowed to get married here!  Aw!

We had to cross the channel by ferry to get to England proper.  Aside from hanging out with a couple nice guys, the most interesting thing that happened was I'd broken down and ordered the ten quid 'full English breakfast'.  I was hungry enough to pay the insane prices on the boat.  They asked if I wanted hash browns.  I said I did and would it be possible to exchange my blood pudding (really a thing here) for another hash brown.  Of course, but it will just be a minute or two for the hash browns.  No problem.  After about ten minutes of waiting, the cook freaked out that I hadn't gotten my order yet.  I hadn't said anything but just sat there waiting and smiling.  The cook escorted me over to the cashier and told them my breakfast was free since I had to wait a long time.  Shocking!

Finding the small assed entrance to Victoria Station was tricky and getting around the complicated tubes Herculean.  Fortunately, they had people stationed at various places to answer questions and presumably make sure people didn't board without tickets.

Eventually, I arrived and was met by Matt at Heathrow.

A very old friend of mine.

At this point, I was so tired as to be hallucinating.  My hands were shaking at some times and I was very punch drunk.

Solution?

Alcohol.

Yes, it worked.  Well, I think it did.  Eventually, I crashed and burned, as they say in the USA.  Meaning went to bed for a long time and have no memory of the rest.

England!



TRAVELERS TIPS

Keep your train ticket way past when you think you need it.  They seem to have an RFID chip within that opens some gates into - and out of - the train areas.  Yes, you need the ticket to leave.

Carry a few EUR fifty cent coins around.  One allows access to the bathrooms.

Never change money on a ferry.  They have exchange rates which are so bad as to be illegal on dry land.  Seriously - just don't.



Q AND A

Derek asks: What practices do you have to best adjust to the changes in time? How does this affect your medication regimen?

Answer:

When you don't have to go work for someone, you don't have a set time you have to get up and go to bed. When you are tired, you sleep. When you are not you find something to do.

Having said that, there is no reason to ever be awake before say ten or eleven o'clock in the morning unless you have transportation you need to get to. Those people who go off to see sunrises in different places allow you to witness a combination of youthful idealism combined with stupidity. Reading their faces when they come back shows they are more tired than awed - every damn time. But I don't attempt to discourage them. It makes me rest even better knowing some poor bastards are out schlepping it up a thousand steps to be at some monkey temple or top of a volcano so they can witness the effect of the planet turning somewhere else.

You can also adjust your sleep schedule easily by either camping or living in such crude conditions that you may as well be camping.

As to my medication, I just try to pop the pills when I awake rather than attempting to time it.

Friday, September 18, 2015

MY LIFE IS NON FICTION...SORT OF...

MY JOURNEY TO SLOUGH

Apologies if this seems a bit punchy.  Due to a long layover, and a Starbucks, I decided to make a 'blog on the road' without sufficient alcohol.  Harsh, I know.  But I'll try to describe what's happened thus far.

Without going into detail, for personal reasons my buddy had to cancel the whole Belgium thing the day before it kicked off.

Whenever Logan thinks life is going along too easily, the universe opens it giant butt cheeks above him.

Normally, I would not wish to intrude upon my friend and his family at such a personal vulnerable time but there are three factors which make it completely necessary.

I'd already bought my plane ticket to Asia and need a place to stay until that kicks off.

I need to visit with my buddy who I've not seen in years.

And lastly, he has the debit card that I had sent to him from the states at great expense.  Need that as my only other one is getting set to expire soon.

Hence, it is very necessary to get together with him.  But he needs to stay home.

"If Mohammed won't to the mountain, the mountain must come to Mohammed."  (Yes, I did just quote Francis Bacon from 1625 in my blog.  Fear not, I'll be drunk in a few hours.)

That saying was probably a lot more popular before the rise of militant Islam...

Anyway,

So I spent a hellish few hours alternatively whining on Facebook and trying to do research before I found what seems to be a workable solution.

After I get to Bruge, take the train immediately onward to Brussels.  From there get a bus to London.  By doing it that way, I can book a round trip from Brussels ~ London since I already know what date I'm flying out.

Groovy.

Getting around in Europe isn't really that complicated.  It just takes money.  Unfortunately, you start having stupid thoughts like "It's only 50 EUR to go over here while forgetting that it is only a few hundred to switch continents.

So my initial plan of 'get to Bruge' (childhood home of Dr. Evil) was still in tact.  My friend Hen checks her phone with the frequency of an addict told me that apparently someone had gone crazy at the train station and locked themselves into a bathroom.

Normally, this would not have been a big deal except that a couple weeks ago, some fool tried to blow up a train station here.

Hence, they closed down the entire train station of the city I was going to.  Lots of hard looking police with assault rifles ran around justifying their existence.   Could it get worse?  (Yes, later it did.)  Hence, it was time to find another way there.

And I had a plethora of trains to catch.

Plethora!

I'm on the ultra modern train reading the wall display telling what stations we were coming to and when and the conductor comes to me.  "There may be trouble further along."  The police and toilets sort of thing.

At this point, I began making bad toilet puns.  "It's a shitty situation."  "Hope the guy locked into the bathroom decides to shit or get off the pot."  That sort of thing.  I strung them along, one after another until he and the surrounding people started laughing.

"If everyone gets off the train, you need to as well.  Find me, I'll point you in the right direction."  I thanked the conductor and off he went.

Fortunately, a reporter and his wife decided to adopt me at this point.

Once there is any sort of emergency going on, the nifty multi-lingual announcements suddenly end.  People are panicky creatures and will resort to their native language and none other.  So it was very nice of these folks to take me under their wings.

We switched trains a time or two until we got to one that they told me they'd have to leave me at.  There will be a two hour lay over till the next train and we're going into town they said.

Cool.  I can hang out for a couple hours.

At this point, I got the bright idea of attempting to cash in on the chaos Netherlands rail was going through.  Instead of going all the way to Bruges, why not head to Brussels from here?  The nice Netherlands couple said it was so and even wrote down how to do it.

Off to the ticket counter.

Ah, the train the nice couple was expecting has been cancelled.  So has the train I was thinking about taking.  Super.

But, the clever lady came up with another alternative route and printed me out an itinerary.   Will it cost extra?  No - because Netherlands is one of the few places you are traveling within a zone - rather than on specific trains and such.  Since it is a shorter ride, no extra money.

Groovy.

After that, I met a very bubbly interesting ex-hippy from Italy.  She is fluent in a half dozen languages and pretty darned interesting.  We chatted and since she speaks Dutch, she took over the 'guide Logan' duty.

Everything was fine until some guy committed suicide just outside of Brussels on the train tracks.

I can't make this shit up.

The train stopped minutes from my final destination and the alarm went off repeatedly.  Nobody knew nothing.  Eventually, the crowd decided to switch to another train.

After a few minutes, the crowd decided to reboard the original train.

No clue at all why this is.  It is weird.

On the original train, we eventually made our way the few minutes into the Brussels station.

The European lady (I call her that because she's lived in lots of places within Europe) bid me goodbye and I drifted around till I found the Eurolines bus station.  Fortunately, this is connected to the train station.  Convenient.

After a mildly disappointing twenty euro lunch/dinner/only food I've had all day, it was time to begin enduring my several hours of downtime.

And that's how you got this blog.

The next step will be to catch the Eurolines bus (yes, I did double check to make sure this is where I need to be) and somehow get to England.  The people on the train didn't see how it could be done and showing them the tickets just confused them.

Wish me luck!



VIDEOS

Warning:  None of these videos is long enough to masturbate to.

Ambulance driving by - just for the sound of it's siren.
Mysteries Of The Universe - trailer for a new show by Logan.
Train station - a quick video of the train station in Groningen, Netherlands as it's pretty kicking.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

THE DUTCH

THE DUTCH

Unfortunately, it's not just like this.

Anyway...

This is my first foray into non-Amsterdam Netherlands, so I thought I'd put down some quick observations on the Dutch.

Generally, they are a tall and good looking people.  Except for my hostess.  She is short and good looking.  No, she is not a midget.  Sadly.

If you take a good-natured Dutch person and have someone standing in the bike lane, the Dutch person will lose their fucking mind.  Beware of the bike lane.

There are two interesting types of Dutch person.  One is illustrated by this story:

I was in IKEA (mostly to have lunch - get some lingonberries) and told the clerk:  "I need some big fluffy slippers to fit over my gigantic feet because I have a neighbor who bitches if I walk around barefoot at night."  He laughed and just said "Netherlands."

I call this type of person the 'tetchy' sort.  They exist here because Europeans are generally not violent enough to cull them.  They will make you want to punch them in the face.  I've never encountered this sort on the road - possibly because they would self destruct if confronted with the rest of the world.



The other sort I call the 'mellow' ones.  They typically offer you something to drink and would like to sit around and talk for awhile.  I've met one of each in the building I'm staying in.  The mellow ones you can often encounter on the road and give the Netherlands a very favorable image.


I've only seen one residence, but from the way they talk to each other about products that are multi-use or can be easily stored away, I've gotten the impression their homes are much smaller than ones in the USA.

They have a weird three name thing here (Dutch, Holland, Netherlands) which seem to be used interchangeably.  I'm sure there is a good reason (probably historical) but I've not bothered to look up why.


They seem to have fairly sucky (though expensive) food here.  I'm thinking they were also sick of it and  that's why they went and took over part of Indonesia, back in the old days when no people were too good to stab to get better food.  Hen (my host) has promised that later we will go to some restaurant to try 'Dutch cuisine' but most of their food looks like it would be better eaten while drunk.  Which is ironic considering their alcohol is really expensive.  Probably from taxes - but that's what socialized medicine gets ya.  Disclaimer:  People who say 'yeah, but they pay more taxes', fuck off.  You don't know what percentage you pay much less what they pay.  (Hint:  It's different based on the amount you make and how good your accountant is.)  The first time you get a $20,000 dollar medical bill you can think about the error of your ways.

There is no Dutch person who does not own a bicycle - unless they are crippled or something.  (Being in the USA and crippled myself I don't have to go with the 'disabled' or 'handy-capable' PC bullshit.  Hey - you clicked the button to get in here - don't look at me like that!)

This is a typical Dutch bike.  It does not have any of the 'bells and whistles' bikes in the USA do and looks pretty sucky.  All of the bikes do.  I suspect this is because of the large amount of bikes stolen and resold within the country.

The Dutch (and most Europeans other than perhaps the Germans who are strangely silent on this topic) are horrified by the amount of violence that goes on in the USA.  It probably doesn't help when I say things like "Sure the people in the USA are violent.  Hell, we love it so much we export that shit!"

Although I'm guessing they exist somewhere, I've not yet seen any Dutch who are wildly dressed.  Distressed jeans seems to be the most wild they go for.  Overall, they are pretty 'straight laced' for a modern country.  I am keeping my eyes open for the ones who have gone a more freaky path but in the days I've been here, not one.



LOGANISMS

As I've gotten older, I notice some of the things I say get me looked at in a certain way.  A certain 'are you actually insane?' sort of way.  Here are a few:

"Home is where the pepper grinder is."
"A house just isn't a home without a pepper mill."
"Electricity is the only thing that separates us from the common cheetah."
"I had a relationship with my coworkers like police have with criminals."
"Where the fuck am I?  I mean country?  Am I in a country?  If so, which one?"



FOR NERO PLAYERS

Blowing a drake can be traumatic.



Wednesday, September 9, 2015

LIVE AND STAGGERING TOUR: MUNICH TO NETHERLANDS

PIPE WATER WITH  ICE, PLEASE

This is Holger!  His hobbies include killing zombies.

I was talking to Holger (my Munich host) and he said that in the USA they put fluoride into the water.  Yes, I agreed.

In Germany, they were thinking about doing it because it makes sense for health.  They decided not to because it was considered 'medicating people without their permission'.

Today in Germany,  the tap water is considered 'cleaner than some bottled water'.

Note that this is a huge change from a mere thirty years ago.  Back then, the specter of lead pipes still loomed large.  If you went into a restaurant and asked for 'fifen wasser mit eis' (pipe water with ice), it was like saying "Your restaurant sucks.  Give me a glass of cold poison."  Ice was (perhaps still is - not sure on that) extremely unhealthy.

Even today, finding ice in Europe is still a touch and go thing in most homes.  You can get it in restaurants.  Places like McDonald's put very little ice into the drink.  A shockingly small amount for people from the USA.

What can I say about Munich?  It's a very comfortable place for me.  Everyone under forty can speak English well and I can speak bad German.  The public transport system is amazing.

Holger was nice enough to show me off at the bus station.



INTO THE WILDS OF THE NETHERLANDS

After a couple of ten minutes to get to the next train changes, I eventually reached Groningen, Netherlands.  Most people won't be able to pronounce it correctly.  Let's just say I'm in the northern part.

It's a really nice town, made much nicer because of this lady...

This is Henriëtte! Her hobbies include getting flirted with by Logan and telling Logan he is insane on an hourly basis.

So, I'm wandering around here.  It's a nice college town.

Unbelievably, Henriette took me in longer than expected (one of the guys cancelled on me) and she gave up her whole house for me.  She moved in with her boyfriend.  This was totally unexpected.  Turns out she is in a one room flat and doesn't want me to stare at her while she's dressing.  Sad, I know.

The downsides include a three story hike up and down stairs to smoke (she wants me thinner, I think) and NO WIFI.  It's torturous.  So I got a phone sim card and put on some bandwidth.  Total, about 30 EUR I think.  Not sure how long it will hold out.

After Groningen, I'll be in Bruges (pronounced 'Brooge').  I was quite excited when I discovered this as it was the home of one of my idols.

Much of my life is based on his teachings...



MIND BLEACH REQUIRED

A conversation that has stuck in my mind was when a friend told me he was calling ahead to let his friends know we were on our way.  Despite it being his place, he explained, they might be running around in various states of undress.

I cocked an eyebrow at this.

He said "I like my friends to be relaxed when they're at my place."

Logan:  "So if a guy was just standing there naked in the middle of the apartment with a really grim, determined look on his face masturbating...?

He gave me the 'wtf is wrong with you' look I get more than most people and said "That is too relaxed."



SEX
It could have been worse...



STAIRMASTER

This was on sale for over $3000.  Yes, really.

I've never understood why people buy these.  Just live up a few floors in a building with no elevator.



VIDEOS

Modern day Munich



PRICES (Munich)

Wine, 4 EUR
Day pass, public transport near the city center (zone 1), 6.50 EUR
Beer, in grocery store, 1 EUR (3-4 EUR in a bar - stay home and drink)


PRICES (Groningen)

Rum, 1 liter, 14 EUR (?)
Meal, microwavable, 5 EUR (I'm living on these)
Note that it is way too easy to spend a lot of money eating out - like 30 EUR plus.
Beer, in bar around 4 EUR


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

PRAGUE TO MUNICH

LOGAN INTERACTS WITH THE LOCALS

When interacting with the locals, diplomacy is key.



PRAGUE

Visiting Poland makes me anxious to go back.  Now that I know of 'Milky Bars' I know it is always possible to eat cheaply there, thus making it affordable.  And the people - super friendly.  Want to go back.

Went to Prague to meet up with Levan, his new wife Alena (spelling?) and his new son, Sebastian.  Who I am flipping off in the picture above.  With his dad on camera.

Hello nice people who get little sleep (note the stroller)!

I got to hang out a bunch with Levan.  We tried to do some gaming with his group but the store was closed that day to non-Magic The Gathering players (some 'Grand Prix Tournament') so instead we attempted to reenact the 'Trail of Tears' by wandering through Prague.

Fortunately, there were beer stops, just like the original trail of tears.  Or they had 'bear stops'.  I'm not really sure.  I don't think either party had as much fun as was hoped.

Anyway, Prague is a fairly hip, fairly expensive city.  Pictures don't give the full impact.  For normal (as opposed to Loganesque or long term) tourists, I recommend it.  Go and explore.  It is beautiful - European to the core.  Not difficult to travel or navigate.

While in Prague, I got to visit with Jana and her brother Jan.  Yes, their parents had some sort of strategy naming them.

This is a picture of Jana with a stroller because Logan is a dick.

Everyone seems to be doing well.  Levan and Jana even came to see me off.  I thought that was sweet of them.  Also, it seems that in this part of the world, the bus you booked may not be the one that arrives.  Check it out closely.

Damned comfortable bus.



MUNICH

Holgar was waiting for me where the DB (Deutsches Bahn) bus was suppose to go, but didn't.  Fortunately, they'd left their wifi on and we coordinated.

This is Holgar.  If this were not an inanimate picture of Holgar and indeed was the real person, he would say 'hi'.  Since you are looking at a picture, don't expect a lot.

Well, fuck you too, Harry Potter...


Enough already!


So far in hanging out with Holgar, I've discovered that a large number of Germans like to go down to the river to hang out or swim.  It's a stone beach with no chairs so not really my thing though I'm grateful to have gotten a glimpse into what locals here do.

Also, I'd like to state that Europeans seem to have absolutely no qualms about walking a kilometer or three to get somewhere.  This may be alarming to Americans who drive their garbage to the curb.



HITCHES

I've encountered my first hitch in the 'Live and Staggering' tour thus far.  The guy I was suppose to stay with Sept 7 to Sept 10 is unable to host now.

We'll see if I can find someone else who wants me over.



ONE NICE THING ABOUT THE INTERNET

When you are describing the USA to someone and say something outrageous, you have proof at hand to back it up.

In the USA, you don't eat until you are full - you eat until you hate yourself.



BOOK REVIEWS

Charles Sheffield - "My Brother's Keeper"

An interesting book with the worst ending ever.   This counts as science fiction, mostly due to the complexities of the human brain or the incompetence of modern doctors.

It's a twisting story that takes place on earth in the 'not too distant future'.  The part that frustrated me most is it feels like it should be part of a series.

5/10


"Your Fathers, Where Are They?  And The Prophets, Do They Live Forever?" by Dave Eggers

This audio book is in the 'what the fuck did I just listen to' category.  Normally, I'd have stopped it long ago but some mysterious force sucked me in and literally compelled me to watch the whole slow motion car wreck.

Saying anything about what it is would be a spoiler so I'll just go with 'consider it a weird radio drama'.

5/10


Tuskers (Volume 1) by Duncan McGeary

Pig apocalypse.  Yes, really.

It was interesting enough to keep me along for the ride but yet another 'wtf did I just read' book.

Since it is volume 1, I'm guessing eventually another volume will come out.  I'd read it but I'm not going through great lengths to get it.

5/10



MOVIES

From the Uprising Museum in Warsaw, Poland a neat exhibit they have.

Because it is cheap (for movie makers) and picturesque, Prague has a lot of movies made in it.  Here, you get to watch background extras go round and round.



COSTS (Prague)

Bus, Prague to Munich, 4-5 hr trip, 750 CZK
Two coffees, two terribly dry blueberry cheese cakes that taste of sadness, 215 CZK
Beer, 25-40 CZK
Food, cheap, 100-200 CZK (go for the lunch specials, they are usually closer to 100 CZK)
Public travel for half hour, 24 CZK


COSTS (Munich)

Day pass for transport, 6 EUR
Beer from grocery store, 1 EUR
Sandwich and bottle of water from stand up eatery, 6 EUR (note, near Marien Platz)

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 |

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