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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.


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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 | Portugal: Faro

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