Sunday, September 9, 2012

The world's biggest omelette. [Part 1]

If you are reading this, you are probably alone on that one.

If I had an egg for every year I hasn't written a post on this blog, I'd have to split the third egg with someone. I'd be able to bake pancakes, assuming I had the rest of the ingredients, which I don't, so I'll stick to an omelette.

If I had an egg for the amount of countries (new) I've visited since my last post, I'd have ten eggs. Now we're cooking!

So listen, I could have made this look better, but would you really put more than 5 minutes into an image like this when your readership in its glory days was around 20, and of the single digit readership you have now, half don't even recognise any of the flags on the eggs? If so, you should come do my dishes, because I guess you have nothing better to do.

Now I'll be honest, four of these countries do not really count as I did not spend actually see much other than roads, but I'm having an early midlife crisis so I need to build a legacy here, as I can't afford a driver's license, let alone a sports car. I could probably afford a prostitute, but I can still sleep with ugly people for free and they'll be thankful if anything.

If I had an egg for every couchsurfer I've hosted since I last wrote, and those eggs came in egg-cartons, I could cover in egg cartons the smallest wall of the room I'm in, but I'd probably save up longer for one of these egg carton couches.

Comfortable.

Among them were some real gems. An amazing couple from Slovenia left me a postcard saying they would not write a reference, since while they had an amazing time, they could not let other people know they associate with people like me. Another left me a neutral reference stating that because I have a few hundred positive ones, everyone is going to read the one neutral one to see what it would say.

Thanks, Ben, you impulsive freak. 
("I'm going to grab my train." "Where to?" "Not sure, I don't really remember")


I should mention that most of these things happened during my month-or-so long residence in Montpellier, home to hero of the entire francophone world and quite a few outside it: Remi Gaillard. Perhaps most famous for his viral video re-enacting the game "Mario Kart" in real life, he has done a lot of amazing stuff, which I won't get into, except for my favorite whe- well, just watch.

This man is amazing!

Well, now that you have been thoroughly convinced that this man is as childish as I am a god, I will not look silly in proclaiming in big fanboi letters: I met him.

Go on, laugh at the fanboi.

This, and the end of my dislike of wine were the highlights of my time in France. Oh no, I mustn't forget to acknowledge the amazing Jean-Jaques and Pascal, easily the youngest people over forty I've met. Hell, they almost managed to make me feel old. It's almost enough to restore ones faith in humanity, if one ignores these people are the exception rather than the rule.

Right. More egg-related stuff as I recant the tales of my time in Syria in Part 2 of ATTACK OF THE 50 FOOT OMELETTE, or ... something...

I was going to leave you with a picture of that but...
You disappoint me, Internet...


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Quiet Summer

More like a poor Summer, jeez.

Upon my return from Fennoscandia I found I was retroactively un-... dis... er..., that is to say, my enrolment at the local hogeschool had been cancelled. (In their defence, I had failed to pay my tuition and hadn't showed up at all. ) This left we without my scholarship and working for a living. In the meantime I was a month behind on rent, meaning I now had nothing in the bank and needed to get 700 euros not to be kicked out. My deal to get a contract at the print shop was cancelled because I'd been away longer than I'd planned and-

You know what, forget this. This is uninteresting. I'll write about some of the times I managed to get out despite my dire financial situation.

Paris

I make a point of not being at home when Queen's day rolls around. It just doesn't seem right. Walking around in between the drunk orange-clad retards was never my thing. (Apparently we're doing real well in the World Cup right now, so it's about as bad at the moment too.)

So I asked Mommy and Daddy (those of you who frequent my blog know this is what I call Mailys and Ulf) where they were going to be, and Paris it was. Two days before I left I ran into Christine, who decided to join me. I give you, the result:


Zurich

At some point I hosted a girl from Bergkamen, a small place near Dortmund. (For the topographically impaired, that's in Germany). When she heard about my hitching adventures, she was dying to get into some hitching. So we checked out a date and a place and Zurich it was, where we stayed with a local politician.

Also I revisited old favorites Bremen, Wroclaw and Berlin and hit the 30 000 k on my hich-o-meter. Midsummernight wasn't as big as usual, but I'll write about how I got ass-raped there some other time.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I forgot I lived here.

Every time I arrive in Leiden and walk around her streets at night she seems to have gotten more beautiful. Which I guess means he can't be a woman, because let's face it, only men get more attractive with age.

No, but seriously now. I love this city so much. Though I think back with a smile of the two places I didn't report back to you about yet.

Place #1 I didn't report back to you about yet.

Antarctica


Slushy water and snow. Seaside Arendal and Antarctica are difficult to differentiate, so I'm not sure which one I visited but either way, it was pretty awesome. Suzanne and Tiago were great hosts. I'd met Suzanne a long time ago in Rotterdam and had answered her pleas for people to come visit her little nowhere house.

She even tought me how to make snowshoes! HOLY SHAZITBALLS!


This is a useful skill in places where you have snow up to your waist or further.

Place #2 I didn't report back to you about yet.

Awesome-land

I don't think I've ever been so lucky with my couchsearches before. I did a "logged in last 24 hours / Couch on definitely" search for Stavanger, a place about 100 kilometers from my airport, and got two people. I checked the profile of the first of the two, and found some things that looked familiar.
On the left my profile with an FAQ that mocks itself and myself, on the right my Stavanger host's profile with an interview of herself.

( Yes since FAQ is pronounced "effaycue" and not "fack"it takes "an")
I decided to skip the boring typical request and wrote a long spirited piece of literature that should surely be published.
Before I had even finished a couch request to the other guy that showed up in the search I had a text message saying that her housemate was now afraid of her and my arrival because upon reading my request and my profile she had lauged so hard that he was now convinced she was a maniac. (He was, of course, right about this).

Upon my arrival I was shown into my own midget-sized room. (no, really, the door was 1 meter high. Even my pygmy ex-girlfriend wouldn't have fit through there without bending.)
I was shown around by Martina in beautiful Stavanger, and hiked round bunkers. I was introduced to some literature which I mocked fittingly as I clenched Maddox' Alphabet of Manliness and cried inside.

It was with mixed feelings that I hit the road to the aiport after three nights. (Aw! I wanna stay in awesome-land. / Yay, the open road!). But it was a fine road with a few islands, seperated by tunnels and a ferry, and a few hours later and a few hours before the plane left I was dropped off ata 3 kilomter walk from the airport.

That night I stayed with Dave again in Bremen, and spent an awesome weekend camping at Carel's in Rotterdam, before finally finding my way home to Leiden and having to accept the extreme bankrupcy that will keep me stranded here for a while to come.

Luckily spring and summer are couchsurfing hightimes, so I'm sure I won't be bored.

More pictures of Arendal & Stavanger

SurferOfCouches

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

You're about to learn a new word

Today's word: Fennoscandian

Fennoscandian is the name for the trip I'm taking. This is a word invented for all the sourpusses in Fennoscandia who don't want Finland referred to as Scandinavia. Of course everyone outside Fennoscandia knows that if your flag had a cross on it, centered slightly left on the flag's horizon, your ass is scandinavian.

Suck on that, Fins (not to mention Iceland )

I set out to hitchhike to Bremen, which is a lovely city and where my host Dave was generally funny. I'd met him in Budapest, but not really met him. You know how it goes, meeting people in passing. But he turned out be awesome, and he has good taste in women. (I am totally stealing his girlfriend, you guys, but don't tell him!)

And also they have this Dom thingy... yeaaaah

And then I flew to Tampere, hitched straight down to Helsinki to meet my harem.

Pirianna and Emilia to my left and right, both were au pairs in my home town of Dordrecht when I go to know them.

I spent about a week discovering that the Fins are a pretty boring people, or as the riddle goes:

"How do you recognize an extrovert Fin?" "They stare at your shoes."

Though it was pretty neat that in one day I saw more snow than I did in the rest of my life, and that I could walk on the sea.
Mmmmm... soft

"When do we get to the sea?"
"You're standing on it."
"Oh."

Unfortunately I had to take my flight back to Bremen then, which of course meant going home, since I wasn't about to hitchhike back up into Fennoscandia in -10 centigrade.

Nope

So, of course, I hitchhiked up to Stockholm, because the only home I have is the road. It took me three days to get to Stockholm for one reason, and one alone: Some hitchhiking places in Sweden suck. It took me a while to realise that in Scandinavia on-ramps with your thumb out are actually better than their gas stations which are often at least a km from the highway, small, and frequented by locals, not long-distance drivers.

The first day of the hitch up was really lucky. Even though it ook me 3 or 4 hours to get out of Bremen, right before Kiel I met Jørg. Jørg was a german from Dortmund, moving to Sortland, up north in Norway (Yeah, it's pretty far up). He had all his stuff with him and he was taking the ferry from Kiel to Gøteborg, and since he was paying the same amount regardless of the amount of people in his car, he had no problem taking me along.

My free bed on the right. Jørg on his on the left.

The next day, the ferry docked at 9 and by 9 30 we were on our way North, where I got stuck for a long time before moving on to Karlstad, where I pulled some strings to stay a night with Elina's boyfriend's friend's neighbor. (Elina being my host in Stockholm, whom I hadn't met yet, technically making Marion Carel's friend's boyfriend's friend's neighbor. Then of course true to my nature, I left the very instrument used for the pulling of aforementioned strings (read: my phone) in Karlstad.

Noooo, Phony!

So after a romantic 5 days in Stockholm, I ha to pick up my phone again and finally go home. No way was I going to find an excuse to spend even more time in a meter of snow.

A few reasons to spend more time in a meter of snow

1
See old friends
2
Karlstad is the direction of Norway, so... 3 A flight from Haugesund to Bremen is only 160 NOK (20 Euros)

It was thusly that I arrived in...

Drammen?

Yes, I was there for about 14 hours, before I hitchhiked to Suzanne's in Arendal, where she lives basically in the middle of nowhere. No, really look at google maps, there's nothing around...

Ok, that was the wrong link. This should clear it up.

More fennoscandian pictures

Surfer of Couches

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Turn this damn boat around!

A two-bit wrecking crew!

Do these look like reliable sailors to you? Well, They're not. One of them promotes smugglars to high ranked positions, another one is a smuggler, and the last one has illigitimate children that murder captains. Or something.

Murder Mystery Game second edition, where people get to dress up awesomely (this time it was set on a Cruise Ship in 1918) and try to achieve a set of goals by manipulating the other characters. The best thing about it though, is seeing Jonas dress up the best of all.

Maximilian von Grafenberg, German procurement minister

This blogpost is brought to you from Bremen 6 hours before my plane leaves to Tampere in Finland. And so I will try to take you through some events quickly.

Berlin Beach Camp: The reunion

In June I wrote to you about Berlin Beach Camp, Europe's biggest CS meet, and as is often the case, some of the people were so awesome I had to come back and hit them hard on the head with a blunt, sorry, soft object.

"Für die Niederlande, verdammter Deutscher!"

I went to meet Oeyvind, Ivan and Ingre for a little reunion, and it just happened to be International pillowfight day, and it went los at the Reichstag. I also lost my wallet in a bar, and shit was basically right down ANNOYING. But hey I got home alright WITH a visit to Ulf and Mailys (Courtesy of these awesome erasmus students, who dropped me off in Köln) , the former of which had just moved to a place that basically put the Kölner Dom in his backyard. Seeing them is just what I needed since I could count on them to host me AND I went out to dinner with them to Vapiano!

Shit yeah

More Pictures of this

Also I had four awesome CouchSurfers who all managed to find a place right before I left.

Christine in some of my getup for the Murder Mystery

Now I'm wrapping this up so I can get maybe one or two hours of sleep!

Look out for the next blog post!

Monday, January 18, 2010

The person you are trying to reach is currently unavailable. This might be because your phone is made by Fisher-price / Home Sick

For those of you born after 1995, this is called a "rotary dial phone"

What? Who? Where? It's 2010, the rotary dial patent was filed on August 20, 1896, and they stopped making these in 2006, 110 years later.

Wait did someone say 2010? I better rewind, and you can read all about Arnhem Calling at the bottom of this post. Last you saw I was in Ukraine, on my way to Budapest. So here is what happened, get ready to have your worlds rocked:
I arrived safely and was dropped right outside the camp !
TUN-TUN-TUUUUN!

Budapest Winter Camp

What followed was well, Wintercamp. However, since I'd already seen Budapest it was generally just fun to see a lot of familiar faces from all over Europe, like david, whom I'd met in Bucharest, Henri, Linda, Maikel, Trevor (Berlin), Carel, Gijs, and of course my favorite mommy and daddy: Mailys and Ulf!
I also got to meet the famous floh fish, which was quite the experience.

Now the highlight of this meeting would have been the new year's party, which they had planned at the exclusive Citadella, a prime location from which you could see all of Budapest (and it's fireworks!) on a clear night. Except... it was a foggy night, so you couldn't see anything. But that's ok.
The next highlight would have been the labyrinth of Buda.
Mommy and Daddy in the Buda labyrinths

I mean it was pretty cool, though it was only a labyrinth in the metaphorical sense, with a bunch of hallways that reflected the different time periods of Hungary's history, and also a fountain of wine.

Nadia digs it

But man, even that couldn't compete with the amazing extremely special very first snert meeting organized by Maikel at the apartment he was renting. Oh yeah, this is Snert:

You want this shit, man.

Ok, I know I've lied to you guys a lot of times, only to contradict myself two lines later. I promise I'll never do that again.
Expect for now. Maikel's Snert meeting was awesome. It really was, a small group of people just eating something Dutch in the middle of all this cultural activity. Which is exactly why it wasn't the highlight of Budapest Winter Camp. It wasn't part of the Wintercamp as far as I'm concerned. It was just what it was, a great opportunity to have a little island of friends.

So what was really the best thing at Wintercamp? For me it was this moment:
This is what wintercamp really was for me
I don't think, indeed I hope I will never forget this moment. patricio passing around the matte, while a russian woman whose name I do not recall played a song about hitchhiking (in russian). Telling "horror" stories of CouchSurfing. (CouchSurfing stories told on the rhythm of the guitar like a horror story with a (usually positive) twist )

I wish I could give people an idea of what this was really like, but all I can say is: Experience it yourself sometime.

More pictures of Wintercamp


Home sick

A few weeks ago I was reading one of the final chapters of my book "Spraakreisa", a book about the history of the Norwegian language. The chapter was entitled "Roeyk fritt" which translated to "Smoke freely" and dealt with how this is not the same as "Roeykfritt" which means "smokefree" and was the intentional message the bar owner was trying to send. So when I say that I was home sick, please dear readers, make no mistake. This message brought to you by the association for the overcorrection of errors in language. You will now be returned to your regularly scheduled blogpost

After wintercamp I hitchhiked to Prague with Henri, who was very happy when we arrived, since he'd never really put his fate in hitch-hiking before, but once we got our first rides (as it always is) things looked a lot better. at about 9 pm that night we were in our subway to our respective hosts.

Pinar, my host in Prague

After two nights of being quite sick, I decided to take to the road again and head home. I had an easy hitch-hike ahead of me. I was at the gas station at about 9 in the morning so experience had taught me I'd be home before 10 pm. Unfortunately none of my experience had been in winter and at 10 pm I was freezing my ass off at a gas station neat Hannover. It wasn't until 8 in the morning that I was dropped in Zoetermeer, where I could safely get on the bus to Leiden, where my internet had been disconnected because of cash-flow issues. (Damnit!)

Plans once again fluctuated. I was to get the plain to Spain, but the rain in Spain falls mainly on the planes, so when I missed it because I was convinced there would be more trains from Antwerpen ( I can't even stay in the country for 4 days!) to Eindhoven, I had to rethink my schedule.
This is an accurate portrayal of everyday Antwerpen life (Like, fo' reals, yo.)

I had a flight from Barcelona to Madrid I could catch if I hitchhiked there, and initally I considered this. Next day I realized I was hella tired from all the roadside thumbing (yes, I just used the non-word "hella" and I do not care) so that was not happening. Then I considered going to Stockholm for a moment, but after a long discussion with Carel, realized I would potentially not make it back in time for my trip to Berlin.

And this is how I got to attend:

Arnhem Calling

Ring fucking ring, this is Arnhem Calling

I'd met the main organizer and all-round awesome person Sytse (Ben to anyone who is erotically interested in him - or can not pronounce his real name) before at assorted meetings, but he did an exceptional job hosting the majority of people together with his housemate Niels. I missed some of the good stuff (city trip, dinner at his place) but got an awesome Loesje workshop and neat conversation at a semi-crappy Italian place instead.

The part I was most looking forward to was canceled cause of bad weather, but again, people saved the day, in the sense that, since so many great people were there it was totally worth it. (Am I repeating myself guys)

After two days of fun and food, it was time for SERIOUS BUSINESS!

An image from the Ambassador meeting
Oh, oops.

Correction, An image from the ambassador meeting

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The dog's tail: Appendices

Appendix A : The doggone Ukrainian immigration form

The first thing I skipped out on in the last blog entry was the horror we ran into at the border when we found out we had to specify an adress we were staying at or there would be trouble. We had to do it quickly too! We had just barely managed to scribble "Hotel Kiev, Chernivtsi" on these forms, before they were pretty much taken from us. (click for bigger version)

Appendix B: Dogfood

Dogfood is the opposite of what awaited us upon our arrival at Haska's. As a matter of fact, It was awesome and delicious Borsjt followed by гречка (buckwheat) with meat. It was great, and the second time in my life I had гречка (the first being almost a year ago in Antwerpen with the lovely Nelli)


Appendix C: A comparison

About ten months ago I posted this.
Here is the image of my hitchhiking map at the time:
This covered more or less 1 400 kilometers.
I recently checked to see if I told people the right amount of kilometers when they asked me how much I'd hitch-hiked.
Here's what it looks like at 16 000 kilometers or almost a thousand miles.



Appendix D: The dog's tail

The decision of where to go from here has changed three times in 24 hours. First it was Krakow, then Budapest, then Vienna, and finally Budapest again. I will be leaving for there tomorrow, and after a few days visit Prague for a day, and get back home safe and sound for a few days...

Monday, December 28, 2009

The curious incident of the dog in the night time and some other crimes against god and country

This blog entry is dedicated to former United States president William J Clinton.
a book
This is a book. Actually, it's a digital image representing the cover of the book, but no reason to go all Magritte on my ass.
This book is not only awesome but it also ties into my latest adventures in many different ways. But since my latest adventures aren't the latest I've reported on I will first update you on some other crimes against god and country.

Other crimes against God and Country

I make a point when hitchhiking not to be smuggling anything across the border, but sometimes it just can't be helped. I really needed to bring some weed into Moldova to make some money. But I didn't, actually I doubt that would make me money. So instead we smuggled car-parts. Or at least I think we did. The Romanians picked me up quite quickly everytime, and even though I ended up only starting at 1 pm , around 8 that evening I was in Iasi, which is not far from the Moldovan border. Here's where things start to go wrong.

When things go wrong

When my driver told me they bought up cars in "Europe" and sold the parts in Moldova it explained the fact that he was dragging a platform with a small van on it behind his van, and the fact that he was only driving at 40 km/h at any give time.
It didn't explain why we stopped for at least 2 hours moving stuff between different cars, though they were suspicially covering all the car parts with stuff like washing powder and diapers and the like. Then we spent 3 hours at the border waiting to get through. Conclusion: I got to Chisinau and a warm bed at 7 am.

Christmas is family time

Since Christmas is family time, I try not to disturb my family on Christmas. Instead I found Santa had brought my amazing gift to Chisinau and I found that he had, with incredible foresight enlisted my host Diana to knit me an original design scarf. Now, I never really liked that fat ugly man, but man, he's really earned his milk and cookies this time. That is one awesome scarf.
Now this is where things start to get hectic.

This is a very heterosexual picture

When things get hectic

We only had a few hours to see Chisinau because that evening we were catching the night bus to Chernivtsi. We only had a few hours to see Chernivtsi because our host in L'viv was expecting us that night, and we were hitchhiking.

I decided my travel funds needed upgrading so I taught a quick lecture on CouchSurfing at Chernivtsy university.

Luckily Roman picked us up after less than 5 minutes by the road and took us the 300 something kilometers. He spoke Ukrainian and Russian, and some basic Portuguese, because he's worked in Portugal for 12 years. My bits of Spanish and Monica's Romanian served us well. and he dropped us in a cab to take us to our host, Haska.


Monica and Roman

The curious incident of the dog at night time

Here is a list
  • "Get dressed, we have to go have dinner with my parents."
  • "Sir, please relinquish the ass-dildo and get out of the car"
  • "You're a good kid, I like you, but why did you throw our dog off the balcony?"
These are things you probably don't want to hear after a drunk night. One of them was our running joke on the first day at Haska's. One night some family member (was it an uncle?) managed to convince on of the party goers that the previous night he had indeed commited canicide.

"Oh Lord, / won't you buy me /a night on the town?"

This is one curious incident, the other coincidences surrounding this book are simply that the book was reccomended by one of my best friends, Untung, and I had recently read it. That and Haska, who owns a book store is planning on investing money into a Ukrainian translation of this book.
Haska and my hero Sergij (A guy who hitchhiked from Ukraine to Korea!)
The day we arrived was one big party. We went out on the town with her friends, and as became obvious and I quote, "when you're a foreigner in Ukraine, wodka just materialises." Besides Wodka there was dancing, and generally a lot of fun. The next night was a Sunday, so we thought there wasn't going to be that much going on but oh, surprise, there was a Couchsurfing meeting mhich culminated in me leading the surfers through L'viv as an angry mob back to Haska's place where the party continued. It was too awesome for words.
"No, I don't want to drink more! Nooo!"

Somewhere in between all this we went to "Galicia's most expensive restaurant" which is really awesome. You get to a door, which looks like an apartment door, it opens for you to find a guy standing in what looks like an apartment kitchen. It's very convincing when you go through the curtains and find the "secret society" freemasonry-themed restaurant there. (By the way, it's only the most expensive restaurant before the 90% member discount)

That is a sweet 130 euro discount on those 4 hot wines.
Oh and the toilet...
Finally, a reason for men to spend as much time on the toilet as women

More pictures of this(mixed)!

SurferOfCouches

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I wish I was one of those doctors without borders.

I mean I don't per se care about helping out people. The thing I like about "doctors without borders" is that they don't have borders. I hate borders. I will be hitchhiking to Chisinau tomorrow, in the Republic of moldova, and god knows how long it will take to clear the border.

But you'll find out when I post again, as I leave in the morning. For now some more info about Bulgaria.

This is a traditional Bulgarian greeting

Or it's what I imagined a traditional Bulgarian greeting looked like. I figured sometimes you just have to wing it. And as you can see from the look on Georgi's face, it was well-received.

As previously mentioned hitch-hiking in Bulgaria is easy. Ridiculously so. Between Istanbul and Sofia, I never waited for a car to stop for more than 2 minutes, and with the exception of the border into Romania (40 minutes) the same was true of the Sofia - Bucharest trip.
My last ride (with their adorable dog) dropped me off right in front of my host Vihrena, who was very friendly and we (I) decided we should go out for some food.
Somehow, defintitely without any suggestion, let alone provocation on my part, she decided it would be cool to look gangsta for the photo.


I in no way forced her to do this whatsoever

After a pleasant night on her couch I stayed with her friend and fellow CouchSurfer Marianne, because she would be having a lot of people in the house the next day. Lucky for me Marianne was every bit as friendly and helpful as Vihrena. Unfortunately for both of us, however she wasn't as available socially as she and her co-workers were working a deadline for the local free cultural guide they write.

Luckily my friend Kalina ( whom is a classmate of the famous Jonas) was there with her friends and after I had been shown round the city we had an amazing night drinking beer, and playing darts in a competition over Kalina and Georgi's sexlife. Since I won, that means Kalina wasn't getting any that night.


"You're not getting any."
"Oh yes, I am!"

The next morning it was regrettably time to leave, but a good 8 hours was all I needed to get back to Bucharest, so let's hope I'll have the same luck, cats and kittens!


Monday, December 21, 2009

Touch me, baby! [UPDATE: pics link fixed]


Because of the touchscreen I'm typing on only a short update.

I had a great, easy and fast hitchhike to Sofia, and two amazing hosts and a lovely day. More news from Bucharest where I'm hitching back to tomorrow.




Friday, December 18, 2009

I've been through the Bazaar on a horse with no name (What does the scouter say about the amount of shops?)


But I didn't get out of the rain for very long.
Yes my friends. Every one who's met me at Berlin Beach Camp knows two things about me:
  1. Ich bin der gawddamned ZWAFFELKÖNIG
  2. The only thing I can play on the guitar is a bad rendition of America's "Horse with no name".
The lyrics to this song are elusive to many, but most people seem familiar with the lines:
"I've been through the desert on a horse with no name / It felt good to be out of the rain"

However unlike the desert, Istanbul was wet as all hell and uncharacteristically so! (I think it's uncharacteristic of hell to be wet, too, actually, so isn't that just convenient?) I was however dry at the "Grand Bazaar" which houses over NINE THOUSAND four thousand shops, on 30 000 square meters ( about the size of the Amsterdam ArenA, for dutch readers)
They say you can buy anything there, and some people say you can buy flags, hats and guitars there, and anyone who dares contest it may look at this picture:

hat, guitar, flag

Now one of the things this means is that no way in hell am I getting my flight back from Bucharest, because now I have about twice the amount of stuff allowed, so after new years, which I will be spending in Budapest... (Oh lord, it will be hell finding accommodations with winter camp going on, won't it?) I'll hitchhike to Praha, meet up with old friends there, and head on to the Netherlands, drop off my stuff, and get my plane to Madrid after a few days.

The double tea-pot

I almost forgot to tell you guys how awesome my host Fahrettin is. I was host-less, had slept next to the highway, and didn't expect much from the emergency couch request group. However, within 8 minutes of posting, I had been offered three couches! I have found Turkish people in general to be extremely friendly and my Fahrettin is no exception.


So the reason for the double tea pot is twofold (!). The first reason is that the hot water in the bottom keeps the tea at the top warm, and the second is that they make rather strong tea in the top which can then be adjusted to be as strong or weak as you want by changing the tea/hot water ratio!

Finally after all that tea, you'll surely need to take a wee, so it's off to the...

Toılet?

Yes, my friends, this is indeed a toilet. somewhere about half a year ago Marcin in Wroclaw had already told me about these contraptions which he had encountered in Ukraine. Since I'm going there I was already prepared for them, but I didn't know I'd find them both in Bulgaria and Turkey. It takes some getting used to.

Tomorrow morning I will be heading to Sofia, Bulgaria, this is Tommy reporting from ever sunny Istanbul

Ever sunny Istanbul