Friday, January 28, 2011

Keep Stirring and Keep Smiling - Thai Cooking Class

Chiang Mai is great. Friendly, easygoing, less hustle than Bangkok. Really nice people.
Tonight I took a Thai Cooking class. Fantastic. The guy was a ham and kept us laughing. Picked me up at my hotel and drove me and 6 others to the market. While there we toured from vendor to vendor while he described what curry paste is, what noodles are made from, the difference between coconut water, coconut cream and coconut milk is. What are vegetables, roots and leaves, and what can you substitute?
We then load up in his truck and hit the country where his house is. In his garage/back yard/patio he's assembled a series of 20 cooking stations. We washed up and got to work creating 4 Thai dishes. Every technique is high the heat should be, how to cut each thing, what do you eat and what is just for flavour...
When we were done we ate, got a cook book and a ride home. It was fantastic, highly recommended.

The food we made was amazing, you guys are in for a treat when I get home. 

You Dirty Perverts (the one you've all been waiting for)

This story is not for Moms, Sunday school teachers, the judgemental or the repressed. Throwing that out there...

Whenever I say I'm going to Thailand people said "oh, watch out for the lady boys" "ohh, don't become a ladyboy" "wow, blah blah blah-bla-blah ladyboy" Funny. And oh so clever all of you. HOWEVER, we didn't see many in bangkok. We mostly were in the backpacker areas, and its really just the local vendors and tourists.

So the girls decide that after a day of travelling they're all beat and want to go to bed. Pat and I decided we wanted to drink, so we'd hit the night market in Bangkok. So two guys walking down the street in drinking Chang and the first Tuk Tuk driver calls out "Ping Pong?!"  Thats the universal language for Thai sex show. Now I know that those are close the market. "Patpong?" thats the area I want to be in.
So I say "How much?"
"Fifty baht!"
Now thats cheap, ok we're in. "
We get driven around for 10 mins and finally get driven through a back alley where we get out. This sleazy little dude runs up..."Ping Pong show! Best in city, you like!!"
"How much?"
"Each?" thats wonder the cab was cheap...all part of the hustle. So I ask where the night market is.
 "Oh, closed, not open yet, good show show, 500"
"Ok, which way? For when it opens?"
 "That way, but closed, not open"
Ok, we'll go this way. Everyone protests, they're yelling from behind, blah blah blah, the driver's mad cause he brought us in cheap and isn't getting his kickback now.
We wander around and see a ton of strip joints, thai restaurants, internet places, market stalls, and guys running around with drink menus. One hits us up.
 "Cheap drink, Chang 100 baht"
"Too much!"
"For large for large"
We shrug, ok. We're in. So now we get lead through the streets of downtown bangkok, this guy is rushing. Hard. He's waving us on, at one point the fucker grabs my arm and pulls me, I must have given him a hard look because he took his hand off me like I was on fire. We get to this place and he takes us upstairs and goes to leave. Pat yells, "Hey, no cover right?"
"Yeah yeah, good party"
We buy a couple of beers up front, they won't let us pay...thats a sign.  We turn the corner and the place is dingy, everything is black, hookers everywhere. Shit. We're in a bangkok sex show. Oh well, part of the tour right?? We get sat down in front of this other set of couples. Everyone's laughing. No lights on except these little white Christmas tree lights. And black lights. Things are painted with black light paint. Everything is glowing.

So, loyal readers, up till now, the conversation has been fairly bland. This is where it gets interesting. The language is about to change. Can't be helped.

The stage, has two brass poles. Standing at each pole is a topless Thai girl in black underwear. Early twenties. They are, ever so slightly, swinging their hips to the music. They look bored. They look out of shape. And bored. Then we realize that the show is actually going on as we speak.

A woman in black lingerie is crab walking across the stage. What we realize is that she's got a straw stuck in her pussy. Suddenly a balloon above and just behind me pops. WTF mate? She has rolled up sheets of paper and is firing them like darts at balloons around the room through the straw. Thats funny. Fucked up, but funny. I wonder how many rounds that magazine holds...

She wanders off. Another woman, who looks to be in her fifties, 5 or 8 kids, maybe one on the way, who knows, is wearing nothing but a strange hat of some sort, neon knee high socks, and volleyball knee pads. She's built kind of like Grimmace from the MacDonaldland  Gang. Shes got a great little landing strip going on I might add. She get up and starts sort of dancing on the spot. Then, unceremoniously, she begins to pull, the only way I can think to describe it, is a neon skipping rope out of her VJJ. Its like a plastic contraption that has several parts, each a different colour glowing in the black light. When she gets enough of it out, she starts snapping it on the floor like a whip, all the while, pulling more out. Its like a rappelling bag in there or  something. We're seriously and literally shaking our heads.

Now, while this is going on, these really friendly local women, who really took some time getting ready for clubbing, in their best lingerie, are paying us some attention. A couple come over and leave drinks on our table. I'm like, fuck that, I"m not getting charged for drinks I didn't order. And who knows whats in em. I'm wildly waving my hands. No! WE DON"T WANT THESE! I'm putting them on a different table. The drinks are also flat looking, and probably 1/3 empty.

Stole this image off the net, then read the guy's blog.
Could have been my story to the letter.
First lady is back on stage and someone has put a cake on the stage and lit several candles. She begins blowing them out with here snatch snorkle. Meanwhile a particularly friendly looking lady looks at me( because pat is ignoring her like she's got lepracy and trying to sell him a kiss, and he's not far off) she bangs the heal of her hand against the back of her hand and says "Boom boom?" Me, a relative novice in these situations, more baffled than deaf says "Whaaa?"  She makes the OK sign with one hand and starts driving her forefinger in and out with the other "Boom boom?"

Luke shakes head. Not only am I saying the word but I'm mouthing it as if to allow someone on the other side of a loud party to understand me. "NO" Stubby Thai-Grimmace is back on stage pulling what looks like a clothes line, complete with plastic glowing clothes pin out of her boom boom hole. She waddling around and laughing, loose skin swaying in time with the bad dance music.

Pat and I say together, "We need to get the fuck out of here"

We tell the waitress we want the bill and she directs us to a table by the stage. Fucking hell, here we go. We wander over. This short woman in a business suit hands us a slip of paper as we walk up. 4,800 baht. Roughly translated, based on global economic performance and market conditions, thats about $150 CAD. I started to laugh. Lady is stern as hell, face like a toad "you pay"
Pat says "No, two change, 200 baht"
She says, no "YOU PAY, LADY DRINKS and LOOK FEE"

Pat says, "No, 2 Chang" and we each pull out 100. She gets up and begins screeching. If you've ever seen a war movie where a bunch of villager women are screaming at the GIs after they've committed some atrocity...this is the live version of that.

She's screaming that we have to pay, we say no, she grabs a pad of paper and writes down 1600. I laugh. Pat snatches her pen and writes 200, before he scrawls the 2nd 0 shes torn the paper away and crumped it up. She stomps her foot, I though she kicked him. Her twin sister approaches from the shadows and takes me on. I say "We had 2 beer, 200" she says, "You pay or YOU dance" points at the stage and starts pulling up my shirt. I can only laugh. It infuriates her. She stomps and fake kicks me.
The original thai toad woman tells Pat we can't leave. He says something along the lines of "you can't stop us.
She says "I get bouncer" and points to this 16 year old looking bus boy who might be 120 lbs. We both laugh and the women relent. We set down the money and walk. On stage a woman is opening shaken up beer bottles. Look mom no hands.

It took 2 full hours for the adrenaline to wear off. A runner with a menu came up and asked if we wanted to go to a show. I told him to fuck off. He didn't seem surprised. We hit an irish pub and sat on the patio and drank Singha. Thats when we thought it would be funny to go down the gay street. That story will have to wait. I'm going on a day long excursion tomorrow. Elephants, waterfalls, hiking, visiting a hill tribe...should be great.
Talk soon

Kho phi phi

Docking at Kho Phi Phi
Email access here is expensive, but I'm at a bar on Kho Phi Phi (Pronounced Pee Pee) that has free wi fi. Phi Phi i is beautiful with the typical pitfalls of travelling to any exotic country. You have to count your change here. There are always little mistakes of 10 baht here or there. There are mysterious surcharges for everything (apparently they're learning from the banks and airlines, evil bastards. The scenery is breathtaking. Check out "the Beach" featuring DiCaprio and you can see some of it. Amazing. We stopped at the beach where they filmed it.
Pat's Girlfriend Anna, her sister and 2 friends as we arrive to KPP

2 days ago 6 of us did a day long boat tour. We went to monkey island and saw a monkey. To be fair it wasn't called monkEES island, so one monkey was all we are entitled to. A very calm old man sat in a tree there and switched his tail as tourists took photos and offered pieces of fruit, which he took politely. Especially for a monkey.

Next we were ferried to a small rock formation in the water near out hotel. Some of our group had snorkelled there the day before without trouble. This day however, the current was heavy and a few of us made the mistake of getting too close to the coral. We ended up pushed against the rock which is covered in razor sharp fragments. People often say things are razor sharp when describing something. Let me assure you, there is no mistake that you could shave with the ancient pieces cemented to the rock. Each of us is covered with tiny cuts on our hand and legs. I cut my finger and knee quite badly. Fortunately I had band aides and polysporin in my pack (thanks mom, most intuitive and fortuitous Christmas stocking stuffers ever!!) everyone is fine and lesson learned. My underwater camera leaked and is destroyed, but I think i've managed to save the pics....we'll see. The water here is amazing and the underwater life is incredible to see in person.

We patched our wounds on the way to the next island where we lunched and chatted. An hour later we were off to another snorkelling spot. Each one is better than the next here. Fish, coral, and unidentified sea creatures of unimaginable colours grace the waters here. Its stunning. On the way home was passed billion year old rock formations standing hundreds of feet high above the water. the waves have worn away their bases to the point they look like they'll collapse under their own weight in a few millenium.  They cut the engine as we passed the last cliff buoyed in the middle of the sea to watch a perfect sunset. Not a bad day. We were home by 7, everyone was out by 9.

A few nights ago we drank at a bar that had a fire show. Mostly flaming sticks twirled at an impressive speed. We drank buckets of the smoothest whisky ive ever tasted for 9$ a bucket. I've never been so happy. The evening ended with a flaming hoop set up a the high water line. I was the first to jump through while the flames were still raging. I flung myself through into the ocean through a ring of fire. Pretty cool stuff.

One of the many "bus stations" you stop at when taking an
overnight bus anywere. There's a lizard
over the sign
Now, its a boat to Krabi and a bus to bangkok that will take 14 hours. Then I fly to Chiang Mai to meet the rest of our group tomorrow afternoon. They had previously made plans to fly there from Phuket, but I couldn't get a fly, so I'll fly from Bangkok, which is fine with me. Plus I don't have to pay for a hotel tonight because I'll be on a bus. Busses are airconditioned, rooms aren't always. I haven't had one here that is.

Anyway, we are all well, the weathers nice and we're having a great time.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The bridge over the river Kwai

On a train traveling on the bridge over the river Kwai.  The train is ancient. It's a veritable Babelon as conversations in dozens of languages babble on.  I'm sitting with 2 Swedish exchange student who are here for a month then off to Aus to get engineering degrees. Hey, if I'm sitting with the engineers, who's driving this thing. 1.5 hours to go. I crack me up. The trip cost me about 80 bucks for the day. We visited a war cemetary, a war museum and are now on the train.

The japanese had built the train bridge using slave labour from the POWs they'd captured. They literally worked them to death. They have morbid recreations of those events here using statues painted to look like people. The whole thing is creepy but very interesting. There is a huge assortment of weapons and motorcycles, cars and tools here.

Later that day...
We got off the train. The scenery is amazing along the way. We had a great lunch on a floating barge. Met a nice german girl and an austrian and his daughter. From there we are taking a bamboo raft to an elephant ride. The ride is on an eggplant farm. The elephants can climb amazingly steep hills with three of us on their backs. To be honest this is not my favorite part. A young elephant is chained to a  nearby tree by his ankle. They look very intelligent and docile. Rough, like the soles of your feet, their hair is course. They're very agile and patient with people. Very majestic animals.

The next stop was a waterfall. We climbed around a bit. Some dude came up to me and the austrian (maybe he's dutch....) and asked if he could take is girlfriend's picture with us. Then we were surounded by 3 or 4 giggling thai girls and got our picture taken. Strange.

The ride home was scary as hell. The driver was screaming down the road. They tailgate and pass with the narrowest margin of error. Made it back in one peice.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Blessed by a monk

 I got conned/invited to visit a monk in his home beside the temple. While there he blessed me by shaking reeds full of water on me. He the gave me a beaded bracelet for luck. Then he tried to sell me an authentic stone amulet for 2000 baht.  I lied and said I only had 400 on me but gave him 100 as a donation to the temple.  He thanked me and gave me a picture of a one eyed cat. That's going up on the fridge.

Here's the one eyed cat:

Wat pho, birthplace of Thai massage and giant buddhas

i look rediculous in these pics
The architecture in the temple is amazing. Everything covered in tiles of every colour imaginable. Spires several stories high have strained for centuries to touch the sky.  Creatures and warriors of all types man both sides of every walkway and staircase. Gold adorns every effigy of Buddha, every door and every archway.

The reclining Buddha is massive. Its really unimaginable how big this thing is until you see it.
 I finally got my massage. If you've never had a Thai massage it's not like the standard local massage. There's no long luxurious kneading of any particular muscle. It's starts with me trading me pants in for a pair that are like doctors scrubs. I put them on backwards and had to go back. She had me lay down and commenced jamming her thumbs into various nerve bundles around my body. It actually felt really good, but every once in a while she'd dug into one of those spots that douche bag martial artists will tell you, unprovoked, that they can use to disable an attacker. I know cause I was one of those guys back when I was taking ju jitsu.  I grew out of it. Not ju jitsu, being a douche...

At one point she had one foot inside my thigh, pulled on my arms for leverage and drove her heal into my hamstring. Another time she was behind me with my arm over her leg using her elbow to grind my tricep into my humorous, and down wards.  I almost tapped.
Feel like a million bucks now. Relaxed, loose, ready for a night on the town .

Friday, January 14, 2011

Different approach to traffic and stress

I'm sitting on a bus waiting to go on a day trip. Were at a red light so the driver got out for a smoke. Long light I guess. Things are more laid back here.  Long line up at s light, traffic backed up, no prob, just gothe wrong way down a oneway street a few hundred feet until you find a way through. I'm writing this on my iPhone... Light's still red

Muay Thai

Muay Thai is well respected here. I went to a championship match last night. There are two stadiums in Bangkok and they have fights on opposite nights. The night I wanted to go the staium was within walking distance.
The stadium seats a few thousand at the most. The upper tiers, where 90% of fans sat is behind chainlink fence. Those seats are 1000 baht, or roughly 30$. Mine were front row, 2000 baht. Its best just to buy tickets at the gate. You can buy from the tourist bureaus as well, but its the same price at the door.

The stadium is ancient. Thais don't replace anything ever, unless its completely lost its usefulness. The judges tables look like they were bought at a yard sale. Guys with flowered shirts come and bring you chips and beer. The chips are a rip off, tiny bags with only 5 or 6 chips in them.

The first few fights are boring. Young lightweights, 92 lbs for the first fight, who are very reactive and end up throwing the same kicks at each other at the same time, and bouncing off each other. As the fights so on and  the weight classes go up, it gets more interesting. The championship fights was super heavy weights, Thai Style, 148lbs.

The first two rounds of any fight typically suck. Its a feeling out process. The crowd hasn't started betting yet. The last three rounds are fun. Usually by then the crowd has taken a side. When the favorite lands a strike they all cheer "aaaaaayyyyy" when the other guy lands a smaller group cheers a full octave lower "ooooooohhhh" The corners get incredibly animated, 4 or 5 guys all jumping around, yelling instructions. When the fighters end up in a clinch too long the ref separates them. He has to pull them apart physically, like two sides of a grilled cheese sandwich. Sometimes he'll throw his leg in between them to prevent kicks while he pushes back on their faces.

The fighters are extremely respectful of each other, cheapshots are rare but they happen. I only saw it from one fighter. He threw two illegal knees while the ref was pulling them apart, then threw a cross after the bell. He was rewarded with a hard groin shot a round later. He signalled to the ref who ignored him, I'm guessing because of the cheap shots earlier.

I saw a new champ get crowned that night! Here's a vid of the last half of the final round.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Bangkok Day 1...Do you smell that?

Its 4:10 here in  Bangkok, i'm sitting with a Change beer I bought for about 90 Cents. I'm not even expected to tip.

My flight was glorious. Royal silk class on thai air. The food was marvelous, a blend of western and Thai delights. A finecky eater I tried everthing put in front of me. The first thing was an appetizer of a giant scallop served with minced mangos. It was cold but still good (I prefer mine served hot wrapped in bacon..but we're trying new things aren't we)

I managed to sleep quite well as my seat reclined almost all the way. I awoke a few hours before landing and watched a movie, was served some sort of pasta dish and disembarked. I was sad to leave that plane!

I got my luggage and was dissapointed to find my bags had been broken into. I later found a nice note from the TSA saying they were the culprits but not to worry everything was put back.

First, they didn't need to break the lock, they could have used their pass key, I bought very expensive coded locks authorized by the TSA becasue they have pass keys that match the coded locks. Second, not everything was put back. A very expensive piece of my belongings is missing. I'm not happy thinking that some under educated halfwit TSA agent, who was so angry to not be able to grope anyone because he was on bag duty yesterday, is now surfing my very impressive collection of porn. I'm kidding. Its not that impressive. But there was alot of shit on there I needed. Oh well. Time to write yet ANOTHER NASTY letter

The trainride into the city short enough, me humping 3 heavy bags around. People are friendly and helpful. The ride in through the suburbs, and as I was to find, the city itself is polarized between wealth and abject poverty. Its more strongly marked by their proximity to one another. Broken down concrete buildings sit half finsished, or abandoned, amongst dilapitated correguated steel huts. Near by workers are constructing new buildings. Glittering condos with golden facades share the same blocks.

I got a cab and was charged exactly what the book I got said I should, 80 baht. Less than $4.00. Easily a half hour ride. I checked in but my room wasn't ready, so I dropped off my gear and hit the streets. Bankok is an amazing town. At 8 am people are setting up. The smell of food, garbage, spices, perfume and rotting meat are everywhere.Old ladies are cooking pad thai on the street conners. ENtire fish are bbq'd, heads on, and served on a stick.

I detoured through an alley at one point, trying to get back to a landmark I had noticed earlier. There were people living in this alley, in tiny apartments the size of my living room. They were watching TV with their kids, while they prepared prawns, chicken, mystery meats of all kinds in giant bowls on the floor. BBQ carts were wheeled out the their doorways in preparation for the day. People were sleeping in lawn chairs on the street. I felt like I was walking through the kitchen of a hotel, the place you're not supposed to see during your stay. No one paid me any attention.

Back on the main route there was a seamstrees sitting with an ancient sewing machine fixing the hem on a jacket belonging to a police officer. A man sitting on the sidewalk was rebuilding an engine. I paid 10 baht for a 7up at a little hair salon. People talked to me, asked where I was going, a few were helpful.

I stoped at a gov't sanctioned tourist bureau and got tickets to a fight tonight. Maui thai, the real thing too. Tomorrow I have a full day trek. I'll get to that. The guy at the bureau, chris, showed me on a little map all the things to watch for, and what to see. He told me the big temple is never closed, so don't let anyone tell you it is and trick you into paying to see it. Don't let anyone take you on trips around the city, they'll take you to more expensive place where they get kickbacks or will extort you. Watch for people who are friendly and want to show you things on your map. THey are probably trying to scam you.  I thanked chris and went on my way.

Waiting at a light a nice gentleman with most of his teeth and a blue shirt asked me where I was from. I said canada and he said "Oh, Vancouver!" POinting to himself. He didn't look like a douchebag, but maybe he was from there...( ok ok, just Canuck fans...) He told me for 20 baht his friend would take me on a tour of the best places. He told me that the big temple was closed every day but today and so I had to go right away. I thanked him and he protested telling me I was missing out.

I got Pad Thai and a beer for 120 baht, about $3.60. I bought 3 tshirts I just know are gonna fall apart when I wash them, but the designs are very cool. One's a monkey flipping off no one in particular. I tried to get a cab back to the hotel, but they wanted 200b. Its only about 7 bucks, but i got a ride from the airport for 80b, and that was a half hour drive. I got mad and walked home. About a half hour walk. I needed the excerise...I need to fit into those shirts after I wash em.

Off to the fights. I'll let you know what happens. Apparently the foreigners sit up front. They tell you its a place of honour, but really they just don't want to be the ones sprayed with sweat, blood and the odd tooth.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Red Carpet Club

I'm sitting in the Star Alliance Red Carpet Club. Its a wonderous place where you can set your luggage down and walk away from it without worrying about being accosted by a TSA agent who's God Given powers of groping are taken advantage of with great gusto. There are places to plug in your laptop and iPhone. There are snacks. Peppered cheeses and crackers so light they feel like they were made from the dandruff of an angel. There are men lounging around who have so enjoyed such extravagances over the years they have become round and bloated |They take up entire couches,  their penises a distant memory buried under a subcutaneous layer of cheese and liquor invoked fatness.

Wondrous creatures strut amongst the comfy chairs of this oasis, adorned in the latest fashions, leaving a vapor trail of confidence and chic. I know some of them are famous.I'm just not in tune enough to know how. I'm pretty sure the chick that plays Pam on the office was in here. I tried to get a picture but it was as though she had a 6th sense for that type of thing.

There is free liquor. Lots of it. Not all though. Segrams 7 is free. Canadian club is $7.50. But draft is free. It's a little slice of heaven to be sure. If you weren't careful, you might be fooled into thinking you were human.

But nothing worth having is without some strife.I had to over come the beast cerebus to gain entrance past the gates. This three headed monster would never let a mere coach travelling mortal such as myself into a garden such as this. The lead head regarded me suspiciously as I handed over my boarding pass from a previous flight, quickly pointing out that this was an oasis for the elite. I dodged and countered with my itinerary, showing my upcoming business class flight. The second head was now awakened and with a powerful thrust and gnashing maw entered my flight details into the magic box. I parried,  standing my ground until i was rewarded my golden fleece...a free internet access card and a welcoming, albeit begrudging wave into The inner sanctum of sanity.

As i was writing this a nice woman with a Carribean accent of some sort came by to clean a nearby table. I asked how she was and she said she was very well and asked how I was. I told her I was tired to which she replied..."You are human you know" If you're not might just believe it my friends, fortunately reality exists beyond the sliding glass doors of this red carpeted Eden. I'll break this spell yet!

Crying babies at 27000

Everyone has a horror story of crying babies on a plane. Mine is no different...except that, this particular little bundle of mucus and joy, is crying in French. Normally when a baby starts in on the screaming you can mutter under your breath, toward the parent who seems perfectly content to allow their spawn to ruin my attempt at catching up on sleep, something like "Oh, for God's sake, just give him/her/it the damn bottle/toy/sedative."

HOWever, when your cabin mate/is screaming en francais, its more difficult to determine what the tadpole is screaming for. It makes muttering specifics under your breath more difficult. Always the optimist, and innovator, I stuck to stereotypes and muttered something about giving the little imp a bottle of wine and perhaps some deoderant. Vivre la France!!!  And viva las vegas...landing soon. Can't wait to drink and gamble at the airport!!

This is what an $8.45 beer looks like.

"burke in the box"
Mcarran Int'l Airport 
Las Vegas NV

It was actually really good, and if you look close you can see the reflection of a really handsome man taking a picture!!

Even a journey of 17000 mile starts with one early morning plane ride.

I'm on the plane. At one time I didn't think it would ever get here...but the last few weeks flew by. I got alot of things done, forgot alot of things and said alot of goodbyes in the past few days. Saying goodbye to our ancient English Setter, Maggie, was one of the hardest, due to its permanence.

But I'm in the air, off to Vegas where I connect to LA, then to Bangkok. Right now we are passing by Missoula. The little map on the back of the chair belonging to the little tiny woman ahead of me who felt it necessary to squeeze her 5'1" frame into the exit row, cause, God knows she needs the leg room, says so.

BEST WESTERN PLUS Grant Creek InnIf you've never stayed at a dilapitated Best Western in Missoula, you have not lived my friends. They say the journey is the destination, but the Best Western in Missoula is like a journey itself! Missoula is a shithole. But with the right company getting there can be a great ride!

There was a Molson Canadian ad on once where this guy is sitting on a plane and this gorgeous blonde girl (maybe Tricia Helfer?) in a Cowboy hat takes the seat next to him. Living in Calgary I always thought that might be possible. Today I am sitting beside two little old ladies. One is telling the other that she's not part of the social network, but she does have facebook but doesn't respond to anything because you don't know who's out there. That makes her a creeper in my book. She's also explaining 'The Twitter' I'm going to blow their minds and tell them the story of Tron, as if it was a true story. "One minute you're updating your status on the tweetey, the next you're fighting for your life with phospherescent frizbees! Stay away from the twitter ladies, there are no Rascals in cyberspace!!"

Next Stop....VEGAS BABY

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Sergeon General Warns Going Away Parties May Damage Your Liver

Evans Consoles

Well, I said goodbye to everyone at the office yesterday. That was tougher than I expected. But I guess when you get up everyday and go to the same place for almost 3 years you get kind of fond of it.

Kickers 1st st SW Calgary

Went down to Kickers, a restaurant just opened by my friend Tom. He had some customers so he handed me a beer and I just chilled. The beer was MTL, a really great easy lager microbrewed in the old city. I chatted with some folks who overheard me say I was leaving. They made me promise them I'd visit Tasmania and New Zealand. I'll do my best, but it might not be this trip.... I'm not even gone yet and I'm meeting other tourists who have advice on where to go.

Four or five beers later and the boys showed up. Tom made us 4 or the best smoked meat sandwiches I've ever had. I love food. Headed back to Tom's and had rum. I love rum, yes I do.

We went to the Rose and Crown. I like the rose, but I gotta say, the bouncers there are, with a few exceptions, dumbass morons. Its amazing what the most miniscule amount of power will do to a complete idiot. Its too bad, they are the only dark spot on an otherwise great bar. Al's a great bartender and if you get a chance to talk to him, he's done alot of travelling and has some good stories.

Man, alot of people showed up. Turns out I'm quite popular! (Take that awkward highschool years!!) I don't think a moment went by when I didn't have a beer in my hand. Shots of Jack, something called a Koala, tequila... Great night all around. Thanks everyone.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Fire Valley on a Hog

Back in 2008 my girlfriend and I, with a bunch of other couples did a trip to vegas. The whole thing was totally awkward because, at the time, one of the couples was just dripping in love with each other in the most disgusting fashion.  The other two couples were on the rocks, and then there was us. We were cool. As a group we shopped, went to IHOP, caught a UFC fight (Couture vs. Lesnar, how cool is that shit?), did Freemont... and that was it, I had to get away.
We hit a place called Dream Car Rental, close to the Hawaiin market.
The were super cool about everything. We got a HD Dynaglide for the day and I think it cost aout $240 bucks. Not to shabby if you actually shop around in other towns. 'specially for Vegas.
Now I'm normally a sports bike guy, love my CBR. But, its really uncomfortable for two, especially when the 2nd is a really tall girl. So we got the Hog. It turned out really well because my girlfriend was so comfortable she could take pics the whole way.
We headed out to Hoover Dam. I don't have anything to say about Hoover Dam. Lots of concrete, some transformers are hidden under there or something. Its cool to see I guess. Hoover used to crossdress...thats kind of funny... I digress.


After Hoover we went to the Valley of Fire. Valley of Fire is very cool. The roads are windey and the scenery is incredible. Its only $10 to get in and you can camp in designated areas. The only drawback is, you can only go 15mph through the park. And they enforce it. Heavily. There were park rangers around every turn, and not happy go lucky rangers like on Yogi Bear. Big dudes with laser radar that are attempting to pick you off from across the desert. But they warn you when you stop I guess if you get caught, well, you were warned. Dumbass.
The ride back to Vegas we went around lake meade, past the exit back to hoover and straight west. Driving at sunset was BRUTAL, facing the sun the whole way and it just seems to hang on the horizon right at the end of highway.

After a day on the bike we hit the Stratosphere for dinner. Really cool spot and you see the entire city over the course of the meal. the guy running the elevator is a pervert watch out. Unless you're into that kind of thing. Anyway, fantastic day all around!

Here are some more pics. Definately a great excuse to get away from the strip for a day!

These are the Beehives, weird formations of rock that look like...well beehives

We weren't sure about the rules on climbing the rocks, some spots you're not allowed. Ask forgiveness.

There were people camping just out of this shot. They were homely, you're not missing anything.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The day I realized I was george Castanza

I think I was 32 and I found myself living in my parents basement. It was good arrangement, I could live for free with my folks to save up enough money to buy my own place, in exchange I walked and cleaned up after the dogs,  cut the grass in the summer, shoveled the walk in the winter.

Wait a minute...winter? This was supposed to be a six month thing, not a situation that lasts more than one season. That's when I took a good long hard in the mirror. You're going bald're overweight, you drive a POS 99 cavalier. You wear glasses. You hate your job,  you're going out with a girl you're just not that into (even though she's really cool and you have alot in common and she's fun to be around up for anything, and you're no prize yourself mister, what the hell's wrong with you dude?!), and, wait for live with your parents.

I saw George Costanza in the mirror. I could hear his old gym teacher screaming "Can'tstandya, Can'tstandya!" I could see the neurotic tickings  in his bulbous cranium. This is bad.
So I found a new job. Broke up with the girlfriend., started working out again (Cause I was single now and I had to get in top condition to attract some high quality arm candy, right?). I was going to get back on course.

Now, if this was a commercial for a weightloss/life coach program infomercial, I'd have before and after pics. But alas no...there was no dramatically life changing effects on my life; but at least I had a plan. It was a good plan. Move forward, jackass!

So here we are, 2 and a half years later. I'm 35, and I'm still George Castanza. But I'm a better George. I'm the George that's getting a job with the Yankees! Tomorrow's my last day at work. Rented out the house I managed to scrape up enough cash to buy. In 5 days I'll be landing in Thailand. 40 days after that I start working on a new career in Australia. But more about that later. But I will tell you this right now...This is the summer of GEORGE!