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What I’ve Learned (and Some Mythbusters)

As I sit here in London Heathrow Airport… waiting to board my Virgin and head back to reality, I feel like I need to share what I’ve learned over the last month as a stranger in a strange land.

Lessons Learned

— Anybody that believes/says that “The greatest pleasure in life is doing what others say you can not do” has never had sex with Czech international supermodel.

— The rest of the world doesn’t hate Americans… as long as you don’t act like an American. Doing your research before and attempting to learn about their culture/way of life separates you from the stereotypical American that is just there to be an asshole. Except in England. British people really do hate our guts.

— Semen is a delicacy in Budapest… Hungary, I am not.

— French men really do smell like a bag of ass.

— Not all countries received the memo about personal manicured lawns.

— The drinking age in the United States should remain at 21. This is a controversial one, I know… but going to Europe and picking up a girl only to find out she’s 15 is both humbling, and awesome. At least with the 21 limit, we can still be assured that the girl is 17 or 18.

— Going nude is an excellent business plan.

— Porn recruiters pay well on cruise ships when they are in a bind.

— There are only two places in the world that sausage is done correctly. The UK and the US. And once you’ve had bangers and mash, the US is a far cry from real sausage. But god help the awful “sausages” in Europe that are actually uncooked cocktail weiners. Disgusting.

— I have a large penis on an international scale.

— Peeing outside is neither weird nor illegal. In fact, it’s encouraged.

— McDonald’s and college completely ruined American girls.

— Anal ain’t bad. Ain’t bad at all.

— I’m officially a minority in London, UK.

— The Baltic States are genetically superior.

— I really do love and miss my Apple MacBook Pro.

Flags Accumulated: Canada, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Poland.

Money Spent: $1215

Miles Traveled (roughly — because its more for sure with inter-city transport and walking around): 10,726

Bag Weight (start): 49.7 lbs (22.5 kg)

Bag Weight (end): 34.4 lbs (15.6 kg)

McToast eaten: 3

Condoms (start): 31

Condoms (end): 17

Hope you’ve had as much fun reading as I did doing, scheming, writing, etc. I’ll see you on the other side…

{By the way, I’ll need a job when I come home… so any assistance that you can provide in that regard would be fantastic… master’s degree, have resume, will travel…}

[Anti]social Experiment

Throughout my travels, I’ve noticed two recurring themes: justification and addiction.

Or more tersely, an unbridled need to be important. Which 99.9% of people aren’t… let’s be honest.

It is almost comical to travel around the world and see a lot of the same stuff you would see in the United States, but still uniquely foreign. It’s like when John Travolta went on that strangely coherent diatribe about things being the same in Europe, with just some little differences, to Samuel L. in Pulp Fiction.

For those that forget the scene — indulge:

Now, again, I’m not a drug cartel so I really have no clue about what is possible in the US regarding weed. Mainly because I don’t “have glaucoma”. But Travolta’s take (and Tarantino’s verbiage) about McDonald’s is 100% dead on balls accurate.

But even the slight differences have similarities…

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Lundun Town — The Final Stop

Well I’ve made it to the culmination of the tour de force.

Out my hotel window is the River Thames… in my pocket is the Oyster Card… at will-call are my tickets to Aston Villa v. WBA and QPR v. Chelsea… plans also on the horizon for maybe some Bears/Bucs action after the QPR/Chelsea game (Loftus Road is 3 miles from Wembley Stadium).

But before I go on my excursion today, tomorrow and Monday, I simply have to report my findings getting to here.

Because, well, they sucked.

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Stockholm Syndrome

"Bork. Bork. Bork."

I’m on my way to Merry Ol’. The trip is winding down… almost back to reality.

Adjö vackra blondiner.

The sad part is that Stockholm wasn’t very conducive to seeing the town. I learned a hard lesson while here, Stockholm simply isn’t a place to be in late October — and probably November, December, January, February and March.

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Things Just Got Really Interesting…

So, in the morning after the Aussie pre-mature session, a new crop of hostelites came into the City Backpackers. As I looked around the common room, I was the veteran. Only one person was recognizable and she was a British girl that came in the day after me. Everyone else was a newbie, or Asian.

My mornings usually consist of checking email and whatnot and mapping out a plan for what to do, and then I venture out around 11 am local time and see what the Stockholm world shows me.

Today was decidedly different.

Since I started sleeping at 5 am, I wasn’t waking up at 8 am and lounging. I woke up because of the sun at 9:30 am and promptly took a shower because I smelled of smoke and Heineken. Beer shits shortly after the shower and I’m good to go. Then hit the common room. As mentioned, the Aussies were long gone. I think they just stayed up after coitus and left to go to Berlin (I believe).

Now, just like what happened to me when I came in, you can’t check-in before 2 pm. So I’m sitting there, with the British girl, and there are a handful of people meandering in and out. No big deal. Then about 10:20 am SHE walks in.

And you know it is a big deal when SHE is capitalized.

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Budget Constraints: Update (Running Tally)

All quantities are at 11:59 pm of day mentioned. Trip is September 22nd-October 24th.

Day 1 (Newark, NJ)– Thursday, September 22, 2011: $3300 USD, 31 condoms, 9 cities to visit

Day 5 (Budapest, Hungary) — Monday, September 26, 2011: $3200 USD, 17 Czech Koruna (CZK), 28 condoms, 8 cities to visit, Flags: Czech Republic

Day 6 (Budapest, Hungary) — Tuesday, September 27, 2011: $3100 USD, 17 Czech Koruna (CZK), 17870 Hungarian Forint (HUF), 28 condoms, 8 cities to visit, Flags, Czech Republic

Day 8 (Budapest, Hungary) — Thursday, September 29, 2011: $3100 USD, 17 Czech Koruna (CZK), 6985 Hungarian Forint (HUF), 25 condoms, 8 cities to visit, Flags: Czech Republic, Canada, Hungary

Day ??? [Whatever Oct. 20 is from Sept. 22] (Stockholm, Sweden) — Thursday, October 20, 2011: $2100 USD, 17 Czech Koruna (CZK), 290 Swedish Krona (SEK), 18 condoms, 1.5 cities to visit, Flags: Czech Republic, Canada, Hungary, Latvia

Cash Strapped (But Perhaps a Goddamned Genius)

So, about last night…

Some of the Aussies that remain, and a few of the American med students that are up from Tel Aviv, decided to go out the Stureplan. I tagged along. It was ridiculous. Sweden parties hard from Wednesday to Sunday and clubs are banging out dance music well into the wee hours.

Now I hate clubs but this was more of a bar that played House music mixed with 90’s R&B and a fair share of classic American hits. So if nothing else it was a karaoke jamboree. Swedes love to audience participate when they dance so it kinda reminded me of Gator City and XS in Gainesville, Florida. Bar with club element.

But, yeah, Stockholm is fucking expensive on the entertainment tip. 60 SEK for a Heineken. That’s raping people without even kissing them.

However, the eye candy in this club — Soap Bar — was worth the shitty beer pricing.

The Aussies got royally pissed drunk and were just hooking up with everybody. Me? Not so much. I was trying to remain in control and actually remember how to get back to the hotel. 4 am rolls around, and everybody is smacked out. I’m the most coherent but we all realize very quickly that we don’t have enough money on the cab fare. Not to mention that our party basically tripled in the bar.

My cash is at the hostel and it’s in USD. I only have 40 SEK on me — along with some coins. But I realize where I am, because I walked this road on the way in from the docks. I say to the group that I can navigate us back to the hostel and that it wouldn’t be more than 15 minutes of walking.

Well, it would have been 15 minutes…

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Your Own Single Guy Guide: Tallink Silja Cruise Line

Disclaimer: This will be a feature that will continue throughout the length of my stays in places. Since literally every place as a walking tour/tourist guide, I am morphing that idea into things about the city that you really want to see. I figure that since I’m a pretty good gauge on what people are into and whatnot, this would be a good way to do an unbiased infomercial on a city that perhaps you haven’t seen and would like to know about. I will not pull punches, if I liked a place — I’ll sing its praises. If I hated, I’ll tear it the biggest asshole on the planet. Because I know assholes: I am one.

Take these as you will because I’m speaking only from my perspective. And remember: opinions are like assholes, everybody has one and only mine matters.

Tallink Silja Cruise Line from Tallinn to Stockholm

One-word definition: Piss

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