Just popping in

Greetings from Trogir, yet another coastal Croatian town. Sure, the old town is kind of pretty, but they all start to look the same after a while. Especially when every menu is full of fish and the cafes are all overpriced because you can smell salt in the air.

I’m going to write more about our travels later, I don’t much feel like it now. Boo hoo, no one gives two tosses anyway so what’s the rush, right? Of course.

In case anyone was wondering, my hair is looking splendid. It’s grown past the stage where it appears I have big red ear muffs and now I just look like a messy, bearded hippy. All those private school teachers would be so proud to see me these days. I even walk around in 3/4 pants and wear thongs. If I ever get back to Newtown it’ll be like I never left.

Only a few days to go until we fly to Dublin for 8 hours, then to Tampere in Finland to grab our stuff from Lahti before heading back to Tallinn and another month of toilet cleaning. There’s a dirty rumour that the place is actually getting organised now, perhaps even rosters! So much for spontaneity.

I still haven’t lined up a job in the UK, and I don’t really care. Things could be drastically changing plan, but I don’t like to give too much away. Not just yet, at least. Perhaps I’ll be lucky and manage to coax all three of you readers into a blog cliffhanger. It’s doubtful, but it gives me something to do.

Since I’ve had nothing much else to do except hang around in cafes, I’ve started ordering an espresso and a cappuccino at the same time. The waiters always think it’s for two people. Oh the hilarity. Eventually I plan to make it so common that they come on specially designed saucers, with two cup emplacements. That’s my dream. I’m a sad man.

I miss action ball. I cry myself to sleep over it most nights. Instead, I’ve roped Em into playing chess with me on a small travel set we bought. The fun never stops.

Need a rampage

I’m getting a bit of cabin fever lately. Been locked up inside this building for too long these last few days. Mainly from my own laziness and lack of inspiration to walk outside.

Today though I haven’t got much choice. Flat out cleaning. Making beds, doing laundry, folding laundry, vacuuming, mopping, scrubbing toilets, unblocking toilets, taking out garbage, cleaning mirrors, dusting. It’s not hard work per se, just takes a lot of time to do every room. Yep, every room. Everyone checked out today. There’s nothing quite like the adrenaline rush of trying to make a bed before the next guest arrives. It’s this fast-paced lifestyle that keeps me staying here.

Things are so fast paced that neither Em nor I spotted someone swiping my nice headphones when they were in our room and now someone’s stolen the sign to the hostel from inside the locked gate. Great success. I suppose that’s karma paying me back for stealing all those bottles of mustard and pepper shakers from various restaurants over the last few months. It’s not really fair, since I stole them for communal use rather than personal gain. Not that you can gain much from a sign that has our address written on it.

Emily’s gone to Finland for a few days to get her Eesti visa and to catch up with Heli. Thanks to the Suomi train system she’s probably going to come back with two mortgages after paying for the train tickets to Savonlinna, Helsinki, Lahti and back. Not to mention the visa application fee. I hope the Finnish people prosper from the generous tax subsidies her financial injection into the economy will bring about. It’s not cheap keeping trains looking and smelling so nice.

Someone left half a hip flask of whiskey here in the hostel for free. I’ve been eying it off. So far I’m winning. Now I just need to eye off this tumbler glass and then combine the two in a direct assault on my face. Ok, maybe not my face but the most suitable orifice on it.

To be honest I’d rather be drinking my delicious O’boy but milk isn’t here and whiskey is. Mmm.

Still in Funland

Emily and I are still here in Finland. Still in Lahti, in fact. Unsurprisingly, palmy and Dylan came back for New Years and have been staying mainly at Heli’s, although they were meant to stay with Krista’s parents.

It’s been fun having all these little bastards around. The party on the 31st was good. It was some dress up party so I went as a genie again. Inspiring, I know.

The party was some weird old house on the side of a railroad. I had no idea where we were but it seemed pretty cool. I can’t remember much from the night apart from running around being silly and dancing for a couple of hours. There was even a band playing earlier in the night but I was too lazy to check them out properly.

When we got back home, palmy and I tried to stay up all night. We ended up getting bored around 7:30am or something and crashed. I woke up with a hangover and with 3 other people in my bed. Too bad that doesn’t happen more often.

Yesterday was Emily’s birthday, the big 19. What started as a quiet affair ended up reasonably well. Heli’s folks made a nice big meal the day before for her even though it was Seija’s birthday, then Em spoilt us all by taking everyone out to dinner the following night.

After din-dins we had a mini round of King Cup and then hit up Rock and Molly Malone’s. Em needed a bit of convincing to come out as she wasn’t feeling 100% but I think the cold air did her good.

The other bastards went off to Onnelas later on but didn’t get in, so the night was effectively over, for me at least, by 4am.

Tomorrow we’re all leaving Lahti, bound for Helsinki and Tallinn. I’m going to stay at Suski’s and try to get my Eesti visa. Hope it doesn’t take too long.

Bus drivers: universal arseholes

Time for a quick Seinfeld impersonation:

What’s the deal with bus drivers? Why are they always in such bad moods? You’d think you’d be happy if you got to cruise around all day in a vehicle so big only a monster truck or a semi trailer would mess with you. It’s not like they’re frustrated with traffic; they’re not trying to get home in a hurry.

Ok. Hopefully that set the tone for this piece.

I’ve never had good experiences with bus drivers. The only memories I’ve ever had are of them being aggressive and mean, horrible people. I never really took the bus to school when I was young but I remember everyone had to have a bus pass. I also remember that the bus drivers would act as if they were working border patrol as customs officers whenever an 8 year old would hop on without the correct papers. What’s the big deal? Who the hell cares if a couple of schoolkids hop on a bus without a pass? It’s not costing the bus driver anything and the kids only need to ask their school to give them the pass and they get one. They still don’t pay for anything. The same goes for trains, but I’m not going to go into that here.

Even after my schooling days, they still run around as if they’re upholding some important station in society. I got verbally assaulted once by a bus driver because I didn’t have small enough change for my ticket. I believe the fare was meant to be $2.40. I only had a $10 note but I did have $0.40 in coins on me, so to be considerate and make the drivers job easier for me I handed him $10.40 so that he could just scrape up my $8 in change without having to think about it. Boy was I wrong.

Apparently I was out of line. I was meant to have THE CORRECT CHANGE. Taken aback, I stammered something out about how I didn’t have any change and couldn’t help it. Livid, the driver yanked the cash out of my hand and with a red face and steaming ears, went to all the trouble of picking up a $5 note and two little golden coins and threw them at me along with my ticket. He then continued to complain about how I was somehow fucking up the system because he didn’t have enough money in his till to break $10 notes… Even though he did. To cut a long description of a pointless argument short, he was a prick.

I’ve had other ridiculous experiences in Sydney but there’s no point rehashing them now. I will, however, share a brief whine about one of my Finnish bus mishaps.

Being a good commuter, I arrived 15 minutes early at the bus stop, eagerly waiting for my ride to the city centre of Lahti in order to frolick down to the main bus terminal and take a 2 hour trip to Tampere for a night of fun and alcoholism. Again, story short, the bus was 10 minutes late and drove straight past me while I stood in front on the bus stand. I waited another 20 minutes for the next bus even though it should only have been 10 and in frustration decided to simply walk to town. Of course, I’d already missed my scheduled bus by then and had to make my friend wait for me and watch our bus drive off, as he was there on time. I think he got a lift or something.
The good news is that while bus drivers may be pricks, they’re also stupid. When I finally got onto the bus headed for Tampere I managed to down a whole bottle of vodka in the back seat while I listened to my 80s pop collection on my iPod.

It’s not easy being this hardcore.

Photos!

I have 489 photos uploaded for you to check out here.

No, they’re not all captioned.

No, I haven’t updated travelpod yet, but I did plot out my route (even though the dates are incorrect).

You’re welcome.

P.S. I’ve been staying in Lahti, Finland for the last 2 weeks. Thanks, Heli et al.