I have numerous flaws, as all of you know, but one that has to nearly top the list for me is my poor memory.
I went to Dublin, Ireland and Moscow earlier this summer, completely forgetting how much I disliked going to the same area (Scotland, Sweden, Berlin) last summer because of two reasons: the nightlife isnâ€™t that good ANYWHERE in the Europe region (with possible exception of Eastern Europe), the people aren’t really that nice, it is way too expensive and also because it was summer and I was in places where the weather wasnâ€™t even that great, not to mention they had no beaches or anything.
And then, again, I went to Italy and Spain over the last two weeks, completely forgetting how poor of a time I have had on all my recent trips to Europe.
Not that I regret the tripâ€¦ it was really amazing to see Rome. But I have to try to remember that if I am looking for a good time (in terms of the things I like), DO NOT go to Europe.
As a way of illustrating my point, here is how my 2.5 days in Barcelona went:
First of all, Barcelona has a really nice vibe to it. It is an old city but has a really nice mix of ancient and modern. As we drove through the city from the airport it had the same feeling I have in Vancouverâ€¦ everything is nice, relaxed, green, clean etcâ€¦
I stayed at a hotel called the Silken Diagonal. It was very modern and trendy. It was actually too â€œhipâ€? though.
The hotel was one of those hotels that try to make everything so different that you canâ€™t actually figure anything out. As example, when I first got into the elevator, there are no buttons on the inside, making me stand there for like 30 seconds like an idiot wondering how to get it to go to my floor. Upon exiting the front desk people told me how it works.. they must have to do this for everybody as it is not very self explanatory. The way it works is that on the outside of the elevators is a number pad, where you are supposed to pick your floor and then it tells you which elevator to use (A, B or C).
Everything in the hotel was like thatâ€¦ even the bottle opener took me a minute to figure outâ€¦ while I appreciate their attempts at doing new/different things, the end result is that you are basically just in a state of constant confusion as to how to use the phone, tv, lights, etc!
Anyway, I even had a tough time getting to the hotel. For those that speak Spanish, are the actual Spanish speaking in Spain quite a bit different from Latin America? Because I had a heck of a time understanding anything, whereas in Mexico I was fairly decent.
For example, to get to my hotel, I (stupidly) just pronounced it the way the English speakers would, â€œDY-AG-UN-UL Hotel, por fa vorâ€?â€¦ the taxi driver looked at me with no comprehension. I tried to say it over and over, no luck. I then showed it to him on my phone, he then went, â€œahhhhhh YE-UAH-HO-NAHHLâ€?â€¦.
So, I eventually got to the hotel, figured out the elevator and the lights in my room and then went out for the evening.
I was happy to be in a town with a casino, so went to the Casino Di Barcelona and played poker for about an hour or so, then I went out in the area there, called Port Olimpico. It is a nice area by a marina on the water with numerous clubs. But most of them werenâ€™t that great, and it was difficult to meet anyoneâ€¦
It was then that I put 2+2 together and realized, once and for all, that ALL of Europe is a complete waste of time if you are interested in going out and having fun and meeting people.
And considering I was paying 3-10 times more than what I would pay in a place like Thailand to have 3-10 times less enjoyment, I caught the next plane out of Barcelona.
Once again, on booking flights, I found yet another hilarious airfare discrepancy.
It was actually really tough to find any sort of direct (even 1 stop) flight from Barcelona to Bangkok, so I looked at every possible option, including stopping over in Istanbul, Ethiopia, Athens, Paris etcâ€¦
Most were really expensive, and the times didnâ€™t work well, but after spending 2 days in Ramadan and then a week in boring-ass Europe, I was desperate to get back to heaven (asia), so I kept looking.
I looked at a flight from Frankfurt direct to Bangkok on Lufthansa, but on Expedia it showed the price as being $2,500.
However, I then typed in Barcelona-Bangkok on Expedia and it gave me a flight on Lufthansa from Barcelona-Frankfurt and then from Frankfurt-Bangkok for $650!?!?!?
Note to self (and you): try playing around with flights on sites like expediaâ€¦ for example, if you are trying to go from Toronto to Miami and all you can find are $1,000+ flights, try typing in something like Winnipeg-Miamiâ€¦ so many times I have found that you may end up getting a $300 flight from Winnipeg-Miami that stops over in Toronto anyway, in which you can just skip the initial Winnipeg-Toronto flight and save yourself a few thousand dollars.
Anyway, I was SO happy to get this flight because Lufthansa has HIGH SPEED internet on all their long flights based out of Frankfurt!! I was so happyâ€¦ Iâ€™ve never had high speed internet on a plane beforeâ€¦ and for some reason, it was even free (I heard the charge was $30, which I would have happily paid, but it was free on my flight). The speed of the internet was really good, I was very surprised. I was getting up to 250kbs (25Kbs approx) most of the time and could even watch my Slingbox on itâ€¦ so I was on a flight from Frankfurt to Bangkok, flying over Iran watching Canadian live TV etcâ€¦ very cool. The only problem was that in peasant (economy) class they don’t have power adapters, so I could only use the internet as long as my laptop (and phone) had power… my laptop is a massive 17 inch widescreen beast, so it lasts a max of 1.5 hours under battery… they have power adapters in first and biz class…
Note that no Canadian or American airlines have high speed internet, of course, with those two countries being some of the most socialist, fascist, communist (pick one, or all), non-capitalistic countries in the history of the planet.
I arrived in Bangkok and, as always, was so happy. This is my favorite place to be right nowâ€¦ I think I will take a trip to Myanmar in the next few weeks as a â€˜holidayâ€™ for a few days just to check it outâ€¦ and then I want to take a trip down through Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand and then over to Chile, Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela, starting in late Nov or Decâ€¦ I am taking bets on how long I am away before I return to Thailand… even money is around 3 weeks… however, Latin America is the only other place on earth, besides Asia, that I consider to be livable, so it is possible I could actually stay 2-4 months over there… we will see!
But until then, I am happily back â€œhomeâ€?.