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Friday, 30 December 2011

Healthy things to do naked no 2 - SAUNA (and how not to die or get pregnant in one)

After writing this blog for about 3 years now (can you believe it? what happened to my life?) It has occurred to me that despite living in Estonia for most of the time I haven't written a single thing about Saunas. And looking at the readership here, most of you didn't have a sauna today.

Well...where to start telling you, dear Sauna heathen, about Sauna? In Finland, Estonia, and Russia it of course competes with drinking vodka as the national sport. (Often the two are mixed, which I must warn, ends in carnage and getting total strangers pregnant)

In the Baltics, Sauna is taken very seriously - In 2010 the World Sauna Championship, held in Finland since 1999 had to be stopped indefinately - the Russian competitor died and the Finn (who won by default since the other finalist died) ended up in hospital. I'd heard on the grapevine the Russian, actually was drugged up to the eyeballs so couldn't feel the 110 degree C heat burning the inside of his lungs.

but all in all, a real Sauna, especially a Smoke sauna (read the link to find out all about this weird sounding but great feeling way of Sauna) or at worst a real wood fired sauna (much softer heat) can be a great and healthy thing, and afterwords you feel like you've just been born (your skin is clean, I don't mean that you start believe what you see on Fox news)

A few things you must be aware of, if you're a foreigner in these parts and decide to join some local people for a sauna

1. It is hot. Usually about 80-90 degrees Celcius. When water is poured on you feel hotter of course as thats the air temperature (which is almost boiling point) The water opens your pores and lets you sweat out the toxins so use it - even in lame American saunas that are 60degrees and say 'don't pour water on' As usual Americans totally miss the point. (Soon you'll be telling me you support Mitt Romney for Gods sake)

2. Everyone will be naked. Yes, believe it or not, 5 naked guys huddled in a small box sweating together does not have to be a gay orgy. And don't worry, Asian guy, that you may have a tiny wiener - really, no one cares about it. Apart from you, sitting there in the closet, there is only one gay guy in all Estonia and he lives in London, if thats some reassurance. If you do wear boxer shorts, you will be seen for the total dickwad that you are, so just brave it as it cleans you out better.

3. People often have Sauna when blind drunk. This also may be an issue for some western people. but if your sharing a sauna with fat horny Finnish girls, then believe me, its a Godsend. And beer, when poured on the sauna makes a lovely smell. Of course all health benefits from the sauna are negated from this, and its actually quite dangerous from a dehydration point of view so make sure if you do get drunk in there, keep some water handy. Just close your eyes when the Finnish ladies hands go wandering.

4. After the sauna, you should either roll in the snow, jump in a freezing river/sea/lake or at least have a cold shower. This washes the crap off of you, closes up your pores, and thats what makes your skin all smooth to touch. If you don't do this, you will come out in spots and be one of those ignorant douchebags who 'hates sauna' because you didn't have the courage to do it properly (jumping naked into snow takes balls/vodka first time but really its fine) After the snow, don't stay in the cold for too long though as your body temp will drop quickly in minus 20.

5. If you are having sauna with total strangers, and they know you are a foreigner (just as i did two hours ago on Baltic_Queen (ironically named since as i said, there are no gays left in Estonia) They will likely try to get into a silent macho 'pouring water on' match - they'll keep pouring water which makes it burning hot, to see if the 'pussy foreigner' can handle when it gets over 100 degrees. Well, man, don't let me tell you what to do, Estonian guys hate you anyway since if you are there you are stealing their women (even accidentally) but if you do have some self respect, hang in there and they may even grunt some appreciation and buy you a Saku Beer if you last it out.

6. Dont have sex in the sauna. Its too hot, and its a silly idea. And condoms don't work so well. Especially with those drunk Finnish girls - afterwards you will see them in the light and know i'm right.

And on that note, I see that its now almost the end of the year. This month I bizzarely got a record number of hits on this blog, so....thanks a lot guys, keep comments and suggestions coming, i do appreciate it. funny thing is i was looking at the hits and the highest is one random post about falling in love with prostitutes....

anyway when it comes, Happy New Year!

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Toxoplasma - Proof that Cats are rubbish for Men and good for Women (We already know that, of course..)

I was talking the other day to someone about an article i'd read that shows that cats turn men into nervous wrecks and women into wanton predators....Well here and here are two of them - just google Toxoplasma and you'll see a million more...
Here's an extract..
Your earlier studies suggest the toxoplasma infection can induce personality changes in humans - how does the human psyche change and does the alteration manifest itself differently in men and women?
"Yes, there is a very huge difference between men and women. The infected men are more suspecting and jealous and they don't like to respect the rules of their society. In women, it is quite the opposite way. They are more outgoing, easygoing, warm-hearted and they like to respect the rules of their society."

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Bizarre Place Names

Ok there has been too much thinking in this blog. So i thought i would dumb it down a little by telling you some real place names around the world.

I wonder if anyone has made a point of visiting them all....

Arsoli (Lazio, Italy)
Bastard (Norway)
Beaver (Oklahoma, USA)
Beaver Head (Idaho, USA)
Brown Willy (Cornwall,UK)
Chinaman's Knob (Australia)
Climax (Colorado, USA)
Cunt (Spain)
Cunter (Switzerland)
Dikshit (India)
Dildo (Newfoundland, Canada)
Dong Rack (Thailand-Cambodia border)
Dongo (Congo - Democratic Republic)
Effin (Limerick, Ireland)
Fuku (Shensi, China)
Fukue (Honshu, Japan)
Fukui (Honshu, Japan)
Fukum (Yemen)
Hold With Hope (Greenland)
Intercourse (Pennsylvania, USA)
Lickey End (West Midlands, UK)
Little Dix Village (West Indies)
Lord Berkeley's Knob (Sutherland, Scotland)
Middle Intercourse Island (Australia)
Muff (Northern Ireland)
Nobber (Donegal, Ireland)
Pis Pis River (Nicaragua)
Sexmoan (Luzon, Philippines)
Seymen (Turkey)
Shafter (California, USA)
Shag Island (Indian Ocean)
Shitlingthorpe (Yorkshire, UK)
Tittybong (Australia)
Tong Fuk (Japan)
Turdo (Romania)
Twatt (Orkney, UK)
Wank (Germany)
Wankendorf (Schleswig-Holstein, Germany)
Wankener (India)
Wankie (Zimbabwe)
Wankie Colliery (Zimbabwe)
Wanks River (Nicaragua)
Wankum (Germany)
Wet Beaver Creek (Australia)

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

How to Cheer Yourself up for Winter (book a cheap flight to the sun!)

I would say, there is nothing better to raise your mood in this dark and wet (at least in Northern Europe) Winter, than to book a bunch of cheap flights!

There seems to be a raft of cheap flights right now  - Canadian Budget airline airtransat is doing Glasgow-Toronto for £159 upwards one way, with £90 to upgrade, albeit that just means free booze and marginally better seats (i'm guessing like Economy Plus) It also flies to London and various other British and Canadian cities.

If you're in US - check out spirit , another El Cheapo carrier - they charge you extra for luggage but you can get to Costa Rica or Nicaragua or any of the Latin American places for well under $100 (i just booked to Nicaragua, to cheer me up, but more on that later...)

Of course you have the perennial Easyjet, and Ryanair if you feel you need to be humiliated somehow....

Friday, 16 December 2011

Modern Art is Rubbish - Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow

This alcove  is infinitely more beautiful than the polythene bag. 

So what is it exactly about modern art though? I remember making a gross error of judgement and went to the 'Tate Modern' one time. I couldn't find a single interesting piece of art. Am I missing something? Have all the beautiful things been 'done' already, so the artist must push the edges and make some conceptual piece or are they simply not talented and its a big game to fleece a gullable fau-intellectual public?  I'd be on the latter side myself. In fact i was thinking about selling some blank canvases, with just my signature at the bottom, to portray the emptiness of modern culture (maybe thats been done already?!!)

Anyway, i thought i'd share these photos of the Glasgow 'GOMA' - Gallery of Modern Art, which actually is set in a beautiful building and is worth going for that, and maybe some of the more normal stuff on the upper floors. But seriously. Is that piece of polythene an 'Installation' or just a big piece of rubbish? I left the gallery none the wiser....

Monstrous carbunkles ruining a beautiful building - GOMA, Glasgow

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Puking is NOT Art

And while we're on the subject of talentless artists....

I will venture an opinion here. sorry Milly, i know this is your career and all, but this is, while mildly amusing for 30 seconds, its total rubbish and no way to spend your life. There are plenty jobs out there.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Spudspotting/Hot Chicks With Douchebags - A New Worldwide Phenomenon

This link HERE isn't travel related, but i think may be interesting for those of you who do live life a little and observe what is going on here and there with regards to the ladies of the world.

I really see a trend here - our very own secret 'Spudspotting' community has been active in Tallinn for almost 10 years now, seeking out (it's not too difficult in Eastern Europe) amusing photos of 'Spuds' (ugly stupid looking, badly dressed men) with beautiful (but sadly tasteless and often leopardskin clad) girls.

But we are not alone. The hot chicks with douchebags website, has been operating across the pond, bravely and totally independently for a number of years. I feel that when we find there is an Asian or South American version, we truly have a worldwide brotherhood, which only goes to show, tragically that all men think alike....

Shoreditch Twats- As Predictable as an Estonian Girl Choosing an Inappropriate Boyfriend

So, im back in twat central - Shoreditch, Hackney, London. (Thanks to Oli, Mia and Marino for putting me up)

A Shoreditch Twat, yesterday

I had a great time mind you, went to 'kick' where you can pick up French girls while playing table football (if you want to), ending up in a bar called Spread-Eagle - Last time I was there it was ten years ago, it was a girly bar, on a Saturday Afternoon and they had for some reason Aussie Backpacker girls stripping to the sounds of AC/DC. Actually it was much better then, but now at least its open until 4am.

What gets me though about the Hackney 'centre of the universe' vibe is that its strangling itself on its own narcissism. The moustache count was high, (because it's just been movember but i'm more looking forward to early next year when the ladies repost with fanuary. I'll try to research as much as I can personally, although as i'm sure you fellas well know the ladies of Japan (and probably Pakistan for that matter) have been active here for years.)

But what next for a place thats so achingly trendy that no one is actually imaginative or original any more? Well, it hit me when I walked past the The Breakfast Club off Hoxton Square on Saturday morning. People were actually queueing up to pay and extra £3 so they could have fresh coriander on their bacon and eggs, instead of just walking (its about a mile though) to a real greasy spoon like i did. Actually probably they don't even give you coriander, but i do recommend it, it tastes great.

Anyway, if a place has gone like that, the only way can be down, surely? I didn't meet or see anyone or anything remotely inspirational in the whole area, seemed it was at that terminal phase, where Starbucks is about to move in (there's already one on Commercial Road nearby, watch out!) and the only people you meet are whining Dickheads from the home counties who have as much creativity as a bin-man (the only answer for these guys is of course to take coke, then you convince yourself that you're interesting and creative to everyone, voila!) 

Which I suppose describes the Shoreditch/Hackney phenomenon perfectly. Hackney is that pretty average looking guy you see out of his head on coke, totally convinced that he is an original, interesting and unique genius, but of course to everyone else he's just a boring, unimaginative loser with too much of his parents money, in a terminally downwards spiral.

Anyway, now i'll go and watch 'Another Earth' and leave you with this summary....

What is a Shoreditch Twat

1. Usually a new media, fashion student, photographer-type person with a privileged digital or old school arts background who lives/works/socialises in London's East End area of Shoreditch. A Shoreditch twat has at some point also worked/lived/socialised in the near-by Brick Lane. A Shoreditch twat is defined by their Hoxton Finn haircut, 80s retro 90s fusion clothes (usually a suit jacket, blue ripped jeans, and white trainers/shoes), an ability to talk about pseudo-intellectual artistic bullshit with no relevance to the real world, completely up their own backsides, and a failure to comprehend that they are the laughing stock of the rest of the normal local (ethnic) population.

2. 20-something dressed in over-priced torn clothing and numerous 80s retro fashion items, sometimes including pink legwarmers. Ridiculous haircuts also de-rigeur. Comonly found in Shoreditch/Hoxton area, usually making bad art in an overpriced warehouse apartment while living on seemingly limitless parental funds. Shoreditch twats where once refered to more politely by the BBC as 'Hoxton trendies'.

3. The Shoreditch Twat fanzine was published and edited by club promoter Neil Boorman on behalf of 333 from 1999-2004. Starting life as a listings magazine for the club, it quickly grew to become an irreverent, satirical fanzine at the centre of the creative boom in East London. Producing 25,000 copies every six weeks with funding from BAT, Anheuser-Busch and Diesel, Shoreditch Twat attracted writers from The Guardian, The Face, Arena, Loaded, ID and Sleazenation, and illustrators James Jarvis, Bump, Airside, Will Sweeney and Elliot Thoburn. In 2001, the term Shoreditch Twat became popular vernacular for an overdressed East London 'trendy' and the fanzine went on to produce an installation for the Barbican Gallery's UK culture exhibition 'Jam', which later toured to Japan. In 2003, Channel 4 Television and Talkback commissioned Shoreditch Twat to produce a one off comedy show. This show went on to win a specila mention at the 2004 Montreux Comedy Award. After four years and 31 issues, Shoreditch Twat ran into legal difficulties and was forced to close down. The publisher went on to edit Sleazenation Magazine.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

People I know in London

The funny thing about people in London is they hate to be pidgeonholed. They'd all like to tell you how London life is great, and how (see those facebook photos?!) they are partying all the time, and life is amazing.

This is not what its like. and they can 100% be pidgeonholed - so here we go....

1. They have money but no time (because they work 24/7 in mildly satisfying but fundamentally pointless job) They have no time to enjoy life because they are worrying about losing their job or becoming one of the riff-raff. DONT get into a conversation with these guys about house prices or school fees.

2. They have time but no money (because they have normal or genuinely satisfying jobs, or are students, neither of which can pay the bills in London, never mind going out.) The only social life most of these guys get is protesting against 1, above.

3. If they have time and money, the last place you would want to live in London, so they aren't there.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Very Good Link to my other Blogpost

Back Running

Apologies for no recent interesting journalism, I've been trying to become a real writer. More Later!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Why date pensioners?

I found a facebook group called 
'why older men are better' or something like that.

Common Interest - Beliefs & Causes


There's alot to be said for dating the more mature man:

1. They are more mature, therefore more interested in a relationship

2. They will have "hot younger girlfriend" and therefore won't be cheating on you with "hot younger girl"

3. More experience!!!

4. Will have stable job and therefore more money to spend on you!

5. Are probably more intelligent so will be able to hold a coherent conversation, and not bore you to death with talk about football or x-box

6. They are more likely to posess a car... and I don't mean a baked bean can on wheels, I mean like a porsche

7. Will not say "that was enjoyable", roll over and fall asleep after sex, they will probably talk or cuddle or both

8. Their life experiences means they will understand romance and will treat you like a lady... not like a cheap date

Friday, 23 September 2011

Russianisms !

Russians, dontcha love them. The Latinos of the North, drinking and dying and divorcing their way to total self annihilation. Corruption that would make an African Dictator green with envy. A democratic system to rival that of North Korea.

Here in Estonia, they are generally thought of as amusing but very dangerous neighbours and infiltrators. Like a hungry rottweiler that lives in your back garden. So anyway, here are some interesting anecdotes i picked up (mostly from people who live in Rakvere, the front line)

 When a Russian man opens his mouth its part of his scheme to trick you out of all your money.
 When a Russian woman opens her mouth its part of her scheme to trick you out of all your money by marrying you.

 Russian men dress like gangsters and thugs, because they are gangsters and thugs
 Russian women dress like prostitutes because.....

 If your Russian wife hits you, its because she loves you.
 If your Russian husband hits you, its because he loves you.

The tragedy is all the above are true, but any additional 'Russianisms' are welcome

ps Of course these don't apply to Russian female freinds of mine. It does apply to men of course since i don't have any male Russian friends.

pss I would be willing to bet that some smart American reader has just thought that they could have a cheap shot at Russian peoples acceptance of dictatorship as thinly disguised democracy (my moneys on Putin!). But hush, you can't really criticise since you think that 'terrorists' blew up your twin towers despite obvious evidence of controlled demolition and so can't really be taken seriously in any argument. So shut up.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Tokyo, Part 1. Transvestite Cabaret and other mainly food related Japanese Perversions

They can't put a woman in a photo without dressing her as a schoolgirl, nun, or a silly doll

One of my most surreal moments in Tokyo was one time with dear Yuki, Kanazawas most beautiful nurse, and we ended up in a red light district in Shinjuku, Tokyo, sat down at a table and watched blind drunk salarymen drool over transvestites dancing and singing in some kind of pantomime, then one of the salarymen decided to tip up the whole table full of drinks, and so they all spend the next 20 minutes, sternly and politely (but so drunk they were dribbling) cleaned up the whole mess themselves.
Im not sure how this Japanese childrens clothes shop wen't down in Ethiopia

Anyway, this is the wonder of Tokyo.

I dont really know where to start to explain the insanity that is Tokyo, so since its breakfast time, lets start with the food.

Tokyo I understand there are well over 100 Michelin Starred Restaurants. And from some of the prices you would think they all are. But generally food is both good quality, tasty, diverse, healthy, and caters for all tastes and budgets.

I was once at a private restaurant club where the waitresses were all Japanese speaking Russian models, we had our own chef (who dutifully killed the seafood in front of us) and for some reason Jude Law was there having a drink at the bar. But my business partner paid, I don't think I would want to see that bill and I don't recommend you go there. Just don't be surprised by ANYTHING in this city, even if the food starts talking to you.

There are a few things i do recommend foodwise

1. Katsu Curry. This is Japanese fast food. You can't beat it, seriously. Breadcrumbed Pork (or Pok if you are Japanese and can't pronounce 'r') boiled rice, pork, and brown japanese curry sauce. There are loads of cheap Katsu Curry joints all over Japan and are just the ticket if your broke, and hungry, and want some free water.

2. Kobe Beef. The king of beef. If you go to Kobe, its about 50 Euros for a plate of real Kobe beef, which i'm afraid makes American pretend Kobe ($100 a pop) beef taste like MacDonalds. As usual the locals keep the best stuff for themselves. All over Japan though, Wagyu beef is quite amazing and will ruin you for steaks for the rest of your life.
This was a lunch of Kobe Beef which we cooked ourselves and random seafood. All for 50 Euros

3. Whale meat. Ok ok i've discussed this, and although it's actually nothing special to taste, I suggest to taste it one time when in Japan, if anything just to sock one to the ignorant po-faced idiots who would criticise you for it back home.

4. Turtle. Can you imagine that you just cut up your scrawniest friend and started eating his spinal column? Well thats a bit like what sea turtle tastes like. As a foreigner i was forced to eat the heart (quite tasty) and had the fun of watching the chef kill the poor thing, pour his blood out in a cup (which we drank with saki) and pulverise into something we were supposed to eat. I had to get so drunk to eat this that I met a Japanese girl who spoke fluent Gaelic, got lost walking home and woke up on a park bench, then woke up again on a sofa in my hotel reception, but miraculously kept the whole healthy thing down.

You also eat the shell, which is full of the stuff that they make botox from, and so im assumng is very good for your skin.

You can watch the chef dancing with this fine creature here

5. Shabu Shabu. Its called this because you get this thin meat, and 'swish' it in the hot fat/sauce and voila! its cooked and tasty, and it probably made a kind of 'shabu shabu' noise.

6. Tempura, Sushi, and Japanese noodle bars. These are more like the Japanese food you would see all over the world. To be honest, you may as well just forget it, you can get the same stuff (not as nicely made admittedly) all over.

7. European Food. This is actually pretty funny. I suppose it must be like a chinese person getting chicken chow mein from the local takeaway, or an Indian guy getting Tikka Masala (a dish invented in Croydon if i'm not mistaken) It looks like pizza/pasta/fish and chips, and it kind of tastes like it. But somehow in the teleportation, something is different. It's actually never very nice but still its worth doing once just to say 'yea i had a mexican last night' to throw people off the fact your'e in Tokyo. Sadly Macdonalds still tastes the same.

Green Tea Ice Cream is popular, but disgusting. Especially if you make it into a hamburger (this is in Kyoto)

Monday, 12 September 2011

Another Shot at the 60's - The New Beat Generation

Unemployment among young people in USA stands at over 20%, and that doesn't even count part-time people who are freelance website designers (about 40 million people). Here we are faced with a whole phenomena of permenantly irresponsible people drifting from place to place, party to party, gallery opening to gallery opening, looking for something to actually do with their lives except quote Jack Kerouac or tell people they are 'freelancing'

So while Asians Blacks and Mexicans are busy actually doing all the work, a whole generation of 20's-40's white people have nothing to do except join a retro band, whine, and try out tantric sex. 

Instead of working, more and more people are thinking about things (because they have time) People espouse 'sharing' (because they have no money themselves) People talk about 'a new Paradigm of living', as we hurtle towards December 2012 (because like me, they themselves are rapidly hurtling towards unemployability) 

'Those nasty damn exploiting capitalists' they say. 'The system must change'. 

But really guys, it will, but it's going to get much worse before it gets better so may as well buckle up and if you really want to change things, like Ghandi - take action, don't just take yoga classes.

This new beat generation is here to stay, but the whole 'new paradigm' is fatally flawed. It's all well and good to moan about ruthless big business, exploitation, and control of the general populace by a small number of rich people, but whats the viable alternative? making beads? It's been suggested that barter systems can work too. Of course they can but only on a small scale. For beads, beans, car repairs, that sort of thing. But what about airplanes and ships that actually bring you those sweatshop built shoes and hats? or the trees that go to make your vegan cookbook? Yes yes. Im afraid theres a big difference between the wishful thinking of armchair hippies and the reality of life, dear friend. Socialist ideas do tend to go pear shaped due the general fuzziness of the bearded fellows espousing it and real human nature, which, like it or not is like all mammals - competitive and status oriented. 

One trend that I do like is the fact that people do seem to be having another shot at the 60's. Again in a really bad way, but the thought is there. Either i'm hanging about with more freaks than I used to, or spiritual awareness is growing at a rate of noughts. The population is split down the middle, with materialistic rational scientific non spiritual people on one side and, on the other, people for whom this simply isn't enough. 
They, like me, seek answers. Rational Science takes an objective outside observers viewpoint. But this is impossible viewpoint, because like it or not, we are part of it all. It also doesn't fully explain the big bang or evolution for that matter, despite the possibility that they are correct. Is the spiritual truth simply hidden for us until we, as humans, are ready for it? Is it that guys like Moses, Jesus, all these kind of guys were ready, so they got the necessary info for the meaning of life ? Is the answer really 42?

I'll write a specific article on this later, meanwhile take a look at this series (its about 60 episodes long!) but quite an interesting take on the subject. And enjoy yourselves. Get used to being skint, being 'freelance' and being 'spiritual without a clue what it means ' . You aren't alone

Friday, 9 September 2011

Ten Things That Make a Place Civilised

So what makes a city/town/village/row of houses civilised?

Here's my top 10

1. Free Water in Restaurants and Cafes - massive fail for greedy Tallinn Restaurant owners who make sure the staff bring you some expensive Evian when you specifically ask for tap water. But full marks for UK, Japan, USA and even the humble Kanooks for always giving you free water when you sit down.

2. Free Wi-Fi everywhere (including airports) - And the opposite applies. UK especially must be the most backward country in the world regarding this. Most people still call it the 'Interweb' or if you are with BT broadband 'Interwait'

3. Real Originality - Ok im not talking about hipsters walking around looking like zombies and making ironic remarks like on Broadway Market, London (I'll find out if its the same in Buffalo's Hipsta Allen Street tonight)  But a real unique local creative hub that doesn't look to other cities to copy is priceless. Seems to me that smaller cities have this original 'feel' like Osaka, Glasgow, Toronto, Amsterdam, even little old Tallinn, know what i mean?

4. Cheap Living and Tasty Cheap Food - What is the point of a 'cool' area being a place where it costs $500,000 for a studio apartment? All that means is the trend is DOWN. Thats why London and New York are decidedly mediocre these days. If you're in a place where its too expensive for a struggling creative genius to eke out even a meagre living then guess what...all your neighbours are shyster lawyers and dull bankers, and your life may as well no longer exist.  Tokyo has 119 Michelin Starred Restaurants, but...its damn expensive. Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Singapore all have great food choices for a quarter of the price. I would get a better steak for a tenth of the price in Buenos Aires than London, thats for sure. And the waiter wouldn't be Eastern European either.

5. Good Bookshops - to spend afternoons in. No further explanation needed.

6. Good Weather - Look, i don't care what you say, but what the hell are these 'lifestyle surveys' thinking of when they put the crappest coldest wettest cities in the top ten? - (here) Helsinki, Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto - why not throw in Anchorage Alaska while you're at it?  All the South East Asian Cities are too humid. Vienna, Glasgow, Copenhagen and Seattle rain all the time. And all the others in the top lists (like Geneva or Barcelona) are too expensive to consider.  So that leaves us with a couple of nice weathered South American Cities like smog blessed Buenos Aires who really deserve to sneak in there.

7. Mixed Race and other Beautiful Chicks -  Ok this maybe a personal bias, but it seems to me that mixed race chicks are almost alway smoking hot. And that adds to the good vibe. Everyone is happy when a beautiful girl is around (hint for beautiful girls - especially if she's making breakfast)

8. Positive Vibe  - Well you can say its just who you hang around with but really, overall some cities just have a good energy. London and New York are great but have a negative grinding vibe, probably due to the massive expense of simply existing there. You know what i mean? Weather says a lot here too.

9. Low Redneck/Bro. Count. - But directly connected to this is the redneck count. I mean don't get me wrong i've been accused of defending rednecks in the past, and in some ways, i do feel for them. I mean we're all white trash when we go far back enough aren't we? But of course to be in a city where the weekend'scene' consists of drunk fighting or thumping hip-hop and DJ's are considered talented isn't civilised. You can tell the redneck/bro count by the number of fast food outlets in a neighbourhood. Hackney used to be a 'Bro' neighbourhood (Black youths looking to relieve you of your wallet/life) and even without seeing anyone you could tell because every shop on every street was either a fried chicken place or barbers shop. Now white English twats called Tarquin eat in the same places when drunk, parking their stolen supermarket trolleys outside. Dickheads are also not civilised.

10. Plenty Sports around.  Ok I know I abuse fat people possibly more than any other group in my blog. (forgive me, I try to abuse everyone fairly and evenly) but really its more because its their own fault. My friend showed me a video today (where she is now a TV presenter, well done!) of Tallinn, and i noticed how everyone is normal looking. Because almost everyone does sport of some kind (or at least the girls live on coffee and cigarettes to stay slim) and they eat normally, and there are few fast food outlets. Then I looked around in Buffalo as a typical US place outside California, and the average person is overweight. Its about 40% diet- since its full of sugar and additives and prozac here. But the most important thing is at least the Opportunity to do some sports. Beaches are good, lakes, mountains, or even non-crappy weather. Then we can all stay outside instead of sitting home playing online poker.

Ok on this basis, i'm packing my bags for Honalulu !

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Syracuse. Home of average looking and slightly chubby girls.

Well well. Whats going on? I hear you ask. What exciting part of the world did you wake up in this morning?

Well, i'm afraid I woke up in Syracuse.

I don't know if any of you have been there (more likely passed through) but Syracuse is the New York State equivalent of Birmingham, UK.

No one enters (except for University, after which they leave) no one leaves. And everyone believes whatever rubbish the American mass media pours into their little minds, because nothing ever happens here, and nothing actually matters anyway because nothing is likely to change.

Maybe i'm just allergic to small towns.

The tragedy of it all is, i may end up living here one day.

Anyway, what else can i tell you about Syracuse. There are no really good museums or art galleries. There are no big or funky or interesting companies based here. It has a decidedly average shopping mall. There are no sports teams of note, except maybe the University American Football Team which wears Orange. The University itself is quite well renowned actually, and it full of Asians for some reason.

And at least students means drinking, so there is a little bar area, which I explored since i was here (Uni has just started back so it was busy) Hoping in vain that my Scottish drawl and devastatingly average looks would mean id be smothered by nubile 19 yr old cheerleaders, i was a bit disappointed to see that

1. All girls with pretty faces are fat
2. All the girls who look after their bodies are ugly.

The reason i'm writing this blog post is to confirm to myself that i haven't actually died and gone into some kind of impossible choice purgatory. Maybe you are right, friends, Estonia has spoiled me for the more real hell world which, consists of chubby boring and average looking women, and chubby boring men with no imagination or inspiration (would you be inspired if your woman was pasty and fat?)

Ok enough abuse about Syracuse. My real estate agent there is a good guy. And i spoke to a nice girl who works in the Zen Bhuddist centre too.

 But i had to just get it out there - Syracuse! Get some Ambition !

ps if you do happen to be in Syracuse and want to rent a dumpster, here is the link!!

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Kyoto - Home of Yoda, Green Tea Ice Cream, and countless Almond Eyed Beauties

Do you know what this means? why not?

So here I sit, waiting for my hotel check-in, at 7.30am, in Akasaka Macdonalds, Tokyo, surrounded by overworked salarymen eating breakfast and working like crazy to prepare for the day ahead, and homeless teens snoozing before they head off and do nothing, and I can say I’m very glad to be back here in Tokyo. Apart from the stressed out guy next to me cracking his fingers in frustration. (very bad habit,  by the way, you know who you are!)

I spent the last week in the Kansai region – known as the ‘heart of Japan’. Mostly that means Osaka, Kyoto, and a whole bunch of medium size cities in between.

We started off (myself and my trusty Japanese Sensai) on the overnight bus to Osaka.  I think for trips outside of the Tokyo region you either should

1.     1. Speak a decent bit of Japanese
2.     2. Buy Lonely Planet as it does have good transport guides and hotel stuff (despite my usual slagging it off)
3.     3. Get a Japanese friend/girlfriend. I think this is the best fun way.

So i'll tell you about the craziness that is Tokyo later, meanwhile here's some inane blethering about the rest of Japan....


This is the Zen Bhuddism capital of Japan, and maybe indeed the world. The force is strong here.  It’s the only city where I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Yoda walking out of a curious alleyway in Gion. 
Street Scene in Kyoto

The main thing to see here are temples, shrines, Zen schools and monasteries, but the whole city has a different energy. If you’re lucky, you’ll see a young Geisha (Meiko) running to class, or a few walking to entertain clients up these interesting little lanes and private doorways that litter the old part of town (Gion) Even the rivers look civilized here. Zen permeats and civilises the whole city. To put things in perspective, I got a bit annoyed when a western girl blatantly walked in the side door of the Kenin-Ji Zen Temple without paying (I’m sure if she really was broke, she could have asked at the front and they wouldn’t have charged) which both makes me embarrassed to be western here with crappy dishonest people like that around, but more to the point,  its against the whole spirit of Zen – I mean she was visiting a Zen temple after all, surely she should get the karma thing? Anyway, she’s probably got food poisoning right now and it’ll serve her right. 

I always wonder what adventures lie down these mysterious little lanes...

Putting the whole thing in perspective, I had a good laugh about the fact I considered that a big issue here in Kyoto, when I checked the news this morning and saw the riots all over London. No wonder the Japs think we’re dishonest, rude and violent – its actually mostly true.

Little Meiko running to singing class
Why does this arsehole keep turning up in my photos?

Anyway, there are more than a dozen world heritage sites here. Some of the most beautiful places you’ll ever see on earth. Two places really stood out (for me at least)

One was the Golden Temple. When I took pictures, it just looks like a postcard. The gardens are pretty good too.

The golden temple, Kyoto, looking suspiciously like a cartoon

The other was/were the Zen gardens. I went to two but there are a few so just look it up. Really peaceful places to spend an hour or two in the sun. The small one at a temple complex (i'll add the name later) is quieter, while the bigger nicer (and more famous) one in the photo below was so crowded with American twats talking about Britney Spears (or whatever they talk about so loudly all the time) that it was difficult to appreciate.

Another good fun thing to do is walk around the nightlife area at night in Gion. Lots of bars, pretend Geishas to chat up, and it looks like a lot of naughty stuff (but only If you speak Japanese as no-one speaks English!)

To get around Kyoto I hired a bike, which I recommend. Cycling around keeps you in a cool breeze, on a sweltering humid day like today.  I left my books and hoody in the basket and no one stole it all day when I went into museums and temples etc. Zen Bhuddism in action!

It must be a Kyoto thing, that almost half the girls were wearing Kimonos. These almond eyed beauties are a sight to behold, I think I lost count the times I fell in love. I suggest getting insurance for your bike in case you crash into a lamppost after losing yourself in a lovely daydream.

Ok, onto Osaka tomorrow....

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

The fate of Dogs - Korea and Japan

Eating their pets - Korean Dog Butcher

I notice that the Japanese and the Koreans have a slightly different attitude to their dogs. Koreans eat theirs. Japanese treat theirs a little differently. I don't think i agree with either.

Osaka dogs today - very happy not to be getting eaten any time soon

My friends here were even surprised that you don't find Dog clothes shops, Dog hairdressers, and Dog restaurants in Europe (or do you and i just missed them?)
Dog Restaurant - note, Japanese Lady taking her Dog...for lunch.
Dog fashion, Tokyo style
It seems Dogs in Japan are basically surrogate children for couples who either can't afford children or can't have them. No wonder they're dying out.

There is something eerily dysfunctional though about grown men walking around with dogs dressed in clothes, sitting in pushchairs all day.
Spirit of Japan. Tame wild deer. Ready to eat silly spoilt Dog.
Anyway, i can't say that Western Society is perfect, and there are a great many good things about Japanese culture (like no crime, good manners, honesty) but i mean come - on. 

Monday, 1 August 2011

Whales, Eels, and Silly High Heels

So today I had lunch in a famous Eel and Whale Restaurant, in Asakusa, which is famous for...well Eel and Whale meat. Asakusa is the old temple area in Tokyo - a bit of a tourist trap, where you can buy replica Samurai swords (you know they're replicas because they don't cost 40,000 Euros) , Kimonos, overpriced postcards, and those little waving cats that girls in Estonia like.
Me pretending I know how to use chopsticks, while Naoko is about to add the flavour  for the Eel, that i was supposed to put in at the start.

You eat the Eel from a special hot pot in the middle, and add sauce and vegetables to let it cook as you go. It kind of tasted like Sardines to be honest, but tasty nevertheless.

The Eels, looking suspiciously like fat and healthy sardines

A liberals bleeding heart just as i was about to eat it (Actually its Whale Sashimi)
Of course I also ate the Whale. Pretty tasty, a bit gamey, even meatlike. I started with Whale Tempura, which tasted a bit like beef jerky, but was nice enough. The whale sashimi was everyones favourite though. It tastes a bit like fat strong flavoured Tuna - Venison is to Beef like Whale is to Tuna, if that makes sense.

Anyway, I understand that the more unstable bleeding heart emotional and nieve people among you will be frowning that i ate whale. But i don't care, it tasted quite nice. And to be honest, just like with Bullfighting, i've never heard a logical, sensible or moral argument against eating whalemeat, i'd love to hear one that doesn't involve silly things like

'They are magnificent animals how can you eat them' - comeon, you don't eat cockroaches or rats because you think they're ugly. I mean are you only supposed to eat 'average looking animals'? silly girls.

'They are deep thinkers and intelligent' - so are pigs. Incidentally i also don't buy the argument, sadly pedalled by Ayahuasca shamans that pigs have 'dense energy' and aren't healthy. Who are the biggest Pork Eaters in the world? Denmark and Hong Kong. Who are the smallest? I suppose probably Israel, Iraq, Iran...Afghanistan. Say no more. Give me more of those smart animals to eat !

East meets West - you see this a lot. Beautiful Old Japanese House beside....Macdonalds. Yin and Yang!
However, I digress....we then ended up in the Kimono Festival in Ginza. Kimonos! If only every girl wore one, every day. Then i would definately wear my kilt every day as a sign of respect. Its quite  a beautiful thing. Anyway here is a photo of me with 2 beautiful girls who spoke perfect English and blushed a lot.

Beauties and the Beast

About the high heels....well more about that later....Now to Osaka!

Sunday, 31 July 2011

BANZAAAII !!! Japan Adventure

Actually the song ‘turning Japanese’ is about masturbation rather than Japan, but now I have your attention, chicken choker or not, I would like to tell you about one of my favourite places in the world.

From the cover of the totally out of date and
aimed at socially inept 19yr old virgins - 'Lonely Planet' (which doesn't even have a single entry for 'zen' in the JAPAN guide - speaks volumes)

Yes, yet again I’m here in the land of the ‘delivery health’ service, Metro train gropers, fish that clean  your hands, and of course the gadget covered and heated toilet seat - Japan.

So first morning, I was exhausted.  After a sleep free night playing Poker in London (to pay for my spending money here), and Leaving at 9.50am from Heathrow and arriving without much sleep in Tokyo 11am the next morning, I was pretty tired. After a quick airport Katsu Curry (future wives please take note, that’s my favourite dish and its really easy to cook I heard)
Waiting for the big one - Earthquakes are actually pretty common here, but take a bit of getting used to

I recommend staying at the Akusaka Weekly Mansion by the way, its not so expensive, self catering, free wifi and great location in Akusaka which is a posh place next to Roppongi (the bizzare and dirty foreigner town) More on the areas of Tokyo later though.

Anyway, I’ve already messed up once, and slept through my alarm to go to a Summer Festival north of Tokyo with a really nice couchsurfer (sorry, I’ll make it up to you!)  It’s a shame it sounded actually pretty cool. That’s the good thing about couchsurfing, you can land in a place and quicker than you say ‘unreliable guy with jetlag’ you can have a bunch of new friends and cool things to do.  And surprisingly I haven’t met any weirdos on it at all. (which is not what most couchsurfing friends say since they have met me)
Japan is a Pot Noodlers Dream 

Now its 7am and, since I slept from 1pm to 4am (I was woken by an earthquake, I kid you not!) I’m feeling fresh and ready for the crazy day ahead. There’s always something weird and unexpected happening in Tokyo. I’ve had many a ‘quiet night writing postcards in Roppongi Starbucks’ which has ended the next afternoon in a Romanian Strip Bar. But this is a family blog so less said the better….today I’m off somewhere about 2 hours out of Tokyo, to my old friend and colleagues friends BBQ. Of course I’ll be the only foreigner but it will be good fun. Naoko is a future famous generipper and inventor of man eating plants who make quality electronics goods (it’s the kind of thing I imagine Japanese gene biology people invent at least) ok ok I’ll ask when I see her.

Everything you need in Tokyo at 7am except a beer

Since I’ve been here 20 times before and my Japanese is still awful, I’m coming armed with audio-books in my kindle and ‘japanese from zero’ which had been languishing on my bookshelf (or rather kadi-anns bookshelf) for 3 years or so already. This is my favourite country outside Scotland, so I really should learn the lingo (since no one else speaks ‘Engwish’) ;o)

Tonight I’ll get up to Tokyo Dome, home of ‘thunder dolphin’ rollercoaster, to completely fix my jetlag, and ‘la qua Spa’ which is where I should have gone yesterday instead of paying for a hotel as you can basically live there indefinitely (more on this place later, as were going to ‘the biggest spa in the world, ‘spaworld’ in Osaka so will be good to compare)

The plan in for the next 2 weeks get a bus down to Oskaka and Kyoto, with my good friend Minako, then I’ll have 5 days in Tokyo (which may actually turn into 3 days in Macao as I’d really like to check it there)

Ps- did you know that many apartments in Japan miss out 4 and 9 because the word for four (shi) also means death and 9 (ku) means suffering?  Superstitions eh - Kind of silly. 13 is my favourite number and it never did me any harm (because I’m left handed I think)

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Latvians are normal, Norwegians are not human.

I've plainly been brainwashed in Estonia about Latvians. Here are the myths with how it really is....

MYTH- Latvian girls are all hookers
Truth - Actually this might be true. They certainly dress that way, and when i asked random girls in bars to buy me a drink, they weren't so interested to speak to me. But if i made out i was thinking to buy a bottle of 'champanski' then they were my best friend all of a sudden (this, I may add was in a Russian club, God bless them, the worlds natural born prostitutes) However, i'm not sure if Latvian girls either wear leopardskin dresses or dance in front of mirrors alone.

MYTH - Latvians are all crooks who like to rip off Ryanair stag party tourists in strip bars
Truth - Actually this may also be true. Except this weekend i did meet a number of quite decent Latvians who are totally normal and who understand the concept of business (not 'bizness' as the Porche Cayenne driving Mafia would tell you about) and the general normal concepts of society. Actually really cool people. This wasn't in a Russian club I may add. I did meet a great Russian taxi driver who tried to do me over, but fortunately accepted my doing a runner as me not accepting paying 20 Euros for a 3 Euro fare.

MYTH - Riga is full of drunk English Ryanair Stag Parties
Truth - Actually.....this may also be true. Despite Riga being a genuinely beautiful city with really decent people as i found out this weekend, i'm afraid to tell you that, If you meet a group of English guys in Latvia - they are there, like in Tallinn, for the cheap booze and cheaper women - how to test it? well....for fun, ask to speak to 'Dave'  - there is ALWAYS a guy called Dave in the group. If there isn't, they are certainly not English, certainly not a Stag party. Dave, I think you can gather stands for something like 'Dickheads Abroad, Very English'. Or something like that. And he will explain everything. Every group has a 'DAVE' even if he isn't called Dave.

Ok ok, there is another post on this blog, with some normal things about Riga...ill post it up here soon.

About the Norwegians - I had a very international weekend, mostly with some cool Frenchies  (hello if you are reading) whom I drank heavily and played poker with and, strangely enough a Norwegian Stag Party in Riga this weekend.
anyway i found out from these, quite decent but sadly Norwegain guys that it seems that if you rape someone (guy or an animal, or a girl) in Norway, you get 4 years in Prison. If you get caught playing Poker, you get 5 years. Speaks volumes about the feminist trust fund socialist state that is Norway, really, and kind of explains why they breed the kind of people they do.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Mean Moody and Magnificent - The West Highlands and the Isle of Skye

View from Sleat, Skye across to the mainland. Here it's possible for it to rain and be sunny at the same time.

I'd forgot how beautiful the Scottish Highlands are. We took the road North from Glasgow, up the west side of Loch Lomond. It begins to get 'highlandish' about halfway up the Loch (Mainland Britains Largest if i remember correctly) when you see Britains southermost Munro (hill over 3000ft), Ben Lomond, across the water.

Eilean Donan Castle, just down from Kyle of Lochalsh

After an initial baptism into the scenery, things take a turn for the better when you pass Tyndrum, and the haunting Rannoch Moor, which flows into the more haunting Glencoe, scene of the famous massacre of the McGregors by the Campbells, and of a million other battles, including that in the opening scene in Highlander. A road, a railway and the West Highland Way all funnel through here, and suddenly your in the highlands proper, hitting the sea along the road that leads to Fort William.

The Church at Glenfinnan (probably haunted)

Fort William itself is nothing more than a functional tourist town, full of sameish restaurants and hotels, tourist info. and of course surrounded by beautiful lochs and hills. There are a couple of dodgy nightclubs too. Less said about Fort William the better.

On the way to Mallaig (for the ferry to Skye) you pass Glenfinnan, which has the famous Jacobite Monument, an amazing view, and of course the Glenfinnan Viaduct, which is where Harry Potter always seem to cross on the train. Actually this whole trip was voted the most scenic in the world twice in a row now and i'd definitely recommend it (the West Highland Line goes from Glasgow to Mallaig, which is where the ferry to Skye is.) The Ferry is £29 one way for a car by the way, but only £4 or so by foot.
Menacing Skye

If you go the other way to Skye, by road (its free) then you have a different treat. The scenery is great, but the highlights are the famous Eilean Donan Castle which you'll recognise from Highlander, Loch Ness, and one recent James Bond film. The Skye Bridge itself gives you an amazing view too, well worth walking over if you have a chance.

Menacing Sky

Skye however was a different league altogether. Every corner you turn, a scene greets you straight out of a postcard. Here's a quick guide -


Every second house is a Bed and Breakfast, so this is not an issue.  You can book a place in advance at any tourist info (i.e. in Glasgow for example) You can also camp which is probably a much better fun option than a hostel, and cheaper. We stayed in the Ardvasar Hotel, (better known as the Edgar Savisaar Hotel) just 800m left from the ferry terminal. Breakfast ended at 9.30 which was annoying and in true country style, the internet didn't quite reach the rooms. The Isle of Skye is bigger than you might think so i'd recommend a place more centrally located if you want to explore the whole island - for example near Portree would be perfect, or the hotel Sligachan (which also has a campsite/caravan place, restaurant etc etc and for some reason a little house for the Order of St John (where they secretly plot world domination from the lee of the surrounding Cuillin Mountains)

Anyway, the location is basically right in the middle of the Island, surrounded by the Cuillins, just south of Portree, but easy to drive to other sights like Dunvegan Castle etc etc.  Its also a heart stoppingly beautiful setting, with the river and loch, and dark brooding mountains threatening to eat you every time you look up.
Random View to the mainland


Skye is, surprisingly a foodies delight. Seafood restaurants are all around, and there are even two curry houses and a chinese. The most well known restaurant is the three chimneys  - it also provides 5 star accommodation. Its the most surreal place i've ever seen. We took a single track road up, left as you enter Dunvegan - pass the fire station/hut and you're going the right way. It was a deserted road for 4 miles or so, then suddenly here we were, at the highest rated restaurant in the North - which was basically a pretty little cottage. It was empty but of course was fully booked for the £60 a head dinner- you must phone in advance to book, otherwise it's impossible. but i've heard the food is amazing. The menu is all about fresh local stuff, mostly seafood, which is tasty. The weird thing was that not a single person was around, apart from one weird rich looking old American Baldy, who turned up with his pretty female companion of half his age (ok ok i can't really criticise this scene except that i'm not bald and look poor)

If you can't get in there and want a similar experience, the Old School in dunvegan nearby is also pretty good and has the same fresh seafood gastrovibe, is full of American tourists who have never eaten fresh food before, and is a wee bit cheaper (not much)

The road to the permanently fully booked 3 Chimneys (with tomorrows lunch on the right)

On the other side of the Island is the famous Michelin Starred Kinloch Lodge where you can also stay for some Oligarch level price per night.

Apart from that there are loads of chip shops, and random pub food style places for £10 a head in Portree, or any hotel (Broadford has a hot dog stand and only one or two quite ok Restaurants.)


Well why did you come to Skye?

Most people come for either outdoor life or a romantic getaway. Its most certainly one of the most beautiful places i've been to, even when it rains. I was sitting in a cafe (in Struan, its pretty and has a bookshop, so jump in if you have a chance) drinking my £1 cup of tea. And looked out the window and there, like something from Narnia, is a giant waterfall flowing off a cliff into the sea. Surreal is not the word (actually it is the word, why do people talk like that?)

View from the Old Man of Storr, just before the Goblins attacked 

So for the walkers, hillwalkers, and climbers - The Old Man of Storr is an easy 30minute climb and you get an amazing view (mine was of a thunderstorm on one side and sunshine on the other) It's just north of Portree, in fact you can even see it from there, so drive 15 minutes north and you're there. It was quite busy when i went, it felt rather weird to hear accents and languages from every corner of the world in this random and remote place (we heard Estonians, Finns, Aussies, Americans, Koreans, Spanish and French, plus of course the Ubiquitous Germans)

Further north of there is the even weirder rock formations of The Quiraing (pronounced like Kerrang!) which are a bit more testing but quite fine and great if you wan't to pretend you're on a green version of Mars.

The main mountain range though are The Cuillins , where you can do some real stuff with ropes and not wearing flip flops (which is what most people walking up the Storr would do)

What else to do ?

You can visit  Dunvegan castle in North Skye, it's quite interesting although i'd say not worth the £9 entrance fee, unless you wan't to chat with the Laird, a youngish, kind of Highland Hugh Grant sorta guy. The Gardens are beautiful though, and you can get a boat to hang out with some seals (which i did 25 years ago when i went. My main memory is of my Mum moaning at me all the time to keep in the boat as i was hanging out to touch the seals.)

There are also a whole load of trips and guides around. If you're safely ensconced in a hotel they can help. Randomly there's a reptile centre and a (more apt) Sea Eagle centre. There are a million untouched beautiful beaches nearby (especially check south of Mallaig)

Theres another castle open - Clan Donald Castle beside the Ferry terminal in the south of Skye. They were the arch rivals of the Macleod's and trounced them in the Battle of Coire Na Creiche  which by the way, was the battle at the start of 'Highlander' , although it was filmed in Glencoe and the Castle Eilan Donan. It was also the last battle on Skye.

WEATHER - ahhhh one other thing. It never gets really cold here - It's on the gulf stream and you even can see the odd palm tree (add to the surrealism of the place) but be warned. It never gets really warm either. And it rains every day. I have never been to Skye and it hasn't rained at least once. It can be
raining and sunny at the same time too, which is mighty strange.

Ok im off to Japan soon, so more later!