Saturday, April 25, 2009

25-04-2009 (Week 15) - Copenhagen

Ok, so the big story in this one was I was hit on by a gay guy. And by hit on, I mean he made a move on me. Fortunately for me, there's no video footage of this, or pictures of the perpetrator, but it was an interesting night to say the least. We started off at a Barcelona bar, where Jeff original met the perp and his girlfriend. Jeff claims his gay-dar went off right away, but I have my doubts. Nevertheless, it's safe to say that I don't have a gay-dar unless they have a lisp and are wearing dresses.

To set the stage, we had a fairly large group of people (all male), probably about 8 or so. And Copehagen is the land of the bikes. We saw thousands and thousands of bike throughout the city. This city relies on bikes so much that they have a special biking sidewalk. I know what you're thinking, but have you ever seen a biking sidewalk a different elevation than the regular sidewalk and the street that runs on every street? I didn't think so.

Anyway, the point is that Claus and Heidi (the two people that we met) had bikes and we did not. And seeing as this was a biking town, it was very popular and practical to have a lugguage rack over your rear wheel. Only tonight these bikes became people racks. We all took turns riding on the back of Claus and Heidi's bikes. Claus certainly wasn't bashful about making sure people had something to hang onto while was riding...

As time passed, myself and Slat-man found ourselves on the back of the bikes and away from everyone else. This wasn't uncommon because bikes tend to go faster than a slow moving group of 20 something drunkards. What was unusual though was when Heidi tried to ride back to find them and they weren't there. We decided to embark upon the agreed upon destination anyway, a world-famous DJ in Copenhagen. All during our search, Claus was telling Slat-man and me that the US was an underdeveloped country, of course which we took offense to.

As it turned out with many of the bars that evening, they were open, but not letting people in because it was so late. We ended up buying some really warm beers from some guy on the street and finding a local pub to hang out in for awhile. It was in this pub we met a frenchman who couldn't talk but could hear perfecty. We thought this strange, but on the very off chance that this was his condition, the reprocussions for calling his 'bluff' would almost be unbearable. Therefore we played along with his sharades, only to find out that's all they really were, was a cruel game, but again, I'd rather have played it that way than the other.

It was also in this said bar that Claus openly admitted to us that he was gay. I found 0ut later that Slat-man had known this all along, but thought he's play a social experiment with me and not tell me. Of course, we both were ok with that and kept on about our business. Once we tired of that bar we headed off to the only bar we knew we could get into at 5am, and that was a gay bar. I will not write of everything I saw in the gay bar, because there was some stuff that should remain to be seen and not read, but I will say the gay guys seemed to be shy about using the troff in the men's bathroom when someone else was using it (and it was clearly made for 3 people). That struck me as a little odd but I wasn't complaining.

After awhile is when the magic happened, and I will let you watch the video to get the full story. But we ended up leaving the bar around 7am, and heading back to the hostel, where we continued to sneak beer from under the hostess nose while she prepared breakfast (there was a tap at the recetion desk).

The next morning Slattery and I awoke at 3pm to ride a rollercoaster in Tivoli park 2 times for a rediculous amount of money and riding crappy free bikes around town all day. It was a very good way to tour the city.

That night we hit up and ice bar (a bar made completely out of ice) and Ticknor and I owned the dancefloor (as can also be seen in the video). After another long night we awoke Sunday to head to the Carlsberg brewery. Copenhagen all in all will be remembered for one thing in my mind, but it certainly had lots to offer....

Saturday, April 18, 2009

18-04-2009 (Week 13-14) - United States

So these past two weekends I spend back State-side as I took advantage of one of my return trips. The first weekend I flew in the Denver, home of NBC's own Becky Ditchfield. For those of you who are slow, that's my sister, and she's a meteorologist in Denver. It was Easter weekend so it was nice to see the family as well as spend some time with some old friends (Matt & Nicole Wilson and Katie Little). I saw Becky's house for the first time, and it was very nice, as well as ate a ginourmous steak as soon as I could, considering that's what I had been craving for the past 13 weeks.

The middle of the week was spent in Wichita, riding my motorcycle as much as I could, eating more steak and fancy restaurants with Betsy, and trying to rest as much as I could (the jetlag back was very difficult for me). It was nice to make contact with some of my friends in Wichita over at Buffalo Wild Wings (Don't forget about me guys!). It was nice to eat some wings too.

But the real reason I picked this week to come back to the U.S. was my good friend Bolin Chen was getting married in Oakland California on the 18th of April. I was a groomsmen in the wedding, and of course was then obligated to come back to be in the wedding. Ironically there were 3 other groomsmen, and we came from New Jersey, Africa, China, and France to be in Bolin's wedding.

The actual wedding itself was not a wedding, but rather a tea ceremony. The best part of the tea ceremony was getting to the bride. By this I mean the bridesmaids set up a series of tests for the groomsmen to pass before they would allow Bolin to wed Jenny. These tests included:

-Drinking strange concoctions (soy sauce/coke or hot sauce/coke)
-Busting balloons using anything but your hands
-and flat out giving them cash

(See the video for more details)

After the tea ceremony we took some wedding pictures in the local rose garden before heading to the reception. And of course the reception was a blast. In case you didn't know, Bolin was a good college friend of mine, and if I do say so myself, my college friends and I travel well to events. And everytime we get together, it is like a mini college reunion.

This of course was no exception as we ate an 8 course chinese meal, made fun of each at every moment possible, drank strange drinks like Remy Martin, had a body roll competition, and went to an all black club in Oakland, CA.

I guess you could say we know how to have a good time. I need to warn you the video is very long (17 minutes or so), but I think I did a pretty good job editting it. So enjoy! and feel free to leave comments!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

04-04-2009 (Week 11-12) - Paris

So this week Betsy came into town. She came in on a Saturday afternoon after I had the opportunity to work a little bit. After I met her at the airport, I chauffeured her downtown where I showed her my apartment and some of the Toulouse downtown area. Sunday we went to the Safari zoo. This was very cool, because you get to drive through a part where the animals can walk right up to the car (see video). After the drive through part, they had what most of us would consider a regular zoo to walk through. We had a good time looking at all the animals (including the minihorse), and I even ate my first French hot dog there. It consisted of a hot dog shoved in the middle of a baguette with a ton of ketchup skirted in. It was pretty good.

During the week, I still had to work, but Betsy is grown up enough to take care of herself. She took some side trips including one longer than anticipated bus trip to Carcassonne. We spent most of our night eating at find French restaurants. I actually made my first over the phone reservation. I was so proud of myself until we walked in and realized there was only 2 tables with people at them while the others were all empty. It was still a good meal nonetheless. She also got to hang out with some of the old Wichita crew here in Toulouse, so that was fun.

The next weekend we headed out to Paris. I took Friday off and we headed out there Thursday night after work. Paris is a great city and I wish I had more time to enjoy it. We walked through the Louvre and I realized I knew nothing about art. So I was one of those cheesy tourists walking straight to the Mona Lisa. I even took a little nap while ‘studying’ some of the artwork on a nearby chair. We of course walked down the champs elysee and visited the arc de triumph. There was some kind of ceremony going on to commemorate the tomb of the unknown soldier there, but it wasn’t a very exciting ceremony (probably why we got front row seats).

And of course we saw the Eiffel tower as well. Waiting in line seemed like it would take up too much of our precious Paris time, so we didn’t go up to get a view of the city. We did see something that I thought was as equally entertaining though. While walking away from the Eiffel Tower, we saw a group of ‘street peddlers’ (basically the people selling trinkets in the street). Well, a policemen happened to stroll by and start to follow them around in his car, sirens a blazing (it had now become evident that this sort of peddling was looked down upon). I’ve never seen a group of men get up and run so fast in my life. And the way they moved is what was impressive. Like a group of minnows trying to avoid being caught. Almost synchronized weaving and turning. It was great.

The following Saturday and Sunday we played in a Frisbee tournament. We went 2-2, and played well at times, but not well at others. We don’t play enough together to be great, but maybe with more practice…Saturday night we went out to dinner where I tried steak tartar (Raw steak) for the first time. I’m still alive writing this blog, so it didn’t kill me. Don’t know how my stomach would handle it in large doses though…

Sunday morning Betsy took her leave and we said our goodbyes. Had a great week!