Asian Gonzo
… My trip

I know when I get back that people will ask me, “how was your trip?” but no words that I could ever put together will ever be able to sum up my trip. I’ll try and get close by saying, imagine every emotion and feeling you’ve ever felt then times the intensity of it by 100. I felt the happiest, saddest, angriest, most confused, gladdest, most relieved, hungriest, fullest, thirstiest, loneliest, most exhausted, embarrassed, bravest, most cowardly, scared, and most amazed that I have felt in my whole life. The trails and tribulations that came along with this trip help mold me to who I am and gave me a strong direction of who I want to be. With every up and down, wrong and right decision that went on came a lesson to be learned, not just in the general speculation but in lifes small challenges it gives you. I came with the biggest smile on my face and I’ll leave with the biggest smile on my face because I got exactly what I wanted, needed, and dreamed about on this trip. So to those who are going to ask me “how was your trip?” I say it was everything I had hoped it would be and so much more.

To Amsterdam…

I get my stuff all packed up around 5:30am Thursday morning, I hadn’t slept all night thinking I could sleep on the train. It was a tight schedule all day to get to Amsterdam, sometimes 3-4 minutes to get from one train to the next at some stations. I arrived at Montreux train station at 6:15, train was set to leave the station at 6:19 but the problem was the train wasn’t there. Already panicking because I only had 5 mins when the train arrived in Lausanne to transfer to the train to Zurich. We arrived in Lausanne 2 mins later then scheduled leaving me with 3 mins to transfer, problem number 2 of the day, they didn’t have a train to Zurich as the same time as in by euro rail handbook. Lucking out though across from my train from Montreux was a train leaving for Basel. Remembering that Basel train station was where I needed to go anyways I hopped on the train hoping I made the right decision. Fortunately I did, rescheduling my day from the mess up I was still on track to get to Amsterdam around 8pm. When I got to Basel I had an hour to spare before my train to Frankfurt. Deciding to make sure I didn’t mess anything else up I found out the platform number it was to depart from and went and sat on a bench next to the track and waited. While hanging out on the bench, listening to some music, waiting, is where problem number 3 occurred. Relaxing a little too much and being deprived of sleep I accidentally fell asleep. When I finally awoke I already knew I had messed up, panicking again I checked the time, I had slept right through the train arriving and departing by 20 mins. Which means I missed my train in Frankfurt to Amsterdam. The day was turning into a disaster. There was another train to Frankfurt in another hour, so I picked up my stuff and headed to that platform. I made sure this time I didn’t fall asleep by keeping myself busy on the Internet on my iphone. The train arrived on time and I was finally on my way again. I arrived in Frankfurt with 2 hours to spare, so I grabbed a small lunch in the station and again found the platform that the train to Amsterdam was suppose to depart from. After waiting almost the whole spare two hours is where problem number 4 went down, sitting there on the bench I hear a voice come over the train station load speaker “train number 1558 to Amsterdam, set to leave at 16:42 has been cancelled.” Not possible is the only thing running through my head, I find information to try and figure out what I can do, the lady notifies me I can catch a train to Frankfurt airport and an alternative train should be there. I wait another 20 mins and am on my way on a train to Frankfurt airport. When I hop off the train 15mins later I ask the instructor working the tracks where I can find the train to Amsterdam, he informs me I need to catch the train to Köln that departs in 2 mins and make a transfer there. After running around like a chicken with its head cut off I hop on the train to Köln literally as the doors are closing. I was letting anything stop me from getting to Amsterdam. When we arrived in Köln again I tried to be the first one off the train to find out where I was to head to next, luckily I found another instructor a minute later. What he told me would be problem number 5 of the day, “no more trains headed to Amsterdam today, if you hurry though you can catch one of the replacement buses headed there, better hurry though, leaves in 5 mins.” I sprint across the station, out the doors, and across the street to the bus station where I was the last one to load up on the bus. After 3 more hours on the road and a total of 16 hours of traveling for the day, I Finally arrived in Amsterdam! What happened next will be int next blog… Talk to you soon world.

Life

So I’m sorry for everyone that’s been following my blog, I know I haven’t checked in for awhile. I’ve been really going through a lot these last couple of weeks. A lot of deep thinking about life and how this trip has changed me. I’ve realized that every little move I make, every decision I make, and every thought I’ve had has been small in the grand picture of things but extravagant in my life and in my trip. I’ve learned so much about myself and about society thus far in this trip but that’s made me even more confused and lost in the world. I really have tried to enjoy every step along the way even in the hard times but sometimes I can’t help but feel so alone and weak in the toughest of days. I’ve met so many good people along the way and that’s what drives me into the next days out of the tough ones but it’s hard knowing that I’ll never see or hear from them again. That’s just the way traveling goes I guess. So I have 2 weeks left and I’m going to try and make the best of them because I know this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and once those 2 weeks are up it’s back to reality from this fantasy land. Leaving Belgrade will be tough tomorrow because I really fell in love with this city and I met a couple of the best friends I’ve made on this trip here. Hopefully back to Montruex tomorrow to see my good friend Kyle. Then on to Amsterdam for a day or two, then catching a ferry to London where I’ll hang out until my flight home to Cali. I really will check back in with you soon world.

Riots in Serbia

Got up around 12:30, it was a long night the day before. Jumped in the shower and got myself ready for a day of exploring. When I came out to the common room though a bunch of people were huddled around the TV. So I sat down and joined in on what they were watching, one of the workers from the hostel notified me that there was a small war going on in the streets between a gay pride march and anti-gay protesters. As I watched I saw that the protesters were throwing bricks and bottles at the parade while riot police stood between them trying to stop it. After the parade had broken up from being attacked the riots didn’t stop there, in fact in got much worse as the rioters turned there attention to the riot police and started attacking them. While watching the TV, I heard 3 large explosions come from outside which didn’t sound very far away. Having the adventurous instinct that I have, I grabbed my camera and headed out onto the streets towards where the explosions had come from. After a minute or so of walking I saw a large group of riot police and photographers running down the street, so that’s where I headed. After turning the corner I saw where they were running to, a wall of riot police were standing their ground while protesters threw bricks and Molotov cocktails from the opposite side of a building wall. The police pressed forward launching tear gas into the crowd and pushing them back into a park nearby. The police regrouped while 4 more military cars came and dropped off more officers. The police got their shields together, formed their wall and headed into the park to try and disburse the crowd. The other photographers and I ran into the park with them trying to catch a glimpse of the action. When they pushed them out the opposite side of the park, I ran down the street and around the corner to see where’d they had gone. When I turned the corner though I noticed that the crowd of 50 or so in the park had ran and joined another 150+ on the other side. Being completely out numbered the police held back, I snapped off some quick pics of the crowd throwing bricks, bottles, and whatever else they could find at the police. The police fired off some tear gas into the middle of the crowd, unfortunately I was down wind of this and soon after had my eyes and chest burning worst then I’ve ever felt before, I ran back to a fountain and tried to wash the chemicals off my face. When I got my vision back I noticed that the rioters had flipped over a police car and set in on fire trying to make a blockade. I ran close to the burning car and snapped off a few more pics. I headed back to where the riot police were regrouping, after standing there for a bit I was ready to get back into the action. Some more explosions were coming from the opposite side of a main strip so that’s where I headed. When I got to where the noise was coming from though I noticed I was in the middle of the huge group of rioters and not a policemen in sight. Trying to be discreet I stood against the wall of a building and observed these hooligans smashing in store windows, raiding stores, and over-turning dumpsters into the middle of the street. I busted out my camera and tried snapping off some pics and recording some videos of the mayhem but when a couple of the guys saw me doing this they weren’t very happy with me. I had a group of 10 of them coming towards me with bricks and clubs, as they started to surround me into this corner with no out, my nerves started running high and adrenaline starting rushing. As they continued to scream at me in a language i didn’t understand and close in on me into this corner I tried to quickly go over my options in my head; fight back with whatever I could, cover up and hope I didn’t get beaten to bad, or maybe try and break threw their wall and make a run for it. When the last second came and I had to pick an option, as it looked like the bricks were about to fly and clubs come down upon my body, 50 riot police came running around the corner with billie clubs out clashing with the crowd. I can honestly say I’d never been so relieved in my entire life to see 5-0. The rioters ran off and I sat down with my heart racing a hundred miles an hour. More and more police continued showing up to the scene, military trucks showed up and dropped off more officers and soon after the rioters were cornered and finally disbursed and the riots were over. As I continued to sit at the latest destruction a large group of pedestrians began showing up. Soon after that the president of Serbia showed up to make an appearance and make an announcement that the violence and mayhem would not be tolerated and the people that caused over 1.4 million dollars in damage would be dealt with. Even with the announcement and appearance though the people still chanted hateful remarks at him. After the crowd slowly started to leave, I picked myself up and headed back to the hostel. It was time to call it a day, I’d had enough action for one day. When I got backed I watched the news for a bit, made dinner, drank some beers and watched some Californiacation until I crashed out. What a day it was. Talk to you soon world. Probably won’t be exciting as this blog though, just a heads up. Ha.

Finally leaving Prague

And I couldn’t be happier. It’s hard to stay in a place for nearly 9 days that your not in love with. I saw the parts of the city I wanted to see in the first few days, after that only partying was left. I grew over the drinking very quickly because not only was it making me feel like shit in the morning but also burning a hole in my pocket. Prague was much more expensive then I had planned and now I have to pay for that. I did on the other hand meet some really cool people that I’m sure I’ll keep in touch with. I believe another reason I really started to get over Prague was in the last couple days I came down with a terrible cold and stayed in the hostel. Granted the hostel wasn’t bad, but the smell of cigarettes being smoked inside soon got to me. When I did get out before I came down with my cold though, the city was a really cool place. I love the feeling and look of medieval and gothic style buildings with crazy looking castles scattered throughout the city. Also after getting out of the city centre things became dramatically cheaper; food, drinks were close to half the price but still more expensive then what I thought of Prague. But again like I said before I couldn’t be happier to be leaving because I get to go to Switzerland and see my boy from back in the day, cook food in a full kitchen, and not have to pay for accommodation . So Stoked! Plus the view from his place looks epic. Sorry for the delay on the blog world. I won’t wait so long to keep you updated next time. I’m out.

First Days in Prague

Got to the train station around 5:30, found the tram to my hostel and went on my way. Made it there just a few minutes later, checked in, found my room and crashed out. It is really exhausting getting up early and taking a 7 hr train ride, can’t get much shut eye. After a nice power nap I woke up to my stomach growling, I’d only eaten a banana in the last 20 hrs. Went down stairs and asked the girl at reception if she knew of somewhere close I could grab a bite to eat, she pointed me in the direction of a pizzeria just up the road. For only about 7 dollars I was able to get a giant pizza, 2 .5l beers, and a side of fries just because. It was a feast of a dinner for one person. After stuffing myself to the brim I headed back to the hostel where I grabbed a beer at the bar and started a friendly conversation with a few people. After a couple beers a group of people from the hostel were going to sing karaoke, sounded fun so I joined in. Got there, grabbed a beer and listened to all the beautiful voices, nah actually everyone was terrible but I still hadn’t drinkin enough yet to join the singing. After chilling there for a bit I remembered the girl at reception, Anna, was suppose to get off at 11:30. I figured I’d go back since it was so close, and see if she wanted to join the party. When I got there though I met a couple other hanging out and the bar and ended up staying there for a bit. When Anna got off she joined us with the drinking. Let’s just say after 6 more beers and 2 shots of jäger, which surprisingly I didn’t buy, it was a really really rough next morning. It was extremely hard to pull myself away from the bed and when I did I was only up for maybe an hour at a time then had to lay back down. So unfortunately most of my second day was waste. When I finally started to feel a little better I made my way over to the market where I picked up so stuff to make a few breakfasts and dinners. After I got back to the hostel and put my groceries away I found it funny I was too tired and weak to make anything I’d just bought. So instead headed back to the pizzeria and ate an unbelievably good pasta and with some rice on the side. While I was eating I got a message from this guy Michael Burke, we have a mutual friend from back in the states and were both traveling Europe solo so were trying to meet up. He just so happened to be in Prague as well and told me about this club that he and some people from his hostel were going to check out. It sounded fun and feeling much better after my meal I went back to the hostel, put on my dancing shoes and grabbed a beer from the hostel bar before I headed out. When I got down to the tram stop, while I was waiting there a group of 25 or more came walking from up the street and were waiting for the tram as well. A couple of them came over and started a conversation with me, I found out that it was a group from another hostel that were going out to club hop. I also found out that it was the same hostel that michael Burke was staying. I asked the guys if they knew him and they said yeah but didn’t think he was with them. When the tram finally came the group loaded on and we were on our way. While standing on the tram though talking to the new guys I’d just met all of a sudden one of them was like, here’s Michael now, and this guy from cali that I’ve been trying to meet up with just appears, funny coincidence. After taking the tram a few stops everyone unloads off the tram and starts heading to the bar. When we got there though the place was stacked with people already and after shoving 25 more people inside it was too much. So the two Aussie guy, a couple other people and I decide to go find another place to check out. We walked for a half hour trying to find some stupid club and when we did they were charging a stupid cover at the door. A couple people gave up and headed back to the hostel, but the other few of us were determined to find somewhere to party. And after walking another 20 mins, finding a few other people along the way that joined us, and completely sobering up we find a hole in the wall club. Trying to make the best of the night we got some drinks and did some dancing until 4 am when they shut down. When we went to leave the club there was only me, an Irish girl, and a guy from new York that were left. Since the trams weren’t working yet we hiked it back to our hostels that were around the corner from each other. I found my bed and crashed out. Until next time.

Leaving Budapest- Oktoberfest- Leaving Munich

It was a sad day for me, to finally leave Budapest, I fell in love with every part of that place. I was suppose to catch the 7:30 train out to Munich but when I woke up at 7:20 I knew that it wasn’t likely, so decided I’d take the 9:30 instead and went back to sleep. When I woke up at 9:35, I guess the 9:30 wasn’t my train either but decided to wake up before I missed another train. Packed up the last of my things and said my goodbyes to my newly found friends and headed out the door. I got off the bus at the train station around 11:15 while the next train to Munich left at 11:30. When I finally got to the ticket window it was only a few minutes before the next train departed, so deciding to play it safe I went with the 3:30 instead. Still tired from my last night in Budapest I found a corner and took a nap on my bag, bad idea. When I finally came to again it was 3:45! Another train missed ha. Luckily train tickets were extremely cheap because of my EuroRail pass and it only cost me €3 for another ticket. Unfortunately the next train wasn’t until 9:45 that night so instead of sleeping through another train I occupied my time with catching up on my writing. Finally, after 4 trains missed and almost 8 hrs spent at the train station I was on my way to Munich. I slept half the 7 hr train ride and wrote the other half. When I finally arrived in Germany it was still quite early in the morning, around 7:30, yet there were still people dressed up and heading to Oktoberfest with beers in their hands, at 7:30 in the morning haha. I got my bags and got ahold of angelika, the girl that was letting me crash on hers and her boyfriends couch. After getting some detailed directions I was on my way and knocking on their door soon after. She was really nice but there was a definite language barrier, that was okay, just tine to learn a little German. After setting my stuff down and meeting her boyfriend dominik, I shut my eyes for about 15mins when angelika asked me if I wanted to head over to Oktoberfest, “of course” I answered and we were on our way, unfortunately dominik had to work. We got to the festival grounds around 11:30 and the place was already packed. Things were a little different then I had expected, the only place where you could drink were in these massive beer tents, as they called them, while sitting at a table. The first 5 tents we checked out were packed to the brim, granted these tents could fit thousands of people in 1, so I was getting a little discouraged and almost got ready to give up since it was going on 2. Angelika reassured me we’d find a spot so I tried to stay positive, in the 6th tent we checked out we found a table of older people that looked as if they weren’t going to be sticking around too much longer. We stuck it out and after almost 3 hours of searching we had a spot at a table and a beer in our hands, that’s when Oktoberfest started for me. All I can say is I had one of the best times of my life in that tent, singing songs, drinking beers, meeting way to many people to remember, eating a ridiculous amount of food, and did I mention drinking some beers. Way too much fun. Got back to angelika’s house around 12 or so, I think. The next morning I woke up around 11 feeling like an anvil was dropped on my head 5 or 6 times. I was hurting to say the least. I was thinking about going back but after standing up and feeling like I was still drunk, I couldn’t bring myself to put my body through that again. So instead of wasting a day angelika and dominik showed me around the city. Munich was a really cool place, clean streets, very well maintained buildings, definitely one of the cleanest citys I’d ever been in. We stopped by a pizzeria for some inexpensive massive delicious pizzas. It was a good time and angelika and dominik were some really cool nice people. After we headed back to their place where I hopped on the computer and got everything ready for Prague. After being on the computer for a few hours dominik asked me if I wanted to watch some old school “Knight Rider” haha. He was a huge David hasselhoff fan, it was hilarious to watch that show. After the show I passed out around midnight. Train leaves at 9:05, can’t miss this one ha. Talk to you soon world.

"the night was going great, outstanding at that, but for some reason out of the blue I was suddenly hit with this emptiness from missing someone special back home. So I felt the need to step away from the mayhem at hand and call her if only for a few minutes so I could hear her voice. It was quite strange to me how I could be half way around the world partying with some of the coolest people from all over the earth, but yet I couldn’t drag myself from the thought of her"…

Budapest

There isn’t enough words in the English language that can describe this place, I feel so blessed to have landed in this hostel. Started out Tuesday just hanging out in the common room with my cup of tea and good people. I’d been out around town everyday since I’d been here so decided I’d stay in. So a few of us sat in the common room and busted out a jig-saw puzzle of Bob Marley and had our fun talking and joking while putting it together. It was a day of just good conversation. After, most of us still unmotivated to do anything with our day, decided to throw a movie on. In the middle of the movie though the 6 Belgium girls came back causing a loud ruckus and were bugging a few of us to go out with them. After some contemplation I decided I’d go since I hadn’t been out yet, I was joined by Simon, Victoria, and Kara which made me happy because at least they spoke good English. So we headed out after a few drinks in the hostel, to some bar by the name of simpla, it was a pretty cool spot, half outside and the other half covered and it had two different levels. After sitting around and talking and drinking for awhile we decided we’d go somewhere where they had dancing and headed to a club a few minutes walk away. It was a fun spot, kind of a little ghetto but the 9 of us found a spot on the dance floor and drank and danced our night away. When the lights came on around 4:30 we stumbled our way to the tram and headed back. After getting back Victoria and I went out back for a smoke session then came in and made drunk people food. After munching down I was 86’d on the couch soon after. When Wednesday came it was a little rough, hanging a little bit from the night before but still had a few things to do. Victoria and I headed out from the hostel around 2 to the train station where she needed to grab a ticket and I needed to check the times for my train to Munich on Friday. It was an easy bus ride there and after the train station we were getting quite hungry. So we made our way over to the one and only McDonalds and feasted, funny enough the most expensive meal I’d had in Budapest was MD’s. After, we figured since we were already out we’d try and see a little more of the city we hadn’t seen yet and started our stroll around going by a Chinese market and checking out a botanical garden. After our sight seeing expedition and still hurting a little bit from the night before, we made our way back to the hostel. When we got back everyone was still in the same position as when we left, we felt a little better cause at least we did a little something with our day. But then had a smoke session and sat around in the common room and played a couple big games of poker. After poker we watched one of the greatest movies ever, Aladdin! Yes the Disney one, it was pretty awesome. after aladdin it was time to call it a night, headed down to my bed and was lights out soon after. Check back in with you soon world.

Budapest

So far loving it in this place, the people, the place, and the atmosphere. Woke up around noon, Again. Grabbed a cup of tea and made my way to the lanai which seemed to be the afternoon meeting place. After much deliberation Victoria, Simon, and I thought it would be a fun idea to go check out the city park. Catching the tram half way there we got dropped off around city center, about a 30 min to the park. So taking a nice stroll through the city we trekked our way out there. It was an enjoyable but awkwardly quite walk, just time to take it all in I guess. After making it in to the park we walked around admiring the trees and gardens. In the middle of the park was the old Budapest castle which was free to roam around, so we took our time doing so, snapping some pics along the way. After exploring there we started to make our way back into the city. We headed to a hole in wall bar that Simon knew about, sat down and grabbed some food and lattes. My dried tomato and mozzarella cheese sandwich and iced latte was amazing. After food and drinks we decided we’d play some cards and drink a couple beers. We got lost in our games for a few hours before we realized how late it had gotten. We figured it would be best to head back to the hostel and eat some dinner. After catching the tram back I headed over to the market to grab pasta, tomato sauce, bread, butter and garlic spread for my spaghetti and garlic bread dinner. When I made it back though my food had to wait cause everyone wanted me to join them in a game of poker. Unfortunately making it to the last few but not enough to make some money I finally got to make and eat my dinner. After stuffing myself I took a seat on the couch in the common room where the original group of us were joined by 6 Belgium girls ready to party and drink. Seemed like a good idea to play some drinking games that lasted until early hours in the morning and got most of everyone wasted. After another cup of tea I was ready for some rest with a day of hopefully catching up on my writing the next day, hopefully. Talk to you later world.