The Best & Worst of 2013
The Best & Worst of 2013
A little recap of 2013 from both a travel and personal point of view. I don’t have a good and a bad for everything – somethings just sort of stand out there on their own without an obvious counterpart. I’m not going to create a worst for something just because there was a best for it and I can’t think of one.
Best day/night: Sydney: April 1st, 2am.
I woke up at 2am on a Monday night to take a leak. I’d been doing Internet Marketing for a little while and had been getting very minor returns; most days around $20, $30 etc. Even though the workday had only barely started in the USA as per my ad scheduling and targeting, I decided to check it anyway. I’d made some changes from the previous day, but I’d been doing 100s of changes for months now, for little to no improvement. Rather I was doggedly trying new things out over and over again with no encouraging signs what-so-ever. Which is why I thought I was dreaming when I checked my commissions to see that I’d pulled in over $200 in the first 3 hours of the USA workday. This was unreal. I could barely sleep for the rest of the night, feeling like a kid whose belief in Santa Claus had just being vindicated. At 7:30am things were only getting better and better. I still couldn’t believe it. I went to work wavering in between blissful trance and barely contained excitement. It didn’t wear off for weeks. I knew now with certainty that the office job was history.
Red from the Shawshank Redemption, surmised it best with:
I think it is the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey
Runner up: The first night back in Turku, Finland. See here.
Worst Night/Day: Vilnius: September 21st
In Vilnius, some MDMA sent me into the strangest of strange states, gradually morphing into an unbearable apex of nausea. Hangover is the wrong word – this was a poisoning and I was genuinely afraid that I might die. I was this close to calling up an ambulance for a private hospital, but started to make improvements after eight hours agonizingly lurched over the toilet. I have never felt so sick in my life. Lesson: Don’t buy drugs from random strip club promoters in Eastern Europe.
Best City: Berlin
Berlin may as well be it’s own country – since nothing else in Germany or the rest of Europe really quite compares. While no doubt grungy, the cities cultural and historical attractions are world class and awe inspiring (The Pergamum ancient history Museum is probably better than the ancient history museums of Rome and Athens). It’s cheap and very cosmopolitan. Everyone dresses down, even for the top clubs, which also happen to be among the best in the world. The locals are super relaxed, and the cities super liberal stance on everything means you can do almost anything you want.
Worst City: Ho Chi Minh City
See below and here.
Best Locals: Cluj Napoca, Romania and Novi Sad, Serbia
There aren’t many places where literally everyone I met was super friendly, helpful and keen to be friends. I’m not sure why this was – all I know is that I’d definitely go back.
Worst locals: Vietnam
Putting aside the phone and cash stolen from me on separate days, barely anyone here showed me what you might call common human decency. Taxi or motorbike taxis would agree on a price up front and then aggressively demand more later on. Anyone working behind a counter would take my cash and then try and sneak back incorrect change – sometimes to staggering degrees. When I pointed it out, they’d get filthy and bitterly throw something back that was closer to the correct amount. Sometimes I had to repeat this process three fucking times. The only time anyone ever smiled at me was when they were in the process of fucking me over. I will not be returning.
Best looking Girls: Belgrade, Serbia
As of December 2013 I’ve been to forty countries and have no doubt about making this call.
Best McDonalds: Serbia
There’s rarely an occasion where I’ve eaten at Maccas and not felt like garbage afterwards. Which begs the question of why the hell do I keep eating this shit everywhere I go. Serbian McDonalds delivers though – the 1955 Burger actually tastes like a Burger you might order in an ok restaurant.
Best Local Cuisine: Vietnam
The one saving grace of this country really is the food, which is easily some of the best I’ve had this year. It also kept me from really taking off the gloves when reviewing the country overall.
Best Hostel: Carpe Noctem, Budapest
Great location and facilities. Comfortable and quiet, but took you to where the party was every night if you wanted.
Runner-up: Goodnight Grooves, Belgrade, Serbia.
Most budget destination: Sihanoukville, Cambodia
25-cent beer happy hour and $10 a night air-con hotel rooms on the beach. You can even rent a goddamn mansion here for $700 a month. A joke.
Most Expensive Destination: Helsinki, Finland
No surprise since I’d visited here before, but it still doesn’t take the sting out of your wallet. Especially when coming in from the Baltics. That being said, it’s still cheaper than Sydney where I started the year. And Helsinki is worth it.
Best Sightseeing Experience: Transfagarasan Road, Romania
I don’t think sightseeing can truly be intriguing and awe-inspiring unless you’re genuinely surprised by what you see. To put it another way, you have to be provided with an amazing spectacle you didn’t know (or barely knew) existed in the first place. The Transfăgărășan delivered on that for me. See more here.
Most underwhelming sightseeing experience: Angkor Wat, Cambodia
So sorry to name this one, but other than the actual Angkor Wat and the main temple of Angkor Thom – which are genuinely impressive – the overall complex gets old pretty fast. But it’s one of those things in Cambodia that you sort of have to do as it’s literally their flagship attraction (See their national flag). For me, the most overwhelming part of it was the sheer number of hustlers pestering to sell me every piece of crap under the sun. I spent more time telling people no than I did looking at the temples themselves. I did take some cool photos though.
Best inside joke: ‘Legvan’
After petting the Sloths in Budapest Zoo, I relayed the story to several poles in Krakow. I was in turn told the Polish word for Sloth (Lenivietz) but misheard it as ‘Legvan’. Legvan sounded hilarious though and so we started joking about how we should get a Legvan for the rafters in our rooftop apartment, and bring girls back to show them it. In time, ‘Legvan’, came to mean something totally different.
Worst room-mate in a Hostel dorm: Aussie Ricky Gervais, Bucharest X Hostel
This guy spoke almost exactly like Ricky Gervais, right down to those eccentric and perplexed pitches, along with repeating all his jokes – seeming without noticing it. I like the real Ricky Gervais but no one likes hearing an endless imitation of a famous comedian. Just like how everyone got sick of that ‘Rick James Bitch’ fad a decade ago. The nutter also walked around naked everywhere.
Runnerup: Iranian Borat
My Top 10 Thrashed Songs of 2013 (obviously not all from 2013):
- Give it Time – Rollz ft Katies Ambition
- Lifetime (Logistics Remix) – New Zealand Shapeshifter
- Blind Faith – Chasing Status
- Come back (Giom Remix) – Frankey & Sandrino
- BigTime (Soul Minority Remix)- Edmund and Sacha D’flame
- The Veldt – Deadmau5
- Old Flavors – Empire of the Sun
- Blurred Lines – Robine Thicke
- The Only Way (ft Keenhouse) – Futurecop
- 10. Tribute – Tenacious D
Five Songs from 2013 I’d rather not hear again for a long, long time:
- Lucky – Daft Punk
- Thrift Shoppe – Macklemore
- Wrecking Ball – Miley Cyrus.
- Roar – Katy Perry
- Wake me up – Avicii
Best Flight: Sydney to Frankfurt: July 30th 2013. Singapore Airlines
I was literally leaving my old life behind with this flight on July 30th 2013. It felt amazing, even if I knew I was going to miss some amazing friends from Sydney. But I was still on Cloud 9. I think I watched some good movies and ate some good food, but I can’t remember what.
Worst Flight: Singapore to Bali, 19th December 2013. Tiger Air
Children are cancer on planes. Especially stupid, ill-disciplined ones that pick their ass and have no comprehension of personal space. On this flight, the Chinese parents and another sibling were sitting in the row in front of me while their fat, retarded, other child – probably about 10 – was allocated to the middle seat in between myself and some other unfortunate soul. The filthy bastard spent the entire 3 hour flight smelling of shit and fidgeting both obnoxiously and obliviously – constantly elbowing and prodding both of us – while I was trying to sleep. Multiple times I told and motioned him to keep to his hands to himself, but he didn’t get it. I was torn between making a ridiculous scene with a child on an aeroplane, and figuring out a socially acceptable response. I was half hoping the cabin would experience a drop in air pressure, leading to those oxygen masks dropping down and giving me a chance to use the mask chord to strangle the little shit in the ensuing chaos.
But at the end of the flight, someone else nearly did it for me. As the kid got up in the aisle while we waited to get off the plane, he noticeably began picking his ass and then randomly started flailing his hands against a giant American who looked like John Rambo. Bad move.
The guy erupted, screaming abuse at both the kid and his parents – who were collectively terrified. The whole plane – mostly families – stared disapprovingly at him.
WHAT?! THIS LITTLE BASTARD JUST WIPED HIS SHIT ON ME!!!
I piped up to fill the void:
He’s right, this kid has been disgusting the whole flight. I was sitting next to him.
Now everyone looked at me, except for Rambo who shouted
DAMN FUCKING STRAIGHT
God I hate kids.