Go where the pepper grows


Self-absorbed misanthropic humanist vs. the world

"From mazel to shlimazl is but a tiny step; but from shlimazl to mazel - oy, is that far!"

"In the matter of slavish imitation, man is the monkey's superior all the time. The average man is destitute of independence of opinion. He is not interested in contriving a opinion of his own, by study and reflection, but is only anxious to find out what his neighbor's opinion is and slavishly adopt it."
--- Mark Twain on imitation

Travels 2008/09/10/11/12/13/14:

January 2008 - Portugal, Spain, Morocco
February 2008 - Norway, Sweden, Slovenia
March 2008 - Poland, Slovakia
April 2008 - Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania
May 2008 - Latvia, Estonia, Singapore, Australia
June 2008 - Australia
July 2008 - Australia
August 2008 - Fiji, Samoa
September 2008 - New Zealand, Argentina, Chile
October 2008 - Argentina, Chile
November 2008 - Chile, Perú
December 2008 - Perú, Bolivia
January 2009 - Home
February 2009 - Italy, Vatican City, San Marino, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Hercegovina
March 2009 - Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo
April 2009 - Bulgaria, Turkey
May 2009 - Australia
June 2009 - Australia
July 2009 - Australia
August 2009 - Australia
September 2009 - Australia
October 2009 - Malaysia
November 2009 - Malaysia, Thailand
December 2009 - Thailand, Burma, Laos
January 2010 - Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam
June 2010 - Malta
December 2010 - Belgium
January 2011 - Israel, West Bank
April 2011 - Cyprus
May 2011 - Cyprus
June 2011 - Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, France, Monaco, Andorra
December 2011 - Russia
January 2012 - Russia
February 2012 - Qatar
March 2012 - China
July 2012 - Czech Republic, Malaysia
August 2012 - Malaysia, Australia
September 2012 - Indonesia
February 2013 - Taiwan
March 2013 - Taiwan
April 2013 - Hong Kong, Macau, Russia
July 2013 - Czech Republic
September 2013 - United Arab Emirates, Oman, Australia
October 2013 - Australia
November 2013 - Australia
December 2013 - Australia
January 2014 - Sri Lanka, Japan
February 2014 - Japan, South Korea
March 2014 - Japan, Australia

Asia » Sri Lanka » Sabaragamuwa Province » Udawalawae NP January 12th 2014

I arrive in Tissamaharama (shortened to Tissa henceforth for obvious reasons) after two stinky, crammed local bus rides. A few tuk tuks and guesthouse touts are already waiting for me. While I try my best to ignore them, one is particularly persistent. He follows me on a motorcycle, trying to steer me towards his (or his family's) guesthouse. "Where you stay, sir?" -"Oh, I can't tell you. It's a secret." "Why you say that? I'm honest." -"Well, you have a guesthouse as well, so you're competition." "Yes, but I just ask you, no problem. Which guesthouse?" -"*blah*" "Oh, ok. Actually, I know the place. The father of the owner died last week. They have funeral there tonight. My family and me, we're going to pay our respects. I don't think it's open for business at the ... read more
Green bee-eater
Elephants taking a sandbath
Mongoose hanging out

Asia » Sri Lanka » Southern Province » Matara » Mirissa January 9th 2014

I'm not much of a beach bum, but I do like a good swim, pristine sands and crystal-clear water every now and then. Hence I go to Mirissa. I take the train from Galle and kind of hint to some locals where I'm going, hoping they will let me know when we're there. After an hour and a bit, an older man tells me 'Mirissa, Mirissa', but I can't see a station or platform, before I realise I'm looking at the wrong side and the platform is so short it can't be seen outside our carriage. I fall-jump off the train and walk into the wrong direction, until some tuk tuk-drivers point me out the right way. Accomodation is easily found inside a family's home. I drop my bags to take a stroll on the beach, ... read more
Mirissa beach
A cold Lion lager
Coconut stall

Asia » Sri Lanka » Southern Province » Galle January 8th 2014

I usually don't write a lot about flights, but here are some things I noticed on my flight to Colombo: In airplane bathrooms, there should be a device, similar to smoke detectors, that beeps when a guy pisses on the toilet seat. A trapdoor should open automatically, with a large, hard boxing glove dashing out, punching him in the face. Sit down, fuckers! On Sri Lankan Airways, they provide single-use shavers in the lavatory, which is actually a good idea. There's also a big bottle of mouthwash, and I can't for the life of me figure out any hygienic way to make use of it. The service on board is impeccable and with a smile. The crew is pleasant and entirely attitude-free, except maybe for the lady selling duty free-goods. The Sri Lankan bloke sitting next ... read more
Main Buddha
Raising the flag
Galle boat harbour and crows

Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Dubai September 15th 2013

I've come to the conclusion that if Dubai impresses you, there must be something fundamentally wrong with you. I find it tedious even to write about the place, as it feels like everything worth mentioning has been already uttered ad nauseum. The way I see it, Dubai is a haven for the ambitious, the haughty, the pretentious, and the plain desperate. Maybe it makes people feel posh by association to prance about in its ridiculous shopping malls. Everything's fake, thus it attracts the fakest of the fake. The city is like a perverted Disneyland, just that it's not mice and ducks that are worshipped, but locust capitalism itself. Just imagine if the Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Sri Lankans and Nepalis who do all the work around there went on strike for a week. Dubai would implode. Façades ... read more
Manakeesh with Zataar and milk tea
Deira crossing
Mall of the Emirates

Middle East » Oman » Sharqiya » Sur September 12th 2013

The border guard stamps my passport. I look at him enquiringly, but he just says "Finish", so I thank him and walk off. Why I didn't have to pay the 20€ that I had been quoted, I don't know, but I'm not gonna complain. I take it as a good omen for my sojourn in Oman, which is to be my first real travel experience on the Arabian Peninsula. I wouldn't count the few days of sightseeing I've had in Doha and Dubai as such. I withdraw enough Omani rial to last me for 10-14 days, buy a local sim card and hop back on the bus destined for Muscat, the capital. As per my request, the bus driver drops me off at Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. It's 2pm, certainly not the best time to be ... read more
Beehive tombs of Al-Ayn
Door inscriptions
Desert landscape south of Sur

Via Praha, I make my way northwards, to Trutnov. I arrive after five hours on three different trains, walk to my guesthouse, and learn that the room I booked has been given to someone else. Unfortunately, I don't have any written booking confirmation, as I only called them up and reserved a room using a mixture of English, German and Russian. The lady at the reception nervously makes a lot of phone calls and checks the internet for a place to stay for that sad-looking creature sitting in front of her, who doesn't even understand her language. After maybe half an hour, she finally succeeds in this task and drives me to a place out of town, which actually seems to be closer to the Battlefield, Obscene Extreme's traditional venue. For an acceptable price, I get ... read more
Fuck the Facts
Coldwar singer
Where's the band?

Next up on my journey on the well-trodden path is one of Eastern, um, I mean Central Europe's (sorry, Czechs, my bad) most beloved tourist traps. Český Krumlov is the Czech Republic's second biggest tourist draw, after Prague, of course. Austrians hop over in droves, so do Germans, Russians, French, Italians, and, like with all other European snow globe towns, Chinese and Japanese. Before I get there, however, I stop by at České Budějovice, also known as Budweis. Ungh, one of those things where I think "Do I really have to explain that?": Budweis is the home town of one of the best Czech beers (which makes it one of the world's best beers by default), Budweiser. Apparently, they've been having some copyright issues with a beer of the same name, which is brewed in the ... read more
Eggenberg dark
Český Krumlov in all its glory
Column detail

Europe » Czech Republic » Plzen Region » Plzen July 2nd 2013

After having visited Prague a few times already, but really not that much more in Czech Republic, I decided to branch out a little this time. First stop is Plzeň, the home of Pilsner beer. On the train ride to Prague I find a pretty good conversation partner in Gary, an Australian Indian from Melbourne. We chat about the finer (ha!) details of Australian culture and he provides me with some insight about what kinds of shit he has to take as an Australian with his background. Quite interesting, as so far, I hadn't heard the Australian Indian perspective firsthand. I change trains in Prague and hop on the train to Plzeň, where I arrive one and a half hours later. My host Rufina picks me up from the train station. She's Belarussian and in Plzeň ... read more
Statue of Josef Smetana
Kozel dark
Moorish style ceiling

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Arkhangelsk April 30th 2013

This blog is gonna be slightly different from all my other ones. Usually I travel alone or with my partner in crime, but in this case, I shall be on the road together with PEOPLE. Real people in the real world, can you believe it? Not just random people I picked up at the hostel somewhere either, but people from my Russian group in Halle. The group has been in existence for about nine years already, but I only joined last year. It is a group comprised of students from all kinds of university courses, mostly from Humanities. We have an exchange programme going on with our Russian counterparts in Arkhangelsk, a city in Northern European Russia, located on the shores of the White Sea. Consequently, this town shall be our destination today. Alas, it's a ... read more
House detail
Glorious intoxication
Russian landscape

Asia » Hong Kong » Kowloon April 4th 2013

3am is never a good time to arrive, least of all at a place you've never been to before. Hong Kong's not that bad in that regard: at least there are no touts vying for my tourist dollar, and it feels pretty safe. I take the fast train from the airport to the Central train station on Hong Kong Island. The hard part is trying to orientate myself once I'm out of the station. A maze of barriers, high curbs and stairs awaits me, which is not fun to undertake with too much luggage. As it's the middle of the night, the escalators don't work. Eventually, I manage to cross the very busy street via a pedestrian bridge and find the right bus stop on the other side. When the bus finally arrives, I try to ... read more
Amazing crispy noodles and veggies in black bean sauce
Tram in downtown HK island
Praising the Buddha

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