Tag Archives: Shit I Learned This Week

Shit I Learned In Milan

I went to visit Milan for the weekend. And of course shit was to be learned. Unlikely shit to learn in Milan, if I am to be honest, but here goes.

Animal related learnings

Kangaroos can swim

I am Australian and I had to find this out from a Venezuelan dude that works behind the hostel desk…. Probably because I have never seen it happen because living in drought country doesn’t really lend itself to there being loads of water.

Mosquitoes are arseholes

I go to sleep. The high pitched squealing of these bitches are buzzing around my head and I can’t sleep. At some point, because all of the rest of my body is covered with blanket, the mosquito decides to bite me on my eye socket. I awaken with my eye swollen shut. Excellent. So the following evening I ask for fly spray. Spray the room. Go to sleep. Wake up to find that my other eye has now been bitten and that this one is now also swollen shut. Fuck you mosquitoes. So much for looking pretty in pictures in Milan. I tried most of the time in my make-up-less state to not look like a victim of violence. The Venezuelan and I decided that the only thing on this planet that mosquitoes are good for are feeding spiders.

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Covering my swollen bitch eyes with sunglasses…. so damn cool

Etymology

The glorious guide I had on my free walking tour, Marco, was an incredible wealth of knowledge, if not slightly unhinged. I watched this outstanding bad ass ask the masses if we mind him smoking then proceed to pull out and chuff on a cigar around the city, no hands. Anyway, he has this thing about etymology. I am unsure whether any of the following is true but they are entertaining so here we go:

Serendipity

In the 1500’s the country now known as Sri Lanka was called Serendip. The king of Serendip, being an all round conquering wench of the time, sent an army to India in search of gold to make him rich. The did not find any gold. However they did discover that glorious thing called ‘tea’. The tea ended up making the king more money than he would have made finding the gold. Thus serendipity – finding something you weren’t looking for that is of greater value to you than the thing you actually were looking for.

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The bone chapel of Milan, where the walls are decorated with the bones of plague victims

Gadget

Upon the unveiling of the Statue of Liberty in New York, a company was contracted to make miniature souvenirs for people to take home. The company making them was a French company who was owned by a man named ‘Gaget’, pronounced ‘gah-zhay’. Anyway, as we like to do in the English language, we took this work and Anglicised/butchered it to its current pronunciation ‘gad-get’. This is still the word used in Italian to describe souvenirs, however through the progression of the times, we have now come to use the word to describe electronics.

Bankrupt

From the Italian, ‘banca rota’. When a merchant in Milan was in massive debt and unable to pay that debt back they would repossess all of his things and have a sale to get all of the money back. At the end of the sales, they used to break his desk – the thing he would use for selling his merchandise. This breaking, ‘rota’ being the word for ‘to break’ became a tradition. The banca rota. Which again, when Anglicised/butchered, becomes known as ‘bankrupt’ in English.

Other random shit

The Visconti family had the emblem of a viper snake eating a man, despite the fact that vipers are small and cannot eat a man. It is believed that they stole this from some family they conquered somewhere else in the world. Anyway, this is now the symbol of the city of Milan and can also be found in the Alpha Romeo car logo.

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Vipers eating humans??? Just a bit odd.

One family in Milan back in the day who’s name translated into ‘testicles’ decided that their family coat of arms should just consist of three testicles. And so it was.

Oh and while I was there I also saw a guy making music by running a violin bow along the sharp edge of a saw used for cutting wood.

And so, as my tour concluded, the tour guide took us to the most provocative piece of art in the city located outside of the stock exchange. And it was there that both he and the stock exchange, gave us the finger and stole our money and left. THE END.

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Milan! I salute you!

And that shall be the end of the shit! Enjoy your week!

Shit I Learned In Venice

Of course in traditional Dano fashion, I went to Venice in an array of disorganization. I decided when I got there to check into the hostel and go for a walk. And I didn’t really manage to get anything that day done other than walking. I walked, I ate, I went on a walking tour where I managed to learn some shit. Mostly I learned that I was too late after the walking tour to do any of the shit that I wanted to do so now I need to go back. But in the meantime here are a few little stories of interest from Venice.

The Capital City of THE WORLD!!!

In times where we were without such tools as cars and planes, man hit the trading route on horse and foot. The trading route passed through the former capital of the world, Constantinople. But the Venetians of course were not happy with this and decided that they must do something about it to steal the title. To become the capital city of the world there are a few different things that a city must have.

Firstly a city must have a saint. Venice was attributed to Saint Theodore… but who the hell even knows who this is?? So they decided that they wanted Saint Mark instead. Much better known. But wait………

Second rule is that the bones of the saint must be within the city. But of course the bones of Saint Mark were in Alexandria. Problem? Nope! No problem. Three Venetian merchants went to the city of Alexandria and stole the bones of Saint Mark. Before they could get the bones out of the city limits however, the alarm went out, “Marks bones have gone, lock the place down, we need to find them”. Every person’s goods were searched before exiting the city by the guards…. so how are we going to get out of this one?

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The Grand Canal of Venice

I know! We shall hide the bones of Saint Mark amid chunks of pork meat so that the Muslim guards would turn their noses up at it and refuse to touch the disgusting pork meat and we shall be home free! And this is what they did. The bones of Saint Mark were escorted back to Venice.

The Venitians were then set. So off they went to Constantinople to rape, steal, pillage and burn the place to the ground. And they did. Anything of value, like the horses at the gates of the city, were sent back to Venice. They melted down statues, stole marble pillars and used them to build their basilica. They were right demonisers. But they had their way. And after this they managed to instate Venice as the capital trade city of the world!! Hooray!

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Saint Mark’s Basilica with all of the looted columns from Constantinople.

Masks

The masks of Venice originated so that the nobility of the city could go out and do their business anonymously and without judgement. The gold mask in the photo below is typically what the rich people would wear and of course there is a little gap underneath so they can sip their expensive wine and eat their expensive foods without issue. The black mask was typically worn by servants. There is a mouthpiece on the inside that they must clamp down on with their teeth to keep the mask on their faces. This was to prevent servants speaking or gossiping to other servants about what their masters have been up to. The white mask with a birds beak was the plague doctors mask. Apparently if you were the length of the beak away from someone it would prevent you getting the plague. It was also how these people were recognized when they came about to clean up the streets of the bodies after family members turfed them out when they got sick to avoid getting sick themselves. Lovely hey?

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The traditional masks of Venice

Other shit I learned….

  • The theatre starts at 7pm and not 8pm.
  • There is a dress code for the theatre that doesn’t involve shorts and running shoes.
  • Getting lost in Venice is very easy
  • Never trust a restaurant that has pictures on their menu
  • One should actually do some research about what they want to do and when it is available before they get there.
  • Gondola drivers must be Venetian and earn approximately twenty thousand euro a month!

 

Shit I Learned In Cambridge

Of course being a scientist lends to me being a total nerdball when heading to the land of Cambridge. And being the grand educational facility that it is, I obviously learned a bit of shit.

Nobel Prize Winners

  • The first bit of shit I learned is that there have been 90 Nobel Prize winners that have come from Cambridge. They boast more than Oxford so they win that grand rivalry, and these are more interesting to me because majority of them are in science related fields.
  • One such Nobel Prize was won by Watson who discovered the double helix formation of DNA in the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge and then headed on down to the Eagle Pub to tell everyone about his discovery. We of course went in here to have a drink where all the great minds of science got smashed since the 1500’s. This pub is also full of RAF names, stickers and photos from those that went to serve in World War 2.
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The plaque on the wall outside The Eagle Pub declaring this is the place where Watson first announced his discovery of DNA double helix

  • Other Nobel Prize winners to come out of the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge are Lord Rutherford for his work on the radioactive decay, Lord Rayleigh for the discovery of Argon and a whole bunch of physicists. Of course, I love the chemists more because that is what I trained to do, but the brains that have passed through these buildings are unsurpassed.
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Outside the Physical Laboratory at Cavendish. Where all the action takes place.

Cambridge Shenanigans

  • With the amazing minds of the world gathering here, there had to be some kind of mischief during the downtime. Favourite past times of many of the students here involved free climbing buildings. At one point during Christmas some unknown pranksters decided that scaling the famous church at King’s College and placing Santa hats on the spires would be funny. This was accepted as being comical. The following week when they decided to put a fluorescent orange traffic cone on the spire instead it was not well received by the college. So after putting all of the scaffolding up to safely take the traffic cone down, the pranksters of course rescaled the building and moved the traffic cone from where it was to the other end of the building that didn’t have scaffolding. Lol!
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The church at King’s College with the spires that have been home to Santa hats and traffic cones

  • As impressive as this was, I think my favourite shenanigan involved the statue of King Henry VIII at the entrance of Trinity College. He used to have a golden sceptre in his hand…. then of course somebody free climbed the building and replaced the sceptre with a wooden chair leg. Nobody found the sceptre. The chair leg is still there. At some point somebody took the chair leg but there was such an outcry to have the chair leg put back that they replaced it a couple of days later.
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King Henry VIII holding his wooden chair leg

  • Another feat of the minds of physics was achieved when they managed to put a car on top of the Senate building in the middle of the night with pulley systems. The engine was removed first so that the load wasn’t as great, but still a pretty impressive achievement. This somewhat reminds me of some kids in my brothers year level at school mounting their MDT teacher’s car on a stump next to the school parking lot. Maybe they weren’t worked hard enough. Too much time on their hands……

Getting Exam Results and Graduating

  • It is unfortunate for the slackers, but all of the results for Cambridge University students are put on display in a whole bunch of showcases for the entire public to see. Even worse than that is in mathematics, whose faculty decided that they would publicly read out exam results in front of everybody and bestow a massive wooden spoon upon the worst grade holder for them to carry for the entirety of the year. Ouch.
  • And with all of the amazing parties that they have at the end of it all, there comes, with great engineering, the float down the river. But instead of using the punting boats, they have to make their own from cardboard boxes. I would imagine that some of them would have had quite a good shellacking.
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Normal people attempting ‘punting’ down the river. This is where the cardboard boxes go too.

Trinity College Awesomeness

  • The most incredible mind to attend at Trinity College was Sir Isaac Newton. While his gravitational ideas were actually conceived of somewhere else, it is said that the tree currently outside of the college is planted with a seed from the apple tree that led Newton to his theories.
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RAF memorabilia on the walls of the Eagle Pub

  • And of course then there is Prince Charles. Who attended Trinity College with his two bodyguards. Upon completion of his courses, his bodyguards requested to sit the exams too as they had sat through all of the lectures. Apparently they both got better grades than Charles. Rumour. But hilarious.

Well, that is all from Cambridge! Til next time I learn some more shit!

 

 

 

Shit I Learned In Hamburg

My time in Hamburg was fleeting. I literally arrived off the overnight bus from Copenhagen, had a nap in the hotel lobby and then went on a walking tour. That is where I learned most of my shit in Hamburg. The rest of the shit I learned on a drunken night out with my new friends from in the dorm room…..

  • The first law that was passed in the constitution for the City of Hamburg is that it is illegal to burn down the town hall. This was after the Vikings did it more times than one can count to get back at the town folk and establish their awesomeness.
  • The organ in the crypt at St Jacobi’s church was played by Bach. During the second world war, the whole entire organ was disabled and put in the church basement to try and prevent damage to it. While the rest of the building was bombed to smitherines and everything else inside destroyed, the organ surprisingly survived under the ground and was eventually reconstructed.
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The organ at the St. Jacobi’s Church that was played by Bach!
  • As we have discovered in our travels of Central America earlier, the same word for calling an inanimate object hot, ‘caliente’, when used to refer to oneself also means ‘horny’. This same issue also arises in German when a person uses the word for ‘cool’. It also means ‘horny’ in German…. I can’t remember what exactly that word is….
  • I would rather walk outside of the door of a church where they are asking for money in their donation box, tell them no, and then hand the money to a homeless guy. The church is rich enough as it is.
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A metal sculpture sitting on a pile of bricks weeping over the tragic loss of lives during the destruction of buildings in Hamburg during WW2
  • The great fire started in a cigar factory. Unfortunately, there was an alcohol store next door to this. Even more unfortunate was that the alcohol shop owner was stupid. In a panic that his shop would be destroyed, he started pouring out all of the alcohol out of his shop window into the river. The river that was barely running because there wasn’t a great deal of water in it. When the fire trucks arrived and started pumping water out of the river to wet down all of the adjacent buildings so that they wouldn’t catch fire as easy, the opposite effect was observed. The entire row of buildings went up in flames as they had just been doused in alcohol. Good times all round….
  • The Beatles have a record shaped place called the Beatles Platz with artistic statues in the Reeperbahn. I learned later in the evening that the Reeperbahn is pretty much the ‘red light district’ of Hamburg. I had a very interesting night out here where I learned that DJ’s are incapable of finishing a song past the 1st chorus, that pizza is very awesome, and that hangovers are horrible on planes.
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The Beatles jamming at the Beatles Platz in the Reeperbahn

Not a great deal learned, but I guess it is quite a bit for the 24 hours that I was there. I definitely think I will be needing to spend some more time navigating German cities 🙂

Shit I Learned In Cologne

You can always tell the measure of a good place and the people you meet within it by the amount of shit you learn. I learned quite a lot of shit during my weekend in Cologne so here we go….

When I arrived in Cologne I figured that I would be able to get around most of the sights in the space of the day so I would take a day out on Sunday and go shopping….. but no.

  • Cologne’s shops and supermarkets are all completely closed on Sunday. This means that I had to do my shopping on Saturday instead and do all my food shopping for Sunday the day before as well

Whilst taking my Saturday out to shop, I learned a few other interesting things:

  • German’s appear to have no idea what the English lyrics to the songs they are playing in their clothing stores at 2pm in the afternoon actually mean. It is here I find myself standing next to a 9 year old listening to a rap musician sing about ‘how dis nigga is gonna slam dunk some motherfucking pussy….?!?!’ I am both horrified and slightly amused at this. I later found out that my new German friend got told off when she was about 14 because the first song that she ever learned in English was about ‘sucking dicks’ and was found singing it very loudly in public when her mother had to stop her and explain. And I thought all German’s had pretty good English… well they do except for the vulgar and inappropriate.
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Another hilarious example of German inappropriacy 🙂
  • It doesn’t matter how many Primark stores I visit, or in which country that the Primark is in, the people who shop in Primark all totally shit me to tears. (For those not familiar with Australian slang… they annoy me very, very much.
  • I have an obsession with shopping for earrings and underwear. 7 pairs of earrings purchased in one day… we won’t discuss my penchant for underwear.
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The famous Dom Cathedral

I was also fortunate enough to learn that a blast from my past (a friend from my old school days of working at KFC when I was 15 now actually lives in Cologne with his girlfriend. We met up and went out with some others from the hostel. While the rest of us stared at him like he was nuts, my friend told us about this game in a bar where you sit around a circular tree stump and take turns at hammering a nail into the wood with the small end of the hammer. We went. We played. I learned that this is awesome and I want one in my backyard! I also learned that while in Australia, we do our best to remove all kinds of weapons from bars, including glass bottles. In Germany, all you need to do is give the bar a twenty Euro deposit and they will give you a hammer…..

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The nail hammering game at the pub of unknown location because I was too drunk to remember how we got there.

The Sunday we got up and went on the walking tour around the city in the snow. Walking tours are always full of learning and this one was no exception.

  • Given that the Dom (the most impressive Cathedral in Cologne, and that I have ever seen) was built by those from Dusseldorf, and that those from Cologne and Dusseldorf hate each other, that when the city hall was build, they decided to make a salute to the Dom…. In the form of including statues baring their naked arses oriented in the direction of the Dom. One of them even looks like it is giving itself fellatio. Hmmm…. what a way to say fuck you!
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A moon to the Dom. And if you look super close you can see he’s nearly able to get a tooth on it 😉
  • Speaking of phallic symbols, some random artist guy decided that to give his seal of approval to art galleries around town that he would randomly paint bananas alongside the art galleries doors. This caused huge outrage (of course) and then people started painting their own bananas. Which aren’t the original bananas, so this is stealing. Of all the questions though, there is this…. why bananas? Well apparently the banana is like life….. nothing about it is straight.
  • Cologne is from cologne. Yeah I probably should have figured this one out already but I never actually took the time to properly process and think about that one.
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The building that was home to the famous 4711 cologne.
  • There is a gold painted Ford Fiesta on the roof of a building…..
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A gold Ford on a building??
  • The lock selling industry here in Cologne must be out of this world considering how many people have locked their hearts to someone else on the bridge. Wonder how many regret that now?
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A small portion of the massive locked up bridge across the Rhine River.

Mostly what I learned in Cologne is that it is really great to catch up and reminisce with old friends. I also learned that sometimes life will massively surprise you and send you exactly what you need, especially in times when you feel like you are in a drab routine you can’t get out of. Anyway, the next adventure is up and coming in a couple of weeks! I shall let you know what I learn on that one! Til now, happy learning!

Shit I Learned In Belgium

After eating my way through the Netherlands, this continued as I journeyed through Belgium. Whilst in Belgium I explored the essence of waffles, chocolate, beer and a whole other spectrum of personal demons as we prepare to bring in the New Year… so here it is, some personal, some ridiculous and some factual, this is Shit I Learned In Belgium!

  • There is a statue of a small boy pissing in the city centre known as the “Mannekin Pis”. For some reason this has become a national symbol of the Belgians and it is hilarious. On top of the Mannekin Pis, there had to be a lady version of this bought about to match the humour of the boy. As such, they have the “Jeanneke Pis”. This is the cheekiest and most amazing statue ever! I am in love with her and find it a total shame that they have hidden her in a back alley.
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Cheeky lil Miss Jeanneke Pis!
  • There are three things I totally hate in this world. One is coffee. YUK!! Massively detest. The second is olives. And the third is beer. For some reason I seem to have this avid loathing of all things that other people seem to love. And yet, here, in the country of beer, I DRANK MY FIRST BEER!! OK so it was a Lindeman’s Raspberry flavoured one and it tasted nothing like beer and more like a raspberry soft drink, but hurrah! Winning! Am a beer drinker! (Well, kinda….)
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The beer in question
  • “French” fries are actually not French, but actually Belgian. As French is spoken in Belgium, it appears that the American’s who came over to visit and took them home gave them the name “French fries” with the misunderstanding that despite French being spoken there that they are not in fact French. In the many years I have been going to the pub to have meals and they are served with a side of salad and fries I never realized that this is where it comes from. So what else do you eat for your New Years Eve dinner except a Flemish stew with a side of fries and salad. Delicious!
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Traditional Belgian Flemish stew
  • On the topic of New Years, I decided one evening in the company of a friend and under the influence of much wine that deleting the phone numbers/messages/Facebook profiles of any ex boyfriends or even dates was a smashing way to start over. Of course the great man Murphy is not having any of this shit and sees to it that you get messages from majority of them in the following week of deletion, even from ones you dumped two years ago, just to test how strong your resolution not to message the fuckers back is. So far excellent. No messages despite how much I want to tell them they are ginormous nobs. Well done me! Have learned self control this week.
  • The word for whipped cream in Dutch is ‘slagroom’. I literally cannot help but find this funny.
  • The only European colonization of a country where the profits reaped from this country went to a solo king and not to the state was when Leopold invaded and took charge of the Congo.
  • Speaking of the Congo, I did not realize Tintin was a Belgian cartoon and the second of the comic books was ‘Tintin in the Congo’ featuring one of the most racist representation of the African’s you have ever seen. You can Google this and find the comic online but apparently this is an amended and tamer version than the previously more racist version… it is still however, quite racist.
  • And the final thing I learned in Belgium is that pretending that you don’t speak French, Dutch or English by speaking Spanish instead will always get you into trouble because everybody seems to speak about a million languages and the ones they speak are totally unpredictable. I got caught speaking to a strange man in the street because he spoke Spanish…. excellent!

Keep you posted on the next adventures! Until then, happy reading and learning!

Shit I Learned In The Netherlands

I was a fortunate enough lady to get 16 whole days off from teaching the herds of feral animals at school and to embark on a trip to The Netherlands and Belgium. The best thing about this is that my friend who I met this time last year in a hostel in Bali invited me to stay with her in Utrecht for a bit and to also spend Christmas eve night with her family for dinner. Not only did I learn from this that I am a luck lady for having such great people in my life, I learned a few other classic Danni things…. here are just a few from the Netherlands! Belgium is a whole other story and will just have to come a bit later…

  • Knuffelen…. The best word to use to pick up the Dutch folk. It means “cuddles?”
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My first dutch “knuffelen” from the lovely Bola!
  • When visiting a peep show in the Red Light District, one should not give a running commentary… So here I am on a walking tour alone getting sent in to see a peep show. I join a box with a Chinese girl I’ve just met. I didn’t even manage to catch her name before we’re thrown in. Her first comment is “wow that guy has a really ugly, bald head…” OK. This is an acceptable comment… kinda… My first comment was “Wow she clearly isn’t enjoying that! Dry as fuck! Like rubbing sandpaper on your vagina! Send in the lube brigade!!” The guy clearly hears me as he stares right and me and then pulls back her legs to give me a better view. “Yep. I was right! No glistening rays of sunshine there… dry as fuck! This is boring! I’m outta here….”. Sometimes I need to close my mouth and just leave it that way… especially in the Red Light District hahahaha (ba boom ching… double funny).
  • Wijn actually means “wine”… too easy!
  • Dutch Tinder is way more entertaining than English Tinder… senses of humour are rampant. I met a guy who both studies AND possesses genetics. What a catch!
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More amazing food at the pre Christmas Markets in Den Bosch.
  • Van Gogh painted hundreds of paintings that are just exceptional. It is a shame that he lost his mind and couldn’t cope with staying on earth any longer to grace us with more of his magnificence.
  • When one engages in eating about 6 oliebollen (Dutch round fried donut with raisins) a day, one will get fat. No doubt about it all. I’ve tried and tested this theory avidly.
  • On the topic of food, they invented my perfect dessert… they call it a “Bossche bollen”. It is basically a giant ball of whipped cream with as little pastry as possible encasing it and then they roll it in chocolate for good measure. It’s almost as good as eating whipped cream from the can and way more socially acceptable.

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  • Dutch clothing shops are cool and next time I should bring less in my bag if I don’t want to wind up stuffing half of my belongings in my already tight pants from eating too much shit….

Oh and flirting with train inspectors will get you out of a fine. Especially when you explain to them that you have no idea whether the ticket worked or not because you don’t read or speak Dutch. “I’m Australian… (Te he he, hair flick…) “please help me! I don’t know what I am doing! Knuffelen?! :)” That said I don’t know whether this is what my friend Helen had in mind for “Servitude September” which I clearly didn’t do because… well ok, just because….  (stay tuned for my second attempt), but I will try pass it off anyway.

Well that is it for the new year! Catch you all next week!

Shit I Learned In Glasgow

Despite only being a whirlwind five days in Scotland, I spent most of it sitting in my friend Paul’s kitchen drinking wine and eating cheese or painting sunsets terribly in the studio drunk on wine. I did however do the odd museum tour and in the grand scheme of me and learning, I learned quite a few odd and interesting things.

Sir Roger

Sir Roger is a famous Glaswegian elephant who went on heat, got a bit violent and then they were forced to shoot him in the head. In the awesome tradition of not letting go of things we love, Sir Roger was then stuffed by a taxidermist, preserved in arsenic and formaldehyde and put on show in the Kelvingrove Museum (ps. Kelvin as in the man who did the Kelvin scale of absolute temperature… science nerds rejoice!)

 

 

The famous Sir Roger complete with broken trunk and bullet hole.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sir Roger of course is a children’s delight. So many of them can’t resist touching him all the time and one child accidentally snapped off his trunk….. so then they glued it back on. Poor Roger.

 

Christ Of Saint John Of The Cross

 

This famous painting by Salvador Dali is also now housed in the Kelvingrove. Once upon a time a few moons ago, some crackpot who thought he was Jesus decided that he didn’t like the portrayal of himself within the painting. Of course the only acceptable way of dealing with such an offensive representation is to go to the museum and throw a brick through the painting. If you look closely you can see where the painting went through repairs.

 

 

The famous Salvador Dali painting equipped with square rip from the offended real Jesus’ brick.

This, however was not deemed enough by another group of crackpots who went to the museum and shot bullets at the painting with a gun. Jokes on them though, the Dali is now housed in bulletproof glass. Epic fail.

 

McDonald’s Is Technologically Apt

 

So I wander drunk into a Maccas at midnight and have a massive flip out when I discover that not only can you order your food on a giant touch screen before you get to the counter, but once you have your drunken cheeseburger and fries, you can sit and play angry birds and other cool games on a touch screen computer. You can also do some Facebooking if you feel so inclined…. what is this socially antisocial world coming to?

 

 

Drunken cheeseburger and Facebook in the upscale McDonald’s.

Painting

 

I was fortunate enough to be able to spend my time with two exceptionally talented brothers that are painters while I was in Glasgow. This opened my world to art galleries and exhibitions I would not otherwise have experienced. It also allowed me one afternoon to sit and paint with a canvas. I learned firstly that drunken finger painting is fun. Secondly I learned to look at things in a context of colors and shadows more. It is incredible to sit and watch my friend Paul paint and to watch his brain process where colors and paints go. Awesome 🙂

 

 

My glorious painting. Now an exceptional masterpiece on a bathroom wall for hilarity’s sake

GOMA Statue And The Traffic Cone

 

Glaswegians have such a good sense of humour that a traffic cone constantly lives on the head or some other part of the statue outside of GOMA. Apparently the council will remove it but someone always climbs right back up there to deposit yet another traffic cone in its rightful place, statue head.

 

 

The GOMA Statue and it’s glorious traffic cone hat

Glaswegians Kick Arse And Balls

 

Once upon a time in Glasgow at the airport there was an attempted terrorist attack. A few guys decided it would be a good idea to fill a Jeep with some fuel canisters and set it on fire whilst driving it into the front doors of the airport. The guys in the Jeep got out and were tackled by some locals. One awesome Glaswegian kicked a guy in the balls so hard he broke his foot. Local hero! And now you can’t approach the front door of the airport by car, you get dropped off a hundred meters back from the entrance.

Well, that’s it! Until next week! 🙂

Shit I Learned In Indonesia

OK, so for any of you who know me personally, you would know that last time I was travelling I used to put a weekly post up on my Facebook called ‘Shit I Learned This Week’. It was a combination of funny and serious facts that I learned along the way that I wanted to share with people. As ordinary life and the monotony of working and then going to the gym set back in, I got lazy and let it slide as it became harder to come up with creative things I had learned. However, back by popular demand on my Facebook page Thomas Takes On… (chuck us a ‘like’ to keep in the loop) is “Shit I Learned This Week” and as a part of this continuing tradition, I shall reinstate it with a special post about “Shit I Learned In Indonesia”.

Shit I Learned In Indonesia
Useful Indonesian Words
  • Doso (doh-zoh) – “high five” useful for saying hi to or scaring small children. Some will laugh and slap your hand, other will scream and run yelling “monster, monster!” in the other direction.
  • Kontol besar (con-tol be-sar) – “big penis”. Men down the street will occasionally tell you that they have one of these for you. You shouldn’t believe them. They don’t really.
  • Capek (cha-pey) – “tired”. Even when you use this word it still won’t prevent police officers waking you up on the train just so they can say hello to you because they want to practice their English. And here I thought I was getting woken up because I am doing something wrong…..
  • Bule (boo-lay) – “white person/foreigner”. The word most commonly shouted when both adults and children alike see you and start pointing at you as if you are a crazy anomaly in society. It will usually be accompanied with the word “foto”.
  • Foto (foh-toh) – “photo”. Avoid this word at all costs. It will mean that you will spend an hour standing on the side of the road while locals take pictures with you and of you like you are some kind of celebrity. Then if you say no, they will still follow you and take pictures of you while you are not looking. Akin to Kim Kardashian, you are famous for doing absolutely nothing.
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My blonde friend getting swarmed by a kazillion Indonesian people and their phones saying ‘foto? foto?’

  • Ayo (aye-yoh) – “lets go!” Useful for getting a boot up peoples butts and to get moving.
  • Tidak (tee-dah) – “no”. Despite being a word in the Indonesian language, this word seems not only to be ignored, but magically most of the time translated into the word “yes”.
  • Kamu cantik (cam-oo chan-tee) – “you’re gorgeous/beautiful”. Frequently used by local men when you walk past them down the street or are sitting on the back seat of buses as their opening line to chat you up. Usually it is followed up by the question “you marry?” to which the appropriate answer is always “yes”.
  • Mas (maas) – “bro”. The men here will usually say ‘hallo mas!’ or ‘terima kasih mas’. I need to remember that while ‘mas’ in spanish means ‘more’, that I am saying ‘thanks bro’ in Indonesia instead of ‘thank you very much’. Especially when I am talking to a woman and she looks at me confused as I just called her ‘bro’.
  • Coca Cola Batik (koh-kah koh-lah bah-tik) – “Fake art work from Yogyakarta”. The local style of art, ‘batik’, involves covering material with a wax and then dying the bits left over. If it is real they say you can wash and iron it to keep it good. Sometimes locals will lie to you and sell you the fake stuff that the dye runs from when you wash it. I am not sure what Coca Cola has to do with this….
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My real batik art, not the Coca Cola crap 🙂

Culture and People
  • If you ask how far or how long something is, do not expect an accurate answer. Concepts of time and distance are pretty much non-existent in Indonesia.
  • Everybody smiles. They can be happy, mad, angry, sad… any array on the emotional spectrum and it will always be delivered with a smile. As such, when angry the best way to deal with things is to smile and be polite. Passive aggression will get you everywhere.
  • On top of smiles is the laughing. People are always laughing in Indonesia and the laughter is often infectious. Sometimes a local will be so amused by something that you do that it almost difficult to not laugh back at them as they are so funny when they are being funny,
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This guy laughed at us and called my friend a ‘bludger’ despite not knowing what it meant and kept laughing for half an hour while we waited for the bus to Borobudur

  • Indonesians do not walk anywhere if they can help it. They will always take their motorbike. Even if it is 50m down the road, the will still go on “moto”.
  • Fat is a compliment. “Hey girl, you fat!” = hey, you have money and eat lots and are super healthy. I wish it was like this in Australia….
  • Say one thing. Mean another. Do another entirely. This is how we wind up having our passport in immigration for 16 days and not being notified of meetings. Then they tell you they have transport to immigration. Then they don’t. Then they do but you need your own helmet. Then they do again. And then they drive you to immigration and leave you on the side of the road there in the middle of nowhere because apparently transport to immigration does not mean transport home. This is also how you wind up homeless on New Years Eve as a ‘booking’ apparently can be given away if somebody with money comes in first and you aren’t there. Always be prepared for the unexpected. Always have your A game problem solving skills cap on or you will wind up in a pool of your own tears. Oh and laugh. Because what more can you do?
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Passed out on the hostel floor on a pile of my junk over new years trying to have an afternoon nap and failing dismally

  • Indonesians have to be the friendliest people ever. I am trying to eat my bowl of bakso on the side of the road and a family invite me into their home to sit at their table to eat it and play with their kids… two hours later I am making my way out the door.
Politics and Religion
  • You will get woken up everyday to the sound of random warblings of Islamic prayer broadcast over giant speakers to the entire community. Earplugs required.
  • In Bali, one needs to constantly watch where they walk because not only will the gods be angry if you step on one of the offerings they lay out, but you will also wind up with massive soy sauce explosions up your leg.
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Some Hindu offerings… no soy sauce this time, just some tasty biscuits and flowers.

  • Soekarno was the first President of Indonesia and was responsible for their independence as a country in 1945.
  • Indonesians will approach you and start listing religions and ask you which one you are. “I have no religion” is never met with a good response, usually anger or confusion. I later learned that according to the “Pancasila” (translated in Javanese to mean “five principles”), which was the document used to found the country of Indonesia and unite all of the islands, the number one legal requirement on this list of all Indonesians is “belief in the one and only God”. What this means…. 1. It is illegal to not have a religion in Indonesia. 2. You are only allowed to follow a religion that is monotheistic. The Balinese made a few adaptations to allow Shiva to be their almighty God allowing Hinduism to be a part of the list of only 6 religions allowed in Indonesia including Islam, Buddhism, Confucianism, Catholicism or Protestantism. No allowances were made for other religions such as Judaism, Sikhism or any of the spiritual beliefs of the smaller tribes from the more secluded islands that form Indonesia. Sounds scarily like discrimination to me……
Other Indonesian Learnings
  • “Hallo Mister!” is a common greeting from all people here. Their addresses to each other are unisex, so I always get ‘mister’. I exhaust myself trying to explain that I am a ‘miss’ because I am a woman. The last English lesson I gave was to a group of 7 kids of 8-10 years old cutting school and smoking cigarettes on top of the hill overlooking the Telarga Warna. They followed me down the hill screaming at me “Miss! Miss!” Well at least they learned something….
  • Bed bugs. After getting them twice in Java I am now a total expert in anything bed bug related. The Indonesian word for bed bug is ‘kutu busuk‘ and I am ‘alergi‘ or allergic to them. I know about hunting them, their life cycle, how to get rid of them and even that if you isolate and tape the bed they will climb the walls and drop on you from the ceiling to get at you and your tasty blood. Ugh, I am creeped out thinking about it and haven’t slept in a month.
  • Fried chicken here rivals that of Colonel Sanders (KFC) an is way cheaper… between these and cheap Magnum Gold’s I will wind up the size of a house and require rehab after Indonesia to deal with my withdrawals.
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Yet another evening on the Magnum Golds… had to find another shop because we cleared the first one out.

  • I am ‘seexxxaaayyyy’ according to a 60 yo local woman on the bus to Wonosobo and this is apparently hilarious to everyone else on the bus.

And I think that shall be it! For the weekly versions (much shorter I promise) tune in to Facebook and I shall be back next week with more challenge and adventure (Si bolang!) Until then 🙂