Monday, April 12, 2010

I've got a feeling. Wooo hooo.

This song will forever remind me of this weekend. And yes, I'm listening to it right now. It's only fitting.

This weekend was a long one thanks to the Friday before and Monday after Easter. And thanks to a vacation day on Thursday. It all started on Wednesday night.

Wednesday night. Getting on the night train on our way to Zagreb (Croatia), we come across fellow English-speakers in our compartment. They were talking amongst themselves and us among ourselves until I came back to the washroom and herd the B word dropped. Baden. At that point in time, I was 85% sure they worked at Alstom. We talked for a while until I was sure they worked at Baden. They knew that Ryan worked at ABB and assumed I did as well. After some train beers, I decided to unleash the sneaking suspicion. "So were you guys at the Gas/O&M party in December at Trafo?" Of course, the answer was yes. "Did you guys go to Time bar after the apero ended?" Uhhh... yah. "We've met before. I was the super drunk intern that Shane kept giving shots to." Laughter followed. Infamous Jeff then gave me a pleasant message for Andy. One that upset Andy until he figured out who the message was from. Then he just called Jeff a bastard and carried on with the day. Anyway, the Croatian girl asked if it was true that all Canadians were afraid of the dark. I evaded giving an answer. After some more beer, we decided it was time for sleepy. The moment the lights were turned off, I screamed. Of course all Canadians are afraid of the dark!

Thursday, we awoke on a moving train. We got to Zagreb and bid adieu to the fellow Alstomers and headed to our hostel of choice. We dropped our stuff off and headed out exploring.

We came across some cool stuff and bought oranges at a market. There was another market where I almost bought some delicious baked goods. But I restrained myself. They even have sk8 shops in Zagreb. Weird. Awesome, but weird. And just as a side note, for being a city of around 1 million, Zagreb feels much more homely and small. Anyway, back to the storey. For lunch, we went to "Cut of Duck Pizza". Seems like something was missing in the translation. That or it was intentionally a different name. Probably both. We ate pizza and drank a beer. It was refreshing and filling. And cheap. Then we went back to the hostel for a nap.

Waking up at 19:00 and realizing we had slept for 3 hours, we departed in search of supper. We ended up finding a nice place outside and had delicious calamari and beer. Then I got dessert. Normally, this would not be any sort of ordeal. But I ordered a "cake with nut cream". No, there weren’t any ordeals, apart from me trying to order it without laughing aloud. I don't know about the translation from Croatian to English, but this was definitely a direct translation from proper German. After supper (which cost a whopping 5€) we dawdled back to the hostel and stopped at the bar a few minutes away and had another beer. I didn't get a chance during the day to say the only Croatian I know. Just wait.

Friday was an eventful day, but it didn't start out that way. We got up early to catch an early train to Ljubljana. I burnt my remaining Kuna on baked good, which was a great decision. Jam-filled doughnuts and croissants are great. We got stopped at the border for passport control. Slovenian doesn't have "y" in its alphabet, so when they spelt Ryan's name over the radio they called it upsilon. No one but me is going to find that interesting, but whatever. By the way, upsilon is how you pronounce the letter "y" in German.

Arriving in Ljubljana, we must have spent at least 2 hours walking around looking for a hostel. It was ok, we saw some of the town. it was overcast, which was shitty. But that didn't stop me from sporting flip flops. Nothing stops me from sporting flip flops. - Oh, I forgot to mention! In Zagreb, the people don't appreciate you walking around in purple pants and flip flops. They will stare at you and look like they are physically disgusted with you. You've been warned. - After finding a hostel, we wandered to the nearest tourist office and got "Hot Horse" circled on the map. Then we went to Hot Horse. Hot Horse is a small "burger joint" in a park that only sells three things: horse burger, horse steak, and some horse dish that looks like horse kebab meat (shaved and such). It was delicious, and I should have had another.

After Hot Horse, we went to the castle to scope out the place. It was at this point that I realized that interns are like birds. We always flock to the highest point in the area. On our way up, Ksenija called! She was trying to figure out where we were and get us in touch with her friend in the city. She was worried that we would have a bad impression of the city if someone didn't show us around to all the good stuff. I reassured her that we had a good impression because we had Hot Horse.

She laughed and couldn't believe that we knew about Hot Horse. This is proof that Wikipedia coupled with WikiTravel works. End of discussion. So upon convincing her that we were doing ok, I got Momo's number and sent him an SMS. In the castle, Ryan walked on the grass. That is clearly a capital punishment crime in Slovenia. So I told Ryan that I'd inform Ksenija and that she'd kill him in his sleep. He was worried. Meanwhile, we checked out the courtyard and the ramparts, then went back to the hostel for another nap. This cycle was becoming problematic.

After a brief 15 minute power nap, we went to Triple Bridge to meet with Momo. Meeting up with Momo, we headed to a café for a Laško. Then we wandered the city a little more and Momo called Ksenija to convince her to come to Ljubljana to party with us. We tried, but to no avail [insert sad face here]. We picked up some groceries and booze, and headed back to Momo's for some pre-drinking and supper.

We caught a cab to the train station, where we met up with a fellow Canadian studying in Ljubljana. We walked to Metelkova, a really weird place surrounding Hostel Celica. Metelkova was once a military prison area that squatters took over. Now, its fully of metal-headed artsies. Quite possibly the coolest place I've been to yet. Although it was full of people you'd probably be afraid of normally, there was no discomfort or feeling of danger. Everyone else was there for a good time too! We had a few Laško both inside and outside and hung out for a while.

Once we decided to move on, we went to a shop for a burek. I wasn't hungry, but I got one anyway because it looked delicious. I couldn't finish it, but it was worth it. Then we headed to a club close by (although pretty much everything is close by in Ljubljana center). The top level was closed for a private party, but the lower - underground - level was open. We danced the night away to some sick tunes and some more Laško.

When the party was over for us, we said goodbye to Momo and the Canadian guy (still can't remember his name, and someone will end up mocking me for it at some point in time) and headed back to the hostel.

We slept briefly. We had a bus to catch at 09:00, so we had to be up to make sure we had time to walk to the train station and pick up some food. We had plenty of time. But we came across ZERO bakeries along the way. So we were forced to stop at McDonalds. Apparently there are less than 10 in all of Slovenia. This was 1/10. I will never forget this McDonalds. The chick behind the till hated me so much she gave me 0.10€ in 0.01€ coins. A bit of a piss-off to say the least. Ksenija later claimed that it's because I'm a nice guy. If that’s the case then WTH? Why? Lol... I still have those damned coins...

Getting on the bus, we pointed to the printout of the name of the town Ksenija lives in. Had I had a little confidence, I could have just said it. Pronunciation is not a serious issue. Except for Z-hat, which doesn't exist on my laptop keyboard with the Slovene setting. But now I know that one too. Dober dan to you too. We weren't sure if the bus driver was gonna stop and tell us to get out or not, but we were pretty sure he was because we only bought tickets to that town.

He did stop and tell us when to get off. So we did, and we waited at the corner of the highway for Ksenija to pick us up after getting groceries. While bored, I started a spontaneous rave with no music. Because that's what I do. Luckily, no one apart from Ryan saw me (as far as I know). When Ksenija came, I promptly stopped to minimize the embarrassment factor. She didn't notice I had been raving, which is probably a good thing.

We met Ksenija's brother Nate and headed back to the house. Nate speaks pretty good English, but didn't warm up to us quick enough to practice a whole lot. Instead, he was being slightly obnoxious, which was mildly amusing and reminded me of Mike not too long ago. As in last week.

Shortly after arriving, we headed out for a walk. We went to the top of a hill close by. This further validates my claim what interns are like birds (always going to the highest location). The hike was quite and warm. Not overcast like the day before. At the top, we had a couple Laško and caught up on the times. Afterward, we headed back to the house where we chilled until the evening, with Ksenija constantly trying to feed us. What a mother :P.

In the evening, we met up with Ksenija's friend Lučka and we hit up a whole bunch of bars around Šentvid pri something-something. In fact, we may or may not have gone to half of the bars within walking distance of Ksenija's house. I'm not entirely sure. But I was under the impression that her mother was shocked the following morning/afternoon when she found out where we had gone. Anyway, the first place we went to we sat outside and had a couple of drinks. Ksenija made sure Ryan and I had some local drink that apparently people usually make at home. One consisted of blueberries and the other consisted of honey. Both were pretty good and supposedly strong, although I didn't find it so. I also ordered a vodka-cola. Now back home, that's a normal drink right? Because when I ordered it, not only did the waitress not understand, but neither Ksenija nor Lučka understood either. Apparently I'm just weird. At least Ryan knew what I was talking about. Oh and I dropped "Jebisej" here. Thats the limit of my Croatian.

The second bar was full of drunk people, and was awesome. There wasn't any room at first for seats inside, so we chilled outside for a while. No more Laško though. Apparently that's a strange thing to do. People only order hard liquor when going out in Slovenia. So we did the same. After a few rounds and Ksenija convincing us to hit the dance floor, we headed off to the next place.

We were essentially the only people there. We hit the dance floor and pretty much just requested whatever songs we wanted. As we walked in, THE song was playing. To break up an evening of Eurotechno, I felt it would be a good idea to request something awesome and totally different from anything we had heard all night. Naturally, I opted for Teen Spirit. That when the unexpected hit. No one knew what I requested, but the DJ started it off merging it into the previous techno song and without the epic guitar intro. Ksenija actually recognized it before me because I was expecting something totally different. But take it was she comes. The DJ managed to blend Nirvana into an awesome techno remix. Nirvana. Daaaamn. At this point, the dance floor was completely clear and the DJ was setting up for the final song of the night. I couldn't tell you what song it was, because the Nirvana moment was too awesome.

From there, we headed back home for sleepy time. but prior to going to bed, I decided that it would be an absolutely amazing idea to watch night at the Roxbury. So we streamed it and watched the first 20 minutes. The stream was too slow to watch the whole thing. But the 20 minutes we did watch, were great.

Easter Sunday. Ryan and I slept until 13:00. No one bothered to wake us up, and we ended up holding everyone up on traditional Easter breakfast. Whoops... I said "good morning" to Nate and quickly corrected myself with "good afternoon". He found this amusing. After breakfast, which (as far as I can figure) was a more-or-less standard European breakfast (except with religious relevance and meaning for the food), Lučka and Beno came over. In the meantime, Ksenija taught me the best Slovenian pickup line, "U kaka bejba". I was way too embarrassed to say it in the house at first, especially because I still wasn't entirely sure what it meant. I'm still not. I was also mocked as Ksenija's mom asked if I knew how to say the name of the town. I had no idea and told them to write it out. Then I'd say it. Ksenija wrote it out, and I said it. She was impressed. That's just how I roll. Obviously I have no idea where the emphasis goes in Slovenian or the flow of the language, but I got the skillz anyway. Unless you put š and č together. Then I'm screwed. Nate tried to teach me, but I'm pretty sure I murdered it (and not in a positive manner either).

We drove to a small café where some of us had a Laško while others had coffee. One crazy person in particular (not naming any names, but you know who you are) had both. At the same time. Hahaha the waitress thought he/she was nuts too.

Then we went bowling! On the way to bowling, Beno passed on the right, which is a no-no in Europe. The cops saw him and pulled him over. They wanted everyone's ID. I didn't have my passport on me, but thankfully my Auslanderausweis was sufficient. At the bowling alley, we started off by playing a few games of pool. We were all awful. So we went to bowling instead. Bowling is a game that I occasionally excel at. All thanks to countless games with the Engg guys back home. It goes without saying that when bowling, beer is consumed. So that's precisely what we did.

We played three games, where I dominated with the smallest ball that fit my fingers. That is the ultimate strategy. Because then you can throw it as hard as you want and it still goes where you want. Midway through the second game, Ryan and I decided to see who could throw the ball the fastest because the lanes registered the ball speed. That quickly ended because the game stopped registering our speeds. I think the game heard us... After the bowling and splitting a couple of beer towers, we headed back in the direction of Ksenija's. I mean, who gets really drunk on Easter Sunday right? By the way, THE song played twice while bowling. And both times, Ryan and I were groaning. Again? Seriously? I also learnt some practical Slovenian, ,such as PETKA, troika, ne, and da. I already knew "dober dan", which was apparently impressive. And clearly, "u kaka bejba". The lady-killer of all phrases... Lol...

We wound up going to another local bar where Lučka's sister was chilling with some friends. Walking up to their table, I boldly went where no Canadian has ever gone before at that bar. I dropped "u kaka bejba". Hahaha... Without our knowledge, they apparently bet the TOWN than we were all getting really drunk that night. Ryan wasn't feeling so hot, so to the naked eye it would be an easy win for the town. Except for peer pressure. And the bet: an entire flat of Jägermeister. I ordered a Laško and sipped happily, not knowing the gongshow that was about to erupt. Meanwhile, Ksenija was talking to her mom on her cell. I had no idea who she was talking to, but she told me to yell "u kaka bejba" into the phone. So naturally, I did. It was funny. We laughed about it the following morning. Then the bottle came. And of course, I was more than happy to oblige with the opening drink. Chugging from the bottle. Classy as always, and you can never expect anything less than classy from yours truly. That was just the beginning. And after my chug, Ryan had to start drinking. Or risk looking bad in front of the ladies. And lets just say that wasn't about to happen. So after adamantly declaring that he wasn't drinking the night, he lasted 2 minutes before pounding 3 or 4 shots almost consecutively. Na zdravje! The first bottle was done in under 10 minutes, with Ryan and I drinking the majority of it.

After the first bottle, we grabbed a bottle to go and went for a ride out to the forest. That's the best description I could possibly give, seeing as I seriously have no clue where it was. Arriving in the forest, THE song was playing on the radio. Naturally, Ryan and I sang along as loud as we could because THE song was becoming more and more awesome. Not really, it was just being repeated so often it was no longer irritating. At the forest, we also opened the second bottle of Jäger. This one took a little longer to drink, and Ryan and I left most of it to the girls. There were lots of pictures, most of which were on the girls' cells. No access, tragically. At one point, I wandered over to a retaining wall and asked how far it was down because I couldn't actually see the bottom so well due to the darkness and possibly intoxication. But I could see the bottom about 10 feet away, so I knew it was about 1.5 meters down. Someone yelled at me not to jump down. So naturally, I did. At some point in the forest, we also posed for a picture when Ryan stumbled and took me out. It was funny until I woke up with the most awkward scrape ever. With the second bottle of Jäger finished, we dropped Lučka off at home and went to Ksenija's for another bottle of Jägermeister. Thankfully, this one was already cracked and only half of the bottle remained. Then we went to the local elementary school. I'm such a great role model for all the kids out there...

At the school, it was raining. In fact, it had been raining everywhere all night. So we were under shelter for most of the time. At one point, Ryan got it into his mind that he wanted to go running. So he did ~9 laps around the school (and zero falls apparently). In the mean time, I wandered off to find out where the hell I was. No luck, I still came back confused as to my surroundings. I also managed to turn my hoodie inside out and put it back on the right way and wore it like that for a while. I can't definitively say why I did that, but I think a good guess would be that the hoodie was making me wet. Therefore, turning it inside out would be the logical solution. Right? Apart from these moments, and clearly rolling around on the dirt based on the hell my hoodie looked like when we woke up the next day... After completing the 3rd and final bottle of Jäger, we got back into the car to drive by the gas station to honk the horn and prove that we won the bet. I don't remember this. In fact, I don't remember anything from the car ride back. What a night. I can safely say that I will never be that drunk on an Easter Sunday ever again.

We awoke the next day, once again at around 13:00. We were giving Ksenija's mom a bad impression I think. After such a heavy night of drinking, I was feeling quite fantastic. That can mean one thing and one thing only: success on missing the chundy express. All right! Monday was a chill day. We watched Junkyard Wars and CSI and watched amusing YouTube videos such as Ksenija wasn't sure if we'd understand this video because we weren't "cultured enough". She was tragically mistaken. That video is priceless. Peace on you too.

After chilling out for the afternoon, we sadly headed back to Ljubljana to go back to Switzerland. It was a depressing end to the best weekend in Europe, and possibly the best weekend ever. It was quite, with everyone going over the ridiculousness that defined the weekend. The sleep that night was terrible. i don't really need to say any more than that.

I woke up the following day bumbed out. The first time I've actually been bumbed out in Europe. I seriously didn't want to go back to Baden. Ugh. But there I was, at work at 10:30. Starting what was going to be a solid work week, cramming four days of work into a scheduled three. Again, ugh.

Oh and just for the record, this blog took over 8 hours to write. 90% of the time, I was listening to THE song. It will probably define this weekend for the rest of my life. The irony of it all is the lyrics... Hahaha. Thanks Special-K, for giving us the best weekend ever!