Friday, 5 July 2013

Bucharest - "A fart in the air con"

I DID IT! I actually got off my arse and went somewhere. I'd tell you my heroic tales of
Rah-cksacks: Imperative Gap Yah Equipment.
rescuing marsupials from bush fires, eradicating poverty and hosting synchronised swimming lessons in the Amazon River, but I'd be lying. In reality I went on a 3 week jolly around Romania and Budapest with my friend Poppy. If you followed my travels on Facebook, you may be under the impression that all we did was drink cheap beer, enjoy the sun and drink cheap beer, but you'd be (partly) wrong, and I'm writing this to quash those misconceptions. I'll divide the posts geographically into the five areas we visited, starting with Bucharest.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the fasten seat belt sign has now been activated, so please return to your seats and remain there until Captainfuntimesontheroad is in full flow, at which point you can abandon ship happy in the knowledge that you've given me another view on my blog. Here goes...

Tuesday, June 4th
Poppy and I awoke at the crack of dawn. 'Who's Dawn?!' I hear you cry. All I have to say to that is please wash your dirty mind out with soap. It was 4am, and our inhumanely large rucksacks were packed and ready. The airport departure was a bit of a groggy blur, but the bird who shat colossally on the car windscreen did not prove to be a good luck omen. Getting Ellie Goulding's song 'Explosions' stuck in one's head when going through airport security is most unfortunate for a start. Our flight left late, and after 3 hours with some slighly screamy babies being drowned out by their even louder mothers, and an unfortunate 5 minutes of near suffocation following someone's fart being sucked into our overhead air con and being re-directed straight into my face, we arrived. We waited an hour for a lift from the airport, during which time a rotund, old Romanian approached Poppy to tell her she had very beautiful '?' and pointed to what I hope was Poppy's hair. As her hair was plaited to one side down the front, I can only hope it was her hair he was pointing to. It eventually became apparent our lift was a no-show, which resulted in us cruising through Bucharest with a taxi driver who had to drive one-handed in order to use the other to alternate between smoking, reading the address I'd scrawled in my journal on his lap, and phoning his mates for
Le Frembassy
directions. The lack of seatbelt fittings all added to the blind terror fun. Despite his frightening, one handed attempts at multi tasking we arrived in one piece to The Midland Hostel. It turned out the building opposite adorned with French flags was the French Embassy (funny that...). I can only hope the Fr-ambassadors were too preoccupied with baguettes and berets to notice me gawping out the bedroom window overlooking the Fr-embassy in just my undercrackers midway through changing for dinner. 

After a slightly massive detour through Bucharest's backstreets, we conveniently found ourselves in the Caru' cu Bera, Bucharest's oldest beer house. The beers were around a quid each, so it seemed rude not to indulge. In retrospect it'd have been wise to have splashed out on some side dishes, as a plate of chicken and mushroom sauce doesn't quite compensate for the 3 extortionate biscuits we sold our souls to pay for on the aeroplane, and which had provided our soul sustenance since 4am. I pitied our poor roomie at the hostel, whose initial introduction came in the form of me sitting once again in my underwear, swearing at my un-unlockable locker. Poor guy, perhaps the Frembassy will empathise with him and have me deported...

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Road Trip!

The new year is hurtling on at an alarming pace, but like it or not, we're very much in 2013.
Twen-ty Thir-teen. It's a weird one isn't it? Twothousandandthirteen sounds frankly rdiculous. For the superstitious among us, perhaps TwentyFourteenminusOne is preferable? Or if we're feeling trendy, 2k13 innit. When in Rome, perhaps a spot o' Latin MMXIIIQRSTUVWXYZ, or something.

Anyway, I digress. I'd like to introduce you to the sister page of my rant-blog, captainfuntimes. She's rather lovely I think. I hope you'll like her. Captainfuntimes and I would like to introduce you to captainfuntimesontheroad (the name's a work-out in itself!) She (and yes, she will be referred to in the third person pronoun) is here to tell you all about my gap year exploits. She will be taking you on an exhilarating trip to Thailand, Singapore, Australia, The Himalayas, Madagascar, Peru and The Caribbean...
I wish.
The truth is, I've become rather complacent over the first 4 months of my Gap Yah, and it doesn't look as though I'll be taking on the world yet. However, I have had countless trips around England, and I plan to have countless more, which, if I achieve something of interest, will be documented here! I'd love to do a post on my recent visit to Amsterdam. Maybe one day I will. But for now, what happens in The 'Dam, stays in The 'Dam. Stay in school, kids.

You smile, I'll watch the road...
I have just returned, fully alive and un-maimed, from my first road trip with my partner in crime, Hannah. On Thursday morning we packed our worldly belongings into the back of Gordon the Green Golf, and Hannah, Gordon, Samantha the Satnav and I set off on a whirlwind adventure up the M6. After taking out a mortgage to pay for the toll, we settled down into the slow lane, nestled comfortably in between two lorries; one of which, we were delighted to see, had 'Meat Packers' adorning its sides. Oh how we laughed. We lasted about an hour before deciding it would be an excellent idea to don our Where's Wally hats. Just for the gags, you know how it is...ahem. I put Hannah's on for her, to enable her to keep both hands on the steering wheel. Safety first! We looked bloody fabulous. So fabulous, in fact, that we felt it needed sharing with Facebook. 5 attempts later, we had the money shot. 

On arriving in Chester, we took the scenic route around the houses after mis-interpreting Samantha's instructions and ignoring the signs for 'Chester City Centre'. Nonetheless, we made it, and lived to sing Evensong at Chester Cathedral, which, despite the antarctic climate and lack of refreshments, was lovely! The next task that faced us was taking Gordon to the car-park of The Pied Bull, where we were staying. How hard could it be? If, like us, you have the combined directional aptitude of two blind toddlers after a game of dizzy dinosaurs, it's quite hard. After driving the wrong way around the multi-story car-park, we eventually found our way out and turned right, towards the B&B. SHIT, it's one-way, turn round, TURN ROUND. Hannah skilfully manoeuvered the car in the correct direction. Forgetting that, although bloody miles away, Chester isn't abroad, we somehow ended up on the right hand side of the road. After three laps around the block, an accidental trip down the Bus-Only lane, and a phone call to the B&B for directions interrupted by 'fuck, nope, that's one-way as well, and this guy's not going to stop' we made it. Slightly terrified, but still unharmed. "Hello, we'd just like to check into our twin room. Yes, that's right, our twin room, because we ARE NOT LESBIANS." I think our commendable subtlety convinced the lady on reception that there would most certainly not be any funny business. To celebrate our success in not dying, we planned a hardcore night out on the razz. But 3 days of heinously early starts for work had somewhat taken it out of us, and after a couple of pints we retired to our twin room for a cup of tea and David Attenborough. We know how to partay.

Our second day was occupied not by sight-seeing, but shopping...and taking photographs dressed as Where's Wally in various public places. That evening we were ready for the sub-zero cathedral, and clad in 3 pairs of tights we embarked on our second and final evensong, which, if I do say so myself, went swimmingly! After a couple of post-service drinkies, we gorged our body-weight in pub-grub, before heading out to see what Chester had to offer us. Not a great deal it would seem. The obvious solution was to drown our sorrows...until my bank card eventually got rejected and we had to return to our little room. Before we knew it, our mini-break was over, and we were forced to return to normality, driving on the left hand side of the road, sans Where's Wally attire...Sigh.