Category Archives for Jay and Two Bits of Luggage

JTBL #18: How a Marketing Apprenticeship Forced Me to Face My Fears and Silence My Inner Critic

Three months. I made it. We made it.

It's been just under a year since I originally took off from Helsinki. Through Hungary, Serbia, Italy, Slovenia and Croatia, my year has culminated in Barcelona, in a marketing internship for Thrive Themes working under the expert guidance of Shane Melaugh.

I've faced some tough challenges in my life, some real mindbenders. But they didn't even begin to hold a candle to my tribulations during these three months.

"The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team." -Phil Jackson

What exactly happened? A marketing apprenticeship is what - a few copywriting exercises and a landing page?

How then did I end up facing the angers I had hidden away in the deepest, darkest passages of my subconscious?

This is one of the toughest blog posts I've written.

It all started in Barrio Gotico with some broccoli and a pair of pants.

Letting the Bottled Up Weird Loose

My escape from Finland was fueled largely by the thought that I needed to get shit done myself - that otherwise nothing would happen. So I don't have much experience working with others, because I've yet to find people who keep up with me.

That's not a boast, btw. I have an insatiable need to keep challenging myself and push my limits. It would be so much easier to be satisfied with something less. So often I find people who are willing to just give up and be satisfied with less than what they truly want.

So when I met my colleagues in Barcelona, I felt like I had run into a room full of marketing soulmates.

I was so overjoyed and excited that I openly let loose with my odd habits. I was sure they could handle it. After all, we were of the same kin.

Like a true social recluse, I hadn't considered that they might not be so instantly trusting as I am, and my strange habits were met with a raised eyebrow. My social calibration was a bit off.

It's not like I was purposely being weird, though. I'd just been living under a rock for so long, that some of my habits aren't perhaps the most socially savvy.

Broccoli and raw eggs?

I've always liked broccoli. But for some odd reason, I seem to be the only person in the world who actually eats it raw. Cool, no harm done. Great snack. Recommended. Gets rid of sugar cravings.

Also raw eggs. Sasha Daygame recommends. Get the free range ones and wash before use. They taste horrible when you drink them plain, but they're an awesome source of protein and a bunch of other nutrients and your stomach will thank you later.​

Getting comments about these habits were enough to wake up the tiny voice in my head. The same voice that used to tell me that "you're not good enough for that beautiful woman" was now telling me "you're the weird one in this team."

Formal office attire

Barcelona is hot. And with shitty Spanish engineering, the houses are fucking hot as well. And we couldn't keep the windows open because of butane-man and the street noises below. So it was ridiculously hot and noisy at the office.​

I lived at a different apartment than the office, so I dressed for the morning weather, which tended to be much colder than the afternoons when the sun came out and the heat really started blazing.

Which lead to me having warm pants on in a hot office. Having a rather radiant body temperature, I was soon suffocating.

So I took my pants off to preserve work efficiency.

End of story? Nope.

I'm aware that Finnish people take nudity as a natural thing and we generally don't give a shit if someone wants to flaunt their balls or tits around.​ I'm aware that most other countries don't have such a liberal stance on nudity.

But I never realized the difference could be so radical.​ People were practically shocked by my attire. I suppose a guy pantsless (not nude, mind) in an office space was just too distracting. 


So I did.​

"You're causing drama and making people feel bad," whispered the voice.

Etiquette of Meeting People

When we were roaming about town with the group, I continued on with my normal daygame routine. I hadn't realized that this behaviour might be annoying, even rude, to people who hadn't seen it before. I was after all, bouncing off like an attention deficit headless chicken every time I saw something (or someone) interesting.

It never occurred to me before. Surely it was my responsibility to keep up with any group I decide to hang around with?

Another social recluse-mindset then, I suppose: "Every man for himself."

My idea of natural approaches wasn't exactly the most commonly accepted way of meeting people. Most romantic encounters in our marketing team began at clubs, bars, pubs, and Tinder. It didn't help my case when everyone was getting dates through more traditional means of approaching, and all I had was and a bunch of flakes from numbers I'd collected off the street.

"You're being weird. Daygame is weird. Stop it and join the others." said the voice in the back of my head.

Repressed Bitterness Triggered by an Angry Teen

That night when psycho woman flipped haunts me to this day.

Let's clear up one thing. This woman had issues. She was poisonous company. This was obvious to me and I thought it was a good thing she left.

The others didn't see the solution quite so obvious. They saw me being a rude asshole scaring away their friend with my crude remarks and chauvinistic attitude, and understandably weren't too pleased.

I was instructed to leave the premises.

I felt that same hopeless frustration I felt through my childhood.

I remembered the times my mother blamed me for drama and anger fueled by her own issues.

I remembered dad, clueless and incapable, just letting the abuse fly and blaming me for trying to solve the issue. He was probably trying to keep the drama to a minimum, but ended up creating repressed bitterness that would take years to solve.

I saw myself back in that moment, tear in eye, desperately trying to explain that I did nothing wrong.

It all flashed in front of my eyes. We weren't going to resolve this issue that night, so I figured the best choice was to shut up and go home.

I felt like receding back into my shell. 

Was I honestly cut out for this? Or should I just go back to Finland and work the security duty in the nighttime like a good little loser?​ ... whispered the voice.

My doubts turned to anger.

Raw feelings and thoughts spewed onto paper (see previous blogpost), blaming society and American dude for my anger.

Cataluñan Women Play the Game Better Than You

Then I met this one small feisty woman. Cute as hell and designer as well. She promised she wouldn't flake. This particular girl was cute and straight up, and she told me she totally wouldn't. ... and yet, she did.

This puzzled me, and not least for having quite enough of people disappearing like that. There was obviously something in MY behaviour that made me repulsive to these girls. I had nothing to lose, so I confronted her about it. I asked her, for the good of my social future and for the good of all womankind, to tell me what the hell I did wrong.

And she did. “You don't meet women that way,” she told me in a scolding manner. Well, I do. But asking her to be more specific, I started to understand her point. In her eyes I was just out to get women in some predatory prize-hunting fashion.

After years of learning to become closer to my true self, I felt this shouldn't be so. But ... she was right.

I was doing exactly that. Rather than finding out about people, I was hunting for prizes.

I had no trouble getting phone numbers before. Actually, I've had no trouble being a relatable guy before. But there's always been a routine. Not a canned line with a fake personality-sort of routine, but just some behaviours I had learned were correct. These things are not me and it was causing an incongruence.

An incongruence that made it seem like I was playing the predatory pick up-artist game.​

I felt hopeless. After all this work, I was hitting a dead end.​ I had to stop and look deep into the mirror.

Then I got severely reprimanded for my blogpost by the team. It was the shocker I needed to understand that something was wrong in my way of thinking. Some prideful part of me deep inside was dragging me down.

Mea Culpa

After many meditations, a long while of self reflection and apologizing to American dude, I realized my blog post wasn't about being angry at American dude at all. I wasn't angry at the world or society's shortcomings.

I was angry at myself. To be so strange and so different, that even in this group of strange and differently brilliant people, I was the one who stood out as weird and odd.​

I felt like it was all crashing down. In my mind everyone hated me, I was a hostile womanhater weirdo, I probably was gonna get fired for being an asshole towards my colleagues, all the women in the city wanted nothing to do with me and my coaching company was stuck in the mud.

Finding Sun in Southern Spain

A breath of fresh air came in the form of a weekend-trip to Marbella.

I had arranged for a long weekend in Marbella to see my family and hopefully have a bit of a relaxing time in the sun. It would give me a chance to get out of the city and see some new people. Give me a chance to stop thinking for a while.

Marbella was exactly the Spanish Hollywood I thought it was. Sports cars, insanely expensive wine restaurants, cocaine, bars, golf...

... and the most amazing Norwegian girl.​

A local dude had kindly offered to take me out for a few and see the local nightlife. We'd been circling rich people-activities on golf courses and expensive restaurants, so this was a welcome change of pace.

My goal that evening was to be honest, nothing more. I asked some girls if our beers could occupy their table for a second. I politely introduced myself, not expecting to stay for long.

I nonchalantly gave into some small talk. The girls didn't seem much more than some random blondies at first.

I went through my basic small talk-schtick, questioning this girl about movies, her hobbies and interests, expecting to hear the standard dull blah blah responses.

But there was something ... different about her. She put a spin into every one of my dull questions. As if adding a slight spark of colour to everything I said. Then I realized her attire was full of random details: colourful rings and bracelets on her arms, braids in her hair, a colourful dress... and her smile was the brightest I'd seen for months.

Then something struck me. She wasn't just bluntly listening to what I was blabbering about. She was listening to me. Watching how my thoughts work. She had that sense of wanderlust in her eyes, that curiosity about how the world works.

She saw something special in me as well. This brilliant adventurer girl with the most colourful life saw something awesome in me.

I found myself becoming more and more interested in this person and what was going on in her head.​ She was fascinating. It was my last night in the city, but I could've spent weeks just listening to this girl.

It was the first time I looked straight into someone's eyes, brought my face right next to hers and whispered I want to have sex with her.

The effect of being bluntly honest was profound. Her eyes lit up.

Suddenly I believed in myself again.​

Unfortunately the story with Ms. Sunshine was cut abruptly short for time being. I hope we'll run into each other some day.​

She had returned some of the lost sunshine in my mind. A confidence that I have a place in this world and could make someone happy.​

I noticed something strange on the way back, though.​

The voice in my head ... was quiet.

Meditation and Reinventing My Sense of Curiosity

Back in Barcelona I thought... fuck it. I had self-reflected enough. It was time for action.

I closed my laptop and went outside. Not with an agenda in mind, but to see the world. I gave zero shits. If I had fucked everything up, I had nothing to lose. Absolutely nothing. I meditated on this at a busy park bench. My spiteful and rebellious fuck this-attitude changed into a nonchalance. Kind of a worry-free warm breeze in my mind.

Then I saw a lovely pair of buttocks swiftly making progress down Las Ramblas. As all those times before, I ran after her and said hello. But something was different. And.. something changed. A subtle, but significant change.

I suddenly had a worryfree, chilled out curiosity for the world with no need for weirdness or acting cool.

My straight up presence was powerful enough to make this girl stop and become instantly interested in me.

She was a Polish salsa dancer with the sexy butt only salsa dancers have. She invited me over to their dance rehersals.

Something was different. My pride had been completely destroyed, and something positive was growing.


Would you know, my co-workers never did hate me. They respect mistakes as part of learning and we're slowly becoming a team.

My boss didn't throw me out, but rather gave me guidelines on how to improve for next time.

I'm slowly learning that real people, the truly awesome ones... they don't give up on you. They kick you in the ass and expect you to do better next time.​

American dude probably hates me for chronic foot-in-mouth disease, but perhaps we'll get along some time in the future.​

​I had pretty much reached the peak of what I could learn on my own. Understanding that was humbling.

It's time to stop reflecting on myself and learn from others now.


JTBL #17: Barcelona and the Three Rules of Meeting Women

I've pissed off more women in the last three weeks than in the whole of last year.

It’s when you find yourself in Barcelona taking part in a marketing apprenticeship with people from America, Switzerland, France and Catalonia, that your journey really starts shifting gears and you get into all sorts of weird adventures.

​Since the Swiss and Catalan dudes are very much into ego destroying and meeting women, I’m making strong headway in that department. And since the women around here are fiery and angry and aren’t afraid to tell me to fuck off, that’s also a learning experience.

Loving it.

​And since it’s Barcelona, the adventures involve women.

Egos and Insecurities

This one girl followed us home from the club on one of the first nights in town. I was a bit tipsy and happened to compliment her cleavage because frankly, I thought it looked kinda sexy. She made a wild spectacle of it, flailing her arms and cursing foul play because of my insultingly sexist comments. It was so overly dramatic that I found it ridiculously comical.

This drama queen obviously had some bolts loose, and me being the asshole sort, I of course needed to provoke that a bit more.

Because I have a sick sense of humour. Deal with it.

Of course the mature thing to do would be to avoid these sorts of people in the first place. But no one ever blamed me of maturity, so there we go.

One of the Americans was not so enamoured by my choice of words. In his world, you should try to please people, because saying what you really think might offend someone. He schooled me about being respectful to women. I giggled into my drink.

If people choose to get offended when I'm amazed by their appearance, is it really my problem?

It seemed like the classic situation of wanting so desperately to get laid, that every bit of common sense and self respect might as well be thrown out the window. And since it was ruined by me, I became the asshole.

This guy had seen me get rejected multiple times chatting up women on the street. In his mind, my approach was way too direct and would only cause bad feelings to people. “You can’t just compliment women on the street!” But the ego prevented him from trying and seeing the larger world for himself.

Instead, he offered a bunch of lame excuses as to why the street approach wasn't for him, because it didn't seem natural. Ironically, paying huge sums of money to get into closed nightclubs and getting wasted and dragging someone home and waking up to a hangover after horrible sex, IS considered natural.

Each to their own, I guess.

As it happens, it wasn’t the only time Ms. Loosebolts followed us home like a stray dog. Again, American dude was doing his best trying to please this little princess, dodging the “I will leave”-ultimatums. With admirable talent, I might add. I thought I’d just step back and observe from a distance to see how well the sucking up strategy would help in the getting laid-department.

Sadly it was quite obvious that the only thing getting laid that night would be doormats beneath dirty trodding feet.

I moved out of the line of fire. We went into the other room to discuss nudity and how it affects people’s comfort levels. This topic arose from the fact that I didn’t have any pants on.

As is the standard level of clothing in a living room.

Then Loosebolts escapes from the kitchen, somehow finds us in the other room, and puts up a fiery fistfight for womens’ rights everywhere. Her argument basically was that since women get commented on if they are nude, then men shouldn’t be allowed to be nude either.

I thought that was ridiculously stupid. Not to mention insulting towards men AND women. I called her out on her insecurity about her body or something. Can’t quite recall, I was a bit tipsy and had had enough of this person’s bullshit. These sorts of idiots are the people who give feminists a bad rap. Not surprisingly, she stormed out. Fucking drama queen.

And, since I made the one girl leave the house, I was the fuckhead of the evening.

I was pointed toward an open door and given a chance to defend myself by two people looking less than pleased. Feeling like a poker player asked to rebuy after losing multiple stacks to bad beats, I figured it was better to shut up and exit the building.

edit:​ We spent some time talking over this matter with American dude. I should emphasize at this point, that we're living in tight spaces, getting to know each other in a stressful environment surrounded by hot women. Feelings will heat up.

I probably went overboard with this ad hominem rant, and for that I apologize. To American dude and my readers.

I obviously have a personal issue with these sorts of situations that lead me to lash out. It's something I gotta work on.

But that crazy lady can fuck off.


The Other Miami Chick

We were hanging out on boardwalk, and we noticed this girl sitting by herself. She was a cute brunette, with that sort of elegance and grace to her posture.

We got to talking, and got along surprisingly well. She was a traveller from Miami. We joked about eating lunch and having bits of food stuck in teeth. I told her about my happenstance meeting with a dancer in Budapest, also from Miami.

“You’re joking, right?” she stopped me.
“No, quite serious. Why?” I raised an eyebrow.
“I’m also a dancer!” she laughed.

Well, apparently I have a talent for finding the Miami dancers. It must have something to do with dancers having a strong non-verbal language, which seems to make a strong impression on me. Also, I'm hot for slender-bodied brunettes, so that helps.

I was so amazed by the good vibe and this funny coincidence that I completely forgot about rule number one.


Not surprisingly, she flaked on our date, because she was getting married. To her credit, she actually answered my text rather than just disappearing. I wished her well on her travels.

Check out Tessa @​

The Small Woman From Australia

So there was this cute little feisty thing that sailed ashore with one of the Americans. (Yes, they actually came with a boat from Italy.) We shared a bit of a rapport instantly, as she had that sort of temperamental sense of humour.

Saw her again on another night. We talked about sex, relationships, society and funny little mind games. We seemed to be getting along fine, so I asked if she’d like to get out of there. But there was a cockblocking angrier woman in her company. Couldn’t quite get a read on their relation, so I didn’t push it. We were having fun anyway, so no matter.

Her angry friend left elsewhere and she joined our motley crew for an after party at the office. It was getting late, and she needed to get back to her hostel because she had the key and needed to let angry friend in or some such thing? NOW was my chance! So I asked to walk her home.

We walked to her hostel to do the whatever with the keys and kissed in the stairwell. I was so close to just throwing her over my shoulder and dragging her to my mancave, but we agreed to meet up the next day with more possibilities for that.

I kissed her again and left for the night.

Our plans got muddled and we didn’t meet the next day.

But no worries! Because in the modern world, when plans change, you can easily contact the person and let them know about it.

That is, if you would have their FUCKING PHONE NUMBER. I’m so used to phone numbers leading nowhere that I don’t even bother with them anymore. So much in fact, that I forget the main function of phone numbers: logistics and convenience. Which leads us to rule number 2.


Yeah I was pulling my hair out that night. We met again the next week but the ship had sailed. She was ice cold and for good reason - sorry for fucking up!

An Encounter on La Rambla

After tasting some delicious sangria, we began our journey towards the electronic music festival on the hill. This involved taking the Barcelona metro, which was a bit of an unknown to all of us. Even buying the tickets was a bit of a hassle.

Go down the stairs. Find big ticket dispenser. Big ticket dispenser comes in two colours. Why? Who knows. I get a 10-trip ticket in the end, hopefully good enough for four people, and run back up the stairs because I’m on the wrong side.

And there she was.

My world stopped.

This glorious figure was walking up the stairs with a sort of energy that I’ve never seen before. I had to say hello. She was amazing. I felt an immediate connection between us. It was magical, even.

If there is attraction, you can feel it in the first few seconds. That's why it doesn't matter what you say when you meet the first time.

Our exchange was probably two sentences or less, but we agreed to meet up for tea later. She had to go see her friends and I had to go see my colleagues, who were annoyed that my antics were making us late.

I spent the concert evening with my head in the clouds. A high resulting from something other than whatever they were smoking, mind you.

Later that week we met up for lunch. She took me to the rooftop of a hotel. Sunshine, smoothies, and this Spanish girl. We talked about psychology, egos, and how society forces us to become something we might not like in the end. She had just come back from a similar journey I’m on, and told me about how her perception of her world had changed.

I was completely smitten by this creature.

So warm, cute, thoughtful, funny. We kissed after talking for an hour. Not because it was some sort of move or some sort of play. I just felt like it was the complete right time.

A lunchbreak sadly passes by lightning fast in this sort of company.

The following Sunday we got together for a cuppa tea. I was feeling a bit off, having worked on a marketing project for the whole day.

Smart thing to do would’ve been to stay at home and meet up at a better time. But no, having my judgement completely impaired by this person, I wanted to meet that night.

She told me about her interests in an independent Catalonia. It’s funny when you listen to someone intently and create this bubble with just you two in it. Even La Rambla, one of the busiest streets in Barcelona, was nothing more than background buzz outside our little bubble.

Another reason for a horrible date time was that she had a prior engagement. We kissed passionately at the parking lot. I wanted so bad to get her naked.

Continuing in my quest for blunt honesty, I whispered that into her ear.

Then she left.

Haven’t heard from her since.

No reply to messages or calls. I've been fucking kicking myself for making her feel hot like that, knowing there was no chance of taking her home. Guys, never ever escalate if you have no chance to take her back home! You'll lose some fine people to biological tendencies.

Meeting women isn't about constant escalation. It’s about having the discipline to wait for that right moment so nature can “take its course.”

-Sasha Daygame 2015

So she ghosted me. Didn't even drop me a message to tell me to bugger off. That's just harsh. =D

I wanted to cook dinner for her. I wanted to climb a mountain with her. I wanted to drive scooters to the beach with her. I really let myself get carried away by this woman.

And I fucked it up.

I'm gonna join camp America soon. It's not like I'm getting too many points being honest these days!

Which brings us to rule number three.



p.s. kudos to the dork who keeps catching me when I fall.​

JTBL #16: A Pitstop in Budapest – Looking at the Same City Through Different Eyes

IMG_20150909_044021    I can’t believe I’m back in budapest. I mean.. of course I can believe it, and I wasn’t gonna make this into a sort of cliché “what goes around comes around”-type of post, because that’s not what it is.

What Goes Around Comes Around-Post

Being a pragmatic logical minded nerdy type, I wanted to visit the city again and see if my perception had changed. Sure enough, it all smelled the same, and things were still where I left them nine months ago. I even had a sense of nostalgia, sitting in that rickety carriage of the Blue Line with the morning dew in my face.

Something was altogether different, though. I couldn’t quite place it.

It’s good to be back on the road, that’s for sure. Gets the idea juices running flowing even. If you ever find yourself stuck when writing something, walk around the block. If you find yourself stuck in life, walk around the world.

Due to horrible logistics on my part, I arrived at 4 am in the fucking morning. (I gotta stop doing that, seriously!) The driver was kind enough to take me to Ferihegy (Ferenc Liszt nowadays, I hear), where I could sit around until morning, and waste some hours doing nothing. As expected, no sleep was to be found and I eventually ran into the situation where I needed to recharge my phone.

So I sat down at one of the only sockets in the area and plugged in. for entertainment, I stared at the nearby analogue clock to see how many percentage points the battery would gain per minute. Then I had the weirdest deja vu. I had been sitting in the exact same spot just nine months before, doing the exact same thing.

The same spot. The same clock. Same phone, even. But different world.

IMG_20150913_171859 IMG_20150913_171742 IMG_20150913_030345

So I’m on my way to Barcelona, with a more clear aim in mind. I’m determined to make this work, and my reason for existing is clear. Unlike nine months ago, when I was scared. A tiny (if large) Finnish boy arriving in a big city in an entirely foreign culture. Did the clock signify something different back then? Nah, it’s still just a clock and I was still killing time waiting to get to bed. But I wasn’t coming from a small town in Finland scared of everything new.

I’m coming from the world.

It’s been a strange nine months for sure. Not that the world had gotten smaller, but the people have turned from foreign strangers to just other persons on the road. I wasn’t apologizing for my existence anymore. My own reality had changed, and along with it my perception of the outside world.

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Escape From Zagreb

My escape from Zagreb didn’t exactly go smoothly. My airbnb from the previous week was sketchy at best, mostly due to bad planning. No wifi and a shoddy apartment. I didn’t want to repeat my planning mistake, so I looked into travel arrangements three days before departure.

Hey three days is well planned in my book!

I checked train schedules at the station. Apparently trains to Budapest went twice a week, on Tuesday and Saturday. That was rather strange to me, but since the lady said so, I didn’t have a reason to doubt. Besides, I preferred a bus. Strangely, they only had ONE bus working that connection.

Zagreb isn’t THAT small, and you’d think people make the trip to Budapest all the time. This all seemed highly unusual. I decided to wait for a Blablacar-connection to open up on my day of travel, since public transportation was giving me a huge middle finger at this point.

But Blablacar stayed silent. So one day before my departure, I went to buy a bus ticket.


The bus was full.

No trains, bus was full, and no Blablacar connections. This was worrying. Was I stuck in Zagreb?

There was one car leaving on the previous evening with one seat left. Not ideal, but I took it. So my airbnb host went ballistic for changes in itinerary. And I mean ballistic. The way a five-year old goes ballistic when something is displeasing. Sigh. Some people and their tiny comfort zones.

Of course I apologized for my sudden change of plans, but she would have none of it and spewed her personal issues at me like an abusive wife. I don’t take well to bullshit, so I gave her a colourful rendition of how customers are supposed to be treated, and how her personal issues are not my issues. Well, getting thrown out of an airbnb-apartment is a first.

Later I learned that there’s two trains daily. What the fuck.

Eventually I made it to Budapest though. Having had mostly zero sleep that night, it was wonderful to finally get to my apartment. This time my host was this lovely little lady – pretty much a polar opposite to the previous one. I finally had some time to catch my breath and gather my thoughts. We even had a fun chat and she told me stories of her tourist-guide days from the seventies.

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Nine months before, you might recall a certain nightclub incident between two attractive girls and myself. Turns out, that the next day, on my way to the casino, I accidentally ran into the girls on the metro. I mean, you gotta understand that Budapest isn’t exactly a tiny city. That was.. an incredible coincidence.

I wanted to see this one particular lovely lady, but she was mostly busy and had no time for even a cuppa tea. Shame, that. I always felt we had a bit of a connection and I wanted to find out more about that. But these things happen, timing doesn’t always work out.

It seems that fate had a different idea of timing, though.

I was heading downtown with the metro. Just random stuff, I wanted to see the refugee crisis at Keleti Palayaudvar. But as I was hopping off the train, I met a familiar face. It was the same woman.

“We gotta stop meeting like this.”
“Haha! So cool to see you!”

So I had my 15 minutes with this lovely lady.

Be seeing you on the Blue Line next time I’m in town, Agi!

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Saturday Night Poker Bad Beat

So I turned 31 that night. I had this grand plan of hitting a nightclub hard and turning it into a massive birthday party. It would’ve been glorious, but for some reason my motivation in this admittedly brilliant idea waned quickly, and I decided to rather go out and play some poker in the good old Universum Poker Club. After all, games would be good on a Saturday night.

The last metro had gone already, so my only choices were the rather skanky blue line-bus or a taxi. Being the stingy type, I picked up some cash and sat in the bus. I’d take the metro back. Perfect plan. What could go wrong?

The bus turned out to be the wrong one, as I quickly realized, following the path from my trusty Spidersense Maps (c). But it was the correct general direction, and a bit of walking wouldn’t hurt if the end goal would be me sitting at a poker table. After 40 minutes of sitting in a doddling creaky bus avoiding drunken Hungarians, I finally found what seemed to be the nearest bus stop to the casino.

Nearest being 2 km away.


Time for a skipping walk then! After all, I’d be playing poker in no time. This would all be worth it. Hiking through the dark eerily empty Budapestian suburbs would ALL be worth it. Don’t look at those guys, they’re probably not dealing anything shady in that alleyway. That odd looking figure? It’s totally probably not Slenderman. Just keep a good pace.

Ahh Duna Plaza, finally. Just cross the road and you’re there. Wait.. how do I get in the casino when the mall is closed? Oh, must be through the parking hall. Just to the second floor and.. why is it so quiet?

Why is the casino hallway so dark?


So yeah. After personally finding out that the poker room is NOT open on a Saturday night, I took a cab back downtown and went to have a glass of wine and regroup. Real wine, mind. Not that spritzer shit. It was 2.30 in the morning. A vodka shot later I decided that this was enough adventure and made myself homeward.

Who the hell came up with the idea of closing a poker room on a Saturday night, seriously..

I happened to pass by the Szimpla Bar, this cool ruin pub that everyone keeps raving about. I figured I’d never been in there and I probably wasn’t going to return to Budapest any time soon. So I headed in!

The bar was quite cool, and would probably be a great place to hang around more often. I wandered through the grey mass of bar patrons and was ready to leave when, like a brilliantly shining light, this gorgeous brunette on the other side of the room grabbed my attention.

I felt my feet taking assertive steps that way. Here we go again..

She turned out to be a dancer from Miami. An incredibly smart and insightful dancer as well. I felt she had this relaxed grounded vibe. We had a cool conversation about pursuing our own dreams and living with our passions. What an enchanting girl.

Not single though. (WAAAAAGGHHH)

Nah, not really. I was leaving the next day, and I wouldn’t have wanted a one night stand with this person anyway. We exchanged facebooks, which I never do, and shot the shit for another 45 minutes before the first bus left. It remains to be seen if our paths ever cross again.

Awesome birthday. Awesome time in Budapest. Next stop: Barcelona.


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