Wednesday, July 30, 2014

It's Not All Bad

After re-reading a few of my posts i come to think that i have let you all know the bad points of my trips . Really i just wanna let you all know what i have done that you might not want to do if visiting the places i visited ... trial by error kinda thing so i can be your error :( you know what they say , shit happens but usually i step in it and that's how and why it happens so i can't blame anyone but myself for my mishaps . I still enjoy doing what i do when i travel and the stories get better as time goes by .... i almost laugh now when talking about the pick pocket thing . almost !

I am still happier then a pig in shit over the amazing chance to help out at the South African U20 Development Camp . That for me is tops , even though i did do a bit of bitching about the early starts in all reality that is what you have to do if you wanna do what you really wanna do ... sometimes we have to make sacrifices and waking up at 4 am to go skate with some of South Africa's finest young goalies and skaters and help out how i could was such a pleasure . I will continue following all of their success and hope to see them all represent their country in the future ! Meeting all the people i met there was all due to hockey as usual hockey brings people together :P

When i was in Barcelona what made me happiest was being with my old friends Rainer, Timo , Melanie and Dom . That is really the best reason for me to be in Spain . Going to Europe is always a reunion of sorts for me now and as you all know i go to Europe a lot . If it weren't for Rainer organizing these events i would never get to see and play as much as i do in Europe . Of course staying in the apartment i stayed in was kinda stressful BUT because of this crazy apartment i got to meet a bunch of cool new friends like Philipp and Mr. Love LOL ! just trying to let you all know that really this trip was insane with the most partying and i had a lot of fun in Barcelona meeting teams from other countries is always a huge + also ! Hope to see you guys in Cardiff soon enough .

Travelling with a bunch of Aston Villa supporters was madness times infinity ! I think i am still feeling those crazy jello shots hahaha. The best thing to come out of this trip was the donation we all made to Acorns Children's Hospice which is Aston Villa's choice charity . Thanks to Rick Leong and Kurt Maciej through t-shirt , hat and raffles they raised $4228 to donate on our behalf ... how amazing is that . And i am pretty sure that is in US dollars not Canadian as this all happened in Texas . Great job guys . What a treat it was hanging out with my friends from the Kidderminster Lions who were with me the day i lost Rainer ( look up that post LOL ) always great meeting up with them as it is one of the supporters clubs i am a member of . They take care of me whenever i am in UK ! Also it was awesome beyond belief being there to absorb all of this with my fellow Canadian Villans .... Bert,Philip,Richard,Peevs,Tim and Brian ( too bad you didn't get in on a picture with us ) anyways i gotta get back to work to pay for this all .

Everyone involved with the last few weeks i want to say thank you for the memories , at least the ones i remember right now LOL !

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

My Mistakes Over the Last Few Weeks

Boy did i ever blow the budget right off its hinges on my last few trips !!! First mistake and i am never doing this again is ... i didn't get phone packages for my stupid iPhone . Yeah i also fell for the mighty bs sales person when i was told the phone was unlocked . Unfortunately i found that out in Johannesburg the day i arrived in South Africa . Before that i spent about $100 in phone charges sitting around in Munich killing the 11 hours i had to wait for my next flight . Yeah i made mistakes there too :( While killing time the brilliant idea of exchanging money hit my wallet .... went to this scam artist bank called ReiseBank  hahaha they exchanged my money to Euros then to Rands and charge me for 2 transactions taking , when i realized they had taken roughly $180 i wanted to reverse the transfer only to find out that it says in German that i have only 15 minutes to reverse transactions ... thanks ReiseBank you f*$king bastards :P 

My next big mistake was when i was trying to book some tourist stuff to do at my hotel in Sandton, Johannesburg at the Balalaika . Going to concierge and trusting him was my mistake because i booked a trip to the Apartheid Museum that cost me 900 Rands which is like $100 , there was a driver to pick me up with a tour guide ....well a driver picked me up with a mini bus and i was the only person ? we get to the Apartheid Museum and i find out that its only 70 Rands entry fee ? when we get in the "guide" did absolutely nothing and in fact even fell asleep during the introduction movie ? so wtf did i pay for ? Obviously the red flag went up when i got into the empty bus but surely why wouldn't Hotel Balalaika know of this ???? i told the concierge the next day and he was surprised and i asked if they could get me some money back but here is the reality ... the racket is that they are probably in on it and making a few hundred Rands off this deal and they are probably not willing to give it back ... i will email them this blog and see what happens :) 

The biggest mistake of my trip happened in Barcelona,Spain ... oh boy i am still pissed off about this one . The night before the World Cup my German friends were tricked into booking a table at this overpriced restaurant that claimed to be the German bar to watch the game at and there would be tons of Germans with a huge screen . I knew it was a scam but went along with the group . We showed up and there were no other Germans and a small sized TV . Now if it weren't for us going there i would have never ended up in this area and that is really not what i blame ... my mistake was getting totally drunk and getting pick  pocketed by some prick in the morning when were about to leave . Those pics that went missing will haunt me for the rest of my life . I was warned to be safe in Barcelona as it is pick pocket heaven and i didn't listen and got obliterated .... my fault but i wish we never went to that stupid restaurant :( 
Going to Dallas as i thought we were going to Dallas we ended up in Frisco ... in the middle of absolutely nothing . This was one of my worst decisions for my Texas trip . Why did i book this hotel , well of course because everyone else did :) but who's idea was it for us to book this place ? There was no bar or restaurant in the Wingate by Wyndham Frisco and there was nothing aside from a gas station within walking distance as we were stuck next to a highway . WOW this sucked . Taxis from airport and to Dallas to do some actual sightseeing was murder ... that broke the bank on our first day ! Dallas itself is no gem of a town , its a ghost town as you can see the picture of the American Airlines Arena which is downtown ... do you see anyone walking around ? 

Overall the mistakes make for interesting stories that i can laugh about after i finish paying my phone and credit card bills and yes of course i am in the mood to write about this all just after coming back from the bank to pay these bills and no i am not finished paying :( I hope you all can learn something from my mistakes and i hope it makes all of your trips better . My liver needs a rest so i am not sure when my next trip is but i would say it won't be long :) 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Aston Villa vs. Houston Dynamo

What an awful killer headache those damn jello shots gave me !!! Woke up feeling like i was hit by a train . Went downstairs to find Peever ordering a beer , so i sat down had some breakfast and pecked away in my hungover state . This was game day and i was not game for beers , uh-uh not today . We were all down in the hotel restaurant and as usual Club Quarters is a decent place to stay , i stayed in a Club Quarters in Chicago and that was cool too . After pecking away i headed back up to my room to send some messages for work and lay down for awhile .... so glad i didn't get the " we see you sneaking out song " because basically i did :P

When i felt well enough i got in touch with my travel buddy Bert and we meet in the lobby , we met up with fellow Villan Lee Jackson who is a California Villan that actually played in our Supporters club game vs. Houston's supporters ... unfortunately our lads lost but i think everyone won in the end as the Houston Dynamo gave our players free tshirts and had a bunch of beers for them , that is pretty classy and i know that Lee said he enjoyed the cold beers in the hot Houston heat :)  of course we are talking about this as we are on our way to Lucky's Pub which is where we are planning to have our raffles and generally pre game piss up . This place was huge and spitting distance from the BBVA stadium . I ordered myself some chicken wings and ...... a cola , yup i ordered a cola i was feeling like a train wreck still and my throat was done by all the singing the night before at The Flying Saucer . Bert ordered me a beer and i swallowed half of it but couldn't swallow it ,sorry Bert i hate passing on beers :( . The raffle was organized by Rick Leong who is another California Villan , great job Rick ! For those wondering all proceeds go to this wonderful charity that Aston Villa and its fans supports called Acorns Children's Hospice check them out .

We then began on our way to the stadium to hang our flags and take over whatever seats we want because we are Villa and we do what we want HAHAHA ! just joking but really its a free for all over where to stand , we only sit during half time . So on the way in Peever remembers that Rick has his ticket or at least think he has his ticket as he booked them for us months ago and sent us the email to print tickets out .... Peevs didn't read the email i guess LOL ! So Bert and myself went in to find Rick and when we found him he said he didn't have his ticket printed out ... obviously right :P So he found the ticket for him online and went down to find him to scan it but Peevs impatiently bought a ticket and stormed the grounds . Oh well at least we are all at the grounds together now :) 

The game starts and so does the singing and the beers started to flow . Bert grab us a round , yeah i had to have a beer and of course he grabs this giant monster can for us to guzzle , in this heat you have to drink fast before it turns to warm piss and trust me you have to basically chug ! We saw a beer vendor and sang him a few songs to entice him to come up and he reluctantly did , it was a far walk as we were in the last rows up in the nose bleeds . He ran out of beer quick and i needed to repay the round to Bert along with refilling myself as the first one was pretty good so being the impatient guy i am i went down at around the 35th minute and headed back as fast as i could only to find the beer guy heading up the stairs and as i walked up the first set of stairs i just barely missed watching Joe Bennett scoring his 40th minute goal , and eventually the only goal of the game . Yeah shitty and by the time i got up the long walk up those stairs i had just missed the celebrating :( We sang our hearts out for the whole game anyway . Villa played a great game and even won a cup The BBVA Compass Charities Cup . YAY ! The only thing i really wondered about at the end of the match was why were The Villa players walking away without coming over to our end to give us a clap ?????? They did the same thing in Dallas and some of the supporters were upset there .... I would like to think its because they are exhausted from the heat .... but really why ?

After the game we were leaving the stadium and encountered some knob with a Chelsea flag that was taunting us and really deserved a good kicking . I am not sure why anyone would bring or wear another teams jersey that is not even playing at the match let alone a bloody flag ?!?!?!?! You honestly deserved everything everyone called you LOL ! What fun it is yelling chants at a cornered little rat :P I know its mean but its the way it is and if you don't like it then don't bring a stupid flag supporting another team that is not even there ... nobody there cares about who you support if they are not there playing .

When we got back to Lucky's i turned back to cola , yeah the beer didn't taste great again . Still hungover . Its crazy how many Texans we met the first night that we invited to come watch the game with us and actually showed up ! The people we met were all great and amazed at our supporters and how fun we are . Even our waitress Jenny showed up from the night before . Yeah from the bar we got cut off at LOL ! The Flying Saucer and she brought her friend Jessi with her too and they were good fun getting in on our chants as we chanted Jenny is our leader !!!! It was entertaining seeing our new found Villa fans get in on the fun . The whole time i was looking for a Villa/Dynamo scarf that most clubs sell to commemorate the game and i searched high and low then saw this nice young couple sitting quietly at the bar and i approached them like a shark HAHAHA . I kindly told them that i was desperate to buy a scarf and they obliged to give me one as they wouldn't sell it to me but were happy to give it to me :) That is how nice people are around these parts but i wasn't having it that way , i bought them a couple drinks and that made them happy too . I told you i would mention this Ty Ronan ! Thanks again .

Over the evening i kept meeting and getting to know more people and one guy i met and had some great conversations with was Mark Forrester who is a Brit expat living in Dubai that came all this way to watch Villa ! How amazing is that in itself ? He was the Dubai Villan and it was great meeting him as now i will have someone to watch a game with if i ever go back to Dubai ... which i have been contemplating for some time as it is 10 years since i have last been there and i assume it has change ALOT . Great meeting you Mark ! Well every good night has to come to an end and when Bert turned to me and said lets go i did not hesitate as we found others wanting to leave too and didn't want to be alone as we had a feeling it was a bad part of town . There was a woman we met in Dallas at the airport that said where we are staying is nice but if you walk a block the wrong way we will end up in some rough neighbourhoods . We got an Uber cab to the hotel and once again you gotta check this site out and download the app and try it ! Follow this link and get a free credit :)

Well that was quite a long day . Got to my room around midnight or so and the next day i had to head back to Toronto , with an ice hockey game to play on arrival i must get some rest .

Saturday, July 26, 2014

I need a timeout

Woke up in Frisco yesterday packed my bags , took a shower and messaged Bert  "should we finish those beers ?" .... Yup ! Ok so I head over to his room chug my last/first beer and head to lobby to check in online and get our Uber cab ... Uber is awesome ! Driver gets us and we go to airport , actually we almost went to the wrong airport :) it's all good ! 

When we arrive I see online that one if our Cansdians is having trouble getting a beer in Toronto at Pearson Airport , stupid liquor laws ! So when we arrive at Love Field we go to the gate , and our printed boarding passes won't scan so we go to the counter and ask for our tickets . We were both in shock as to how friendly security is here . Everyone was super duper friendly ! We got our tickets and headed to gate . First thing we did ? Get a beer ! Take pics and post it for our friend in Toronto lol. ... Good thing Peever has a beer by this time ;) 

The flight was pretty good . We arrived early and got our Uber cab and headed to Club Quarters . And yes we are staying next to a few bars , restaurants in walking distance.... This is definitely not Frisco ... Thank God ! Obviously I am starved as all I ate was leftover Chinese food for breakfast so we met up with Simon Tissington , Craig Allsop and Chris Fetters and headed for lunch ;) we went to a restaurant called Guadalajara for some Mecican food . 

Of course I had a margarita , Craig ordered this concoction which is a margarita with beer so I had to get one for the next round ! It was yummy ;) I had beef fajitas and it was also really good . From the looks of it all the food we ordered was great. . I would highly suggest this place to go eat ! After our meal we headed to the hotel to meet Peever and Phillip and everyone else seemed to pop up and a party ensued ! Had a few wobbly pops at the hotel then we headed to this bar called the Flying Saucer and things got crazy . We drank like bastards sang our lungs out and then got cut off around 10 pm LoL ! Gotta hand it to our waitress though she was cool and handled us quite well ;) 

Obviously we were not done drinking so we crossed the road and went to this dive bar called Sonnys and continued getting pissed on Jell-O shots and beers ... 2 am rolled on and I headed to my room ... Passed out ! 

Oh boy do I feel like shit today ! As the title says ... I need a timeout . Only problem is that the game is tonight : ) you know what that means ? When I get home I won't touch or look at alcohol for a while ... Or that's what I say now ! 

Friday, July 25, 2014


Not the hangover I thought it would be but regardless I woke up a bit wobbly and decided to stay in bed until 10 am . Everyone else was either going home or heading to Houston . Only Bert and myself stayed the extra day and I kinda wish we left .... Why ? Because Frisco is a shit hole and there is nothing to do at hotel or anywhere in walking distance  ! 

We decided to go into Dallas and we used our Uber App to get us there . Great service you should all try !!! If you sign up use promo code adrianm93 and you will get $20 off your first ride ;) you won't be disappointed ... Trust me . It's been a trip where driving around in a cab is the main transportation as Frisco has no transit and regardless there is nothing to do now so we took our Uber ride to Dallas . First stop was Sonny Brian's Smokehouse ... YUM !!!

We were right beside the JFK memorial so we walked over in the sweltering heat ... Yeah it's hot as piss here . After checking out the memorial we went over to where JFK was shot :( it was kinda eery being there knowing this unfortunate historic moment occurred there . Picture above is the grassy knoll . The pic earlier is the book depository where it is claimed that JFK was shot from the 6th floor ... The window is the one on the far right of building and the building is a museum now ... We didn't go in as Bert has been there before and said it's not exactly worth it ... So we decided to go to the aquarium ;) 

I love aquariums ! You get to see cool animals you never get to see ;) above is a sloth which we got right up beside . It looked like a nappy rug hanging from a tree LOL. !  That was the highlight for me ... We wandered around there for a couple hours but time seemed to slow down once we left .

Dallas is a city of 1.2 million and you would expect to see a lot of people walking around right ? Nope ! After we left aquarium we walked to the American Airlines Arena and it was a friggin ghost town !!!! It was the most unbelievable thing I still can't believe we walked about 15 minutes and did not pass a single human .... We were joking that this is the perfect city to film a post apocalyptic movie because you don't have to block streets off or anything ! Now you gotta understand it's hot out so apparently people don't leave their houses or work places and everyone drives but really it still shouldn't be this dead ??? 

When we got to the arena we tried getting in but the place was locked up so we walked around looking for an open entrance to no avail :( there was a gift shop open so we went in for some a/c and stood there for a bit talking to the lady in the shop , apparently we were only people to visit the store and this was around 2 in afternoon . We left and ended up in a pizzeria to have drinks as we were getting dehydrated fast . Wish I knew name as the place was great . 

We had to decide ... Do we hang around Dallas and wait to have dinner or do we go back to the shit hole called Frisco . We really didn't want to go to Frisco but Dallas has nothing more to offer either and is probably the lamest "major" city I have ever been to !!!!! So we used our Uber App got a driver and headed to the gas station to get beer ... Yeah the gas station across road from hotel . Around. 7 or 8 pm we were hungry and decided to order food .... Well , the first place we called doesn't deliver after 6 pm ?!?!? Really ? Wtf ! Next place we chose closes soon so they won't deliver . Then we considered taking Uber to go eat but spending extra $80 to go eat was out of the question ... Actually spending anything on a taxi to go anywhere was out of question . Finally we ordered Chinese food and watched Karate Kid LOL.... Not exactly ideal but we made the most of it . It was nice catching up with Bert and we were both a bit bitchy but what can you do ! Well I guess call it a night and wait until Houston ;) 

Let's just say Dallas gets 2 thumbs down ! It's boring and hot with an apocalyptic downtown it's possibly the lamest city I have ever been to . Don't bother coming here trust me . Frisco is even worse and I am counting the minutes until I leave here . It's apparently the fastest growing city in America but I honestly don't know where this growth is ???? Still wondering whose idea it was to stay here LOL . Anyways I should pack and finish my leftover Chinese food .... Heading to Houston in 4 hours . 

This is what I am leaving ....

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Aston Villa vs. FC Dallas

Yesterday started early as I had to wake up at 530 am to get ready to go meet Bert at the airport . Bert is a Villa mate of mine  , we planned out our trip to travel together to make things better . Great guy but it's been awhile since we have met up . So when we finally bumped into each other at US Customs the excitement for this trip kicked into high gear . First thing I did after clearing security was to grab a Tim Hortons coffee because I doubt I will drink coffee stateside as I am not a fan of Dunkin Donuts ... Yuck ! 

We met up with Chris Fetters at the airport in Dallas as he flew in from Seattle and we booked a car together . This is the problem here .... We are staying in Frisco which is literally the middle of nowhere but that's where all the party animals are staying :) the ride from airport to hotel was $90 ... When we arrived at the hotel we found out there was no bar ??? Wtf ! Who chose this place LOL ! Only remedy is to go to a bar. :) 

Oh if you are wondering who is in pic with me above ? That is Villa legend Lee Hendrie ;) so back to the story ... We take a taxi to the Londoner which is a short walk to the pitch . When we arrived guys started hanging their flags and staff at bar took them down. :( apparently asking " would you do this at a Chili's ?" Ummm no you stupid twat ! We wouldn't have a Villa meet up at Chili's ! We prefer pubs ya dumbass .... Regardless before we stormed off things were settled and we hung our flags upstairs ;) 

When we got to Toyota Park we were all half in the bag :) or as we were singing ... On the piss my lord ! On the piss ! Hahaha !! Villa put on a good show on the pitch and we put on a good show in the stands as we sang , danced and drank the night away . Really we showed the fans here how they should support their club !  

After the game we headed back to the pub to celebrate Villa winning 2-0 and we were a bit tired and drunk so Bert and myself caught a taxi with some others and we headed to hotel .... As I said this hotel is in the worst possible location and we have to take taxi to get to hotel . There is no food here so we got dropped off at the gas station across the highway from here ... Yeah the gas station across highway is our only choice for food and drinks ... Pathetic ! Who chose this place anyways ? What were you thinking :( no bar , no food , nowhere close to anything , not in Dallas ! Really hoping Houston is not this badly organized ..... 

Good thing I have a microwave in my room ... Today I am scared to go to Dallaa as it will probably be about $150 to go and come back . Really do I stay at hotel all day or do I go see Dallas ? I mean I am not in Texas everyday so I should probably get ready ... Aside from the ridiculous amounts of money I am spending I am truly having a great time with my Villa family ... So great to see you all !

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tournaments in Africa

This is the elephant in the room . This is something that should happen ... this is what ice hockey on the continent of Africa desperately needs . Why isn't it happening ? Not sure .... what i do know is that this was a dream that only a player could obviously want to see happen . This was the proposed African Nations Cup of Ice Hockey which i heard of years back and was always waiting to see it happen ... obviously without an IIHF channel (which i spoke of months ago) there is probably little to no chance of me watching these games live . Actually if it were held in South Africa i probably would be able to find a feed to watch it online as they are pretty good at airing their national team games when games are held in South Africa . 

Now that i have been to South Africa and met national team member and i have been a guest in Morocco meeting national team members ... for me it would be pretty cool to see them play each other ! No offense to anyone but i think South Africa would be the dominant team but with a world ranking of 40th it would probably be an advantage for them to be playing more international games . It would be unbelievably amazing for Morocco , Egypt , Algeria , Tunisia , Kenya and any other nations i have missed out .... yeah Namibia will be there too as they have IIHF ties there . This would be amazing ! 

The other big thing i would love to see happening in Africa is some recreational tournaments for adults . Yes i would go for sure then :) the big thing would be getting Europeans over for a nice trip to play hockey and party a bit ... yeah just a bit LOL ! I know for a fact that if my friends in Morocco would hold an adult rec tournament in the summer that they would get teams for sure ... most cities in Europe close their rinks , your rink is open .... lets use it :) Its a 3 on 3 rink so teams would only need a goalie and 6 skaters to be able to have a good time . If good teams start showing up in Morocco it will help improve your overall play by playing better and different competition .  

I wanna do some more travelling through Africa and would love to have an excuse to visit South Africa and Morocco again . Please give me a reason to come back soon :P Travelling with teams playing tournaments meeting new friends , and helping make the game more global would be amazing wouldn't it ? I wanna see that African Cup of Nations Tournament happen and i really want to see some adult recreational tournaments starting .... it will generate money for your hockey programs if you advertise it properly . Look people need hotels , flights , food and some tourist things to do . With the proper connections you can make packages and get some sponsorship by pushing for people to use certain airlines or hotels . Its a win win ... in a perfect world obviously :( 

Just wanted to put this out there before i turn my attention back to packing my bags for Texas . I will try to write about my adventures there as most of you that read my blog have read about other Aston Villa relates adventures like when i lost Rainer :P HAHAHAHA !!!! yup that was an Aston Villa trip .... it is always an adventure when the Kidderminster Lions are involved . so stay tuned :) 

Monday, July 21, 2014

2 more days until Texas

Not really sure if my liver has recovered from Barcelona ?!?!?! There were 2 insane nights out of 5 that really make me wonder if i should be drinking .... really the hangovers at my age are lethal . I remember when i used to go hard back in the day and not feel a thing ... oh boy do i feel it now . Maybe i just have to drink more responsibly and stick to beer and mix in a couple pints of water here and there . Really i am just concerned that i am able to raise a glass everyday of this next trip because i am gonna be amongst some of the worlds finest drinkers that i know .... they are all Aston Villa supporters .

Yeah i know most of you are over the game of footie after bringing out your flags for a month and acted as though you really knew about the game :) i am a full time fan ... i am an Aston Villa supporter , to be more precise i am a Canadian Villan ! I meet up with a group of guys as much as i can to support this team that 1 of my cousins supports in Birmingham . I was there for 3 weeks in 2004 and was dragged into loving them by my cousin. I try to make my way to England at least once a year to watch a match or 2 and most of the supporters i know there belong to the Kidderminster Lions who are probably all in Dallas already partying it up . These lads know how to go :P

So this isn't going to be a hockey trip unless i go to visit the American Airline Center in Dallas which i might go just to see :) it is primarily a true holiday with me just hanging with some friends , drinking A LOT , and watching footie . No playing , no working , just partying for 5 days ... the day i land back in Toronto i have a playoff game to make so here's hoping i can strike a deal with one of the guys to bring equipment to rink as my flight lands later then i would like :(

2 more days until i take off for Texas .... with my fellow Villans this should be epic ! 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Thank You ... Gotta Say It !

You know i really can't do these trips without some help ... whether it is someone else doing some organizing or someone giving me a bed to sleep on or someone just getting me on the ice ... regardless from the bottom of my heart i would like to thank those that deserve it . For the last few months i have been bugging a former national team goalie in South Africa named Gary Bock ! Gary organized everything for me that had to do with hockey . I have to admit that even when i landed i had my doubts thinking i was wasting my time there with no scheduled ice times but then you took the initiative and took me to the rink and introduced me to everyone .... they were all amazed to know there was a goalie there willing to help the kids ! I was more then happy to earn my 24th flag on my bag by offering my services for free :) Gary picked me up and took me around and showed me how to have a good time the South African way ...eating biltong,drinking brandy , etc ... :)

If it wasn't for Gary i would have never had the chance to meet Andre Marais and Marc Giot who are both coaches in the SAIHA ( South African Ice Hockey Association ) and if it wasn't for them i would have never had the opportunity to help at the U20 development camp . I really would love to thank the coaching staff for allowing me the chance to help their goalies . I never promised to make their goalies all stars i just offered to help them with some simple stuff and i honestly believe i helped all 6 goalies with their confidence and their positioning ... all of you are great goalies and really didn't need too much help and i am hoping to follow all of your careers because i have no doubt you will all get your chance to represent your country if you all stick to the program ! The SAIHA treated me amazingly and the parents of the kids are all very special people too as i noticed your hockey community down there is very tight knit . All the kids there are lucky to have
parents like this with passion to see you all excel . It was well worth waking up at disgusting hours to come out to see the parents waiting with a coffee for me or some water or just the big smiles as they were all happy to see someone travelling there to help their kids ... this is something i really really appreciated and i knew there was a special group when i came to watch the last game in the U20 tournament . It felt like home and you all helped make it feel that way . Showing up at the rink early , hanging with the coaches and genuinely having fun like a kid again . My time with you all was very special and i really want to thank the SAIHA , the coaches , the parents and especially the kids ! Thank you :)

Before i stop talking about South Africa and move onto the Spanish part of my trip i would like to thanks Ashley Bock for giving me his South African National jersey ! It was the one thing i really wanted and i got it thanks to you ... send me a message Ashley so we can organize something to send you , yes i remember you want a Red Wings jersey or anything Red Wings .... i will get that to you mate ! Also would love to thank your family for taking me in for a few days at the end of my stay . I know it is tough taking in a stranger especially when everyone is sick and feeling under the weather ... i still think your mom should go try out for Master Chef as she is a great cook and should follow her passion !!!! Just as we all have :) Also want to thank Dave & Carole in Durban for letting us stay there . They also took great care of us and i honestly wish i had more time to spend with them as they were a very interesting outgoing couple that made my stay more then comfortable with their beautiful house on the coast .... still can`t believe that place is not worth more then $1 million .... real estate their is unreal , especially compared to our prices in Toronto . Dave & Carole are Gary`s second cousins ( i think) but Gary refers to them as his Uncle & Aunt out of respect and i see why as they are very respectable and totally cool LOL ! Thanks to all of Gary`s family and friends ... especially the Springs Rugby Klub . You guys are freaks LOL , loved you all ! It was the most memorable night during my stay in SA . I hope you guys won the title yesterday .....

Off to Spain ... Really there is one guy to thank here ... you all know him if you have ever read my blog before .... Rainer Schmid . Yup the same guy i lost in England . Buddy thank you for organizing another crazy trip .  We lost you the first night and that was it . Rainer organized airport pickup , apartment for all 13 of us to stay in and our bus to and from Camp Nou . Yes Camp Nou where FC Barcelona plays , the rink is on their grounds . I know i was bitching a bit and i am honestly sorry because in the end i know you did your best to keep us all happy . As usual we all survived and that is all that matters .... aside from 3 of us getting robbed it was totally worth coming out to spend time with some of my favorite people on the planet . Timo , Melanie and Dom it was great seeing you all . As i said i know i was a bit of a bitch and i shouldn't be but this travelling so much and so many crazy layovers kinda drove me nuts . I probably wouldn`t want to share an apartment with 13 people again but this is something i wouldn`t know without trying it . 

Next week i head off to Texas , nothing hockey related aside possibility of going to see the rink there . I am not bringing my gear , this is truly a vacation for me LOL ! Carrying , dragging and lifting that bag all around the world is tough but i highly suggest it to all of you to try . Its not for everyone but in the end there are always new friends and great people to meet that play the same game we all love . Just remember when you do what i do that you should always say thank you ! those words go a long way ..... 

The Barcelona Tournament was amazing , it is organized the way my tournament used to be with teams leaving equipment at arena . Free beer ! Great people and so many travellers from so many countries . The competition was great and the atmosphere being on Camp Nou is like a dream . I would HIGHLY suggest every travelling hockey player go to play in this tournament !!!!!! Just be careful as the pickpockets are a reality , trust me they are there and they are willing to rob everyone :( so the last thank you is to that scum bag bastard that stole my camera :P you may have stolen my images but you can never steal my memories ... those are more special than anything and i have so many fond ones from this last trip . 

When i get back from Texas i will start working and saving up for my next major trip .... does anyone have any guesses as to what`s next . :P

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Photo Less

What can i say ... usually at this point i have already posted a ton of pics to Facebook and would already have begun writing about stuff with more pictures . Unfortunately i can't do that this time :( someone stole my camera with all my pics . I have a few on my iPhone but nothing to really go crazy over . Over the last couple days i have been going over the cool pics i lost like the pics with the Springs Rugby Klub when i went to Orkney with them to watch them triumph over their opponent ! Today they have a big game which i hope to hear some positive results about . I hope they all do well even the big guy that stuck his tongue in my mouth LOL ... yup i had pictures of that too :(

I am missing photos with Gary at Pilanesberg and in Durban and pictures with his brother Ashley giving me his national team jersey . Gary already asked if i had the pictures of the Leopards we saw at the safari ... yeah they are gone too mate ! I do feel a bit violated as i have never been robbed or had anything of this sort happen to me on a trip . I am still a bit angry at the whole Barcelona scumbag scene which totally ruins my experience there and that still doesn't take anything from the city which i think is amazing but really why doesn't the gov't do something about making sure these guys don't roam around preying on people that are trying to have fun ? i bet if they cut their hands off they won't do it or want to do it , but in our society these days the criminals have more rights then the victims .... you can't cut his hands off its inhumane ! but really was it humane of this roach to steal my camera ? for the 20 euros you might get for it i would think it is worth cutting his hands off and protecting the tourism industry there .... funny thing is that i heard more warnings about Johannesburg being dangerous and to be careful , not to say that nobody told me about the pick pockets in Barcelona and not to say i didn't know there was a scummy part of Barcelona which we stayed in .... i highly recommend to any visitors to steer clear of Las Ramblas .... tourist trap central filled with weasels and roaches all preying on you the tourist !

In 4 days i take off for Texas to watch my beloved Aston Villa play 2 friendlies and i won't be taking a camera for this trip . I am going to make the best of my iPhone camera and see what happens until my next big trip where i plan to purchase a go pro to use . If a pick pocket wants to steal that i would understand but my 2 year old cheap camera ??? hopefully the roach will enjoy my pics as i won't get to .... this is life :(

Anyways i should get my stuff together as i have to make my way to Kitchener today to spend the day with my gf's family .... should be fun ... yay .... 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Spanish Scum

I am still waiting in the airport in Barcelona ... And I am still quite hungover from Sunday night/Monday morning . After the tourney we made our way back to our apartment where we continued drinking and got ready to go out to watch the World Cup Final which was between Argentina ( a country I will never visit again)  and Germany ( one of my fav places ) I am also here with 6 Germans and 6 Austians and they didn't want to spend time with the Germans which I still don't get but whatever ?!?!? I knew this was a team that would not workout when I saw this attitude between the 2 groups making up this team . The only time everyone was together was on ice and sometimes at the beach :( yeah it's kinda sad but it is what it is right.  

As I mentioned there are tons of scum bags roaming these streets and when you arrive you will know you are the prey . No joke ! I mentioned a couple days ago that we were conned into reserving a table at a German bar LOL .... There was 2 or 3 other Germans there that weren't even German ! I knew it but I am stuck at the mercy of others wishing I had my own hotel room going and doing whatever the person with the keys wants or what the majority are doing . Don't get me wrong I had fun ordering oysters and eating whatever I could get my hands on while drinking copious amounts if white wine . Yes beer first then wine .... 

GERMANY won a stunner and shit just got crazier as champagne showed up we guzzled our drinks and went to a dance club called Jagerbomb ! Only fitting place to go and on way we had a few jagermeisters and the drinks switched to vodka/red bull and boy oh boy I was mangled drunk as hell dancing into the morning hours we ended up bumping into the swedes and continued partying .

As I mentioned these fucking cockroaches come out of the cracks here to sell beer or anything they can talk you into buying . Friggin leeches !!!! So yeah we bought a bunch of beers . I also was buying mojitos on the beach my first day .... Not knowing it was illegal apparently Philip found that out for us . Anyways these guys are everywhere Nd probably work for the convenience stores where the beers from . The city should do something about it as it's really a black eye on this other wise beautiful city . 

Here is the kicker . I never wanted to be in this area to begin with but had a great time until we were walking away ... Some young guy shuffled across me and picked my pocket stealing my older camera with all my cards and every photo I have taken on this trip :( yup whoever you are I hope you rot in hell you son of a bitch bastard !!!!!!!!!! I have never had this lovely experience of feeling violated and I knew it happened within seconds of it happenning , the kid was long gone by the time I realized it  . Yes I know I shouldn't be so drunk in cities like this but what's the use of coming if you can't have fun ? Ask yourself that before saying it to me ok ;) 

Finally I got in a cab with Rainer and I had no cash when we pulled up he said he would run to bank machine and instead he left me in cab and went home ???? Thanks buddy I had to pay the bastard cab 15 euros which obviously I got ripped off again . It's starting to feel like a city where I can't trust anyone and that is not a good thing . When I got to apartment I gave him shit and went to sleep .... This was around 730 am yesterday . 

It's really bullshit that this fucker stole my camera not for the camera but the memory cards . I had an 8 gig , 4 gig and 1 gig card and they were not cheap . Most of all the pictures and videos from South Africa are all gone . Hope he enjoys them at the least someone should . If I had the chance to stab this guy in the face I would and he's lucky he got away . Someday I pray someone catches you and cuts your face up as you deserve it . I was not the only target ... Melanie had her wallet stolen and it was emptied and left for us , 150 euros stolen ! Rebecca had her phone stolen , she was most upset an they went back there later on to search for missing items but we all knew it was not going to produce good results unfortunately . It's a shame that this trips ending like this but I will always have the memories ( hopefully lol ) . The Germans have probably landed in Munich and I have another 3 hours to kill here as I sit paranoid of my belongings :( 

Yesterday was a world class hangover which I only left apartment to eat and return to my bed only to have the spins and feel like garbage . I slept long enough but still feel the effects of yesterday mornings party .... I had to leave apartment early with rest of team so Rainer could get his deposit even though my flight is 5 hours after theirs . The bus we booked and paid for never showed up and we scrambled to get cabs as all the filthy street scum were out this morning . I can say this now ... I will never stay in an apartment with full team again with no key and having to be here at airport alone waiting ... It's bullshit ! I wasted so much money for this garbage and I am kinda pissed off .... Hopefully time will start moving quicker 

Day 2 of tourney

Wr had to get up earlier on this day which is 2 days ago . I have time to catch up as I am stuck in airport waiting 5 hours for flight but that's another story .... As I said we had to meet our team bus at 730 and what are the chances it's on time lol. Seriously the education system must be fantastic here hahaha if you put circle in circle slot you graduate with honours :) 

2 guaranteed games with first game vs undefeated Ice City from Minsk , Belarus they had beaten their opponents all by at last 3 or 4 goals . The team battling us for 3rd in our group plays them immediately after we do so whoever keeps it close gets to play 2nd place team in crossover quarter final game . His should be a huge challenge and we did quite well jumping out to a lead . I really played amazing helping us slow the game down by constantly freezing the puck and yelling at players to just dump it out . Running time and no icings in this tourney .... Smart play is make them skate . After 18 minutes we were up 3-1 with about 10 min left we buckled :( the plan went to shit and we didn't play smart with the back breaker coming when out weakest skater jumped on ice for final minute .... Don't ask as I am still pissed ! When you are a weak skater and I mean by miles and miles the best thing you can do for your team is to sit the last couple minutes if you don't understand this then you are selfish and should stick to playing outdoors . There is nothing more I dislike then hearing a weak player complain about ice time they paid for ?!?!? Well everyone else paid too and we want to at least try to win so shut up and sit down ! Feel free to argue with me over this if you want but I think we have all been there unfortunately :( so yeah we lost 4-3 to a team we should have lost to but we had it and that's what hurts the most . 

I flamed up a bit and did some yelling but it should be known that I am a goalie and playing the way I played we should have won . We were easily outshot by 35-40 shots no joke ! There was 4 hours until quarter final vs Pokjes Pokkar from Sweden ( not sure about spelling lol ) they ended up in second place and the Belarussians remained undefeated after pasting Team Euro 8-2 . In all reality I am proud the way we played and was hoping for another miracle performance in our next match .

That was not going to happen though as we started off rough with really bad positioning a guy in front all alone had days to tip in puck with no cover and the next goal was scored by the same defenseman and from there on it just got worse . The swedes were good but they are nothing compared to Ice City who they played next and got pasted by them ! So we went out losing 5-2 we had a 1-3-1 record and ended up in 6th out of 10 which is not bad when you consider the obvious weak spot . We hung around the rink and drank a ton of beers all for free ! Great atmosphere got to make some connections for future trips :) Cardiff Titans I hope to see you guys in January !   So many good people I would highly recommend this tourney to you all. . 

We watched Belarus dispose of the French in the finals which I am almost sure the whole rink wanted to see ;) they actually came closer to beating them then we did only losing 2-1 but if you think about it we were the only club to have a lead against them and yeah I wish we beat them or even tied . That loss will taste sour for a while :( 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Day 1 of Tourney

I took good care of myself to assure I would be ok to play went to bed at a decent hour and everything but had to wake up early .... Really beginning to despise these early ice times but what can you do . Our first game was against the Cardiff Titans who were no pushovers  we jumped to a 2-0 lead but that quickly dissolved as we really were not a defensive team . 

I didn't play my best game but I did what I could . The third goal that squeezed past me was a shitter from a sharp angle low and it really killed us :( I could feel the air getting sucked out of my team .... We went on to lose 5-2 

Next game was against a mixed team called Team Euro . They jumped on us early and got the lead . There were some crafty skaters with them . One had a nice breakaway goal that left me with my pants off but somehow we got ourselves into the lead ! As I said we are not very defensive and we were missing one of our skaters still . We ended up tying 5-5 . I have to mention there are free beers at the tournament and the atmosphere is amazing :) 

There are some strange rules like each team needs a ref and there is no icing and apparently no penalties too lol ! I forgot to mention that our bus was 15 min late before our consecutive games ... Love the schedule :) next game is in a few hours against local club Ice Barna and we are the legendary grounds of Camp Nou :) unbelievable but not enough to pay the arm and leg to see empty pitch :) 

This should have been a shutout but one of the crazy Austrians on my team decided to score on me ! Really Philip what were you thinking buddy ? It's funny now but I wasn't laughing when it happened . This game decided if we were going to end up in last in our group and we weren't :) we went on to win 3-1 and have our last round robin game tomorrow vs undefeated Ice City from Minsk, Belarus ... Tonight is players party with dinner !

We went to relax for a bit at our apartment and then headed to beach with our retarded taxi driver that couldn't follow the simple request of following the cab in front of us . The service undustry here is full of retards plain and simple :) 

The dinner was supposed to start at 830 and we arrived at 9 with another club . The Perkele Pelicans from obviously Finland . We were first ones there ? We sat back and began to eat after calling organizer to confirm location ?!?!? Like buddy where are you ! The food was absolutely shit and nobody spoke any English . I was bored out of my mind and wanted to leave but didn't have a key so it was pointless to get angry because I just wanted to go home , drop a deuce and crash . I won't do this again . Not having privacy and not having a key to my own place is just wrong and shit . Regardless when we left we fell into a tourist trap with some guy on a bridge , wasted 45 minutes these then finally got home and crashed hard . Tomorrow I have to wake up earlier :(