Wednesday, February 25

Douglas Adams was really on to something

Apparently, I Have Eyes

Originally uploaded by Ptraci
This was the beginnings of today's impromtu Carnivale costume. Many more hilarious photos on flickr :)

Saturday, February 21

the theremin is still the coolest instrument I know

Although it's pretty much a tie with the sousaphone, I think.

See! It can do lyrical melody AND weird 50s sci-fi sound effects!

In other musical news, I joined Le Zbor (which translates, using two languages as 'The Choir'). I've been to two rehearsals. I have a whole lot of croatian lyrics to learn. But it's nice to be singing again.

Friday, February 20

Hitchhiking tips

I having trouble embedding this video, for some strange reason, so here's the link instead.

And yes, it's in Dutch, but it's very closely related to english, so listen hard, and you'll understand enough to get the point.

Now I'm off to buy myself a Heidi outfit. Or maybe an aquarium...

(OK, so I thought it was Danish, but that's because the person who originally pointed it out to me was danish, I believe, and i just never listened hard enough to spot the difference...)

Friday, February 13

That trip I did in January, remember?

I just realised that I can make maps with google and embed them here. I mean, I knew I could embed maps, but hadn't thought of doing it here.
So I made this one of the trip I did in the first 2 weeks of January this year, which is a good excuse to blog something about it. The beginning was by bus, as I was travelling with my friend Anne, and she had a time limit, but from Herceg Novi up the coast, to Zagreb and back to Sarajevo was all done by hitchhiking.

View Larger Map

Trip highlights include:

The bus ride through the icy mountains to Podgorica. At one point I looked down from the bus window and saw nothing but the river a looooong way below... Also, the bus went 7 hours without a single toilet break (and no toilet on-board either). In fact the two girls who did attempt a toilet break at one of the places we stopped to load more passengers ended up being left behind (but were delivered back to us 15 minutes down the road)

The sheer amazingness of the Dalmatian coast and the walls of Dubrovnik:

Getting a new sweater & 3 pairs of socks from a guy who picked me up while hitching:

The weather, particularly in Split:

The Sea Organ of Zadar (and yes, I know this should be a video so you can hear it, but I haven't uploaded one yet!)

Unfortunately, by the time I got to Zadar, I was pretty sick of travelling alone and staying in hostels, as the couchsurfing thing really did not work - I didn't even manage to meet anyone. So I had way too much time on my own, and too much time to think, and ended up all melancholy.

But then I arrived in Zagreb, and spent 4 days hanging out with great friends who cheered me up and convinced me that I really should be living in Zagreb, and not Sarajevo.

So now I am!

Thursday, February 12

Faster than a speeding bus.

Today I think I set a new record. I hitched from Sarajevo to Zagreb in precisely 8 hours and 10 minutes door to door. AND I went the scenic route, through Banja Luka. The bus is, I believe, 8 hours, but then you need time to get from bus stations to homes etc. Tonight I got dropped almost at my door.
Also, in the last 3 days (I hitched from Zagreb to Banja Luka on Monday, BL to Sarajevo on Tuesday, and back to Zagreb today, Wednesday - a flying visit to collect the last of my stuff from SJ) I travelled with a total of 9 people - all male, all driving alone, all but two appeared to be working. And I didn't get harassed once. In fact, all the people I travelled with were nice comfortable people with whom I felt quite safe. "Talkative man" (one of the two non-workers, and the other was an off-duty policeman) was the only one who raised my stress levels, and that was only because he didn't seem to understand the concept of 'I only speak a LITTLE serbo-bosno-croat', even when I said it in s-b-c. And several times. He seemed to think that just meant he should talk louder (but not slower, which might have helped!) He attempted to discuss a wide range of topics with me, most of which I didn't get, although I'm sure one of the things he told me was that all croats were 'not-good people' and that I was ok hitching in Bosnia, but I should never do so in Croatia. He also attempted to ask my opinion on the world financial crisis (I think). I most intelligently managed to say 'nije dobra' (not-good) and then made much use of 'I'm sorry, I don't understand'.
Everyone else I travelled with, pretty much, was happy talking our own s-b-c/english pidgin (which usually became more and more english during the trip as they realised they could understand me and I could understand them and they gained confidence in their english abilities). And the Konzum truck driver threw in random Italian and a bit of German as well, just to keep things interesting. I do like those conversations. (And then that night in Sarajevo I got to talk German and French, bringing my total languages for the day to 5. This is why I live in Europe.)

Here's my rides list for the trip:

White Van to Toll booths
Truck to Gradiska border.
Off-Duty policeman to Topola
Car to Banja Luka

Medium-sized truck to Donji Vakuj
Konzum truck to almost-Sarajevo
Van to Tramway

Red Van to Banja Luka
Talkative man to Topola
New white people-mover to my door.

(And yes, I know I've had a bit of a winter hiatus. And I might write and fill you all in on what I've been doing in the last month or two, or I might not. You'll just have to deal with it. Suffice it to say that I live in Zagreb now, and my social life and mental health are much better because of it).

Saturday, February 7

You silly English Knnnnnnnniggit....

Originally uploaded by Ptraci

Mad Melodeon Musicians of Montreal

Originally uploaded by Ptraci
This was my going away party.

I miss Montreal.

Tulips on Mont-Royal

One of my favourite photos. I've probably posted it before, but it warrants a second viewing. It was also one of the first pics I even took on my N95, and convinced me that it was more or less as good as my Olympus, except for the lack of optical zoom.

Subcollisions @ Sala Rosa

Originally uploaded by Ptraci

Friday, February 6


Originally uploaded by Ptraci

Something lost in the translation, perhaps?

Originally uploaded by Ptraci

Little Train on the Prairie

Little Train on the Prairie
Originally uploaded by Ptraci

Thursday, February 5

All dressed

Originally uploaded by Ptraci
I never understood the Canadian's love of 'all-dressed' chips. I mean, I'm not a great fan of naked chips either, but dressing them just seems silly.

Hospital Optimist

Originally uploaded by Ptraci
Ever since I saw this (Niagara, December 2007), I've wondered what a hospital-optimist was, and why the bus was one/was going to one.

Crossing Northern Ontario

Originally uploaded by Ptraci
November 2007. It was an interesting trip.

Sheep of Stylish

Originally uploaded by Ptraci
Engrish from NY (I took a lot of photos in NY)

Shop window, NY

Originally uploaded by Ptraci


Originally uploaded by Ptraci
If you must have a car in NY, I guess this is the one to have.

Superior School Bus

Originally uploaded by Ptraci
Or so it says...


Originally uploaded by Ptraci
I just wish this wasn't blurry. It works really well in thumbnail size, though.

New York

Originally uploaded by Ptraci


Originally uploaded by Ptraci
I found this display of toys disturbing (we're still at the fair).


Originally uploaded by Ptraci
I'm going through my flickr, deleting stuff, just because I realise that 3000 photos online is a bit ridiculous, and because there are lots that were probably interesting at the time as 'this is my life' photos, but now have no artisitc merit or interest to anyone.
But as I'm going through them, I've decided to post a few that catch my eye here. Just because I can.

Starting with this one (I'm working chronologically according to upload, and at the moment, we're at the Puyallup Fair in September 2007, where this poster made me do a double-take. Spam is *what*?