Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Day everything turned green! (or how to outdrink an Irishman)

So, back to the "Bucket List" I might add that I have never (ever) been drunk (shit-faced) in my life after 34 years. I have always been a Soda guy over Beer and I am totally ignorant when it comes to Wine or Hard Liquor, but.....St Patrick was around the corner and why not make this one of the things on my Bucket List. To go out and drink (or outdrink) an Irishman on St Patrick's.

I got the call the day before St Paddy's from my friend "J" just to confirm a promise I had made to him last year and I had forgotten all about it.
- So, what's up man? are you gonna back out on me?
- Errr, no...are you?
- No, I finish at 4, can you meet at 4?
- I finish at 5 but let me see what I can do....
- What? are you some kind of pussy? You'd boss won't let you?
- Errrrrr, I'll see you at 4!

You can't call chicken a man with a bucket list, hahaha, I gather some people and went to have 2 pitchers of "green beer" at a pub nearby and came back to finish my 3 hours in the afternoon, happier, with a big grin and more was on!

At 4 I left to meet my friend and brought my own backup from Venezuela (my friend "A")  and headed to King and Yonge, where we had a Hero Burger (now I know why the name, you become a fucking Hero after you eat one of those, nasty tasting burger, I'd never eat there again) and we headed to PJ O'Brians. Line up and we waited for almost 45 minutes and the line didn't move an inch. Plus other cute girls were skipping the line and meeting friends before us and making our chances to get in closer to none.

"Fuck this!" - J said, "Let's go closer to were I live, there's an Irish Bar there and no line-up"
Let's Do It!

And that's how we got to meet "Galway Arms Bar and Restaurant" the bar packed with at least 100 irish or irish descendent and 2 venezuelans..

We started with a round of Guinness (we were 5 now including J's wife and her cousin K) I must add this was my first Guinness Beer ever and after the first sip I doubt that I could have more than one. Very thick and strong. (remember I am the coke guy...right, so even coffee tastes strong to me)

We got onto the second round thanks to the girls, and by this time the bar was getting packed and the music was about to begin, 2 guys on acoustic guitars playing Irish tunes. Joke of the night: "So, is this your first Guinness ever?", No J, this is my second one! at least 3 people laugh...

The third round was on me, so I got to the bar and asked the bartender:
- "What's the name of that drink on the movies where you drop a shot in the beer and drink it fast?"
- "The Irish-Car-Bomb"
- "The what?"
- "The Irish-Car-Bomb!"
- "What's in it?"
- "Guinness+Bailey's+Irish Scotch"
- "Perfect! Gimme 5 of those puppies"

Came back and I must proudly say not even my irish friend knew what the fuck that was, so I didn't feel as much as a "drunk virgin" anymore. We did them (except for the girls, you know how the say women are smarter than men...there you go)

I swear the moment I finished drinking it I felt like I have woken up. If the 4 previous beers I have had got me tipsy this one was the cure, killed the effect and got me sober, I even told "A"

- Dude! I am perfect, nothing happened
- Yeah, give it 5 minutes....

Done! 5 minutes after everything went in slow motion and my smile was bigger than the cheshire cat.

After that 2 more rounds of Guinness and I was dancing and hitting on "K" cousin and toasting my glass with every single girl it passed by, I even was practicing my "Irish" accent and passed by "J" older brother that just came from Ireland last year's, ohhh mannnn. Good thing we were in Canada and not Ireland

- "We're in Ireland are you from lad?"
- "Caracas"
- "Fuckin' Eejit"
(and that's how the fight would have

11:55pm and like Cinderella I needed to split before I turned from Irish back to Venezuelan. I checked the bus times and got the last round of Irish-Car-Bombs (3 this time) got them really quick and grabbed my stuff and left for the bus stop.

I slept every single inch of the way back home and I had to take Bus-Subway-Bus and walk about 5-6 blocks to get to my bed. I was aware but funny. Got home, went to take a piss, got back to my  room, took of my jacket and fell on the bed! Next day the alarm woke me up at 6:30am....ohhhhh did I mention all this was done on a thursday? and that I had to go to work the next morning? ok now you know.

I enjoyed my hangover, got drunk the night before, didn't do any stupid thing I'd regret the morning after.

I worked out ok! So I can scratch that thing from my Bucket List "Outdrinked an Irishman"

Next thing on the BL, go see my parents...I booked a quick flight to Venezuela to go there for my dad's 70th birthday. I'll be visiting family and friends for 10 days and then coming back. Looking forward to it.

Probably on my next post!

That's it for St Paddy's my dear followers....I leave you with the Pogues and "If I should Fall from Grace from God"

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Montreal Trip, the Bucket List, the life with no regrets and more...

Hello followers! Yeah, it's been a long time, I was away but now I am back and this is a long one so you better get comfy...

If I remember correctly my last blog was about the "V-Day" and how it was my first one alone in a long long time...once that feeling passed I decided to take a escape to Montreal, the city that I called home for 7 years and I ran away from 3 ago.

I was shopping online for bus tickets and what seemed to be a good idea it started to get darker because of the ticket prices, over $150, meaning that weekend would cost me probably over $200 (not in the budget)
So I went on craigslist to see if I could get one from someone who got one and got cold feet and now he/she is selling it half price or luck!

So I got that risky adventure lil' devil on my shoulder talking to my ear...
- "what about ride share?"
- "Yeah, what about it?"
- "Why not check it out?"
- "Isn't that for crazy people and serial killers?"
- "Not really, but if that's the spirit you won't get too far on your Round The World Trip"
- "Very true!"

Click on rideshare, let's set the dates I was planning on going, leaving friday, coming back monday...there was one. Leaving friday at 6pm and coming back from Montreal at 2pm on Monday, and it leaves 2 blocks away from my work. It couldn't be better, it meant I just have to come with my backpack on friday and after work take off..we will be in Montreal around midnight.

Now I just was an email away from this "serial killer" who was going to either chop me into pieces or bore me to dead with turned out to be a girl, from Pakistan who works in my same building (what are the chances?) So after a couple of emails we arrange to have a coffee together and once we met each other we were set for take off on friday

Friday, 5:50PM I am at Wellesley subway station (the meeting point) and there she comes, with a rental car and as I am throwing my backpack in the trunk, she tells me 2 other guys are coming..and there they were...

A car with a Pakistan girl, a guy from Tanzania, a guy from Paris and myself from Venezuela..all with different backgrounds, all connected in a ride share, going to see friends/family or loved ones in Montreal for the weekend. Let me tell you we NEVER ran out of conversation subjects or jokes, we had just met but it seemed like we knew each other from years...they had all been travelling parts of the world and I felt it like such a wicked way of learning. The weather started getting nasty and it delayed our arrival, plus our holy search for Wendy's so Chris (the french dude) could have his first ever Baconator and know what life was all baconator was found!

We arrived there after 5-6 hours driving and my friend Carlos was there waiting for me at 1am (such a great friend) He is the same one I went to the dominicans with. He had the weekend off. We went back to his place about 45 minutes outside Montreal and went almost straight to bed.

The next day we woke up and went out to do some chores, we had lunch at "La Belle Province" (man how I was craving those unhealthy hot-dogs and poutine) then we came back to his place where I helped him with some computer stuff....He had already contacted his girlfriend and a friend to go out to Montreal.

They picked us up around 6ish and we drove to Montreal, we were looking for a place to eat as we were starving, then it hit me, part of my trip was to re-encounter the city where I had arrived 10 years ago, so why not go to that place where I had my first General Tao chicken ever, it was a cheap eat and the waiters are almost rushing you so they can use your spot to serve the next customer but it was great.

They all agreed and we went there, the place (Soup et Nouilles) has changed a bit. Good start. After telling them the story on how I found this place we ordered and I asked for the General Tao, when it got to the table, it looked as appetizing as 10 years ago, and it tasted exactly the same way. Time Machine right there.

We were supposed to go out and party but I think when you hit 35 your body does different stuff than what your mind thinks so instead we got some beers and wine and we went back home to watch a movie, still fun and not so cold.

The next day we woke up and have breakfast, and then we went off to meet a friend I had about 8 years or more of not seeing (silly fight between us) but it was all behind now and he was going through the magic word...yes....divorce and he has 3 kids to make it more difficult..

He was alone in Montreal with no friends, so the chance of going for some peruvian BBQ chicken was a good excuse to catch up and exchange ideas, there we were, 3 divorced men, eating chicken, telling stories and giving each other support and suggestions on how to carry on.

I think I ended convincing him to take a trip I consider it was VERY necessary for him, I realized I needed to go soon enough to Venezuela to visit my parents. Even when it means I will probably be $1000 short from the budget for my dream trip it also means I'll spend 10 days with them that will make them very happy and me too after 2 years of being the last time I went back home. I figured $1000 I can get in any moment of my life but time with my parents and friends is limited in life.

After that we went for a coffee and then back home with Carlos, where we meet the girls again for another movie and wine session. Talking with this girl it shook me to hear her saying that she had no regrets in about that? Can you imagine that? Living a life where you don't regret anything that happened to you, good or bad, sad or happy cause it was all part of a learning curve and an experience that in some way will enrich your life and teach you something...

Sign me up! Thank you blue eyed girl for that useful thought. I promise from now own, every time I feel sad about not getting something I want or having a bad moment, the No Regret Rule. So far I have been doing it and if it was an optical illusion the worries leave my mind as quick as they arrive.

Monday Morning I joined my friend for a bit of work and then he drove me to Montreal, he dropped me at St-Viateur Bagels (I had promised myself to buy a dozen to take back with me for the co-workers in Toronto) as I packed the bagels and waved goodbye I figured I had still an hour to burn so...I walked

Walked by Parc Ave, passed in front of Mont-Royal, tons of places I recognized and brought me memories, Cinema Du Parc, all the way south to the subways station where I was supposed to meet with my ride share gang, some girls smiled at me as I walked by, I smiled back, would it be I felt radiant? reinvigorated? or just the fact I was a backpacker walking around the city? I don't know but it felt good. I couldn't wait for my "dream trip"

Arrived to the station and there they were. All three of them, big smiles, a bit tired after a weekend of fun but smiling. We talked all the way back and exchanged stories. Found the Wendy's for Chris to have the Baconator. He went for a triple one and couldn't finish it. The he regretted eating it after all....

The guys felt asleep in the back and I started talking with the Pakistan girl who told me she had broke up with her 7 year fiancee right before getting married cause he had found another girl. Then I learned about The Bucket List

So far all I knew about the bucket list was there was a not too good movie with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman under the same title, 2 old folks about to die decide to to all the stuff they ever wanted before they...kick the bucket. Of course it helped Jack Nicholson was a millionaire....

In this case, no one was about to die or had a terminal ill but what if it was looked at from another perspective? What if........

After a bad relationship or a nasty break-up you decide to take a year off, to do all the stuff you ever wanted to do while being alone, trips, adventures, everything before entering in another relation that with luck will be with the right person and then develop into marriage and, house, car, dog, etc...

You would enter that next step with No Regrets because you have done everything you wanted (or pretty damn close)

So, imagine how my mind came back of that was pretty much meant to be..all the learning.

With this I can say I am working on my "Bucket List" and not having regrets in life. I made peace with Montreal and I know every time I go I will be welcomed and have something different to see or learn.

I think I will share a bit more about my Bucket List but that will be in my next post..

For now, ta-taaa! I'll leave you with a song I think it represents what this trip meant to me and How Damn Lucky I am....the explanation, well, let's let Dave Matthews do the introduction himself