Category Archives: Adventure

The Polaroid Adventure

So for various reasons I decided I wanted to get a Polaroid camera, I had one way back, let us leave it at that, and with the retro wave has been going a while now Polaroid film is easy to come by again.

It was easy enough finding the camera I wanted on eBay, getting things shipped to Norway however, is not always cheap. Especially when customs get their hands on it and wants their cut as well. As luck would have it I was going to Berlin in the very near future, so I checked with Angela, whose place I’d be staying at if it was OK to get it shipped to hers. It was, so off to the German eBay it was, I found a camera sold by a reputable store, paid and had it shipped.

It was the perfect setup, the camera would be waiting for me when I arrived and excitement and fun would be had. I still checked the tracking every hour or so, because of course, I did. Making allowances for the Christmas craze in shipping time, it still seemed like it would arrive before me.

I left Bergen which was a small adventure in itself, delayed flights and all. The delay was somewhat minor but still made me extra appreciative when I finally landed and made it to Angela’s apartment, which meant awesome company and coffee, but no camera.

The first evening was spent getting some dinner at a great Mexican place, staffed by Brits because of Berlin. After the food, there was a food coma then sleep. Waking up the second day there first was coffee followed by some urban sightseeing on foot because I am me after all. After a few hours and a few photos with my Canon (G7X MII) making me curse DHL and their slow delivery with every shot I. After a few hours of this I got a text from Natalie asking if I had any plans this afternoon/evening, which I did not, so after a bit of back and forth deciding on a plan, Natalie suggested going to one of the Christmas markets. The plan was made, I grabbed a muffin to sustain myself while expertly navigating the Berlin public transport system (there is an app for everything) and met up with Natalie without incident at the U Bahn stop by the market.

We made our way there, and it was the NORDIC Christmas market! This seems to have become a recurring thing, with Olivia and Brian taking me to a Welsh pub as the first place to eat when I arrived in St. Charles in the US.

I was now surrounded by gløgg, reindeer sausages, moose sausages, and all things stereotypical of the Nordic countries. Every booth had a flag to represent the food and drink they were serving. The Norwegian one served the usual and what was probably a decent fish burger, at least judging by the smell, in addition to Akevitt. The latter was left well alone, both by me and Natalie, I did suggest she try it, but she wisely decided against it.

Angela joined us and we eventually left the market and made our way around the neighborhood, found some food and in the end ending up at a Burlesque club that had just opened. Angela knew a guy there and they technically had not quite opened yet, but he let us enjoy the luxury of a heated room. There was no show at the club currently and upon making our way inside, we found circus memorabilia which included various clown things. So Natalie left, partly because of this and also because she was knackered and wanted to chill on a couch and nap.

When we got home to Angela’s apartment I took it upon myself to write a politely worded complaint to DHL regarding their tardiness on delivering my camera, the second such complaint I had made to them. However, this being a Friday evening I did not expect a response before the following Monday.

Saturday was another fun filled day, Angela and I had lunch at Shakespeare and Son’s then roamed around looking for some hard to find ingredients needed for the Christmas dinner she is hosting on Tuesday. We ended the day by going to see Thor Ragnarok at an awesome quaint independent cinema and got home right around 1 am. I almost immediately went to bed awaiting a new day filled with fun and adventure.

I woke up, put some clothes on and there sitting on the table was a package and Angela just said, Merry Christmas… DHL had three trucks outside the apartment so I was not the only one that would be pleasantly surprised this day it seemed.

But the camera had ARRIVED. I had two packs of film ready to go, and now I am out and about in Berlin itching to use it.

I’ve already taken three shots, one of which was given away. One to test the camera in Angela’s apartment, two at Shakespeare and Sons because DOGS.

So after a small period of waiting, in which plenty of fun was had, I now have a Polaroid camera again…

I continued my urban sightseeing now armed with a working vintage camera, I was happy.. then I saw an awesome couple on the U Bahn and asked if I could take a photo of them, because while a Polaroid camera is awesome, stealthy it is not, so to avoid awkwardness I asked, I pressed the button and the picture came halfway out, so I needed to pull it carefully the rest of the way. They then asked if I could take on for them as well. Which I did, this one did not come out at all… rollers had jammed.

I finagled it out carefully, but it seemed like the motor for the rollers had died… A diagnosis that was later, sadly, confirmed.

I slinked back to Angela’s apartment to ditch the now-defunct camera, blaming the couple for asking me to take another picture… post hoc ergo propter hoc. After a bit of pouting I sat down at my usual hangout in Berlin, Shakespeare and Sons, found another Polaroid Spectra on eBay listed for a bit cheaper and then ordered it promptly. Because despite the disappointment of the camera failing, it was a joy to use and felt awesome to have again.

This camera will be delivered to my address in Norway, and it was cheap enough that there will be no import tax on it.

So the saga will continue…

All the Saints, Peters, Charles and Louis

So I arrived at Lambert International Airport slightly dazed and not quite conscious after two days travel of which 16-ish hours were spent on airplanes. I did however manage some small naps in Oakland (CA) on my 14 hour layover.

I hear you cry out in shock at what must seem like poor planning on my part. It was however a conscious decision, my flights was not on the same itinerary. I had one for BGO -> OAK (via LGW) Which was the international part of my trip and then a seperate one for my US domestic flights. So the layover was so that I had a buffer for any potential delays on the first leg of the trip.

So I land, and as with any travel by airplane the first question is, did my luggage go on its own adventure or did it decide that mine was sufficiently exciting and follow as planned. It had, I picked up my backpack stuffed my shoulder bag in it as well just for practicality.

I had arrived in Saint Louis, now to get hold of the awesome people there, some of which had, very nicely, offered to pick me up at the airport. It was quite practical since I was also going to stay with him. The person in question is Brian, I call… it goes through to voice mail, call again… same thing. repeat two more times and I call the other person I am visiting here… Olivia, she picks up. We talk, she is excited that I’ve finally arrived, as am I, although in my current sleep dreprived state am less capable to express it.

I had Brians’ address, worst comes to worst… I’d just catch a Lyft (similar but not the same as an Uber, check the news for why I will not use Uber) as I hang up on Olivia, she was at work at the time so I figured it was best to let her get back to it, Brian calls me and says “Did I just miss four calls from you!” I make a very audible sigh as way of an affirmative answer.

It turns out he has been sitting in the car park for about an hour, working from his car and thus not payed attention to his non-work cellphone.

A few minutes later he shows up at the pickup spot that I am at, greetings and hugs ensue… I get in the car, which is, thanks to the marvel of air conditioning, cool. As I sit down… Brian hands me a beer, Busch… which is like Budweisers’ cousin in flavor and reputation, but I had been standing outside in sweltering heat and so this was secondary to it being a COLD beer. It disappeared quickly.

We drove off, discusssing what to do next. Food was high on my priority since I’d been living in airplanes and airports for the past two days. I call Olivia to discuss, Brian suggest a place called Lue Ellen… Olivia agrees and would meet us there. I have no idea of what anything is here so I trust them both, as we arrive I discover that the place is not called Lue Ellens but rather Llywelyn’s … a welsh themed pub / restaurant. So my first day in the US and we go to a WELSH place. I have nothing against Wales or the Welsh, it was just that it struck me as somewhat funny since I’ve lived there for about 18 months.
However, we were there and Oliva showed up, we squeed and hugged and promptly sat down careful of using too much of what little energy I had left.

I ordered a burger w/ chips and a blue cheese dip. What I got was a burger w/ crisps and blue cheese dip, now I knew of the fries / chips / crisps dilemma but this was a WELSH place, they should know better. Now, this was all quite forgivable and would have been forgotten immediately had it not been for the fact that I then asked what they served their Fish n’ Chips with… and the waitress said that while they did offer it with chips aka fries it was normally served with crisps aka chips. Fish n’ Chips is sacrosanct, I was however sleep deprived and since I had not noticed any other British persons about that might join in a revolt at this silliness I found it best to let it go.

Food both and conversations were had, and after a bit of both Brian had a game to go to, which was how I ended up in Olivia’s car, headed to her parents house for a shower and a chat. This would have been even more brilliant had we remembered that my backpack with all my things in it, except for my shoulder bag, was in Brians car and transferred it along with me into Olivia’s car.

Hindsight is 20/20 as they say, but we arrived Cobb residence a few moments later and I found myself in Saint Peters following Olivia into the back door in the garage, when she suddenly stopped, causing my synapses to reluctantly signal my legs to halt and re-adjust balance. “My dad likes to receive guest through the front door”

Easy enough, we knock, the door opens and I am pulled into a bear hug by Mr. Cobb, after a few minutes of cursory chat me and Olivia inform him of our mission here, namely to get me into a shower so I can get the travel grime rinsed off me, he offers to lend me a shirt which after a bit of thought I happily accept. It is a Cardinals shirt, I have immediately been claimed as a Cardinals fan. A quick shower later and the chatting continues for a fair bit and I get introduced to Olivia’s brother, Gabriel and her mother Mrs Cobb whom which I exchange phone numbers with for coordinating whatever might ensue for the next few days, including the dinner I had been invited to the next day, not only that, I had also been drafted as an assistant chef.

Brian shows up, a bit more chatting happens and by now everything is catching up to me, I was running on fumes when I landed, I have no idea how I was still awake, much less able to form complete sentences. Me and Brian make our excuses, very valid ones and we drive to his place, which is how I found myself in Saint Charles.

After some brief introductions to Mary, Brians mother, both me and Brian headed to bed… I don’t think a timing devices has been invented that could have measured the minuscule amount of time it took from when my head hit the pillow to when I fell asleep.

Then I awoke to Thursday, I had no plans save for the dinner at the Cobbs and Brian was not yet off work so he had stuff to do in the day, I slumbered a bit and then succumbed to adventure and caught a Lyft into St. Charles and Main Street in search of adventure… and coffee. I did a fair bit of walking around popping my head in shops and walking in the park and grabbed a coffee at Picasso’s then I hit my threshold for heat and continued to explore the streets darting from store to store seeking shelter in their air conditioned buildings, like a desert animal darting from shadow to shadow trying to avoid the worst of the heat. I half expecting to hear Sir. Attenborough himself starting to narrate my journey…

(Edit, this was actually Friday, Thursday I went to hang out with the cool kids at the mall…. and then had the dinner at the Cobbs place…. Friday I spent the early hours walking around town…. and then we left for our adventure)

After that I met Brian for a “light” lunch at a place called Trailhead, where I got, on the recommendation from the bartender, got the burger and a nice light pilsner which was brewed on the premises. Me and Brian coordinated with the Cobbs and headed over there after a while to prepare for the dinner.

The head chef plying his trade and patiently teaching me about how to cook a gumbo with Ocra, dinner was made, served and devoured and in between I was telling Camino stories and answering questions as best I could. All in all a very nice dinner with excellent conversations, after dessert a game of table tennis ensued and that lasted until me and Brian headed home to prepare us for the surprise adventure that Brian and Olivia had planned for the weekend, which I was still in the dark about. 

Morning followed, and all I had been told was to bring swimming trunks and other basics, which I had… A rapid packing ensued I stuffed all the things I imagined I’d need in my smaller backpack.. it was done in a few minutes since I’d yet to unpack most of my things and as such all my items were confined to a small space, namely my big backpack.

Me and Brian lazed about for a bit and not really being in a rush, we stashed all our additional supplies in the car, like two coolers full of beer and enough ice to keep them namely that, cool. 

We left and made our way to pickup fellow adventurers, as we made our way to wherever we where going I was eventually filled in, the old adage about the only way two people can keep a secret is if one of them is dead kind of thing.. and now there were four people in the car. This was a camping and float-trip adventure… float trip is basically river rafting without the whitewater stuff, as the name suggests you float down a river lazily while drinking beer and having fun. That was however not before Saturday morning, tonight was just getting to the campsite and having fun. Which we did…

Olivia and Kevin, the latter being the formers boyfriend, also showed up a bit later. Introductions ensued and then drinking and fun, Kevin enjoyed a few Margaritas until he became a bit more tipsy than he expected and then in conversation with Olivia was informed that the Margarita mix was indeed already mixed with tequila, which was news to Kevin, who had up to this point been adding tequila to it. We all had a laugh at that, especially Olivia. Schadenfreude! Thy name is Olivia! 

The party dwindled down and a few people stayed up to about 2am, myself included a few funny things happened none of which I will share here…. keywords are, Park Ranger, rude joke, alcohol.

After the entire trip Olivia shared one conversation she had had with Kevin, she had informed him, on learning that he would be sharing a tent with me and Brian, that he should be prepared for snoring, and he then looked quizzical as to how she had acquired this knowledge, the answer is of course the Camino.

Morning arrived and breakfast was made, scrambled eggs and sausages… and we made ready for departure for the float trip, we had to show up at 08:50 according to Brian, we left at tquarter to. At which point Brian admitted he had fibbed we didn’t need to be there before 09:30, he knew the people that he had to herd and corral so he had left a safety margin.

We arrived at the grounds only to discover that the Park officials that we where renting from also had added their own safety margin, our bus was not departing until 10:00..

This gave us time to find lifejackets and grab a beer while we waited, some of course spend the extra time in other ways… 

As it got closer to departure all of us decided to leave all electronic devices in the cars for safe keeping since we would probably get wet whether we wanted to or not, so of the actual float trip there are no pictures…


…. 8 hours later…. 

We had an awesome time, it involved a beer rescue, throwing people into the river… swimming, floating, throwning a frisbee while floating / swimming.. all these stories are available as paid DLCs all you need to do is meet me in person and buy me a beer. If I were to type up the awesomeness that was the float trip I would spend the the rest of my time here in San Francisco doing that and nothing else. Perhaps I will make it a seperate blog post when I get back home, but don’t hold your breath.

A huge thank you to Brian and Olivia and all others involved too…  for the awesome float trip, we had more adventures as well which I will share here, but that will be a seperate entry… Now it is time for me to go explore San Francisco some more… 

Safe travels wherever you are.