Singpore - Høyåsveien 76

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At the airport in Singapore a familiar face came to pick me up. Alicia had just finished work and together we went to Tanah Mera to my friends from my last stay in Singapore.  We met Nivas again and I dropped off my stuff. It had been six months since I had been to a Singaporean coffee shop and it was nice to get some food and Tiger beer.
During the daytime I beat my roommate in Bowling and had great lunch with Nivas and his French couch surfer. We chatted and watched old Indian movies. I had the time to read three Sherlock Holmes books too. With Ranford and some other of Bucket’s friends I had beers in the evening. We went to a nice beer market with live music. I also attended a cs meeting at the garden at the bay which was nice. Bucket and I had Sunday dinner with her parents, which was very nice. They even served fish I found tasty!  The days went by and the last day Farhani showed me around the local market before Alicia saw me off at the airport. From the airport I headed to Europe!
I decided to end my trip and go back home. On my way I stopped in Munich to attend Bernhard’s and Anita’s wedding. We went sightseeing in Bavaria and ate and drank a lot of good food and beer. Berni’s mother kept on insisting so who am I to say no? The wedding was perfect and so much fun. I made so many new friends, both Germans and Norwegians. The food was delicious and the beer magnificent. Adding good company to that and we got a great party! After the wedding I stuck around four days and chilled out at the foot of the Alps. We went hiking and swimming and enjoyed the great weather.
After leaving Germany for Salzburg, and making sure I took Ralph’s house keys with me so he had to drive all the way there and back to get them, I walked around in Austria once more.  I was checking out the buildings and the surrounding “Sound of Music” mountains until Berni and her boyfriend Greg showed up. We went to Furschl am See and stayed with her brother and family. Again swimming in the beautiful green lake and enjoying some weissbier. Against Greg I was winning in check and losing in football. This didn’t concern me as we all know which sport is the most masculine one. After two days in Austria I wasted a day getting to Berlin in traffic and good old Goldie picked me up in Berlin. Together with Sarah, Lena, her Italian stallion, the ambassador padawan and Carsten we had beers in Berlin until Andreas and I got too tired and went to bed. The next day we went to a beach party at the river spree and the sweatiest wg party I’ve ever been to.
After saying good bye to Andreas I left for Norway. My last flight was of course delayed and I ended up knocking on my sister’s door at 00.30 am and telling her I would attend her marriage. The next day she took me to Oslo and I met Torhild and Artux for breakfast. Dølle was still sleeping so I went home towards Skien. I tried to hitch hike, but never got longer than Drammen. The only ones picking me up were a Norwegian, a Kenyan and an Iraqi Kurd.  I gave up, took the bus home, walked to the house and surprised my parents that thought I was in Australia.
There were some blank eyes and laughter and my trip was over for this time. Thank you all for giving me an exceptional experience and memories for life!
Hugs and Kisses!!!
Veni, Vidi, Vici!!

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Hualien - Singapore

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I took a train ride down the east coast of Taiwan to Taitung. From there I went down to the harbor and took the ferry over to Green Island. The island was a prison island but Is now mainly a small resort area for Taiwanese. I arrived and started looking for a place to sleep. My plan was to stay a night or so, but everything seemed to be fully booked. At a nice inn I started chatting with the family that ran it. After a while they asked me what my budget was and told me I could stay with the son Jonny and his friend, since they had an extra bed in that room. The family was super nice and slowly adopted me. From now on they were all mom, dad, meme and didi. I slept and ate with them and they took me out on the trips with their guests. I biked around the island which is probably the hottest thing I’ve ever done. After a couple of days some more cool guys came, Shayne, Romain, James and Bear, and they took me out diving. We had three dives that day and one of them was down at almost 40 meters. I enjoyed my stay there a lot and ended up staying five days.
After mom helped me bribing the ticket officer at the ferry, which gave me back some money, he didn’t want that much; I got a spot and headed to the mainland. James and his family drove me to the train station and from there I took the train to Chaozhou. My hostess Kai took me home and gave me a room with a bigger-than-king-size bed.  We went out to eat a famous local ice cream thingy and then for a walk at a university’s campus.  After some more local sightseeing into the night, we went to see her friend Youling and eat some pig. The next day we went to check out some local aborigines and make some pearls. We had a nice dinner with Kai’s friends on top of the mountain while enjoying a double rainbow.
Kai’s mother gave the both of us a ride to Khaosieung. Kai left for Taipei and I went to see my new host Josh from America. We went to a couple of parties together, including a pool party, and just chilled out and had food at the night market. An excellent host with a chilled out attitude was what I needed. A very nice and relaxing stay before I took a VIP bus to Taipei with private tv and Nintendo emulator.  In Taipei I stayed my last three days with a sweet Swedish-Taiwanese couple and their daughter.  They had time off, so they could hang out with me and help me out with my last chores in Taiwan. At the end I also visited Taipei 101. I got to the airport and cruised down to Singapore!
Taiwan was great and the hottest place I’ve ever been to, regarding both weather and chicks. I had a great time and thanks to all of you for hanging out with me! 


Taipei - Hualien, Taiwan

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I arrived in Taipei in the rain and took the bus into the city. Hana, a girl from couchsurfing, was willing to show me the night market before I met up with my American host Grant.  I met him and his friends at 11 pm, and he wondered if I wanted to go out. It was lady’s night at a club nearby. I accepted and it was the beginning of a four night in a row clubbing streak. This was only interrupted by a visit to the tailor and a local sightseeing lunch with Ariel.  The last night out was at a pool party. I met some cool English hedge fund bankers from Hong Kong and they took me out. It was pretty sweet with loads of champagne, private tables and fancy bars etc. The three I was most with was a brilliant Rahul, which seems to be the name of all British Indians I meet:), Greg, English bloke with style and the American Ice pick. Why Ice pick? He just walks up to ANY girl you point at, brings her to you and there you go. Incredible.
After this ordeal I haven’t been drinking much and won’t be in the future. I was a wreck. I moved to a new host, Hana from earlier, and spent a couple of days at her place watching South Park on a big screen and eating good food. It was exactly what I needed. After a visit to the national palace museum, I left for Hualien with the train. There two small 19 year olds showed me some local tea and candy. I found out it is very clever to contact students, because now they have vacation and can show me around daytime.  My host in this city was Summer and I stayed with her, her cousin Barbie and friend Laurence in a very cool house.  The next day Yi Lin and csdcg, the young girls, met me with a bunch of their high school friends and we went to a café where the guy did card tricks. Then I got on the back of Racoon’s scooter and we all headed to the stony beach. After passing a couple of big intersections at red light, I laughed and said “Red light doesn’t mean stop here, hehe”. She answered “what lights? Ah those, I didn’t see them. I didn’t know there were lights here”. That made me sweat a little. At the beach we all enjoyed the stones and the weather and went happily back after a couple of hours.
The next day I went to Taroko national park. It’s very beautiful and Taiwan is truly a treasure island. I had a proper walk in the park and then I took the bus back to Hualien. Summer and I went for dinner and got trapped by the rain afterwards. Her scooter refused to cooperate and we had to cab it home in the end. I was supposed to go to Taitung the next day, but Summer convinced me to take a day trip to Shitiping. After a nice bus ride south, I got to a great coast with a lot of furious waves splashing on the rocks. I spent some hours enjoying the view there before I went back to a last night in Hualien. 


Tokyo - Osaka, Japan

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In Tokyo I woke up to yet another terrific breakfast made by Keigo. We played a couple of rounds of shogi with his nephew as spectator and then went to his sister’s cake shop. We needed a birthday cake for Izumi.  We were going to celebrate in a park with some of Keigo’s friends. Turns out one of them had birthday as well. It was a great evening and we spent it eating cake, snacks and drinking beer.  

The next day, the last day in Tokyo with nice weather, I spent inside making origami. I had loads of fun and impressed myself with some of the results which you can all admire in my pictures.  The next day would be my last and hectic day in Tokyo. Keigo and I got up early. On our two hour trip to Chiba we picked up Izumi so that we could play shogi on her lap in the subway. In Chiba we went to a theme park with stuff from the late Edo period. The buildings and everything was cool, but I was there solely for one reason; to dress as a samurai. Izumi got her Kimono and Keigo and I got our armor. We played around for an hour or so, having shit loads of fun.  We had a last supper together at my favorite place, Family Mart. They watched me hitchhike off onwards to Fukuroi.

After some interesting rides with an old couple, a Bolivian and (maybe) an old school Yakuza guy (he missed his pinky) I arrived in Fukuroi at my hostess Emi Suzuki. Her father does not make cars. His daughter, however, makes good food and that was exactly what was waiting for me when I got inside. Nothing says “Håkon will be your friend forever” like having a warm meal with a cold beer waiting for him. I repaid her by beating her 6-1 in connect-four.

The next day Emi was ready to hitchhike. She made a nice sign and we hit the road. We easily got two rides which was all we needed to get to the barbecue.  It was a brilliant day and we enjoyed good food and company under a glowing sun.  Emi got a wonderful red tan.  Back home again, she got to play Super Mario on my computer while I was making a photo album. Somehow Mario gets girls more excited than I’m able to. This is kind of sad, since I’ve been spending a major part of my life playing computer games. I should have gotten some tricks from the Italian stallion.

In the morning I left for Osaka, hitchhiking the last stretch. My last ride turned out to be a kyukushin fighter and was going to Poland to compete. He ended up driving me all the way to Tennoji Osaka although he was going to Nara. What a guy! In Osaka I met up with Aska again. The last two days in Japan I spent with her at the elementary school she went to, playing with kids. It was fun and they got to carry my bag and receive some stickers.  Aska and her mother made some more delicious food for me and I made an origami penguin to show Chris off. Before I left Japan, Yuichiro from the party bus met me and Aska at the station. I gave him the photo album and a bottle of Sake before I parted with the two.

Japan was awesome and a remarkable country to visit! I had so much fun and met so many nice people! Germans are generally not like Mengele anymore and in the same way the Japanese are far away from unit 731. Thanks to everybody who hosted me and everybody that picked me up all around Japan! I hope you will get your reward in whichever heaven you believe in. If not, come to Norway and I’ll give you a beer! Domo arigato gozeimas!



Gero - Tokyo, Japan

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After the police left us, Rocky and Ikumi invited me in to the local community house where they work. We chatted a bit and then went for the local onsen. After a long weekend, it was good to go to bed early. Rocky works with local tourism and the next day a Japanese couple wanted to do some canyoneering. I came along as his Norwegian assistant and we brought them safely up a small creek and back again. We had a good dinner together at the center before Ikumi and I went to the Onsen. This mountain town is very nice and relaxing and it felt good to have some rest. The next day would be very slow and I didn't do much. I made another Perl script that compresses my GPS coordinate files. I also went to the onsen hehe.

Third day in mountains would be pretty sweet. A local school class with kids was coming and I was the assistant again. The kids were very cute and polite and it was a joy taking them through the course. They were always laughing and smiling and some of them were climbing better than monkeys. And they were all nice to each other; they even held hands with the weird ones and stuff. After we were done we had lunch together and took the bus back. At the center they lined up and greeted us and then sang us a song. It was like a different world from a screaming school class of thirty kids at home.

For the fourth time in four days I went to the onsen. This time I went with the kids and teachers.

After a last good night sleep in Maze, Rocky sent me off with lunch from Ikumi, who fed me well every dayJ. On my trip to Tokyo I had no less than seven rides, not counting Rocky. One guy was nidan in karate and one crew from Nagoya was really cool and got four in the backseat to make room for me in their massive Toyota Tundra. Two funny guys got me to a service area where a guy picked me up in a Mercedes S550. Why not arrive in Tokyo with style? I got to my first host Mika in Oyama area of Tokyo. She was working in the evening so I met up with my friend Keigo that I met in Fukuoka and we had some family mart beers and watched football.

Unfortunately my host got sick during the second night, but I invited myself to Keigo and he let me stay at his place. After a trip to the museum the following day, I waited for him at Roppongi. There, a student called Shota approached me with some ramen questions since he saw I was eating my daily instant noodles. He was a cool guy and I invited him to join us for the bar. Soon Keigo came with his friends Izumi, who smells remarkably good, Sayaka, Yasutaka, Mutsumi and Kenta, or Tokugawa as I call him. At the bar Shota was too young, but we got him in and everybody had a great time with “drink as much as you want for 1000 yen”. I appreciate the help I got from Sayaka and Keigo on the way home.

The next days in Tokyo were very relaxing. Keigo, Izumi and I went walking around downtown on Sunday. Monday we added Sayaka and went on a daytrip to Kamakura. We had a great time and Keigo took us walking forever. We also saw a big Buddha and played a lot of shogi, Japanese chess which Keigo has taught me. When Keigo was busy looking for work, Izumi and I went to Akihabara to celebrate that she got a job. In the evening we met up with Keigo to watch the football match between Japan and Australia. It was cool to see all the enthusiastic Japanese in a crowded pub.

That’s it from Tokyo now!


Osaka - Gero

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After yet another delicious breakfast in Osaka, Aska and I headed up to Kyoto with the train. Kazu, my next host, met us at the station and we dropped off my stuff in his apartment. We then went to Toei studios to see how samurai movies are made and enjoy the little theme park. On the way home we dropped off Aska at her friend's university and went back to Kazu's place. He is a super fast walker and we criscrossed the city's east side for the sightseeing highlights. We finished with a beer with one of his entrepreneur friends. Regular Japanese work a lot but this guy had hardly time to breath.

I got to borrow Kazu's bike and went cycling the next day. I visited Aska and her friends at the university and then I headed to the golden temple. Kyoto has loads of nice houses and old buildings and it's fun just to get lost in all the streets. When Koza came back from work, we went to a big electronics mall and then for a nice dinner. My last day in Kyoto was spent checking out Nijo castle with the nightingale floors and cycling south in the city checking out a hill with loads of Toris (Japanese shrines). It was nice and I got lost in the hills there so I got myself some exercise getting back to my bike. In the evening we did something cool. Kazu took me to a ninja restaurant. You had to go through a maze where ninjas snuck up on you and you got to eat shurikens and stuff. It was sweet.

I parted with Kazu Saturday morning and thanked him for a great stay in Kyoto. I took the subway to the end of the city and hitch hiked with a mother and daughter up to the highway. At the service area a great guy came over and asked me if I wanted a lift. He then took me to a bus that soon would be filled with 11 happy Japanese guys and me. They were on a weekend trip and had coolers with beer and snacks ready for me. After a couple of beers they asked me if I could change my plans, which I certainly could. One guy had cancelled so I got to be the twelfth samurai. I joined them for the weekend and headed to Takayama. 4 beers b4 12 o'clock - I knew it would be a great Saturday! On the way we stopped at the biggest water wheel in Japan and had lunch. In Takayama we checked out the city and float museum. The city has big floats on wheels that are pulled through the streets when they have festivals. They are up to several hundred years old. The town is very nice, built in old Japanese style. A lot of places we could test the local sake. At the bed and breakfast, we had a million dish course where we could drink as much sake and beer as we wanted. I ate more fish with these guys this weekend then I have my entire life.

A night with many snoring room mates and little sleep didn't stop any from having beers at breakfast. A second sightseeing in Takayama followed and then we left for Shirakawa. It was a beautiful town with houses that look Swiss to me. We enjoyed a stroll around and then had a great lunch. The guys gave me two beers and some snacks and wished me the best of luck hitch hiking down to Gero. I parted with the brilliant crew and now even more people on the planet walk around with Norwegian flags on their cell phones. I should get an embassador job or something. I feel like I'm doing a good job spreading a positive image of Norway haha. Everyone that stopped to pick me up in Shirakawa were going in the wrong direction. Eventually a guy from the parking spot came with a bus ticket to me. I'm not sure if he was super nice or had gotten orders to get rid of me. Nevertheless, I gave him two beers and went with the bus. An exciting weekend was drawing to an end.

I thought this would be the end of this post, but when I was trying to walk the last 11 km from the bus stop in the rain, a police car stopped in front of me. After some chatting I got in the back and they got their pineapple candy. They drove me all the way to the fishing center in a village called Maze. There my new host Rocky awaited me! His wife said the police tried to be serious, but she felt they enjoyed driving me around. Also, the rookie driver needed training hehe.

Truly an exciting weekend!

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Himeji - Osaka, Japan


After a good night sleep, Adam and I went for a trip up north from Himeji. He used to live there some years, so he knew everything and it was so cool to have a guide to tell me everything. There had been a massive flood there some years back and he showed me the traces of it. We checked out some castle ruins and some cool caves with stone formations created by the earth's magnetic field. After a long trip we ended up in Kinosaki, a small, cute town famous for it's hot springs. We bought a pass for all the onsens and went to five different baths. It was a great day and we weren't home before 1 am. After a last lazy day in himeji, I started the next morning hitch hiking to Osaka.

After four rides and a subway I was at the meeting point in Osaka. My next host Aska and her friend June picked me up and we walked around in Osaka while they explained me different things. Finally I saw all the cos play people, those who dress up as maids etc, and we went to one of these photo booths where you draw on your own pictures. It was surprisingly fun. At the end of the day, her mother waited for us at home with a great big meal. I showed them the outfit I had gotten from Himeji and they started complementing it with small ribbons and swords and what not. It was fun to have a little carnival. At the very end I got to borrow a yukta, a kind of bath robe, and wooden shoes and we left for a sento, another kind of hot bath.

Aki and Mutsu met us the next day for a walk around Osaka. We checked out the streets with cos play people, strange department stores and Japanese sex shops. We then went to Osaka's "red light district". It's a normal residential area with a grid of small streets and old houses. The houses have a big open entrance and an old woman selling a younger girl, which is all dressed up and sits on a pillow with spot lights on her. Kind of interesting. Aki took us to a store he used to work in and we stacked up some beer and snacks and went to the river for some evening drinks. They had a friend working as a host at a bar close by. His job is to look like a final fantasy figure and talk to girls that want better company than drunk, stupid guys. Good concept actually, I wonder if it would work in Norway. We ended the night at 12 o'clock and got the last train home.

The next day, like every day, a wonderful breakfast awaited me, with everything from curry and rice to toast with sesame something. Aska's mother is so amazing. Aska and I went to the aquarium to check out some fish. The area also had a big market and some nice souvenir shops. They also had a belly dancing show but Aska wasn't impressed. Afterwards we went to Osaka castle to learn a bit about the downfall of Toyotomi. We got kicked out of the castle when it was closing time and hurried back home to meet her entire family for dinner. Another great day.

The instant noodles were invented in Japan and the museum is in Osaka. We went there and learned about instant noodles and it's inventor. We got to make our own cup noodles and it was very cool. After checking out Korea town, we went home and had more great food and and origami night. Folding paper is awesome! In the evening we met up with some high school friend's of Aska and watched them play sketches, football and arm wrestle. Last full day in Osaka we had a lazy day since it was raining, but I found a great water melon ice cream. We also did origami again hehe.
Kyoto next!


Fukuoka - Himeji, Japan


I look like a hippie and so do the customs in Japan think. Out of everyone, I was the only one interrogated and they went through my bag. They also asked if I smoked. Hrmpf! After getting ashore and collecting my first yen, I took the bus to my first host. A German girl met me at the bus station and took me to our mutual host, Hiro san. He had prepared an excellent meal, and a hungry Hawk was happy. The next day, Michelle, Hiro and I went out to see castle ruins, museums and watched the sunset at the beach. I had my first ramen noodles as well. Hiro drove us around in two different Volvos, which I found amusing. I miss Anna, my Saab. Shogun Hiro taught me some samurai Japanese which I would use to impress new friends. Very useful! The next day the German left and I went for a walk in Fukuoka. In the evening a Dutch, a Mexican and a Japanese couch surfer came along and we had a great evening with Hiro, his mother and his friend. Carla, the Mexican, gave us all gifts and I got myself a new bracelet! After some good Shoju we called it the night and I went to bed, gathering strength to my Hiroshima trip. Radiation time!

In Hiroshima I was standing in the epicenter of the a bomb. It was really cool to be standing where the bomb once fell. I checked out the museums and parks around as well. My Hiroshima host, Miiko, met up with me and we went for okonomiyaki, a delicious speciality in the area. Afterwards we walked home and I met her cat Karaage, meaning fried chicken haha. The next morning I met up with Keigo, a friend from Fukuoka, and two of his friends. We were checking out the Mijemya shrine, a shrine that's "floating" in the water. It was nice, but unfortunately under restoration. In the evening Miiko and I put wallpaper on one of her walls, made a great dinner and watched Toy Story 2, a perfect way of ending the Hiroshima stay. She also helped me make a poster that says something in Japanese that would help me get picked up when hitch hiking.

The next day I was slightly scared. I was going to hitch hike from Hiroshima to Bizeniri, a small place a bit far away. It was difficult to get out of the city, but a guy who had been hitch hiking in Canada himself, picked me up and drove me out so I got close to the highway. There a second great guy, Keisuke, got me to another highway intersection. With the help of a girl I got up on the highway but in the wrong direction. But three rides in the right direction got me to the doorstep. A nice guy took me the first lap, second guy, 60 years old, got me lunch in addition and at last an old couple drove me all the way to my destination. I gave away some sweets and Norwegian stickers since that's what I had. I love Japanese people! When I finally arrived, people started feeding me energy drinks and candy outside their work. I gave some sweets back and they came with even more out haha. Man, I had a smile on my face all day! And after checking out the little village, Akane picked me up and we went home to her mother and grandfather, who was a decorated soldier and had a letter from the emperor! Her mother had prepared the most delicious meal and I couldn't stop eating. And a laughing girl on the other side of the table made it all even better. Their ninja house was soooo cool, really Japanese, with a million sliding doors and secret rooms. If Japan and Japanese continue to be like this, I might have to move here.

After waking up in my own big living room I had a shower and we headed out to the town she's working in. Turns out it's Ako, where the 47 Ronin revenge story started. Such a cool surprise! At the castle ruins I also read that one of the young samurais was often mistaken for a girl. I guess I know which Samurai I'll be. After saying good bye to Akane, I went hitch hiking again and got picked up by Yumi and she took me to Aioi. There I had to walk a bit, but on the way an old man found me interesting enough to give me a bag of fresh strawberries, and by the way, the berries are so delicious in this cuntry. I got a ride with a man and his father and they took me all the way to Himeji. I checked out the awesome castle there, it's incredible even when it's under restoration! Adam, my new host, picked me up after work and took me to his place a bit outside of Himeji. There his girlfriend Shinobu had dinner ready and we sat down and ate and drank. She had a Hakumen and Haori, traditional Japanese clothes, that she gave me! Super happy with my new possessions, I put them on and had a great night! Awesome first week in Japan!


Namwon - Busan and Ulsan Temple stay


I arrived in the evening in Namwon and met up with Calvin. Turned out he was a Japan expert, so he helped me out a lot planning my trip there. Next morning I got up early and started heading for the mountains of Jirisan national park. After some walking I arrived at the tourist information stall. The guy there spoke a hundred English words, but after some gesticulating and map pointing, we agreed on where I should go and how I would get there. He kept on saying "sorry" because of his English, but I was super happy because he helped me out a lot since I didn't have any plans at all. I gave him some oreos as thanks and he then ran into his little door and came out with a pen of the love city (Namwon) and gave me a proper map over Jirisan Park, which would make my day later! I got on the right bus and went to a small town that had an Azelea festival. I managed to order fish soup for breakfast, but I developed a new skill(!) and I can now eat stuff without tasting it. I breath only with the mouth at any given point and I finished the whole bowl.The pink flowers were blooming everywhere in the mountain and it was quite nice. I started hiking and was fairly fast up the first mountain. The mountains in Korea are packed with old Koreans, equipped for climbing mount Everest. The only thing they lack is the oxygen tanks. People seemed to be amused by a Norwegian running in their hills and there was a lot of food vs biscuits exchanges. After a long hike I ended up at the other side of the park and was in need of getting home. I hitch hiked with three different cars and then had a bus ride the last part. This day was packed with lovely Koreans and I was so exhausted when I got back home. My biscuits had gotten me one pen, one map, 1,25 cucumbers, one whole kimbap and three rides. They turned out to be a good investment. In the evening I had dinner and beer with Calvin and his nice friends and went to bed early. Perfect day!

I got to Busan Saturday and bought my ferry ticket over to Fukuoka, Japan for Wednesday. Matt, Amanda and I went out in the evening for a last soju night in Busan. Matt wasn't drinking because he was going to study, Amanda wasn't drinking because she had a rough Friday, but I was since it was my last Saturday. They both got hammered haha. We went out and met up with underpants Nav and some other friends. I also met some cool Koreans outside while eating my nightly instant noodles. It was a good, last night. Sunday I went to have a quiet evening in Ulsan. I was going for a temple stay on Monday and I relaxed at Sunny's place with movie and food to gather my strength. At the temple I was kind of bored, but I met some great people, including Germans, which made it worth while. I constantly had the feeling of being in church at 24 December. Somebody is chanting about something I don't understand, the time goes painstakingly slow, and all I want to do is go home and eat pork. Difference: the temple stay lasted 20 hours and we had to get up at four in the morning. The others that signed up for two days envied me as I left after just one day. That felt good. Archery at the end was great though, I wouldn't mind doing that again. In the evening I arrived in Ulsan again and stayed there one night before going to Busan in the morning. I had a good steak, which I haven't had in a long time, and it will be nice to see how well Kobe beef is compared to it. My host even made gave me a bag with cookies and what not for the trip. Gotta love Koreans!

Korea was great! Men looked like women and women looked like girls, old people were running in the mountains and they were all very friendly and helpful. A very homogeneous country with good food and nice mountains. I wanna come back when North Korea opens up!
Thanks everybody for a great stay in Korea! Now it's time to go to Japan!


Seoul, Korea


I arrived in Seoul and went up to the north. There Jintastic picked me up and I got to live with her and her dog Aston. I threw my stuff into her apartment and we went for dinner and a language exchange meeting. Back home again, the dog peed on her bed and we planned some of my days in Seoul. The next morning we climbed the biggest mountain in Seoul. I was a bit impressed that the tiny creature, my host,  was able to get all the way to the top. I used to call her a mouse, but upgraded it to chicken after her achievement this day. In the evening we met up with Sam, my next host, and we went to a Jimjibang (Korean spa). Back home her dog peed on me and we watched an animated movie before going to bed. The last day at Jin's place, she, Aston and I went on a stroll through some sightseeing areas in town before ending up at the Seoul tower. In the evening she made me dinner, Korean barbecue of course:), and dessert! For this achievement she advanced once again, now from chicken to squirrel. She hopes to get the status of human one day.

After some black noodles for breakfast with the squirrel, I headed over to Sam's place and met up with him and the French Arnoud. These guys turned out to be quite cool and the soju would not be safe when we were around. Thursday we just had dinner and got used to each other's faces. Friday night however, would be brilliant. Sam knows his way around and has found a crew that gives free leftovers and beer to English speakers if they sit and chat with Koreans. The Koreans were really cool, especially Paul Please, and the beer and soju just made it better. Afterwards we got a lift from Philip to Haendae, the clubbing area of Seoul. We got the soju we needed and tried to find a place to shake our beautiful bodies. At one place they didn't let me in because I wasn't Korean, so I got to experience racism for the first time in my life. In the end we met some American soldiers and they took us to a club full of black people. It was really cool. Later that night, I fell a sleep on the bus and got kicked out at the end station, Sam slept four hours on the circle line and Arnaud kept falling a sleep missing his stop, and went back and forth some times. Quality guys!

Saturday we met up with some good friends of Sam and sat down near the river bank. The French and I were freezing and we tried to finish our soju bottle as quickly as we could so we could get into a warm bar instead. What happened was, we ended up in a park and the only remedy for us was more soju.The night ended like the one before, we lost each other and the first one that got home was there 6 o'clock. Later that day a bloody Sam told good stories about how he face planted while running in the mountain that morning, still drunk. He also had some good stories about how they all ended in an apartment with a girl when suddenly her, presumably, ex-boyfriend barges in. "Don't you remember yesterday? We broke up!", she said. "I don't even remember now!", he replied. Being an angry American soldier twice their size, Sam and the crew decided to split as quickly as they could. The French fell asleep in the bar and got woken up in the morning by the cleaning crew haha. All I know about myself, is that I was able to get to my own, i.e. Sam's, bed. All in all another great soju day and the next day we woke up at 18.00. That Sunday nothing happened except for some after parties as they say in French.

Monday was another museum day for me and in the evening I went to a swing dance club. Turns out Seoul has the world's biggest swing scene and it was really cool. The amount of people and their level was quite impressive. Needless to say, the clumsy big elephant crushed some toes that belonged to creatures weighing in at 35kg. Tuesday Jin and I went to the War Memorial museum. Yet another brilliant museum in Seoul. There was also a lot of stuff from Norway there, because we gave them some medics during the Korean war. The subway station outside was full of advertisement for Norway. Seemed so random to me. In the evening I met up with my last host in Seoul, Youngju. After a day of planning my trip to Japan, I went to dinner with all my friends from Seoul. It was great and I had a great stay! Thank you all.

Before leaving Seoul on Thursday, I went to the DMZ (De Militarization Zone). It's the spot between North- and South Korea where they meet. The tour was fantastic and one of the best I've had on my trip so far. We got to go into the Joint Security Area, tunnels dug by the North Koreans and shrines around. I went there alone, but a nice Dutch guy didn't have his girl friend with him, so he hung out with me. There was also an amusement park in the area. We even had a deflector from North Korea in the bus who answered all kinds of questions. It was so cool! And she was cute!

Seoul was great and it was time to go south again and finish off my Korea trip!


Busan - Pohang, Korea

Finishing off a two litre bottle of Soju between us, Chris and I were ready to hit the town with the rest of the gang. A great night which ended in the karaoke bar. Saturday was a slow day and all I did was read Animal Farm and watch a chick flick with Amanda. I slept at her place one more night before heading to Ulsan. Finally I would start moving in Korea.

In Ulsan I got picked up in the park by my new host. A Korean girl that spoiled me so much when I stayed there. She had made cookies and prepared dinner. She drove to good places to eat and wrote notes everyday with information for me. She loved beer and we went to the supermarket and got everything from Paulaner to Duvel. I had some great hikes in Ulsan and enjoyed the company of my brilliant hostess. We went evening biking, but the night hike got cancelled. An Australian couch surfer also came while I was there and raped her teddy bear within minutes of arrival. Fairly strange for a forty year old. In this quiet city I had some lovely chill days.

My next stop was Gyuongju, the capital of this part of Korea from 0-1000 AD roughly. My American host was busy with work most of the two days I was there, but I got to borrow his bike and biked around and checked out the ruins. I also went to a Korean village with very nice houses. The last day I went to a theme park that turned out to be something like "lekeland", a small park for kids, so that was a waste of money. The bike ride there was long enough, so at least I got some exercise.

Pohang, a place I will never forget! I arrived in the evening in this coastal city in Korea. Nathan, my American host with some great Norwegian blood in him, met me at the beach. We chatted and I got myself a shower before we went out for a Friday night with his mates. His friends were brilliant and we had an awesome night out, visiting three bars and ended the night at six o clock. The next day Nathan's dreadful alarm woke me up too early, and it is THE most annoying alarm in the world. If I never hear those sounds again, it'll be too soon.

The next day was quiet and we went hiking and for a great dinner. Korean barbecue is simply amazing. I never get tired of it. My plan was to go to an island the next day, but they suggested I should join them for paintball instead. I discarded my travel plans for east Korea and went for some paintball action and mafia with soju instead. We topped it off with some billiard bowling at the end. I had an awesome time in the south and after breakfast the next day, I headed for Seoul! The biggest city on my itinerary so far!



Busan, Korea

I arrived a bit delayed in the evening in Busan, Korea. No ATM at the airport wanted my bank card, so I started sweating. Luckily I got to borrow a phone and talk to my host Elijah. I got a cab to his place and Elijah went out and got me and paid the cab. He was a very friendly lad and gave me loads of tips for Korea and Busan. His friend Adam stopped by and we had a nice chat. The next day I went strolling to town. As usual, when I don't where I am, I find what I'm searching for. At the docks I found a second hand store for dock workers and I found a jacket for eight dollars that I would pick up on my way back. My main goal was to find a bank that accepted my card, and when I did, I was really happy. It was a beautiful spring day and finally I got to see the famous cherry blossom. What I never thought about was the smell, but they also smell great when you're walking by them. In the evening we had some Korean drinks and chatted, discussed and laughed a lot. As usual, I can now say, my host's friends were cool and I had a good time.

Walking as much as possible is my new mission for the next two months, and that's why I've decided to walk between my hosts in Busan. On my way to the new host I stumbled across a charity organization selling clothes. I bought myself a woolen sweater for less than a dollar and spent some time pressing it down into my bag. One of the women was amused and gave me a cup of tea. Since I enjoyed it so much, she managed to ask me in finger language if I had had lunch, and I was able to answer no. She then fed me squish sushi, soup and orange juice. It all probably cost twice of what I paid for the sweater. The world doesn't seem to run out of nice people. After a five hour walk through the city, I finally arrived at my destination point.

Andrew picked me up and we went straight to a baseball game. I had never been to one, so why not now? At the stadium we met some great friends of his and a mentally disturbed Korean girl that was following them. Until then, she was the best English speaker I had met in Korea, so it was kind of funny having her with us. She asked people around for beer and was screaming a lot haha. After the match, we went for food and some beers. Two girls and Nav, from Birmingham after Andrew left. He had to go to the temple and left his friends with me. That evening I learned that three bottles of Soju, Korean vodka, and beer is too much. Somehow everything worked out well, but I don't remember much until I got to borrow a pair of pyjamas from Nav.

The next day an energy bomb of a girl comes jumping in and takes, luckily, only Nav with her to rowing practice. In the evening I went out with the energy bomb, whose name is Amanda, and her friends. I got to sleep at her place with her friend Liz, but unfortunately the chocolate colored girls let me sleep on the couch and not in their bed. The next morning they made me omelet and pancake, so I was as happy as I could be anyway! We spent the day on the beach and then went for a walk to the local light house. In the evening Andrew came back from the temple stay and we all had a big dinner together. It was the last night with this crew before I the next day walked over the mountain to meet Jae Hwan, my first Korean host!

Does my luck run out? Never! My new host was a cook in the military two years. I ate the best Korean food and drank Soju with Jae Hwan and his cousin. We went on two long hikes, including a mountain with Beomusa Temple as reward! It was just brilliant! We chatted a lot and I learned more useful, and useless, stuff about Korea. For instance, Koreans never pour their own drinks. They give the bottle to others so that they can be served. They have many cool customs! After two nights I walked over the hill again to meet up with Chris!

Chris was a funny lad and we spent the evening laughing all the time. The next day I went on a hike again and while running down Jangsan mountain, a white girl stopped me. She was one of the six only white people I had seen up in the hills around Busan, the other five were with her. After she had said one sentence, I asked her "Er du fra Norge?" (translate.google: Are you from the country where people like rocks, fish and potatoes?). She was, such an easy accent to pick up, and the family was there with all ages and genders. I found it very amusing that the biggest concentration of Norwegians I have met on my trip so far were in the hills in Busan. Not many foreigners are here and not many Norwegians are among the travellers I meet. Then again, if I were to meet Norwegians, I guess alone in the mountain with kids and grandparents is where you find them. As we say in Norway: "Ut på tur, aldri sur!" (translate.google: "Out hiking or cross country skiing, don't be a motha' fuckin' cry baby!").

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Clark - Manila

After I was done with Cebu I felt like having some quiet time before leaving to Korea. Relax a bit and do some research. In Clark I met up with my new host Olive, who happened to be Korean. This suited me perfectly, because then I could leech on her a bit and get some info about Korea. What happened however, was that her boss called her and she had to attend a birthday party. She dragged me along with her and I ended up at a Korean restaurant with her colleagues. We ate a lot of good food and downed a fair amount of soju, Korean vodka. Somehow it seemed difficult to dodge alcohol in this country.

Good Friday! The reason why I came to Clark. Olive, three of her Filipino coworkers and I were off to see the crucifixions! Once again my luck was helping me bump into the right people and the girls fixed everything. We got our private Jeepney and rode off to San Fernando, Pampanga. On the way we saw a lot of Jesuses, flogging themselves and carrying crosses. After waiting in the heat quite some time for the main event, the small girls got crushed against a fence and got passes for the VIP section by one of the guards, so that they could escape. Happily I accepted my ticket and we went in and had a great view over the whole thing, while most people were looking into each others back heads and umbrellas. The Pinoys nailed  each other up a couple of times and then carried their victims on a stretcher to the red cross crew that were waiting for them. A fun thing to have seen, but it wasn't as dramatic as in Passion of the Christ. On the way back, I got to carry a cross and take some photos. I had been saving my "beard" a month, so that I would get my proper saviour look. In the evening we celebrated with Matador brandy in the company of hobos at a seven-eleven.

Olive's friend has of course a pool table, and we played pool and ate pizza for breakfast at Tess' place the following Saturday. Afterwards we went to a Korean spa, Jimjibang, and relaxed there and had some naps. In the locker room they had toothbrushes, razors and everything, so I got myself cleaned up properly. Since I wasn't 100% dry when I started putting on my clothes, one of the staff in the locker room came running and started to dry me with a towel. Slightly uncomfortable, but somewhat amusing to feel like a king. We went home and prepared ourselves for Saturday night out in Angeles, the Philippines' answer to Pattaya or any other filthy place. It used to be an American airbase, and where there are Americans, there are shitloads of whores. We watched the musical Mamma Mia while I downloaded Perl and made my first script in seven months. What most people do before going out. Once again Olive's coworkers called her and she had to join them. I had to go out with her friends alone, but I didn't mind. It's not so bad sitting there with 5 girls dancing around.

I left Clark for Manila and met up with Tania, a Canadian I met in Palawan. We went to Vikings!, one of my favorite restaurants. I ate till I couldn't walk properly and then said good bye to Tania and wished her good luck with her job here. Donna, my first and last host in the Philippines, showed up and I got to crash at her place the last two nights of my stay in this country, In Manila I did some shopping, replaced some well worn underpants and socks, and got some new shirts for Korea. Donna and I had a last supper in Manila and I had my last shake for a while! Now I was going off to Korea to burn off that belly I built up in the Philippines!

Thanks again to everybody in the Philippines!
I've met so many brilliant people that I hope to see again! The trip has been truly amazing and I owe most of it to my hosts and friends of theirs. I loved the Philippines because I was Guwappo (handsome) just because I was white, and everybody was always smiling to me. The Pinoys are everywhere, which I think is a good thing. They should breed with everybody so that  everyone will have at least 20% Filipino in them.
Ha det bra!





I landed in Cebu and got piked up by three friendly looking guys. Chris and Richie, two die hard Celine Dion fans from Canada, and Kim, the funniest character I've met on my trip so far. We headed off to a posh resort to have beers at their nice beach. It was happy hour which means half price. After some beers we went to a karaoke place. Two more guys, Raymund, always laughing and hilarious, and bipolar Phiras, the model showed up. After a couple of hours with karaoke and male bonding, we even got ourselves a song; Indian reservation. Proud Cherokees as we now were, disco time awaited at Joker's. Joker's was already full of drunken jellyfishes and other things. It was an excellent introduction to Cebu and it would just get better and better.

The guys invited me to go down south with them to Oslob and I accepted. This trip would forever change my life. After a long bus ride, we settled into a guest house and went to the local shack for some karaoke and pool. Not being much of a singer, I never participate in the karaoke events. But the guys, they broke me. After 4 hours straight with Celine Dion and Father and son, I couldn't resist and joined up. Karaoke was now a part of me. We ate our chicken pieces while the pig was oinking next to us and the model was munching on his crackers. We had to go to bed early because the next morning we would swim with the whale sharks.

Swimming with the "gentle giants" was fun. They were quite huge, but since they were fed all the time, the whole thing felt a bit unnatural. Afterwards we had a rest outside of our guest house and had breakfast. To our amusement a crazy old American came up to us and showed us random pictures of turtles and his family. Back in Cebu we went to karaoke again, but more importantly: Mango! The best disco for any Cherokee and where the pulsating nightlife of Cebu is :D. We had loads of fun and many good stories came out of nights like the ones we had at Mango. The next day I went up north and slept one night in a village and then I went over to the island of Malapascua. There I was diving with thresher sharks. That was very, very cool. We were camping at the ocean floor and waited for the sharks. Like in the movies, out of nowhere a silhouette came and then suddenly the shark was there, just to swim out in the mist just as it came. This is something I can recommend everyone to do.

The same day I went down again to Cebu. I had a fever and the only cure was Mango! Kim, Phiras and Raymund dancing would put a smile on my face again. This time I moved into Raymund's place. While karaoking our hearts out, new crew members arrived! Simon, the model from Canada, and Drew, the energy releasing American. The lost Cherokees had finally returned and joined us for this quiet evening. The next day we had coffee tasting at Raymund's restaurant. He makes sure the food is expensive and not particularly good. Richie asks "why?". "I don't want people here all day" Raymund replies and we all die. We then start on the beers. After all, it's soon 1 pm. Slightly tipsy, the Filipino Aime takes some of us out on a city tour, while the other guys lose their money in the casino. However, they get free dinner. We met up again and rocked Ayala and Mango. The Americans were not afraid of dancing the no-pants dance on stage. Home we were always 7-8 in a car. After all, safety first.

Instead of going to Bohol, I joined the guys for a booze cruise. That's the problem when you meet awesome people; they alter your plans. If it wasn't good enough, Gringo and Sarah showed up. Another Pinoy and an Australian were added to the crew. Together we had a blast at the boat that Kim had booked. We had a walk off, since there were so many models and other kinds of pretty people on board. All in all an excellent day trip. On the way back we ate at a high end yacht club and slept in their sofas.
To top the whole Cebu experience off, I went on a two day trip to a deserted island were we swam in the shallow water, had night rum and went to sand dunes in the middle of the ocean. My stay in Cebu was unbelievably awesome and the couch surfing community there is incredible. Slightly sick after all the stress, I turned my nose towards Pampanga and prepared myself for holy week.

Thank you all for a brilliant time Cherokees! It was hilarious!!









Palawan: Puerto Princesa and El Nido

In Puerto Princesa I checked into a hostel with pool and wifi, two things I like a lot. In the evening I met up with a Filipino girl Sharon and a Korean, dutch adopted guy called Ki. He was the very first make-up artist I had ever met. Anyway, the three of us ate crocodile and had some beers at the local pub. A funny band was playing some tunes they had been playing the last two years. The next day we accepted Sharon's offer and went with her to check out a small village up in the mountain side. There wasn't that much up there, but the family we visited had a funny little critter as pet. In the evening we went out again with Sharon's friends and the Fama sisters from my hostel. Warehauz 45 is the shit haha.

Sharon took me and Ki's friend Lisa, from his hostel, out to one of the satellite clinics outside of Puerto Princesa. This is where they repair the villagers and pull out their teeth for free. Lisa and I were chilling at the beach while Sharon was working. In the evening we had a nice barbecue. After a long and bumpy  bus ride the next day, Lisa and I arrived in El Nido, or Eldonado as she calls it. I checked in to my 150 pesos a night place and we started booking tours. The first day was quiet and we had some beers with some English girls. The following morning, we went on a tour with an Argentinian couple and two guides.We drove around in our boat in an area very similar to that of southern Thailand. A lot of nice limestone islands. In the evening we went to a very filthy bar. Lisa turned around after 3 seconds and went out, whereas all the guys stayed for a couple of beers. One of the prostitutes liked to dance and I danced some swing for the first time in many months. I went to bed early since I had a new tour the next day. Unfortunately I must have eaten something bad or something, because I woke up at five and had to vomit. Then, for the next 8 hours, I crapped out my mouth and pissed out my ass. It had been a long time since I was sick, so I guess it was about time. I had to cancel the tour and spent the day lying in bed and reading a Swedish book I found in my room.

I went on a tour with the Argentinian couple on my last day in El Nido. An Italian with his Filipina was also with us. It was nice with a boat ride and to snorkel a bit. My stomach was a team player the whole day as well. In the evening I finished off the book and went to bed early. My last stop before Flying out of Puerto Princesa was Sabang. Together with the Argentinian couple I took a morning mini van to Sabang. Like El Nido, this town is small and electricity is only available at certain hours. They rely on generators. In Sabang I met Marc the Swede and we did the underground river together. It was a pretty cool tour. I got to sit in front in the boat and control the light while we were going through the caves. The next morning we headed to Puerto again and I had a last evening together with Sharon, Ki, Kyra, Antonio, Fran and some others.

Next up: Cebu!


Bontoc - Tuguegarao - San Fernando - Manila

I got picked up by Mik in Tuguegarao at 01.00 am. He lives in a house with a 24/7 farmacy on the ground floor, so he had no problems with picking me up at such a time. We had some porridge from the restaurant next door and planned out the following three days that I would be spending with him. The next day we went to the caves in the outskirts of the city. Next to a beautiful river, we entered the caves with a local guide. To me this cave seemed like the middle of nowhere, but the Mik knew all the people we met inside. I found that kind of funny. After investigating the seven chambers, we went into a boat and were taken to a beach further down the river. There was a cave entrance up in the cliff side and we were waiting for sunset to see the exodus of the bats. We had a lot of fun with the local cow while waiting. A one year old, white cow was like a dog and the little girl that owned it, treated it as such. It followed after her everywhere and ate only grass if someone picked it and fed it to her. It was very cute and it seemed to like the color of my shorts, because it kept on licking. Watching the bats exit was very cool and afterwards we drove with the boat under the swarms of bats that were out. In the evening we picked up the Pastor and the Chinese and went for dinner. A delicious barbecue with halo-halo at the end. After such a good start, I knew I would have shit loads of fun in Tuguegarao.

Every morning I was served great breakfast, made by Mik's nanny. A good way to start our days with much travelling. For our second day we needed reenforcements and picked up the Graduate. It was so cool to be with the Mik, because we were never alone and his friends were great. The three of us headed down to Isabella to have a look at a big chair and some old churches. We also visited Mik's restaurant and the Graduate's former professor. She lived next door to the Mik's new flat, which we inspected. Everything was finewith the place except the pink sink. He didn't like the color, but I laughed cause the words pink and sink normally come in a different order. It had been a long day for me and I slept in the car all the way back home.

The third day was great. The three of us added Mik's cousin to the crew, and the four of us drove up to the very north-east of Luzon. We got all the way up and had a good lunch before we got a boat ride to the Island Palaui. The island was beautiful and there was an old spanish light house there. We went up and enjoyed a magnificent view. It was the first time I saw the pacific oceand and it was be the furthest north I would be until the flight to Korea. To top it all off, we went for a swim on the beach with black sand. Due to the volcanoes in the area, the sand on the beaches is black. After sunset we went into the restaurant by the beach and had dinner. This resort area has a lot of Chinese tourists that are there for the casinos and beaches. That's why I was able to have my first Tsing Tao in a long time. It brought back memories from good old China and Hong Kong. On the way back home we stopped by the Graduate's hometown to say happy birthday to his father. I got to eat a mix between Halo-halo and coconut shake, which was very good. I think I consumed a couple of kilos of sugar in the Philippines every day. To be sure of that, we got some extra coconut ice cream to eat on the way back.

During my entire stay, I've been educated a lot about cagayan and I have had friends with me who have explained everything I've seen, and then some. I had a brilliant time in Tugugarao, which is used as the term "middle of nowhere" in the Philippines. It was ridiculously hot, but this place is definitely somewhere to me! With extra help with my plan for the last stops in Luzon, I left the guys the next morning and went to Pagudpud. After a sweaty, no air-con bus trip, I was there. I slept one night in a nice home stay and spent the sunset at the beach and in the water. I then went to Laoag and had a day trip to Marcos' Heritage Home. He didn't seem so bad to me. Passing the "palace of the north" down to Vigan. I had an extra day, so I decided to stop off at San Fernando on the way to Manila. I met two nice teenagers, Niq and mr Hair, immediately after arrival and they helped me find a place to stay, The next two days I slept under the sky on a roof for 100 pesos (13 nok). Their mother Michelle came and took us all out for dinner. I love this place, even when I don't plan to meet nice people, I still do. The next day I spent surfing and met some great guys from Sweden and Australia. We had some beers and then I went to bed early since Michelle had offered me a lift to Manila the following day. My 36 hours in San fernando were great.and it was time to finish off my Luzon trip for now.





Sabangan - Bontoc (This is too long for most people to read, so skip to the end)

After  waking up early and getting homemade eggs and toast from Sexy, Russel and I went down to see Sir Ernesto. Being one of the elders in town, he is respected and has the title councillor. Russel had been talking to him the day before and Ernesto had prepared a guide for me. After an introduction and some chatting, Russel left us and my guide Roger, or Kuya (big brother) Roger as I call him, went off to check out the local hills. Not really a tourist attraction, but nevertheless we went up to the Globe (a phone company) antenna in the hills. On the way we passed a high school that was also placed on top of a hill. This made me think of something; If we built schools on top of hills in Norway, that would force the kids to sweat up there everyday. Might be a solution to our growing obesity problem. I didn't see any fat kids in the village while I was there at least. Roger was an excellent partner and his English was good, so he could explain me things on the way. We walked down again for lunch with Ernesto. He was a cool guy and we got along well. Since I still had the rest of the day available, roger took me up to the Smart (another phone company) antenna on another hill. On the way down we stopped in his village and I got to meet his very pretty wife and one of his daughters. Well back in Sabangan, Ernesto and I went to the local elementary school. They were playing gongs and practicing the local dance. A festival was coming up and all the kids were walking around playing and dancing. The gongs could be heard all over the valley. When I started showing them the pictures I had taken of them, the whole thing turned into chaos with screaming and laughing kids stepping all over me and each other. The kids in these villages are super sweet and make even a rusty Norwegian heart beat a bit. After this, Roger was waiting with an invitation to drink a bit! The three of us started the process of emptying a Matador brandy bottle and a couple of Red Horse beers. Tonight was a local meeting with the military command in the area and since I was here, and the guys seemed to enjoy my company, they let me come with them. On the walk up to the meeting we met some other guys sitting and having a little evening party. We weren't the kind of lads that turn down such a surprise party, so we sat down with them and cracked some jokes and shared their booze. In this country people still have respect for elders and guests, so the youngest immediately gave us two of their chairs. After dwelling there long enough, we walked the final bit to the meeting. It was held in the elementary school and everybody was sitting on a 30 cm high chair in a horse shoe formation. It was very cute. As a representative for the University of Oslo and the Norwegian army, as Ernesto introduced me as, I told them bits and pieces of cold Norway. After some coffee and biscuits we went down and Ernesto offered me his guest room for the night. It was a very funny day and a good start of my village life.

The next morning I had breakfast with Ernesto. We liked conversing with each other and got along well. My plan for the day was to meet up with a group of guys coming from Manila to climb Kalawitan mountain. Russel had made some stuff up there and I brought with me a marker to tag the equipment with it's appropriate name. Ernesto, Kuya Roger, some more guides and I then went to the rendezvous point at a cafe with panorama view over the mountains. The crew from Manila were coming with a bus from Baguio. Meanwhile Roger and the guides prepared the equipment while Ernesto and I ate pancakes. The Tagalogs (people from Manila area) showed up and the leader Tesa was very eager to get drunk climb the mountain. After lunch and briefing, base camp awaited us. Only a small walk away were some huts and a nice camp area. We spent the day bathing in a cold mountain creek and eating food made over the bonfire. The guides started playing the gongs and doing the ritual dance around the fire while Ernesto was dancing the eagle dance. After some minutes of watching, we all ended up joining and it was actually very funny. Very different from Norway to see quite tough guides dancing with gongs without being drunk. Nico was probably the happiest eagle dancer of all. The Tagalogs got themselves a hut down in the camp while I went up in the hill side with two guides and shared a hut with them. The guides were Ronald and Buds, two really nice guys that I will remember forever since I promised to:). The hut used to be where Buds lived when he was younger. We went to bed early since the alarm was set to 4.30 am.

"Wake up Hawk!". That's my name in Asia for those who don't know. I went down and we had nice warm breakfast. It was quite cold during the nights in the mountains, so warm food was very welcome. We headed up for the summit after food. Buds and I went in front and had a good pace to the top. We chilled a bit up there and enjoyed the view from the trees we sat in. The others came with the food and we had a delicious lunch on the top. The sun was shining and life was good. We got some nice pictures and headed down again. At base camp, wine bottles and brandy waited together with food. Buds gave me a hand made miniature of a fish trap that he had made out of straws. He was pleased with the speed I had held down and rewarded me with this prize. It was very cool since I seldom get presents with some sentimental value attached to them. Sitting around the fire and tables, Tagalogs and guides, we all had an excellent evening with gongs and eagle dancing. I was supposed to dance the wedding dance with Lyka, one of the girls, but alas, Ernesto snatched her in front of me. I had such a great time and the guides sang songs for me and made promise not to forget them and that I would come back. Such an awesome group of guys. I wish them all the best until I see them again and everybody who likes trekking should definitely check out Sabangan! A great experience! As the evening got colder and darker, people started to tuck themselves in. Buds and Ronald kept it going by the fire, while Roger, a very drunk trainee guide, Lyka and Tesa sat at the table. They were pretty hammered and had half a bottle of vodka left when I went to bed. Apparently they finished it all and Tesa passed out on the table. The others managed well, but Roger's Indiana Jones hat felt tighter the following day. I went to bed alone, but I definitely wasn't alone. I could hear the rat but was never sure if it was under me, in my room or over me. In the end I was so tired I didn't care and slept until the next day.

Third day of the hike was a walk in the park, i.e. rice fields. At the village we split up and I said good bye to the Manila crew and the Sabangans. I had to move on to Sagada and I thanked them all for a brilliant four days. Russel and Sexy were home and gave me the instructions I needed for my next mission; delivering some books at a village close to my next destination. We parted and I headed for Sagada with the local bus. There I checked into a hostel for the first time since the one in the jungle in Sabah. A cave tour was on at one o'clock and I joined for a very cool experience under the ground. On the way to the caves. we saw hanging coffins and lime stone formations. Inside the cave were some beautiful rock formation, ponds, rivers and coffins. The group that went through included a guide, a gay Filipino, a fat, annoying Spanish girl and myself. The Filipino was funny because he knew he couldn't do anything and was laughing and scared all the time. The Spanish girl always did the opposite of what the guide said. smiled foolishly and explained that she knew best. Smiling to the guide all the time and asking why he is mad didn't make it any better. If you are a girl, which always says the opposite of the guide and does not follow instructions, and laugh stupidly after every hazardous thing you do, please change personality. The caves were amazing and definitely worth exploring. It was cold in Sagada and I actually went to bed because I was freezing. I also needed to get up early the next morning.

I got the 6.30 am Jeep to Bontoc. There I dropped off my stuff at a local inn and got some books that Russel had delivered. The owner drove me one kilometer up the hill before he got a flat tire. I got off, burnt my leg on the exhaust pipe for the n'th time and started walking to the village. Walking uphill and running the flats and downhill brought me to Guina'ang before schedule. I met the principal of the local school and we chatted a bit before I gave her the books from Russel and she took me to see some of the pupils. I visited two fourth grades and one fifth grade. I had a little talk about Norway and they got to ask questions. Now the kids know my grandparents names and that we don't have mammoths. The most fascinating  was the concept of winter darkness and midnight sun. They found that very hard to believe and very exciting. That is actually true for everybody, also the adults I tell it to here. I had lunch with two teachers and the principal. They had made delicious food which I could eat as much as I wanted from. But I had to say grace first. I shared with them a tone deaf "Å du som metter en liten fugl" and we started eating. (I just googled this little prayer and I found out I've been singing 23% of the prayer wrongly all my childhood).They also got themselves some fun facts from Norway. After running a kilometer I got a ride with a truck down to Bontoc and picked up my stuff and took the bus out of the mountain province.

The whole province reminded me a bit of Jesus. Son of god born in a stable. The best humans I've met, live in the humblest homes I've seen.




Manila - Sabangan

Friday night I spent with friends at the weekend market. There was so much good food there and the crew I was with was very nice. The next day I went to Vikings, a luxury "eat all you can" place, to show them what a viking is good for. The biggest buffet I've ever attended. They had so much there, and I could make my own desserts and tap my own beer. I ate so much, I didn't eat for the next 24 hours. It was so cool and I recommend everybody that goes to Manila to pay it a visit. Go hungry and make you money's worth!:) Sunday I checked out the American memorial cemetery.I spent some hours there before meeting with Mike and some German guys for dinner. At midnight I left for Baguio with the night bus.

Early morning in Baguio and Mike and I went up to the fancy country club to test out their breakfast. My place in Baguio would be up on the hill in an international school. My new hosts was a lovely American couple with a small kid. They were so friendly, almost difficult to describe. When I got there, the nanny let me in and I was shown my room. Being knackered after the short sleep on the bus, I fell asleep on the bed immediately. When I woke up, the Americans were home and we sat and chatted for a while. They were both teachers and they explained me how things worked around in the area. Another couch surfer that I had contacted was going out and invited me to join. I said good bye to the Americans for now and went off.

High five! That's how I got greeted by Gay, which is not gay. That made me smile right away and we walked over to her friends. After a short jeepney ride we ended up at a bar with live music. Her friend's boyfriend was playing and we were checking it out. Accompanied by six cute girls and a tower of beer, life in the Philippines continued to be great. All the guys in the place smiled and came over to shake my hand, and all of them were jealous haha. The second day in Baguio I spent walking around and checking the market and town. The flower festival, highlight of the year, was on and the whole city was quite busy. In the evening Gay and I ate and went up to my Americans for a round of Carrcasone! I hadn't played boardgames in a while and we had loads of fun. I also got crushed, which was not so much fun.

The next morning, a rough five hours bus ride would take me up into the hills of the mountain province. Parts of the road missing from mud slides and steep cliffs on the side don't make this a trip for the faint hearted ones. While I was there, there was a bus accident with fatalities. I got off in a small mountain village called Sabangan. The only reason I did so, was because my next host lived there and it sounded interesting. I got off at the local police station which didn't seem very busy. They even offered me to sleep in the cell for free if I needed to. While waiting for my host, I played volleyball with the police officers and the staff of the town hall. They were training for the local derby.

Russel, my host, showed up and brought me home to his place. He's helping out villagers in the surrounding area and is very passionate about his work. It is fun and nice to see someone who has an inner fire for something. One of his projects makes useful stuff out of rubbish and the brand is called Trashure. If you ever see it, now you know where it's from. I slept at his humble home in the guest room. I also got to meet his girlfriend who is called Sexy. The cold evening air in the mountains was soothing and I fell asleep early after a Chaplin movie we watched. Tomorrow would be the first day of my magnificent mountain experience!







I landed in the Philippines and quickly got hold of a prepaid Sim card. My goal was to couch surf the country and a phone was essential for this quest. I got to see some nice hard core traffic in to the city from Clark airport as well. At Ayala station I would meet my first host Donna, or miss Giggle as we shall call her. A smiling Filipino, not uncommon, that is giggling all the time, also not uncommon. She had gotten consumables and was going to a spa resort with her cousins. She had told me I could come, but I didn't really believe it before I saw it. A couple of hours in the car with her and her giggling cousins, the tall and the tiny ones, and we were there. The rooms had jacuzzis and there were swimming pools outside. A couple of days earlier I had been in the jungle so this was quite an upgrade. First things first, I tried out the jacuzzi and had my first contact with hot water in a couple of weeks I think. We then had a beer and an evening walk around to check the spa. I had a room for myself and the girls shared one, four of them in one bed haha. They said it was for my own good or else I would've been gang raped.

The next day started with a nice breakfast and then a swim in the outdoors pool. The girls had a race and I was the ref of this paralympics event. After the swim we went inside and had a fifteen minutes jacuzzi before my massage. It's tough being a couch surfer in the Philippines. We had lunch and my first Halo-halo (mix mix, they tend to say things twice, I don't know why yet) a dessert made out of loads of things. When we checked out, the receptionist found it strange that the four girls had shared one bed. Why didn't they come and ask for a couple of extra beds in the room? I promised I wouldn't tell her cousins haha. In the afternoon we went for an excursion to Jose Rizal's home. He is a national hero and I got the history lesson of the day. About time since the girls were getting a bit tired of all my questions. We went to Taal, the world's smallest volcano and sat there, enjoying the view. We had some snacks, breaking the slogan of one of the tiny ones: "commit to fit". An evening trip to Caleruega and checking out the chapel there was a nice ending. As dinner I had my very first mushroom burger. Miss Giggle dropped me off in Makati, the business area of Manila. There I walked up to find my next host, Mike Torres.

Mike is a food enthusiast and writes a blog about eating in the Philippines. He has three books with restaurants that he goes through, eating out three times a day to make sure he visits them all. He took me out for lunch and showed me some Filipino cuisine. Taking pictures and writing down the verdicts, the whole meal got documented. If you have any interest of checking out what I've been eating, check the latest entries on this link:


Miss Giggle had taken half a day off work to come and pick me up and go with me to an orphanage funded by Norwegians from my home county. My private driver was able to get us there without getting lost once and smiling we entered the orphanage with the Norwegian flags swaying outside. I got out of the car and started chatting with the two Norwegians that were there. They gave us a tour around the place and we got to see what was going on there. Some nasty stories with uncles paralyzing their nieces and incest were only some of the stories we heard. Still the kids were smiling and laughing, which I found hard to believe, and they liked playing with us. Darkness came and it was time to go home. We went up to Mall of Asia, which is guarded by armed guards like every other thing in Manila, and had a ride in the Ferris wheel and listened to some local cover bands.

The next day Mike and I got up early and headed down to lake Taal again. He had vouchers for a buffet down there and we were going on a day trip to test it out. The restaurant was in a hotel and it was nice. There was a lot to eat, and like every other buffet, it had reason to fear me. I ate loads of good food and was even able to compose my own halo-halo. I have to admit it is a cool and good dessert. The view over the lake from the hotel was even better than the last time I was there, so it was cool to see the lake from another angle.

The days in Manila went by and I went to museums, cemeteries, restaurants and the bureau of immigration. I spent the time with Mike and Giggle and planned out my trip around the country with their help. I would have one more weekend in Manila before I left for North Luzon.

Photos come later.


Kota Kinabalu, or Jefferson as I like to call it

Back in Kota Kinabalu I contacted my couch surfing host and he picked me up. Tim, as he is called by humans, his friend and I went out for some evening snack before we joined a couch surfing evening at a local pub. We were met a lot of nice people. The Canadian from Sepilok also showed up and we all had a good time chatting and having a beer. A small group og us then moved on to a little food court which sold smuggled beer from Labuan. Cheapest beer in KK hehe. We stayed up too late for an old guy like me and drove home to Tim's place. He lived in the nicest area of KK and this was clearly an upgrade from the jungle hut I had had a couple of days earlier. Polite as I am, I accepted his offer to sleep in his bed and make him sleep on the couch in the living room. After all, couch surfing means pushing your host onto the couch.

The next morning a nice fellow came in and greeted me while I was still in my boxers. Nicholas, Tim's brother, had arrived from his night shift at the hospital and was eager to see what the brother had dragged into the house. The three of us then went out to get some morning coffee and a light breakfast. The Pang brothers were a lot of fun and conversations never seemed to die. Tim spoke German and Nick spoke with a Geordie accent. I didn't expect to hear either in Malaysia. Miss Volgograd also came and had a chat with us. A Malaysian girl that studied seven years in the infamous city of Stalingrad, where Paulus got crushed by the Russians. I didn't know that the Malaysians were everywhere, but they clearly are!

Moving on from breakfast, we picked up a french cs bloke, Jules, and went for lunch. Another two girls, Val and Angel, came along and we had a nice time finding out how many cows they were worth. Good to know if I come back for a Malaysian wife. We dropped off Nick and Jules and went to play get some strange jelly dessert and play some pool. In the evening the Pang's and I went to pick up Sadiq, a Nigerian friend of theirs, and we went to a very nice bar called Station One. The two girls from earlier arrived as well and I enjoyed good company my last night in Malaysia. That eveing I also got beaten by a local Philippino at the fish market. Ending the night with some sega rally at the arcade in good Asian style and a walk at the pier made the day complete. The girls drove us home and they all enjoyed an evening chat while I fell asleep on the couch. I'm not used to being up after 12 anymore.

Tim took me out for breakfast at a place run by Filipinos. The girls serving us were super nice and cute and were laughing all the time. They didn't want my last ringits as tip and gave them to Tim. So far Malaysia has been the friendliest country I've ever been to and EVERYBODY in this country seem to be fed niceness through their mother's breast milk. Meeting these Filipinos here makes me hope the Philippines will be the same way! I had some brilliant weeks in Malaysia and I had a smile on my face when Tim dropped me off at the airport. I then checked in and was ready and excited for a new adventure! I hope my coming hosts don't read this last part.



We left Brunei with boat to a duty free island called Labuan. We spent an evening there, strolling the streets and eating cupcakes. The next morning we took a boat ride to Kota Kinabalu, the biggest city of Sabah. The ride was pleasent and we spent the hours watching Korean pop music and nanny McPhee. We checked into a guest house called Lucy's when we arrived. She locked us up in the evenings and slept with the key. A nice place, but quite hazardous if a fire would break out. James visited a friend that was on board a cruise ship that was in town. Sloppy, the girl and I went out to see if we could arrange a mount Kinabalu trip. Unfortunately it was a public holiday and the travel agencies were closed. Instead we wandered off to the bay and mall. We played some games at the arcade and had waffles.

Early in the morning the second day we headed up Kinabalu national park. We got up to a nice lodge in the mountain side with a nice view and fresh air. Being limited by time and funds, we arranged for a one-day trip to the summit of the mountain for the next day. The first day we only strolled around the foot of the mountain until the skies opened and the rain pored down on us. We spent the rest of this day in the little museum they had there, looking at some huge insects. Half an hour in the museum shop, mocking Rainman shopping gay hats was also fun. In the evening we were resting at the lodge, reading books and watching The Voice.

In the morning at seven o'clock we showed up at the park and got ourselves a couple of guides. We started walking up to the base camp. It was quite steep and we spent an average of thirty minutes per kilometer. When we got to the base camp it started raining a lot. Trying to get to the summit proved too difficult and dangerous. At 7.5 kilometer the guide advised to stop, and five minutes later, the park ranger called him and ordered him to stop. The last kilometers are quite steep and one has to hold a rope. The rain started to flood the mountain side and it got slippery. The rope wasn't the best under these conditions either. Walking there was probably one of the scariest things I've done so far on my trip. Gutted by not reaching the top, we walked down again four hours. We were cold, wet, tired and disappointed, but it had been a massive day. Looking back some days later, it was actually very nice, although we failed to reach the top. The view was stunning when we were able to see through the mist. And watching the clouds and mist flow over the tops was also cool.

A taxi driver picked us up the next day and took us to the hot springs. We had a canopy walk first and then splashed around in the pools. The water was boiling hot and I was only able to put my feet into that water. The time had come to move on. We jumped into a bus that took us to Sepilok. While James slept with his head comfortably on a poor Malayan's shoulder, Amir and I were laughing our asses off. We enjoyed watching pictures from messy nights in Bangkok, and when the girl behind us bursted out in laughter, we understood we weren't the only ones looking at these images. It was dark when we arrived in Sepilok and on the way to our hostel, we saw a snake road kill which was quite cool.

After sleeping one night, we went to see some orangutans at the local sanctuary. This was our last full day together and we spent it playing table tennis and pool. In pitch black darkness, Amir, a staff member and I went biking to get some last tiger beers. It was a nice ending and I beat James in every game we played. Good for my self esteem. We were also hanging out with a Canadian girl, and since Rainman had lifted his ban, she was allowed to sit with us. She gave me some insight to Korea and ticket prices and essentially made me add Korea and Japan to my itinerary. The next morning we had a last breakfast together and then I said good bye to the girl and the boys. Three great months travelling together, all the way from Chiang Mai, had come to an end. I was alone again, but it wouldn't be for long.

Tobben, a Swede that had showed up, and I played some games of table tennis before we hit the jungle with a crew of fifteen or so. Among them were a couple of great English as well, a mother and son. The mother beat me in table tennis, the son crushed me in badminton. After a van and river boat ride, we were at uncle Tan's camp in the middle of the jungle. It was a really cool place, with a muddy football pitch, badminton net and a network of huts. We played a bit of football and then the first of the safaris started. We had morning, evening and night safaris, both in boats and on land. It was really cool and we saw a huge python crawling down from a monkey tree, scorpion, spiders, long nose monkeys, macaques, lizards, birds, eagles, leopard car, civet, orangutans and other things. It's the most wildlife I've seen so far. After three days I headed back to the hostel. A German girl that I met at the camp and a couple of Danish kept me company. The guest house had everything I needed and I stayed there three days planning my trip to the Philippines. I was ready to start a new adventure!