Written January 2011 during the redecoration of my bathroom
Caribbean April 1999
I realy didn't took much pictures as this was in the pre digital camera era
Tuesday 13th of April 1999 and I signed off M/T Stena Barbados at Pointe-A-Pierre anchorage together with the Captain and one of the ABs. Our Agent drove us to Holiday Inn in Port of Spain where we arrived late in the evening.
We checked in at the hotel and we had a few beers in Captains room before going to bed. Yes, it was late and everything was closed. I meet Captain and the AB in the reception the next morning, they were leaving for the airport and we had some orange juice before they left. Well, I poured vodka in my juice so it didn't took long before I was tipsy.
There was a travel agency at the hotel so when Captain and the AB left for the airport I went to buy my tickets.
There were a few places that I wanted to see. Among them Puerto La Cruz in Venezuela. I was told that this was the party place #1. I also wanted to go to Puerto Rico so I bought the following tickets: Port of Spain - Barbados - San Juan - Caracas - Puerto La Cruz - Caracas - Aruba - Curacao. I would land in Curacao 2 hours before my flight to Amsterdam was departing about 2 weeks later. Yes, I didn't want to spend more time than necessary on Curacao, I really found that place boring.
I had a good night out in Port of Spain and it was really fun. I had found that I liked Trinidad best of all the islands we visited with Stena Barbados. The people are friendly and it was like “If you like Trinidad, good, you're welcome. If you don't like it is your problem” attitude. This was a big difference from the other islands where they were dependant on the cruise ships.
If I remember it right I stayed 2 nights at Holiday Inn in Port of Spain. I think I left for Barbados Friday afternoon. I remember that I was on the same flight as some, I think it was Beach Volley Ball team from Trinidad.
Arriving to Barbados and I had the same trouble with the Immigration, they wouldn't let me in to the country because I didn't had any hotel reservation. Yes, I think the Immigration experience on Barbados have been the worst I have ever experienced. Same when I was flying from London to Port of Spain with the flight change on Barbados. Well, anyway, right there and then I decided never to go to Barbados again.
They finally agreed to let me in to the country and I took a taxi to some hotel. I ended up at a hotel smack on the beach, and as I remember it was somewhere between Bridgetown and the airport. But it can have been anywhere on the island. You could jump in to the sea from the restaurant, but the hotel was something like Hotel 27 in Bangkok. Of course, much more expensive and I think I paid almost 200 US per night.
Barbados was very expensive, but never mind, I was there to have a good time and not to think about the prices.
I checked in and I took off to explore the night life. I was at several pubs and I ended up at a night club on the beach. Of course, didn't take long before I was banned.
I meet another guy and he knew the DJ at the disco. We tried to sneak in from the beach but the guards were very vigilant and we were stopped as soon as we tried to get in.
We ended up in the DJ's house later on in the night.
- Aladdin just came from Trinidad with the latest music.
Obviously back then the music came from Trinidad to Barbados, well, I guess it's a wee bit different today with internet and stuff. Well, anyway, we spent the night listening to music while drinking beers.
One of the guys drove me home in the morning and we had an appointment to meet later on in the day.
When I woke up I discovered that I was suffering from a severe hangover and I stayed in my room all day long. Yes, I really felt so bad that I never had before. And on top of that I had to spend most of the day in my shitty hotel room.
Yes, it was terrible and I never made it to the Italian restaurant where I was going to meet my friends. But I had to leave my room when a taxi driver came by to pick me up. Obviously, I had booked a tour around the island with a taxi driver when I had been drunk the previous evening. MOTHERF@CKER!
We took off for a tour on the island, and the tour included the highest peak on Barbados. It was a terrible tour and I was glad when I was back on my hotel.
I had forgotten all about my hangover when I was sitting on American Airline's flight to San Juan. As soon as we had taken off I ordered a beer from my new seat in the last row. I had changed seat before taking off due to 350 kg lady. I was sitting at the window when the giant came and took the seat next to me. The flight was almost empty and I was just waiting for her to make her move towards a new seat.
No sign of any movement, maybe due to the fact that she couldn't move, for sure looked like they had dropped her from a helicopter in order to get her down in her seat.
Well, so I had to make the move and after takeoff I got my beer. One beer, didn't take me long to finish the beer and I asked for one more.
- You only get one beer for free
- Ok, so charge me
They brought me a second beer and I paid them, I think 5 US. 10 minutes later I asked for another beer.
- Sorry, only 2 beers per flight!
- What the
So I hurried through the US Immigration at arrival to San Juan and I took a taxi to a hotel. The driver knew a place within walking distance from the beach. A quick check-in and I was off to drink more beers.
I ended up at a bar not far away from my hotel. I ordered a beer and I started to talk with the guy next to me. He was drinking ABSOLUT vodka on the rocks. Yes, the American way to drink vodka.
If I remember it right he was from New York. ABSOLUT vodka turned in to a giant success in America when they banned the Russian vodka after the attack on Afghanistan.
It didn't took him long to talk me in to drink vodka. Well, and yes, the last thing I remember is me taking a taxi from Old San Juan back to my hotel in the morning.
I woke up, back then the hangovers wasn't all that bad, except the one on Barbados. I took the 2 minutes' walk down to the beach and I spent a few hours in the water before returning to my hotel. The rest of the day was spent in the old part of San Juan, a beautiful old city.
Monday 19th of April 1999 and it was time to leave for Caracas. I had planned to stay for one night at La Guaira. Close to the airport so I could leave for Puerto La Cruz the next day. At arrival to Caracas International I went to check out if there were some hotel information at the airport. Well, I was not lucky so I had to ask the taxi driver.
He took me to the Grand Hotel in Caraballeda a nice hotel. Caraballeda, how do I remember that name. No I don't, but I took a picture from my hotel and as this is 2011 it was just to check the satellite picture over the coast of Venezuela until I found the place
Yes, there was even a picture of the hotel and it looks a wee bit run down. I checked in and I took off in search for some night life.
I took a taxi and a bit up the road it looked like there were a lot of people on the streets so I asked the driver to stop. I was soon sitting in a bar drinking beer with 3 or 4 other people. We got drunk and we took off in their big, but old and crappy American car in search for a disco.
And while writing this I also realise that there must be something wrong with the date stamp on my camera. Well, the time is most likely set on Bangkok time. Cannot be European time because the arrival pictures and the pictures from my hotel are all from the 19th of April according to my camera.
And I know for sure that the pictures from my hotel are taken the day after I arrived. I arrived to my hotel late in the night and it was dark so the pictures was taken when I checked out and I was leaving for Caracas domestic airport going to Puerto La Cruz
I was looking forward to 4 or 5 days in Puerto La Cruz. Full of expectations after hearing so much about the place. I arrived in the afternoon and I took a taxi to a hotel not too far away from the beach road.
A quick shower and I were off to all the fun along the beach road Paseo Colon. What a disappointment, only restaurants. There was exactly ZERO fun and I changed my ticket and I returned to Caracas again. One night in Puerto La Cruz was more than enough especially since there was nothing in English to read. Impossible to find something written in English, not even a news paper.
Yes, it was very nice to leave Puerto La Cruz behind and I was looking forward to a good night out in Caracas. And the Stewardess on the domestic airlines in Venezuela was something special.
When I took the flight from Caracas to Puerto La Cruz I thought that there must be a GO GO dancers convention in town. The airport was full of girls in the shortest skirts I ever seen and with boots going up well over half of the thigh. And a shirt in the size of a hanky and a sexy hat, well, I was soon to find out that they were the Stewardesses.
And the airplanes, must have been thirty years old. Leather seats and wooden trays, but they were very comfortable. And I was quick to order a beer. And I can't remember any American Airline Scooby Doo rules about how many beer you could drink during the flight. And of course, I took advantage of this.
So when I arrived to Caracas airport I was in a hurry to get a taxi and first stop on our way to Caracas was to buy beer. Then I told the driver to take me to a hotel close to the big walking street, the only place I knew since I was here back in the 80's. I don't know the name, but I got a hotel close to the place.
It was a quite nice hotel and when I checked in I asked for the local night life. Always good to get a few pointers regarding the night life from the locals when coming to a new place.
The hotel had a limo and they told me that they would bring me to a nice place. Limo, I was looking forward to this, travel in style.
They told me that I needed panta longas but I told them that I only had shorts. OK, no problem and we took off in the limo. Well, the limo was a real junker and I was scared during our trip. And that's' even though I was a wee bit tipsy.
The driver dropped me at a pub and I had a few beers. The music left a whole lot to wish for so I were soon on my way again. Next stop was a small pub. I stopped because I saw some people playing guitars outside the pub. Turned out it were two guys from East Europe.
I meet a few Venezuelans at the place and we took off in their car. We visited different pubs and we ended up at a disco.
The only thing I remember from the disco is that we had to cross a river or canal to get there.
Well, it was quite nice to leave Venezuela, next stop Aruba. I was looking forward to Aruba. I had only been there one time before when I spent a few hours in Oranjestad on Aruba while on M/T Stena Barbados. Aruba, plenty tourists so I expected there to be some very good night life.
Yes, the last day in Venezuela was terrible, a hangover force 9,6 and there were only Spanish on the TV, nothing to read so the boredom drove me out on the street. I was walking around Caracas trying to kill the time.
Last night at the hotel and it was nice to wake up and leave for the airport.
I had to change flight in Curacao so I took the opportunity to leave my luggage in a locker at Curacao airport. I would soon be back for my KLM flight back to Sweden from Curacao. I found a hotel at arrival to Aruba, and I discovered that I had forgotten my snus in my luggage that I left behind on Curacao. DARN!
Yes, my mood went from good to bad. I had snus but I had to start thinking about how much I used and this was nothing I fancied. I had a quick shower and I was off to the city centre.
Turned out that I had been lucky when I bought my tickets back i Port of Spain. My flight from Aruba to Curacao was full so I had to buy a business class and I was thus sitting in row 1 when going back to Curacao. The flight was delayed and I would have missed the KLM flight to Amsterdam if it hadn't been for me getting off the plane as the first passenger.
I had trouble getting onboard the KLM flight, but after a little bit of nagging I was alowed to check-in. I meet our Cook from Stena Barbados onboard, he had signed off a few days earlier and he had spent the time on Curacao. The flight was almost empty so each of us had a complete row of seats. We were flying over and cloudless Atlantic but as soon as we approached Europe we had clouds all the way to Amsterdam and the same on my Amsterdam to Göteborg flight.
I had been home for 2 or 3 days when me and my friend filled up his car with paint and beer and we drove down to Mölle to paint my house.
We soon realized that the drinking beer business was our thing. So I hired someone to paint for me. My old neighbours invited us to coffee.
- No thanks, we don't have time. Maybe next time.
But they refused to take no for an answer so we had to go over and we spent hours drinking coffee and eating their homemade cookies. Dinner, they wanted us to come over to eat dinner and as it was 16 years ago since I moved from Mölle there was a lot to talk about. And the daughter, when I left Mölle behind she was a baby, or a few years old. Now she had turned in to a gorgeous woman.
Sunday 2nd of May 1999 and we drove back to Göteborg in the evening and it was quite nice to leave Mölle behind after 1 or 2 nights. For sure, if I would have lived in this small village I would have turned crazy. Yes, there is not very much going on in Mölle.
I had to go home to Bangkok for a few weeks and my plan was to come back to Sweden in June when the weather was better to continue the painting. I was back in Sweden for the midsummer and I lived in my friend's apartment in Skärhamn and I was driving to Mölle almost every day.
My friend was working on the commuter boats in the archipelago in Göteborg. Taking passengers between Göteborg and the islands West of Göteborg. And they are very busy during the summer with all the people from Göteborg is going out to the islands for swimming and sunbathing.
And the summer of 1999 was a very nice summer. Sunshine and blue sky everyday so it was quite nice to drive to Mölle everyday to check out the painter and the progress.
Friday 25th of June 1999 and it is midsummer. I had planned to spend the midsummer in Mölle and I stopped in Göteborg to meet my friend before continuing to Mölle.
I left Skärhamn in the morning and I drove to Saltholmen in Göteborg to visit my friend working on the boat. We had a chat and I was soon on my way to Mölle. I had a few beers at Restaurant Intim before taking a taxi to Skälderviken to visit a friend. We continued from Skälderviken to Båstad where we celebrated midsummer.
And Båstad was not very fun and the taxi ride turned out to be a waste of money.
Saturday 26th of June 1999 and my friend from Skälderviken came to Mölle to help me burning all the old stuff in the garden. I had a British guy on painting detail and he was almost finished with the whole house.
He was upstairs painting while my friend and I were in the garden collecting all the shit to burn. And as we had the fridge full off beers so we really enjoyed ourselves.
I called the fire department in Höganäs to get permission for a bonfire in the garden
- We don't give permission. But now we knows' about it if someone calls to report a fire.
- Ok, so it is just to start the fire?
- Be responsible!
Yeah, be responsible. Took less than 5 minutes before they called from the fire department.
- We have several complaints!
Yes, we had a real bonfire going on. The neighbours were screaming from their houses that we should put out the fire. Well, all neighbours except one. They asked if they could put some of their garbage on the bonfire.
- You're more than welcome!
And God did they had garbage to burn. We flames 5 to 6 meters in heights and all the trees in my garden were burned. The painter from England came out in the garden for a beer. He started to cry when he saw the bonfire.
- Reminds me of England. Everyone has a bonfire in the garden. Never really sees it in Sweden.
Didn't take long before we grew tired of the fire and my neighbours took charge over the bonfire while we went to drink beer.
Saturday 3rd of July 1999 and me and my friend drove to Mölle from Göteborg. We had another friend from Göteborg coming to join us later on. He finished his work on the boat in the afternoon so he would join us in the evening.
My friend and I drove to Höganäs to buy some stuff at the hardware store and to rent a trailer. Even after the bonfire we had plenty garbage to get rid off and after all the complaints last time I decided to take it to the garbage dump on a trailer. And we had loaded all the garbage on the trailer and we were in the garden drinking beer when our friend arrived from Göteborg.
We were sitting in my garden drinking beers enjoying the nice weather. I don't remember where we went in the evening. But I remember that they delivered wine to us from Restaurant Intim. Well, I had called restaurant Intim to get the OK and then I called my neighbour in the marina so he stopped at restaurant intim to pick up a few bottles on his way home.
I also remember me taking a shower and suddenly I hear a big bang on the door. Obviously my friend felt lonely, I was in the shower and our other friend had passed out in the bathroom on the bottom floor.
So he wanted some attention and he obtained this by banging a bottle of wine on the door. Motherf@cker! What the is wrong with you? The whole door turned in to scrap. What is going on in his head?
Sunday 4th of July 1999 and I left Mölle with my trailer and when I came to Nyhamnsläge, I had made it almost all the way to the garbage dump, I ran in to a police check point. My trailer loaded with trailer was sticking out like a sore thumb. The trailer was three times bigger than the car. Well, never mind, the police stopped all the cars and they tested all the drivers alcohol level. And for sure, after last night I would have failed the test.
I stopped the car and I jumped out of the car in order to put a meter or two between me and the police. I didn't want them to smell my breath. But my hope faded when I saw them testing all the other drivers.
- Your trailer looks a wee bit big for your car
I started to talk about my trailer and I was running around the car making sure I was on the opposite side all the time. I managed to keep the police busy for 20 minutes by asking 1000 stupid questions about the trailer.
- OK, I will park it here and I will go get a bigger car
- OK, the police said.
I took off to Skälderviken to borrow my friend's car without having to go through the alco test. When I came back to pick up my trailer the police was gone and I also found out that the garbage dump was closed.
I had to go back and I threw all the garbage in the garden and I returned the trailer in Höganäs before driving to Göteborg. I rented a big garbage container and it was outside the house next time I came to Mölle.
And all my neighbours wanted to throw garbage in my container as well. No problem!
Wednesday 7th of July 1999 and by the looks of the pictures my friend took of the mast from their sail boat. On the 7th of July so it seems a wee bit strange.
Well, the mast is on at the pictures from June so I don't know what they did. But it doesn't make sense to take off the mast in the middle of the summer.
Wednesday 14th of July 1999 and the house was ready and I was soon to be leaving for my next ship. I was going to join Alstern around the 25th of July. Nothing for me to do in Skärhamn or in Göteborg so I decided to take a tour to Berlin. And when going there I could have a night in Copenhagen and a night in Hamburg. PARTY!
I would stay away for 4 days and I would be returning to Sweden Sunday night. I drove to Malmö and I parked the car at the train station and I walked across the street to the ferry and I was in Nyhavn about 1 hour later.
I had not been in Copenhagen for many years and I didn't recognised Nyhavn. Used to be a rundown area and beer had never been expensive in Copenhagen. Well, the whole of Nyhavn had got a face lift and the beer, expensive and they only served draught beer. I want my beer from a bottle so this was a disappointment.
I had several beers in Nyhavn before going to have a look for a hotel. I found a hotel close to the train station, good when I will get my train to Hamburg tomorrow morning.
Thursday 15th of July 1999 and I had breakfast at the hotel before I walked to the train station. I bought a ticket and I had a few beers while waiting for the train to Hamburg.
I was a wee bit tipsy when the train arrived to Hamburg. I had had a few beers on the train, and of course, a few beers on the ferry between Denmark and Germany.
I checked in at a hotel next to Hamburg train station and I took a taxi to Reeperbahn. Reeperbahn had turned in to a place with many bars and pubs since many of the brothels disappeared with the AIDS. So they place had actually
turned in to a place where I could find many nice places.
is a street in Hamburg's St. Pauli district, one of the two centres of Hamburg's nightlife and also the city's red-light district. In German it is also called die sündige Meile (the sinful mile).
I ended up at a place with a juke box with only Ramstein and it looked like the crowd were BZ's. If I remember it right there were houses West of Reeperbahn that was occupied back then. I had been there a few years earlier for a few beers.
Friday 16th of July 1999 and back then the hangover wasn't as big problem as it is today. But anyway, it was not like being 20 and I remember this trip. I had a jar of Korean SUPER Ginseng. Might have been my imagination but I felt like a million after a fist full of Korean SUPER Ginseng. Of course, didn't take long before the Korean SUPER Ginseng was a total waste of money. This is when I discovered the B-12 vitamin. Well, that lasted for a few months and today (2011) there is nothing to alleviate my hangover except to stay in bed watching DVDs.
I went to the train station across the street and I got on a train to Berlin, first time for me in Berlin in a united Germany. Last time I was in Berlin it was still West Berlin, the best party town in the world! So I was looking forward to a weekend in Berlin.
I arrived to Berlin with the train and I checked in to a hotel not far away from the Bahnhof Zoo.
Friday afternoon and I was looking forward to the night life. I had a quick shower and I went to a bar for a beer. Last time in Berlin and Kreuzberg was the place for the night life.
a part of the combined Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg borough located south of Mitte since 2001, is one of the best-known areas of Berlin.
Kreuzberg, colloquially also known as X-Berg, is often described as consisting of two distinctive parts: the SO 36, home to many immigrants; and SW 61, roughly coterminous with the old postal codes for the two areas in West Berlin.
Kreuzberg has emerged from its history as one of the poorest quarters in Berlin in the late 1970s, during which it was an isolated section of West Berlin to one of Berlin's cultural centers in the middle of the now reunified city.
But as this was Berlin and not West Berlin so I thought it would be a good idea to ask about the night life. The bar tender suggested that I should go to former East Berlin. The alternative scene had pretty much moved to East Berlin.
I spent Friday and Saturday in former East Berlin with BZ and punk rockers. I meet a graffiti artist and he had done some very nice work in one of the clubs. So I invited him to Bangkok so he could decorate me walls in my condo. I told him that I was going to pay for the paint and the ticket and I liked the idea. But, well, as there were some delay with my condo it turned out to nothing.
I took the train from Berlin to Malmö, Skåne in Sweden via the ferry between Germany and Trelleborg.
I lived at Grethes Tourist Home in Göteborg for a few days and my friend picked me up in the morning of the 24th of July. He drove me to the airport and I took a flight to Umeå where I joined Alstern. I had had a good summer holiday at home and it was nice to sign on again.
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