Tag Archives: Skopje

Kandy, Kandy, Kandy, I can’t let you go…

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There are few cities as deliciously-named as Kandy. Wattanobbi has to be up there, of course, and Grogan, Queensland must rate a mention, but the Sri Lankan city of Kandy tops them all. And I’m pleased to report that I had a really ‘sweet’ time exploring the place.

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“Hey, I can see my cricket ball from here!”

With only one full day to see everything this mountainous municipality has to offer, I wasted no time heading out there door to have fun (actually, I wasted a lot of time by sitting around until 1pm playing video games and dancing around in my undies with the elderly Ukrainian man next door answering emails from attractive female fans). The first stop was the massive statue of Buddha that glares down at the town from atop a steep hill.

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Not this giant Buddha – another one

I love big things, so a gigantic deity is right up my alley (not really, that would be painful). The big fella was erected (Oi! You up the back! Stop giggling!) in 1993, and at 27m tall, is slightly taller than the real-life Buddha. He’s less than half the height of Macedonia’s Millennium Cross, though, so in the dick-measuring contest between the religions, Buddhism loses out this time.

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The offending photograph

I was taking what is commonly known as a ‘selfie’ in front of the big fella, being a bit rude and sticking my finger up at the camera, when I heard a commotion behind me. I spun around to see a couple of very angry monks marching my way, their orange robes fluttering with rage.
“No take selfie with back to Lord Buddha!” one shrieked, raising a large stick above his head. I know better than to punch on with monks – they know kung fu and like to suck blood – so I turned and ran away into the city.

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Some very attractive Lankans

Kandy is compact and there are only about 150,000 people but, like most Asian cities, it’s still busy. The little Sri Lankan blokes dart this way and that, always late for something, never really knowing what they’re late for. The streets are crammed with people and overflowing with scammers (“Hello sir! You are handsome! I want nothing from you! You want to go for beer?”) so I did my best to find somewhere quieter. There’s a big man-made lake in the middle of town, so I headed over there to catch a breather. Turns out, it was the worst place to go for some peace and quiet.

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That smart-dressed motherfucker is off to play some cricket!

As I was strutting around the lake, I looked over and saw fucking TREE CROCODILE just casually lounging around like he owned the place. The big bastard probably eats children for breakfast and fat women for lunch and there he was, sitting around in the middle of the city. Locals were waving their arms around and dancing to to get the evil bastard’s attention, while I darted in the opposite direction. When I heard screaming, I just kept going.

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Shoot it!

The only other thing worth seeing is the Tooth Temple, where one of Buddha’s teeth apparently lays (although you can’t actually look at it, so the story’s probably a load of bullshit). They wanted me to wear a skirt if I was going to go look at that, though, so I spun on the spot, snapped my fingers and got out of there.

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Some more lovely wildlife

One day in Kandy is definitely enough. It’s a curious city that reminds me of a smaller, shittier Guilin, because it’s a bustling place surrounded by beauty and nature. It’s tiring and there are few places to sit down and relax – heading into KFC is pretty much the only way to take a breath without some dickhead in neatly-pressed slacks trying to part you from your money. I definitely didn’t come to Sri Lanka to hang out in places like Kandy, so it’s time to head off to the pristine beaches of Trincomalee to find my destiny…

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Thessalonikis is a great place to go to if you like crap places

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The Macedonians didn’t want me to leave Skopje. Believing me to be the reincarnation of their beloved Saint Cyril, they asked me to stay and reign over their tiny landlocked country, sleeping with as many woman as I wanted and drinking beer as if it bubbled from the earth. But I’ve got things to do, so I said konichiwa and hopped on a bus to Athens, Greece. It’s a long trip, made longer by the fact I had to stop off in Thessaloniki for four hours – just long enough to pronounce the name of the fucking place.

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Mr Handsome rides again!

That’s not enough time to get to know a city, sure, but it’s long enough to know I don’t have to head back there anytime soon. There’s a waterfront that’s basically a concrete path next to a road, some sort of round tower that the locals go bananas for, and a few ruins scattered around the place. Mainly, though, it’s just a fairly ugly city with people rushing around all over the place, tonnes of graffiti and heaps of pollution. Spending time there is as relaxing as turning around to find out your proctologist is wearing only one glove, and it’s on his cock.

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Dude on the left needs a punch in the ponytail

So, yeah, if you’re planning a month-long trip to Thessaloniki, don’t bother. Head off to somewhere like Budgewoi instead! Tell ’em I sent you and you’ll get 10 per cent off the works burger at the fish and chip shop, and they’ll even throw in a couple of free scallops. Give the chick behind the counter a wink and a few kind words and she’ll suck you off, too. Make sure it’s the chick, not the bloke, though – he’s no good at giving head, on account of his broken teeth and ‘inquisitive’ tongue. Great place, Budgewoi.

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While swaggering around, I bumped into Seinfeld creator and Curb Your Enthusiasm star Larry David. I asked him how he was and he said, “Pretty, pretty, pretty good.”

Jesus wept! That’s a big cross!

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After being mistaken for a famous Macedonian saint and worshipped by millions I decided my new-found role as a religious leader (and heartthrob) demanded some research, so what better place to go than the biggest Christian cross on the planet? Luckily, it’s right here in Skopje, so I was able to head over and see it without having to put much effort in.

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Maybe my parents were related before they got married

The Millennium Cross was built in 2008 to celebrate 2000 years of Christianity in Skopje, and is 66 metres tall – or 41 Darryl Braithwaites, which is the favoured form of measurement in Macedonia. It’s an impressive sight, looking down on the city from the top of a 1000m-tall mountain. It lights up at night, too, which is as snazzy as a new pair of pants.

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The Macedonians have a fucking cool flag

There’s apparently a bus from Skopje’s main bus terminal (the 25, with KPCT written on it, according to several internet nerds), but I couldn’t find it anywhere and decided to hike up to see the cross instead. It’s not a long trip, to be honest – an hour at most from the bus station to the mountain’s halfway point, where a very reasonably-priced cable car (or ‘rope railway’ in this instance – those wacky Macedonians!) was waiting to take me to the summit. Good thing, too, because I was as buggered as Candice Falzon was that time she got chlamydia and was told she had to notify all the blokes she’d had sex with in the last month.

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Skopje!

The cable car ride is fun, but not nearly as spectacular as the one I took in Slovenia’s Lake Bohinj. Then again, I didn’t have to listen to angry rap music about punching women, so I’d say it was about even. I sat back and ate my lunch while the green hills rolled underneath me, and it was a very pleasant way to spend a few minutes (that’s something none of my ex-girlfriends have ever said).

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“Hi, kids! Wanna ride with me?”

Once I got to the top, the cross certainly looked impressive – ugly, sure, but very large, like a front rower. To give you a sense of its size, that big Jesus statue in Rio de Janeiro is a full 26 metres shorter than this thing. There’s a lift inside it that was supposedly popped in there to take visitors to the top, but it doesn’t work anymore, so don’t even think about it. You could have a crack at climbing up the outside, King Kong-style, but don’t say I sent you.

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It was built in honour of Ryan Cross-ling (gimme a break, I used up all my good jokes on the Hill of Crosses story)

The view of Skopje from the top isn’t incredible – the mountain doesn’t hand steeply over the city, and there are heaps of trees and shrubs that get in the view. The view out over the surrounding mountains is spectacular, though, and I could see snow-capped peaks in the distance, which was cool.

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Yep, that’s a storm alright

I could also see a storm rolling in, and it looked nasty. The wind picked up and rain started sweeping in, and suddenly it didn’t feel particularly safe being up there. As a tree was ripped out of the ground beside me, a little man raced up to me and frantically yelled that I had to get back to the cable car immediately, because things were going to get worse. Suddenly wishing I hadn’t spent the previous night impersonating a revered saint, I said a quick prayer to the giant cross as I rattled past and plunged into a cable car buggy just as the rain started belting down even harder.

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As I made my way down the mountain, I realised that a tiny cart strapped to a rope high above the ground probably isn’t he best place to be during a wild storm, and I was bucketed around as I slowly descended the hill. I hit my head on the window and lost my lunch as the buggy threatened to crash into the cliff far below. I was sure I was going to die but, mercifully, the buggy finally pulled in at the bottom station, where I was able to walk off on unsteady legs and dispense my dirty underpants in the nearest bin.

I’m a national hero in Macedonia

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I’m a celebrated man in Australia – much-loved writer, paramagliding extraordinaire, and highly-rated lover – but that’s nothing compared to how revered I am in Macedonia. I came to Skopje looking for a quiet few days, but ended up becoming a national hero, beloved of the masses. It happens.

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Bustling Skopje

Skopje is a nice little place, and relatively free of disease. A massive earthquake tore through the place in 1963, so there’s not a lot of old stuff to look at, but what is here is brilliant. Along the the river are grand buildings that certainly look like they could’ve been built by the Romans, and plenty of restaurants and cafes and stuff like that. It’s a nice change to be in a place that’s not full of confusing laneways and rotting architecture.

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He’s proud to be a flag!

But the most notable thing is the statues. They’re fucking everywhere, and they’re massive. The 10m-tall statue of Alexander the Awesome is the most notable, but there are hundreds of others scattered around. There are a couple of bridges that each feature about 20 statues. Sadly, they’re all up on pedestals, so I couldn’t simulate sex with them, which my therapist would say is a good thing.

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What a handsome chap!

There’s a bazaar that isn’t that bizarre, to be honest, but is worth checking out. This place does have winding alleyways, and certainly has strong Asian influences. Like having sex with a girl who is half-Chinese, that’s certainly not a bad thing (well, until she throws you out of the house at 3am and you end up pissing into a Pringles can in a parking lot).

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Abba are huge here – the Macedonians love Lars.. Ian, Sarah and… I dunno, Toni Collette?

After checking out the city I hit the turps, and on my eighth or ninth beer I heard people macking a fuckload of noise up the street. I thought they might’ve been left-wing dickheads torching cars while protesting against something or other, so I downed my drink and trotted up there to sort the situation out. But I didn’t need to start kicking heads, because it was just a few thousand people celebrating something or other.

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You light a fire in my pants, baby!

“It’s Saints Cyril and Methodius’ Day,” lisped some effeminite dickhead in a silly hat, without being asked. ” They were two Byzantine Christian theologians and Christian missionaries who were brothers. Through their work they influenced the cultural development of all Slavs, for which they received the title “Apostles to the Slavs”. They are credited with devising the Glagolitic alphabet, the first alphabet used to transcribe Old Church Slavonic. After their deaths, their pupils continued their missionary work among other Slavs. Both brothers are venerated in the Orthodox Church as saints with the title of “equal-to-apostles”. It was at this point that I realised the cunt was just reading it off Wikipedia, and pushed him in the fucking river.

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Being mobbed by admirers

I got closer to the mob and it looked like a Western Wanderers soccer match – heaps of ethnics chucking flares and acting like wallies. I was taking some photos and trying not to get a headache from the incessant banging of drums, when a young bloke draped in the Macedonian flag fell to his knees in front of me. “Saint Cyril,” he said. A fat bloke stopped banging his drum and fell to his knees, too, and then a couple of spunky chicks. I assumed they were looking at someone behind me and stepped away, but they followed me.

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I fail to see the resemblance

Soon most of the crowd were either on their knees or patting me on the back. It seemed they thought I was this Saint Cyril dickhead (at least they didn’t think I was Methodius – he’s a wanker), and when one of the well-wishers handed me a beer and told me to drink, I went for it. A few of the young spunks started dancing around me, pushing their European arses into my crotch and trying to kiss me. I’m spoken for, so I ignored their advances, but hey, there’s nothing wrong with ejaculating in your pants.

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The bloke standing in the street was hit by a car seconds later

I was chaired through the streets by my loyal devotees and showered with alcohol. And then… well, I don’t know, really, because the next thing I knew I was in a bin and it was midday. I had vomit down my shirt and half a kebab in my hand. Not the most dignified way for a national hero to act, but fuck yas.

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