Wow. That's the only way to describe my vacation. It covers everything that happened. The cruise was unbelievable and a big upgrade from the last time I was in Europe. That sounds impressive but last time I slept on the floor and frequently dined on peanut butter sandwiches so as long as I had an actual bed and edible food things were looking up.
Being in Europe during the run up to the free agency period was akin to sleeping in one of these:
Did you guys know that the BBC does not do a Canada Day/UFA extravaganza? Instead, I heard all about how rugby players were roasting exotic dancers, how South Africa has not won a cricket match since before the Apartheid Era, or how Wimbledon is the pinnacle of sport. Actually, I read that last one on The Omen's blog on a rare occasion when there was an internet connection available.
Aside from the usual all you could eat/tan/swim nature of the cruise and walking an enormous amount of kilometres during a heatwave (35+ degrees celsius every day) I managed to almost win a poker tournament.
That's a picture of me being slightly stunned after my big slick (paired the king) went down to pocket aces. No wonder they're called bullets.
After going from port to port we settled down in the Makarska Riviera in Croatia for a week in order to recover from our exertions on the cruise. Tough life, I know, but somebody has to live it. Naturally, we decided to walk along top the walls of Dubrovnik. Why we chose to move closer to the sun is beyond me but eventually we made our way down to the beach. Here I am trying to fit in with the locals and their culture of super small and super tight bathing suits. When in Rome...
Thanks to my Croatian cousin and the subtitles on my television I managed to pick up a few handy phrases from "How much does it cost?" to "Give me a kiss" to "Watch how I rip these foreigners off with a smile on my face". Actually, I never got confirmation on the last one but I assume that's what the chiselers were saying. Oh yeah, Europeans are chiselers. We treat them to free refills, condiments, and pliant women and they return the favour by charging us more than locals, makings us pay for condiments, and a 80% portion of the topless women that should keep their tops on. But that 20%...whoa boy.
While it was a constant battle to keep from being robbed blind (my poor Croatian cousin did a lot of bargaining) I did my best to further Canada-Europe relations in the grandest tradition of Vimy Ridge and The Liberation of Holland. Here I am freeing a local from a lifetime of ignorance about the advantages of getting to know a Canadian (read: real not 'euro') male.
You can only imagine what it was like traipsing along the rocky beach while being a doppelganger (I didn't just learn Croatian) for the latest Bond. A compilation of my struggle to deal with this affliction while saving the world will be available November 7th.
It will be tough to go back to maintaining the blog as a daily endeavour rather than trying to ensure that I liberated as many European vixens as possible but the life of a chiseled man of charm and mystery barely holds a candle to being a blogger. I want to extend a sincere and hearty thank you to Chemmy, Greener, and MF37 for allowing me to abandon my pet project (over two years old now) without having to wonder if I'd come back to find that they had taken my Ferrari out for a spin or if the standing shoot on sight order on Moose had been carried out.
I wish I could say that I brought you all back Euro-stunners but the personal duty exemption is three Euro-stunners and I need them all. But you'll enjoy your "my blog-friend went to chase Euro-stunners for three weeks while I did his job for him and all I got was this lousy t-shirt' shirts. Hopefully you're all smalls because that's all that was left in the bin just before passport control. The amazing job you guys did in generating traffic and new members ensures that the ad cheque will keep me rolling in loonies and toonies for hours.
As for today, it'll be a day dedicated to getting back in the grove. It will feature me coming to terms with the buckets of news from around the NHL (read: only the Leafs) and then reacting. Then it'll be business as usual and hopefully an announcement or two.