TICKED OFF

But honestly though, going to Loch Ness was really cool. The loch was beautiful and it was a close jaunt from Inverness (the city where I was staying). Very cool, you should go.

lochness4

I had one setback, though. To get to Loch Ness, I had walked along the highway on the east side of the River Ness, which doesn’t have much sidewalk. I had to squeeze against the side of the road and jump fences for 8 miles to get there. I was happy when I finally got to Loch Ness but was not looking forward to taking the same route back.

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Fortunately, when it was time to go back to Inverness, I found a footpath that ran alongside the river. I didn’t know if it would lead all the way back to Inverness and I couldn’t find it on a map, but I decided to follow as long as it would lead me.

Following this path was a lot nicer than hopping fences and walking on the highway. It went through a quiet forest, past small cozy houses, past big fancy houses, through some kind of abandoned graveyard, then back into the forest.

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Eventually though, the path became thinner and the forest became thicker. Wearing shorts, sandals, and a T-shirt, my entire body was rubbing against grass, leaves, and branches.

I’d been walking a couple hours, so I stopped to take a break. I sat down to drink some water when I noticed a small dot on my left leg. It was about the size of a lentil and had four tiny legs (kinda of like a spider), but I couldn’t see the head.

I quickly recognized that the thing sticking out of my leg was a TICK, and after inspecting my leg more closely, I realized that there wasn’t just one tick in my leg but two, three, four, five, SIX, SEVEN, EIGHT!!! My only experience with ticks was pulling a blood-filled one off my friend’s dog and reading about Lyme disease in Boy Scouts. So I did the most logical thing: I panicked.

I quickly opened my backpack and found my bug spray (I’d had bug spray the whole time, why hadn’t I sprayed myself?!!) and covered my legs. Then, remembering terrible stories about people finding ticks in their nether regions, I ripped all my clothes off and drenched every inch of my naked body with bug spray.

Since this was my first time having a tick (TICKS) on me, I wanted to get back to my hostel as soon as possible so I could get my tweezers and pull them all out. I was only halfway back to Inverness, but I knew I could get back in less than an hour if I ran. I pulled my clothes back on and ran toward where I thought the highway was; I WAS NOT going back into the forest.

I ran through another field, lots of tall grass, some bushes, over a fence, past some houses and was soon back on the highway. I ran until I was back at my hostel. I was so tired and hungry, but I went straight to the bathroom with my tweezers and started pulling ticks out. One, two, three, four … I lost count after ten. After pulling out every tick I could see, I jumped into the shower — where I noticed yet more ticks sticking out of my leg. I spent at least a half hour pulling ticks out of my leg and cleaning my leg with soap and water.

Visiting Loch Ness is cool, but if you’re gonna walk there, take the path on the west side of the river and don’t wear shorts and sandals in the forest unless you want to get naked naked in ticks.

P.S. No, I didn’t get an STD from the ticks (Scottish Tick Disease).

Get to Loch Ness in 6 easy steps

Most people want to go to Loch Ness and pay their respects to the Loch Ness Monster aka our underwater ally, but also most people haven’t been to Loch Ness, probably because they lack the knowledge of which amulets, rune spells, and passknocks will help get you there. Luckily for all of us, I went to Loch Ness last July and I can tell you how to get there.

If you want to go to Loch Ness, follow my advice. I’m an avid traveller and Nessie fan.

Step 1: Get to Scotland. According to basic geography, Scotland is the country where Loch Ness is. Starting from your country of origin, you can board the closest airplane, bus, boat, scuba driver, narwhal, drawgon (it’s a drawing of a dragon that comes to life and can fly), flying pony, or spacetime jumper and ride it until you get to Scotland.

Step 2: Fit in with the locals. As with any journey, you need to fit in with the local inhabitants if you’re gonna make it very far. Your first option is to dress like a commoner: in Scotland, the men dress like women and the women dress like men. If you’re unsure whether an outfit in feminine or masculine, try a unisex outfit like this:

ladydress

Another option is to wear invisibility garb, which will make you undetectable to everyone but high-level wizards.

invisibilitygarb

A final option is to dress as a wizard, but only do this if you’re prepared to duel regularly.

floralladydress

Step 3: Travel to Inverness. There are several settlements surrounding Loch Ness, the largest and most accessible is called Inverness. Once you reach Scotland and are wearing appropriate clothing, head to this city. Inverness is 8 miles from the loch itself, but you won’t find a bus or train that’ll take you closer.

Even though Inverness is the largest city in northern Scotland, it’s still pretty small, so if you stay there (which you probably will) be sure to book a hotel or hostel ahead of time. You can also pitch a tent next to the river if you want, but be aware of river trolls and kelpies.

inverness

Step 4: Follow the river. To get to Loch Ness from Inverness, follow the River Ness south. You can follow the river by taking a local bus, renting a bike, walking, hitchhiking, running, or riding a forest stallion. Be aware that the preferred currency of the region is nebula amulets, but basically any other amulet will work. Except sparkle amulets. And fart gems.

If you decide to walk to Loch Ness, there’s a safe footpath on the west side of the river, as opposed to the Path of Rage and Gore on the east side. If you encounter a vampire tree on your way, use passknock combination 3R-5R-1L.

IMPORTANT: Loch Ness is 23 miles long and THERE ARE NO bridges that cross the loch or river once you’re out of Inverness, which is good cuz that means there are less trolls, BUT it also means you need to know which part of the loch you want to see before you head out. Are you planning to siege Urduhart Castle? Better take the west side of the river. Looking for the lost graveyard? Better take the east side. Are you taking a boat tour of the loch? Better find out where the boat docks before you leave.

Step 5: Enjoy the scenery. The landscape of Scotland is among the most Scottish in the world. Enjoy the land’s natural beauty, whether you’re sitting on a bus, a forest stallion, or your own two feet.

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Step 6: Chill at Loch Ness. If you’ve followed all the steps correctly, you’ll arrive at Loch Ness.

Actually being at Loch Ness is pretty weird though. When I got there, people were just, like, water skiing and having picnics and doing other lake stuff, kinda like it was just a normal lake and there wasn’t a giant monster that lived there. Idiots.

I maintained a respectful distance from the lake’s edge and cast a protective spell over the lake and its local inhabitants and all those who seek for the peaceful existence of our underwater ally.

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lochness2

Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants in Las Vegas: Do they live up to the chef’s reputation?

Note from Gordy: This great post was written by someone who isn’t me. I love getting contributions. If you want to write about a fun place to visit or great food to try, email me (gordygordyblog@gmail.com) or send me a message in my comment box (click the link). 

Gordon Ramsay has been a household name for sometime now. He’s not only popular in the US but in many parts of the world due to his many successful television shows. He’s currently a judge and the “demon chef” host in the critically-acclaimed show Hell’s Kitchen.

Ramsay has several restaurants in Las Vegas and they are being used as a key component to attract foodies to the city. Apparently, Las Vegas is facing many financial burdens at the minute, what with online casino and bingo platforms slowly overtaking the land-based entertainment options that litter Sin City’s iconic Strip. Bingo halls aren’t as popular as they used to be in the early 90s, thanks to online bingo providers’ various reward promos and innovative games centered on popular TV and movies. It’s the same for Las Vegas’ casinos, as people don’t need to travel to Nevada anymore because of live dealer apps on smartphones. Because of this, Las Vegas is trying hard to attract customers through other means, and this includes hosting restaurants that bear the name of Michelin-star chefs such as Ramsay. So far, Ramsay seems to be the popular choice in Sin City as he currently owns two restaurants in Las Vegas namely Gordon Ramsay Steak and Gordon Ramsay BurGR.

Gordon specializes in beef dishes. Not only do his restaurants in Vegas use said protein, but also his signature beef wellington dish is well known on Hell’s Kitchen. Let’s see what the people are saying about his dishes.

Gordon Ramsay Steak – Paris Las Vegas

It seems that the Michelin-star chef lives up to his legend with this restaurant as most people seem to be satisfied with the service. Opentable has an overall 4.4/5 rating for the restaurant, while Yelp users gave it a 4/5. According to the reviews, the Beef Wellington Steak is always a winner, and is as tasty as it looks on TV. Other steak offerings such as bone-in rib eye and Kobe fillet are also the best sellers of the restaurant.

Gordon Ramsay BurGR – Planet Hollywood Las Vegas

His BurGR restaurant seems to be a winner, too. Among the 6,240 plus reviews of the restaurant on Trip Advisor, he was able to get a 4.5/5 rating. On Yelp, it’s 4/5. Some people are calling Gordon’s burger “The best BurGR they’ve ever tasted.” His truffle fries seem to go really well with the burgers, too. The place sells bacon made from duck meat, and it seems to be one of the reasons that keep people coming back for more.

Love him or hate him, Gordon seems to walk the walk. He may have a potty mouth but the people’s feedback is testament to his abilities as a world-renowned chef.

5 common mistakes Americans make while travelling abroad

Americans are some of the coolest people ever bar nun, but even we make mistakes while travelling sometimes. The rest of the world isn’t like America, so to help you avoid the same mistakes a lot of Americans make, I’m here to help. I’ve travelled abroad a lot and I’ve become a master of plending into the local cultures while still representing the USA, so let me tell you the five biggest mistakes Americans make while travelling abroad and how to avoid them.

1. Not sleeping enough. The world is crazy. 5 am in California might be 5 pm in Nevada. If your body tells you to lie in bed all day, you better do it. When you’re travelling out in the world, you don’t want to be cranky. Sleeping helps you maintain a good attitude. Plus the less people see you, the less you can disappoint them.

2. Not lying enough. Let’s be honest – America is a really cool country. Don’t disappoint the international community by going into the world and being like, “I’m just a normal person who went to high school and now I eat pancakes a lot.” Tell them about how your family lives in the mountains and shoots at old cars for fun because of “the government.” It’ll sound really exciting and maybe even make them want to visit.

3. Missing the chance to be mistaken for a celebrity. If there’s one thing everyone in the world loves about America, it’s our Famous People. We have so many Famous People and the world loves all of them. Most Americans resemble at least two celebrities (for example, I always get mistaken for Ryan Gosling or Justin Guarini). So, if someone asks you for an autograph, just be like, “Sure, which celebrity do you think I am?” then sign that name.

4. Reading minds too much. I mean, I’m not sure if most Americans can read minds or if it’s just me, but people don’t like it when you stare at their foreheads without asking any questions. If you’re gonna get to know the international community, they prefer you do it with words. So, try to ask things like, “Where are you from? What country? Where is that? Where am I? Who are you? What is Obama?”

5. Spontaneous combustion. Just don’t do it.

So these are my tips for thriving in the international community. They’re all really appropriate and will you helpful.

If you love me, follow me on Instagram and Twitter. Okay.

I hated Japan.

McKay AhPing is not me, but I guilted him into writing this post. If you want to write for Gordy(Gordy)Blog (travel tips or photos, funny stories, etc.), send me a message on the contact page.

Now that you’re reading my blog, let me tell you how amazing Japan is!

 

Imagine a world where crime doesn’t exist.

Hint: This world doesn’t include Washington, D.C.

 

 Imagine a world where fat people can just say they’re training for a sumo match.

 

 

Imagine a world where your train floats on magnets.

 

Imagine a world where your butt gets more pampered than your face.

Hint: This isn’t the Clinton Presidential Library/Massage Parlor.

 

 Imagine a world where common people treat you like a dignitary.

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Hint: This isn’t Jersey.

 

Imagine a world where prison, cat, and maid cafes deploy their hoochies to lure you in.

Imagine a world where Hello Kitty comes in breakfast form.

Imagine a world where everyone else is so formal they make you feel like a slob.

You’re wearing jeans? Ew.

 

 Imagine a world without children.

Birthrate: -1.4 and falling.

 

Imagine a world that blurs the lines between dreams and reality.

Imagine a world where you can reserve a karaoke room like you can a restaurant table.

Imagine a world where people can become Christmas decorations.

Imagine a world where you’re blinded by flashiness.

Imagine a world where fashion comes first. Then work. Then video games. Then maybe family.

Hint: This isn’t Wal-Mart.

Imagine a world with both chaos and perfect order at the same time.

Imagine a world where ancient meets modern.

Imagine a world where gamers come out of their mothers’ basements.

Imagine a world where cat ears are socially acceptable.

“Im on the right track, baby, I was born this way.”

Imagine a world full of ramen, curry, sashimi, and sushi.

Imagine a world where your toughest choice is which Coke machine to use.

Imagine a world of both excitement and zen.

Imagine a world of ancient trees and holy forests.

Imagine a world where heaven meets earth.

Hint: This isn’t Utah.

 

Imagine dat.

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To find out about cities around the world, visit McKay’s blog WhatToExpectIn.blogspot.com.

Picture vomit: Taiwan

These are some pics I took of some places I went during my last week in Taiwan. 😉
Sun Moon Lake Wen Wu Temple
After being in the big city for two weeks, it was nice to bust out and get into nature. We (my fellow white American teachers and I) were able to visit rural areas, including this temple on a secluded lake in the foothills of Taiwan. The grounds are pritt, the temple is made from granite and jade with super cool carvings, and there’s a stairway with 365 steps leading down to the lake (one step for every day of the year). You gotta check it out.
View of the lake from the temple.

Steps leading down to Sun Moon Lake.
Took the liberty of taking a shot with my birthday stair.
Alishan
The word “shan” in Mandarin Chinese means “mountain,” so Alishan just means Ali Mountain. This mountain is part of the mountain range that creates the spine of Taiwan. It’s a real popular place for peeps to come and watch the sunrise. Just be sure to bring a jacket or sweater so you’re warm enough. Also, bring running shoes so you can appreciate the scenery on a jaunty little morning run.
View from up top.
The forest.
The beach!
I got my fingers in this pic for artistic purposes.
Honestly, I don’t love Ocean (because sharks and fish), but when it’s hot and humid outside and you haven’t been swimming in three weeks, it feels pretty good to put on some jaunty European swim trunks and dip in water for a bit. We took our tour bus down to Kenting, which is a party destination on the southern coast of Taiwan. We swam in the evening and partied all night. It was trick.
#jaunty
#nightlife
Crowds block traffic because #nightlife.
So these were my some neat places places in Taiwan. I appreciated them.