844 days, 20,256 hours, 1,215,360 minutes, or 72,921,600 seconds. That is the approximate duration of my world tour. I never wanted it to end and now, in a manner of speaking, I suppose it never has to. If you wish to go by country do so by clicking on one above. They are numbered in the order I visited them, more or less. If you enjoy reading about it even a tenth as much as I enjoyed living it then you will not have wasted your time. Grab a refreshing beverage, settle in a comfortable chair, and make a journey across the world, experiencing it as I did. Then get off your ass and check it out for yourself. You're not getting any younger.

Happiest Place On Earth (Copenhagen, Denmark)

Aug 9th, 2010 - Departed Tbilisi at 4:30 am. I mistakenly threw my toothbrush in the garbage and then spent 15 minutes trying to determine where the hell I put it. In the garbage of course. To get to the airport you must traverse President George W. Bush Street. And as you leave central Tbilisi an illuminated picture of GW bids a fond farewell. Lovely, but I believe a more apt appellation for the street would be 'The United States Encouraged Georgia To Push For NATO And EU Membership Then Abandoned It Along With The Rest Of The EU Because We Are All Big Pussies And Don't Want To Piss Off Mother Russia' Avenue. Too verbose?

After Georgia I continued on to the next logical stop: Denmark. Just a hop, skip, and a jump (via Riga, Latvia). Why? Two reasons. First, it's the happiest place on earth. Seriously. Year after year the Danes find themselves atop the happiness index. Who wouldn't want to go there? I was hoping to curl up in a nice warm blanket of peaches and sunshine. Second, I'm an idiot.

Initially, I was a bit disappointed. I had expected to walk out of the airport in Copenhagen to find a festival-like atmosphere punctuated with grinning clowns juggling on unicycles while singing in unison with prancing pedestrians making their way along a rainbow colored path. No such luck. What I did find was an exceedingly pleasant city stocked with friendly folks and an extremely hospitable atmosphere. It is a jewel of urban planning with clean well laid out streets and beautifully manicured parks. Traffic is not a problem as there are just as many people on bicycles as are driving vehicles. The public transport system is second to none. You can even find Wifi on the buses and trains. The harbors and canals are not only good for a pleasant stroll they are also clean enough to swim in. I had hoped to catch a glimpse of the iconic Little Mermaid (statue) sitting on top of a rock in the harbor but as it turns out the little nymph is in Shanghai for the world expo. Talk about disappointing. Instead they have a television screen with a live feed to the Danish Pavilion at the expo placed in the water where the statute normally sits. It's just not the same. I guess I'll just have to fly to Shanghai if I want to get a peek at my favorite sea trollop. 

The depth and breadth of social welfare services in Denmark might be one reason everyone is so friggin happy. I'd be smiling too if healthcare and education were gratis. Want a long paid vacation(s)? Poop out a couple of puppies. Women get something like six months paid (full salary) maternity leave. Hell, even I'd consider getting pregnant with that kind of system. 

Of course it's not all gravy. Taxes are sky high, making the price of everything astronomical. My friend and I ordered sushi at a cost of 1.2 million dollars (Actually, it was $100 US but close enough). Want a vehicle? Plan on adding somewhere in the neighborhood of 200% in taxes (you can pay in cash or body parts). Income tax is a real punch in the testicles as well. I am still not quite sure how anyone can afford to do anything. 

I mentioned that I'm an idiot. That's cause I am. This is what happens when you visit an ex-girlfriend with a High Fidelity-esque 'What did it all mean?' attitude. Yeah, it went that well. Just to ensure awkwardness I accepted aforementioned ex-girlfriend's invitation to stay at her place. Good thinking. Although I was technically invited the experience was much more akin to that of annoying relatives dropping by unannounced. Except here I was announced and, unlike the brand of relative to which I refer, I was acutely aware of my sphere of annoyance. I felt like a stray dog that wandered into the house undetected and proceeded to a take a voluminous and rather pungent dump on the couch. This was the atmosphere until about half an hour before I got on the train. It was then I was informed about how much I would be missed and given an extremely warm embrace to underscore the sentiment. Uh-huh. I guess at the last minute she realized that the dogshit on her couch smelled pretty good after all. You could say I was bewildered when the train pulled away from the station.

But it was still worth the visit as I had a chance to explore Copenhagen, a city I have long been curious to experience. This entailed me cruising the streets on a woman's bicycle while simultaneously trying to maintain my balance, avoid getting hit by vehicles and fellow cyclists, and not ripping my balls off on a seat designed for the opposite sex. For the most part I accomplished my mission albeit with a little less panache than I might have hoped. And then there are the natives. The female natives. I must admit that after some of the places I have been it was refreshing to encounter such a large volume of altitudinous and physically attractive (in the Scandinavian sense) English-speaking females. A mere stroll may not jive with my experience but if you hop on a bike and whiz through Copenhagen during July I assure you they will come at you in waves. I was as giddy as a school girl. Maybe next time I'll even talk to a few. 

I also had the pleasure of visiting another friend who recently had a beautiful baby girl named Sofia. I suppose most babies are cute but Sofia appears to have received a few extra sprinkles of adorable dust from the stork that delivered her. My evidence is below. Case closed.

I reluctantly decided to depart for two reasons: 1) The awkward social snafu I found myself in; and 2) I did not want to spend a zillion dollars.

Germany, here I come.

"Women are like teabags; you never know how strong they are until they're put in hot water." Eleanor Roosevelt

My favorite sea trollop

Probably not what I'm thinking

High five!

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'Love me or hate me, but spare me your indifference.' -- Libbie Fudim