Howzit Boet

19 07 2013

Before we get started I would just like to say that I am proud to be a Safa (South African) and although I have a very dry British sense of humour, I do talk and think like a Safa at times. So here are a few South African colloquialisms, personal points of view and tit bits for any of you that may not get the gist of what I’m saying or where I’m coming from:

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  • South Africa: it’s a country, not a general area in Africa and no Mr American I don’t believe I have met your mate George from Kenya.
  • I don’t hate black people but there are a few I will make an exception for, Robert Mugabe, Julius Malema and my high school science teacher being obvious examples.
  • We call traffic circles round abouts
  • South Africa is not all that backwards, mofies (also known as being ‘of the gay’) can be legally wed and unhappy as the rest of society here, we have the Internet and its google machine, we have a democracy that is no more corrupt than most western countries (they’re just not as good at hiding their activities yet) etc
  • Our president, Jacob Zuma, has 6 wives (and counting), 20 kids (that we know of), an arms deal corruption charge, a rape charge and his own catchy back track about fetching a machine gun or some shit.
  • We are liberal minded at times. I once asked to see a girls boobs and she actually showed them to me, we aren’t even married.
  • A Dutchman (Afrikaans person) is like a normal person except they wear khaki clothing and drink coke wiff (sic) their brandy.
  • We have robots as traffic lights (not really, we just call them robots)
  • We play much better rugby than Australia.
  • We have 11 official languages.




Remember me?

30 11 2013

Fuck. Where to start. I've left this blog for far too long and lived an entire lifetime to try and catch you up with my travels in one coherent attempt. So I'm just going to ramble on a bit before getting back to the happening of the 'where and when's'.

99 Red Balloons

When I started this blog I wrote something about how I knew who I was and that I wasn't trying to find myself. Well, with the clarity of hindsight I can unashamedly admit that I was lost. It's not that I've found myself or even had a major epiphany but I've definitely changed and all for the better.

Right now I could easily and without any guilt of conscious open a brothel, sell marijuana or raise money to study the migration patterns of unicorns because why the fuck not? The laborious rigidity of society's norms just does not make sense to me anymore.

Beer Pong Champions, kinda.

What is normal anyway? I've heard a truck play the happy birthday jingle while reversing (apposed to the dreary warning beep beep 'normal' trucks make), I have seen drop dead gorgeous women who have a bit of extra luggage below their hips and a Vietnamiese guy jabber on in fluent Russian…

Traveling truly does broaden the mind, and I'm not talking about a planned holiday (nothing wrong with that though) but going out and getting deliberately lost because you want to. Sure I had a rough idea of which direction I wanted to go but I was fortunate enough to have the flexibility to spin my compass bearing in a wayward direction on a whim, an easy whim to have if your choice is between two dudes or a beautiful Argentinian (it's me not you lets just be friends) and a Bubble Boy (long story) and even then I was exactly where I wanted to be.

Right, enough with my non-sickle ramblings, let me give this post some body and provide any of you who may be interested with some traveling trips for SE Asia:

Cheers
Squat Toilet

1. Go traveling, you won't regret it.

2. The second rule of fight club. Just do it.

3. Vietnam would be a good place to start traveling because the guesthouses give you free soap and shampoo. Seriously, I don't think I need to waste money on toiletries for the next few months.

4. Don't let a Russian choose the music.

5. If you think she's a ladyboy, it's a ladyboy.

6. If she is too beautiful, it's a ladyboy.

7. If she approaches you first, it's a lady boy.

8. Remove your pants completely before using a squat toilet.

9. When driving a bike or any motor vehicle in SE Asia hoot at everything, other modes of transport, pedestrians, suspicious looking rocks, everything.

10. French people don't like being called surrender monkeys.

Well that's all I have time for kids, have fun and keeps safe. Daddy's watching.

Tubing in Vang Vieng, Laos

Cool Springs

3 day bike loop in Laos

 





Meh

7 10 2013

Hey, I know I haven't written anything for a while and apparently 101 of blogging is that you have to regularly update/ post/ blog/ whatever; but let me put it this way, if the blogging police were hanging off the edge of a cliff and the only thing that could save them was a fuck and I happened to walk by with a pocket full of fucks, I would not give them one because I just don't give a fuck right now.

It's kinda like those chops who go to a concert and update Facebook every 15 minutes proclaiming the awesomeness of the event, when in reality they are sitting on their phones and missing what is right in front of them.

In a nut shell I have left Nong Khai and went to Sang Khom, Loei, Phitsunolok, Sukothai, Chiang Mai, Pai then to Laos, Huay Xai, Luang Namtha, Muang Sing, Luang Probang and now I'm in Van Vieng and getting ready for tubing tomorrow.

Maybe I'll get som e time to update this blog soon, maybe not.

 

In the mean time here's a picture of a dog in a swamp.

 





Nhong Khai

22 09 2013

Nong Khai, Nong Khai, Nong Khai… I can see myself loving you long time.

Nhong Khai

It would be hard to convince anyone that hasn't been here the charm of this sleepy little town on the river banks of the Meakhong River bordering Laos. There aren't many tourist attractions, thank fuck for that, just a crocodile farm (I gave that a skip) and a sculpture park with monumental 4 story sculptures and a 'wheel of life' where you pass through a penis via the vagina as a sperm and walk a circle clockwise passing sculptures which depict stages of life from foetus to funeral. It's of course not a real cock and vag, it just sounds a lot more filthier than it should, I guess that's why I liked it, which makes a welcome relief to all the temples you are bombarded with in Thailand.

The entrance to the wheel of life. Note the teeth on the vag.

Train Ride

I was wrecked by a train trip that should have got me to Nong Khai at 05:30 but in Thai time it was more like 11:30. I checked into my guest house and KO'd until sunset. Slightly bored and hungry I gripped my wallet and walked the streets in search of food and drink. I settled for some street food and an over priced beer at a Thai bar with live music. Nothing special.

My second day I realized that there are 2 basic types of foreigners in Nong Khai, those doing a visa run over the Friendship Bridge (yeah, Friendship Bridge. It sounds like it was built by the Carebears using nuts, bolts and love) and those that come but stay indefinitely; and the ones that stay here live extraordinary lives or have a extraordinary life stories.

Sculpture Park

Sitting at the 10 seater table on my 2nd night I was surrounded by scientists, lawyers, physicists, doctors a retired 3 Star General, a computer geek who lectures at M.I.T etc; just a complete melting pot of PHD's. Then there was of course me (I get people drunk for a living) and Jimmy, who was on a 2 month trip of Southeast Asia but has been in Nong Khai for 6 weeks already… Eating vanilla cookies. That's all he did, sat and ate vanilla cookies.

Sitting at that table and feeling daft but captivated, I listened to their tales of how they are trying to cure liver cancer by studying a river fluke and how they are making promising inroads into understanding Crohn's disease by studying tape worms. It was completely surreal.

Another attraction of Nong Khai was possibly the most beautiful Thai lady I have seen working at the reception, except she had an Australian accent? That knocked me for a six. Turns out that she is in Thailand to try and find her biological parents, which she had just found! She was unfortunately already shacked up with an Ozzie bloke (the town drunk who I naturally made good friends with), the good news is that she is one half of a twin so there is hope yet.

Again I have over stayed my welcome and need to move on so I'm catching a bus up the river to Sang Khom…

 

 





Pak Chong

14 09 2013

Escaping Bangkok with my sanity barely intact I took a 3 hour bus trip to a town called Pak Chong, the closest town to Khao Yai National National Park.

Being dropped off on the wrong side of Pak Chong (an unwanted theme seems to be developing here) I trekked 8km to my guest house. There isn't much to be said about Pak Chong mostly because it's shit but also because mother says that if you don't have anything nice to say 'hou jou bek'. Khao Yai on the other hand… there are not enough superlatives in the Oxford English Dictionary to describe it. Hand on my heart, I have not seen anything in my life to match its beauty, not even an Afrikaans fluzy in full bloom at a brandy quenched matric dance could match it.

Day one I took a guided tour with an ex monk, Anon, through the jungle of Khao Yai. When I wasn't been attacked by blood thirsty leeches I had time to look up at the ancient trees and vines to admire gibbons swing from branch to vine and crash though the jungle. Coming out the jungle and reaching the jungle plains we spotted a lone elephant. Being a bit of a spoilt African I was mildly amused by the comparatively small elly. The paranoid German newlyweds who took the tour with me loved him a bit over enthusiastically, though. To put the 'enthusiasm' into context, this couple spent a good half hour staring at a frog, yeah a fucking frog.

We ended the tour walking down to a waterfall in full flow, that was special to me.

Another theme that seems to be developing here is that I have a knack of finding the town drunk. Being my last night in Pak Chong I decided to go out for a quick pint (yeah right), not knowing the area I asked my ex monk guide, Anon, where to go. As luck would have it he was the town drunk and was happy to take this falang (foreigner) to his local karaoke bar.

What an experience. Being the only English speaking person there I set out teaching the local Thai night wildlife the only English word they had learnt to date, which was cheers. I then spent the next 6 hours clinking bottles and 'cheersing' the locals every few seconds (they loved it and I was happy to comply), with a brief interval of no 'cheersing' when I was summoned by the towns chief of police to his table, (a table ladened with bottles of alcohol, plates of food and a few beautiful Thai ladies scattered around the edges) it seems he wanted to meet this bewildered falang attracting all the attention away from him. We did the usual pleasantries with the helpful translations of Anon, with a slightly awkward moment when I had to guess his age, I guessed 52, seventy something was correct. He guessed that I was 43! Apparently my gorgeous beard spawning on my face makes me look old, absurd.

The following day my train out of Pak Chong was only leaving at 21:30 so I had the chance to take a half day tour with Anon. This half day tour involved a trip to a small Wot (temple) built around and into a cave. I was fortunate to meet the monk of the temple who blessed me and gave me a necklace for protection, fuck yeah im protected now! We then went for a goof in a local spring with crystal clear water (perfect for a mild hangover) and ended of the day watching millions upon millions of bats leaving their cave in a thin line snaking over the young mango trees.

Needles to say I'm feeling blessed in life now and really living life happy.

Tired but content I was dropped of at the train station to get to Nong Khai…

 

 





One night in Bangkok

10 09 2013

One night in Bangkok and the worlds your oyster.

I know how cheesy and cliched that is but I honestly don't have the words to explain Bangkok, its just that nuking futs.

A maximum of 2 nights in Bangkok turned into 4. Bangkok just has a way of keeping you here, not sucking you in with her majesty but more like a kidnapping with instant onset Stockholm syndrome induced by drowning at the many many bars on the now infamous Khao San Road.

Khao San Road

Arriving at Suvarnabhumi Airport it took me a good 2 hours just to pluck up the courage to get out of what felt like safe ground and venture into the unknown. Deciding to experience as much of Southeast Asia as possible I gave the taxi a skip and used the Sky Train, not only was it cheaper it offered some amazing views of Bangkok.

Coming of the train and feeling rather chuffed with myself I decided to jump on the back of a scooter with my backpack securely fastened and find a place to crash for the night. Never ever again. It was almost a trip I did not survive to regret. Wizzing around the streets of Bangkok I hung on for dear life, the way a fat baby hangs onto its mother tit, all while the driver was content on sending text messages, dodging buses and squeezing into impossible gaps at break neck speed, he even had time to inform me that the price of the trip had doubled. He had me by the nuts and he knew it.

Little Side Street in Bangkok

When he was done skinning me and dropping me of at the wrong place I trudged the streets of Bangkok for 2 hours dodging tuk tuks and sweating from the windows to the walls until the sweat dripped off everywhere until I found a decent backpackers.

The rest of my time in Bangkok all feels like a blur, not just because of the drunks scattered all over but I was really just finding my feet. I did manage to see some rather incredible shit though. I managed to sneak past security and cleaning staff to the top of Bangkok's tallest building (84 flights I think, 43 of which I climbed with a really cool guy I met), I took the river boats and hoofed around some awe inspiring temples and went to a ping pong show… ladies you will be absolutely amazed at what you can do with your Cupids Cupboard and gents you'll be absolutely disgusted at just what the Punani is capable of.

View from the Top

Although Bangkok is a great city and an even better starting point to travel Southeast Asia, if you threw a stone down the street you are bound to hit a tourist (falang in Thai) or a 7- Eleven, at night you would probably hit half a dozen hookers too.

It's now time for me to get out and explore so cheers for now Bangkok, love you long time.

 





Day 1

4 09 2013

Here we are. My travels have started. I've done all the nitty gritty and mostly boring planning shit, planing has been very minimum at best though (I'm going on mostly a wing and a prayer) and as I sit here writing I fear that I may have made some rookie errors already. Number one, just because duty free sells comically sized bottles of tequila for dirt cheap, does not mean that you have to drink it when you land in a foreign country.

Number 2, don't give your e ticket and passport to a pretty Indian lady in uniform. Luckily I still have about three quarters of a bottle of tequila and 8 hours until my connecting flight from Mumbai to Bangkok. I should be alright?

My expensive Tequila

 

 

Ok, scratch that. I now have my passport and a boarding pass but they confiscated my bottle of tequila. To make things even more cherry I just paid R110 for a tequila at the only bar I could find in duty free. I think I'm going to just KO on a bench and try it all again when I arrive in Bangkok.

 

 

 

 

Before I go I just want to pass on a few innocent observation:

  • I've spent an entire day budget on tequila already. Most of which I never had the pleasure of drinking and I have not even arrived in my destination country yet.
  • I see a lot of travelers but I don't look like them yet, mostly because my clothes are clean and you can smell the deodorant on me.
  • I smell delicious curry everywhere but all I can see is KFC, Pizza Hut, Sub Way etc

That's it for now folks. I'm gonna find that bench.

 





Living Life Happy

24 07 2013

“Something has to change. I have a lot to be grateful for and I know that.

SO WHY THE FUCK AM I SO UNHAPPY?

This is not a cry for attention and I don’t need you to reach out to me and help. I’m just sick and fucking tired of having to remind myself of how fortunate I am when I look about and see all kinds of general fuckery happening around me.
Society is fucked as a whole and I honestly do not see anyway of changing our doomed existence. So what reason do I have to fight it? Will it change? Fuck no it won’t.
I figure my best bet is to make the most of what I can and stop worrying about all the arse holes out there besides the one I sit on.
So fuck you to society, fuck you to capitalism and fuck the way we have been programmed to think.

I’m out.”

I wrote that after the wake of one of the best guys I will ever know, Juzza. Although it is over the top dramatic and not really who I am, it was the spark of what’s to come.

Shortly after that night my hippie housemate, (he’s not really a hippie, just an artist with long hair) went to India on a whim to see his girlfriend and urged me to to come with but I had the standard excuses;

” I can’ dude, what about my job? I have to think about my future”

I decided to do the next best thing and changed jobs, a change is as good as a holiday right? I went from managing a very successful night club to managing one of South Africa’s top franchised restaurants with classier clientele. Let me tell you that money doesn’t buy class.

After working 72 hour a weeks and being treated like a servant I eventually snapped and decided to stop over-thinking everything and just let go. Letting go for me was backpacking Southeast Asia for a while. It wasn’t about finding myself, I know who I am, it was about living life happy.

It has been the best decision of my life so far.

Since letting go life couldn’t be better, shit just seems to be happening for me, I was even offered a job for when I get back without even looking for one.

Now I’m busy setting up for SEA and leave in just over a month, here is where I’m at now…