Posted in Writing

Moving to Malta, Mind-fucks and Megabus Gold

This site has become a poor excuse for a gaming blog. For reasons out with my control I have been console-less for a criminally long time and so instead of writing about games, I appear to have turned my life into my very own, really shit RPG that doesn’t even have any dragons. I have the storyline quests (my ongoing articles in which I talk about becoming single, moving to London or going to Thailand to “find myself” only to find myself mostly drunk) and then I break them up with unrelated side quests, articles where I go on rambling tangents about inspirational quotes and why I dislike vacuous, happy people so much. This article falls into the storyline category and is about my newest quest that is so fraught with danger and intrigue that one might even class it as a franchise title of its own. The Oblivion of Elder Scrolls for example.

After coming back from Thailand refreshed and with a new outlook on life (and also discovering that it was impossible for me to afford to live in London on my own without returning to the days of living like a hobo student), I decided that it was about time I constructed a plan to find myself somewhere reasonable to live.  This development happened to coincide with a trip to Malta to attend my school reunion. I flew over in June last year and had a week out there that was so unbelievably, mind-blowingly, fantastically fucking awesome that I couldn’t even begin to do it justice in this paragraph. It deserves an entire article to itself which I will save for another day perhaps.

Anyway, the sun was shining, I was surrounded by old friends, intoxicated by dizzying nostalgia and thrown back to a time when everything was just right, where no one questioned my weird accent or love for the Eurovision Song Contest because everyone had a weird accent and a love of the Eurovision Song Contest. One night after a few drinks, Petra (a friend of mine from school who now lives in Croatia) told me that she missed the place and would move back if she had the balls to do it alone. It didn’t take long for me to realise that with no ties back home and a job that allowed me to live outside the UK, she might not need the balls. I could be one ball, she could be the other! We could do it together scrotum style!

I woke up the next morning bleary eyed, still very keen on the idea but expecting it to have become just another drunken plan that seemed excellent at the time but so difficult to execute that it would just disappear off into the horizon like all my other wild ideas do. I had forgotten, however, that we used to live there, we know people there, it’s familiar, they speak English, they drive on the same side of the road, they have Pastizzi, it’s warm. This wouldn’t really be too much of an irresponsible upheaval. This was, in actual fact, an entirely plausible idea and after deciding in Thailand to be a bit more daring with my life decisions, I felt like it was meant to be, that this might finally be my chance. To my delight, Petra felt the same and so we spent the rest of the year planning our big move.

That big move is in four days.  I am moving to Malta in four days. Holy Fuck.

Now this is by no means a forever thing, initially more like a 6 month tester of the Mediterranean island. It’s completely likely that work or life will get in the way and that sooner or later we will have to move on but if after the 6 month trial period I still like it, then I’ll stay for as long as I want to be there.

Before I could leave though, I had some things to take care of back home in Aberdeen. I had to sell my beloved car and say goodbye to all my friends up there. I decided for reasons beyond even my comprehension that I would take the Megabus Gold, a cheap and terrifying coach company that had recently put beds on their buses. Going to sleep on a bus in London and waking up in Aberdeen was too exciting a prospect for me to turn down. The flight is only an hour and a quarter but this 12 hour adventure sounded like much more fun to me.

I had grand expectations for this trip. Because I am a dickhead I actually packed a little sleepover bag like I was going to a slumber party circa 1992. In it I had pyjamas, a bottle of water, a small packet of Oreos, a book about colonial Holland (?), make-up remover wipes, deodorant, a toothbrush, toothpaste and about 18 different chargers because I am a filthy technology whore. All that was missing was Dream Phone and a book of madlibs.

For my journey I wore a sensible mint coloured jumper with a faux-jewelled collar and my nice ‘travelling’ jeans. I sometimes get a bit of hassle for my choice of attire when travelling but I’m pretty sure that I’m not the problem here, everyone else is. When I go to the airport I like to look nice. I wear my favourite, smartest clothes, I put my make-up on immaculately and put root-booster and coconut oil in my hair. “Why?” you may ask.  Well, because I’m away to go fly in the fucking sky that’s why. I’m going to walk into a lump of metal and I’m going to soar through the clouds and when I get off it I’ll be in another country entirely. I have taken about a million flights in my life and I still can’t get my head around how amazing that concept is and yet all you assholes turn up in your jogging trousers, shit jumpers and withered ponytails like you’re getting the number 2 bus into town to pick up your dry cleaning. It’s barbaric.

I love the travelling parts almost as much as I love the destinations. I like to turn up at airports around an hour before I need to just so I can walk around and look at stuff. I sit in bars and cafes and people-watch, wondering where they are all going or where they have come from. The families with young kids who are going on “holiday” and yet look like they want to kill themselves before they’ve even made it through security, the business men and women who eat alone, pissed off they can’t smash some ales down because they’ve got some bullshit meeting to go to when they get off the plane. I then take myself off to the Duty Free and allow myself one luxury. It’s usually something shit by a designer that in any other circumstances I wouldn’t give a fuck about and try to find something that is within my embarrassingly low budget (“Excuse me, Chanel don’t do fridge magnets or keyrings by any chance?”), and of course I have to buy something made by Kinder and a Viz magazine. Then I get on the plane and have a grand old time. Maybe I was born in the wrong era, maybe I should have been Victorian. Remember the nick of them when they used to get on a train? Ball-gowns and all sorts. That’s how travelling should be, a magical event, and I will not relent even if it is for the god damn Megabus. I make the effort in homage to the wonder of travel.

Well I turned up at Victoria station and didn’t I look like a fucking retard. The place looks like visiting hours in a Turkish prison. There were people getting dragged out by police for not paying, others sleeping on the dirty floors and, my god, so much sausage roll consumption. I felt I’d misjudged the situation when choosing my outfit. I wished I’d dressed in my greasy work overalls, it would have been more reflective of my character after all.

I proceeded to get on the bus where the error of my ways became much more apparent. Everyone was wearing pyjamas already, they had gotten on the bus like that, and with no curtains on the bunk I had been assigned I had no way of getting undressed. I had to sleep in my travelling clothes and under-wire bra which was akin to sleeping on a roll of fibre glass filled with horseshoes.

As the bus pulled out of the station and made its way through the streets of London, I soon realised that falling asleep was going to be a challenge. The only thing between me and death was a 20 stone Glaswegian bus driver and there I was, lying disorientated in the pitch dark, flailing around like a new-born goat. Every time he hit the breaks my heart would race because I had no way of seeing if he was breaking for a traffic light or a fireball pile-up of dead bodies and shrapnel on the M25.

I did eventually manage to drift off and I arrived in Aberdeen unscathed the next morning. Despite my complaints, I would genuinely recommend using the Megabus Gold, it’s cheap and pretty hassle-free considering the length of the journey. Just don’t dress like a prick.

I had a few nights out organised so I could say my goodbyes and they were really great. Really. Great. As the time passed I found myself getting more and more upset that I was leaving. I have memories there and good friends and I know it inside out. Aberdeen really is a cunt. To make matters worse, I have been covertly seeing someone in Aberdeen for a little while. Remember that exotic holiday romance that I was fantasising about in my article about Thailand? Well, I got it. Except I ended up meeting someone out there from the fucking Bridge of Don. Who just happens to be awesome. A male version of me with more tattoos, an impressive book collection and an enthusiasm for the gameshow Pointless matched only by myself. He may actually be funnier than me too. Asshole.

To use an excellent analogy told to me by one of my friends: “Being from Aberdeen is like being in an abusive relationship; no matter how hard you try to leave, you just keep coming back for more.” So what started life as what I thought would be a poignant but mostly joyful departure soon became a complete and utter disaster area. There were tears at the airport and long, wistful, contemplative stares out of the aeroplane window as my home town shrank away into the distance. I did not have a grand old time on that flight and the clothes I chose to wear were decidedly more comfortable than usual.

“Stay here Jillian!” The city was singing persuasively to me from below the clouds. “Look what I’ve got for you! Friends, nights out with people who care about you, a potential husband and father of your children, dancing, going to the theatre, drinking red wine in your pjs and watching good movies, so much sex it will make your eyes water. This can all be yours, just say the word.”

But it’s a trick, and it’s not the first time Aberdeen has tried this one on me. You see, after a while the novelty of you moving back wears off for everyone and you don’t see people as often as you first did. It’s no one’s fault, it’s just the way life goes. Consecutive weekends spent dancing to Toca’s Miracle in Vogue will slowly become a 3 month thing, then a 6 month thing, an annual thing, before eventually ceasing altogether and as the weather gets worse you find yourself locked away indoors watching Escape to the Country and playing video games, desperately trying to transport yourself somewhere else, somewhere better. I’m not falling for it again. I can’t fall for it again no matter how tempting it is. I’m 34 years old, I have to get my shit together and this is my last chance to at least try the life I felt I’ve always wanted.

I don’t want to spend my copious amounts of time off from work just existing, waiting for the wind to die down so I can go to Tesco, I want to go for runs along the promenade, I want outdoor yoga that I know I’ll secretly hate, I want beers at Exiles listening to Pink Floyd and writing articles on my terrace whilst looking out at all the jet-skis and boat parties. I want to eat better, sleep better and occasionally party harder. I’m leaving you Aberdeen and I can’t believe how much it hurts. I’m also leaving you London, my little rebound fling with your fun activities, endless gigs and delicious beer and that hurts too, but *insert generic quote about risk taking and facing your fears here*. I’ll see you on the other side my beautiful friends 🙂

Begin Quest!
Begin Quest!

On a side note, there’s a good chance I’ll have a spare room so you are all free to come and visit. Bring rowies.

Posted in Picture, Video, Writing

What Happens in Thailand…Goes on the Internet

Maya

Over the past year I have been making some serious progress through my bucket-list of singledom. I have gotten drunk in Norway, Paris, Cyprus, Malta, Aberdeen, Yorkshire and London. I have been a token minge on a stag weekend in Frankfurt, had laser eye surgery, my teeth whitened, my tonsils removed, been heavily tattooed and am currently in the middle of getting most of my pubes lasered off for all eternity. I have had some pretty spectacular experiences, and a few terrible ones too, but without a doubt this year has been one of my most exciting.

I made this list when I first left Aberdeen at a time when if you’d asked me if I wanted a husband I would have said something along the lines of: “I don’t remember saying you could come up for air sunshine, this bitch don’t pay you to talk.” Recently, however, the once distant thoughts of vague maturity have been creeping steadily towards the forefront of my consciousness and it is for this reason I felt it important to have one last self-indulgent adventure before I began focussing on maybe calming down a little bit.  This adventure came in the form of a three week trip to Thailand and Cambodia with the most inappropriate human being I know, my sister Lisa.

Here she is sucking on a coconut
Here she is sucking on a coconut. Bitch loves coconuts.

Bangkok

Lisa had already been in Thailand for 3 months at a fat camp (or as she put it: “It’s a fucking fit camp”) so the plan was to meet up in Bangkok for a few days before we left for a week in Cambodia followed by ten days island-whoring off the west coast of Thailand. As is customary for any sort of Dingwall-organised activity, it all went to shit on day one when I arrived at my hotel expecting her to be there waiting for me like an excited, dribbling puppy.  Instead I received this phone call:

“Hey, it’s Lisa.  I’m still in Hua Hin, I had prawns last night and just shat all over the bath mat.  I won’t make it to Bangkok until tomorrow.”

Super!

"Two in the pink, one in the stink".......it's an old Buddhist proverb.
Shopping in Bangkok: “Two in the pink, one in the stink” must be an old Buddhist incantation.

Luckily it was pretty late and after nineteen hours of travelling I was feeling decidedly sticky so all I had the energy for was a shower before I K.O’d for the night.  Lisa and her flaming butt-hole met me the next morning and after a bit of shopping we began planning which ping-pong show we were going to go see that night. Because that’s really why we’re all here isn’t it? What’s that? Temples? Can a temple shoot a dart at a balloon from its moist loins? No. Fuck your temples.

I was excited about this, Lisa had told me about one girl she had seen who was firing bananas out of her chonch and trying to catch them in her mouth but she was so shit at it, they just kept hitting her in the face.  This was a pretty special mental picture and one that I wanted to witness for myself so we climbed into the nearest tuk-tuk with a high-five and an enthusiastic cry of “Let’s go see us some titties!”. We decided to go to Nana Plaza, “The World’s Largest Adult Playground” and see what it had to offer.

NanaPlaza
I thought there would be roller coasters. There were no roller coasters.

Upon entering the place (a courtyard surrounded by strip clubs) we were immediately accosted by a barmaid/prostitute who was determined to get us to drink in her bar. It was the only one without naked, borderline-adult females prancing around so we decided to have a drink there before going into one of the clubs to see a show. I ordered a jagerbomb because I needed to find my nerves. I was pretty terrified. All around us were western men pawing at depressed looking young girls. There was a lady-boy walking around in lingerie with one gravity-defying tit randomly hanging out of her bra and a bunch of creepy American guys playing Connect 4 with some prostitutes. Cheers guys, right in the childhood. I used to love that game, now it will forever be known to me as Connect Whore.

The barmaid came back over, this time with a friend, and both women started talking to us.  They asked us where we were from, said they liked my lipstick and then began telling us how difficult their lives were what with the whole prostitute thing, their only other option being to starve to death in a remote village. My sometimes shocking naivety and overwhelming desire to talk to strangers meant that this was a bad place for me. I believed most of what they said and even felt sorry for them at times.  Until this happened:

“It is so good to talk to woman as friend instead of man who want jiggy-jiggy all the time……unless you want more than friend?  You and your sister together, I give you good price? You buy me drink first?”

What the fuck lady?  So this whole relationship has been based on a twisted web of lies and deceit? You told me you liked my lipstick, I bet you say that to all the girls. Take your herpes and smashed-up vagina and get the hell out of my sight.

I needed a piss and to get away from these assholes quick so, being the caring sister I am, I left Lisa on her own and went in search of a bathroom….except the only toilet in the place was at the wrong end of a strip-club.  I drew back a stained, worn, velvet curtain and tried my best not to let my eyes adjust to the darkness. Didn’t work. There in front of me dancing on a stage were three topless girls in bright white underwear with the deadest eyes I have seen on an alive person, bearing more than a passing resemblance to that creepy fuck who climbs out of the TV in The Ring. Sitting facing them were three Arab men, all whiskey-lipped and rapey-eyed, staring holes through the girls whilst they gyrated unenthusiastically against a dirty wooden pole. I just thought of all the vaginal splinters and aids and wondered how the hell I was supposed to go pee without catching something terminal/being murder-raped.  I got to the toilet and hovered above it until my thighs were trembling (about 5 seconds. I have no muscle tone), managing by a matter of millimetres not to piss all over myself. I drip-dried because of course there was no toilet paper and got the fuck out of there. Lisa was still getting propositioned when I got back so I just looked at her with Shrek Puss-in-Boots eyes and said “Can we go to a normal bar now?”

And so, 40 minutes after we arrived, we left that terrible place a pair of failures. I, more than anyone, wanted to regale you with tales of banana-induced black eyes and cigar-puffing uteri but it turns out the reality of these awful shows were just too difficult for me to stomach, and for that I am deeply sorry.

Next stop, Phnom Penh.

Cambodia

Hammock-five!
Hammocked off my tits in our hotel room

Phnom Penh smells of burnt matches and eucalyptus with just enough B.O. thrown in to be noticeable but not offensive. After a day of sightseeing in the capital we headed north to Siem Reap, a city which is home to the most ridiculously beautiful temples you will ever see (yes, Nana Plaza made me change my mind about temples. Marginally less paedophiles for a start).  We got ourselves the cutest, chubbiest little tour guide – think the Wilderness Explorer kid from ‘Up’ – and set off to the Angkor Wat Temple at 5.30am for the sunrise. It was worth it, looked like this:

sunrise

For the next couple of days we mostly partied in Siem Reap’s premier night-spot ‘Pub Street’, a 90’s throwback area of town with graffiti covered grunge bars, awesome old skater tunes blaring out onto the street and super friendly locals serving you every cocktail you can imagine (one of whom used to work on the rigs in the North Sea….aka free shots for Jillian!).  I could have stayed forever, I really loved it, but sadly our time there had to come to an end so we flew back to Phnom Penh before enduring a three hour white-knuckle taxi ride to Sihanoukville, a relatively isolated backpacker’s beach resort on the South West coast of Cambodia.

I was looking forward to this place. I had visions of arty, bearded, beautiful, bare-footed men playing beat up guitars and feeding me bullshit about how they had come here to find themselves. In this vision of mine I would believe said bullshit, fall temporarily in love with one of them and we would spend the next three days having red-hot sex by candlelight, perspiring in a thatched beach-hut perched on unblemished white sand, only stopping to drink beer, eat phad thai and skinny dip in the shimmering turquoise ocean (ideally an ocean that contained no seaweed or things that could kill you).

I was mistaken. Turns out “backpackers” is now a catchment term for any dickhead who is on holiday.  Sihanoukville is full of these cunts:

It was horrendous.  No one there was over the age of around 23 or had any idea how to survive in the real world. Even the beards were below par. They were the hipster kind, the ones that are trimmed so short that there is zero chance of getting any food stuck in there and is usually set off with a pair of oversized sunglasses despite the fact that the sun went down five fucking hours ago. It wasn’t looking good for us but we had to make the best of a bad situation so we joined an organised pub crawl….for children apparently. Lisa and I felt like lepers and no amount of vodka redbull buckets would help this. The place was an unashamed meat market, inebriated teenagers everywhere trying their hardest to either impale or be impaled.  Just as we were about to give up and leave, however, one of the guys from the pub crawl came over and actually started a conversation. Disappointingly he was a 20 year old overly-muscular, waxed, tanned, vest-wearing, guido fucktard from Ipswich who could barely string a sentence together, but at least someone was talking to us. Unfortunately, after only being in his company for about 10 minutes he came out with this little gem:

Guido: “Hey, can I like, you know, come back to your hotel room babe?”

Me: “Uhmm…….no, that’s weird.” (Secretly smug. Thinking I’ve still got it,  foolish youths still want a slice of this nubile pie)

Guido: “Sorry, I didn’t mean to come across as a creep, it’s just…well…I’ve always wanted to try a cougar.”

Mother. Fucker.

A cougar??? I’m fucking 33 years old! A childless, unmarried, free spirit of eternal youth, you chlamidia-ridden sack of mental illness.

We left, and I put two layers of Lancome Vissionaire on my face before going to bed that night.

The next day we decided that we would head to a different beach to avoid the throbbing masses of gap-yahs and guidos and managed to find one that was a bit more suited to a pair of rancid old dried-up cougars. We spent the day sunbathing (or in my case shade-bathing, drenched in factor 50, sweat pouring down my beetroot face), eating banana crepes, smoking menthol cigarettes and drinking iced tea.  We watched the sun set whilst infatuated couples walked hand in hand along the beach with their love all up in our faces and for the first time since leaving Aberdeen, it almost made me want a boyfriend. I will admit that I did get a bit philosophical about my future for a minute there on that beach, but it was short-lived. I soon composed myself and convinced Lisa to go to an open-mic night of poetry in one of the rock bars nearby. She was sceptical having never been to one before but I knew from experience that these can either be terrible cringe-inducing affairs or really quite impressive. Either way you’re going to have a good night.

David Barrtholomew Throckmorton

We turned up at Santino’s Rock Bar where a young (and very brave) Canadian girl was standing alone on stage reciting profound yet amusing poems about childhood, adulthood, how life is yours to live how you choose and fuck what anyone else says. I liked it, it felt fitting to my relatively new-found circumstances. After she was finished, an older Canadian gentleman with a braided beard and long grey hair took to the stage. I wasn’t sure what to expect from such an eccentric figure but what came out of his mouth was as hilarious as it was unpredictable. One of his poems was about his younger years in which he would give girls crack in exchange for sexual favours. “Air-tight” and “skull-fucking” are only two of the multitude of phrases I can remember from that performance. After he was done, I did my usual thing and annoyed the complete stranger for copies of a couple of his poems so I could share them with you (couldn’t get my hands on the skull-fucking one though, soz):

David Barrtholomew Throckmorton

Surgically Altered Self Fulfilling Prophecy

It started with falsies and a hair dye
When she was 12
And she hasn’t been true to herself since
3 breast enlargements
2 reductions
Excessive amounts of nips and tucks
A brutal physical exercise routine
Never feeling quite good enough
But by now
Nothing can hide the age
And the only benefit I have found
After all these surgeries
Is she gives great gummers
But never swallows
Still
Not quite good enough

Things to do at a Hostel or Guest House

Watch the parrot play with the pen
Shower, wash your shirts
Because they don’t get dirty
Just yucky and stiff
Pick a banana
Watch it ripen
Then eat it
Disassemble your hairbrush
Clean it
And put it back together
Remove the sleeves of a shirt
Stitch by stitch
Instead of just cutting them off
Make a pipe from a papaya stem
Make a grasshopper from a papaya leaf
Watch the tide roll in
Watch the tide roll out
Go for a swim in the ocean
Peel and split a coconut
Drink the milk
Put a chunk of coconut on the ground
Watch the ants eat it
(That’ll take a week or two)
Wear the remains as a pendant
Number and mark your beers
Before putting them in the fridge
See if there is a beer thief
Or you just get too drunk and forget
Try to figure out who is fucking whom
If any at all
Fill the newbies in on the scene
Pick up after someone
But don’t do their dishes
Sharpen the kitchen knives
And be a hero to everyone
If you are bored
You have found the limits
Of your imagination

What a guy!  We ended up having a brilliant night that ended with us sitting in a tree-house bar watching a Thai reggae band – and just like that we had salvaged our trip to Sihanoukville. Just in time too, the next day we were heading back to Thailand.

Phi Phi

Our front gate :)
Just our front gate 🙂

After a long-ass day of travelling we finally arrived at our modest beach bungalow on Phi Phi island. I had been warned about this place. People who had been there had said that I wouldn’t like it, it was full of tourists and tacky beach parties. I wasn’t so sure, we had been having a pretty subdued time up until that point and I was ready for some shameless touristy fun. At the weekend we headed to a fire show at one of the beach parties where I discovered that no matter how hideous the man, take his shirt off and make him throw bits of fire around and I will instantly want him on me.

They had a limbo competition too, the rules of which were simple: girls do it topless for a free bucket of drink, guys must do it naked. A total chubster decided he would go naked for a free shot but unfortunately for us he approached the limbo thing from the wrong side meaning that all his junk in all it’s magnificent, wrinkly, dangly glory was right there in our faces. I felt like we deserved the free bucket. The music they were playing was out of this world; dance tunes from years ago that you loved but had forgotten even existed. Needless to say I got suitably smashed and thought that getting involved with a fire hoop would be a great idea. I thought I was pretty heroic, successfully managing to run through the flames unscathed…until I woke up the next morning to find the back of my leg stuck to my sheets. I still have the scar but I quite like it, it reminds me of one of the best nights of that trip.

Stay classy Phi Phi
Stay classy Phi Phi

The next day we headed to the harbour colossally hungover for an overnight boat trip to Maya Beach, the place where the movie The Beach was filmed. Thankfully everyone on the boat was also hanging out of their arseholes so we didn’t have to engage in too much conversation. When we arrived the sun was just beginning to set, and being on the only tour to offer an overnight trip meant that our small group had the whole place entirely to ourselves. Facing out onto an unbelievably beautiful bay, we all lay around on the sand in a little semi-circle whilst our guide brought out his guitar and prepared to provide us with some tunes to accompany this breathtaking backdrop.

guide

All around us were couples lying in each other’s arms, the air was still, the sea was washing softly over the sand whilst the sun set over the violet horizon. It was the most romantic moment I have ever experienced. The guitar started up and just as a tear was about to plop out of my eyeball, our guide (whose English wasn’t very good) started to sing that sentimental classic “Fuck you, you ho, I don’t want you back.”  I’m not kidding, he couldn’t even sing either. He was screeching it at the top of his lungs, completely oblivious to what the lyrics meant. Lisa and I were absolutely destroyed, we laughed way too hard for way too long. He was going “Cam on guys! You know dees one right? Seeng along!!!” Oh, and we did.

After he was done, and with that ice-breaker on the beach having turned out to be more of an ice-obliteration, we headed into the trees for a BBQ with our new friends. I forced down a vodka redbull bucket but was still not feeling too hot so I was a little relieved when it was time to row back to our boat where we were sleeping for the night. When we got back on board, our guide (who was now not surprisingly my hero) suggested we go swimming in the deep, jet-black, terrifying, monster-infested sea. I was not up for this.  I decided to stay on the boat instead and watch as a crazy German guy from the group jumped off the side.

My photos were shit so here are some Google images.
My photos were shit so here are some Google images.

What happened next I did not expect. In this part of Phi Phi there are little plankton swimming around that light up when they are disturbed so when he jumped in, the sea lit up all around him like he was swimming in thousands of tiny little diamonds. It was like something out of mother fucking Avatar!! I was beside myself and jumped straight in after him. We all splashed around in there for as long as we could, the thoughts of ravenous great white sharks and, more importantly, any hint of a hangover rapidly disappearing.

bungalow
Opulent!

We got up the next day and sailed straight back to Phi Phi harbour where Lisa and I were catching a boat to Koh Lanta, an island to the East of Phi Phi. This was the last stop before I headed home and after all the excitement of the trip so far, the plan here was to do as little as humanly possible for the last three days. We stuck to the plan faithfully, so much so that it’s given me fuck all to write about but it was awesome.  We ate, drank, swam, turned up at a dog shelter and walked some dogs, had massages and slept in pretty fancy bungalows.

When the time came for me to fly home I was well-rested and more than satisfied that I had made the most of my time in these two top-notch countries. When I first booked this trip I was excited, I expected it to be similar to some of the other places I had visited (and loved) in that part of the world. But none of them were even close to Thailand and Cambodia where the scenery is so ridiculously stunning I felt as though I had been transported into an Elder Scrolls video game. The people there are so genuinely happy too, even the ones who have nothing, a quality that no doubt has a foundation in the Buddhism they practice – a beautiful philosophy that makes all of our religious fighting and flagrant materialism an embarrassment.

When you’re out there you very quickly find yourself adopting romantic notions about living there forever. Who needs things right? All we need is love and $3 a day to eat phad thai! We could totally do it, why can’t we do it? Let’s do it! It’s like they have some sort of airport-sorcerer waiting at arrivals casting mind-fuck spells on you at passport control. But like most spontaneous and irresponsible ideas, those dreams disappeared almost as quickly as they arrived. Lisa headed back to her fit camp in Hua Hin for 2 more months where she lost a total of 3 stone and became a badass at Muay Thai. I went back to London with a revised set of priorities and a clearer idea of what the fuck I want to do with my immediate future.

And so my ‘Bucket-list of Singledom’ Quest is complete. I’m not sure which achievement I’ve unlocked, probably irreversible organ damage, but I’m excited for the next level. A level I shall call “I Should Probably Stop Fucking Around and Find Somewhere to Live.”

Maya 2
🙂 Le Fin 🙂

Posted in Picture, Writing

Backpacking with Billian – Part I

 

This month, Billy and I began the fun process of selling our flat.  Whilst packing up some of our stuff, I came across a pile of old travel journals that I had written over the past ten years.  I decided (to Billy’s annoyance) that a constructive use of my time would be to read them all, starting with my memoirs of a three week backpacking holiday we took in 2004.  How we managed to come back from that trip alive still amazes me – we were like a pair of lumbering oafs with literally no concept of budgeting and the survival instinct of a suicidal suicide-bomber lemming kamikaze pilot.

We went to the Czech Republic, Croatia and Italy with nothing but a pair of open train tickets, the backpacks on our backs and a wide-eyed sense of adventure that was soon to be crushed by bouts of crippling diarrhoea, a constant stream of women that were a million times hotter than me and sweat……lots and lots of sweat.  I have decided that it is in the public interest to share some excerpts and experiences from my diary to demonstrate what not to do when travelling around Europe.

Czech Republic 4th Aug – 7th Aug 2004

We had big plans for this place.  We were thinking museums, boat trips, tours and local restaurants.  In reality we got speaking to a bunch of Irish people on our first night and so spent most of our time here either drunk or asleep.  On our last day we were so hungover that we slept in for our hotel check-out and after discovering we had 11 hours to wait until our train, slept in a park like a pair of alcoholic stinkers for most of the afternoon. 

When we woke up, we decided to at least try to do something cultural by heading to a museum but since we had almost exceeded our Prague ‘budget’, we couldn’t actually afford culture so we went for pizza instead.  It was here that my stomach started playing up, something I communicated to Billy with this beautiful sentence: “Whoever goes into that disabled toilet after me is going to come out more disabled than they went in.” I think I could safely cross off the word ‘romantic’ as an adjective to describe this trip and we were only on day three.

Czech Republic to Croatia 7th Aug – 8th Aug 2004

It took us 24 eventful hours on a train to get to Split from Prague.  Our first connection was in Budapest where we were squashed into a roasting-hot carriage like sardines.  After about an hour the conductor squeezed past and informed us that only the front five carriages went to Zagreb and the trains were separating in ten minutes.  Since we were in the very last carriage, there was no way we could have pushed through the entire length of the train in time so our only option was to get off the train at the next stop, run like maniacs towards the front and hope we could make it back onto the right carriage in time. 

Well, we got off at the next stop and I was fucking useless.  It was sooo hot and my bag was really bloody heavy, I was trying to run but there were people next to me who were actually walking faster (and staring).  I tried to drag my bag behind me instead of carrying it on my back, but that didn’t really work either so I was just pathetically stumbling along occasionally shouting “Billlyyyyyyyyyyy……..waiiiiiiittttt for meeeeee”.  Billy got so annoyed, it was pretty funny.  He had to come back and get my bag and run with both of them – and he was still faster than me!  Despite my terrible effort, we made it onto the carriage just in time and, after Billy calmed down, he did not stop laughing at me (for about a week):  “Apparently my face was bright red with half of my hair stuck to my face and the other half flapping in the breeze”.  I think I could safely cross off the word ‘sexy’ as an adjective to describe this trip and we were only on day four.

Our next connection was in Zagreb where we boarded our sleeper train to Split.  I was excited about this, the idea of sleeping in a bed on a moving train blows my tiny mind.  As soon as we got into our cabin I got straight into bed (I was seriously fucked from all the athletic prowess I had demonstrated earlier) but Billy needed a pee so off he went in search of a toilet. Because the train was still stopped at the station, all the toilets were locked so he returned to the cabin too worried to leave the train in case it left without him but also too bursting to hold in his pee.  There was a sink in the corner of our cabin so I suggested that he just pee down the plug hole and clean it like a bastard afterwards.  He didn’t want to do that but at this point it was either piss in the sink or piss all over himself so he had no option really. He got on his tippy-toes and started peeing – except he forgot to lock the door and the conductor walked in.  Billy couldn’t put his cock away because he was in mid-flow so he just kind of pretended to clean the sink (he even whistled for added effect), even though the crack of his arse was hanging out the top of his half-pulled-down boxers and you could hear the distinct sound of pee trickling down the plug hole.  Needless to say, the conductor knew exactly what Billy was doing and, although he never said anything at the time, he looked at us with utter disgust and was a dick to us for the whole journey. I think I could safely cross off the word ‘classy’ as an adjective to describe this trip and we were still only on day four.

Croatia 8th Aug – 12th Aug 2004

“We arrived in Split at 6.30am and walked to the ferry port in silence (we were not talking to each other because we had left our train tickets in our cabin and were blaming each other – even though we managed to get them back)” but we got on the ferry to Korcula and soon became friends again once we saw how amazing it was.

One of the first things we did was try to find somewhere where we could hire a scooter.  We eventually found a place and the guy told us that we would have to do a quick test to make sure we could drive the thing before we could take it away so Billy started the engine and drove on the wrong side of the road with the indicator on the whole time.  Upon his return, the scooter guy seemed delighted with Billy’s performance and gave us the keys.

We spent the next day generally swimming and scootering around and that night, after Billy made us dinner, we got engaged (awwwww!).  The next day I was hungover to fuck from celebrating but had to hand-wash some of our seriously stinky clothes:  “I washed our clothes while Billy watched naked girls feeling themselves up on TV – he assured me that this wasn’t a sign of things to come and I told him he was fucking right it wasn’t.”  And so, after a couple of days of literally doing nothing (it was amazing), we had to pack up again for our ferry ride over to Italy.

I say ferry ride, but it was more like a yacht trip for Europe’s Next Top Model. The girls in this part of the world are ridiculously stunning and I literally had to step over the hoards of smoking hot, bikini clad bints who had draped themselves over all the soft furnishings on the boat.  We managed to find a seat and I was just settling down to a magazine when one of the girls came and stood near us. She was bent over one of her bags rummaging around with her ass in Billy’s face, so he obviously had to have a little perve.  When he realised that I had caught him he rolled his eyes and said: “*tsk* well she’s wearing a g-string”. I responded by glaring at him through my pale, freckly, chubby, sweat-soaked eyes. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, the automatic doors of the lounge opened and in walked the hottest thing I had ever seen.  She was wearing a leopard-print bikini and the doors had created a kind of wind-machine effect. I’m pretty sure the slow-motion was just my imagination but it is possible that she lived her entire life in slow-motion, that’s how hot she was. After picking his jaw up from the floor, Billy whispered: “I think my cock just twitched”, to which I replied “so did mine Billy, so did mine”.  Eventually, after five long hours, we arrived in Italy and I swore never to get on a boat again, unless it was for a mingers-only/British cruise.

To be continued…….

Join me next time when I convince myself that I am about to be stabbed and possibly raped to death in Naples, Billy unintentionally smokes drugs with a Jew and I smell a homeless man’s feet on yet another train.