All posts by The Row Show

About The Row Show

Low on money, overflowing with beer.

Thelma and Louise Go Flying

If there’s a more inspirational film than the 1991 classic Thelma & Louise, I’m yet to see it. The tale of two lesbians who smoke some poor bloke and then travel all over the place in a fancy car before driving it off a cliff provides lessons that we should all live by. Also, Geena Davis was pretty hot back then. So when Al, who looks a little like Geena in the right light, asked me to fly into uncharted territory with him, I didn’t hesitate to say yes.

We were cruising around above Pandawa Beach, when the wind shifted south and we realised we could start edging further and further around the bottom of the Balinese coast. Kilometres of rugged and remote beaches lay begging to be explored, and before long we found ourselves cruising through uncharted territory. The height we found was extraordinary, and it was exciting to escape from the restraints of the popular flying sites.

It’s a beautiful part of the world, with shear cliffs topped by million-dollar houses and exclusive resorts. Bikini-clad babes looked up from their expensive cocktails to watch us float by, most likely hoping that we would land nearby and pop in for a shag. But Al and I had eyes only for each other the end of the island, so we kept pushing forward. There were a few dodgy moments, but we stuck together and made it work.

“How far are we going to go?” I asked, my voice trembling.

“To the end of the world, baby,” came the unwavering reply. “To the end of the world… together.” The landscape became even wilder and more amazing as we swept past stunning beaches and misty mountains. Finally, we reached the headland that marked the start of Uluwatu, on the western coast of the island. We’d made it as far as two brave pilots could ever hope, and swung around to start the long, slow slog back to launch. The sun was fading and the headwind was powerful, but we knew we could make it.

Unfortunately, just like in Thelma & Louise, this story was not to have a happy ending. Coming back around a monstrous headland, we ran into wild rotor that threw us around and sent us scuttling towards the beach hundreds of metres below.

“Looks like we’re going down on each other,” Al called over the radion.

“Don’t you mean we’re going down together?” I asked, sure that he’d simply made a linguistic fuck up.

“Erm, yes, I guess that’s it,” he replied slimily.

I fluttered to the ground next to an ancient shipwreck, and looked around at a beach seemingly untouched by the hand of man.

I was packing up my gear and wondering how the hell I’d get out of there, when a funny little man wearing oven mitts climbed out of a nearby bush and started talking to me in broken Engrish. I thought he was a local hobo and was about to brush him, when I noticed he was plucking his wing out of a nearby bush. He introduced himself as Lee, from Japan, and an instant bond was formed between us. I saw him as a mentor; he saw me as the son he’d never had.

Even though our landing spot was as remote as the chances of Penny Wong taking out the next Miss Universe competition, it’s never hard to get a beer in Bali, so Al and I relaxed with a few Bintangs while Lee kicked back with a cocktail served in a coconut, complete with tiny umbrella and extravagant crazy straw to suck it through. It was a surreal vision in such an out-of-the-way spot.

It was fortunate that we rehydrated, because the climb back up the cliff was steep enough to have a Nepalese sherpa calling it quits. When we finally made it to the top we were treated to a (well-deserved) hero’s welcome by the local villagers, who showered us with love and affection and free nasi goreng. It was the best day of my life… until I caught Al and Lee walking out from behind a tree with guilty looks on their faces. I was crushed.

What a fuckin’ day! It was an epic journey and one of the most memorable flights I’ve had. Al and I pushed our limits and tested our skills, and we were rewarded with stunning views and an effort that we can be truly proud of. Every day of flying in Bali is brilliant, but that afternoon spent high above the beaches of southern Bali has to top it all. And after having some time to reflect on what happened, I wish Al and Lee all the best in the future. Keep flying high, you crazy kids.

The Six Hour Orgasm

Some people find their thrills in drugs, others need group sex to really get their hearts racing. Hell, some almost shit themselves over a new episode of Game of Thrones. Me, I get my jollies by strapping myself to a couple of kilograms of fabric and ascending to the heavens. A year ago I handed myself over to paragliding and decided to put it before pretty much anything else, and that’s why I’m in Bali right now – to rack up as many hours in the air as possible.

After three months of being grounded due to a life-changing journey through the deepest, darkest jungles of Africa, I was absolutely fanging for a fly by the time I swept into Nusa Dua. For the first three days the place was blown out, with winds strong enough to blow a Chinaman’s hat off. And then, on the fourth day, the Wind Gods smiled and everything came together for an epic flight I’ll never forget.

The launch at Payung looks out over a sparkling blue lagoon that looks like something an office worker fantasises about, but as good as it looks from ground level, it’s a helluva lot better from the sky. That first day, I flew for six hours, testing out my new wing and exploring my aerial playground. It was beautiful and exciting, and the sort of experience that reminds me life is pretty bloody good.

I you’ve never been paragliding, the best way to describe it as one long, lingering cumshot hundreds of metres above the ground. And not one of those crap orgasms that you have with a woman you don’t really care about or like very much, or after having a lazy Sunday afternoon wank during an ad break in the footy. I’m talking about one of those senses-shattering, brain-splattering, ball-draining orgasms that make you feel as if nothing outside this moment has ever existed. But with paragliding, it doesn’t last for 30 seconds, it lasts for hours.

Like the best orgasms, I didn’t enjoy this one alone – I got to share it with my good mate Alison (or Al, as he likes to be called. I dunno why, because I think Alison is a very graceful name for a man). Just to be clear, that’s the only orgasmic experience we’ve shared. After making a small fortune as the manager of beloved pop group Milli Vanilli (and experiencing a toreid love affair with Vanilla) he recently retired to Bali and has become something of a legend on launch for his ribald sense of humour and seemingly endless collection of functional sun dresses.

I’ve met a lot of extraodinary people through paragliding, and many have told them that this wonderful sport has filled a void in their life, often one that they didn’t know existed until they first climbed into the sky. I can definitely say that’s the case with me. I spent years trying to fill the empty spacces with alcohol and women whose names I’ve either forgotten or never bothered to learn, when the answers were floating about 210 metres above the coast of Nusa Dua.

Back in Balangan

After three weeks back in Australia, I was sick of winter and ready to head back out into the big wide world, so I hitched a ride on a Qantas jet and zipped over to Bali to go paragliding and chase backpackers for a month. Actually, it wasn’t quite that easy – some Islamic terrorist knob jockeys have been doing their best to blow up Aussie planes, which meant an extended journey through security. I guess rocking up with a backpack full of radio equipment and other electrical goodies probably wasn’t a great move. Sadly Fortunately, I didn’t end up with some customs dude lipping his arm up my arse.

Oh, bloody hell, it's sunny!

The other hassle during my flight over to Asia had less to do with bearded Islamic terrorist bum boys and more to do with my own goofiness, because I wasn’t allowed to check in without having a return ticket booked. With only $126 to my name, a flight back to Sydney was out of the question, so it looks like I’ll be spending a week in Darwin on the way back. Cold beer, hot Euro travellers, and heaps of crocodiles to punch. Oh shit, however will I deal with that?

The place I'm staying at looks like it was built by drunk children

Much like last year I’m kicking off my Bali sojourn with a few days in the hidden paradise of Balangan. If you want to know more about it, just read my award-winning post from this time last year. The only real difference is that I’m 20kg lighter this year, so I’ve been spending every morning jogging around in the heat and trying not to shit myself the whole way. Thanks to the rabid dogs that chase me everywhere, I’ve actually been cracking out som good times, and the seven litres of sweat that pours out of me each morning clears plenty of space for Bintangs.

Olympics, here I come

It was on one such not-so-fun run that this story begins. I was doing my best to sidestep a cow when a motorbike came to a spluttering stop a few metres from me and a stunning sort climbed off. She pulled off her helmet, sending blonde hair cascading halfway down her back. I did my best to hide my erection.

“You look like you have plenty of stamina,” the babe said in a thick eastern European accent. I just nodded dumbly and hoped she wouldn’t realise I was about six steps away from collapsing into a bush and spewing on myself. “You should jump on the back of my bike.”

We've all woken up next to someone who looks like that, right?

I was faced with two options. Either I could continue on my run, improve my health and fitness, and live a longer life, or I could climb on the back of a conked-out bike ridden by someone barely old enough to have the training wheels off and drastically reduce my life expectancy. I’m not a fucking idiot, so I went with the option that offered the best chance of getting laid. By that I mean I got on the bike – I guess I could’ve porked one of the cows wandering around, but even in Indonesia such behaviour is largely frowned upon.

Alright, they are kinda cute

Milana (for that was this lovely lass’s name) took me to a gorgeous bar on the beach, where we ordered icy cold Bintangs and did our best to piece together a conversation, despite her being from Estonia and possessing a looser grasp on the English language than your average Bauer editor. When she told me that she’d been in Balangan a year ago and had a disappointing sexual experience with another Aussie paraglider, who looked like me but was much fatter and had longer hair, I just nodded and pretended not to be hurt.

The long-haired, overweight disappointmnt may have looked something like this

Long story short, after 15 Bintangs each we found ourselves in a run-down shack on the beach, the waves crashing beneath our heaving bodies. After a few minutes of fumbling around like a drunk seal I felt very contented and was ready to roll over and have a sleep, but Milana was somewhat less pleased with the proceedings.

“I take back what I say about you have stamina,” the babe said, struggling into her dress. “Maybe you is more like 100 metre runner.”

“Luv,” I replied with a smile as I swaggered out the door, “that’s the first time anyone’s likened me to Usain Bolt. Cheers.”

I like swingers' parties

Bali is still a beautiful place, but it’s time for me to stop looking at it from ground level, and instead check it out from a couple of hundred metres in the air. I’ve got a brand new wing and an almost aggressive desire to spend as much time paragliding as possible. Let’s just hope I can keep it up for a bit longer than I did with poor bloody Milana!

Reflections on Africa

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Well, the dream is over and the adventure is nothing but a memory. I’m back home in Australia, it’s about nine degrees, and I can’t help wishing that I was still exploring strange lands on the other side of the world. My two months travelling through the Dark Continent have come and gone, and the astonishing landscapes and beautiful people of Africa are now thousands of kilometres away, but the things I experienced and the people I met will always be a part of me.

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Africa was never a place I really wanted to visit, largely because the Australian perception of the continent is one of death and violence and chaos. Even leading up to my trip, I kind of felt like it was a place I should visit, rather than one I was actually passionate about seeing. That changed the moment I stepped foot in Africa. For that reason alone, it was the most surprising place I’ve ever been to – and my journey through Africa turned out to be the most enjoyable overseas trip I’ve ever had. If you’re tossing off up about going, just book a flight over there and go for it. Where else can you climb a mountain, dodge a carjacker, get chased by a lion and get smashed on great beer in the same afternoon?

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I was very aprehensive about what would welcome me in Cape Town, and was worried about even making it from the airport to my hotel. The slums that slid past the bus window as I stared out in wide-eyed wonder did nothing to ease my apprehension, but it didn’t take me long to fall in love with the city. It’s certainly troubled, but it’s also overflowing with incredible hiking trails, lovely beaches, top restaurants and pubs, and some truly special women.

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They call Cape Town the gateway to Africa, and it was the perfet entryway to the place. After renting a shitty Hyundai that even a sex offender would be embarrassed to drive, I found the rest of SA to be even more incredible. The rugged coastline, the misty mountains, the freaky animals, the beer, the dried meats, the gigantic fruit – dude, the place rocks. And despite having a reputation for being knob-jockeys, I found the Saffas to be the kindest, most helpful people I’ve ever met. Of course, I’m not black, which might have something to do with it.

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Through the remote mountains of Lesotho, across the rolling hills of Swaziland, past the wild waters of Zimbabwe and shambling dead of Zambia, the beating heart of Africa entranced me and caused me to fall madly in love with the place. It’s no wonder that people have been travelling around the world to explore the wilds of Africa for so many years. It’s the sort of place that draws in the adventurous, the open-minded, and the lost.

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In Malawi I found a special place surrounded by mountains, where the water is crystal clear and full of neon fish and lethal parasites. On the beaches of Cape Maclear I found peace and happiness in a place where few people have ever been. I visited so many memorable places in Africa, but the Cape tops them all, and the memories of the week I spent there will always bring a smile to my face.

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After living amongst poverty and desolation, it was strange to end my journey on the tropical beaches of Zanzibar and Mauritius, where most people are most definitely tourists and not travellers. It would be wrong to call these places let-downs – they’re incredibly beautiful and I highly recommend both destinations – but it was disappointing to be back in civilisation, having given left the remote backwaters and interesting people that are inevitably drawn to them.

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It was a privilege to cross paths with people having their own adventures in strange lands, and I cherish the friendships I made with people I’ll probably never meet again. It’s surprising how strong the bonds between travellers can be – when you’ve got nothing and no one to tie you to your normal life, that dude or dudette you bumped into at the hostel can feel like a lifelong friend. And that’s what travelling is really about – meeting people from different backgrounds and becoming a part of their life for a day or two.

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Oh, and what happened to Prince Imotep, the Nigerian royal who sent me an email asking me to help him move his millions, thus kicking off this who adventure (before promptly being forgotten)? I dunno, let’s just say he came through, sent me the money, and I’m now so rich that I own a helicopter and one of those fancy Japanese sex robots. How that for an awesome through-story with a satisfying and believable conclusion? I really should be a Hollywood screenwriter or something.

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I wandered through Africa for two months, but it’s only since returning home that I’ve truly felt lost. There’s a line in the Third Eye Blind song Deep Inside of You that goes, ‘I’d walk with my people if I could find them’, and I think that for a while I was in-step with people I have something in common with.

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Oh well, there’s no time to wistfully ponder my time in Africa – I’m heading to Bali in a few days for a month of paragliding, drinking, and being awesome. What can I say, it beats sitting in the office.

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Hey, Mr Tamarin man, play a song for me!

I don’t have a lot of luck when it comes to climbing mountains, so I was tempting fate when I decided to spend one of my final days on the Drunk and Jobless World Tour of Africa hiking up Mt Tamarin. The monolith looms large over the southeast coast of Mauritius, and I set out to conquer it under brilliant blue skies, hoping the bad weather would hold off long enough for me to make it to the top. I’m happy to say that I made it all the way, and it was fucking amazing.

Climing up Mt Tamarin isn’t easy or completely legal, so I was grateful for the advice I found right here. The track runs through private land, meaning there are a few obstacles in between an adventurous climber and the summit.  I had to start by clambering up to the top of a massive retaining wall surrounding a water reservoir, before sliding underneath a barbed wire fence. The track then weaved through dense forest, and up harsh, rocky terrain. It’s not a walk for the feint of heart, but anyone willing to brave the dangerous conditions is in for a helluva time.

The track is very bloody steep and I had trouble scraping up the side of the mountain, and the journey was made harder by the sweltering conditions. I finally burst out of the jungle and found myself high abve Tamarin, looking down at the shining bay and gloomy salt mines. I kept working my way up whilst gazing in awe at the outrageous mountains that reached for the skies on all sides of me. The views just kept getting better and better, and I couldn’t wait to reach the summit.

The track isn’t long, just a few kilometres, but provides a great workout because of how tough it is. There are no steps or railings, just a track that a goat would struggle to make it up. I slid down the hill a few times and cut myself up a bit, but chicks dig bruises, so I was cool with it.

The approach to the top is as steep as the price of a beer in a Sydney pub, but there are a series of ropes to cling to in order to make the ascent possible. After struggling to the very top, I just stood there and looked out at one of the best views I’ve ever seen (well, outside my bedroom). Bustling villages, golden beaches and endless reefs opened up beneath me as I gawped in wonder, struggling to process the beauty of what I was seeing.

Mauritius is such an incredible country, with so much natural splendour, but the majority of people who come here see little more than their resort’s deck chairs and all-you-can-eat buffet. By pointing yourself towards something that looks interesting – like that big damn hill I kept seeing at the end of Flic-en-Flack beach – it’s possible to discover some absolutely life-changing spots.

Unfortunately, a bit of a wind popped up and blew away all of my clothes, but I didn’t let that ruin my afternoon and still managed to take a series of photographs of myself. Actually, that’s a lie – Mark, a deeply religious friend of mine who is at constant odds with himself due to his rampant homosexuality, offered to give me $10 if I’d take some rudie nudie photos of myself. I’m not complaining; it’s the best money I’ve made in months.

The climb to the top of Mt Tamarin certainly isn’t for everyone – it’s tough, kinda dangerous and probably illegal – but it’s also just about the best thing I’ve done in my time in Mauritius. It’s not a tourist attraction, it’s a spot for the adventurous to test themselves and explore a place that not a lot of people have ever been to. I highly recommend it but, ah, if the cops catch you, don’t mention my name, alright?

Welcome to the Mau-chine

As I toasted the end of another wonderful Mauritian day with a six pack of Phoenix on the beach, I put on the Pink Floyd album Animals and lay back as the sun bled into the sea. It felt appropriate, because that album is the only thing as surreal as the evening beauty of this country. The guitars were wailing and the dogs were howling when I felt a tap on the shoulder, and turned around to see a little bloke with a big smile on his face.

“You like Pink Floyd?” he asked. I thought the answer was obvious, but I told him that that yes, I do enjoy their unique style of guitar-led rock and roll. “You should come to Pink Floyd concert tonight. Just five kilometres from here. You will have wonderful time.”
He handed me a little flyer with a picture of Pink Floyd on it, and I immediately punched the sky. I’ve been a massive fan of Floyd for years, but have never had a chance to see them, so I couldn’t believe how lucky I was that they were playing just down the road from me in Flic en Flac. I cranked up the music, cracked open another can, and prepared myself for an epic evening of progressive rock.

The buses stop running early in Mauritius, so by the time I’d swilled enough booze to poison a wombat and decided to head out, my feet were my only option. I’m telling you, it’s not easy to dodge nutty Mauritian drivers on a dark back road after smashing 11 cans of beer, but somehow I made it to the concert just as the band was launching into In the Flesh? I was nearly dying of thirst after my epic five kilometre treck, so I fronted up to the nearest bark, waited in line for 20 minutes, and finally told the little barman to pour me four of his coldest beers. I was licking my lips like Rolph Harris in a pre-shool – I couldn’t wait to sink some piss!

“Where you ticket?” the barman asked me as I waved a few hundred rupees in his face. Apparently I had to trade my real money in for some stupid tickets called FunBux, and the line for FunBux was about 100m long. Pink Floyd had already blasted through Wish You Were Here and Run Like Hell by the time I joined the back, and while I was standing in line like a chump thay raced through Time and Money, so I was worried the concert would slide by before I’d even had a chance to get shitfaced. The Mauritians, it seems, could not organise a root in a brewery (or something like that).

I finally scored a fistful of booze somewhere in the middle of a 45-minute rendition of Echoes, and moved into the crowd to find some attractive young island dwellers who might want to spend the evening looking at the dark side of my moon. Mauritius might be multi-ethnic, but I was pretty much the darkest person there, and I struggled to find anyone young enough to be able to work a computer without calling their grandchildren for help. After dirty dancing with someone’s grandmother for the entirety of Young Lust (she put her hands down my pants after I sang, “Oooooo, I need a dirty woman!”), I finally stood back to check out the band.

Dave Gilmour was a bit darker than I thought he’d be, and I was surprised to see that Roger Waters had a pineapple-like haircut and colourful boardshorts. Nick Mason had obviously decided to become an overweight Indian since the band’s heyday, and Rick Wright looked quite sprightly for a man who’s been dead for nine years. I turned to the dude next to me and asked, “Is this a fuckin’cover band?” He just looked at me like my dick was hanging out of my shorts.

As far as cover bands go The Mauritian Tribute to Pink Floyd are no worse than the countless Balinese bands who play Wish You Were Here on a loop to bored tourists. In fact, they were bloody brilliant instrumentally, but struggled with the words, leaving Roger Waters’ brilliant lyrics sounding like the words of a homeless man at a glory hole. I found some fellow Aussies to get smashed with and was comfortably numb by the end of the night (despite the lines at the bar), so I can’t really complain.

As I was staggering out after the final song, I got talking to a tall, grey-haired bloke who seemed to be a big fan of Pink Floyd.
“I never got to see the real band play,” I lamented, while stepping over a stray dog.
“That’s a shame,” he replied. “I’ve seen more Floyd concerts than just about anyone.”
“Bloody hell, you must’ve met the band members and everything.”
“Just once or twice.”
“But still, I think those fellas made a decent effort to be like Pink Floyd. I could’ve sworn that was Roger Waters up there on bass.”
“Really?” the silver-haired gentleman asked with a smile. “I don’t think he looked the least bit like me.”

Black River Gorge-ous!

Whenever I climb a mountain, it rains. When I climbed Mount Field, it stormed. When I climbed Ulsanbawi, it poured. When I climbed Le Pouce, it pissed down. So when I decided to hike to the top of Black River Gorges National Park, in the south of Mauritius, I was ready for things to get a bit wet – and that’s exactly what happened. Honestly, I could end droughts by travelling the world and walking up hills.

I got dropped off at the Grand Bassin Hindu Temple just as the storm clouds were rolling in, and I was shocked to find a gaggle of hideous mutants hanging around. There was a bizarre monkey-man, a sexy mermaid, and even a terrifying elephant-headed creature. I felt like I was in an episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and half expected Bebop and Rocksteady to turn up and start punching my head in. It’s a nice, peaceful place, and I really got to soak in the atmosphere as I huddled under cover from the rain for 45 minutes.

Just up the road are a couple of 30m-tall statues of Shiva and his missus. They’re quite spectacular, and can be seen towering over the landscape for miles around. The Grand Bassin is a place of pilgrimage for the 600,000 Hindus in Mauritius, and these two statues are the most sacred things in the whole country. I was mightily impressed, but Mrs Shiva was definitely looking a little bit frustrated – most likely because her hubby is wrapped up in scaffolding at the moment, so they can’t root.

The Petrin entrance to Black River Gorges is a short 5km hike from the Shiva statues, and I covered it in record time due to the squall picking up around me. Once through the gates, I followed the well-maintained path up through dense foliage towards the top of the mountain. It’s around six kilometres to the Macchabee View Point, in the centre of the park, and the walk passes epic waterfalls and jaw-dropping canyons. Even with the poor weather, the park was a sight to behold.

Here’s a tip for you; if you’re lazy and don’t want to hike straight up a very steep mountain, enter from Petrin and head west towards Black River. It’s a much easier walk to Macchabee than going in the other direction – the poor bastards I saw coming from the Black River entrance looked like they’d been through 10 rounds with Aussie boxing hero Jeff Horn. The trip down that path was hard enough, and there were plenty of times when I almost tripped over and busted my arse on the sharp and slippery rocks that litter that ground.

The weather was getting worse the longer I hung around the park, so I was forced to hotfoot it out of there so I could find some shelter. I scooted off to the main road and leapt onto a bus bound for Flic en Flac, then held on tight as the driver did his best to crash the fucking thing into any pedestrians, dogs or cars he could find. The mad bastard did actually sideswipe some bludger’s car, but kept right on going. Mauritius might be a relaxed place, but the bus drivers are absolute nutters.

Thankfully, by the time I got back to the beach the clouds had cleared and I was able to pick up a few icy cold cans of Phoenix to sip while enjoying another life-affirming sunset. The weather around here might be as temperamental as a teenager, but when it’s nice it’s very bloody nice indeed. Don’t worry, I’ll have a beer or three for you!

Flic en Flac (yes, that’s the actual name of an actual place)

I’ve been to some oddly-named beaches over the years – Tasmania’s Eggs and Bacon Bay stands out – and I think I’ve found the weirdest of all time. It’s called Flick en Flack, it’s on the west coast of Mauritius, and it’s a pretty groovy place to hang out and smash a few beers. Just look at these photos, it’s awesome. Mainly, though, it’s fun to just say the name over and over again.

There’s one long beach that stretches for kilometres, plenty of palm trees, clear water, and golden sand that is mostly free of rubbish and dead birds. There are a few resorts along the water, which means there’s no shortage of plump Russians slowly turning crimson in the tropical sun. I can’t afford to stay in any of the resorts, so I’m looked down upon by the rich Europeans sipping their expensive cocktails, but I figure I won’t be the one having a heart attack in the next two months, so I win.

Yep, Flic en Flac is a top little town, and I reckon it’s a lot nicer than Grand Baie because the beach is better and it’s a bit quieter. I also prefer it because I saw three sets of boobies today. Mauritius is definitely a place where couples come to kiss each other, so a handsome single man like myself has to take what he can get. And what I’m getting right now is pissed on cheap cans of Phoenix while watching the sunset, so enjoy these photos… or just feel jealous of me. How’s the weather where you are at the moment?

Le Pouce… It’s French for ‘Le Pouce’

After making the most of a case of mistaken identity, I was looking forward to a night of rampaging rumpy-pumpy that would put Soviet war crimes to shame, but it wasn’t to be. It turns out Pierre has an 11-inch donger, so the lass I was with realised I’d pulled the old switch-a-roo as soon as I dropped my shorts and started gyrating in an erotic fashion. After getting kicked out of her hotel room, I realised that I’d pissed off a lot of people during my short time in Grand Baie, so I thought it would be best to get out of town and hide out in the mountains.

The biggest hill in the north of Mauritius is called Le Pouce – literally, The Thumb – and sits on the outskirts of the capital of Port Louis. I jumped on a bus and headed down there, and found a bustling city far removed from the postcard-perfect beaches that surround it. Port Louis is a bit like your sister – it smells like an open sewer, won’t win any beauty contests, and has 149,194 people in it. There are pretty parts, such as the recently-renovated waterfront and some areas full of colonial buildings and delightful trees, but it’s not an overly inspirational place.

It doesn’t take long to walk from one side of the city to the other (although dodging motorbikes and stray dogs makes for an exciting stroll) and I soon found myself surrounded by rainforest as I climbed up towards Le Pouce. The summit is 812m above sea level, and the walk is fairly steep in parts. It’s a pleasant stroll, but there’s no opportunities to look back over the city, so there’s no great payoff unless you make it to the top. And I, well, didn’t.

Basically, I ran out of time, it started raining, I needed to do a wee, my pants fell off, I thought I saw a dinosaur and got scared… which meant I didn’t make it all the way to the top. Tip for anyone wanting to head up from Port Louis – it takes more than the two hours some dickheads on the internet will tell you. It’s at least three up and two down. The view from 500m, where Le Pouce spurs off, isn’t brilliant, and offers only glimpes of the rest of the island. The fact the weather was rubbish didn’t help, either. Thankfully, a dude I met at last year’s International Travel Blog Awards, Austin Cheeseman, has been to the top, and was kind enough to share his photos and memories of Le Pouce. Take it away, Austin…

Hi team, Austin here *fist bump*. I climbed to the top of Le Pouce three years ago with my then-girlfriend Celia and 15 of our closest friends and family members – big crew, I know, right! The view from the top was spec-tac-u-lar, and when we got there I was so tired I dropped to one knee and proposed to Celia. Like, OMG, I know, right! The best thing is, she said YES *fist bump*!

I was SO HAPPY, but later that day, after returning from Le Pouce (did I mention how gorgeous the view was?) Celia took me to the side and told me she wasn’t ready for marriage and only said yes to save me the embarrassment 😥 I was CRUSHED 😥 😥 😥 Unable to deal with the heartbreak, I drank my sorrows away in a horrible bar and ended up having unprotected sex with a transgender prostitute *fist bump*. I felt horrible the next day as I walked back to the hotel room I was sharing with Celia, largely because my anus felt like a semi trailer had driven into it, been loaded up with coal, and then reversed back out, several hundred times. OMG, ouch!

When I walked into the room, Celia raced up and kissed me passionately *fist bump*, then told me that she loved me and wanted to spend her life with me *double fist bump* and that she did want to marry me *triple fist bump, even though I don’t know how that would work. Perhaps the third fist is the cock?*. We made passionate love (it was good to take a break from being on the receiving end) and I was SO SO SO HAPPY to have our relationship back on track. Yay, go us!

I’d like to say that we lived happily ever after, but it was not to be. It turns out the transgender prostitute had given me a nasty dose of chlamidia, syphilis, gonnorea and genital herpes , which I had then passed on to Celia. My now-former fiance threw me out of the house and burned all my possessions, leaving me no option but to live under a bridge and perform oral sex on homeless men and high court judges for 50c a go 😥 😥 😥 I was proud of my work, and often assured I was very good at it, but with the price of things these days I needed to devour half-a-dozen meaty schlongs just to afford a can of Coke, so the financial aspect just didn’t add up and I was forced to find alternative work as a high school teacher and attend therapy sessions five times a week.

After finally dealing with the trauma I had recently started a healthy and loving relationship with a wonderful lady *fist bump*, but your request for me to relive those horrible events has seen me revert to my old ways. As I write this, I’m downing a bottle of methylated spirits while a team of Thai ladyboys do their best to rearrange my anus into something that closely resembles a spilled bucket of Lego. Fuck you, fuck your blog, and fuck Le Pouce. Yes, the view is de-light-ful, but it’s just not worth the hassle.

Putting the Delicious into Mauritius

Women call me lots of things, from the West Gosford Wildcat to “Hey you in the bushes!” to names that aren’t fit to print in a family friendly blog such as Drunk and Jobless. But the most common name is The Mauritius Delicious, due to the fact that I have Mauritian heritage and am very tasty indeed. So when I decided to head over to Africa, it was a no-brainer that I would end up in the island nation of Mauritius, to trace my family roots. First stop, Grand Baie, in the north of the country.

I’ll get the obvious out of the way – the scenery is stunning, with countless perfect, palm tree-lined beaches, calm bays and pretty villages. It would be impossible to visit Mauritius and not be knocked over by how wonderfult it looks. This part of the island is too developed for my tastes, with lots of resorts full of fat cunts who probably won’t do anything more adventurous than visit the all-you-can eat buffet, but it still has a good atmosphere. I’ve certainly been to worse places.

Mauritius certainly doesn’t feel like Africa, and that’s because it isn’t really. The scenery is more reminiscent of Asia or the Pacific, and the culture is a mix between Indian and French – I’m surprised I haven’t seen a little bloke wearing cricket batting pads and a beret. In some places it looks completely first world, and in others it looks like a back alley in Bali, with open sewers and stray dogs. The public transport is all over the place and very slow, but the whole country seems to function reasonably well, especially compared to some of the desperately poor places I’ve been to lately.

The beaches are overflowing with tourists and locals, who seem to prefer bludging on the sand or getting pissed under trees to actually working. Come to think of it, I’ve never felt more at home! Most of the locals are of Indian heritage, but there are also a lot of black people with pineapple-like haircuts, and even a few people who look a bit like me and my family. No wonder the locals are so surprised when they give me a cheery, “Bonjour!” and I reply with an equally cheery, “G’day mate!” In fact, I fit in so well with the locals that I was mistaken for one.

After a nearly two day trip just to get here, the first thing I wanted to do in my ancestral homeland was get shitface, so I headed along to a beach bar called the Funky Banana or something like that. The important thing is that it was heaving with hot honeys. I took a look around, noted where the best talent was, and then swaggered up to the bar and ordered the cheapest beer they had.
“Of course, Pierre,” the little bloke behind the bar said. “Would you like me to put it on your usual tab?”
“Yes, I would,” I replied with a smile. “And since it’s such a good day to be Pierre, perhaps you could put that cheap swill back where you found it and get me a nice tall glass of the most expensive beer you have. Actually, make it two. Ta.”

I was skolling my stolen hard-earned beers when a big, tough-looking dude with plenty of tattoos and a packet of cigarettes rolled up in one sleeve came over. He looked me up and down and then leaned in close.
“Yo Pierre,” he snarled, and his breath smelled like he’d been snacking on dog turds all night, “you fucked my sister, so now we gunna fight.”
“Well, before you punch me I’d better let you know that I also fucked your mother, your grandmother, and your dad. That’s right, he’s gay,” I smirked, while the tough guy fumed. “But if you wanna fight me, Pierre, tonight, I’ll meet you in the toilets in half an hour. Now fuck off and buy a toothbrush.”

After grabbing another couple of beers and putting them on poor ol’ Pierre’s tab, I was sitting under a palm tree when a stunning, dark-skinned 18-year-old walked over, gave me a kiss on the cheek and sat down opposite me. Her tits were just about falling out of her top, and I had to smash one of my beers to stop myself from ejaculating in my shorts.
“You were wonderful last night, Pierre,” she said. “Are you up for round two tonight?”
“I most certainly am, love. In fact, it’s probably best that we get out of here right now. I’ll just pop to the bar to get a couple of roadies and we’ll head off. Is Moet alright with you?”

I gave the lass a good squeeze on the arse, and then we made our way out of the Funky Banana. In the harsh neon light of the club’s surrounds, I watched as a Porsche pulled up and a shockingly handsome fella climbed out. Our eyes met, and he came straight over to me, obviously speechless.
“Pierre, I assume,” I said, holding my hand out to my doppelganger.
“Oui oui,” he replied. “But how… what… you look just like me. It is like looking in a mirror.”
“We must be family, mate. I knew there’d be some stray members around here. Now as you can see, I’ve got my hands full, so I’ll have to get the fuck out of here. Thanks for the drinks and, ah, you might wanna stay out of the toilet for a while.”