Category Archives: Travel

Shanghai scumbag – a Row Row rewind

Crapping your daks in public isn’t fun, but that’s what I did exactly five years ago. I was a 16-year-old girl, fresh off having my first period and ready to explore my bisexuality. Alright, that’s a lie, I was 29 and ready to explore China, and I wrote all this but never got around to actually posting it online. So let’s delve into my personal diary and see what I was up to way back when…

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There are few things more humbling than shitting your pants in public.

I was on a crappy old train, rattling through slums, half blind from food poisoning and stumbling through crowds of unfamiliar faces towards a filthy toilet, so I could chuck up another load of electric-orange bile. I stepped around one bloke, pushed passed another, and stopped in mid-step to squeeze out a little fart… and ended up with a river of liquid shit cascading down my leg.

And the best thing is, that was the day before I flew out to China.

Yeah, most people wait till they get to the exotic Asian country before they get food poisoning and start squirting from both ends like some sort of demented lawn sprinkler, but I’ve never been one to follow the well-worn path. I’m more likely to be swinging from a tree with my pants on my head or something (although, after the incident on the train, I won’t be plonking those pants on my bonce any time soon).

Thankfully, the effects of eating rancid sausages I’d picked up at a pub raffle were gawnski by the time my flight rolled around at 11am the next day, leaving me to enjoy the hospitality of China Eastern Airways without needing to wear a pair of adult nappies like some sort of perverted BabyMan.

The flight itself was painless enough. Being the only white person on board was good preparation for a trip to a country that isn’t known for its multiraciality, and the choice of in-flight entertainment was fantastic… as long as you like watching heavily-edited Leonardo DiCaprio movies and Chinese musicals so bad the People’s Republic probably use them to torture traitors. I was a little bit put off by the ancient woman behind me who seemed to be coughing herself to death, but when I realised she wasn’t going to hock up a lung anytime soon I was able to relax and settle in.

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Right, so Shanghai’s bloody huge. When the street lights first started burning through the pitch-black night below the plane I thought we were about to land, but then we kept on going and the lights went right on with us. Multi-lane freeways, industrial parks, houses, skyscrapers, unit blocks, it opened up beneath me like the embers of some world-ending fire. I’ve flown over huge cities like Bangkok, Los Angeles and Wyong, but nothing could prepare me for the size of this place. I now know how Tim Mathieson felt like the first time he saw Julia Gillard’s arse.

We landed without the wings falling off, I made it through customs without getting my cavities checked, changed some money, had a much-needed wee and navigated my way to the train station. With the previous day’s experience fresh on my mind I found a seat off by myself (not hard, ‘cos sweet fuck-all people were on there), and minutes later the little old rattler started clickety-clacking through Shanghai.

Only that’s not how it goes. See, China’s a proper first-world country, and first-world countries don’t have shitty trains that roll along at walking speed and break down if it’s too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry or there’s a full moon. Y’know, how it is in Sydney. Shanghai’s Maglev train belts along at around 300km/h, and makes the 30km trip from the airport to somewhere near downtown in around seven minutes. Seven minutes – that’s how long it takes a Sydney train to get from Central Station to four metres past Central Station.

I jumped in a cab at the other end, and 15 minutes later I was swaggering into the Oriental Bund Hotel. And it wasn’t a bad place for a young bloke from Gosford to stay. A king bed, lounge, 42 inch plasma TV, bathroom big enough to fit the New Zealand womens rugby union team – that’ll do, pig, that’ll do.

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After a quick shower I was back out the door and on my way to sipping a cold beer on the banks of the Huangpo River. Or I would’ve been if I’d walked East, where I meant to, rather than North, which took me into the strange and scary back alleys of nighttime Shanghai. Without a map, a GPS, a compass, or any fucking idea whatsoever where I was or where I was going. I didn’t even leave a trail of breadcrumbs.

Ah well, at least the architecture was nice. Heaps of 1920s-style Gothic buildings that made me feel like I was in a Batman movie. Heaps of scary homeless Chinamen, too, who were probably licking their lips and imagining me served up with rice and a side dish of albatross vomit or something.

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After wandering past an endless number of traditional Chinese chain stores like Starbucks and McDonald’s, I finally stumbled upon Shanghai’s famous Naning Road, renowned for it’s world class shopping. Perhaps during the day, but at night it’s better known for women (and blokes) offering sexy massages with the option of mouth-sex. Now, I’m used to women throwing themselves at me, but after the 27th offer in 27 seconds I started getting the feeling they weren’t being totally honest with me, and that maybe they were offering prostitution. So, as tempting as a quick, AIDS-encrusted shag with a street-walking, drug-addicted Oriental bint was, I said no, continued my walk and finally hit the river. And what a river! It was wet! And riverish! And there!

Of course, the main visual attraction is the truckload of futuristic buildings over the side of the water in Pudong, which are covered in flashing lights and look really cool, like giant Christmas trees. Sadly, I’d spent so long wandering the back alleys that I was too late for the light show, so the only thing I got to enjoy was another 11 people asking me if I wanted a sexy massage.

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Still unfed, I started making my way towards where I thought my hotel was, hoping to find some sorta kooky Shanghai street food on the way, if only to relive my brief-but-torrid love affair with food poisoning. I didn’t find any food, I barely found the hotel after an hour, and I wound up my first night in the exotic Far East with an exotic meal of Pizza Shapes.

Oh, and a sexy massage. But I didn’t charge myself for that one.

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Girra-kool? No, Girra-wet!

The last time I tried to go on an overnight hike above the tiny riverside village of Wondabyne, I was somewhat less than successful. Alright, that’s an understatement – I had to call my mum to come and get me because I was at risk of being flooded out. So when I set out once again under grey, stormy skies, I was probably tempting fate.

The plan this time was to walk from Girrakool to Woy Woy, spending the night at the top of Mount Wondabyne. Yeah, that was the plan. Things started to skid towards the ditch when I was forced to spend an unexpected two hours bashing through the bush behind Kariong in a desperate attempt to find the track I was supposed to be journeying on. The trees were thicker than a diesel dyke’s pubes, and by the time I finally made it through, I was way behind schedule.

The walk across the ridges of Brisbane Waters National Park is spactacular, and bloody hard going. There are steep climbs, river crossings, and heaps of brilliant lookouts to stop at. I was starting to think that things were looking up, and that this would be a trip to remember for all the right reasons.

That’s when the storm rolled in. Thunder had been hanging around since I left home, but I thought it full of shit and didn’t bother about it. As I was passing Scopas Peak, the sky split open in front of me. I was blinded by the light from the lightning and deafened by the sound of it, and I could hear the world crackling around me. As the stench of sulfur overwhelmed me, the rain rolled in – big, fat drops that drenched me. It wasn’t just uncomfortable, it was bloody dangerous. It’s certainly the closest I’ve gone to being fried like a fat girl’s dinner.

I scarpered off the track and crawled into a cave, thanful for the scrap of shelter that the sandstone provided. I huddled in there, wet and cold, for an hour. The storm raged around me and then wandered off to bother someone else. When I was sure it was gone, I timidly climbed back out into the darkness.

With five tough kilometres of walking between me and my rest stop, I realised that I’d never make it in such  tough conditions. So, I did what any big, tough bushman would – I took a side track down to Wondabyne Station, jumped on a train, and was at home with a German stein of wine in my hand 45 minutes later! Instead of struggling through the bush and spending the night in a wet tent, I watched the acclaimed Sean Astin sports drama Rudy. It was shithouse.

The Blue, Blue Skies of Corryong

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As the first golden sunbeams of 2017 hit me, I knew something was wrong. My pillow was the unforgiving concrete of the gutter outside the pub, and my pants were awash with a mixture of urine and vomit of unknown origin. I clutched my throbbing head and felt no hair there, and had painful flashbacks to a New Years Eve spent partying with a gang of violent skinheads who had initiated me into their deranged cult.

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New year, new look. I call it ‘jihadist-chic’

My mate Scotty pulled his car into the street just as I was stumbling to my feet and asked me if I wanted to go paragliding. I realised I had to get my shit together, and the only way to do that was by heading to the tiny Victorian village of Corryong and throwing myself off a giant hill with nothing but a glorified plastic bag to save me. Five minutes later we were heading for the border, leaving the skinheads far behind us.

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Scotty – he’s a great bloke, but he doesn’t like having his photo taken

A few hours later we were about nine miles from Gundagai, and I was reminded of the shithouse Aussie poem of the same name. It’s about a dog who takes a crap on some bloke’s lunch and then he eats it (the lunch, that is, not the dog), and surely only attained popularity due to a severe lack of entertainment options during the 1800s. The statue of the infamous dog on the tucker box is absolutely rubbish. In a country full of giant roadside bananas and gargantuan pineapples, a lifesize dog statue fails to impress. I’ve seen actual dogs, and they move around and lick their balls and everything, so a crappy statue was never going to get my blood pumping.

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If you wanna impress me, try a Dagwood Dog on the Tucker Box

To make things worse for the dopey dog, it’s completely overshadowed by a massive koala that’s only 100 metres down the road. This big fella – who is apparently known as Kip – took my broken heart and rebuilt it with love, welcoming me into his colossal arms. I truly felt at peace whilst being cradled by that mammoth marsupial. Of course, Scott became jealous of my blossoming relationship with Kip and stormed off to sit in the car until I was ready to leave several hours later.

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I’ve never felt so safe

After a teary farewell, I reluctantly climbed back into the car and we continued on our way. I thought Kip would text me, but he didn’t, and it was with tears in my eyes that we stopped at the site of the Southern Cloud air crash. Eight people died in 1931 when an Avro 618 Ten was blown wildly off-course and smashed into the Snowy Mountains, disappearing without a trace. The wreckage wasn’t discovered until 1958, when some bloke accidentally stepped on what was left of the plane’s wing.

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The wreck is out there somewhere…

As a darkly humorous aside, a fella named Stan Baker was booked on the fateful flight, but cancelled at the last minute, and consequently developed a lifelong fear of flying. Twenty years later, he finally plucked up the courage to step aboard a plane – which crashed shortly after take-off, killing him and everyone else onboard. I hoped that all this airborne tragedy wasn’t an omen for my own flying.

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That’s where the Egyptians live

An hour later we were cruising into the buzzing metropolis of Khancoban, just outside of Corryong, population 281. Nestled by the shore of a glistening lake in the Snowy Mountains, Khanco is a delightful village from a simpler time. It’s quiet and rustic, and perfectly located for hiking, skiing and other fun activities. Sure, there’s probably a slight history of incest in the region, and some of the local sheep were walking funny, but it really is a very nice place.

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These nice people allowed me to hang out with them for five days!

We stayed at Khanco Lakeside Caravan Park, which is by the side of the lake. What a coincidence! With almost a dozen pilots and family-of-pilots there, we had the run of the place. Dinner was at the Khancoban Hotel, which is a true step back in time and where a schnitzel is considered exotic effnic food. There were a few good sorts behind the bar and I was raring up for an all-night bender when the place shut down around nine, and I was forced into an early night back at the cabin. But that’s alright, because the next day promised some epic paragliding – and it delivered.

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Kyoto – the Canberra of Japan

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Kyoto has thousands of years of history, beautiful temples, and many links to a long-forgotten world when samurais roamed the land and ninjas chucked shurikens at any dickhead stupid enough to walk past. And while I respect that, I also found it to be one of the most boring cities I’ve ever visited. No, it’s not as bad as Huddersfield, but it’s also not a place I’d care to return to.

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The main things to see in Kyoto are the temples. There are heaps of them dotted around the place, and it’s a unique experience to see these ancient buildings popping up amongst a modern city. Many were built more than 1000 years ago (although most have been rebuilt more recently), which makes them a similar age to the stupas of Bagan, but the experience of visiting the two sites couldn’t be more different. Whilst the ancient Burmese city has barely been touched by the cruel fingers of modern life, Kyoto is now home to 1.5 million people.

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The thing is, the first temple is interesting, the second less so, and the third as boring as batshit. They mostly look the same, and all are crawling with disinterested schoolkids and tourists who look as if they’re only traipsing from site to site out of a feeling of obligation. Some of the temples cost money to get into, but fuck that, there are enough free around, so put your money towards beer and chicken nuggets instead. Trust me on this one – I’ve got a degree in history, so I’m an authority on these sorts of things.

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There’s just not much variety between the various temples. The ancient Japs should’ve shown a bit more creativity by having one shaped as a banana, or one with heaps of naked chicks drawn on the side, but instead they just sorta went with the same design over and over. They were repeating themselves like a drunk in a bar.

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The best way to describe Kyoto is that it’s a lot like Canberra. Sure, there are worthwhile things to see but, like the Australian capital, none of them are really all that interesting. Kyoto’s temples provide no more entertainment value than Canberra’s National Mint, Lake Burley Griffin or the Rock and Bark Museum – and that’s saying something. And at least Canberra has a really shit surprisingly good football team.

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Kyoto even has a tower that’s every bit as underwhelming as Canberra’s Telstra Tower. The Kyoto Tower is only 131 metres from top to tail, but it does light up like a UFO at night, which is pretty cool. By the time I rocked up I was on my third Chu-hai and, believing a group of children dressed as Pokemon to be invading space aliens, started shouting for everyone to run away. I caused a mild panic and several dozen Asians were trampled – the majority not to their deaths – and then, after becoming bored with the situation, bought some friend chicken and went back to my room to watch a few episodes of popular reality television series Catfish.

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Kobe kapers

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Like most people, I always assumed that Kobe is just the name of that black basketballing man, but it turns out it’s also a city in Japan. After spending the night on a ferry fighting off the advances of a derange cuddle buddy, I was glad to reach dry land, and set out into the breaking dawn to explore Kobe. Like most Japanese cities it’s big and busy and impressive, but this place sets itself apart by being wedged between steep, forested mountains and the effulgent ocean. Effulgent, great word!

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Wondering why all the buildings are at an angle? earthquakes!

My first port of call (pardon the hilarious pun!) was the Kobe Port Tower. At 108m, it’s even taller than the basketballman of the same name, and would surely be the first thing knocked over by Godzilla, Mothra or Gamera should they ever turn up. I wanted to go to the top and have a look out at the waking city, but it was unfortunately being used to shoot scenes for the popular Japanese soap opera That’s So Yamamoto!, so I just had to stand at the bottom, gazing up in wonder, listening to a little bloke explain how wonderful the view is.

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That’s what I think of your fuckin’ tower!

There’s a maritime museum right next to the tower and, while I didn’t go inside, there are some cool exhibits out the front. There are a couple of fancy boat prototypes that look like they’d be better suited to visiting Uranus (Oi! Up the back! Stop giggling!), and the view along the harbour is pleasant enough. I mean, it didn’t blow my mind, but it’s not like I saw dead bodies floating in the river or anything.

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An alien lives inside it

I’ve been staying in shared accommodation for the past week or so, and the lack of ‘me time’ has obviously lead to me feeling a bit frustrated in the penis region. The situation wasn’t helped by the number of naked – and stunningly attractive – statues scattered around Kobe. I didn’t even attempt to stop myself from feeling them up. I mean, if they’re going to stand there with their tits out, they’re asking for it, as far as I’m concerned.

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With the harbour marked off my checklist of things to see, it was time to head for the hills. The Nunobiki Falls aren’t far from downtown and are considered national treasures, and the 20 minute bushwalk from Shinkobe Station is a good way to escape the city. For the more adventurous, the trek continues to the top of the mountain and gets pretty bloody steep, and it was made more difficult because I had my entire worldly possessions in my backpack. For fat cunts – or those smart enough not to trudge up a mountain on a hot day – there’s a cable car.

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Where are all the naked waterfall girls?

Bizarrely, there’s a traditional German house and a lovely beer garden at the top, looking out over the city. Thursty from my hike, I smacked my lips, trotted up to the girl at the counter, and ordered the biggest and coldest jug of beer they had. Imagine my heartbreak when she told me they didn’t have any beer, but she could pour me a cup of peach tea if I really wanted it. I shook my head sadly and wandered back down the hill with tears in my eyes and pain in my soul. I mean, I bought a beer from a convenience store when I got to the bottom and drank it in a park, but it just wasn’t the same.

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Seconds before showing off my bratwurst

Island time

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This is the Japanese island of Aoshima and yep, that’s the sun – a first for my trip through the Nippon! Today I lay around on the sand while the locals gawped at me, pretended a large stick was my penis, and attended a shrine said to help single blokes find wives. Personally, I reckon having a decent personality and a large penis would have a higher rate of success. My typing finger got bitten by a crab, so enjoy these wonderful photos instead.

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Aoshima

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Japanland’s cities are great fun to explore, but there’s only so many skyscrapers and karaoke bars I can see before feeling the need to get the hell out of the big smoke. So I packed my kimono and caught the bus over to the beach village of Aoshima, on the eastern coast of Kyushu. And I’m glad I did, because this place is wonderful.

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I was hoping to spend a few days on the sand doing nothing, but I’ve been smashed by the Weather Gods for the past month and so wasn’t surprised when it started bucketing down. I’m staying in a traditional house with paper walls and I thought the fuckin’ thing was going to get washed away. I figured I could either hang around and wait to drown with the handsome Asians I’m sharing my room with, or grab a feminine hygiene product umbrella and head out into the Big Wet. So that’s what I did.

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Despite the atrocious weather, Aoshima truly won me over. It’s not far outside of Miyazaki, a city of 500,000 people, but offers the old school Japanese experience I’ve been looking for. There’s a cluster of ornamental houses with funny roofs and pushbikes by the front doors, a fishing harbour and beach that has probably looked more inviting at other times. I just walked around, listening to the sounds of birds and neighbours chatting, while the rain continued to fall. It has an atmosphere and feeling to it that I’ve not experienced anywhere else, and I love the place.

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There’s a hill at the south of the town with a Buddhist shrine at the top, so I climbed up there. Of course, I didn’t take the proper path, I took one that had been closed due to storm damage. I had to clamber over fallen trees and past mudslides, but the view from the top made it all worthwhile. Through the drizzle I could see epic mountains, temples and other mysterious sites. Being in Aoshima is like being on another planet – it’s great!

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The world’s stupoidest man climbs a mountain

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I can be a real dickhead sometimes, but it seems that I’m dopiest when I decide to walk somewhere that I shouldn’t walk. I tried walking up Hobart’s 1200m Mt Wellington after an all-night drinking session and ended up vomiting in a bush and being attacked by a deranged Polish dude. I tried circumnavigating Slovenia by foot and ended up rooting my ankle to the point I’ll probably need to have a robotic one put in. And for my latest and greatest trick, I spent six hours walking through the pouring rain in Korea. Mensa, have your certificate back.

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Cable car to nowhere…

Seoraksan National Park, near Sokcho on the neartheast coast, is famous for its mountains and diverse flora and fauna, and apparently quite beautiful. I was planning to head out there yesterday but, due to a few clouds hanging around, I decided to put my plans back ago. Great idea, that one. I woke up to the sound of driving rain, but headed out there anyway, figuring things could only get better.

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Buddhist temple, but where are the Buddhists?

That’s like taking Rebel Wilson home from a nightclub and telling yourswlf she’ll probably look better with her gear off. In fact, the rain hasn’t stopped for a minute in the past 16 hours. Faced with either heading out into the wilderness or sitting on my arse, I chose the former. I bought a bright blue poncho that made me look like a kiddie fiddler and started marching up Ulsanbawi, one of the tallest peaks in the park. It’s meant to be a four-hour return trip, but with rivers of sludge pushing me back down the mountain, it took far longer. I was wet and miserable, I could see nothing around me, I looked stupid, but still I pushed on.

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There are at least four trees in this photo

Incredibly, I wasn’t the only person walking around the park. There were hundreds of Koreans stalking the bottom of the park, and I passed half a dozen people as I climbed further into the clouds. It was a perfect day to sit inside and watch as many episodes of Shameless (the proper one, not the shit American remake) as possible, but all these people were out and about in nature. I guess we’re all fools.

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That’s a fuckload of stairs!

Along the trail is a massive (and very impressive) Buddha statue that sits guard over the forest. With the view out over the mountains largely obscured by the conditions, it was this monument that was the most impressive thing I saw all day. Many people come just to visit the big fella, but for me there was only one goal – the top of the mountain, way up there amongst the murk.

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A man worshipped by millions… and Buddha!

When I got to the peak, the clouds and rain were so thick that I could barely see my hand in front of my face, and I could’ve been 50m above the ground, not 750m. If I’d been smart I would’ve taken a photo of myself at the bottom, fucked off to the pub for a beer, and then bragged to anyone who would listen about making it all the way to the top. But no, I had to spend a few hours trudging through rain so that I could get to the top and see bloody nothin’.

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Look at the view!

Oh, and if you’re wondering, this is what the view from the top looks like when the entire area isn’t enveloped in a monsoon. Yeah, it’s a little better than what I saw, but whoever took the photo probably has a small penis and isn’t nearly as cool as me, so fuck ‘im.

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 I didn’t get to experience the beauty of the park or see all the wonderful things, but I did have an adventure. I slogged through a torrential downpour for hours and still made it to the top of the mountain, and that’s all that really matters. Maybe I’m just trying to make myself feel better about the missed opportunities that happen all too often while travelling, but bad conditions and getting chased by weirdos and bus rides from hell are half the fun of it as far as I’m concerned. But if it could stop raining for five minutes, that would be sweet.

Ceremonial sacrifices

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The full moon makes people do funny things. Some transform into werewolves and go around eating anyone too fat to run away, while others dance naked around bonfires and have sex with goats. The Balinese don’t do anything stupid like that, though – the full moon is simply a reason to eat fish from the gutter and beat each other with bamboo canes. Every time the moon is big and round the Balos celebrate with ceremonies, and with one going on in the hills of Candidasa, me, the Hamster, Al, Luke, Benny, Ando and our token female Mel jumped on our motorbikes and headed out there.

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For 50,000 rupiah, she’ll carry you on her head

When we rocked up, thousands of locals were scurrying around like ants, dressed from head to toe in traditional sarongs and headdresses. The women had offerings balanced on their bonces, the children danced in the moonlight, and the men pretty much just lay around and did nothing. It’s the Balinese way. When we tried to walk into the street where the festival was being held, a beefy bloke with an eye patch and wicked body odour stopped us and explained that we couldn’t go any further unless we started dressing like the locals. We bought sarongs and funny little hats that made us look smart and sophisticated. Well, smart, sophisticated, and like the most half-arsed ladyboys of all time.

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The ‘Indo squat’ in action

The festival was absolutely fascinating. There were dozens of roadside stalls selling fried chicken, satay skewers, chicken broth and other delicacies, and the smell of sizzling fish and chicken wafted through the night air. Small children handed over piles of money as part of a dodgy gambling game run by an even dodgier old man. At the end of the main street was a temple where everyone was making their offerings to whichever god it is they worship, with incense burning amongst piles of fruit and flowers. Around that stood dozens of strapping young men, bruised and bleeding after spending the evening beating each other with bamboo. I was devastated to miss that, but was told that I can compete in it next year, so the Hamster needs to bloody well watch out.

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“We are going to eat you!”

As we strutted around, it became obvious that the locals were appreciative for us wearing their traditional clothes and doing our best to blend in, but also that they were all laughing and pointing at Luke, who was the only one wearing a bright green sarong. A little bloke with an odd face tapped me on the shoulder and pointed at him, shouting, “Benchong! Benchong!” Apart from Bintang, the word benchong represents the extent of my knowledge of the Balinese language, and means homosexual. Apparently Luke, in his quest to find the most exotic and handsome sarong to wear, had unwittingly chosen to present himself as the only gay in the village.

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Ketut likes wearing nappies on his head

It was a really brilliant night with fantastic people, and we all enjoyed this rare look into traditional Indonesian culture. We were the only westerners there, and enjoyed exploring the festival, eating the delicious food, and mingling with the locals. So, of course, I had to go and fuck it all up. I was swaggering around, slapping high fives and generally being cool, when I tripped over and bumped into a woman, sending the offering balanced carefully on her head crashing to the ground. The crowd fell silent and every eye in the place burned into me. The woman shouted at me, and then a few of the bamboo boys picked up their weapons and started strutting in my direction. It was time to get out of there!

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Kiddies being swindled of their money

We turned and ran in the direction of our bikes, the footsteps of the bamboo boys growing louder as we raced through the angry mob. Blinded by tears I tripped over a stray dog, crashing to the ground next to an old man wearing a dirty nappy. The boys surrounded me and lifted their weapons, ready to sacrifice me to the moon gods. And then my hero saved me. Al really enjoys his satay skewers, and was still clutching a dozen pointy sticks decorated with squares of smoked fish. He took a deep breath and gobbled them down, then used the slimy sticks as deadly missiles, firing them at the violent thugs. They howled as the tiny spears pierced their skin, then dropped their bamboo sticks and scuttled off into the darkness like bugs. Al picked me up and carried me in his arms back to the bikes, and we made our escape. All in all, a good night was had by all.

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Rat’s never tasted so good!

Hangin’ with the Hamster: The UNCUT TRUE STORY of THAT drunken evening with Richard Ham

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Paragliding isn’t all about flying through exotic lands. Most of the time is spent bludging around waiting for the wind to pick up, or drinking Bintangs by the pool with your mates, or stripping off in public while the locals hoot and holler like rabid monkeys. This is the story of a night out with my mate Richard ‘The Hamster’ Ham, a man who struggles to remain fully frocked at the best of times, but who becomes a walking arrest warrant once beer is added.

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A troubled individual

After another long day of zipping around Candidasa at great heights and rehydrating with bulk Bintang on the beach afterwards, me, The Hamster and Jed headed out for a feed at Bali’s most exclusive restaurant, La Rouge, where the waiter even places a napkin over your lap. I was grateful for this, as I had wet my pants and needed something to mop up the mess. Anyway, the food was brilliant and, full of beer and Long Island Iced Tea, we tootled off to a local nightspot, where the trouble started.

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Less like The Who and more like Who The Fuck Are These Dickheads?

The place was deserted bar for a group of volatile Germans in one corner and a bored-looking band packing up in the other. While the Hitler Youth were shouting about world domination “the fucking Jews”, the band were sombre , and refused to start playing for us. As we slumped dejectedly at the bar, a strange man man appeared from the shadows and presented us with the most hideous smile time has ever known. This character looked like he’d been kicked in the mouth by a horse and had a special needs child glue everything back together. He had about seven teeth, none of which pointed in the right direction, and were coated in a thick, brown goo.

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The offending teeth

Toothy’s negotiation skills were as good as his ability to play with his balls, and before long we came to a financial agreement that had the band picking up their instruments again. The deal was not, however, sealed with a handshake. As the band tumbled headfirst into a unique interpretation of Wonderwall, we celebrated by smashing beers and ignoring the deranged sexual advances of Toothy, who just couldn’t leave his fuckin’ balls alone.

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Showing them how it’s done

I can honestly say that we kickstarted the band’s professional career that night, because I can’t imagine anyone else would’ve paid them to play. They were awful, with only a rudimentary understanding of the concept of music and a set list that consisted of Don’t Believe Me Just Watch! and a number of jams that wouldn’t have sounded out of place in a Nazi concentration camp.

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Skins on skins

The Hamster is a former drummer with legendary Pommy band The Jimmy Savile Experience (they might want to think about renaming themselves if they ever reform), and soon became enraged by the lackadaisical attitude of the drummer, who spent the majority of the performance looking at his imitation iPhone and yawning. He stormed the stage and threw the teenager to the ground before taking his place behind the drums, where he busted out some lightning beats that even had the Hitler Youth grooving around.

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Alright, they weren’t grooving around, but they did stop raping and killing for a few minutes

Jed and I took his lead and threw the other members off the band off the stage and took their place. We performed a rocking set of classic rock songs and stuff we came up with on the spot, and the masses poured in to dance and sing along and throw their panties at us. The Hamster became so caught up in the moment that he took off his clothes without missing a beat, which sent the ladies in the audience into raptures. Toothy, meanwhile, simply continued playing with his balls.

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Jed wows the crowd with a rap version of the Home & Away theme song

We finished off with a rousing rendition of Stairway to Heaven that was deemed by all in attendance to be better than the original and were carried out into the street by our adoring fans. They chanted our names as they carried us through the night, eventually dropping us off at the Indomart because we all wanted Cornettos. During the ride my fans had stolen my clothes, meaning that two of us were now naked, with only Jed remaining decent.

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“This is why I hate white people”

Tragically, while searching for a Cornetto that hadn’t been defrosted and re-frozen a dozen times, The Hamster tripped over a dog and knocked over a large rack of imitation sunglasses, sending it crashing to the ground. With only a handful of rupiahs on him and no way to pay for the damage, he was forced to take up a job working in the Indomart for a couple of cents an hour. After loading up on ice creams, Jed and I left Hammy to work off his debt. He was later arrested by corrupt Indonesian police and is looking forward to spend the next 20 years in a cockroach-infested jail cell with a Chinese drug runner/sexual predator named Rodney Yap. I trust they’ll be very happy together.

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