A few years ago I went on an epic journey through China, Malaysia and Brunei. I almost fell off the Great Wall, got into a fight with violent Hong Kong kung-fuists and passed out under more palm trees than you’ve had hot dinners. When the proud people of these wonderful Oriental nations finally decided they’d had enough of me and sent me back to Australia, I got some bloke with a pencil to draw up a few comic strips about my wacky adventures. They appeared in wank rag The Picture and really captured what the Drunk and Jobless World Tour is all about. Enjoy my rice wine-soaked awesomeness in animated form. I’m like a fucking Marvel superhero, so go fuck yourself Chris Hemsworth!
Oh, bloody hell, I’m pretty sure a homeless Chinaman snuck into my room while I was asleep and shat in my mouth. I woke up shortly after passing out, feeling rubbish and needing to quickly pack my stuff and get out of there. My train was at 3:44pm and I wanted to check out the Beijing National Stadium first, hangover or no hangover.
I made it out there without much trouble and, while the stadium was fantastic, it was also kind of like a mausoleum. Since the Olympics it’s only held a handful of events, and these days the whole precinct is blasted with sound effects to make it appear the Games are still on. It’s truly weird. Homebush Stadium might be rubbish, but at least they’ve moved on and use it for other events – this place is like a grave.
I got out of there and along to Beijing West Railway Station, the biggest in Asia with up to 400,000 people going through it a day. Having not eaten a proper meal in a day, I grabbed whatever they had there – McDonald’s. Shit, I’m keeping those pricks in business. After eating my burgers I rolled onto the train with visions of a 22-hour booze-fuelled party with a bunch of slutty European backpackers. What I got instead was a cramped, dirty crypt to sleep in and three elderly Chinese peasants for roommates. They hated me and I soon learnt to hate them, because they sat around eating seeds from a huge bag and yelling at me. It was like sharing a room with a bunch of mean-spirited parrots.
The trip got underway and I settled in for 2500km of awesomeness. I had no food and there was nowhere to buy any, so I just sat and got hungry while cities and towns and villages sped past the building. As the world outside darkened and we sped into the wild heart of China, I felt myself becoming increasingly shell-shocked by the massive cultural divide between me and the other passengers.
Hangovers leave me feeling scared and weird at the best of times, but this was something different. This trip is changing me in wonderful ways, making me a stronger and more independent person, a more worldly person, a more interesting person (well, I think so), a better person. But I feel I’m changing at such a speed that sometimes I wonder who the fuck I am, and that’s hard. I’m over the other side of the world with no-one I know, and I can’t even recognise myself sometimes.
At one point I felt so detached from the world around me that I actually started talking to myself, just so that I could hear someone speaking English. Luckily, before I could go completely mental a Chinese bloke came up and started talking to me in perfect English. We ended up chatting for three hours, mainly about Australia, and by the end of it I was in a much better state of mind. Thanks, Greg (dunno if that’s his name, but let’s pretend it was).
Being hungover, eating Maccas and hurtling through the Chinese countryside wasn’t great for my guts, and around midnight there was something very troublesome going on. I needed to take a shit, and badly. I made it to the toilet without a problem, but there wasn’t a bowl there, just a damn hole in the ground, with the ground flying by underneath it. It didn’t go well. With the train rocking from side to side, I was spinning around and squirting like a busted hose. I hit the wall, I splattered the floor, I probably even got some on the roof. There was shit everywhere. When I got out the dunny there was a line outside the door, and the first bloke who walked in started yelling at me and chasing me through the carriage, as if it was my fault they still use stupid bloody holes in the ground rather than toilets.
I finally fell asleep, but something very, very strange happened during the night. I woke up and the Chinese people in my cabin were taking turns photographing each other in front of me. When I opened my eyes they immediately jumped back into their beds and pretended to be snoring away. It was weird and creepy, and I couldn’t help wondering what else they’d been doing while I was asleep. I can only assume they all sucked me off or something. Shit happens.
The hours rolled by, my roommates kept eating their seeds, until finally the boring, flat landscape outside my window was replaced by huge mountains and beautiful lakes. I was nearing Guilin and, soon after, I was back on non-moving land for the first time in 27-and-a-half hours.
I cabbed it to my hotel, which is a truly lovely little place in a quiet neighbourhood, surrounded by trees and filled with all sorts of Chinese artifacts. Then I set out to explore the town of Guilin, which is truly beautiful, especially compared to Beijing. Trees, lakes, bridges, temples – it has it all, and without the swarms of people. I explored parks, crossed bridges, walked over hills, stared in awe at mountains and ended up having a delightful dinner at a little cafe by the lake – and followed up my bowl of fried rice and massive chicken sandwich with a burger and chips from KFC, seeing as I hadn’t eaten for more than 30 hours.
I first wanted to come to Guilin in 2000, after exploring it in the video game Shenmue II. Back then, it didn’t seem possible that I would ever actually make the journey. After dreaming of this place for close to half my life, it’s hard to believe that I’m finally here. It’s weird to be walking through a place that I’ve pictured in my mind for over a decade. But it is a beautiful place, a magical place, and I can’t wait to get out there and see what else it has to offer.
What do China and Kings Cross have in common? You can’t visit either of them without checking out the wall. Unfortunately, the Chinese version didn’t have any heroin-addicted blokes to root, but it was plenty of fun just the same.
I wasn’t keen on visiting the main tourist part of the Great Wall ‘cos it’s crawling with people and has been rebuilt in the last few years and so isn’t authentic, so I found out about a quieter part a little bit further out of town. The problem with this was that I had to get out there by myself and, like everything else in China, it was bloody hard work. First I had to make my way to DongZhiMen Station (which I, of course, called Dog Semen Station) which was a challenge in itself because no taxi drivers here speak English, and once I got there the place was so yooj and infested with people that I had a hell of a time finding my bus. Finally, after dodging a bunch of dodgy scammers, I finally found the right bus, and started out on a trip that was supposed to be 90 minutes but was actually closer to three hours. With a full bladder. Just as I was about to embarrass myself on public transport for the second time in a few days, I saw the wall scrambling down a mountain and it was actually breathtaking. It really is an amazing structure when you see it with your own eyes.
I got out, bought myself some bizarre processed meat for lunch, and headed out to explore the wall. I first had to walk through some sort of water fun park complete with bungee jumping and speed boats, and it didn’t take long to notice everyone was staring at me. I was the only white person in a crowd of thousands and stood out like a person with a full set of teeth at a Souths game.
I took a chairlift to the top of the mountain and the view was simply incredible. Rivers, lakes and cliffs opened up below me as I zipped along far above the ground. And best of all, upon reaching the top, there was a cold beer waiting for me. If something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing with beer.
It didn’t take long before the Chinese stopped merely staring at me and started asking to have their photo taken with me, leading to the unusual situation of being at one of the world’s most famous attractions, yet having everyone wanna snap shots of me. Take that, Great Wall, you glory-hogging bastard.
I took a stroll along the ridge towards a big, brick turret that was part of the wall and then… the walk stopped before it really started. I was pissed off, because I didn’t really get to see anything, and there wasn’t really any wall to walk along. So, in the spirit of adventure, I hopped a barbed-wire fence and started exploring the place by myself, away from the crowds. And didn’t I have a time! After scrambling down a cliff I found myself on a long-abandoned part of the wall on my lonesome. It looked nothing like the bit of the wall you see in the photos – it was little more than a pile of rocks, really – but that’s exactly what I was after. Authenticity.
I bush bashed a bit, stood on the edge of a cliff and looked straight down on a 200m vertical drop, and felt like the last man on Earth, a wonderfully refreshing sensation in the most populous country on the planet. The only thing that could’ve made it better is if I could’ve seen more than a few metres through the fog. Oh, and if there was a chick there begging for a root that would’ve been cool, too. Just sayin’.
All good things must come to an end, so I finally ran back through the bush, over the wall, through the barbed-wire fence, down the chairlift and onto the bus for another epic journey back to Beijing. By the time I got back to my shitty little room I was stuffed and debated staying in and watching TV, but what would be the fun in that?
I grabbed a massive can of German wheat beer and strolled back to the Bell Tower district while smoking a durry and feeling like king of the world. I don’t usually smoke, but they’re cheap and the air quality is horrendous anyway, so why not? In my search for dinner I found a wonderful little hutong (that’s Chinese for alley… I think) full of restaurants, clubs and street food. Taking a break from Maccas and KFC, I went for something a bit more exotic – deep fried scorpions, cicadas, grasshoppers and silkworm crysalises! And they were actually pretty nice, even if they didn’t provide a lot of meat to murder my hunger.
Not that it mattered too much, because that just left more room for beer. I found a fun-looking bar full of hot chicks and good music, and ordered myself a massive jug of beer for the grand price of 20 Melmac Bucks. As usually happens in these situations, it wasn’t long till I was having a mag with a bunch of strangers – in this case a couple of Aussie filmmakers in town for the Beijing Film Festival. They were good blokes, and it was a relief to hear an Aussie accent and be able to carry out a conversation in proper English.
We got absolutely shithoused and, of course, I ended up picking up the best-looking sort in the place, a gorgeous little brunette from Goulburn called Sara. At 29 she was many years older than my usual cut-off, but I forgot all about that because she was hotter than a Pakistani’s lunch. Go, Row!
It really was a great night, one of the best I’ve had in a long time (which is saying a lot, because I’ve had some killer piss-ups lately) and things just got better when I sprayed the footpath with half-digested insects on the way home. You can’t buy class like that.
I wrote this on May 1, 2012, which was International Pumpkin Pushing Day. Push those pumpkins!
With no concrete plans for the day, I just got up and started walking. The Forbidden City sounded like a fun place to see, so I started wandering in that general direction, finding a lovely little park on the way. Of course, Jingshan Park was crawling with people and about as relaxing as a bubble bath with Ivan Milat, but there were some cool flowers and dancing Orientals. There was also a temple right up on top of a hill, so I climbed up there and joined the throngs looking out over the city. Well, what I could see of it, which wasn’t a lot because the air quality was as pure as my last girlfriend.
I did get a view over the Forbidden City, which is awe-inspiring at first sight. The red roofs seem to go on forever, and it felt like I’d been transported back in time.
I decided to wander down and check it out up close, stopping for a few delightfully warm beers on the way. With a nice little buzz going I went into the ancient kingdom, and it was pretty cool. And it got cooler with every beer I slugged. Shit, can you imagine being able to buy beers at a historical site in Australia? Bloody hell, the cops would tazer you if you started nibbling on a bit of alcoholic fruit cake.
One of the things that sucks about traveling solo is that the only photos you end up with of yourself are your giant, disembodied head obscuring whatever landmark you’ve snapped yourself in front of. Luckily for me, I brought along a lightweight, quick-release tripod, so I was able to get photos and videos of me chucking thumbs-up signs and dancing in Tiananmen Square. Yes! [A note from 2015: My tripod doubles as a selfie stick, but on the rare occasions I used it for that purpose three years ago, the Chinese looked at me as if I had two heads. Now, it’s as if Asians have selfie sticks permanently attached to their hands. Did I introduce this dubious piece of technology to China? Yes, yes I did.]
I probably could’ve thought out my fashion choice better, though. While visiting the location of one of the world’s most infamous massacres, I decided to wear a Day of the Dead shirt, featuring a bloke with half his head blown off. Nice one, Row-Row.
Speaking of the killings, there was no mention of them at all, which wasn’t a surprise. History has basically been written, the sins of the past erased so that no lessons can be learnt from them. [Another note from 2015: What I thought was Tiananmen Square, wasn’t Tiananmnen Square, it was another place that kinda looked like it. So, yeah, that’s why there was no mention of it.]
After that I made my way over to the famous Wanfujing Street, where I found THE GREATEST SHIRT EVER. Ya know how they have those I Love NY shirts? Yeah, well there’s one for Beijing,,, I Love BJ. I bought it, of course, and will proudly wear it for the rest of my days. I’ll leave it up to those who see me wearing it to speculate on where I love giving or receiving the mouth hugs.
If any hot chicks are reading, I prefer receiving.
After a feed of Maccas I made a quick stop off at the hotel for a desperately-needed break from the crowds, then rolled on up to the Bell Tower district for dinner and a perve on the babes. Ah, the temples and stuff are good to look at, but gimme a nice, firm arse attached to a stunning blonde backpacker any day.
Walking along Qianhai Lake at night is quite beautiful. It’s surprisingly peaceful for Beijing, and the lights across the water are lovely. There are lots of restaurants and a few nightclubs (complete with prostitutes), but I was as tired as the only sheep on a Kiwi’s farm, so the drinking and dancing will have to wait till tomorrow.
And that, right there, was a day as full as a fat chick’s shoe.
Originally written April 30, 2012, which was International Kiss a Koala Day.
Not content with spending my first two days in Shanghai wandering aimlessly, I did the same today. With a few hours to murder before jumping on a train to Beijing, I swaggered off find something to eat. Of course, I did what I do best and got lost, heading down tiny, filthy alleyways while the locals looked at me as if I was green and had a three-foot dick hanging out of my cargo shorts and dragging in the dirt.
It rained, I got soaked, but I did find some traditional Chinese food. Nah, I’m just kidding, I ended up going to Maccas, but I’ve gotta say the paedophile clown serves good food over here – the two burgers I had didn’t taste like hobo arse at all. They were spicy and Asiany enough to stop me feeling like I was chowing down in George Street, and by the time I waddled out it was time to bugger off to catch the choo-choo.
Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station is just a little bit bigger than Gosford Station. Like, instead of having three platforms it has about 45,000, and instead of having room for 17 people and one dog, it holds over 10,000 – and the place was bloody packed. To be honest, it was quite intimidating. Every sign was in Chinese, I was getting pushed this way and that by an endless swarm of Chinamen, and I was short on money for a ticket without a money swapper in sight. But I wasn’t in as much trouble as this bloke I met in the toilets.
They love those weird hole-in-the-ground squat toilets in China, and when I headed into the brasco there was this bloke who had his leg stuck in the hole. He was hootin’ and hollerin’, as you would if you were trapped in a toilet, and a horrible mess of sloppy shit was splashing around and soaking into his nice blue slacks. Then his poo-drenched shoe came unstuck, and old mate went face first into a huge puddle of piss on the floor, fresh from a thousand little yellow dicks.
Now, this isn’t the first time something like this would’ve happened. Chinese blokes would be falling into those stupid holes all the time and ending up splattered with arse chocolate, so why do they still use them when they know there’s better alternatives? It’s like seeing an Xbox 360 and saying, “Nup, I’ll stick with my Atari 2600 with the broken power cord and the cartridge slot that hasn’t worked since my weird uncle Dean shot a load of tadpole mayonnaise in there last Christmas.”
I finally got a ticket, waited three hours for the train, and settled in for the five hour ride. Traveling by train at over 300km/h really does give you a fantastic appreciation for this mind-blowing country. Shanghai stretched on forever, until finally the skycrapers gave way to farms. But massive cities – nameless to me, but home to thousands or millions of people – were constantly zooming past my window, part of a dirty urban sprawl that spreads for thousands of kilometres.
One weird thing is that, no matter the size of the town, city or village, every single building in that town, city or village is made to the same design, like the background of a dodgy cartoon. There’ll be dozens of 30 storey buildings, and every one of them identical. But the buildings in one town will be totally different to those in all the others, mental.
About halfway along the train stopped at some place or another, and the fattest Chinaman I’ve ever seen got on… and sat next to me. This fat, horrible waste of flesh must’ve been pushing 400kg, and his bulging gut hung out from beneath his snazzy blue t-shirt. He ate boiled eggs constantly, only stopping when he needed to fart. I named him Chunk. He was the most horrible bloke I’ve ever met, and it gets worse.
To take my mind off Chunk, I watched an episode of raunchy television program Californication on my computer. Of course it took about three seconds before Hank chucked it up some big-titted stonker, and when Chunk saw that he started bouncing around with his hands in the air and making a weird “woo woo woo” noise. And then he put his hand into his filthy pants and started wanking himself off, right there next to me. It sounds funny, but having a gigantic Oriental gentleman fondling his spring roll next to you is actually kinda scary.
With one final “Woo” that would make Ric Flair proud, Chunk blew his load in his pants, farted, and fell asleep. I was thinking that I’d never sleep again.
After finally arriving in Beijing, I took a cab to my hotel and was astonished to discover that my $30/night room was an absolute shit tip. There were actually footprints on the wall and what appeared to be blood stains on my bed. I doubt you could count the number of hookers who’d been killed there on two hands.
By that time it was late and I was tired, so I grabbed some KFC and went straight to bed with visions of wanking Chinamen dancing through my head. The exploration can’t wait till tomorrow – after the nightmares have stopped.