Tag Archives: travel alone

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…

IMG_0701

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.

IMG_0547

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.

IMG_0644

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.

IMG_0663

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.

IMG_0648

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.

Journey to the end of the east Beijing

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.

IMG_0761
It was wetter than [insert fat celebrity] with a [insert type of junk food]
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.

IMG_0821
One Chinaman, two Chinamen…

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.

IMG_1196
The endless cities of eastern China

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.

vlcsnap-2015-04-24-19h26m53s74
The Row Show with Chunk the Hunk

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.

P1030990
My hotel in Beijing. Actually, that’s a lie – I basically stayed in a flop house

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.

Originally written April 29, 2012 –

Shanghai scumbag – a Row Row rewind

It’s as wet as a fish’s pocket outside, so my adventures this week will be limited to playing PlayStation and dancing around the house in my undies while listening to Pink. I don’t think anyone’s interested in reading about that (except the weird bloke across the street, who often stares through my window as I’m shakin’ my groove thang to Blow Me). So, instead, let’s jump in the ol’ time machine and head way, way back to April 27, 2012, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and the World Wide Web was little more than a giant, erm, web spun by a spider who was taking over the planet.

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…

IMG_0701
I was taking selfies before selfies were cool

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.

IMG_0547
“Hey, I can see my dim sim from here!”

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.

IMG_0644
It’s like Paris, buy more Asiany

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.

IMG_0663
They don’t serve meat pies – trust me, I asked

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.

IMG_0648
The skyline is reminiscent of such cities as New York, Hong Kong, and Huddersfield

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.

Into the mouth of madness

A holiday in Delhi is about as relaxing as a picnic with Ivan Milat – with only slightly less chance of ending up dead. This place truly is a roundhouse kick to the senses; it’s frighteningly loud, blindingly bright, and somewhere that should be experienced for the shock factor alone.

A quiet side street in Delhi
A quiet side street in Delhi

When I stepped out of my hotel this morning, groggy and half asleep from my epic 30-hour journey from Bagan, I didn’t know what I was in for. The crush of people started as soon as I stepped out the front door, and didn’t let up as I wandered blindly through the streets. Horns blared constantly, drums thumped, people yelled. The smell of curry hung over the streets like a thick fog, and the blazing sun beat down on me. It’s everything I’ve been told it is, but nothing could prepare me for actually experiencing it.

So that's what Sachin Tendulkar has been up to since he retired
So that’s what Sachin Tendulkar has been up to since he retired

Yep, this place is busier than Candy Falzon’s ring piece at an end-of-season piss up. Beijing, Hong Kong and the other mega cities I’ve been to did nothing to prepare me for the overpowering tide of people here. Just walking around is the best form of sightseeing, but I did still go to the Lahore Gate (I’ve seen plenty of Lahore’s gates in the past, but this was the biggest. Alright, second biggest – the one on that chick from Canberra was so big I needed to lay a trail of bread crumbs just to find my way back out). Along with the Red Fort, it was nothing amazing, but a nice chance to (somewhat) escape the hordes and check out some old buildings.

Me with all my mates
Me with all my mates

As I was walking back, I got caught up in a street parade. I don’t know if today is a special day, or this sorta shit just happens all the time (they’re an excitable bunch, the Indians. They probably set off fireworks and dance down the street every time they crack a boner). They bloody loved me, though, and happy little chaps dressed in orange kept racing over to wiggle their arses for me.

dancingdork
Imagine how happy he’d bee if India had actually won the cricket

The parade was big and loud enough to put the Gay Mardi Gras to shame, and there were very few blokes kissing each other, which is another tick. There were heaps of trannies on floats, though, so maybe it was just their version of the same thing. The trannies weren’t a patch on Rara and the Bali blokes-with-boobs, either – they were mainly fat blokes with too much makeup on.

ladybug
Oh sweet Jesus, she has a penis!

Everywhere I went, tuk-tuks were almost running into me, or people were bumping into me, or yelling at me, or trying to rob me. That’s a big problem here and something potential visitors need to be aware of – if you’re out and about, people will be watching you and working out how to nick your stuff. I constantly had seedy pieces of shit eyeing me off, and if I’d let my guard down for a moment, I would’ve found myself in trouble. It can be a dangerous city, but keep your wits about you and you’ll be fine.

There are horse-cow things here, too. Horse-fuckin'-cows!
There are horse-cow things here, too. Horse-fuckin’-cows!

After seven or so hours of walking through the insanity that is Delhi, it all become too much and I scurried back to my hotel room. It’s important to have a nice, quiet, clean place to stay in this city. The streets are such an epic mindfuck, on a level most people have never experienced before, that you need somewhere to hide away and relax. I truly can’t believe that people live this way, it’s just mental.

I'm so getting my sputum examined tomorrow. Hopefully by a spunky sheila!
I’m so getting my sputum examined tomorrow. Hopefully by a spunky sheila!

Tragically, it’s almost impossible to find beer in Delhi, which is probably for the best because dealing with this city after 10 cans would probably make a fella’s eyeballs explode. Oh well, I’ll see if I can find a curry hot enough to make my vision blur and allow me to convince myself that I’m better looking than I really am.

Someone get me a bloody beer!
Someone get me a bloody beer!

Why I travel alone (or, how I unwittingly became involved in sex tourism)

snake

Apart from swimming with a three-metre-long python, not a lot happened today (afterwards, I joked to a French girl that it wasn’t the biggest python on the island, and she told me to leave here alone. The French, hey? Can’t live with ’em, can’t go back in time and let the Germans take their country). The weather has been silly here in Meno, meaning that sitting on my balcony and reading a book has been the best option. Yes, I know, what happened to that dude who used to spew on bouncers in Manchester and get into street fights in San Diego? I’m here to relax, motherfuckers, so I thought I’d share the story of why I like to travel alone.

Back in 2010 I was (counts fingers) 27, poor as shit, and had never been outside of Australia. I received a small amount of money for writing stories about women who are allergic to clothes, and decided to spend it on a short holiday to the rarely-visited land of Thailand. Too scared to go by myself, I somehow ended up  organising to go with a chum from high school, who I hadn’t seen for around 11 years. We’ll call him Pencil, for no reason other than I would laugh my arse off if I ever met someone who was actually named Pencil.

You can already see this isn’t gunna end well, right?

So I carefully picked out a hotel to stay in at the far-flung, off-the-beaten-track town of Patong, and we headed off. When we got there my eyes were as wide as dinner plates, and we headed out into the town to see what was going on. I rarely had a Chang out of my hand (I mean the beer; I wasn’t holding hands with a Chinese man) as we weaved our way through the streets, so I believed, without direction.

It wasn’t without direction. Before long I was sitting on a stool in a grubby bar at the end of a dark street, and every girl there was a hooker. And not good-looking ones, either. They were well-worn, lacking in the tooth department and not necessarily 100 per cent female. I didn’t know where we were, but Pencil did. He’d researched it beforehand, and within three hours of landing he had himself a prostitute for the tidy sum of $40.

So that was it for my interaction with Pencil. He didn’t want to see Thailand, he wanted to fuck sluts. He needed the room for the night, so I went out and got on the sauce till 6am, riding around on the back of bikes and flashing my dick to girls in clubs in a desperate attempt to impress them. Then I got beaten up by three ladyboys. When i finally got back to the room, Pencil was still porking his prossie, so I buried my head under my pillow and cried myself to sleep. When he asked me to film his pop shot, I gave up and went for a swim. I still have nightmares about that.

He kept her for the next week. So here’s me, wide-eyed and ready to explore the world after getting out of the closest thing I’ve ever had to a long-term relationship, and I’m sharing a room with a fucking street walking southeast Asian prostitute. And when we flew to Koh Samui and Bangkok, Pencil missed his call girl so much he just slept the days away. So there I was, far from home, and forced to do everything by myself. it was fucking scary, and I wanted to toss it all in and run home on more than one occasion. But, after a while, I realised it wasn’t too bad. I enjoyed not having to rely upon other people. I had great times, met some lovely women (who didn’t ask me to pay. Well, one did, and she’s one of the hottest women I have ever met, but I wished her a good night and stumbled away), and grew as a person. I didn’t think I could do it, but I could.

I was a bit upset, however, that Pencil didn’t offer me a go. I didn’t want one, but it’s just good manners. It’s like going over to a mate’s house with a case of beer and not offering him one.

So, from then on, it’s just been me. It means I can go where I want, spend as long as I want to there and do what I want. Does it get lonely sometimes? Sure. There’s not a situation in the world that can’t be improved by having a pretty girl there. But I’ve met people I never would have if I was with someone else, and I’ve found out things about myself while sitting on deserted beaches or hanging out in cities of 25 million that I never would have if I was tied to another person.

But I still haven’t grown up.

moon