India: The First of the Inevitable Near Death Experiences

Background-Website-FinalEvery day in this country is insane and the further I travel the more absurd it gets. I love it.

Dave has been in Delhi this whole time, doing god knows what, and he messaged me last night to say he’d be arriving in Jaipur at midnight. I left a note with Sid at reception for Dave, telling him hello and that if he tried waking me I would fucking shank him. I spoke to Sid in the morning and asked if Dave had arrived, and he said yes, four hours late, and that they smoked hash together sitting on the floor. I said yes, that sounds very much like Dave. Continue reading

India: Nahargarh

Background-Website-FinalIt was the morning after the strangeness of the night before – and India doesn’t let up, man. I woke up late. I’ve been sleeping in most days until 10am because, well, why not? I’m on holiday. I like exploring, but I want to go slow. It’s so hot and mad here that if you tried to keep to the same pace of sightseeing as people manage in Europe, you’d explode. Buying breakfast in the morning is lunacy. Taking a shower is a quest. Getting a beer is a fucking odyssey. Continue reading

People I’ve Met: Lek

Lek was my tour guide through Vietnam. Picture the typical guide you’d expect to be allocated to take a bunch of skint, giddy young people through South East Asia. You’re probably thinking of someone with nice teeth, a fifty million Dong smile, charming crow’s feet around their eyes, adventure-dyed skin, wrists a-jangle with bangles, a faded scar or two, hair free flowing, voluminous and wild, full of stories and quirks and gleeful chaos and, and, and… no. Shovel all that shit out of your head now. That wasn’t Lek. Continue reading

7 Times I’ve Been Conned While Travelling

You’ve got to keep your wits about you when travelling. Especially when you visit a poorer country, as a tourist you are a walking wallet. When the average local earns roughly a hundredth of your wage, you can’t really blame them for occasionally trying to relieve you of a few coins. I’ve thrown together a few of the various backpacker scams I’ve come across on my travels. I’d love to say I was too witty and wily and outfoxed the devious local populace but… come on. It’s me. I’m a half wit.

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Last week, on a sunny Thursday evening after work, I’d had a couple of beers with friends who were heading off to watch the rugby. I said goodbye, and hopped on a bus home. I was on the back seat and watched the bus slowly fill with people. An old woman stepped on, and headed straight for my back seat. She asked me if I minded her sitting next to me, and I smiled and shifted along to give her more room. I didn’t pay her much attention. She was wearing a pink t-shirt, and had her hair in a ponytail. She didn’t look very old, for an old person. Continue reading

The Night Train

Leaving the air con cool of the hotel, we walked out into the oily heat of a Saigon evening. Our guide, a tiny 57 year old Thai woman called Lek, who seemed to hate everything Vietnamese, hailed a taxi. We climbed in and were whisked through the chaos of whirring motorbikes beneath the infinite mass of telephone lines. We arrived at the train station after dark. Continue reading