The Berlin Diaries – I Went To Shangri La and Got My Dick Out

shangri_la_by_nraza-d64zlsaThis post actually took place on the same day as the Bärenquell adventure with my girlfriend, who we shall once more refer to as Maya, in the interest of her modesty. We shall refer to the other character in the tale (me) without alias, for I have no shame.

So then, mucky, bruised yet elated, we left the old brewery behind us and frolicked our way back to the city. We grabbed some Vietnamese food in Kreuzberg, in an establishment that served excellent dumplings but which was let down by a surly waitress whose sole expression can be fairly summarised as ‘hateful glowering’. With our bellies full of reasonably priced noodles, we skipped over to Hauptbahnhof, which my sources tell me means ‘Central Station’ in German. It is very large, and there was a man vomiting loudly on the floor outside a sandwich shop. Continue reading

10 Best Attempts to Murder Castro

With cigar chomping Fidel Castro at the wheel, Cuba has been defying the USA for decades without ever declaring open war. Both countries have imposed sanctions and trade blockades like they were going out of style, leading to a resource-strangled Cuba and a not-very-affected-economically-but-quite-embarrassed United States. It seems the CIA decided it would be a lot easier for everyone if Fidel was dead, and have poured a lot of time and money into attempts to make it so. 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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Waitomo

Waitomo is a little village on the North Island of New Zealand. I don’t think anybody who’s been there would disagree with me when I say that, above ground, the village doesn’t have much going for it. Nah, all the fun is to be had about 30 metres beneath the surface. Waitomo Caves are an extensive tangle of tunnels and caverns and rivers that are jumbled and ragged like the London Underground’s Neanderthal ancestor.

Continue reading

UK Slang Lessons

If you’ve read any of my posts, you’ll probably have realised I’m from England. I know we have some odd phrases here in Blighty, so I’m going to try and explain some of the phrases I have previously peppered my writing with. Right, let’s get on with. In at the deep end…

Bugger: to bugger someone would mean sodomy… although bizarrely this is used by Brits all the time, even by little old ladies sipping cups of tea.

Bum: to bugger

Chin: to punch

Knob: a penis

Knob head: an insult used to insinuate that the person to which you a referring does in fact have a penis upon their forehead. Can be used equally in the middle of a furious argument, or as a greeting between friends

Chav: these enterprising young raconteurs:

Charver: a chav

Scally: a charver

Bloody: used in situations when it’s not quite cricket to say ‘fucking’

Not quite cricket: not okay

Getting on my wick: pissing me off

Fit: attractive. Kind of implies sexual desire. Don’t tell tell your parents/boss/the Queen that they look fit.

emilia

Just an excuse to have a photo of Emilia Clarke here. Sigh.

Lush: very attractive

knaresborough

A view can be lush. So can a person. A view can’t be fit, though. That’d be weird.

 

Bollocks: testes

Pissed off: angry

Pissed: drunk

Twatted: drunk

Arseholed: …drunk

Wank: to masturbate, or can be used as an adjective to mean something is crap, or naff.

Naff: crap, almost embarassingly crap. Especially used when something is very uncool. The Eurovision song contest is naff, for example. Donald Trump’s hair is naff also.

Wankered: not to be confused with wank, to be wankered means, surprise surprise, to be drunk.

I’m (they are) off my (their) tits: I’m drunk (or on drugs)

Fuming: furious

Chum: pal

Nowt (North England only): pronounced to rhyme with ‘about’, it means ‘nothing’. Used only in spoken conversation. Example:

“What are you doing later?”

“Nowt, shall we do something?”

Owt (North England only): anything – the opposite of nowt.

Div: idiot

That concludes today’s lesson, you pack of divs. Now I’m proper bored of spending all day doing nowt and it’s doing my head in, so I’m off to get off my tits. Ta ta, now!

Shit Car Names From Around The World

FOREWORD

(What’s that? It’s pompous and narcissistic for a blog post to have a foreword? Oh. Well, it’s too late now.)

Before you say anything, shut up. I know this isn’t directly backpacking related. Well, I originally wrote this article for a client at work, but they didn’t feel comfortable publishing it, which, once you’ve read it, may seem reasonable. So I’ve claimed it back and put in all the obscenities that I originally wanted. Plus, it does mention a lot of countries, so it’s cultural. Look, just stop whining and read the damn thing.

Car manufacturers are a peculiar bunch. After spending thousands of hours and millions of pounds on developing a gleaming new car, lovingly polished and refined with fanatical precision and painstaking attention to detail, what in the name of all that is holy could possess a company to name their car the “Honker”? (Looking at you, Daewoo)

Fortunately for us, this keeps happening again and again, as marketing teams excitedly come up with names for cars that probably sounded great and dynamic after a couple of beers on a Friday lunch time, but in the sober light of Monday morning are hilariously dreadful. I’m proud to present to you the most ill thought out, bumbling, and just downright offensive car names out there.

1. Mitsubishi Lettuce

What’s that tearing down the highway in the distance? Kicking up dust clouds behind it, engine roaring, it’s… it’s… it’s the Mitsubishi Lettuce. While the name doesn’t exactly conjure up images of automotive power (or anything at all beyond leafy vegetables), it could have been worse. Let’s just hope there’s no Mitsubishi Cabbage in the works.

Beast

2. Volkswagen Sharan

Perhaps ‘Sharan’ sounds exotic to European ears, with its vaguely Persian sound conjuring up images of exotic locations. In old Blighty, however, no matter how Volkswagen tell us to pronounce it, it still just sounds like Sharon, the gruff dinner lady from your old high school.

3. Diahatsu Charade

Charade

  1. N. An absurd pretence intended to create a pleasant or respectable appearance.

What is Diahatsu hiding from us?!

Perhaps the charade is pretending it doesn’t look like Roy Cropper’s handbag on wheels.

4. Volkswagen Thing

You can imagine the VW execs, all clipboards and white coats, putting the final weld on their new vehicle, then stepping back in horror as the engine roars into life and lightning cracks the sky.

“What have we done?”

5. Honda That’s

The grammatical nightmare that is the That’s was presumably (hopefully) born from a typo or translation error by Honda. The half-sentence is as baffling as it is difficult to mention in conversation. Honda That’s what? Perhaps Honda’s next offering will be called A Shame.

Rayman’s decapitated head on wheels

7. Studebaker Dictator

Dictator. Hmm. The mental image it conjures is less of smiling parents strapping the kids in for the school run, and more of a scowling black clad maniac signing a million death warrants with one single flourish of a pen. Studebaker apparently intended the name to imply the car was dictating the standards for motoring, or something. However, the manufacturer had to change the name to ‘Director’ in countries where the idea of whizzing around in a car named after a tyrannical despot was a little close to home. Like Germany.

8. Isuzu Mysterious Utility Wizard

Isuzu, we have some questions for you. Why is this car mysterious? Are its utilities a secret? Why is it magical? Is it made by wizards, or for wizards? Do you know something we don’t Isuzu?

9. Geely Rural Nanny

Not exactly the kind of car you want to show up to a date in, the Rural Nanny also had a city-focussed sibling, the Urban Nanny. The former sounds like a relative you really hate visiting, and the latter sounds like a Britain’s Got Talent grandma rap act.

10. Mazda Titan Dump

Fucking hell, Mazda. How on earth nobody in the whole marketing department raised an eyebrow at their vehicle being named after a gargantuan shit is beyond me.

11. Honda Jazz

Jazz itself is fine, but the car’s original title, Fitta, was scrapped after hapless marketers discovered that it does in fact mean cunt in Swedish.

12. Mazda Laputa

Mazda again? Now I’m starting to think they’re doing it on purpose. The car is (apparently) named after Laputa, the flying island in Gulliver’s Travels. Over in Spain however, the name translates to mean ‘the whore’. We know manufacturers have employed some interesting branding tactics over the years, but surely naming your hatchback after a prostitute isn’t the brightest idea.

 13. Mazda Scrum Wagon

Oh Christ, Mazda. Scrum Wagon? Really? First of all, adding ‘wagon’ to the end of anything instantly makes it sound shit. Second, a scrum is a writhing and grunting mass of hairy rugby players, and therefore not the best word to associate with your new van. Third, at a glance it looks like ‘Scum Wagon’. Finally, ‘Scrum Wagon’ sounds like a XXX video tape found at the bottom of your uncles gym bag.

That concludes my list of the best of the worst car names, and a pattern seems to have emerged. I can only conclude that over in Japan, the head honchos at Mazda are gathered in the board room, huddled round a dog eared English dictionary, giggling and pointing at rude words and throwing them in random combinations.

Expect the Mazda Fleshlight to arrive in the UK next year.