Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tears in rain

Image: BBC News

It's about time the rain pissed all over my travel plans, as I've been quite unfairly lucky with the weather so far. Well, if you count being uncomfortably hot and dehydrated most of the time as lucky.

There's no risk of me accidentally mummifying now though, as I evidently thought it would be a great idea to visit the Philippines and plan entirely outdoor-based activities during typhoon season.

Monday, September 26, 2011


Do you see what I did there?

There might not be much to see or do in Singapore, but this peculiarly well-ordered city is an oasis amidst the chaos of South East Asia. With its wealth of cheap food options and modern facilities, this place has become my base on this side of the world.

But saying all that, some of it's fucking shit.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Do I want a kid?

Don't worry, this isn't a decision I'm currently facing or anything. Nor one that I expect to rear its ugly, vulva-stretching head for many years yet.

For starters, I can barely look after myself - that ankle wound I got trekking through jungles four months ago is still swollen and infected-looking, and I've been bleeding regularly from a private place since Christmas 2009 without seeking medical attention. No wonder I've constructed these indestructible mental blocks that prevent me from thinking about the future in any way. Even signing up for a six-month phone contract would feel like too much commitment, let alone the time investment required to raise a mewling, pewking, diarrhoeaing infant.

But like many otherwise rational people, I do have a slight urge to spread my pollen and cultivate a flawed genetic duplicate. For some people this is due to vanity, for others the key to a few extra pounds from the government. I think I've finally worked out my reason.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

One year later...

Oh look, I've been travelling for a year, as this massively misleading map shows (I only visited two of Indonesia's millions of islands, and won't set foot on Borneo until next month).

I was bundled into a plane and exiled from the United Kingdom at 07:20 AM on Saturday 18 September 2010, never to return (for a bit). Like a bird with one wing shorter than the other, I've been heading generally south-east since.

What have I learned?

Yam flavour milkshake, which I used to scoff at when I ate at a Malaysian restaurant in Edinburgh, turns out to be dead nice.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Greatest tits

I've been writing this blog for nearly a year now - stubbornly refusing to keep a travel diary of my experiences for what seemed like a long time, but can only have been a week at most (it was in Florence that I wrote a couple of entries on WordPress, before getting pissed off and switching to good old, unreliable Blogger).

One of my favourite features of Blogger (aside from its dodgy spam detection filters that mistakenly restrict access to my blogs and then finally restore them after I lodge an appeal, but with all the images accidentally, permanently deleted) is its 'Stats' button, which allows me to autistically keep track of everyone who stumbles across my pages through Google image searches for sexy teachers and Michigan cheerleaders.

And sometimes a travel-based search term too. But let's be honest, it's mainly the sexy teachers and cheerleaders.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Do you see what I did there?

When I was travelling down the Malay Peninsula through Southern Thailand and Malaysia and the conversation topic of Singapore reared its ugly, lionesque head (on a fish body - how long would that creature last before devouring itself?) people would invariably complain about how expensive this place is.

Singapore likes to cultivate this affluent image, with its flashy malls and Filipino maids serving every loveless household (too harsh?) But unless you buy all your liquid sustenance from the needlessly extravagant Long Bar of the Raffles Hotel or insist on staying in the most luxurious and eye-catching hotels (and thus have a worse view than the people in cheaper hotels who can actually see your building - suckers), it's very easy to live cheaply in Singapore. It's not too far behind Malaysia, or even Thailand.

And with higher quality of life, well-behaved traffic and plenty of free attractions, you're getting considerably better value for money. Well, sometimes.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Fortune favours the feckless

Hard at work

Freelance writing is the perfect job for me. Whether I'm travelling around the world or sitting around enjoying wasting the precious gift of life, it gives me all the freedom I desire and means I don't have to go into a bloody office and suffer twats (there were always a few cool people too).

This is the job I plan to do forever, however the industry evolves. There's no way I could have worked and travelled like this even five years ago. This is so much better than a real job.

But as I realised last month - when the company that's been funding my travels, keeping me alive and has even helped me build up savings over the past year in an extremely convenient situation suddenly ceased sending me work in any kind of sustainable quantity - this job never lets you get complacent.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Is that all I get, Indonesia?

Earlier this year, I complained that 30 days wasn't enough time to fully experience Thailand. Even by maximising the daylight hours by taking night buses (and sometimes managing to sleep for as much as 45 minutes per night), I still had to renew my visa just to see a few more places before giving in.

Time for another complaint - 30 days to see Indonesia is even crazier. Especially considering this scattered island nation is one of the largest countries in the world and it takes practically all day to get anywhere.

This probably doesn't matter to the 80% of international visitors who never venture beyond Bali (the lazy bastards), but I would have liked to have spent longer In Donesia.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Big momma's temple

After a month in Indonesia, it's easy to succumb to temple fatigue. Especially after seeing the same mass produced ornamentation everywhere, and stores selling these minarets and things looking pre-worn and artificially aged. I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out Bali was constructed from fibreglass in 1992, its entire Hindu heritage a cunning marketing ploy.

But I'm glad I saved the Mother Temple until last. After you see this bad mother, you don't ever need to see another temple again. Except maybe that scary one from Indiana Jones with the cool mine cart ride. That would be ace.