A final load of inferior B-sides and outtakes that weren't good enough to include in proper posts but that I'm now insulting you by publishing anyway, like an '80s Pink Floyd album. This covers my third year of travelling after Vietnam - the above photo is one of several I took from my flight over Australia before the spoilsport stewardess told me to close the window. She was right - what's the point of enjoying stuff?
I've visited Vietnam twice in the past year, which will be twice in my lifetime if I have anything to say about it. My Vietnam blogs were admirably concise, featuring only the images and experiences I felt were needed to illustrate my points. I'll now proceed to destroy that brevity by presenting a load of extraneous photos that didn't make the cut first time around in another celebration of mediocrity.
I spent ages in South Korea. It's the country where I've felt the most comfortable in Asia, striking the best balance between value, comfort and intriguing weirdness, and there's always more to see - though considering the immigration hurdles we keep tripping over to get my girlfriend a 30-day tourist visa, it probably won't be for a while yet.
I took a lot of photos and wrote a lot of blogs in Korea, but when looking through my folders for unused odds and sods I was surprised at how many there were. Join me on a trip down memory lane as I revisit Korea in my mind, forget immigration hassle and try to ignore how depressing that sounds. Remember when I could just show up at airports and they'd let me in?
I'd always planned to continue this spiteful blog series, as it was oddly fun - in an obsessive, vengeful way - the first time I wasted an entire weekend chronicling every unlicensed theft from my first two years' worth of travel photos, supplemented by the occasional futile email or Facebook comment when it was companies rather than individuals doing it. But the idea of putting myself through all that again was just depressing.
So I was delighted to have the work done for me today as I whiled away the afternoon catching up on comedy shows from the past year and saw my pervy anatomical photo of a baboon's puffed-up arse from Singapore Zoo being used as a non sequitur punchline in the middle of the second episode of Kevin Eldon's madcap sketch show It's Kevin.
I don't bother celebrating my birthday. So you didn't die again and have survived to the impressive age of twenty-eight, well done! But there are two reasons today is a shade more significant than the average pointless birthday:
Because I'm now qualified to use the classic '28 years old, I was' pull-back-and-reveal gag after describing an act of childish or delinquent behaviour, and more importantly
Because I'm now older than my father was, to the tune of one day (we're equal on leap years), when the first fruit of his loins [some verb pertaining to fruit]ed into the world.
Not to overlook my mother's contribution to the incident, which was arguably greater, but that landmark passed a few years ago and I've had my crisis about that already. Now I'm older than both my parents were at the time I was born, have I got as much to show for my life without having produced a clone of myself polluted by someone else's rubbish genes?
Those pompous eighties idiots thought they'd accomplished something by bringing life into the world, but had they travelled to 25 countries? NO! That's one reliable achievement I've got in the bank.
Had they... let's think about this now... there must be... yes! - had they completed all 96 routes on Super Mario World, including that second Super Star Road stage that's dead hard? HAD THEY BALLS! Admittedly the Super Nintendo hadn't been invented yet. But I've still made something of my life.
If I'd been born a day later, I'd share the same birthday as my dad. He allegedly asked if my mum could just hang on a bit, but for some reason she preferred not to extend the searing agony of labour by another 16 hours for the sake of a fun family factoid. Some people are just selfish.