Sunday, 15 July 2012

Make like a banana.

Friday 26th August.
Our first port of call in Croatia was Zadar. We arrived at 3am and I walked while John hobbled along on his crutches out through an industrial estate to the peninsula of the old town where young people were still partying and swimming. Grabbing some sleep next to the world's only sea organ made sleeping outside much more pleasant.

We positioned ourselves facing west and awaited the sunrise. The sun does not rise in the west. We missed the sunrise. Zadar is an excellent small city, rich in culture but we were too tired to fully appreciate it so we made our way sweatily to the youth hostel and had a relaxed evening watching an awesome sunset (in the west).

Saturday 27th August.
We made like a banana on our day trip to Split. On the bus there we passed a full on forest fire with fire planes and helicopters dropping water over it. It was quite exciting to watch which I'm not sure is the correct emotion when witnessing a natural disaster but it really was cool.

Split is most agreeable, we spent a happy afternoon and evening wondering the narrow streets of the historic walled city before stocking up on beer and playing cards for the 10pm bus ride back to Zadar. After a couple of games of shithead and a couple of beers our bladders became too full and we had to annoy the other passengers by getting the bus driver to pull over so we could wee in a bush. He spoke no English so this was communicated through the cross legged I need to wee mime. After this we became sleepy and stretched across the back seats for a nap. I was woken by John and I told him to leave me alone.
'Glyn isn't it three hours from Split to Zadar?'
'Yes. Go to sleep'
'Didn't we leave at ten?'
'Yes, they know where we're going, they'll tell us when we're there'
'But it's 2am. We've been on here four hours now'
'Oh. I see. I'll go check'
We had missed our stop and the next stop was Rijeka at 5:30. Our conclusion was that getting off was pointless as we were in the middle of nowhere with no idea when the next bus back to Zadar might come. Might as well get some sleep then.

Sunday 28th August
By the time we got back to our hostel too much of the day had gone to go out to the national park we had wanted to see but determined not to waste John's last whole day we got on a ferry out to an island. It was a great day. We explored, swam in the sea, watched Liverpool stuff Bolton 4-1 and Man U smash Arsenal 11-6 or something like that, there were a lot of goals. We were also able to play our new favourite sport of electronic darts cricket and finish off the night sharing a bottle of booze on the beach with some Germans and Belgians from the hostel.

John had been an excellent travel companion and I look forward to our next adventure in South America in November. Love you little brother.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Luang Prabang 2010

Just found this in my drafts. Here it is published two years later.

Very beautiful town but the time there was sullied by pink-eye and illness. On top of that Garlick and Digweed got robbed by a cheeky bugger with a hook on a stick that he poked through their window in the middle of the night. Will woke up and scared him off but they lost a camera, an ipod and some money.

And then on this one day there was like this waterfall and OMG it was like sooooo pretty and these people were like this place is awesome and I was like totally and near the waterfall there were like these bears who were like rescued and shit and they were like so cute and the water was like sooooo turquoise and I jumped off a small waterfall and it was so much fun.

I liked Luang Prabang but with less than two weeks left it was time to move on south towards Cambodia and Thailand and so with Will and Carmel I took a bus to Vientiane. We had chosen the V.I.P bus and I joked that all that would mean is that it would have frilly curtains. I wasn't far wrong. Will and I had foolishly started drinking and so were desperately hoping for a toilet on board. There wasn't. In fact it was a bloody cheek calling it V.I.P at all; there were ten people too many on board, the leg room would have given a dwarf bruised knees and it broke down for 4 hours.

The break down was moaned about by the majority of the western passengers. We took it as an opportunity to build a fire and sing some songs. One passenger had a guitar, another was travelling with bongos. I know what you're thinking, there are two types of people who travel with bongos. He was the dickish type. After loading all our bags on to another bus only to realise it was about twenty seats smaller we loaded them back on to the original bus and eventually it chugged back to life to wind its way round the lumpiness of Laos.

My most distinct memory of the journey was the final couple of hours when our already over filled bus picked up another family of locals. A father and three ill looking children. They sat in the aisle next to me and were all handed plastic bags. Within minutes the purpose of the bags became clear. All three children began to be sick in to the bags at  frequent intervals. I assumed they had been in so few moving vehicles that travel sickness was unavoidable. The youngest of the kids was resting his head on my leg and a bit of sicky dribble was trailing from his mouth on to my thigh. I became annoyed. I had paid extra for the nice bus and this was what I got.

Stop, look at yourself Glyn. You have become everything you dislike about western tourists. Here you are in their country having the time of your life and you have the disgusting superciliousness to think you have it bad because you deserve more from your V.I.P. bus. Next to you there is a family dressed in rags who may be on their way to the big town for one of the first times in their lives, for all you know to go to hospital or to try and start a new life.

I felt ashamed. I learnt a lesson and was reminded just how lucky I was; to be travelling, and to have been born in a wealthy country.

There's a voice keeps on calling me...

One month today I fly to New York to begin the next adventure.

The nerves are setting in, which is good, I'm starting to remember what the buzz of loneliness feels like.

In previous travelling experiences I've learnt a few things and here is a fairly decent summary:

Approach every situation with a laid back smile and you'll do alright. Things will go wrong and you will feel scared a few times but that's what will make the next view you see or friend you meet that little more special.