Tweety Bird

The other day I was at a shopping center, and needed to pee. Nothing out of the ordinary there! After all, I often need to pee…well not often, I don’t have bladder problems, or weird kidneys – don’t get the wrong idea, it’s not like a running to the bathroom every two seconds thing, just you know sometimes – I just drink liquid, and then…it’s like…I think we are over-thinking this, can we please move on?

Ahem. So yeah, errr…I headed to the bathroom…

Bieber Nervous GIF

I walked past a guy leaning on the wall, who then decided he would tail me in…quite odd behaviour – I would have probably been more concerned was I not bursting so much to urinate. In fact, I would have definitely highlighted him in my peripheral vision as a possible lunatic, and taken the necessary steps (using a cubicle) so I wouldn’t have to deal with him. But the burning pain of the wee-wee clouded my judgment. 

Instead I just picked a urinal (hate that word, I know you didn’t ask – but still, urgh), and got down to it. He was a starer…I could feel his eyes on me, you always can – I tried to man-oeuvre myself for minimum genital visibility, using a bit of coat, and left hand to provide some camouflage…but he didn’t give up – this whole process made my whole process stop, I couldn’t handle the pressure of the sudden audience I had…but I was strangely still desperate to go…if only he would stop staring this whole thing could be over with! I began to sweat, and shake – as the sharp shooting pains ran through my lower regions.

sweat nervous GIF

I changed tactic. I began to stare back at him, not like…at his…I wasn’t doing eye for an eye, I was staring at his eyeballs instead – I also coupled this with a look which I hoped said loud and clear; “I am not enjoying this little exchange, so can you kindly please stop staring at my penis, thank you ever so much, and good day!”

He turned away, the complete relief flooded out – I turned to read the advertisement on the board in front of me, something about hair-loss by the looks of it…I pondered whether I would ever get it done, will I go bald? I am not sure if-

“TWWWWEEEETTTT, CHIRRRUPPPP, TWEEET – TWEEET!”

I instantly spun around to face him again, he was smirking…what a psychopath…oh, hahahaha – let’s pick out a guy who is clearly dying to pee, and then torment him so that he can’t do it…let’s stare at him, let’s make strange weird noises, everything, anything – to drive him MENTAL.

I tried not to let him bother me, I stared into the other corner…imagined running water…visualised the wee-wee…

“TWWWWEEEETTTT, CHIRRRUPPPP, TWEEET – TWEEET!”

There he was again. And what could I do? I can’t exactly run up to a police officer, and announce “excuse me, this man…he won’t let me pee!”  I mean, I certainly haven’t ever witnessed that on an episode of CSI – maybe they should do a story-line regarding that subject, make people aware that this stuff does happen, and it needs to STOP!

“TWWWWEEEETTTT, CHIRRRUPPPP, TWEEET – TWEEET!”

He turned to face me, smirked…and then headed out of the door, obviously didn’t wash his hands, but then again who has time to wash their hands in between creep sessions? He has a schedule to keep Godddamit!

But at last I was alone, at last I could pee in peace.

Leo relief GIF

In that moment, I was on top of the world – had someone else been there, I may have attempted a high five…well actually, that would be very unhygienic, but you get my point – it was a simple pleasure, but an amazing one…it felt like a victory for some reason.

“TWWWWEEEETTTT, CHIRRRUPPPP, TWEEET – TWEEET!”

There he was again!?!?! As I was washing my hands, I looked around the corner, expecting to seem him perched there giggling to himself….I checked the cubicles…I began to wonder if I had imagined it all in some bizarre delusion…

“TWWWWEEEETTTT, CHIRRRUPPPP, TWEEET – TWEEET!”

That’s when I looked up, and saw a huge speaker with the words “BIRDS_RELAX_1”

Naturally I felt like a fool – but then I did the usual self protection of my ego, internally questioning as to why anyone would create such a device. Especially in a men’s bathroom…could there be anything more scary, and less relaxing, than a bird of prey circling a man with his err, manhood, out?

Pfft…well, at least I know for next time. Sorry for the hostile stares Mr. Creeper!

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The Close Shave

I was reading an amusing post from my main man Geraint Isitt, and it reminded me of an old childhood memory. Funny how that can happen! Just one little detail can swerve your brain into a strange direction, causing all kinds of things to come back into context, right to the forefront of your thoughts! Hmm, weird! Anyway here’s the story I was reminded of…

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It is only in the past couple of years that I have been able to grow any real facial hair. Phew….I feel better now that is out there! But therein is the issue! Now that I’m able to possess it (should I want to look like a lumberjack), I hate it! The shaving process itself is just horrific…if I don’t shave I look homeless, and not like your happy go lucky tramp, who plays his banjo and rides the rails ~ no-no-no, I have the misfortune of possessing the scary/vaguely psychotic look. So shaving it is, done deal! Ahh, no you see – because when I do my skin flares up in a very unflattering way…in fact a slice of corned beef has a more healthy looking complexion.

Witches GIF

Strange then, that before all of that I wanted nothing more than to shave…perhaps I thought it was a manly occupation – I felt dis-empowered that some grandmothers had ten times more facial hair than I did. What was wrong with me? Well nothing…but I felt this way even when I was a young child. I remember staring up at my Father’s razor…its solid steel handle, its sharp layered blades – and the embossed writing on the side that always had words with loads of extra Xs…just to make it even more cool. Wowif only…if only…one day…one day…

Well it was a blessed day when I spotted some hair – right above my lip, it wasn’t much – (you had to press close up to the mirror just to spot it) but it was there. I raced to show my Mother, who pretended she couldn’t see it, she claimed it was all in my head…I was eight I wasn’t blind or stupid – IT WAS THERE, I WAS NOW A MAN – NOTHING COULD STOP ME!

That afternoon I had nothing but that razor on my mind…it was taunting me, daring me to give it a go – it took no time at all for me to find myself in the bathroom, right there at the sink – steel blade in hand. I wasn’t really sure what to do, in this light the hair was invisible – maybe I had imagined it? Not good to think that way, negative thinking – so I went ahead and squirted some whipped cream stuff on my hand, squirted too much…smells weird, tastes weird, eww…like minty chemicals…okay, so then I began to cover my face in it, till I looked like some kind of French fancy dessert.

I then jabbed randomly, and sporadically with the razor…YOWWWWW!!!!

Shave Home Alone GIF

That hurt. I had just sliced a rather huge gash in the side of my face, blood was now gushing out, it was mixing with the shaving cream to make a pinky coloured sludge that clumped to my face, and slopped down to the bathroom floor. This was a mess, this was a nightmare.

“TEA TIME! TEA’S READY!” That was my  Mother calling – I heard the usual Jumanji styled rush of bodies piling down the stairs, “I’M COMING…I JUST…I”M COMING!” I managed to squawk out weakly…

I splashed frenetically at my face, used a lot of toilet paper for the clean up – that way I could flush away all of the evidence…but it was using too much, they would suspect me, they would know somehow! So I looked around for a dark towel, there wasn’t one…ahhh…errr…“JOHN, TEA!” that was my Father this time…I shouted back that I knew, I was just on the toilet – no answer, that’s always a good one, they can’t say anything if you are having a poo – it’s just not allowed.

I continued to scrub all the surfaces, and mop up all of the mess, but my face was still oozing with blood, and new drips were being formed every second – I almost cried, but held it together…after it had stopped, I gave one last wipe over, before tossing the used and blooded towel straight in the washing basket. Done, what a relief.

Patrick Britney GIF

URGHHH! The reflection in the mirror was a shock – I hadn’t realised just how ginormous the slash in my face was. “JOHN, GET DOWN HERE NOW – THIS IS RIDICULOUS, IT’S CLAY COLD NOW!” That was the last straw, I knew that – when that phrase is dropped you are out of lives. So I plodded down the stairs…trying to scan what was left in my tired, overworked brain for a valid excuse. Nothing.

I sat myself down in silence, and began to eat my food with my head down. Someone asked what was on my face…how had I scratched it so deeply, what had happened? I paused, quivering with fear…my hands shook, and tears were filling up in my eyes…

“I…I…tripped…I tripped and hit my face on…the sink…”

There was a pause…a long one…this was it….grounded for forever, no pocket money for the rest of time…

“Awww…you should be more careful – now eat your dinner.” replied my Mother, barely glancing –

And that was it. Everyone else was more interested in their ice cream. I was lucky – usually there would be a deep and unrelenting inquiry – but not this day…not on ice cream day.

Still…I think to this day, it’s probably the most exhilarating shave I have ever had – weird, I haven’t ever seen that experience documented on a Gillette advertisement…

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Chinese Burn

What is a Chinese burn? Maybe you know, maybe you don’t…well, let me refresh your memory – a Chinese burn, is a childhood game/trick/prank thing, which is achieved by putting two hands on a victim’s forearm, and then twisting in opposing directions. It fucking hurts – and leaves a red mark…a “Chinese burn” as it is known.  

Zac Crying GIF

After those early school years it features very little in your everyday life. It’s juvenile I suppose, and is probably at least a little bit politically incorrect, or even racist perhaps. Well, whatever it is – I had well and truly forgotten about it by the time I actually visited China many years later…

 Never in a million years, did I think this mythical childhood creature would actually be a reality.

Despite a long day at the Beijing summer school, and an early start the next day – a couple of us decided it would be a great idea to head further into the city, and out of the dusty suburbs…I can’t really remember much of what we did there, drink probably? Hmmm…not sure, all I really remember is the taxi ride back. Three of us fell into a car, and spent ages trying to get the pronunciation correct when we told him where we wanted to go…

“Shoonyee?” Nothing…blank stares – so someone else tagged in –

“Shun-ee?” Nothing again, possibly a shake of the head – someone else’s go –

“SHOONYEE, SHOONYEE?!” Nothing again.

“Come on…please…shoon-yee, SHOON-YEE!”

Ice Cube GIF

(After many attempts) “Ahhhh! SHUNYEE!”

(Everyone on in chorus together) “SHUNYEE!! SHUNYEE!!”

“Yes, yes! I know! SHUNYEE!” he said with a smirk of accomplishment, as the population of his car began in a huge high-five-fest. And why wouldn’t we? At last we were off! That’s always a great feeling, especially when in a foreign land – that moment that you know you don’t have to worry anymore, as you will be brought to the door of wherever you want to be…you can say goodbye to any hassle (and hello to overpaying on the fare, but hey-ho!)

After a little while, it began to become clear that we were going a different way than the one we came…it was dark, so quite a challenge to see things, especially in our condition – but there certainly wasn’t a motorway on the way out, or was there? Maybe we hadn’t paid attention? Hmm…

We drove for a long time, we should have been back by now – but we were still not seeing anything that looked even vaguely familiar, we began to enunciate “SHUNYEE – SHUNYEE!” once more….“DWAY! DWAY! SHUNYEE!” He said he knew the way, but it was quite clear he didn’t – in a strange and non-nonsensical turn of events we began to give him directions…on what basis I don’t know. This served to only annoy the driver (not surprising) and get us even more lost in this dark unknown wilderness. Where would we even end up…maybe he was going to lead us out into the bleak wasteland, and just shoot us in the back of the head one by one…it happens…in movies…but still…IT HAPPENS!

Freaking Out GIF

Some time passed, and whoever was in the front passenger seat was the only one still trying to converse – the rest of us had given up. We took a sharp-ish right which shook us out of our drunken backseat snooze – before we knew it we were outside of a building. “Shunyee.” the taxi driver pointed, whilst also avoiding all eye contact. 

We looked out of the window in unison. It was a huge flashy hotel, nothing like the one we were staying in. And around it…errr…well, nothing…at all, just a lot of grass…roads…and more grass, possibly some more road…then grass. Short version: this was the middle of nowhere. We tried to tell him that this was not Shunyi…but he insisted…we were drunk sure, but we weren’t that drunk! After some heated words we decided to cut our losses, handed over the money that it read on the taxi-meter and started to head into the hotel…maybe at the reception we could order another taxi, or get directions or something.

“ARRRRGHHH – GERRROFFFIZMAN!”

I spun around, there was my friend battling with the taxi driver, trying to pull away from his grasp – he had two hands clasped around his forearm and wouldn’t relinquish his hold…anytime my friend would try to prize him off he would hold on even tighter…anytime he tried to move, he would just follow right along with him…there was one weird moment where they walked along as if part of a wedding procession – would have been romantic in the right setting I am sure, but in this one it was down-right terrifying!

“COME IN THE HOTEL!” my other friend screamed,  “JUST GET HIM OFF, AND COME IN THE HOTEL!”

“I CAN’T…HE WON’T GET OFF MAN! HE’S HOLDING ME!?”

“GET TO THE HOTEL!” I started to imitate the suggestion loudly, despite being only a few feet away from him – I was scared that if I got too close he would somehow grab my forearm, and have us both!

“HE CAN’T GO IN THE HOTEL – JUST GET TO THE HOTEL, AND HE ISN’T ABLE TO ENTER! IT’S A LAW! 

My friend seemed pretty certain of this, I had no idea why a taxi driver would be banned from entering a building…but at the time it made sense to me. So I repeated these words, over and over – finally he managed to break free…and we all ran the last couple of steps – desperately pushed through the revolving doors and fell into the hotel reception, panting hard. We all stared out at him on the other side of the glass, as he stared right back at us…we were safe…it seems my friend was right…oh…wait…NO, NO, NO! WHAT?! WHAT IS HE DOING?!

Popcorn Fright GIF

He started advancing, and began pushing the revolving doors, edging closer and closer – what was he doing…how? HOW?!

“I THOUGHT YOU SAID HE COULDN’T GET IN?!”

“HE…HE’S NOT SUPPOSED TO BE ABLE TO!!!”

“WHAT?! HE’S NOT ABLE TO PUSH A DOOR OPEN…WHY WOULD THAT BE A THING?!”

No one waited for an answer to that ridiculous question, we simply picked ourselves up, and sprinted to the reception…he was still following, not running – but following, at a weird horror movie killer pace…you know, where they don’t seem to go fast but are always around the corner? Yeah, that! We had limited time we knew that – so we explained the situation as fast as possible – but alas, the lady at the desk didn’t speak any English, and soon our nightmarish friend was back with us – grasping arms, and twisting hard.

Another guy was called over, who managed to speak to the irate taxi driver – he translated that the man was upset, because we had ran off without paying…even though the money we had handed over was still in his pocket – once we pointed this out, he changed tactic and said that it hadn’t been enough – when quizzed about his meter and how that could be so – he gave up, and went off in a huff. Phew, as you can imagine we already LOVED the translator guy – he was our hero, our savior. Our new best friend, for life.

He went even further than the call of duty, and called us a taxi with a trustworthy company, he even looked up where we were staying – and gave the exact address to the driver once he arrived, as well as making sure we paid FIRST, to avoid the same issue happening again…people’s arms were sore, we couldn’t cope with more of those shenanigans!

On the ride back home we were absolutely exhausted…the friend who had got the worst of the wrestling hold was complaining about how much it hurt, I thought he was just joking, or perhaps even over-exaggerating…but when I looked it was bright red – “wait…that’s a bit like a…Chinese burn, remember those?” My friend nodded solemnly. “So that’s a real thing…haha…hmph…well there you go! You learn something new everyday!”

Right Okay GIF

We slept soundly that night, I can tell you that for sure. Too much drama, and excitement for one night.

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Dumbo Rides an Elephant

I didn’t really have a lot planned when I went to Nepal…”I wanna’ ride an elephant!” was basically all I had on my mind; aside from that I was very open! What did I end up doing before I got to that? Well national parks, jungle treks, and canoe rides to name just a few! And yeah sure, sure, they were all fun…of course…but I couldn’t shake the fact that no matter what happened, I would have to ride an elephant on this holiday! Hmmm…perhaps the several million times I had watched Dumbo with my previous class may have had something to do with this fixation…

DUmbo GIF

Whatever it was some guy said that we could book to do it the following day! I was so excited, I couldn’t wait! YEAAUHHHH! It was finally going to happen, WOOOO! FINALLY! Perhaps we would get stuck up in a tree, and there would be a magic feather, and we would make friends with some crows, and, and, and…

Well, no – naturally there was torrential rain…all night. So much so that the hotel room became an overpopulated zoo of creatures and critters; at first it was shocking every time you spotted a lizard on the wall, or a moth at the light – but after the millionth sighting it became far too commonplace to mention. Instead you just sit there swishing every now and again, as every tickle of wind or twitch of your skin feels like it may be a carnivorous insect you thought you would only ever see in the movies. The rain trickled through the badly made ceiling, but the mosquito net was providing ample shelter, despite the fact it had huge holes just about everywhere. A hippo could have made it through some of those holes…never mind a tiny mosquito! But you very much get what you are given in those places!

I had a decision to make that soggy next day – do I miss the opportunity because of the awful weather, or do I just go for it? Well despite not having any kind of raincoat, waterproofs or even a plastic poncho to drape over my pathetic shivering body – I decided fuck it, and went for it; after all what fun can be had in a hotel room? Well, lots of fun (obviously), just ask the owner of the Beverly Hilton  but the possibility for fun is reduced to next to none when you are dealing with a duo of diarhorrea stricken travelers…who have no access to toilet paper, never mind AC or television. With all that said, as soon as I stepped out (in a t-shirt, shorts, flip-flops and a baseball cap) I had immediate second thoughts as to whether this was such a good idea…the rain was very heavy, and I was drenched through and through within a matter of seconds…but still, elephant ride? Probably should still do this? Yeah…this is a good idea…a very good idea…

Rain Truman GIF

We piled into a truck; myself, my sister, and a young American couple. This is when my sister announced that as a vegan she would just be watching me from the sidelines…I mean I understood, it wouldn’t make sense that you don’t want to eat something but it is fine to ride it around…so I nodded in the most understanding way I could muster, secretly hating her for leaving me along with these complete strangers, I mean, who are they? What will I say to them?

The rain was still chucking it down when we arrived. In the distance there were large wooden shack-like platforms, that we would soon be using to (not so gracefully), clamber on these huge animals. I went first, giving one last look down to my sister who stood there with my umbrella grinning at my predicament. I pulled myself up, and was met with quite literally an upturned table and a battered cushion to sit on – that was what they attached to an elephant in order to use it as transportation. Where do I even sit? The guy gestured (in the most awkward way possible), that I should put one of the chair legs between my legs…and wrap myself around it…I fought the urge to laugh, and did as he instructed.

It was now turn for the couple to get on with me. They struggled for a long time, slipping, and sliding on the wooden surface – and often unintentionally pushing their bums in my face…I sat there and tried to pretend it wasn’t happening, but whenever our eyes met – I tried to politely nod and smile, but it probably came off as very creepy…there’s no way around it in that situation. 

Not Creepy GIF

Once we got moving we started to chat a little bit, the usual; who? what? where? questions – they were actually pretty cool people; an art teacher and a musical therapist. But once this idle small talk was out of the way, all of a sudden the guy sprang into the strangest bit of dialogue I may ever hear…

“Hey, you heard about claw? The Claw? No? Well yeah…I watched a documentary recently…and there’s this tiger called The Claw. It’s like a killer tiger…runs wild.”

“Oh…really? Where is he a-“

“Here. Yeah, Nepal. And The Claw is female by the way. She’s pretty bad-ass.”

“Mhmm…well, that’s…comforting. Thanks so much for telling me that. Good info.”

His girlfriend chuckled, and looked off into the distance – I wonder if he had kept her up all night talking about The Claw, maybe she watched it with him – I wish I had, then I might be prepared should he jump up and –

“So yaaaah…Claw like…killed fifty people, or was it eighty? Maybe one hundred and twenty…yeah one-twenty in total, fifty people last year-“

“Err…”

“It gets pissed off at elephants carrying people, and jumps up – swiping at people. This dude had a hand off.”

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I nodded, but stopped talking for a while, worryingly there hadn’t even been a flicker of humour behind his words…it was spoken to me as if it was a public service announcement that every elephant rider should be aware of – the rain continued to lash down, soaking my now laboriously heavy t-shirt within an inch of its life. I pictured all the way this fabled Claw character could kill me…or how the weird upturned table construction could just slip off its ropes, and I could break my neck quite easily…or maybe we would fall the other way? Then I am pretty sure that the guys beard would break my fall…but then I would be stuck in the middle of the jungle…The Claw would definitely get me then…

THWAAAAACK!

It took me a few seconds to work out where the sound had came from…it was a hollow, loud banging, that echoed around the jungle with a solid dull tone. THWAAAACK! This time I didn’t miss it, I had just saw the “driver” lash the poor elephant full force on the skull with his heavy steel implement. We looked at each other in total disbelief. I stared at the steel rod…it as curved on one side so it could be used for beating, and spiked on the other so it could be used for prodding – both seemed like cruel punishments. The elephants head was battered, pinkish brown where the same torture weapon had been used over and over, year after year, for this very purpose. THWAAAACK! I was filled with an uncontrollable rage – I rarely feel anything like it, but I stared at the back of the driver’s head…trying to stop a crazed urge to pull the implement from his sweaty hands, and beat him around the skull with it – see how he likes it, maybe I would throw four adult humans on his back, and hit him every time he decided he was exhausted. THWAAAACK! ARGHHHHHHHHHH! STOP!

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“I hope The Claw jumps up, and eats that guy.”  I muttered. The couple laughed, but I was pretty serious. I had previously had no idea of this side of things, so it was deeply troubling for me – honestly I just wanted the whole thing to be over…but it was now dragging. This was exacerbated by the fact the torrential rain made the terrain very difficult for the elephant to navigate – much to the driver’s disapproval. Yes, we still had a long way to go yet. 

After a short while we spotted a strange fish in the water, it swished and wriggled near the surface, in a snake like motion. “Croco” – mumbled the driver, I hadn’t noticed at first, but he was right – I could see small limbs just under the murky river…it was huge, but paid us no attention. I was amazed to see it in its natural habitat, as opposed to sitting bored out of its mind in a dusty zoo someplace – but when paralleled to the elephant’s situation, it made me even more upset. I was holding out a slight hope that the crocodile was on its way to meet with The Claw, and that they were going to form a superhero team to take out elephant riders for good! It didn’t ever happen, well not yet anyway – these things take planning, and planning takes time. I get it! 

Afterwards I thought about the whole thing, and the issue at large – I know now I will never ride an elephant again, or pet drugged up tigers in Thailand…I don’t knock anyone who does, because I was one of those people up until a short while ago! I just ask that you make yourself aware of the sad and cruel reality at play here. It’s depressing I know, but it’s an important issue we shouldn’t overlook. People are on the poverty line in these countries, and use these things to make money…but it isn’t their fault, it is the tourists fault for giving demand to such things. The cruelty I saw, has me breathless right now  even thinking about it…let’s try and make it a thing of the past. No creature deserves treatment like that. 

Indiana John

Due to recently returning to South Korea, (after a few months travelling in a few other countries) I found myself reminiscing on the previous year I had spent in this lovely place…and the certain comedy capers I got up to during that time. One in particular stood out, and that is the tale of Indiana John, I hope you enjoy it!

I had just enjoyed a lovely few days visiting the glorious Jeju Island, a semi-tropical paradise island which is a boat ride away from the mainland. I had went with a large travel group, which isn’t my usual way of doing things – but it is sometimes nice to let free of the reigns, and let someone else do all the hectic brain-work. Your guide tells you when you are all getting on the bus, when you will arrive, when you can take photographs, when you can pee, and so much more…after a while you feel a bit demeaned I am sure – but as a short term solution, it is strangely comforting not to have to deal with all of those irritating issues. You can just relax, and let it all go…

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So we were on our way home, the convoy of coaches had dropped us all off at the ferry terminal – and soon we would be shepherded inside, and told exactly what the plan was. Most of us were hungover, sun-burnt, and tired…in short, we had just had a brilliant few days (and we were now all suffering because of it!) As we made our way inside, the guide asked for passports, and ID cards…and got to work getting all of our tickets from the counter. There was some issue that caused there to be a huge delay, but remember I had let those reigns go so I didn’t pay much attention! Something to do with the numbers not matching, or the colours being different, or, well I have no idea – the guide seemed freaked out, in fact he appeared to have entered the realm of nervous breakdown – as he was frantically sprinting around the place from corner to corner, which I found to be doubly odd as we hadn’t even had lunch yet; so where he was getting this renewed energy from, I just don’t know.

Everyone appeared to make the decision to spread out, and dodge out of the way of his mad marathon dash. My friends found a quiet corner, and I popped to the store to get some drinks and snacks – to weather out this tedious wait with a little bit more joy. Others from the larger group had the same idea, or meandered around the shops looking for last minute relics, and souvenirs. I felt like some form of demi-god when I returned, as if there would be a harp playing, and a glowing golden halo around my head – after all it was a sweaty, gross kind of heat, and this was a stuffy and dirty kind of place. We ended up sitting on the floor with our bags as makeshift cushions, taking long slurps from our beer and occasionally pointing out the places people had caught the sun particularly badly. Of course I was the main topic of conversation – as it looked like I had just had a bare-knuckle fist fight with the sun, and lost.

“BLEURRRRGHH-BLEURGHHH-BLAHHH!”

A strange Korean man, who strongly resembled Taz of Tasmania, had just taken it upon himself to rudely interrupt our happy little scene. He was speaking in an odd tone that made no sense to anyone, worse still he was a heavy spitter – and we were drenched with a sloppy saliva shower every time he opened his mouth. As he used the wall to stabilize himself, he continued complaining…we looked at each other, in a don’t look at me, this guy is crazy kinda way, totally dumbfounded…hoping that one of us would be able to comprehend what his problem was, instead we all just shrugged at one another – we felt glued to the ground, as he lorded over us, spraying us with spit, and stifling us with his heavily alcoholic breath.

Bad Breath - GIF

A savior stepped in, thank the Lord! A short middle-aged Korean guy, put an arm around him, and spoke in soft tones, whilst guiding him away…he turned, and politely apologised on the drunk guy’s behalf – “no problem, no problem!” we all stammered, simply happy to be rid of him. The drunk man looked to have been sufficiently calm as he was walked away, but just when we began to begin our past tense “well that was weird” conversations, he BURST back into life! Pushing and shoving the other man, grabbing him by the scruff of his neck and wrestling with him, the man was largely powerless against his drunken flailing arms – our group began to shriek, and gasp – I stood up and ran over, dragging the two apart – and in doing so, I unintenitionally threw the intoxicated guy into the corner with a large crash!

Phew, that was intense. More exercise than I like to do on a Sunday…but necessary. I asked our savior if he was okay,  he rubbed at his throat – but assured me he was…the other guy seemed out of steam thankfully, and decided to stay put.

But…what was…what was that sound?

VVVVVVVVVUUUUUUUUUUUHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Huh? Wait…“THE SHUTTERS ARE CLOSING?!” I heard someone scream – I suppose that in the scuffle, someone had smashed into the switch, busting it off the wall – and setting the roller shutter doors in motion…in a few short seconds they would close, and we would be locked in the small corner section we had settled in…locked in with the drunk belligerent lunatic! “IT’S CLOSING, GRAB YA BAGS, GRAAAAB YA FAAAAKIN BAAAAAAGS!!” People stared at me, seemingly not sure what I was going on about, they looked almost as clueless as the drunk guy who was still sat on the floor smirking at the whole situation…“COME ON, YOU ARE GOING TO BE LOCKKKKKED IN – FAACKIN LOCKED…URGH! NOW!”

Those who had snapped out of their daze ran under to safety, by the time I made it to the shutters there was only a few feet left before I would be entombed along with everyone else…I hurled the bags under, and did an awkward little roll. CRAAAASHHHH.

Indiana GIF

OH GOD…I’d made it…just. I opened my eyes, and stood up – the main section of the ferry terminal stared at me, people from the group…children, grandmas…all without a clue as to the crazy events that had just unfolded. That was until there was loud, petrified banging from the other end – then they started to pay attention!

Along with some other bystanders, we attempted to use the switch from the other side – but it was well and truly broken, and the mechanism would only go down further, crushing the metal into the ground…we had desperate conversations through the roller shutter door, which were made difficult as the offending mad bastard had decided he too would voice his opinion on the situation, through his typical grunts and growls.

Ten minutes or so had passed, we had tried to pull it up with the aid of ten or so men, but still no luck – we had called for security, and still they were not here…would they really just have to stay there forever?!

“It’s okay, guys…guys? We will get you out of there alright? Listen…guys?”

“Hi John!” Their voices sounded strange…and distant, it echoed around the room – they sounded so close, but they were so far away…

“I’ll get you out – we’ll get you out…I promise you…”

Crying Guy GIF

“JOHN!” they shouted againI began to reply, but was interrupted when I then felt a short jab to my ribs – I turned around to see them all stood there, shaking with excitement…but for the most part, okay. Well, alive at least. I thought I was seeing things, and was largely speechless, I kept pointing at the closed shutters, and back to them – they explained that security had a small door inside that section, just in case (does this happen all the time?!?!) – and that they had taken the drunk guy away, one would hope for a cup of tea, and a lie down; that’s definitely what he needed!

Just as we were happily reunited, the tour guide ran up to us, asking us where we had been – but not waiting for a reply – “COME ON, WE HAVE TO GOOOOO!” 

It was over as quick as it had all started…we spoke about it that night, checking again, and again with each other, just in case it hadn’t really happened…I had always secretly wanted to the Indiana Jones roll…but I thought that it isn’t a thing that happens in real life…well…one of the bucket list. Here’s to that! 

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The Dangle Dance ~

There are always funny little things that are peppered along our daily lives, that when looked at retrospectively, are a little odd. Like when you are on a narrow path, and you do the little OH-AH-HAHA! OH-AH-HAHA! jig until one of you finally gets bored and let’s the other past, or when you are in a confined space and someone with blaring earphones in, begins to sing…and you just have to stare forward and pretend it isn’t happening, or when someone has a t-shirt on with a lot of interesting text…so, naturally you want to read it (maybe it has vital information on it!?) – but you look like a Creepbot 3000 and have to avert your eyes, or when…well, I have many more – but I don’t want to divulge too much, in case these tidbits of weirdness are things that I alone suffer with!

Man I am so awkward, apologies! No, don’t apologise…you don’t want to seem weak, why do you always do this to us?!! Say nothing…don’t be sorry, look tough, like you don’t really care what people think…they don’t have feelings…neither do you…that’s it, you are a rock, a human rock – eyes forward, less redness in the cheeks, red isn’t tough…don’t smile at all…why are tears forming? Keep it up…

Tough Jim GIF

Urgh. Well, safe to say, there are always little amusing interludes to the daily grind, whether they occur in our heads or outside of them is largely irrelevant! This is a story, a little like those I just mentioned…but way, way, way (a lot of ways, but I figure you get the picture already) worse. The dangle dance, as I have dubbed it, is a considerably more horrifying creature than those little occurrences could ever aspire to be…

It all happened when I was at the gym, the dreaded gym. It has became both an everyday feature of my existence, but also the bane of it. What a horrible paradox to encounter every day, especially when I insist on eating so much fried foods almost immediately after it…but it is usually meat, so err…protein energy, for the muscle growing-ness, of the…yeah, yeah I know, whatever. 

Everyday I step in there, and unfortunately the personal trainer guy has taken to speaking to me – this usually happens at gyms, as most will know, they come up and want to pretend like they are just chatting to you, they’ll be all “did you see this movie?” or “John, you’re looking well!” and you reply you didn’t watch the movie, even though you did – and you know they are lying about you looking well, because you just sweated a swimming pool, and also you wonder how they know your name all of a sudden?! Because you know it isn’t really friendly, it is just pretend friendly…the massive elephant in the room is you – you are the big fat elephant, and this personal trainer is trying to grease you up with compliments, and friendly chat – so he can charge you a gazillion gold coins, in exchange for him screaming orders at you, “pick this up, put this down, don’t eat, pull this, stop being sick…” But you can’t just say, “FUCK OFF PLEASE, THANK YOU.” That would be terribly rude, so instead you are forced to engage in these tedious conversations, and you are pressured into creating new excuses every time as to why you won’t be taking him up on his offer. I thought I would be free from these shackles at a Korean gym…but oh no, the personal trainer can speak English! Yesterday I found myself spending 40 minutes on a treadmill, even though I hate any form of cardio exercise, just waiting till he moved from the main weights section. This is my life for the foreseeable future. 

This wasn’t even supposed to be about that, guess I just had to get it off my chest…my big, fat, flabby, man-boob chest…maybe I should just sign up with him. NO, I AM A TOUGH HUMAN ROCK, GODDAMMIT!

On the day in question I had narrowly dodged Shaun the personal trainer, maybe I would get away one of those conversations today…I sure hoped so. I still had my headphones on, and my eyes glued to the floor when I entered the changing room – this had been my way in which to slip by largely unnoticed – as I turned the corner the usual smell of men’s changing rooms hit me like a shovel to the nostrils; a damp, sweaty odor – the scent of unwashed privates, layered with cheap deodorant.

If the morning coffee hadn’t woke me up, then this sure did the trick. It was so strong, my eyes began to weep…

Bad smell GIF

With my head still down, I turned another narrow corner, and bumped into someone – the greasy shower sweat combination clung to my clean clothes, I nodded in the mandatory “it’s fine” fashion, and stepped to the right…he stepped to the right…I stepped to the left…he stepped to the left, I looked up and was met with a wrinkly old man – OH GOD DON’T MAKE A BIG DEAL OF THE PENIS SITUATION – I smiled my best, and most convincing fake smile, as if I wasn’t freaked out, or mortified – and politely stepped to the right, but he went the same way again…argh! Left again, nope he stepped left again! When would this stop?! He chuckled, as I accidentally caught sight of the…errr…thing again…maybe this was a perverse joy for him, maybe he was waiting around the corner and he gets his kicks from it. I laughed, but looked to the distance so there was no way I would be able to sneak a glimpse of his grey testicles again, we did the little dangle dance once more before I pushed past him…there is only so much a person you can take – if we went by his rules we would be there doing a little penis cha-cha for the rest of the day.

On a totally unrelated side note – his grandfather cock, got me thinking about grandfather clocks…is that where they get their name from? Did a clock-maker have a similar run in like this, and it gave him a rather fruity idea? Because so far, that makes a lot of sense to me…no? Hmm…alright. 

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Fancy footwork!

My couple of days in Austria were for the most part overwhelmingly positive, (stay tuned for the single negative part in another post soon!) – I mean, the place is beautiful; filled with breathtaking architecture, some of the best art the world has ever seen, and people who are warm and friendly – especially when compared with their far more stern and stand-offish Hungarian neighbours. Case in point, in Hungary someone tried to have a go at stealing my trainers…in Austria a stranger saw me battling with a map and pointed me in the right direction…

Also the coffee in Hungary tastes like someone has put some coffee granules in their mouths, washed it about with a bit of luke warm water, and then spat it into warm-ish milk – making sure to stir thoroughly before serving to unsuspecting customers. Coffee in Austria is totally on point: espresso that makes you feel like it isn’t such a big deal that you haven’t slept more than four hours a night for a week straight…now I look at the situation with fresh well rested eyes, I am starting to question whether the caffeine situation has a lot to do with my (probably) terrible bias – yeah, probably – so apologies to both sides, but you do both have great cakes – so perhaps you can take solace in that? Joint first on the cake podium? No? Okay.

Continue reading “Fancy footwork!”

The Talking Dead

So for some bizarre reason, two out of three hotels in Italy decided that my sister and I didn’t require two single beds, and that a double would suffice. Perhaps they thought we were a young couple – and she was my 16 year old wife (hmmm…yeah, I doubt that one), or perhaps they didn’t think it was a big deal, or more likely just didn’t give a shit either way so long as I paid them upfront, which I stupidly had. But anyway…with all that said, it actually isn’t such a big deal. Unless you are a massive weirdo with all kinds of strange urges and psychological problems, then lying in a bed and going to sleep with your sibling should be pretty much a carefree scenario.

Naturally, I don’t do carefree scenarios though…so that isn’t actually how this story played out…if only, of only…

Continue reading “The Talking Dead”

The Surf King

It may surprise you to hear that I actually detest the whole flying process, despite the fact that I do fly quite often. Everything from the treatment you get as part of a herd…shepherded through this little bit, then the next, then the next, all of these false obstacles designed to make you feel like you are making progress – so you are forced into this little desperate shuffle as you edge closer and closer to being able to sit down…you are regularly fondled under the guise that you may have a bomb or drugs lodged up your anus…and even when you get on the plane you are not safe! As there is the groin check, where the air hostess goes and basically stares at everybody’s crotch one by one…under the guise of “checking if you have your seatbelt on”, yeah right – I see through your LIES, you SICK, SICK WOMAN! Then there is the gross food, that you shovel down anyway like the immense waste of space you are – because, well…what else are you going to do on this flight that appears to have an estimated duration of ETERNITY.

But still I get on these tin cans in the sky, why oh why?!

Continue reading “The Surf King”

Taxi Stand Off

I don’t cope well with heat…searing heat that is…maybe it’s because I am from the North East of England…maybe it’s because I have a heart of ice…but whatever the reason, I can’t stand hot weather. It completely confounds me that anyone can put up with (let alone enjoy), standing under a giant ball of fire for a sustained length of time. I mean, it sounds just totally mental to me – the theory is you’re supposed to just lie back and marvel as your skin transforms itself into more radiant hues, like some kind of diseased chameleon…slapping on lotions and potions to help with the ordeal, which you could actually just avoid altogether by staying indoors and streaming a movie on your laptop, whilst eating ice cream that won’t turn to liquid instantly…

I’m a certified Grade A burner…so I am probably just very, very jealous of all you tanners out there.

Anyway, Nepal is a place where this sphere of flames appears to be approximately three times as pissed off as it is anywhere else. It is completely and unfathomably, unbearable. I felt like screaming “I’M MEELLLLTINGGGGGG!” every second of every day, even indoors (I know, I KNOW! WHAT WITCHCRAFT IS THAT?!), where the WIFI was often unreliable – so therefore using my own solid gold advice was well and truly out of the window. Dammmit.

So invariably you venture outdoors, but the sheer abrasiveness of the heat leads you to becoming slightly insane, and making ridiculous impulse decisions when out wandering – “IT’S THIS WAY!!! NO…THIS….YES, I AM SURE IT’S THIS WAY, COME ON, COME ON, ARGH – WHERE AM I?! I HAVE LITERALLY NO IDEA – AH, I THINK IT’S THIS WAY…COME ON, COME ON, I’M SURE I SAW A – ARGHHH!” you twist and turn, wriggle and writhe, pulling yourself through the unfamiliar maze like streets – that all tend to look identical, but just appear to have different names…often very similar names actually, probably just to make the whole process even more confusing for you.

To make matters worse, the suncream I had lathered all over myself had met with the heavy amount of sweat that was now leaking from my body – making for a hot, sticky nightmare. I rubbed my brow, cursing the sky as it beamed down with an unforgiving intensity – that’s when I felt the first sting of suncream run into my eye sockets – “YOWWWW! ARGHHH – FACK, SHI! IT’S IN MY EYES!”

Eventually it comes down to this; you will either pull your eyes out and use them as makeshift ear muffs (two birds one stone!), jump on the next motorcyclist who honks his horn and tear him limb from limb, or you will get a taxi and be transported to your destination with relative ease. Naturally your mental state is somewhat altered by the intense heat, so this decision takes a little longer than it normally would…but you opt for the taxi ride eventually…well this time anyway.

Taxi Driver

Once inside, despite the dirty interior, you start to relax a bit – you know take in the sights “…ahhh, look! A man coughing his guts up as he stirs a huge pot of curry! Oh, wow! Look! That woman is being sick directly into the gutter! Jesus Christ – are we nearly there yet?” You have no idea…but you do know you will get there eventually, so that is a vague comfort, and the slight breeze the movement of the car produces is somewhat refreshing on your reddened face. It certainly beats your situation five minutes ago. That was a version of hell.

After ten minutes or so the car stops. “HERE IS THIS!” announces the driver…it doesn’t look like the pamphlet you have in your hand…you are quite certain that it can’t be…wait, what? So the taxi driver has not taken you to the palace that you had pointed to on the map, but instead decided you would enjoy the museum of aviation a whole lot better…fucking hell, and to add to this absolute MESS, the sun cream I had applied previously was still stinging the shit out of me, forcing me to squint uncontrollably, in between vigorous rubs, to try and alleviate the pain.

Arghhhh, just pay the man regardless, and get into another taxi as soon as possible.

“How much is it?”

A creepy underhand smirk forms in the corners of his mouth –

“Errr…500?”

He rubs his hands together as if he is the Nepalese version of Fagan…this is completely normal unfortunately, you should just take it for granted that people will try to rip you off at every turn. You are the clueless tourist, and they attempt to bank on that fact whenever possible.

“500? Naaaah-no, no, no -”

“Okay, okay – 400.”

“No way! I paid 200 for a journey that was twice as long yesterday!”

He stared back at me blankly, I was suddenly aware that I was massively pissed off, not sure where that had came from – as although this guy was ten a penny, he had just became a manifestation of all that was crooked and wrong with certain parts of Nepalese culture towards visiting foreigners…the sun was still unrelenting, the heat horrendous, and the cream began to sting my eyes until they were reddened and crazed beyond all comprehension.

“Okay, okay – 300.”

“YOU HAVEN’T EVEN TAKEN ME TO THE RIGHT PLACE! THIS IS THE AVIATION MUSEUM!”

More blank stares. I tried my best to reel in the Mr. Hyde side of my personality that seemed to have burst off the leash without my consent.

“Right, listen there’s 200, thanks very mu-”

“NO!”

As I placed the money into his hand he immediately pulled me back – attempting to stop me from leaving…despite the fact that I was overpaying him for taking me to the wrong location…madness.

“300.”

I stared back at him – completely and utterly enraged.

“Naaah…nerr…NO. LOOK – (taking one of the 100 notes back) – do you want 100, or 200? Your choice…”

This was fucking MAD. What the fuck was I even doing? I don’t do this, this isn’t me – I don’t really stand up to people in this way…even if I am definitely being wronged…I usually just do the very English thing and apologize profusely and complain about it later to a close friend…perhaps he would realize that and beat me to death in the street for attempting to fool him…I had to stay strong, remain in this Mr. Hyde character no matter what.

“300.”

“Okay…your choice…100 it is.”

I began to walk away with a faux manly confidence – he immediately stopped me again.

“WHAT?!”

He stared at me, clearly weighing his chances, testing my mettle…I stared back straight into his, trying in vain to look as close to Wolverine as humanely possible; but my eyelids were still red with irritation, and out of nowhere tears started to flood down my cheeks despite my best efforts to squint them away…not very errrr Wolverine-ish…I stood my ground regardless….who would give up first? That’s really all this would come down to…usually it would be me, but not this fucking time.

He grabbed the money and drove away. It was a minor victory, but it felt HUGE.

The joke was on me though…I then had to walk all the way back to the hotel (fearful of more taxi driver stand offs) in the searing heat. Absolutely gross.

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More from this country below:

https://storytimewithjohn.com/2014/07/24/wacky-races/

https://storytimewithjohn.com/2014/07/18/blood-sucking-leeches-nepal

 

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