A Travellerspoint blog

Sorry for the delay. Been busy hanging out doing nothing.

semi-overcast 32 °C

Well its been a while. Only a few months have passed and all hell has broken loose. Financial turmoil across the globe. Black fella in the White House. Liddington sitting around in the pub. Where will it all end?

I took a break from the travelling to seek potential gainful employment in the financial sector. This co-incided with the credit crunch, freefalling share prices as well as bankruptcy and nationalisation. You know the most important thing about comedy??......

Timing.

So end of the world? New World order? The death of capitalism? Winter of our discontent? No more 600 pound internet addicts with massive credit card bills being carried naked from their trailer on a tarpaulin by 12 concerned looking firemen? Tough to tell. Certainly all potential scenarios best observed from afar. Preferably in a place with a beach and happy hours from 4pm to midnight. Theres no point in wallowing in self pity, although to be fair what else could you do with self pity apart from wallow in it. Come to think of it you could swim in it, moving on to drown in it should you so desire and if youre not one for watersports you could stay dry and choke to death on it but (and I have an inkling you will agree) none of these sound overly attractive so I skipped the whole step and moved on, booked a flight. Random selection really and arrived in Jakarta on Saturday. Step in the right direction. Or at least 24 hours of planes and layovers in the right direction. But, and in summary for those not paying attention, definitely in the right direction.

Indonesia has the same land mass as the US and a larger population. Some 260 million people. A hundred or so dialects. It is also the largest archiapeligo in the world. Islands, volcanic stuff, midgets in tuxedos. All a bit James Bond. Quantum of Solace is wank by the way. Watch Casino Royale or one of the Bourne films and you'll have a much better evening and save yourself some cash. I digress.

Colonised by the French and the Dutch originally who must have fucked it up as the Brits got called in for a bit of Empire extension. It still amazes me that the Brits used to run the world. What was everyone else thinking? We can barely run a rail network (although tfl do a fine job Dave) these days and could not even have pubs and restaurants open regularly without the help of a million Polish people. Anyway, no such labour shortages here. Everybody seems employed although it is often difficult to ascertain what exactly they are doing. Pictures:

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Jakarta is on Java which has 120 million people on it. Grand total for the country is about the same as Europe. Lots then. Each island has a mix of Hindu, Muslim and Christian with some Buddhists thrown in to chill everyone out. Some places predominantly one or the other and some a decent mix of all 4. A few people mentioned they thought Indonesia was some sort of breeding ground for radical bus bombers. They seem to be getting on fine at the moment. For the most part.

Say hey to Geev. Taking his second holiday to come and join, did some of central america last time so Asia a good place to meet up.

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So Jakarta was crap and they had just executed teh Bali bombers so we decided to head south and see if there was a fuss.

Lombok. Then onto Gili Trawangan. Rainy season and the Australian government travel warning for Indonesia means that most places are quite quiet but the good news is that there are not many chants of aussie, aussie, aussie at 4 am. Swings and roundabouts.

Gili is cool. A lot of this going on.

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Apparently the mushrooms are halucinogenic. Magic they say. 'One way trip to moon no transport required'. Madness really. Can't imagine why anyone would bother. Irresponsible behaviour. Although it may explain the dude Geev and I met who insisted on talking like a pirate the whole time.

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And the guy who insisted I was the monkey king and danced around like a loon rubbing his head and jabbering. Or they may just be loonies. Such a fine line these days. Does make the early morning beach scene quite lively.

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Due to the size of the place the only way to get around if you are in a rush is to fly.

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Thats a picture of Geev after we had been told to get off the plane as there was a problem with the landing gear. Gathering our bags we heard a loud noise and then this local dude appeared with a satisfied grin on his face, went to the cockpit and the pilot announced that all was actually now fine with the landing gear and to take our seats. Not sure if you have ever jumped out of a plane but there is that moment as the doors open and the cold air rushes in when your brain issues - in clear and simple terms - an instruction that you should really reconsider such a rash course of action. Not sure why but this auto-response is physically communicated to you through your sphincter clenching to such a degree that you expect to shit diamonds in the morning. We stayed on board. No diamonds I'm afraid but we did land safe and sound.

The real way to get around - if you have time - is to take a boat. The water is clear, turquoise blue and its a stunning place to chug past.

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3 days on Gili and off to Bali. Supposed to be shite but thats just the crappy resort bit at the south. Not staying long in any case. Off to check out some wildlife. Updates to follow.

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Cool eh? Monkey king walks on water. Ooohoohooh.

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All the best from me and G. Be well troops. Hasta la revolucion siempre. Although maybe wait til it stops raining.

See you in the morning,

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Lid.

Posted by lidster 19:34 Archived in Indonesia Comments (1)

leaving the americas

finally.

Firstly a big thankyou to Sasho. In the last (North American) months I managed to treat him like a brother and only get the same treatment back. Crazy Bulgarian though he is, he remains my favourite communist. Engaging, funny, political and mental all in one half hour session in the spa. Good work. I owe a debt of gratitude. Raise your eyes to the sky and be thankful for people like Alex.

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Well, how was the continent? Continents in fact. In continents I was. hehehe. Sorry. Diverse beyond imagination. If you need culture shock after tremor after building wobbling ground shaking intensity then head this way. Civilisation as we would call it in the north, madness in the middle and general stripey coloured dancing the further south you hit. I am repeatedly and happily an admirer of the madness that takes place across these fair lands. I will probably never fully digest the experiences that I have been fortunate enough to enjoy on this extensive and rambling lump of earth that was formally a chunk of pangea.

Spanish lessons by the lake, the honduran club, the dive at night with friends, road trips for no reason, a night in panama with the craziest fucker you have never met, more animals than David Attenborough dreams about in the Galapagos, altitude sickness and trains up a mountain, the andes hungover, chilean boat trips with new friends, argentinian steak, jumping off mountains, paraguayan hospitality, Brasilian beaches that make you want to move there, drinks at dawn, che for breakfast, slums for desert. Mexican madness, buses that run for ever or never, nights that never ended, days that never began. Fat boy slim, tacos a gogo, jazz and crawfish, stupid amercians, crazy canadians, no need for punctuation or spelling. Friends that are more than a number on facebook. People that will always remain a mystery to me. Californians that will probably never have a significant thought in their lives. The neo-con twats that will always have too many. Good times that spread like ebola but taste like honey. I would not take a day and change it. Not one. Not sure if I managed to get the message across but it is outstanding. In all of the 11 available dimensions and potentially in a few yet to be imagined. Go, see, feel the warmth, get upset about it. No need to question too much.

If I missed some stuff then I apologise. If the trail was laid bare by low quality puns and stories from the worst seat in the bar then forgive me. It was as good as I could do and I could never do it justice anyway. I would tell you to check it out before it changes but it, like everything, changes every day so check it out when you can.

Many smiles. Good times. I feel some continental shift occurring. You may not feel it but there may be a whiff of it on the wind. Don't try too hard, you may strain your nostrils. The days not done til the cock crows for morning and I think I ate that particular cock in Honduras............ (unable to believe that I just wrote that down I now find myself unable to delete it - slip of the pen though not of the tongue if you get my literary shimmy - apologes to all for laughing at my own "joke".... to continue).

The days not done til the fat lady sings and although I am sure she belts out a fine tune I have already managed to outrun her in Brasil, twice, Chile once and in various guises in Portsmouth since I was a young man without fear of the consequences.

And yes, I am a lucky boy. Lucky in many ways. Got a t-shirt that says so, so it must be true.

So in memory of all those who travelled with for their company, their jokes and sharing some excellent times.

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And something for you to copy, paste, watch, consider, forget, re-discover anew, assimilate patchily into your sub-conscious and then potentially be reminded of in old age as the laughter of generations new fades on the summer breeze, rhythmically replaced by the creaking rocking chair our aged forms follow, our laborious breathing catching at the back of our throats, dry, rasping and slow; slowing, slowly, as lost focus returns to long blurred eyes to see nothing more before us than the eternal darkness of the yawning abyss....

Or alternatively just a bit of fun from some dude called Clemens that means little but sounds cool. Unsure myself. Your call.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWWKBY7gx_0
Lid

Posted by lidster 03:10 Comments (2)

Van and Montreal

east to west.

sunny 25 °C

Stayed a few days in Vancouver and am impressed. Usual crackhead human detritus hanging around in certain areas but for the most part it is a friendly, beautiful and fun place. lots of water around and although too cold to swim in it does encourage some wildlife we don't get in Europe - unless of course some warship is using sonar and all the Whales get a bit confused about which way is up.

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Van itself is surrounded by beauty but looks quite nice itself.

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Last 2 in Stanley Park which is kind of how parks should work in big cities. The guy who did the stone balancing assured me that no glue is used, just brute force and patience. Always have to be thankful for the artistic nutter.

Steph came along whale watching with me and to correct my accent etc.

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She had never been before either and put on a good show of enjoying it. I suppose we rarely do the touristic stuff when close to home but it can be pretty cool. One of a bald eagle for you.

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Which was pretty cool, the mountain in the background is Whistler or Blackcomb. One or the other.

Whales occasionally jump out of the water and splash around. The guide on the boat said that we would probably see some but that it was difficult to get decent pictures due to the unpredictability of where they would surface. That was until this one tried to jump into the boat.

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Actually got a few like that. The whales themselves are pretty stunning. Can never really understand why people see such beauty in nature and almost immediately decide to kill it. Not my immediate reaction, a chicken maybe but an Orca? Savages. Numbers seem to be doing well and their mysterious lifestyles and ability to disappear plus the fact that they are loyal, social and fairly smart all go to make them a top 5 mammal in my book. Trying to think of the other 4 but I have decided Humans are not present. Maybe top 10.

Swiftly onto Montreal. Few of the fellas from New York decided they would drive up to meet me and we went out and partied like it was 1999. Not that I mean we spent time worrying about whether our computers would work the day after or that the end of the world was coming but the party party thing. Team below:

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Liked Montreal although they did get a bit of the snobby frenchy thing going but that also means the coffee and croissants are of a better standard so its all swings and roundabouts. Bad news to break to some of you - seems like God went out of business.

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I had heard attendances had dropped off but didn't figure it was that bad. Probably had some sub-prime exposure stuffed under one of the pews.

4 blokes together could probably take a tourist bus and go to the theatre but it never really crossed our mind. Went for some beverages and watched some footy.

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Service was of a consistently high quality.

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Not much more to say about that. Many thanks to Willis and Chris and of course Tommy G. Had fun. Am detoxing... soon.

Take care all. One more blog on the Americas to wrap it up and let you achieve some degree of closure before the madness gathers pace once again. The bridge may be out but if we can just get enough speed up.....

Lid

Posted by lidster 23:50 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

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