Sunday, November 27, 2011
Saturday, November 26, 2011
There's a common factor with my depression: generally it's other people that make me feel shit. It's a feeling of inadequacy, or social ineptitude. A need to stand apart and watch the fun from afar while at the same time a desperate need to take part. It sets up a conflict in my head and I go spiralling around and around and around until something clicks. Today, that something was this:
See, I'd begun to think it was me. All these people in Central America are having fun. If it's me that's miserable then it stands to reason I'm a freak, right? Party capital of the world and all I want to do is sit in a corner and watch TV. It hadn't occurred to me that maybe everyone else was just gobshitingly awful. A version of the worst kind of Essexland (for I know some lovely people from there and wouldn't denigrate all of it): drunken, drugged up, vomit stained, loud and noisy Essex where the aim is to do all of the above 'large'. I hate it.
Sometimes I just want to sit and have a cup of tea. Maybe even a chat. I'm 35. I don't do drinking games anymore. I don't want to talk about the ways I've opened beer bottles. Is it too much to ask to talk about politics? Or the environment? Or the American election?
Why should I be the one to feel excluded? How dare you make me feel the outcast? You're the one exhibiting moronic principals. You're shallow and vacuous. Your greatest achievement in your young life is to have dropped the two most important balls of your life. I forgot this for awhile. It's OK for me not to take part because to take part, and enjoy it, I'd have to drop my IQ by 40 points and not only am I unwilling to do that I actually can't. I've tried. My conversation doesn't dumb down enough for you. I can't get my head around some of the things I'd need to say. It's like I'm talking to my biological sibling. It's good to have standards, don't you think? And my standards tower above yours. I look down upon your standards from my ivory tower and all I see are ants: we're both unknowable to each other but one of us has got the bigger cock.
I don't like your parties. I can never hear what's being said and I suspect it'd bore me to rigor mortis if I did. But just once I'd like to be given the opportunity to know for a fact. It's just that I can't be bothered to find out. I'm already disappointed in you. I'd hate to find out the reality is even worse.
Now it has to be said I've disliked other groups of travellers for other reasons: in India they were smug, in Europe too young. For the best travellers go to Africa. Everywhere I go in Central America, and the places where divers congregate are the worst for they think they're so fucking cool, people treat it like its the last night of legal alcohol and they're mission is to be as loud and obnoxious as possible. Like its Freshers Week ad nauseum. Maybe that's what it is: they remind me of students. I hate them, too.
No doubt you'll make me feel like shit again in the future but for now, by which I mean the next few minutes, I'm happy in my supercilious reverie. So, please fuck off.
Friday, November 25, 2011
There's a boat. I'm....on it. Lonely Planet, as Lonely Planet tends to do, and which I hadn't at this point realised tends to make everything sound fabulous. I've been to some very crappy places because of them. I literally travelled for an hour in India (distance 3 km) to see a water pool mechanism. It looked like someone's Lego set.
The boat is going between Koblenz and Mainz two very non-descript towns but the boat journey was supposedly epically beautiful. It isn't. It's alright at best. But on this boat were two dudes. One of them looked like Cameron from Modern Family and the other looked like Mitchell. From Modern Family. It was unfuckingcanny.
So we're talking. They're nice guy English types, as opposed to the crappy drunken ones, on holiday for a few weeks touring picturesque parts of Germany. I begin wondering - are they gay? But surpringly for one afflicted with foot in mouth disease I don't ask. I delve deeper instead. It turns out one of them lives in Scotland, the other in London.
Sorry if you were expecting a funny ending, or even an interesting one.
Incidentally, I got stuck in a lift in Germany. I was with a few other people and we were there for 15 minutes. It turned out nobody had pushed the button.*
*stolen from Flight of the Conchords
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
So we're in Dangriga after not making it to Copan. It's party time with the Garifuna. Subsequently, the next day was...slow. But there are buses running all day; we can get a late one because where we're going is just a transit point ie it's shit.
10am we look for breakfast. Sarah wants frijoles and beans. Must have frijoles and beans. We had Chinese. This was eaten during a discussion about Lost (greatest program ever made, fact fans). There were questions raised: what was the horse? Why was Charles ejected from the island? Was Ben really a Capricorn? Let's go back to the hostel and find out!
This we do for the next 3 hours. The bus is at 3:15. It's 2:35. We should probably leave....
Yes. But first we need to find the, I say 'the', ATM because we can't actually pay for the bus with our current funds. The bus station is left. The ATM is to the right. Off we go. Long way this, isn't it? Got cash, walked in the opposite direction, and arrive at the bus station. To see our bus coming out of the gate. Actiongirl Sarah leaps to the fore ie in front of the bus and demands it stop. He won't let us on. Sarah pleads. The bus is full. We don't mind standing. Already people standing. Other travelers already on the bus are laughing at us. Fail.
So we wait 75 minutes for the next one.
There are 3 doors in the terminal in a wall 3 metres long and about 100 Belizeans. Which door....wheres the bus going to come in....could be any of them apparently. Sarah and I had 2 plans, the first of which we played rock, paper, scissors for. I should've warned her how awesome I am at it. I'm, like, the champ. I won! Hurrah! It was to be my duty to clamber my way onto the bus and secure us a seat while she made sure our very heavy bags somehow went underneath the bus. This plan wasn't put into effect because we then decided to stand at different doors and therefore it'd be the first person to get there. Sarah won. I got caught up in a scrum. Ever seen a ruck in Rugby? Brian Moore's got nothing on an old woman from Belize.
I can just about see Sarah being crushed inside the bus and in front of me there are four rows of people still waiting to get on. I begin to wonder if and how I'm going to get on. I glance behind me, where there's nobody, somehow I'm at the back of the scrum despite carrying a huge backpack, and there's a bus 2 lanes away. The sign says its going to the same place but there are only three people getting on it. Umm.....
So off I goes to that bus. Now, some people might've thought 'let's tell Sarah'. Not me. I'm far too practical for that. I'll meet her in Punta Gorda bus station. Its quite clear what my uncommunicated plan is. I gets on the bus and it's almost empty. There's still a scrum for the other bus. Result. I look across and Sarah has a look of wide-eyed panic on her face. It's at this point I wonder....off the bus I get. Her bus' backdoor is open and as I get there she's on the verge of leaping out.
Remember that bit in Labyrinth? With all the hands? It looked like that.
So I helped a traumatised Sarah onto 'my' bus and all was well. Except for my ears that got a sound thrashing.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Dan. Dan, Dan, Super Dan.
I met Dan on the jungle trip and he was special. He was more man than you should be able to fit into a normal sized body. Everything he said and did was 100% prime MAN. He was....capable. Whatever needed doing, he was there. He had so much energy the nuclear power industry was jealous.
The things Dan has done:
Worked in high rise construction
Been in the army
Driven a tank
Carved wood into....things
He can wear pink and still look butch
Throws a motherfucking machete in the air and catches it
Climbs temples, not up the stairs, but through overgrown jungle when everyone else is dying from exhaustion
Performs surgery on himself
He has also has a firm grip of history. During a discussion on our respective countries Israel had its turn. To paraphrase: "Israel was started in 1947. In 1953 we went to war. After that we went to war. War reared it's head again. There was a war later. And then....a war. This all ended in 1997 when we went to war."
The annoying thing about Dan was not that he made everyone else feel inferior. It's not that he was so damn unfazeable. He wasn't a big talker so he didn't get on your tits. It's that he's just so damn nice. About everybody. All the fucking time. Sometimes you just wanted him to bitch. Even about the 2 German girls.
At one point we even talked about him having his own range of action figures.
I've not even mentioned his hair. He's like fucking Samson. He's got so much hair, in a tiny space, there should be a gravity well in constant attendance above his head.
But he's not very good at the harmonica, so stitch that, Israeli.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
This jungle thing's a lark, eh?
So, Sarah said. Fancy a jungle walk to some ruins? Yay, said I, lets do it. And so started six days of hell.
In no certain order it went:
First day failed as there wasn't a guide for us ready some had to sit in a random village all day. Food was tortillas and frijoles. For 4 meals. Random woman sang through a microphone. Badly. And we swam in a river.
Second day was walking. Through mud. More mud than I've ever seen. Ruins. Walking. Complaints from the 2 German girls (henceforth known as Team Silent) that Sarah (henceforth known as Team Awesome) and I were talking too much. And too loudly. And walking too slowly. To be fair that was because we were talking. Total time walking: 8 hours for 27km. Lunch was tuna sandwiches and dinner was....stuff with tortillas.
Third day, we walked. Dan the Israeli talked a lot to the Spanish guide and thus became Team Español (which should technically be Team Castellano but Español is funnier). This left Scott, who was also Johnny, to become Team Johnny. I got a lecture from Team Silent on the correct pronunciation of their name and got told in a shouty type way to "shut up and keep walking". Relations got tense after this and pisstaking became extreme. Much fun was had this day. I still felt good physically but pretty tires now. We'd walked about 7 hours and 30km. It was becoming increasingly clear I was going to hate Dan in his awesomeness. His energy levels were disgusting. As was his capability. Lunch was tuna sandwiches and dinner was stuff with tortillas.
Fourth day we saw the ruins. And sunset. And sunrise. Much climbing was done. Wasn't this supposed to be a rest day? Team Silent were typically silent and spending time amongst themselves. Which was nice. They'd paid $100 more than the rest of us, for less. This made us smug. Which was nice. No mud today. The Dan contingent of Team Español subsetted off into Team Rabbit due to his being like the Duracell Energizer bunny. And also he earned the name Super Dan. Lunch was.... I can't remember to be honest but there were probably tortillas.
Fifth day Team Silent returned and we four were left alone. There was rejoicing. Especially as we kept the cook, Sofia (no team was assigned). There was a four hour walk to essentially pointless ruins but we'd negotiated this for free so, win. Ish. We rested, and this was good as I was starting to feel like shit. The legend of Super Dan was being born. Macaroni cheese for lunch. Fr dinner we each had a piece of fried spam. Go, Sofia!
Sixth day was hell. Hell in a jungle with mud. 9 bastard hours of walking. Distance was kind of irrelevant and nobody could agree on it anyway. Even the Mayans were arguing amongst themselves. A there between 8 and 40 Kim's was mooted. Little talking was done. And it rained overnight making little lakes through which we struggled. No leeches were found but lots of ticks. It goes without saying THAT THERE WERE A MILLION FUCKING MOSQUITOS. Super Dan suggested running the final 30 minutes. He didn't die thus proving looks cant actually kill.
Seventh day was a 3 hour jaunt back to Carmelita where we'd started. In mud and water. Did we want Tortillas and frijoles? Did we? Get fucked.
Funniest thing said by me: why is it raining inside the tent?