World Cup part 3/3 – LAKERS #1!!!!!!!!!!

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February 20th, 2012 Posted 3:42 am

Well, the Malaria test came back negative (Hoo-ray), so I asked the doc if I could stop taking the doxy, he said NO, but… I stopped taking it anyway.

HOLY SHIT!  I was in Cape Town, SA!!!  Obviously I didn’t have a place to stay, but managed to swing a sweet deal camping on the side of this big victorian house turned hostel called Ashanti Lodge.  I had full access to the house, kitchen, bar and I wasn’t paying ridiculous WC prices.  The town was getting ready to explode, the fans were trickling in and the energy was building.  I got in all the tourist shit before the party started, and when I say tourist shit, I mean some of the best tourist shit you can imagine.  Hiking Table mountain, seeing the most breathtaking view of Cape Town, visiting the penguins on Boulder Beach and of course a Great White Shark cage dive in False Bay.  The Shark dive was rad as all hell.  I almost missed it though when I took a wrong train that dead-ended in some random SA town in the middle of the night during a rainstorm. (Cape Town is considered one of the top 10 most dangerous cities in the world).  Well I somehow managed to get out of that sketchy situation with a 25km police escort to my hotel in Simons town.

Back to the Sharks, I went with Apex Shark Expeditions, an eco friendly outfit run by the famous shark photographer Chris Fallows, who you see on every program during Shark Week.  He took us out that morning to seal island where we waited to watch some natural predation.  It was quiet and eerie as we watched lone seals make runs for the open water.  We started towing a carpet seal, but still nothing.  Then BAM!!! Great Fucking White Shark jumping out of the black water right in front of our eyes.  I was like Ohhhh, that’s what’s swimming around beneath us.  Now it was time to get in the water,  cold cold water.  Most people could only stand the water for about 15min but I wasn’t getting out, I ended up spending an hour in the water and saw 2 sharks.  Wish i saw more, but so so rad!

Football time!  I was ready!  I had my Vuvuzela with LAKERS #1!!! Painted on the side, and a Bafana Bafana jersey, which is the SA team name, it mean Boys Boys.  The streets were packed for opening day.  SA actually had a way lower turn out for the cup then expected, but you couldn’t tell by looking at this scene.   The sound of the Vuvuzela became a part of you for the next month, and what a month it was going to be.  I had an extra ticket to the FRA vs URG match and ended up taking my friend Janel, who I met in Bali.  We were headed to the stadium as the opening match between SA and Mex was showing on TV.  Lucky for us there were bars along the entire walk there.  Then it happened.  A Roar exploded through the whole country of South Africa and before I knew it, we were running through the streets hugging, high fiving, and blowing our Vuvuzelas.  Bafana Bafana had scored the 1st goal of the Cup!  It was on!  It was here! and You could feel it!

From this point on it was nonstop party and football.   If you didn’t bring your A game you were in deep trubs.  Three matches a day, parties everywhere, heavy drinking and to top it off, LAKERS FINALS were on at 3am every other night.  I was dragged out, kicking and screaming of at least 3 bars because they closed before the game was over, and I wouldn’t leave.  One place kept the TV on for me and I watched though the window. 

I watched the USA v ENG match at a pub on Long St. which was packed to the brim with shit talking Yanks and Brits, and was no doubt a highlight evening of great energy and World Cup spirit… it would have been better if we won.         I finally caught up with Ryan again and his kickass CA friends Paul and Dan(Celtics Fan).  We rolled to the ITA vs PRG match together then met back up in Durban for the ESP vs SUI match.  Durban, the warmest place in South Africa, was still cold, but not like cold and rainy Cape Town, and their Fan Fest was at least on the beach!  It was also nice not being in a tent hearing Vuvuzelas at 6am anymore.

The 4 of us raged hard in Durban and witnessed Spain’s only loss of the tournament, but time was short and I had a plane to catch, which I missed… FUCK!

The ARG v KOR game was in 3 hours and the next flight was too late, so I bought a new ticket on a different airline that got me to Joburg with an hour to spare.  There was even a place at the airport for me to stash my bag.  I hooked up with some other people that were in a panic and we split a van out to the Soccer City Stadium in Soweto.  Once we hit traffic, we could see the stadium in the distance, and I got out and started running.  I ran, and I ran. I could here the anthems and cheering as I made it though the turnstiles.  I ran up the stairs and just as I saw the pitch in front of me, there was the kickoff!  I made it!  95,000 people around me, with one of the greatest soccer players of all time on the pitch, and instead of vuvuzelas, I heard singing and drumming.  I bee lined straight to the source, and suddenly I was surrounded by drums, singing, and hands waving.  These were the same guys who lead the songs at the Boca Jr. matches in BA.  These were hardcore dudes, but they took me in and taught me the ways of the Argentinian Futbol Match.  It was the most fun I had ever had at a sporting event, and I couldn’t get the songs out of my head.  The final score was 4-1 and we paraded out of the stadium singing at the top of our lungs.

I now had to figure out a way to get back to the airport, “We’re goin that way, well give you a lift, as long as you don’t mind grabbing a drink first”.  Uh YEAH!  So there I was having a pint in the oldest bar in Joburg, with a lift back to the airport.  While I was in Joburg, Wobber’s cousin Rob was nice enough to let me stay at his house.  We got to sit down a couple times and talk about SA, my travels with Wobs, and the Cup, but time was short;

GAME 7 of THE LAKERS FINALS was on that night at 3am, the USA match was tomorrow, and my Israeli/Italian/Argentinian crew was throwing a birthday party for Lalla down the street that night. I got a cab to the party, reunited with all my travel friends who were celebrating the Argentina win, and who introduced me to even more cool people.  The energy of the party was amazing.  It was a case of amazing people being drawn together.  We sang, danced, drank, ate and talked the night away until it was just Iris and I awake.  She didn’t want me to watch the game alone, so she stayed up till tip off, then crashed.  I sat there wrapped in a blanket in animated silence watching THE LAKERS battle it out in game 7, and as the tears rolled down my face I watched them lift the Championship Trophy overhead.  I WAS SO HAPPY!!!  LAKERS #1!!!!!!!!!

The next day I made my way to the stadium, scored a cheap ticket out front for USA vs SLV and watched the most exciting match of the tournament, as USA came back from a 0-2 deficit, to win the game! ….Ohhh wait, i forgot, the ref usurped the winning goal from us.  Well that amazing moment, when we thought we had won the game, is a moment the ref can’t take away.  Sadly this was the end of the SA portion of my World Cup, but the adventure was to continue in Ethiopia and Israel.  My hummus cravings at this point were getting pretty bad, so it couldn’t come soon enough.  At least I had Ethiopian food to hold me over for the 3 days before Tel Aviv.

I arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in the middle of the night and as I’m going though customs they inform me that there is a $20 visa fee that had to be paid in cash… and the ATM was broken.  Hmmm I was trapped in the airport, with no way to get money.  They said I could leave my passport, take a $40 cab into town, and get money there.  Not my idea of a plan at 1am.  So I decided to wait it out.  If I waited till morning I could get a transit visa and it wouldn’t cost me anything.  So there I was, sitting on the floor with my head between my legs trapped in the Addis airport, when a guy comes over and hands me $20 bucks.  Really?  “Yeah man, don’t worry about it, I’m happy to help.”  My face lit up with a smile as I thanked the dude.  I gathered my bags, paid the visa, and scored a free ride and bed at the Hilton with some peace corps volunteers from Ghana that had a free layover night on their way to the WC.  Not a bad outcome to that situation.

I only had 3 days in Addis so I found a cheap guest room, dropped my bags and started wandering.  Once again I was the only foreigner around and the locals quickly swooped in.  I engaged with an open mind and was pleasantly surprised by their receptiveness.  They could tell that I was not a naïve traveler, and I could tell they weren’t trying to fuck me over.  Most of them just wanted a free ride for the day, and I was down for that, in exchange for a local experience.  One guy took me to a locals movie theatre (tv room) where we sat around and chewed khat, which is a stimulant plant that all the men chew.  I returned the favor be showing him how to have a dance party on the street corner.  We watched the World Cup games at the oldest hotel in Addis and we talked about Ethiopian culture, history, and where to find the skull of Haile Selassie.  Ethiopia is fascinating, and the culture is so different than the rest of Africa.  It still works/doesn’t work the same way as all the other African countries, but the language, music, dance, food, and look of the people is completely different.  It’s also common for men to hold hands when they walk together, so when they would take me around town, we would hold hands, which was pretty cool.

We went out one night with some local big shot who got us some of the best Tej (honey wine) in town, and took us to a great Azmari-bet.  It’s bar lounge with a live Azmari band playing, as eskista dancers prance around and sing in Amharic, most of the time they are making fun of you.  It’s quite a show, everyone is laughing and the dancers pull you up to dance with them, then they push you back down since you most likely can’t keep up, then you tip them and the musicians.  So this Ethiopian beauty pulled me up to dance with her but little did she know, Jebber’s got some moves and is a fast learner.  Lets just say I held my own and spent more time dancing up there than anyone.  I also visited the Merkato while I was there, which is considered one of the largest outdoor markets in Africa.  I will attest that it is one of the most insane places I’ve ever been.  You could probably find almost anything there including machine guns from what i hear.  It starts out with normal size streets and store fronts, and as you go deeper and deeper in, the streets get thinner and thinner, until it’s just mud and shacks, and you’re jumping over mystery rivers, and dodging herds of goats, and people with 5 boxes on their head, and 2×4’s coming right at your face.  You smell everything from spices and flowers, to rotting food and animal crap.  It’s a sensory overload and I was told not to have anything in my pockets so I have no record of it, in fact I have no pictures of the entire Ethiopia trip except the food I got at the airport.

Oh the Ethiopian food!  It’s so good, yummy lentils on spongy sour injera bread, which is complimented perfectly with live Ethiopian jazz I must say.  Well that was it for Africa, for now.  I couldn’t wait to leave, but I couldn’t wait to come back.  What an adventure… Time for Hummus!!!

Blog Song:  K’naan – Wavin’ Flag

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WORLD CUP Part 2/3 – Peri Peri Tofo

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February 13th, 2012 Posted 1:21 pm

I still remembered a little Portuguese from Brazil, which got me through the Mozambique boarder way quicker then it would have, only 1 hour.  It was funny, they could tell where I had learned, because of my pronunciation.  Well I got my visa and switched my money to meticais, then tried to hitchhike into Tete.  Well the bridge was shut down and I had to settle with a Chapa ride over the Zambezi River.  Same vehicle, different name, different cargo.  Instead of fish, Tete is known for its Coal, sooo what were they wedging in whatever free space they could find?

Bags of Charcoal!  Needless to say, we were all black by the end of that ride.     Tete was pretty sketch but I found a nice jazz bar to have dinner at, where I ended up being invited on stage to play a few songs.  It went pretty well, I even sang a verse from the Portuguese song I had been learning by Maria Rita.

I barely got any sleep in my mozzie filled room that night, but had to be up at 2am anyway to catch my roach filled bus.

Many hour, lots of bananas and fried bread later, and I was on the Mozambique coast, in Vilanculos at a hostel called Zombie Cucumber.  It was filled with lots of World Cuppers and divers.  I signed up for 2 dives the next day, which included lunch on the Bazaruto Archipelago.  The Diving was pretty sweet along the 2 mile reef; turtles, triggerfish, box fish, and nudibranchs.  As much as I liked the dives though, running down the giant sand dunes on the archipelago was the highlight of the day.  That night I decided to scrap any plans of trying to make it to Madagascar or Namibia and just focus on Mozambique.  This was followed by a badass feast, whipped up these cool South African dudes camped on the beach.  Barracuda, spicy calamari, avocado, and butternut squash!  I hitched my way out of Vilanculos the next morning, to the main road where I met 2 girls from the Peace Corps.  They were on their way to a music fest in Swaziland.  They gave me some hitching tips and told me to meet them in Swaziland.  First though, I had to get to Tofo, so I could see a Whale Shark and do some bad ass diving.  Well I somehow scored a cheap seat on a lux bus that was driving by heading South… Awesome!  I was now only a couple Chapa rides from Tofo.  The locals kept trying to overcharge me for the rides but I called them out in Portuguese, which got them to fuck off, and I finally got a normal price chapa.  And what a chapa ride, we ended up fitting 30 people into this one! It was insane and awesome and really uncomfortable, but It didn’t matter cuz I was now in Tofo.  Ryan was there, and guess where he was heading, Bush Fire Music Festival of course.  I had to go!  First though, I signed up for a bunch of dives as well as the ocean safari.

The diving was insane!  I saw so much shit I had never seen before, like frogfish, honeycomb eels, mantis shrimp, devil rays and more.  It was also super challenging, we had to push our boat though the surf into open water over massive swells and do negative buoyancy entries due to the strong surface current.  I went with Tofu Scuba, they were probably the most professional dive shop I had dived with so far in my travels.  After the dive, we went out again on the ocean safari snorkel trip, looking for whale sharks.  The weather was perfect for spotting them so we had our fingers crossed.  We found a humpback whale and a manta ray but no whale shark.  Then we get a call on the radio and the captain kicks the boat into high gear.   I’m like how are they gonna find this guy in all this water, well I was wrong, cuz before I knew it we all had our fins and snorkels on and we’re jumping into the water.  When the bubbles cleared, I was looking at a 30ft whale shark heading right toward me!  It was like a fucking bus underwater.  It was amazing, beautiful, gigantic, majestic, and just cruising along, so for a while we were able to keep up with it.  Those 10min made all the craziness and long journeys over the last week so fucking worth it.  Now it was Festival time.

I hit it hard that night for the full moon party, almost missed my 4am bus which I had to chase down still drunk.  This was a good thing, cuz I didn’t notice that my seat didn’t have a back on it till the end of the 9 hour journey.  I had 1 night in Maputo, which is an awesome city.  The Latin influence can be seen, heard and tasted all throughout the city, which goes all night.  It’s also definitely a city you need to be very careful in, but I luckily came out unscathed.  The next day I hitchhiked into Swaziland and made it to The Bush Fire Music Fest, despite a cracked radiator on the way.  Well there I was, at a full on African Music Festival!!!  I felt so in my element.  I bopped around from stage to stage running into to peeps I had met over the past few weeks everywhere, just like at home, and sure enough I found Ryan.  The acts there were primarily from Swaziland and South Africa, but still they were incredibly diverse.  There was traditional music on marimbas with dancing, jazz, pop, reggae and soul.  My favorite act was the Temaswati Project, which was a onetime performance of 10 female artists, singing and backing each other up, all a cappella.  Well we danced all night, met lots of cute SA girls, and then jammed out by the campfire, where me, and this MC, improvised a song called “My girl smokes too much pot”.

The next day was cold and rainy, and I had got my festy fix, so I packed up my tent, had a jam with Ryan, and hitched a ride back to Maputo with some Portuguese dudes.  I managed to make it all the way back to Tofo.  I couldn’t help it, the diving was just too good, but man does the road there suck.  All the roads were under construction due to the fact that the Chinese had struck a deal with Mozambique.  The Chinese build them new roads in exchange for fishing rights to their coastline.  The coastal towns were already feeling the devastating effects of this awful deal. The local fisherman were bringing in King Fish a quarter the size than they usually do and animals like the majestic whale shark, were becoming less and less common.

Anyway, It was also a total reunion when I got back.  My Israeli, and Italian friends from Malawi were there now, and they brought along an amazing group of Argentinians.  We had some A Game evenings, drinking Tipo Tinto Rum and Jamming on guitars.   One night we got

a full on African percussion dance party going at the Bar, and the band kicked us off, cuz we were pumping up the crowd more than they were able to.  I also met Kim and Cass, 2 Aussie girls that were on day 1 of their round the world trip.  They were fresh out the gates and ready  to party, I had a feeling I would see them again in my travels. 

Now World Cup was coming up quick, but more importantly, THE FUCKING LAKERS WERE IN THE FINALS!!!  From this point on, all travel was based around making sure I was in a place were I could watch the games.  I found a bar in Tofo with Satellite, and offered to pay this African kid $20 to open the bar early so I could watch in the game in the morning.  He totally blew it though, and I had
to watch the replay… typical.

Before I left Tofo, I squeezed in a few more bunny chows (Loaf of bread stuffed with curry!), with inappropriate amounts of the spiciest best peri peri sauce eves, and got my last dives in.  On our deep dive to Giants Castle, we got down to 30m(100ft) and a couple minutes in, as I was watching a school of red fang triggers, I heard the loudest fucking sound, like someone had taken a lead pipe to my tank.  I turn around and see my divemaster wide eyed, swimming toward me with his alt reg stretched out toward me.  I switch regs as he checks out my tank, and I hear OH FUCK!  He turns off my tank and we abort the dive together.  Turns out my high-pressure hose had burst, and I was loosing air quick, but he said I took it calmer than any underwater emergency he had seen.  He said most people shoot to the surface when shit goes wrong.  Well the main bummer was we missed the manta ray on that dive, but at least I was ok.

I ended up getting a ride all the way to Joburg with the family I had been diving with all week.  I was shown true SA hospitality, and they even taught me the rules of Rugby so I could watch and not be so confused.  They dropped me off at the airport, which was so nice, and I bought a ticket straight to Cape Town.  At this point I suddenly broke a fever and started having flu like symptoms.  I had been taking doxycycline every day for Malaria prevention but I knew people that still got it anyway.  So as soon as I got to Cape Town I went to the hospital to get a malaria test.  I promised my mom I wouldn’t fuck around when I came to this shit.   To Be Continued…

Blog Song:  Shakira – Waka Waka! (I still tear up when i hear this)

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WORLD CUP Part 1/3 – Dr. Jebberston I Presume?

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February 5th, 2012 Posted 12:11 am

It’s May 11, I’m on the island of Zanzibar and I have exactly 1 month before the World Cup starts.  I have a ticket to the opening day match in Cape Town roughly 5000km away.  Time to quit the band and get to… Malawi?  That’s south right?  So my typical African travel day begins.  I start walking to where I’m told the 10,000 shilling ($5) bus picks up.  I’m approached over and over by guys telling me they’ll take me for 50,000 TS, and that there’s no bus.  I wait for the bus… no bus.   Then a stoned ass Dala Dala driver comes by and takes me for 20,000 TS.  I barely make it to the ferry terminal for my 10:30am ferry, too bad the schedule changed and it was at 9:30am.  So I walk around Stone Town for a couple hours getting harassed left and right till the 12:45pm ferry.  Now of course, the ferry gets delayed and when I get into my favorite city ever (Dar es Salaam), I now have 50min to make my African Train… and there’s fucking traffic!  I find a cab that says he can make it and I tell him I’ll pay him extra if he does.  Well we get there with 10min to spare!!!  I run to the ticket office and ask if there are any 2nd class tickets left, she says YES… but she can’t sell me a ticket, I have to wait for the next train… WHAT?  But the train is right there.  “The next train is on Friday (3 days from now), just take that one”.  I pleaded, offered her money etc., no ticket.”  Since when is a train in Africa on time, and since when do they not want to sell tickets to seats that are available?!

Plan B – The ol’ African bus, I head to the outskirts of Dar and haggle for a ticket on the 4am bus to the Malawi boarder.  They wanted to sell me a direct ticket to Malawi, but I knew better.  I still paid more than anyone else, but mzungus always pay more.

I walked down a sketchy street, found a $4 room from some woman who didn’t speak English, had another chips and ketchup meal, and got some sleep.  The 14 hour bus ride was actually pretty awesome.  The road was not too bumpy, we passed by tons of beautiful Baobab trees, and I talked with some really cool Malawian students that were on holiday in Tanzania.  I just wish people would stop throwing all their fucking trash out the window, it’s becoming a theme in my travels.

So it’s 10:30pm and what do you know, the boarder’s closed, and word is the bus wasn’t gonna make it though till tomorrow night.  HA! HA!  I had I new challenge though, I only had 12,000 TS left and the nearest  ATM was deep in Malawi.  I split a room that night for $1 with a Malawian named Blessings, how could you not trust someone named Blessings?  Somehow with the last of my money I was able to have chapatti, fried bread and tea in the morning with some Tanzanians from my bus, cross the boarder, and change my last 5000 TS into 600 Kwatcha, which paid for my shared taxi to Karonga!

ATM and a Malawian haircut later, I was back in business, and in a Matola to Chitimba.  Too bad I was in the death seat with a basket of hundreds of smelly dead fish between my legs and a driver that’s taking downhill blind corners at high speed on THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD!  The only saving grace was that the 20 people I was squished between probably would keep me from flying though the front windshield.  Seriously though, if you’re going to die in Africa, it’s not going to be from a black mamba, it’s going to be from a vehicle accident.  I had already seen the aftermath of a head on between a semi and a bus, and it’s not pretty and all too common.

Well I didn’t die, and was now at the base of a mountain along Lake Malawi.  It was beautiful!!! I could only imagine what it was going to look like at the top.  I had lunch with some Rastafarians and one of them guided me up the mountain,  although I managed to hitch a ride most of the way which was way longer than I thought.  I was now at the top of the mountain at an eco lodge called The Mushroom Farm, and what do you know, it was Happy Hour.  I was in Heaven, a G&T in my hand, and the most beautiful view of Lake Malawi in front of me. 

I pitched my tent on the edge of a cliff, which had the most ridiculous view of the lake.  The place ran on solar energy, had a wood burning stove and water heater, a compost toilet with a view, a garden, ducks and chickens.  It was pretty much the coolest hostel/lodge ever.  I spent a couple days there chillin out, hiking to waterfalls, and watching the greatest sunrises ever.  There’s a reason the Malawi flag has a rising sun on it.  Before I left, I visited the colonial town of Livingstonia, where I ate scones and listened to some amazing Malawian gospel.  Malawi may be one of the least developed countries in the world but thespirit of the people is superior to most, with their friendly and welcoming nature.

I caught a ride to Nkhata Bay with 2 Dutchmen who were literally driving from Holland to the World Cup in their Range Rover.  Hours and many bananas later, we arrived in the beautiful Nkhata Bay.  We stayed at Mayoka Village, which had both camping and cottages right on the water.  I did both while I was there, a little budge and a little lux makes Jebbers a happy camper.

I was now on the official World Cup trail, the place was was filled with people of all nationalities, all on different types of trips, but with one destination.  I met many people here that I became really good friends with, one being a photographer named Ryan Salm.  “You’re from CA?”  “Yeah Tahoe” “Ever been to High Sierra Music Fest?”  Yeah, this will be the first year I’m missing in 9 years” “Same Here!” “Where do you camp?” “Shady Grove, Duh”  FRIENDS FOR LIFE!  We sealed the deal and jammed that night on guitar and harp to Ween, Neil Young, and Dylan.

Now with all these people traveling to WC, there was football on the mind.  Enter MZUNGU UNITED, our badass team of foreigners that actually gave the locals a run for their money.  The locals enjoyed playing with us although they always wanted something in exchange for playing them, whether it be a bottle of booze, my shoes, my shirt, or my shorts.  I don’t think we gave them anything, but It’s just something you get used to over there.  Due to the the color of your skin the kids are going to come up to you with their hands out and people are going to ask you to buy or give them things.  It’s tough, you have 3rd world problems right there in your face, and here you’re being a cheap backpacker on their way to the WC.  It’s quite a conundrum.  You want to help, and you do, yet at the same time you don’t want to perpetuate the hand out mentality.  Africa’s problems are complicated, and the mentality is woven through many of them.  One of my teammates was a British bloke by the name of Chris.  He was traveling to the WC and giving out donated footballs to African kids and schools along the way.   One day he gave one out to some kids playing, and was then approached by an angry school teacher, that scolded him for giving the ball to kids that don’t go to school and haven’t earned it.

That night we watched Barca take the La Liga Cup in the village which hadn’t had power all weekend.  There were only a couple generators in the whole village and of course they were used to show the soccer match.  What a game, this soccer sport.  I’ve bonded with so many people around the world playing and watching the game.  Spoken to people that can barely speak my language, and what do we talk about… Soccer.  Now I’m on my way to the mother of all events, the World Cup in where else Mother Africa!

The next day Chris and I hopped on the Ilala Ferry, a 2-3 day journey down Lake Malawi.  This is actually Ilala #2, as #1 is at the bottom of the lake.  We quickly decided not to stay in the economy section, which looked like the inside of a shared taxi, and paid the extra money to camp on the roof.  We pitched our tents and enjoyed the space to move around.  I couldn’t imagine being sardined on one of the lower levels for 3 days.  Speaking of 3 days, that’s what it was becoming, due to the fact that we spent the whole next day docked at Linkoma Island, as overloaded boats brought more passengers to the ferry.  Chris, our new friend Ken(World Cup translator from Japan), and I finally got stir crazy and jumped off the top deck into the Lake.  It was my first time swimming in it because before now, I didn’t want to get Bilharzia, but fuck it, how often do you get to swim in Lake Malawi, and how often do you get to say you had Bilharzia?

We acquired 2 more member to our team, Sarah and Emily from the UK who weredoctors working in Livingstonia.  We all bonded over a bottle of Malawi’s premier spirit, POWERS #1!!! and had a dance party and jam session.  The 3 days on the Ilala ended up being heaps of fun, despite them running out of food, and us being covered in soot by the end.  We saw tons of unbelievable sunsets and sunrises and even witnessed the giant black fly plumes over the lake.  All that was missing was some narration by David Attenborough.

The evening we finally arrived in Monkey Bay, we were told we couldn’t leave the ship, because it was not safe for us at night in the town.  They said we could sleep on the roof free of charge and we could even use the mats for free.  Too bad we were almost out of booze and we had no food… but they really gave us no choice, they were not letting us off the boat (even though they let everyone else off).  So we finished the last of the Powers #1, and whatever crackers we had left.  The ship was abandoned and we started looking around for anything left behind.  All there was, was the beer filled fridge sitting next to us wrapped in a giant chain.  We tried to loosen it to no avail… then Chris decided to try some keys he had, on the padlock… CLICK!

Beer all night long!

We staggered off the ferry in the morning, and caught a pickup to Cape McClear.  Things just got better.  We gave out some soccer balls to some of the local kids teams and enjoyed as they went cheering down the road with the captain holding the new ball overhead.  We got some matches in with them as well, but I didn’t last long, I was still hurting from my Mzungu United injuries.  I did manage to have one of the most epic vocal jams ever with some of the kids on the way home from the match.  We also did a fresh water dive in the lake, which was pretty ehhh except for seeing a catfish.  Next came one of the best nights of the trip, a crab themed bar crawl through the village.  We taped our hands like crabs, we could only move sideways, and we all had crab names, which we had to refer to each other by; Crabbers, Pinch, Shelly, Snappy, Kanne San, Juicy Crab Meat, and Granchio.  We started at some mellow tourist spots, but followed the music to the locals bar where we bought a bottle of Powers #1, and passed it around the bar till it was empty (4min).  That got us in with the locals and from that point, it was on, and to this day I don’t know who had more fun that night, us or them, I also don’t know how I got in my tent and why I had blood on my leg.   Anyway the hangover lasted the rest of our stay in Malawi as well as our split in different directions, which was sad and uneventful.  It was a long journey with a brief stay in Blantyre, finally arriving at the Mozambique boarder.  To Be Continued…

 

Blog Song:  The 2 Mascatius

Malawi Photos

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INTO AFRICA

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November 18th, 2011 Posted 5:50 am

The Hiatus is Over!  The Blog Lives!!!   Rewind about 18 months, and we find our Protagonist Jebbers leaving the comforts of South East Asia and Beginning a 2½ month trek though Africa.

So after 2 months of beaches, buckets, babes and Wobbers, it was time to get back to business.  First stop the bustling African metropolis of Nairobi, aka Nai”Rob”ya.  I didn’t have a plan but I knew I wanted to just throw myself into the thick of it, and what better place than one on the most populous cities in East Africa, and what better way to experience it, than by Couch Surfing.  My Host Geoffrey, a native Kenyan, met me at the airport and we took a cab out to Komarock a poor outer suburb of Nairobi where he lived and where he had a small orphanage/school called Teddy’s Centre.  It was started following the violence that ensued after the 2008 elections.  During the chaos and bloodshed Geoffrey found an abandoned infant crying that he named Teddy.  He took him in as his own along with a couple others, but could not afford to feed everyone.  So he moved to Nairobi with his wife and started Teddy’s Centre, where they could provide daycare and education to neighborhood kids and use the money to care for the orphans.  The center was a simple 5 room concrete building with no running water or power.  That was my home for the next 3 days.  That night we took tea by candle light talked a little, and then I went to sleep under my mosquito net on my mattress on the floor.

I awoke in the morning to giggling as the children peeked their curious heads into my room.  We all took tea together and ate fried bread(Mandazi).  I spent most of the day hanging with the 6 kids, playing guitar for them, letting them use my camera and try on my sunnies.  Their English was minimal, they spoke Swahili but they were still able to say “play the dog song!” because they wanted me to sing Runaway Jim to them again.

I was invited to his aunts for dinner that night where I met lots of his relatives,  watched some Kenyan music videos and ate my new vegetarian staples, green banana, potatoes and UGALI.(white corn flour that looks like mashed potatoes).

The next day we took the bus into the city so I could book my safari, and get my bus ticket to Uganda since I had to be in Kampala by the 15th to confirm my Gorilla tracking reservation for the 17th.   One of the 3 times in the trip where I actually had to be somewhere on a certain day.  The 1st was meeting Wobers in Vietnam, then this, and soon World Cup which I still had 2 months to get there.  We walked through the streets of Nairobi past all the Kenyans in suits and business attire and buses painted with portraits of Rappers and Obama(He’s a celebrity there)  The visual of whats going on is quite a trip to say the least.  We hopped in a Mutatu which is the major means of transportation.  It’s a small passenger van that doesn’t leave until it’s full and I don’t mean having all 12 seats filled.  Usually it leaves finally when you have like 15 people packed in.  That’s why you gotta pick one that’s already almost full or you could be waiting 30mins or more.  Also the term full doesn’t seem to exist because they always seem to find room for one more.  We took the mutatu to Kibera, the 2nd largest urban slum in Africa, and walked around for an hour.  Everything about it was intense and it was crazy how many kids there were compared to adults.  I was on my own for the rest of the day, I got more pages added to my passport, and visited the snake museum where I saw a black mamba for the 1st time and hopefully the last time.  It was getting late so I hopped on a bus to Komarock, but the traffic was HEAVY and quite a sight!  The sun was going down fast and we were taking a route I wasn’t familiarwith.  It was now dark and I was feeling lost but then I saw the name of a school that my stop was near, so I got off…. But I had no idea where I was.  Turns out there are 2 schools by that name and I had gotten off early.  How I found that out I don’t know, but I was now lost, waiting for a bus in the dark in a poor Nairobi suburb.  I just smiled and acted liked I belonged even though I didn’t since I hadn’t seen a white person since I got to Kenya.  Well the bus came, I got home and ate some Ugali with Geoffrey and his fam by candle light.  They had been quite worried about me.  I had an early bus to Uganda in the morning so I said my goodbyes before bed and gave him some money to pay for the childrens food for the days I stayed there.

16 hours on a bus to Kampala, a flat tire, people selling bananas and chicken though the windows, a Ugandan girl named Immaculate, more Ugali and a Kenyan named Felix whom I had one of the most intense conversations of my life with.  He was working as a middle man to help facilitate peace amongst the central African nations, but he was also trained as a soldier and had seen the conflict 1st hand from Sudan to the DRC.  The things we talked about are too intense and graphic to discuss, but by the end of the conversation he was crying in my arms.  Four Days into Africa and I already felt it changing me.

I spent a couple days in Kampala sleeping in my tent in the rain at a hostel.  I stretched down to my feet after getting out of my tent and heard a high pitch hissing.  I looked closer and saw the grass filled with ants.  I asked the front desk, they told me yes be careful they can eat through the bottom of your tent.  GREAT!

I got around town on Boda Boda, which were motorcycle taxis.  They weren’t that bad except when they wouldn’t use they’re headlights to navigate around the VW sized potholes, because they wanted to conserve gas.

I also had an awesome dance party with some Ugandans who explained why people kept calling me Mzungu.  It’s the African term for foreign person or literally “someone who roams around aimlessly”.

Somehow I made it on a bus at 6am to Botagota, even though my Boda Boda didn’t show up and my bus ticket was for a bus that didn’t exist.

Sometimes loosing your shit a little pays off.   Well I survived the 30+ hour bumpiest bus ride(so far), with only bread and water, and no personal space.  I also met Sadeek who had 42 brothers and sisters.  Once in Botagota one of his brothers took me up to Buhoma in a car ride straight out of Dukes of Hazard.

I had made it to Bwindi Impenitrable forest by April 17th!!!!  Did I mention I’ve never seen so many bananas in my life?

It was Gorilla Day, and  I had a date with the Rushegura Family.  Only 6 people are allowed per day to visit with the Gorillas and it’s not even guaranteed that you will find them.  Well they must have heard Jebber was in town because they came to us.  Our guide couldn’t even finish the briefing because they strolled right through our camp.

We were allowed 1 hour with them and we had to keep a distance of 7m.  We caught up with the 19 member family within 5 min in a nice open eucalyptus grove which was perfect for viewing.  It was AMAZING!!!   They all had their own personality and job within the family.  We just sat and watched as they munched on bark, rolled around, and showed off in front of us.  At one point the little one walked right up to us and posed for pictures then I heard something to my left and there was a gorilla chewing on the tree I was leaning on.

The coolest though, was the Silverback! This massive Gorilla lounging around seemingly without a care in the world, pulling branches down withease,  yet so aware of whats happening and where the family is.  Our hour was over but we still got visits by the Gorillas throughout the day.

We also did a jungle trek where we were accompanied by 2 armed guards to protect us from Jungle elephants and armed rebel factions.   I ended the day playing music alone in the field, but  word travels fast and soon I was playing a mini concert for about 25 Ugandan staff members.  It was beautiful.

I made it back to Nairobi after 40+ hours on a cockroach infested bus, a loss by Barca to Inter, and a scary fried fish.  I had to wait a few days for my Safari because they said people were delayed due to the ash cloud over Europe but before I knew it I was riding a on a bike through Hell’s Gate National Park chasing warthogs and zebra, and watching giraffes try to get it on.  It was a 5 day safari for about $500 and some of the money went to Teddy’s Centre.  Next stop was the Masai Mara!  Lions, Elephants, Water Buffalo, Wildebeests, Hippos, Crocks, (Honey Badgers?), Impalas, Cheetahs, Dik Diks, Vultures, Jackals, and Ostriches!  Good Food Cold Tuskers and Cool people.  We tried to sneak out of our camp one evening to check out the Massai soccer game that was going on but we were ratted out and told it wasn’t safe to be around the Massai… bullshit!  After 2 Days of amazingness we were leaving the park when the brakes slammed and I saw a tall branch in front of our vehicle.  We popped our head out the top to see what it was… oh just a 10ft BLACK MAMBA reared up in front of us.  It made its point and moved on and we moved on to Lake Nakuru where we were greeted with flocks of pink flamingos, black and white rhinos, hyenas, and baboons.  In addition to the wildlife the views were breathtaking.

I finished my Kenya adventure up with a visit to the base of Mt. Kenya and the Equator.  Then it was back on the bus, bumpier than ever, to Tanzania where I had to pay $100 for a visa.  We spent the night in Arusha and I was able to view Mt. Kilimanjaro illuminated by the moonlight.  I split a room that night with a Christian businessman named Boniface, I think we payed like $2 each, and when he prayed that night I prayed for the LAKERS to crush the Thunder in Game 5.  By morning the rain had arrived and it was gone so I hopped on a bus to Dar es Salaam where I could catch a ferry to Zanzibar.  Dar was terrible, and probably my least favorite city in my travels.  It was ugly and every single person I met tried to scam me, including the security guard at my hotel.  We walked to a bar to watch the Barca Champions League game, I gave him 5,000 schillings to get us beers and he never came back. WTF?

It didn’t matter I was off to Zanibar in the morning.  I figured I would spend a couple days there to see what the hype was about.  I wasn’t too interested in beaches after 2 months in Thailand, but I was looking forward to a small break after 2 crazy weeks in Africa.  I caught the ferry to Stone Town then the hour cab up to Nungwi.  Stayed the night at  Jambo Bros which just happened to have BED BUGS!  I killed all the ones in sight then made a rectangle of DEET and slept inside it, which actually worked.  I switched to James Guesthouse for half the price the next day which included security by 3 scary dogs, yes I was scared.  My diet changed from bananas and ugali to chips and curry which wasn’t too bad but a bit pricey.  The town of Nungwi was dead, it was low season(Rainy), they wouldn’t even take me out diving unless I found more people.  Even though it was a ghost town it was exactly what I was looking for, I was getting some writing done and hanging with the locals.  They were teaching me Swahili and I was teaching them guitar.  Then I met the expats.  Spike who was doing turtle conservation at the aquarium and an older SA fellow names Bru, who is a bit of a legend on the island.  They were both musicians and so we set up a jam session at Bru’s pad.  Bru turned out to be one of the most interesting people I met on my trip, he had seen a lot and experienced more than you can imagine including being lost at sea for 27 hours floating in open water with his girlfriend and a tiger shark.  That story ends with him having to slit the throat of a goat on the beach so the blood would run into the water as an offering to the Gods, and because the Gods had spared his life the locals now treated him with respect and didn’t steal from him anymore.  We had a lot of amazing conversations and awesome jamming during the day long power outage.  Note: Zanzibar, population 1 mill, lost power for 4 months earlier in the year, which has hurt their economy immensely.  Well word traveled quick that we were playing music, and before we had finished jamming we had a gig at Nungwi Inn.  I was supposed to leave that next day, but I couldn’t say no to a gig.  Well one gig turned into 3 and before I knew it, I was living at Bru’s, getting free booze and food on gig nights, and rockin peoples socks off.  Our band was called TURTLELY FUCKED and we lived up to our name in every respect.  Bru was a big Dylan fan so we played Knock Knockin on Heaven’s Door at least 2 times a night depending on if they gave us the whole whiskey bottle.   We played everything though, and even had some Masai’s come up and do vocals on an acapella The Lion Sleeps Tonight.  2 days quickly turned into 2 weeks and It was really time to hit the road again in order to make it to South Africa in time for World Cup.  I was going to miss the beautiful snorkeling atMnenba, the white sand beaches, the beautiful med students, my $1 Chai and Chapati breakfasts, Conyagi, the crazy Kendwa Rocks Parties, and all my friends at

Nungwi Inn.   I wasn’t gonna miss the mosquito clouds though.  I wasn’t sure what was next, but south was the direction, and I had a train to catch!

Poa kichizi kama ndizi (crazy cool like a banana)

Blog Song: Brenda Fassie – Vul’indela

Africa Photos

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A Bucket Full Of Thoughts

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October 11th, 2010 Posted 6:45 am

Wobbers and i have been best friends for half our lives, even before he was the Mountain Dew guy, some might even say we’re in a bromance.  Well back in college he had this hot Thai girlfriend who got us hooked on Thai food, and put this silly idea in our heads of visiting Thailand.  We’ve talked about it for years, but we always ended up spending our money on other things like Phish tour.  Well years later Wobs and i found ourselves on plane heading from Saigon to Phuket.  The dream was here, thai food and massages everyday, beautiful beaches and of course Wobs favorite, hot Thai girls (the innocent kind, Wobs is a nice jewish boy)!  Now before we dive into Thailand, i think I forgot to mention that Wobs is a Movie Director.  Yes ladies!  Single, Handsome, Jewish, Movie Director, lookin for a sushi date.  We’ve worked on many projects together and right before i left on my trip, i shot a short film for him called “Curious” which since i’ve left has been completed and premiered at the Hollywood Sunset 5 theatres during, Dances With Films!  Now if you remember i started my trip out with a small camera package in order to document my adventures, which drowned while shooting a documentary in Peru.  Well the Director wasn’t gonna let the Wobs and Jebs Thailand adventure go undocumented so he came prepared with his new HD Flip Camera that he had received as a wrap gift for being a bad ass director.  Last time we tried this the footage was unwatchable, but we’re professionals now so i wouldn’t be surprised if we get a travel show deal out it.

OK THAILAND!!!   We arrived in Phuket which we had heard was the worst place in Thailand, yet cheap to fly into and close to the Andaman side destinations.  We were surprisingly greeted at our guesthouse by a jam session at the bar and friendly cool peeps.  Before i even had a chance to check in i was invited on stage for some didgeridoo soloing, so first impressions of this place were possitivo…  We might have misjudged though.  Instead of heading out the next morning to the Islands we decided to stay one more night.  We quickly learned that Phuket is a Dirty package tourist destination, for Eurotrash and Sex tourist.  It’s littered with prostitutes, Lady-boys, expats, sailors, jocks, and the occasional disgusted backpacker.  The beach is a sea of lounge chairs, umbrellas, chubby leathery bodies, and exposed fake tits, which is culturally offensive.  Now i’m not saying we didn’t have fun, cuz we did, we were in Thailand for christsake!  I’m just sayin Phuket blows, and if you’re not careful you’ll be getting blown by a lady-boy toboot.  The Phuket experience was topped off by me having to sleep on the ground outside our room cuz Wobs had drunkenly locked me out and passed out hard. I’ve given him enough shit though for it so i’ll move on to Ko Lanta.

We had never even heard of Ko Lanta, but while searching through the Couch Surfing message boards i found out about the 3 day Lanta Lanta Culture and Arts Festival that was kicking off there that night.  We hopped on a ferry and were there in a matter of hours after a quick lunch stop on Ko Phi Phi.  Now we were really in Thailand.  We checked in to our air conditioned bungalow, ordered some pina coladas with  rum floaters and lounged out at the Reggae style “Freedom Bar” on the beach.

Welcome to the next 4 weeks of our lives.  Same Same But Different, the Thai phrase that answers, explains and describes it all.  Every island had it’s own unique attributes as well as a wobs and jebs adventure story, but overall it’s same same but different(SSBD), so rather than repeating a lot of SSBD things, let me fill you in on the  what you can assume happened everyday;  Wash the morning hangover away with a mango shake,  young coconut shake and or a coconut.  Food would consist of either red/green/massaman curry, papaya salad, mango salad, mango sticky rice, pad thai, or pad kee mow.  No matter what, i ate curry at least once a day for my 4o days in Thailand and averaged about 5 soda waters a day as well.  We would spend most of the day at some ridiculously beautiful beach or beaches as well as some time at the pool.  Wobs would spend most of his time in the water and i would spend most of my time on the beach playing guitar.  Some days had some sort of activity like snorkeling, long tail boat island hopping, $10 massages, or exploring the island on the motorbike.  There was usually some daily bickering, as well as a dance party and some funny ass rap by wobs alter ego, J Ruka the Dim Sum Damager.  Drinking would consist, of us buying a bottle of Sangsom Thai whiskey (which is actually rum), and lots of Chang Beer (alcohol content could range between 7-12% depending on the batch you ended up with).  Wobs swore off the Sangsom and Chang the last week, blaming it for all his stomach issues, and switched to Vodka and Heineken.  Bringing us to the other most of the day, the Thai bars.  The Thai beaches are lined with chilled out driftwood bars, decorated in colorful lights and paint, run by dread locked fire dancing stoned Thai dudes, and bumping the reggae beats.  Some places had the standard Thai cover band playing all the hits, and the dance bars would always be playing the same beach dance anthems which although predictable, never seemed to get old cuz it was like the soundtrack to our trip.  Every bar also had it’s own fire show, with dudes rocking poi, fire staff, flaming limbo, and the flaming jump rope.  We spent 5 days on each island where we would meet cool people usually from the northern parts of Europe, and either wobs or i would get totally smashed.  Never on the same night though, for some reason we were rarely on the same drinking schedule.  Then we’d do it all over again.  Now Lets get back to Ko Lanta.

We hopped on my motorbike and made our way to old Lanta town on the other side of the island where we were greeted with local delicacies from the half Buddhist half Muslim community.  Food, drinks, dancing, live bands, and friendly people especially at the Asylum coffee house.  On the 2nd day of the fest, after a few tasty mojitos i decided to try out the bug stand.  My mom wants to do the amazing race with me, but she thinks my vegetarianism will hold us back… so i had to prove to her and myself that although i prob won’t eat meat dishes, bugs are A.O.K!  They gave me a popcorn bag filled with a variety of fried crickets, beetles, and larva.  They were actually really tasty, especially with a cold Chang… But there was a bug missing.  The giant cockroach looking beetle was not in the bag… oh you had to buy him separately cuz he’s so big and tasty… No Problem!  I crushed him as well, and i must say he was worth every penny Nom Nom Nom!  Other highlights of Ko Lanta were finding the secret tiny hidden bar in a tiny cove called Robinson bar, the emerald cave, teaching wobs how to ride a motorbike, watching him be a drunken stallion with the ladies at Why Not Bar, and watching the ocean eat his sunnies 20 min after he bought them.

Ko Phi Phi, the island made famous by the movie “The Beach”  (The famous movie beach is just a quick boat ride away).  We had heard that Phi Phi was really touristy and just a big party, but that’s exactly what we were in the mood for, after kick back Ko Lanta.  We met 2 funny ass girls from England, Sophie and Alex, on the boat ride over.  We ended up spending most of our time partying, swimming and diving with them.  Hanging with them was like being in a Wallace and Gromit film, but set in Thailand.  We all decided to do some diving there, even Wobberz.  It was his first time, and although very apprehensive, he totally rocked it.. at least on the 2nd dive.  The diving was really beautiful there and i got to do my 1st wreck dive as well.  Other highlights were, the green curry at Papaya, our pool, the hike up to our guesthouse past the poo garden, night swimming with the phosphorescence(glowing plankton), having my havianas nicked, and introducing the world to my Mohawk Mustache combination.

Hat Rai Leh in the Krabi province just a couple hours away.  Hat means beach in Thai and what a Hat it was.  Hats off to this Hat cuz it doesn’t get much better.  Wobs had a picture of this beach on his screen saver and now he was there.  Highlights were, the sunsets, rock climbing to 100 ft above the cove, the hidden lagoon, meeting up with our Granada High School homie Joe Michaels, and drinking with the locals… followed by Wobs finding me passed out on the steps outside our guest house.  I also had my life saved by an Israeli baby that thew it’s pacifier on the beach.  I stopped, picked it up, and returned it. At that same moment, 7m in front of me, there was an explosion of water right where i would have been if i hadn’t stopped.  It was a coconut exploding on impact after falling from the tree… thanks baby.

Now we switch sides to the gulf of Thailand where we take a night ferry to Ko Tao.  We had more fun on this ferry than some of our best nights out.  We met some really cool, interesting and fun people (Chiara, Iman, Peter, Dan and Lucy…oh and an actual real life clown) that we ended up hanging with for the rest of our island run.  We sat on the edge of the ferry which lacked a safety rail, drinking sangsom, singing and bonding till the wee hours, without anyone falling overboard.  We stayed in Sairee beach with it’s shallow calm water that you could sit and wade in all day.  Ko Tao is a huge dive destination, not because it’s amazing diving but because it is so cheap.  I took advantage of the cheap diving although no one else in our group seemed interested.  There was a great night life and cool peeps so no one really wanted to get up early and dive.  One of the advantaged of diving there though was that you got discounts on lodging and so we moved to this nice dive resort with a pool, waterfalls, and cool wood cabins filled with…. Thousands of MOSQUITOS and BEDBUGS!!!  Wobs and i were not happy campers to say the least, but we put that night behind us, and moved back to our previous paradise.  Ko Tao was was really really fun, especially our favorite bar, The Office, which is the size of a small kitchen, where we listened to metal and crowdsurfed everyone who came in including the bartenders.  The full moon was approaching and so it was time to get our asses to Ko Phangan.

Thousands of travelers including us and everyone we’ve met in the past month, were descending on the beautiful island of Ko Phangan for the Legendary full moon party at Hat Rin.  We had a couple days to spare so we spent a couple nights in the northof the island at Beautiful Thong Nai Pan Noi where Wobberz finally got his dream beach front bungalow.  Wobs motto before the trip was “We’re gonna live like kings Jeb”, but due to southern Thailand’s growing popularity, it wasn’t as cheap as we thought it was going to be, and although we were partying like kings, we weren’t quite living like em.  But for these few days his promise rang true, and as a bromantic gesture Wobs covered my share of the room.

OK party time!  It was like a culmination, meeting back up with all the friends we had made, Sophie and Alex, the Ko Tao crew, and even the Icelandians we had met in Vietnam.  So the way it works is the parties get bigger and bigger each night on Hat Rin Beach as the thousands of travelers arrive for the Big Event.  My favorite was actually the night before. Pretty much it’s a dirty beach lined with huge outdoor clubs/bars, with foam parties and lots of fire..oh and water is lined with dudes pissing.  Everyone has their buckets and everyone is covered head to toe in fluorescent paint, and bandages from all the fire burns and motorcycle accidents they were in while in Thailand.  You drink a lot, people watch, dance your ass off and hope you don’t get robbed by a lady boy or worse, wake up with a lady boy.  The Full Moon Party is something to experience but once you’ve done it you probably won’t want to do it again.  The best part about it was hanging with all our friends…No Doubt.  At this point my mustache had reached it’s zenith, with perfect upwards curl, and so after the party it was sacrificed to the mustache gods.

Time was not on Wobbers side so we high tailed it to Siem Reap, Cambodia for the Awe inspiring ruins of Angkor Wat.  Siem Reap itself is just a tourist town so we didn’t get much of a glimpse into Cambodian culture although we did see cultural dance performance, ate some kick ass Khmere cuisine(amok), had some unbelievable foot massages, and experienced extreme Cambodian generosity from the staff at our guest house.  We did 2 days of ruin exploring being taken around from site to site by our personal tuk tuk driver.  The first day was the most intense, waking up at 4am to catch the sun rising over Angkor Wat and going all day in the sweltering heat till sundown at the top of a temple built on the largest hill in the area.  The sunrise was really worth the early wake up, watching it rise out of the haze and turn into a bright fireball slowly revealing the wonder of the world that stands before you.  The sunset i could have done without.  The 2nd day was way more relaxed, starting at noon and knocking out the outer ruins at a quick but relaxed pace.  It’s hard to really write about the ruins which are almost like being in a Indiana Jones or Tomb Raider movie, i suggest just checking out the pictures.  What i can tell you about, is all the crazy little Cambodian girls running around asking, pestering, and yelling at you so you will buy what they are selling.  Some were holding babies and I think one was even hitting us.  Every time you arrive at a new spot you hear a high pitch chorus of “Sir, Sir, Sir”.  It’s actually not that annoying, and it’s pretty fun to engage with them, they can be pretty witty, and make you laugh.  At the same time of course, it’s sad because you realize their situation, and you see where they are coming from.  We bought lots of fruit, water, and gifts from them, just don’t do what Wobberz did and tell one girl you are going to buy from her, then to be fair split your order into 2 so you can buy from both girls.  He really pissed the 1st girl off and she wouldn’t leave him alone for about half an hour.

Now we were off to Bangkok and the Red Shirt Rallies for Wobs final showdown.  Our guesthouse was right around the corner from The Red Shirt ground zero, which 2 days after we left, became the site of a deadly confrontation with police.  What we saw though, was the peaceful festival style rally, where a whole section of the city had been taken over with a stage, food stands, red paraphernalia stands and porto-lets and showers.  People were sleeping everywhere, everyone was of course in red, and there was mango sticky rice for less than a dollar!.  We tried to do as much as we could with our 2 days there but after a big night out at the touristy Ko San Road we only made it to Wat Pho to see the 150ft reclining Buddha and to the big outdoor market where Wobs got to try Rambutan and Durian. Wobs had been having a tough week coming to terms with the fact that his trip was ending, even the Super Positivity Jam couldn’t help.  We had a final last meal, and the next morning i had to say said goodbye to my sad friend, who wanted nothing more but to stay.

I was really gonna miss Wobbers, we really had a fun 7 weeks together.  It was very different for me though traveling with someone, after about 6 months alone.  It’s wasn’t easy.  I had some of the most memorable experiences of the trip yet at the same time it was the most stressful part of the trip.  Part of it was that i wasn’t used to compromising, part was traveling with the same person for a long period, and part was the fact that Wobs isn’t the easiest person to travel with (he knows this).  This was OUR portion of the trip though, not him crashing my journey, or me boarding his vacation.  We were coming from 2 different states of mind and creating an experience together, which although challenging was fuckin awesome.  It’s nice to have the comfort ability of traveling with someone you know after so long with brand new friends.  Wobs quoted me in Ko Phi Phi saying “Wobs I usually don’t get this wasted, it’s just cuz you’re here”.  One more thing, budget wise i found it way more expensive traveling with someone with more of a vacation mindset, which makes sense.  The advantages were I was splitting room costs, and sharing meals so we could try different foods, but at the same time I was eating more, drinking more and unnecessarily staying in expensive AC rooms.  Again though, it was all part of the experience.

My next stop was the continent of Africa, which was going to be some tough traveling which i wasn’t in the mindset for yet, so i extended my stay in Thailand a week and took a vacation of my own on the island of Ko Chang.  It was one of my favorite islands, with a beautiful rain forest, a really fun nightlife, and relaxed atmosphere.  I just sat on the porch of my $6 bayou style bungalow listening to the Blues guitar of Son House and eating red curry.  I also had 3 pair of flip flops stolen in 24 hours, with only 1 pair recovered.  Kids these days.  You know out 40 days of eating curry, i never really found any place that could spice me out of my red curry pants.  I would say, extra spicy, Thaistyle, hurt me, you can’t make it spicy enough etc… but they just thought i was a silly white kid that had too many happy shakes.  Well i found a solution and that was ordering a bowl of fresh cut Thai chilies and dumping it in the curry.  Shit we’re still only in April?  Next Blog AFRICA!!!

Thailand and Cambodia Pix

Blog Song:  Job 2 Do – Do Do Do

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