Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Thanks for Reading!

Okay first things first. I'm sorry I lied to everyone about when I was coming home. As you may have heard, I (hopefully) will make it home for thanksgiving, my plane arrives in on October 4th at 6:30pm. The whole thing is supposed to be a big surprise for my family, who still think I'm coming home on the 9th, (Honestly, did they really think I'd miss Thanksgiving?). I'm sitting here in Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) Vietnam, it's 10:04pm and my flight leaves tomorrow at six in the morning. I just found out my sister has to work Friday which is perfect because it means someone will be at the house tomorrow when I get there!

Second thing. Thank you all so much for all your encouraging words and I'm glad that those who wrote me enjoyed reading my blog. I had a blast writing it but there were times when I felt I couldn't be bothered and then I'd get a note from someone saying they're waiting for the next post. So thank you. Coincidentally if anyone wants to start their own blog there are lots of sites out there, the site I used was http://www.blogger.com/ but there are lots of others.

Third thing. My sister and her boyfriend and his house are planning a little welcome home party at the Stones Place on the 12th, would be great to see people there, open invitation so invite whoever you want! And yes I do realize that it's Queen's Homecoming that weekend and I won't be offended if you've made prior plans. But you still have to call me and take me out for beers to make up for it.......................By the way, Queen's University sent me an e-mail and when the Dean heard that I wouldn't be attending this year he called an emergency meeting to push the event back a weekend. So don't go making any travel arrangements quite yet.

I'll be up at my cottage this week, relaxing and contemplating what the hell I'll be doing next with my life. I have a rough idea that I'll be moving out west for the ski season come January and after that it's all up in the air. I do know one thing though. I'm not done traveling yet. Europe's calling my name and I wouldn't be surprised if I ended up there next fall. Probably blogging away as usual! Feel free to enlighten me with any insights you may have! (705) 684-9306. Oh and I don't have a cell phone anymore, my home phone is (416) 925-6869. I can't post this until the weekend so I hope you all have a great thanksgiving and I'll see you all soon!

Take 'er sleazy,


P.S. Thanks go to Steve Hull for the pic of me last year at post-camp!
I will post one more blog with video's aswell, (bungey jumping, sky diving etc.)

Singapore (Sept 30-Oct 2)

I finally made it down to Singapore and met up with the girls that I'd met on that bus ride in southern Thailand. After a fun night drinking in Clarke Quay we were famished the next day. Singapore is the international hub of South-East Asia, renowned for its sky scrapers, central business district, shopping centers and gourmet eateries from around the world!!!

So we went to fuckin' "Hooters." While I did feel slightly guilty about this we were so starved by the time we got to the Quay that we ate at the first place we saw. It is IMPOSSIBLE to get a taxi in Singapore, I've never seen anything like it!!! Even the cabs that are empty won't pick you up. Twice I had to get my hotel to call and order me a cab for an additional $2.50 charge and when the cabby got there he asked where I was going, shook his head and just drove off!!!!! Last night I wanted to go to the zoo and see one of the animal night shows and when this cabby heard that he just said "no take." I asked the guy at the front desk of my hotel what this was all about and this is the conversation that followed.

Front Desk: "They're waiting until midnight so they can charge more."
Me: "It's 10:30pm."
Front Desk: "No, it's 10:25pm."
Me: (Biting my tongue.) "How far is it to the zoo? More specifically, how much money could they charge me right now to get there?"
Front Desk: "Sixteen dollars."
Me: And how much can they bump the rates up at midnight?"
Front Desk: "Two dollars extra."
Me:"...........let's figure this out together. It costs about four dollars to get anywhere in the city. You're telling me that a cabby would rather run around trying to find four fares in under an hour and a half when he could make the same amount of money just picking me up, save on gas, and he'd still be done before midnight?" Front Desk: (Blank Stare.)......."You wait outside?"

RRRRRRrrrrrrr!!!!!!What the hell is wrong with these people?

My mind hurt from all the thinking I'd been doing so we decided to hop on the ferry cruise around Singapore.

Singapore is full of weird architecture.......weird, multi-colored architecture.

It sort of looks like Miami Beach in the new Playdough colors.

The cruises coup-de-gras is that the "captain" didn't speak English. He just drove the boat around and played a pre-recorded message at certain points. The voice on the recorder sounded like The Crocodile Hunter on speed and coupled with the fact that this little twenty minute cruise was costing us fifteen bucks we felt like we'd been had.

Singapore means "Lion City." Apparently the guy who founded the city saw a lion on the shore and took this as a good omen. How this could be interpreted as a good omen I have no idea. The founder of the city then went on to form a city-wide taxi company who's corporate logic is considered by some to be a historic throw-back to the past. Westerners on the other hand, might refer to their business logic as "retarded."

That night the girls, (Kelly and Sam,) and I headed out to the Raffle's Hotel, Inventor of the famous drink entitled the, "Singapore Sling."

While the drinks were good, the two Asian men on either side of us and their "dates" for the night proceeded to paw at each other like a couple of junior-high school kids in the back of an auditorium. The men actually got so aggressive with these prostitutes that one of them had to physically remove the guys hands from her thighs. I contempleted throwing peanuts at them but I would have felt guilty if the girls scooped them up off the floor and put them in their purse to feed their children later that night.


Now here's a story. Earlier that day when I was walking back to my hotel I was accosted at the front desk by two woman. They were pleasant enough I guess but they kept asking me questions and wouldn't leave me alone. They asked me where I'd been, what clubs I'd been to in Singapore etc. etc. I was pretty tired and finally I started to lose my patience. I was done with this idiotic chit-chat and as I tried to get by one of the girls she asked me for my room number. I thought I'd given her the wrong room number but apparently not. An hour later my phone rung and here was this Asian woman's voice cooing on the other end. I politely told her that I had a girlfriend staying in a nearby hostel and that I didn't want to be disturbed. Later that evening I was walking down the stairs when I ran into the front desk guy going the same way. "Look," I told him. "I think there was a bit of a language barrier a while ago. I'm sorry if I offended you with that scene earlier today. Let me explain. I DON'T want prostitutes coming up to my room, it was all a huge misunderstanding! If you see that woman again can you tell her not to bother me?" (Not only did I not want some skank scratching around the hallway near my room in the middle of the night but I didn't exactly want to get thrown out of the hotel either!)

The front desk man looked at me and laughed. "That no lady.......he gay!!!.......he gay!!!!!!.....he want to make business with you....ha ha ah ha!!! Woops. I tried to keep my composure. "Look I don't want any prostitutes, dick or no dick, busting down my door in the middle of the night!!! Understand!?! He laughed and told me not to worry. We walked down to the front desk and I hung out with him for a bit until Kelly and Sam arrived to pick me up. While we were waiting, the guy showed me the surveillance monitor behind the desk that was linked to a camera in the hallway. This camera had a view of everyone walking down the steps towards the lobby. A group of women all primed for the night appeared in one of the monitor's. The front desk man leaned forward and smiled, "ladyboy.......ladyboy........ladyboy!" Boom. The door opened and three "women" walked out. I started to think this old guy was pretty funny. We waited a few more minutes before three more women came down. Again the night clerk cleared his throat and pointed at the screen "Lady boy......ladyboy.......(I took over at this point,) "LADYBOY!!" I screamed. We both laughed our heads off as three more "its" came through the door. This entertained us for a good 15 minutes as we debated who had and had not been under the knife. At one point I suggested that perhaps he should changed the name of the hotel to something more appropriate. He replied, "yah.........the Ladyboy Hotel.....conduct your business elsewhere!" This could have gone on all night but Same and Kelly showed up so we left the lobby and went out to Raffle's.

Now something you should know about Kelly and Sam. The two of them have fallen into the habit of attracting an odd breed of people. Take for example their room at their hostel. On one side of their room, a nun continued to pray for what they told me was somewhere in the neighbourhood of eighteen hours a day. Then there was this hooker named "Rosa" (pictured above) that showed them around town their first night in and after that night she never came back to the room for more than a few minutes at a time and usually slept in her clothes. Rosa also started to hit on Kelly pretty hard, whispering in her ear, asking her if she was attracted to bisexual women yada yada yada.We ran into Rosa on the street one night and she came into a bar with us. We attracted quite a few stares and when the four of us sat down. It was at this point that my trained ladyboy eye happened to notice Rosa's Adam's apple and the fact that her hands were as big as my feet. Rosa then proceeded to tell us that because it was our last night in Singapore she didn't feel ashamed to tell us that she was in fact a transgendered lady-boy who had "the chop" (shudder) six years ago.To which Kelly replied straight-faced, "I really would never have guessed." Sam and I had to hold back the laughter. To top it all off, Rosa was constantly taking hormone tablets that were reacting badly with her immune system and were causing her tongue to turn black and fall out. She was also obviously was still attracted to women but had high hopes that Mr. Right would swoop into town one day and take her away to England to get married one day........Yeah.......... Right....... Keep reaching for that rainbow darlin'!

There were so many questions I wanted to ask:
"When you're really drunk do you ever forget which bathroom is the one your supposed to go in?"
"Do you ever have a dream that its grown back?"
"When someone tells you to go fuck yourself do you just stand there looking confused?"
"At this point in your life, is suicide sort of redundant?"

But I chickened out. I just sat there and mumbled something about being so full from dinner. And then Kelly and Sam responded in turn with comments like......"Yeah.....lots of rice....." and "yeah.......rice with chicken." After about half an hour of conversation the four of us hopped into a cap and headed back to the hostel we were staying at which was in the Little India district.

At the end of the night, I had Sam and Kelly huddled in my bed, too scared to return to their room for fear that they would get molested by a six foot tall Asian transgendered prostitute thing with a complex that would make Oedipus Rex look normal. I need to get out of here.

Kuala Lumpur/Kuantan/Tioman Island (Sept 24- 29)

After finally making it to KL, I was dead tired. In my haste to make a speedy departure from Thailand, I had accidentally left my passport at the reception desk in the hotel at Raiely Beach. Maybe it was because I hadn't been getting enough sleep. Maybe it was because I was hungover. Maybe it was because I smoked the last of my stash that morning so I didn't have anything on me when I did the boarder crossing into Malaysia. I don't know. But when I got near the boarder I figured out what I'd done and was not exactly pleased with myself. My friend Nick Ritchie who I hadn't seen in over three years had booked me my own suite in a five star resort through his company free of charge in Kuala Lumpur and I was going to miss out. To top everything off, I'd made friends on the bus with two lovely British girls who were on the way to KL and the whole time I was bragging about my accommodation and how my friend and I would love to go to dinner with them that evening. Sometimes life just isn't fair.

When I finally got to KL two days later, (oh yeah, Matt took my passport six hours north with him to the island of Koh Pa Ngan and then mailed it to the boarder town which is why it took so long,) I felt like shit. I snapped off a few quick photos of myself in front of the twin towers and the needle to make it look like I'd really got the KL "tourist experience" and then I hopped on a bus to the town of Kuantan which is on the east-coast of peninsular Malaysia to meet Nick.

Ladies and gentleman, this........is Nick Ritchie! I have known Ritchie for years, we attended the same summer camp and clawed our way up the staff ranks together. He is a gem. This is his massage chair which he spends most of his time in when he's at home. I was told to be especially honored because normally he doesn't wear anything at all when in this chair. Thanks Ritchie.

And this is his pad.

It's okay......... I guess.

This is Ritchie's beach. He has been living here for two years and assured me that one day he would actually visit the beach.

This is his pool.........is there a lot of money in the oil business or something?!? Ritchie is the manager for a Canadian owned oil company. I'd be lying if I could give you a complete job description but the gist of it is he's in charge of all the pipe coating for the lines that are run out in this area of the world. While I realized that Ritchie did still have a job to do for the first three days of the week, I really didn't give a shit and made him take me out every night. When we got back from our little outings, I would pass out on the couch and nick would flop into his bed. A couple of hours later, Ritchie would get up, shower, usually puke in the toilet, and then leave for work. He was a lot more fun at night. Right before he was about to head out the door and drive to the office, I'd usually drop a comment somewhere along the lines of, "Would you shut the fuck up?!? I'm trying to sleep!!!!" Or I'd do something like roll over on the couch, stumble into his room, flop myself down on HIS bed, throw on a porno movie and scream at the top of my lungs, "have a GREAT day at work buddy!" Like I said, Ritchie was more fun at night. We spent the majority of our evenings at this one little strip where we'd get wasted with his pipeline crew, (some of which looked like they ate thumb tacks for lack of anything better to do,) and usually ended up at a fast food joint before calling it a night. My favorite memory was when after about a dozen beers Ritchie threw up off the balcony of this one bar and then proceeded to drive us home in the company car. We made a quick stop at McDonalds as Nick was a might peckish and 50 ringget later, (that's around $40 US,) we
lugged a garbage bag full of McCrap up the stairs to his apartment.

We'd ordered every sandwich on the menu because Ritchie insisted that I tried the Malaysian McDick's sandwiches to better culture myself. Also 20 McNuggets, two large orders of fries and two fountain pops. It would have been three fountain pops but I accidentally spilt one all over the hood of his car as I was getting out in the parking garage.The next morning even before I opened my eyes I knew I had the 'ol McStomach Ache. Thankfully I'd removed most of the debris and put it on the other side of the room the night before because I knew if I rolled over and got a whiff of that shit there would be an additional six combo meals for the maid to scrape up off the floor. The maid by the way, was none to impressed with me when I opened the door at about nine that morning scratching my ass, wearing only my boxers and smelling like a deep fryer. Ritchie decided to give her Saturday off anyway as we felt it was time to cause havoc elsewhere for awhile.

On Thursday morning we threw some stuff in a bag and piled into the car.

Road trip baby, YEAH!!!

We had decided earlier that week to head down the coast to the town of Mersing and catch the ferry over to Tioman Island. Mersing is like Hollywood........only not.

The boat ride was pretty uneventful. There were no girls on the ship and the air-conditioning system was set to "make snow" so we just hung out on the bow with the captain and the crew.

And took pictures of our gorgeous selves.

After we got to the island we had a quick bite to eat and then it was time to do some scuba diving!

Ritchie was all excited because a friend of his from work had given him all of his dive gear because he didn't use it anymore. Here's Ritchie checking his dive watch. A dive watch is a device that begins to operate the second it hits the water. It helps you time your dives and shows you things like depth and water temperature. Ritchie was absolutely enthralled by this device and would refer to it constantly throughout the trip whether he was wearing it at the time or not.

After we went over a few quick instructions and a brief run over the hand signals it was time to plunge into the deep.


Ritchie also managed to get a hold of a dive camera and between our sense of mischief and total lack of attention span we had an amazing time!

Here's me enjoying a breath of fresh air underwater!

Ritchie checks his dive watch.

Look! A sea spider!

Ritchie checks his dive watch.

A huge school of fish!!

Ritchie checks his dive watch.

Time for me to take a swim. And to contemplate how to drown Ritchie without the instructor noticing....

Ritchie was signaling me for something here. It probably had something to do with his fucking dive watch.

After a few dives we were back on the boat and headed to shore.

These things were all over the island and helped keep the stray cat population in check. The only bad thing was that once in awhile a half-eaten cat would get away and occasionally it looked like someone was filming a remake of "Pet Cemetery" under your table while you were eating at a restaurant.

I had been so wrapped up in the momentum of travelling that I forgot to focus on the little details once in awhile, like funnelling beer.

Nick had the record that night, under three seconds! That's the "Shanonator" on the right. He was the dive master who was really cool until he started drinking and then he became a dick. You know those people who live on far away remote places, sleazily hit on girls, don't let the government know they're there, and probably are outrunning a rape charge back in their home country? Yeah, well this is what they look like at about forty-five years of age. I'm a strong believer in karma though, and when it comes back to haunt you it does so with a vengeance. The second night we were there he got hammered and ended up hooking up with this chick who looked like an extra from "Dawn of the Dead." I think my favorite quote from Shane was the following:

"I haven't been able to make it home for the last four years so this year my mom's paying for my ticket....." (then he looks at Rob, Nick, and I and says with enthusiasm,"..........RETURN!" Note: If my mother is paying for my ticket home for Christmas when I'm forty-five years of age please kill me.

This was the crew of people we partied with at night. That's Paula and Maja from Sweden and Alex from England. The first time we saw Team Sweden was the previous afternoon when they came into the Internet shack to use the computers but they were all busy. A couple of hours later it was dark out and we happened to see them hanging outside their guesthouse as we were biking by. I screamed out, "INTERNET'S FREE!!!" They jumped up with a start and had no idea who we were even though we'd secretly been eye-humping them all over the island. We biked down the path laughing out loud and promised ourselves to commence proper introductions the following morning. This night was a lot of fun, here are experpts from my two favorite conversations.
Ritchie: "Do you have Swedish Berries in Sweden?"
Maja: "What?"
Ritchie: "Do you know what Swedish Berries are?"
Maja: "No."
Ritchie: "They're delicious."
Crabby Bitch: "HEY!!! Don't throw your cigarette buts on the beach! Don't you know that one cigarette but can kill up to ten turtles?!?"
Nelson: "So you're saying if we ever have a turtle problem in Canada then I should just take up smoking??"
Crabby Bitch: "That's not funny!!! Those our MY turtles!" And he, (points at Ritchie,) shouldn't kill them!"
Nelson: "Yeah, but don't get so excited. When you consider how much oil his company dumps in the oceans each year then really those ten turtles are just a drop in the bucket aren't they?"
She left the bar at that point. Nothing pisses me off more than some eco-friendly, smart-ass, hypocritical tourist who runs out of money and decides to "be one of the locals" by getting a job for a few months. Just because your loud and broke, it does not grant you the god given right to claim that you grew up in the third world. It's called reality whitey, get used to it.

Apparently Ritchie claims these ladies are coming to spend a few nights with him in Kauntan............I would be lying if I said I didn't want to at least film it from a nearby closet.

We didn't want to over exert ourselves so the next day we decided to cancel the diving session when Ritchie's friend Rob arrived and to go deep sea fishing instead.

We didn't catch anything except a couple of red snappers in short-shorts.

This is the bait. It helped me get my line so tangled with Ritchie's that we couldn't fish for half an hour.
This is why Nick Ritchie and I our such good friends. Look closely at that picture folks.

Finally, it was time to say good bye to Tioman.

Nick and I were easily the most recognized/hated people on the island by this point so we felt our job was done and our presence was known. You could almost hear the whole island sigh with relief as our boat pulled away form the harbour.

Rob, Ritchie, and I parted ways at the boat terminal. Ritchie said he was going to church on Monday and that he was going to start concentrating on work and not drink so much. I told him to stop being such a pussy. He also said he had never been more glad to be rid of someone than me but I think he might have been at leat partly kidding. I caught a bus down to Singapore to finish the last leg of my trip and my final country!