Friday, November 09, 2007

Go East

Hurrah. Chris is back from his trek across the Outback. He really is a good old boy, already regaling me with tales of not showering for 9 days, accidentally mistaking a drug den for his hostel and meeting a 23 year-old tour guide who knew absolutely nothing about the actual tour.

His photos are amazing - sunsets on beaches, impossibly-long desert highways disappearing into the vanishing point and giant, craggy blood-red rock formations - and it's really brought home to me how little I have seen since I arrived, and how keen I am to get going.

I have come to realise over the last 3 weeks that I have fallen into an old pattern. Get up, eat some Weetabix, go to work, come home, eat some Findus Crispy Pancakes, go to bed. In effect, I have accurately re-created my life in London, except on far less money and also whilst living in a room with 8 other people. So, as an experience, currently I am actually registering a net loss.

Admittedly, work is a means to an end, to fund my further travels, and it's a good job it is, because if this was my actual life (15k a year to spend 8 hours a day photocopying in silence), I would have already used my hole-puncher to bludgeon myself into unconciousness. Having said that, I do take back some of things I've said about the people here. There are a few rather witty people, but I think they are simply not given a chance to shine as they're too busy worrying about their Departmental Systems Architecture or their Info Turret Investigation Phase Matrix to engage any form of witty repartee. Shame, because a couple of them are quite sharp. I guess I just miss the bear-pit of the Drum office.

Over the next 6 weeks, then, I just to have to knuckle down, ignore any opportunities to blow the money I've saved, and store up for a January departure date. At the moment the plan is, well, vague, but I'm thinking about getting on a bus and heading up the East Coast, calling in at various towns along the way. Potential stop-overs include: Fraser Island, Townsville, Coffs Harbour, 1770 (yes, that IS a town), Bundaberg, Yepoon, Magnetic Island, Moreton Island, Surfer's Paradise, the Whitsundays, and a few more besides.....

Trouble is with backpacking is everyone you meet recommends somewhere different, and some even go so far as to claim certain towns or beaches are the best places in the known galaxy, investing their description with the kind of wide-eyed zeal you'd expect from a religious preacher addressing a congregation on the subject of the next life.
And, to confund matters, for everyone person you find who will bang on about how "fucking amazing", say, Cairns is, you'll find someone who'll declare they'd rather spend the weekend in Huddersfield than go there again. My fear, after wandering up and down Kings Cross and peering into the multitude of backpacker-specialist travel agents, is that I'll end up stuck on some pseudo - Club 18-30 trip next to a 22 year-old Ben Sherman-shirted twat called Darren (from Bolton), and a hippie, tie-dye t-shirt wearing white/middle class rasta called Camilla (from Windsor). And that is not me.

Fortunately, there are alternatives. So, I need to talk to people who are clued up, who know what I like and what I don't like, and seek out the best places, lest I end up between Darren and Camilla attempting to quaff a yard of ale through my nose.

Brain Of Britain

We were having a discussion the other day whether it's OK to laugh at thick people.

Obviously, as our society becomes more tolerant we see a greater understanding between different cultures, beliefs and lifestyles. But it's interesting to note that Martin Luther King's I Have A Dream Speech didn't include the line "....we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing......oh and don't forget the thick people".

Ashamedly, in these enlightened times it is sometimes difficult not to cringe yourself to death when you hear people come out with increasingly daft statements. And we hear quite a few in the hostel. We have two people staying with us at the moment from the North of England. They were chatting to Franc, who reported back to tell us that when questioned which country Jews came from, answered..."Er...dunno.....Jew-rusalem?".

Other fauxs-pa made include (on quiz night). Name a country in South America named after an Italian City. Answer: Nepal. Also how many countries border does Taiwan? Answer: 4

I know not everyone can be a trivia master, but there's certain things people should probably know. Is this snobbish or unfair? I don't know. I suppose I should really try to be more tolerant.

If like me, however, you feel like saying "bugger it all to hell, lets laugh at the idiots", this site contains the stupidest answers ever given on British Quiz Shows....and it's hilarious (Dad, you will love this).

Here's a taster:

From GWR FM, Bristol
Presenter: What happened in Dallas on November 22, 1963?
Contestant: I don't know, I wasn't watching it then.

Click here for the rest........

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Boo! It's The Pink House Halloween Party

Harry Potter And The Bunk Bed of Destiny.... in which Harry, upon leaving Hogwarts, finds himself in a rather pedestrian office job with some cadavers, overseeing some magic trains.

Brian and Etienne: Strictly not Hallowe'en costumes, but disturbing nonetheless

Cue The William Tell Overture. Best costume of the night, but lost on most......

Alex was a brilliant, foul-mouthed Cocker-nee Nan......"Faaaaahk Off, Sunshine"

Miranda really should put some Savlon on that

Group photo by the fountain..... I know this photo is very small but if you look really closely at Jenny (front in short white dress), she appears to have fireballs coming out her eyes. Well, it is Hallowe'en after all.