Published: December 5th 2010December 5th 2010
"This way to the father and son using binoculars to see a bird that is right in front of them."
Well, here is another round of stories and observations I have picked up along the way. I have also found some pictures that sort of matches the spirit of the stories below.
The other kind of travel tips
In the last installment of Anecdotes I was rambling about how useless phrasebooks are. The same goes for travel guides in general. They do try to warn you of strange customs in the country you are visiting, but there are still some akward experiences waiting for you no matter how closely you study them. So here are some very useful tips for you.
I have already mentioned how much I am enjoying massages during my travels. It is the best possible way to relax and get those nasty hours of bus travel out of your body. There are however a few things to remember.
When you want a massage it is important to "empty" yourself beforehand. Particularly a full body massage will press any leftovers out of you and it REALLY ruins the experience if you spew a lot of methane into the face of the young girl or boy who is trying
to make you as comfortable as possible. If you are lying next to a fat German couple it is downright embarrassing.
I have indeed become a diver. Taking the two PADI courses on Pulau Weh was one of the best things I have done for myself. There are however some problems with the PADI manual for the Open Water Diver course. Some things that could have been more clear. So in case you are going to take the course I will save you from some embarrassment.
First of all there is no mention of what to wear underneath a wet-suit and you may - as I did - find yourself in doubt. Do you go commando? Underwear? A Santa suit? Not a hint can be found in the book.
The answer is that you should wear some rather tight-fitting skimpy swim wear. The kind of stuff that men should not normally wear on a beach and the kind that women should be wearing all the time.
The other problem is the mention of Free Diving. There is even an optional Free Dive included in the course, but I could find no explanation of what
With a group of Thai elite soldiers
I thought we were doing the "Hands on each others shoulders" routine, but no. Just the stupid white guy.
that actually is. Well it is not the same as nude diving even though the photos in the manual are extremely misleading in this respect (I strongly recommend having a look if you have an Open Water manual. There is even a horny guy in the corner looking at a seemingly naked couple and the guy has something "floating" beneath him). My question was answered with an explanation that it it just means diving without Scuba gear. Not without a swimsuit.
Language barriers can be a problem in even the most touristy places. Sometimes you have to resort to a combination of English and sign language and this works perfectly. Most of the time.
I cannot stress the importance of this tip enough. You really want to remember this one, especially if you are a guy.
When using hand signs to ask for a toothpick at a restaurant you have to be very, very careful. If you are sloppy and in the wrong place at the wrong time, the gesture may be mis-interpreted as a request for a blow-job and the ensuing confusion is a nightmare. If you find yourself mysteriously being lead into
a room in the back that you would wish you had never seen, then you have done it wrong. And the word "toothpick" is already pretty nasty for a Dane.
The Dino Driver
There are a ton of people who have jobs that the rest of us never notice. Often it is because we don't really want to know anything. Like the guy I once sat across from at a very long dinner. We sort of ran out of things to say when he told me that he worked at a crematorium. You simply can't follow up on that. "So, do you like burning corpses?" No, won't do, so I got so perplexed that I sort of ignored him for the rest of the evening. People working in chicken slaughterhouses, with tv-inspection of sewers or Lars Løkkes speech writer all fall into the same category.
Other jobs are best kept hidden since it would ruin the magic. The people at theme parks have always annoyed me. You can see how much they hate their job and there you are trying to have fun. You don't want to be reminded that even the most organized enjoyment becomes very
tedious after a few days.
And then there are jobs that yes, are hidden as well, but where it becomes even more magical when you actually hear about it. Jobs that you had never thought about, but you are thankful that they exist.
I haven't met the Dino Driver. It was Angie, but she spoke so vividly about him that I just have to share it as well. Dino Driver sounds obscure but it really is pretty straightforward. He drives a giant mechanized dinosaur at url=http://www.dinosaurlive.com/]a show that travels the globe[/url] and promises a much more life-like experience than any other Dino shows. And the Dino Driver was proud. He told Angie all the details about how the hydraulic systems and computerized controls enabled him to move the Dino around just like they moved in the ol' days. All primary muscle groups could be controlled. "It is amazing!"
This particular Dino Driver drove a female T-Rex and he had named her "Daisy". I have no idea how you determine the sex of a T-Rex. It would seem a rather dangerous endeavor. Anyway, one of the shows had been cancelled and now he was just doing a bit
A crotch V-sign
V is for Vipassana by the way.
of travelling while the dinos where being shipped to the next location. What a way to see the world. From the inside of a fake dinosaur.
And if you are wondering how a Dino Driver gets into his vehicle it is wonderfully poetic. It turns out that the best place to hide a latch is where a real dinosaur would have had its ass and by squirming up through it he can make his way into the seat. Controlling it like a giant hand puppet through the rectum.
And in case you were wondering which occupation the Dino Driver's girlfriend might have. She is of course a stripper. What else. Better than fiction.
So shortly before you left Europe you broke up with your girlfriend. A necessary step you say. One that you don't regret. But still one that made you quite sad.
So travelling around Southeast Asia should be uncomplicated and you come up with an idea for ensuring that you won't get into real girl-trouble. Just don't bring any condoms. You know yourself well enough to know that this will prevent you from making any really stupid mistakes or getting too attached
Stairs to nowhere
It took a while to get Soluy to pose for this shot.
to anybody along the way. And it works perfectly for a while. You are in fact a bit proud of yourself. Words like "clever" and "brilliant" go through your head whenever you think about this.
That is, until you actually find yourself in a situation where you really need a condom and the place you are stuck in is completely condom-less. The closest thing would be a used bicycle inner tube or some goat intestines. Things that are fairly close and might actually do the job, but they are still not really options. Chewing gum. That is when you start using different words to describe your plan.
Words you would use if someone cut in line in an airport. Words that could describe inventions such as the self-cleaning cat toilet or the "Stadium Pal
". That part of your vocabulary that fits George W. Bush so well. Those words now go through your head and they are all aimed at yourself.
And it is with these words still going through your head that you a couple of days later find yourself going into the first open pharmacy that you have been able to find. To end the harassment
And she is kicking again
And again and again and again
of self. And you find yourself standing in front of a middle-aged woman and even though you have done this countless times before it never really gets comfortable.
So you ask her: "Do you have any condoms?"
"Condoms, yes", she says and reaches into a glass counter between the two of you. She fumbles around for a while and then drags out a tiny box. It is pink and there is a big strawberry on it. At first you think it's chewing gum but upon further inspection it does on fact say "condoms" on it.
You ask. "Do you have any without strawberry flavor?". In your head you are also asking "Who would buy pink strawberry condoms?" The real question is who on earth would want to wear them.
She says. "You don't want condoms?"
"Sure I do but not with strawberry flavor". She pushes the little pink package a bit closer to you. And you sort of panic a bit. You want as much distance between that strawberry and yourself as possible. To just run. Fears of permanent impotence. Thoughts of future explanations you would have to go through. It is just a weird
Why do I still take photos like this? I'm 36. But the stone cold Angkor "ladies" had fantastic tits.
thing to say to a girl: "I hope you like jam!"
You are pointing frantically at other boxes in the cabinet and she pulls out a giant red and yellow box that can cure most skin diseases (or at least famine) and you just keep pointing at anything with no fruit on it.
It takes a while, but it gets sorted out. As you leave the store you can hear both yourself and her sighing in relief. You are now the proud owner of two small boxes of "Duo Action Condoms" and you are tempted to just rip one open to figure out what the hell that means. But at least you are no longer the only traveler in Southeast Asia without condoms.
After many days at the Vipassana meditation center we were a pretty nice crowd. I mean, we would have laughed at anything. An early Tom Hanks movie might even have been funny. But the only entertainment that we would get was the daily lectures from N. S. Goenka, the teacher of this technique. He did manage to be quite funny at times and then there was this one joke, that I
This Dutch guy insisted that I should take this shot. His camera was rubbish though so I took one with my own, just to make him envious.
simply cannot understand that no-one has either thought of first or at least stolen. The videos we were looking at were 20 years old. But anyway, it goes likes this:
He talks about how beauty is a temporary thing. You may think that your girlfriends hair is amazingly beautiful until she cooks a meal for you and you find one of those hairs in the dish. Then all of a sudden all notions of beauty is forgotten. This was all a build-up for this:
"Then there are people who say that beauty comes from within. Well if beauty comes from within, then I would like to know which hole it comes out from."
It is all in the name
So I met this girl. Drop-dead gorgeous, but she really should keep her mouth shut. I know. It is a terrible thing to say. Just shut up and be pretty, but in this case it was her only real option. Everything that she said was involuntarily funny. Like, how she envied the beggars. Her "theory" about how it was OK to eat pork but not chicken. About how the number 4 was fantastic and 5
They laughed their asses off when they saw that I was taking this shot, but is was just funny to see how they put that monk to work.
was downright evil.
It would be wrong of me to reveal her identity. So I am not going to say that she was French, 25 years old and that her original name was Sara. Original name because she had been persuaded by some diabolically humorous numerologist to change her name to "something that would match her personality and unleash her full potential". Her words. Not mine.
I'm pretty sure that I never managed to pronounce the new name correctly. It was something like "Sayruniah" or whatever. The numerologist had told her that this was an aggregate of two ancient words for "insight" and "wisdom". Ancient in what language I asked? She didn't even know. I should have suggested "takenforarideidish". And it would actually have been a perfect name if just the "ancient" word for "lack of" had been put in front of it.
But I was the only one in a group of about ten people who wasn't downright mean to her. Imagine a girl of super-model potential and five horny men still disregarding her completely. She was that clueless. The girls hated her because of her looks and everything she said and since this was my
Used it before
But is still funny
first evening with her I was the only friendly person in town. I am making up for that now, but that meant that she took a liking to me. And kept talking about that fucking name. About how I should also change my name to get one that reflected my name better than just "Jens". About how that would reveal my full potential. So I thought about it for a while and decided to make a funny. It went something like this:
With stunning green eyes staring into mine and a thick French accent:"You know, my friend, you will feel such a change in your life if you got a better name. One that reflects your inner self".
"Well, I am pretty sure that that would be a bad idea. If I got a name that would really reflect who I am, it would just be annoying."
The perfect body asks:"What do you mean?"
"Well, imagine this. I am about to check into a hotel and I head up to the reception:"
Receptionist: "How may I help you Sir?"
Me: "I'm checking in. There should be a reservation"
Receptionist:"What is your name?"
Me:"Selapløeh. My name is Rompoglyh Selapløeh"
After a few seconds the receptionist would go:"How do you spell that Sir?"
Me:"R-O-M-X-P-O-G-L-Ü-H. The X is silent".
Me:"Yes, so are the ones in my last name. It is S-E-L-A-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X there are twenty-four in total X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-P-L-Ô-Ø-E-H-X."
Me:"Yes, Romxpoglüh Selaxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxplôøehx. All the x's are silent."
So Saoauriaunia or whatever the hell her name was asked me if that really would be a reflection of who I am. And I just answered:"Well apparently so." I am such a child sometimes. But she seemed to like me even more after that. Clueless.