The Crashpacker


The Crashpacker

i never meant to go travelling, I just went. You start moving and can't stop, and when you do the inertia swells in your head like sea until the tides take you off again.

I'm loving reading other peoples stories on travelblog and find it a really amazing place to research where i want to go in future, as well as just hearing normal peoples lives, away from the filtered and edited rubbish we are fed by the tourism industry and the cliched 'travel' sections of Sunday newspapers.

Sorry travelbloggers - i've been away for a while. I have realised I havn't 'Dropped a Blog' for some time. Not that any of you lot noticed of course. Good, because that means you been out travelling and getting away from it all, and not reading my rambling attempts to deconstruct my global ramblings. Just in case you were worried about where i had got to, the last year, I have gate-crashed Hollywood celebrity parties... spent a month in the backwaters of an Australia no-wheres-ville town... rescued a damsel from a sea monster attack... went snowboarding in Death Valley....avoided the Sicillian Mafia... got guestlisted into raucous London gaybars (despite being straight) and ruined Glastonbury for a lot of people. Some of which i will eventually write about, some of which i will forget. Not writing ... read more
Faded Memories of past glories
Just Keep Drivin'
The Queens House

Asia » Malaysia » Sarawak » Sibu January 23rd 2011

So, i'm sitting in between a local MP and a big time property developer drinking bad red wine that passes as OK port. Slimy chickens feet are served followed by clear gloopy sea cucumbers - a delicacy that proves people will think anything tastes good if they are left in the middle of nowhere for long enough. Sibu in Malaysian Sarawak is not in the middle of nowhere, but its having a good go at it. The nearest decent sized town heading west is at least a 12 hours drive, the road in other direction leads to Brunei... if you can make it through the jungle. That jungle is dotted with villages and houses but generally, there isnt much there if you turn off the track untill you get down to Borneo. I looked on Trip ... read more
Sleek river ferries
Nothing for tourists here
nasi lemak

Europe » Spain » District of Madrid » Madrid September 30th 2010

Sunday morning. A Madrid hangover often involves a coffee in a bar while your fellow party animals carry on sinking cervezas. Not surprising as a working mans breakfast here often involves a beer or two. Madrid's markets are a Sunday ritual as much as Catholics have church and I have hangovers, and Madrid comes out on the street to stroll, see, sell stuff and just generally be part of their city. The Rastros - table-top sales and flea markets are around the south-west of the city. The main streets around Calle Toledo have the sellers of trinkets, football scarves and discounted homewares, whereas the dusty back streets are where the old men and women set up rickety tables and pile them high with piles of stuff. Some people call this stuff junk and sell it cheap, ... read more
Selling in the square
Art for Sale
Not for sale

Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Dubai April 19th 2010

Dubai rises out of the desert, all tallest, newest, richest, biggest and most expensives. The worlds tallest building. The Most expensive hotel. The Newest city. The Largest shopping centre. So what? Who wants to discover that the worlds tallest building is really tall? Or that you can shop in a place with lots of shops? Or spending lots of money on a 7-star hotel provides amazing service? Dubai excels in superlatives, but fails with surprises. But thats how its meant to be - safe, ordered and predictable. Every shop is a western brand, Starbucks on every corner, Gap clothes in the shops. Price is the only measure here. Hotel ratings used to only reach 5 stars, so Dubai invented the $20,000-a-night 7th star, cleverly leaving out the 6th star. Quality here is not measured by that ... read more
Cure for dry-ness
beasts in the desert

Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Ko Chang January 31st 2010

In Thailand, when the captain of a boat says the weather is too dangerous to carry on, he starts laughing. Thats when I started worrying. Thailand's coast was far away behind us and the nearest real land was Burma to our Starboard - which is on the righthand side for you landlubbers. A looming grey cloud piled up over Burma and another storm was rolling in from the sea ahead, which is the Fore. Or the Stern. But it didn't matter right now, as the captain was looking very stern himself. His small wooden boat was being lashed with rain and wind. Our ferry journey started as a cheerful trip but now we had fallen silent, soaked and slightly seasick from the side to side pounding. The barefoot captain and his swarthy crew were gripping the ... read more
dirty old fishing fleet
Photo 13
Beachfront action

Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Ko Phi Phi Don December 27th 2009

I didnt hear the gunshots. I was dancing, chatting and drinking with an assortment of party people and local folk wearing fluffy red and white santa hats. The music went dead. The crowds evaporated away. A light rain was falling as mist in the night. The party was over. Three young boys were shot on the beach on Phi Phi on Christmas day. The passengers on the well-worn route through the islands of Thailand know the route even if they haven't taken it before. It has its own history, literature, fashions, gossip and rumours. Sitting on a ferry, or on a cramped minibus, advice is swapped over copies of the Lonely planet and Alex Garland's 'The Beach'. From Koh Pang Yang through Samui and down to Phi Phi, the chat and gossip increases. Friends are made, ... read more
unruined except for me being there!
boiling point
alcohol impairs judgement

Asia » Malaysia » Penang » George Town December 24th 2009

The magnificent villas of the past are still standing, sleeping and unbreathing. Dustily uncared for. These villas were the homes of traders who came here in the 1700's and 1800's and found their fortunes - Georgetown, the capital of Penang, has always been a masala of people and business - Indian traders, Armenian Jews, Sultans, Portugese, Dutch, English. Raffles spent much of his time here while trying to establish Singapore and the Chinese had a unique ethnic community here for over 500 hundred years. They all came, made money and proudly built homes, schools and temples. There is money here now but its not interested in staying here and making elegant places to live in. This new money just wants to go up, up, up. Just wandering around grubby Georgetown, you can find relics of the ... read more
Nasi Lemak, anyone?
layers and layers
The E&O hotel, reflected from floor 26 of a concrete tower

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris October 21st 2009

''Maybe this basement was bricked up in the War'' I suggested. The backstage area of the Social Club in the Montmartre is a odd-shaped, angled-walled, tiny basement that would have been a useless place to store anything. Upstairs, the club was pounding its stylish house music and downstairs, escaping with me was American Benjamin with his thick, art-student glasses and the two girls from East Berlin and Austria. They all give me odd stares at my basement comment and I remember the old phrase... 'don't mention the war' Paris, the capital of France has attracted foreigners and invaders in all its history, and as the Nazis advanced, people bricked up their valuable jewellery, wine collections and paintings in secret basements. Now here we were, a new wave of invaders, freely quaffing the free beers in the ... read more
bright sights
slight light
not right

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Herefordshire » Hereford October 16th 2009

England is a strangely backward place, where people say ''Nice Day'' even if it is raining. The English invented the rules for every major sport, yet rarely win any international awards - football, tennis, even cricket. We despise foreign places even though we had an empire that circled the globe - today, the most popular dish is an Indian invention of Chicken Tikka Masala. The English never say what they mean, preferring to say the opposite as a joke and hope you will understand - they will be overpolite to people they dont like and rude to the people they love. Even the weather can't make up its mind here. Summers are notoriously damp and cold, the winters rarely shudder with snow or storms. And so somewhere in between these wet summers and warm winters lies ... read more
River Wye-29
River Wye-43
River Wye-31

Europe » Spain » Valencian Community » Valencia August 5th 2009

I don't have a crystal ball. But in ten years time, I bet we won't be racing the world around on cheap flights. Lets all cross our fingers and hope that the price of oil goes back up and keeps going skyward. For the good of the world and our kids, lets hope 'Budget Flights' are just a silly passing fad. 'Pay peanuts and you'll get monkeys' is the old saying - I paid peanuts for my flight, and monkeys now are boarding the plane to Valencia. Clambering aboard, pushing and jumping over the seats. Howling and shrieking as their child-chimps smother chocolate over their faces. An international chimps tea-party at 20,000 feet. The Hoi-Polloi, cattle class, scum-shuttles... cheap flights are grim, ugly, noisey and responsible for the increase of air travel - and air travel ... read more
A Near-miss!
wingtip in the rain
Sun setting on cheapflights?

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