Author Archives: aroundtheworldtripping
How To Get From San Diego To Carlsbad (In Four Hours)
It started out as a typical Football Sunday. Drinks at 9:30 in the morning, smashed by lunch, and screaming at the T.V. by the fourth quarter of the Hawks game (roughly 3pm). We had neglected to take our car into the shop since football season began, well past its 3,000 mile / 3 month due date. There was nothing notably wrong with the car to prompt our responsibility, we just thought it would be a good excuse to drink and drive.
Pause: I am just fucking with you. Drinking and driving is a horrible decision and should not be made light of.
The evening proved to be a success. The Seahawks won, our car was fine, and no small children were plowed over during our four block drive home from the auto shop – for sport, maliciously, or by intoxicated accident. However, the engine was now making a weird clicking sound that it had not been making prior to our visit. We notified the body shop and scheduled to bring it in after work on Monday.
Sure enough – our flux capacitor was shot. No more traveling through time, and it was also suggested that we not drive it until it was repaired. Normally not much of a burden on myself because I work from home. But unfortunately, I did have a meeting 45 minutes away the following day at 11:00am. Thus, the chain of unfortunate events were set into motion. . . . .
I live in San Diego and to say it has urban sprawl would be an understatement. After doing some research on google – my 45 minute drive was going to be a two and a half our public transport or ridiculousness. That includes four changeovers, three buses, one train, and about a mile and a half of walking – in a suit.
Pause: It should be mentioned that I absolutely fucking hate wearing a suit. I would compare the way I feel wearing a suit to that of the way your adorable dog feels when he can’t stop licking his ass so you are forced to make him wear the cone-of-shame. For some unknown reason I feel humiliated – shamed – and of course restrained from licking my ass.
At 8:00 in the morning my journey began. If I wasn’t kicked out of the Cub Scouts when I was 12 for wielding a knife at my step-sister, I would have been an excellent Boy Scout. I cross-referenced the route (google and the city’s website), emailed the route to myself, wrote the route down, and had it pulled up on my phone. The first leg of my journey started at 8:30am at the train station. I was there at 8:10am, ready to buy my ticket.
This was the first “real” time that I had attempted to navigate the train system and I wasn’t fully aware of the intricacies that would later (in about 15 minutes) prove to shit directly on my face.
The phone, written version, and email all said that I should be taking the Surfliner north for 45 minutes. I walked under the first set of three tracks to the far side of the station to purchase my ticket. There are absolutely zero transit employees available to discuss my route decision with, leaving the ignorant (myself) to buy their ticket from a machine. I couldn’t find my destination on the screen and spent a few minutes looking at the route map to figure out which stop I needed. The map indicated that there were only two stops and neither were the one that corresponded with my route plan.
I checked my information again. It said that my train stopped at Encinitas. At this point I don’t know what the fuck is going on? I decided to move forward with the process and selected the destination that was closest to what I needed. Maybe not all the stops are listed?
As I punched in my selection it came up that the ticket would be $18.
What the fuck!? 18 fucking dollars!? Oh-my-fucking-God!
I double checked my information. Sure enough, it stated that the entire trip should cost me $12. This left me a little confused and short on time to figure things out. The only person that I could spot that ‘might’ have a chance of knowing what was going on was the transit security guy. Now I don’t like to judge a book by its cover. But – if I was the type to make a judgement call based on a person’s appearance, looking at this particular book, I thought I would be better served trying to search for a solution to my problem in the puddle of urine left by a bum the night before.
As I approached the $7.50 an hour waste of oxygen I noted that he was occupying his time by harassing a 15-year-old girl.
Dipshit: I need to see your ticket.
Dipshit: Cause I have the authority to ask you for your ticket.
Girl: Uggh….. rolls her eyes and digs in her pocket.
Dipshit then examines the ticket like a dyslexic child trying to read stats on the back of a baseball card.
Dipshit: See – cause if you don’t have your ticket you could get fined
Girl: But I have my ticket
Dipshit: Yeah (examines it again) just so you know it would be a $350 fine if you were caught on the train without your ticket.
Me: Excuse me…………excuse me…………..EXCUSE ME.
The transit cop must have just watched a John Wayne marathon the night before or the down syndrome was worse than I initially suspected.
He slowly moved his gaze from the girl to me in a downward motion, his eyes squinted, as if I had just challenged him to a duel at high-noon.
Me: I am trying to get to Encinitas. The website said I needed the Surfliner. Is that correct.
Dipshit: Encinitas – No, no, you need the Coaster (as he pointed)
Me: You are sure?
I walked over to the Coaster machine and was surprised to see my destination available and at the time and cost I was expecting. Huh, I guess the handicap can severe a meaningful function in society.
I purchased my ticket and waited by the tracks. I let out a deep sigh, thankful that I figured out my ticket situation with five minutes to spare. I watched as the Surfliner pulled into the station, three tracks and a fence away, at the exact time I was suppose to catch my train. A sudden feeling of panic set in. I rushed toward the security guard and asked him if my Coaster ticket entitled me to get on the Surfliner.
Pause: The only time that I had taken the train before was to head up north to watch football and get smashed. On my way back, a slightly less moronic transit guard had helped me purchase my ticket and put me on the train. Which was a Coaster ticket and a Surliner train. Yes, I was that smashed that I required assistance and thus my confidence in doing this action again was. . . . fuzzy.
I quickly asked him my question again as I intently stared at the train.
Me: You are 100% sure!?
Dipshit: No, no way. You can get a $350 ticket for that.
Realizing that I made a mistake by not digging through the urine I quickly ran back to the Coaster machine to check the schedule. Sure enough – there are two times that you can purchase Coaster tickets and use them on Surfliner trains – 8:30 in the morning and 10:30 in the morning.
Just as I turned to run toward the Surliner it took off. . . . . . even my inner Buddhist told me I should go kick the shit out of that fucking transit retard.
No Bret, I thought to myself. You cannot blame the illiterate for their shortcomings.
Illiterate – at this point I wasn’t sure if I was referring to the transit guard or myself?
My only other $5.50 option was at 10:30am – two hours from now. With the buses and walking I needed to do after the train, I would arrive at my meeting just after 2:00pm. Three hours late. I wonder if anyone in our four person meeting (including myself) would notice?
I called my wife to complain, vent, and ask for guidance. Being raised a devout Methodist my initial instinct was to not go at all. Say fuck it and go home and watch SportsCenter. But Sally reminded me that this is work not church and we needed to keep me employed, I need to impress my boss, and money for us is as scarce as intelligent transit security guards.
I gritted my teeth and made my way back over to the Surfliner ticket machine. Thankfully there would be another train in 30 minutes and Sally was going to email me my new transfer itinerary. Not so thankfully – it was going to cost me $18.
Just as I was coughing up the $18 (on top of the $5.50 that I just paid for my “Coaster ticket”) an older lady came up to me and described the same problem that I was having. I explained to her the situation and even managed to refrain from using profanity. She was thankful for the help and also discouraged that she had to pay the additional $18.
Stranger: I’m from Australia, what’s your excuse.
My wife’s family is Australian and I have a slight affection for our English brethren from Down Under. So normally I would take the opportunity to engage in polite conversation and witty banter with a stranger such as this. But her comments couldn’t have come at worse time.
In an attempt to keep the anger in my eyes from turning into laser beams and melting her on the spot. I gritted my teeth, half smiled, and fake chuckled. I then did an about face and as I walked toward the opposite side of the train station to where she was standing I mumbled the only offensive Australian word I knew, just loud enough that she might here.
Me: Fucking wanker!
A text from my wife with my new itinerary reveled that I was only going to be about 20 minutes late. A relieved sigh escaped from the corner of my mouth as I plopped down onto the bench to wait for the Surfliner.
1 minute late.
5 minutes late.
10 minutes late.
Other passengers starting to grow concerned and checking their watches.
15 minutes late.
20 minutes late.
Oh fuck – there goes my revised itinerary. The bus numbers hadn’t changed, so rather than pestering my wife for yet another update to my travel plans, I decided to let this one play out and just grab the first bus I see when I get off the train.
The train rolled in 22 minutes late. I made my way to the second story and laughed to myself as I stretched my legs out for the 45 minute ride.
What a shitty way to start off my day.
It was a fairly sparse crowd, mixed of business professionals and young kids who appeared to be skipping school. The time was passed with one verbal disagreement between a passenger and ticket collector about the use of the four seats that are facing each other. In that they were reserved for groups of three or more and the girl (on her way to Vegas for the weekend wanted to sit there until said group arrived) and another verbal disagreement between a young girl and half of the train. She had her music playing on her phone and was asked to turn it down. She ignored the first request and that passenger moved to another train. The girl was then asked again by a different woman to turn her music down.
Woman: Excuse me, the entire train can hear your music. Would you mind turning it down.
Girl: I don’t got to turn it down. It’s not my problem if it’s bothering you.
Woman: Actually it is your problem, could you turn it down?
Girl: Nobody asked you to sit in this train car. You can move if you don’t like it.
This conversation went on for an amusing five minutes and escalated to the point that the woman went to fetch the ticket collector. The ticket collector told the girl to turn down her music in passing, which resulted in a 1/4 reduction. This resulted in none of the parties involved being happy with the outcome.
The woman then moved train cars.
I arrived at my final destination just as my meeting was getting started (11:00am). I saw the bus that I needed to catch and immediately jumped aboard. The driver proceeded to drive off just as I sat down.
I scoffed at the fact that I actually made it to one portion of my journey in a timely manner.
I asked the bus driver about where I needed to get off in order to catch my next bus. He told me he would give me the heads up, but I had it pulled up on my phone just in case. It was a quick 15 minute ride across town and just as I was jumping off the driver said I better hurry if I want to catch my bus. As I turned toward my objective I could see my bus pulling away from its stop.
I slowly walked to the bus stop to check the schedule to see when the next one would arrive. But the stop was just a pole in the ground and had no information about when I should expect another bus. I pulled it up on my phone and it said another bus should be there in 15 minutes. That puts me getting to my meeting 45 minutes late. . . .
I waited around, entertaining myself on my phone and day dreaming about when this day was over so I could get blindingly drunk. I was so caught up in my own thoughts that I didn’t notice that my bus was 5 minutes late. Panic mode set in again as I scrambled to get back to the bus schedule on google maps.
What the fuck? It said the next bus wasn’t going to be there for an hour?
Had I read it wrong?
I tired to look it up on the bus website but apparently they had decided to stop investing into modern technology after dot.com bubble burst. All I could do was email to their AOL account or send them a carrier pigeon.
I decided this was it. I was fucking done. I was not going to wait for an hour, on the side of the road, only to get to my meeting just as it was getting over. I looked left and right for my closest bar.
Just thinking about trying to get a bus back to the train station, hoping to catch the cheap train home, only to have my boss call me and ask “Where in the fuck where you?” struck my as annoying.
Fuck it. . . . . .
I googled a local cab company. While speaking to them they insisted that I can’t be “on the side of the road next to the mall” and expect to get picked up. So I walked a couple blocks up the street to the movie theater and gave them an address.
As I look down the road I see a bus coming from the direction that mine was suppose to come from. Sure as fucking shit, it stopped at the bus stop where I was waiting. Running there would have been beyond pointless. I was at least a 4 minute jog away and the bus did a two second stop to appease procedures before taking off.
The salt had officially been poured into my wounds.
Just as I was about to call the cab company to ask them where in the fuck they were I received a call from an unlisted number. Assuming it was them I picked up.
Cabby: Hey what up man?
Me: Um, are you coming?
Cabby: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I will be there in 15 minutes.
Me: Fucking . . . . . awesome. . . . . . . .
I leaned against the wall of the movie theater in despair. The cabby was able to take me the 13 miles to my meeting for only $25. With the two train tickets, bus ticket, and now cab ride, my entire journey cost me $50. While causing me to get to my meeting an hour and twenty minutes late.
The are several lessons to be learned here. But I think the most important one is – don’t give up, and guess what? You can’t give up if you choose not to fucking do it in the first place! So I think the real take away from this story is – Fuck Public Transit!
The Best Rappers Of All Time (Through The Eyes of A Small Town White Boy)
Before I divulge my nearly two decades of rap expertise and send itunes in a frenzy trying to populate its online store with “Early 90’s Gangsta-Rap-Pimp-Shit” (that is an actual itunes genre by the way), I would like to preface my list with a little background of where my opinion derives. For those lazy bastards who hate reading, simply skip down to the bottom of the page. Anyone who actual enjoys a story, continue on and don’t forget to check out the rest of the site, it’s the shit!
For those of you that lack the intelligence to infer from the title that I grew up in a small town, I will make it abundantly clear now. I grew up in a very-small-fucking-town. The importance of this is the following:
- I wasn’t engulfed in a culture of hip-hop like those who grew up in an urban environment. I had to fight hard to discover artists and wasn’t influenced by the opinions of those around me, because I could use my fingers to count the number of people who I hung out with who also listened to rap as intently as I did (and still do).
- Outside of recreational drug use, I had nothing better to do with my time than to listen to every single word of an artist and scrutinize their work.
The hindsight of my becoming caused me to realize that I have a natural prejudice to early rap music from the east coast. If your first conclusion was that it must derive from the 2Pac and Biggie conflict, please stop reading now, forget this site, and go back to listening to your Lil Wayne. You are not worthy of knowing The Best Rappers Of All Time, you Top 40 deep throater.
The exposure of rap music where I lived, as I stated earlier – was limited. It was hard enough finding west coast rappers on the shelves, let alone anyone from the east coast that wasn’t from the Wu-Tang Clan. This west coast exclusivity caused some early biases that I have been able to overcome today, but are still reflective in my preferences.
The difference I found between west coast and east coast (before the popularity of rap intertwined the two and killed virtually all distinction) would be primarily in the beat, chores, and lyrics. What the fuck else is there?
West coast rap has a very distinct clap on every second or fourth beat.
No, seriously. I am not fucking with you.
Go back to any early to almost any mid 90’s rap song from the west coast. Without fail, it will have it. Maybe because the trifecta of djs (Dre, Quik, Battlecat) all arose from the same camp (Death Row)?
There is also variation in the music between the verse and the chorus. While during this era, east coast rap songs had no problem going through an entire track with little change in the music at all and sometimes would even neglect to include a chorus.
The final distinction between east coast rap and west coast rap (in the early 90’s) can be found in the delivery of their lyrics. West coast rappers let the music intertwine/enhance their lyrics – east coast rappers used the music/beat as simply a serving dish for their lyrics. This distinction started to fade roughly the same time that Biggie and 2Pac brought popularity to the genre
Here listen to these two examples and see if you can pick up on the differences.
West Coast Example:
East Coast Example:
Lyrics – Beat – Chorus
These are the three elements that it takes for a rap song to make it onto my list. With the most emphasis being on Lyrics. If you are just bobbing your head to a beat, or bumping a song because the chorus is catchy, you are missing out on 90% of what makes rap fucking awesome. So pay attention boys and girls and listen to the songs below.
The Best Rappers Of All Time
In no particular order and not regarding their career in its entirety. This list serves as an example of talent and not as an all encompassing list. For example – I have 15 Dj Quik songs that would make this list but I am not going to go through the effort of adding them all. Use the artist as a reference and go check them out . . . you lazy fuck!
Quick shout out to my peeps coming up in the StayTucky – Beer Iz My Water
Oh – and I realize that not all of the songs listed below are from the era in which I expressed my upbringing and interest. I was simply illustrating where my opinion derives.
E-40 (2pac, Mac Mall, Spice 1) – Dusted N Disgusted
Spice 1 – Too Deep In The Game
Notorious BIG – Notorious Thugs
Method Man & Redman – City Lights
Warren G – Still Can’t Fade It
Black Market – 40oz & Chronic Dice
Celly Cell – It’s Going Down Tonight
Eazy-E – Real Muthaphukkin G’s
Ice Cube – You Know How We Do It
Andre Nickatina – Ayo For Yayo
Da Brat – Funkdafied (Only female rapper to make the list)
WC – Fuckin Wit Uh House Party
Cypress Hill – Hand on The Pump
Immortal Technique – The 4th Branch
To Be Continued. . . .
My Dad Gets The Blazed-ed-ist!
Quite Possibly The Funniest Shit I have Read In A Looooooooong Time
I was fortunate enough to have a undisclosed Facebook friend post this article in outrage.
“Halfway Heros, Near Veterans?” Are you serious? Is this what America has become. People like this need to leave. You are one of two things, NOT a Veteran or you ARE a Veteran. There is no such thing as a near Veteran or halfway hero because you went to the recruiter in high school and then backed out like a little bitch. If a bill gets passed to give “near Veterans or halfway heros” VA benefits I will march my happy ass to Washington picking up every REAL Veteran on the way and give them what they have coming. Crap like this makes this makes me want to move to another country where people are not so stupid and actually realize how great they have it. You have got to be kidding me.
I am not sure what is more hilarious? The article itself or the blinding patriotic outrage of stupidity that kept him from laughing his ass off at what I deem the Facebook post of the year!
CHARLESTON, SC – Jody Siever spends his Friday nights like so many American servicemen and women, mingling while kicking back drinks at a local bar. Recognizing the giveaway military haircut of a fellow patron, he approaches with an arm extended.
“Welcome home, soldier.” Smiling, though apparently puzzled, the stranger returns a firm, brief handshake.
“Thanks, but I’m in the Navy. And I haven’t been anywhere—I’m in Nuke School,” he replies, referring to the Naval Nuclear Power Training Center in Goose Creek, S.C.
“That’s cool,” Siever says, “I almost thought about joining the Navy for a while, but if I did join the service, I would have gone into the Army. I’m just kind of hardcore like that. Shooting bad guys in the face—that’s the life for me. If I wanted it.”
Siever, you see, never actually enlisted.
Veteran servicemembers often find it difficult to relate their experiences in the military to friends and family back home, but a new civilian organization is working to expand that exclusive brotherhood. The Bros Before Joes campaign, established in 2011, seeks to legitimize the efforts of people like Siever, whose commitments to serving in the military range from the hypothetical to the nearly realized.
“We’ve got guys from all over the spectrum here. Some of our members, they merely thought about joining the Army a few times, or took the ASVAB in high school to get out of first period,” explains BBJ founder Trent Bower. “Other guys though, they got as far as making appointments to go to MEPS [Military Entrance Processing Station], but then something important came up.”
A near-Marine himself, Bower recounts his own brush with fate:
“I talked with a Marine recruiter a few times in high school, even attended a couple of pool functions at the recruiting office. It got to the point that I was there so often, the recruiters even started calling me ‘Boot.’ They were practically begging me to enlist, but I always knew I was meant for something more meaningful.”
Bower, a 31-year old assistant manager at a successful pizza delivery franchise, started the Bros Before Joes campaign in his spare time, seeking to bring recognition to others who share his story. For Siever, and thousands of almost-soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines like him, the organization is a long-overdue ray of hope.
Says Siever, “It’s great, you know, to finally be able to reach out and connect with others who share your non-experiences. After giving so much, dedicating so much time and energy to thinking about enlisting, it just feels like we’re finally getting the thanks we deserve.” And recognition has been swift in coming.
Thanks to a successful joint-lobbying campaign with the Almost Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, a bill is now before the Senate to approve Veteran’s Affairs benefits for BBJ and AIAVA members. The resolution received overwhelming bipartisan support in a House vote earlier this year from a majority of US Representatives who are themselves non-veterans.
Regarding the passage in the House, Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) released this statement:
“This isn’t a Red-or-Blue, liberal-versus-conservative issue. It’s about giving near-veterans like me and many of my constituents the recognition we’ve been denied for far too long.” Currently, 345 out of 435, or roughly 80% of members of the U.S. House of Representatives, have no recorded military service.
As the bill nears the Senate floor, however, some opponents are voicing concerns. Senator and Navy veteran John McCain (R-AZ) held a press conference outside his home in Phoenix, Arizona on Tuesday, calling the bill “a mockery… of all that I hold dear.” He also stated that he would “rather tongue-kiss Jane Fonda” than vote to approve the measure. Before he could take questions, he had to be ushered away for medical treatment when blood began seeping from his clenched fist—reportedly from clutching his Silver Star too tightly.
And he’s not alone. Senator Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI) is an Army veteran of World War II and presently the only serving member of Congress to have earned a Congressional Medal of Honor. When presented with the bill’s full text, Sen. Inouye declared it “a perversion of our American values,” and refused to touch it, even with his prosthetic arm. Said Inouye, “I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.”
Despite these protests, the bill has mass appeal with civilians and near-veterans on both sides of the aisle. Arguments will begin in earnest when the Senate reconvenes next January. Until then, it’s a long wait for near-heroes like Siever and Bower.
Asked if he would do anything different given the opportunity, Bower harkens back to his non-Marine days:
“I just couldn’t leave all of this behind. I miss those pool functions, though. They were good times; some of the best times of my life. You just… you go through something like that, almost sacrificing so much, with such a close group of guys, and it really makes you brothers, you know? I even think I still have some recruitment brochures around here, somewhere.”
Read more: http://www.duffelblog.com/2012/10/halfway-heroes-near-veterans-seek-recognition-for-almost-serving-in-military/#ixzz2bTjCXupP
Is It Normal For A Grown Man To Shit Himself?
Throughout history, there have been moments that have redefined the boundaries of what the human race understands to be our species limitations. Acts of valor, athleticism, and unthinkable bursts of superhuman strength that have shattered the glass ceiling of what we believed to be the imposed difference between reality and fable. One man single-handedly killing fifty Nazis, flying through the air at bird like heights and dunking over the competition, or pulling a truck with nothing but a penis. Regardless of the arena, there have always been extraordinary people accomplishing extra-ordinary things. Solidifying their legacy and carving out a place in time to forever be remembered.
This is not one of those occasions.
In fact, this is the exact opposite of one of those occasions. The only reason those occasions are even being referenced in this story is because they served as the failed motivational material during my own battle of inner personal strength. Which if you couldn’t tell by the title of the post, I fucking FAILED!
It was a hot and muggy night in the small town of Santa Marta, Colombia. We had been on the road for only a couple of weeks and the digestive transition into the local cousin was still in its testing stages. We had been keeping ourselves skinny by cooking our own meals in the hostel. The complex and tantalizing recipes were comprised of chopped up potatoes and vegetables or spaghetti on occasion, you know, to mix it up. All meals were accompanied by a dousing of stolen butter or oil (what ever was available in the community kitchen at the time) and a large portion of hot sauce for choking down purposes.
I should preface the story by making my love for hot sauce fully understood. My serving of hot sauce exceeds that of three average men combined. So when I say a large portion of hot sauce, I mean holy-shit is there even any fucking food hiding under that puddle large portion of hot sauce (Side note: I once kept a tally of the amount of Sriracha sauce I consumed over a one year period. It totaled around six gallons. That means my shit was the color of blood for over twelve months and what I considered a “normal” bowel movement would send most running straight to the emergency room.
We had tried a few restaurants since arriving in country. But at our price point the meals didn’t provide much more satisfaction then our own “home cooking”. They usually consisted of a meat (of your choice) that appears to have been run over by a truck, some french fries that have been cooked in four week old oil, and a single four inch by four inch piece of welted lettuce. Between our cooking and their cooking, my poor stomach was on the verge of implosion (or rather explosion, as the title of the story eludes to).
The meal out was a big deal for us. This would be the first meal out that we completely disregarded our daily budget (an impulse we quickly turned into routine). As with any celebratory occasion, a well lubricated state of mind was a necessity. The pre-drinks of rum carried us right into the arms of several beers and a bottle of wine at the restaurant. Three rounds and a bottle of wine before a food menu was ever even opened.
Once we did eat, we treated the meal like it was our last and made sure we left the restaurant feeling like a it was Thanksgiving.
Not wanting to miss out on an opportunity to completely overindulge, we had the taxi stop in front of a mall that was close to our hostel to grab some ice cream.
Fatty said what?
I had made it about five steps from the curb when my stomach did a round house kick to my asshole.
It caught my asshole completely off guard. But thankfully, failed to deliver a knock out blow. Pun intended.
Needless to say, my asshole was stunned. He was looking for his corner, hoping the round was over, just trying his best not to take another crippling blow, that would surely knock him out.
The blood left my face as the reality of the situation smothered my buzz and created a small amount of panic. I did a quick mental inspection of the severity of the situation.
I didn’t take a shit this morning. . . . hmmm. . . . That means things are pretty backed up. Last night was spaghetti. . . . . that means industrial amounts of hot sauce is mixing around, lubing the sides of my stomach like a fucking bobsled track. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . and that big ass meal I just shoved down my fat face is the fucking Jamaicans from Cool Runnings. . . . The Jamaicans crash man! The Fucking Jamaicans Crash!
I exhaled a short breath of determination, balled my hands into two tightly clenched fists, squeezed my asshole harder than a pedophile walking the yard on his first day in prison, and made my way toward the mall. Thankfully I was familiar with its layout and knew exactly where the closest bathroom was located.
See, look at the positive. You know where you are going. You know where you are going and your close. Four football fields? Maybe five? You can do this! . . . . you CAN do this!! You . . . . can. . . . hopefully . . . . hope, hope, hopefully fucking. . . . . do this?
I made it half way to the mall entrance when I had to make my first pit stop. The motion of walking was causing my stomach to become more unsettled. I came to a halt and simultaneously squeezed my asshole with every ounce of energy my body possessed.
I did a little shuffle / wobble step, as I tried to keep my guts lodged next to my heart while again making my way toward the mall. My lips pursed, as the realization that the battle was just beginning caused a slight relaxation of defeat to overcome me.
(Gurgle gurgle gurgle)
I launched into brisk and robotic style walk toward the mall entrance. I must have looked like a North Korean Soldier marching in fast forward. I even carried the same look of despair and submission, causing my eyes to become glazed and distant.
I made it to the door and I leaped toward the handle like a fat kid dashing for candy at a parade. The excessive force I used to open the door almost caused it to smack against the building. My pace quickened as my hand subconsciously made its way to my ass hole. The childish cup of the outside of my pants somehow strengthening my sphincters ability to maintain its watertight hold. I tried to distract myself as I stormed toward the food court.
Just don’t think about it. It is mind over matter. You don’t think about it. Don’t think, don’t think, don’t think. There is not a massive shit about to burst out of your guts in the middle of the fucking mall. You are not a grown man who is about to shit his pants. I will not shit my pants, I will NOT shit my pants, I WILL NOT SHIT MY PANTS!!!
. . . . . . . . . . . Oh fuck. . . . . I might shit my pants. . . . . . . . no,no,no,no. . . . . oh fuck………………………..maybe?
Another painful pause and wincing look of distress as I tried to keep from dumping a gallon of shit down the side of my leg onto the mall floor. I squeezed my ass with every ounce of energy my body possessed. I could have turned coal into fucking diamonds I was squeezing so hard!
The pressure that was being placed on my inner thighs was causing a small collection of sweat to congregate in my ass crack and create a warm foreshadowing for what now seemed to be the inevitable conclusion to this nightmare.
Men have lifted cars off of children, been shot several times but still charged the enemy, we have survived beatings, starvation, run marathons. If the body and the mind are capable of such amazing feats, then surely, fucking SURELY it can enable me to make it the last hundred-fucking-yards to the mother-fucking-bathroom!
I frantically charged into men’s room located at the corner of the food court. My bewildered eyes darted around the room until I finally found an open stall. I shuffled in, locked the door, and scrambled to unbutton my pants. . . . . .
I have replayed what happened next a million times. Analyzing, scrutinizing, judging. Wondering why oh fucking why did this happen?
Now that I am over a year removed from the situation I can say with full confidence the exact moment, the exact action, the exact point where I failed myself so God-Damn HORRIBLY!
It was the transition.
A poorly executed transition.
The transition of asshole clench to ass cheek clench.
In hindsight, I don’t even know why I made the move?
Maybe it was a lapse in judgement brought on by the high stress situation? The fact that no matter how long you have been holding it, your body just seems to know when your close to the bathroom and insists on shocking you with its final alarm.
DEFCON 1 is here bitch, the world is ending alarm.
It was the transition.
The relaxation of the asshole and squeeze of the ass cheeks that caused it to happen.
The shit came, and it came with a force.
The clenching of the ass cheeks caused it flow out like water from a hose when a thumb is placed over the opening. It-went-E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E! Running down both legs, into my shorts, the back of the toilet, the floor, the wall. Yeah, that’s right. The mother fucking wall!
I was shocked.
This is impossible. This just doesn’t happen. This is not real. This is not real. This is not-fucking-real!
That is when the smell smacked me with almost as much force as I delivered to the back of the wall with my hot sauce propelled excrement.
Oh fuck! This is real! This is real! This is real . . . . This is real and now I have to deal with it. This is real, and now, now I have to deal with it. Deal with it. . . deal with it. . . . deal with it.
Lets do a quick analysis of what is going on. I have shit myself. I have shit myself in a very public place. I have shit myself in a very public place and escaping from here unnoticed is impossible. Ok. . . . at least I made it to the concealment of the stall. I can do my best to organize myself here and then make a run for it. Alright, I have a plan. I just need to clean myself up as much as possible.
Toilet paper, toilet paper, just need some . . . . . . . . toilet. . . . . . . . paper?
For those of you that are not familiar with public toilets in Colombia, they have an interesting system in place to preserve the amount of toilet paper people use in a public restroom. They place a large dispenser in the main area of the bathroom next to the sinks. You simply grab the amount of toilet paper you think you will use on your way into the stall. Something I had clearly neglected to notice in my mad dash for the stall.
I have no toilet paper, no socks (as I was in flip-flops) and my legs and shorts are covered in shit. I need my shirt to obscure a small part of my now brown shorts and I have no toilet paper.
I – have – no – toilet – paper. . . .
I made a slow turn to my left and my face contorted with a look of disgust.
There is another attribute to toilets in Colombia you first world readers might not be aware of. They don’t flush their toilet paper, they toss it in a basket next to the toilet.
This is not happening. This is . . . . is . . . . is . . . . is not happening.
I released a breath of self-pity and slowly extended my had down to the full basket of used toilet paper. I slowly pulled at a piece of used paper from the basket to inspect it.
Thankfully Colombians seem to be better planners than myself and use excessive amounts of shit paper when tending to their backside.
One careful whip turned into two, two into three, and then I turned my pity party into a determined mission. I became the terminator. I no longer had any feelings about the situation, I was simply doing what must be done. My speed increased as I skillfully rifled through the shit basket. Selecting pieces of used toilet paper, deciding what part of my body and shorts would benefit the most.
Grab, wipe, toss, grab, wipe, toss, grab wipe, and toss. . . .
I was making progress, I was feeling like I might be able to get somewhat clean enough to make a mad dash without EVERYONE realizing why I was running.
Just a quick flush of the toilet to make some more room for my used, used, toilet paper.
And. . . . . . . hmmmmmm. . . . . . . .
That’s when it hit me. I am taking used toilet paper from the used toilet paper bin. I am using that used toilet paper again and then putting it in the toilet. As soon as I flushed it I knew I was fucked.
Maybe, maybe, maybe?
I remember plugging the toilet when I was a kid. It usually took two flushes to get the water to spill out over the bowl. Surely fate has fucked me hard enough in this situation. I must have the grace of the God’s over looking me, allowing this toilet to not to over flow.
And then it happened. It more than just “happened”.
The water began to spill over the rim of the toilet bowl at a rapid pace. It was a matter of seconds before I was standing in a puddle of flowing water. I watched in horror as it quickly made its way out of my stall. Creating an obvious trail of perpetration to my destroyed stall of humiliation.
I actually let out a small laugh.
I was shocked at the actual amount of water that was being dumped onto the floor.
I chuckled again.
This entire situation is . . . . crazy. This does not happen in real life.
It was clear that my time for cleaning up had come to an end. I can no loner hide out in the stall when Niagara Falls is re-routing its self out of my toilet. I hiked my still-covered-in-shit-shorts up around my waist. I slowly opened the stall door to face my public.
A janitor stood in the middle of the bathroom floor, his mop and bucket in hand, his eyes wide in disbelief. Water was wrapping around is stagnant feet. Clearly locked into place by what he now perceived as HIS worse fucking day ever!
Even in my disorientated state of emergency, I was still empathetic to what awaited him in my stall. . . and now the entire bathroom floor. I actually reached my hand out, as if to take the mop and assist with this “shitty situation”. His expression contorted even more as he watched my face go from concern (hand out), to the realization I have to fucking bounce, now!
My hand quickly moved away from the mop like a mean uncle ditching out on a high five with his retarded nephew. Too slow Joe!!!! Or Jose!? Carlos. . . .?
With that, I was fucking gone. Channeling my inner Usain Bolt as I sprinted for the exit and the cover of night.
I barely had breath enough to give a soft shout to Sally.
“Sally!. . . . . Sally!. . . . We’re fucking going!”
As I pointed to the exit, not stopping to see if she understood. I assumed that if I just continued to run out, she would eventually follow me. I scrambled my way across the street and hideout under a tree. When she finally caught up to me she began to ask what was going on?
“What . . . . . ?”
Her head cocked back quickly as she caught a whiff of my soiled shorts. . . and legs. . . and flip-flops.
Before she could even finish her question I cut her off with a stern look.
“The fucking worst”
“The fucking worst thing that has ever happened to me”
“That. . . . . is what happened”
The First Bus Ride
Other than local city buses, so far on our trip we have managed to avoid the dreaded long-distance bus rides I have heard so much about. Our first one would turn out to be a warm-up to what lies ahead as it is only a “short” 3.5 hours from Cartagena to Santa Marta.
The first option was to squeeze on a local bus with our backpacks and ride one hour across town in the 90 degree heat to the main bus depot and hop on another bus that would take us to the depot in Santa Marta, then walk with our packs to our hostel. OR we could book a door-to-door, air-conditioned service through our hotel or only a few bucks more. Door-to-door it was! We were excited to move on to somewhere new and get there backpacker luxury style in a Mercedes van that only carried 8-10 people.
Travel day arrived and we were ready and waiting for our 7am ride at 6:30am in the hotel lobby. Around 7:30am our bus picked us up and we were first on! Sweet, free to sit ANYWHERE we chose. I immediately leaped into a two-seater spot and called the window seat. Bret in the meantime went straight to the very back where there were four seats across. ”There’s more leg room back here” he stated. I hesitantly joined him at the back and again, called a window seat.
The bus drove around to a few other hotels to pick up guests also heading to Santa Marta. As the bus slowly began to fill up, we still had the entire back seat to ourselves. Maybe we would get lucky and it wouldn’t be a full bus? After each stop we grew more and more excited over that idea. Until the second to last stop. . . Maybe just one person would hop on and we’d have three seats between us? Wrong! A um, rather large couple who could have easily taken up the entire back row themselves had no other choice but to join us in the back. . . The woman (of course) took the other window seat, leaving the men to battle for what little room remained in the middle.
And so the looks from Bret began. For the first 45 minutes or so he had a look on his face of utter misery. About the 46 minute mark that look turned to pure rage!
The following event is not exaggerated. It is however perspective based and includes integrated visions of imagination.
The foreshadowing couldn’t have been written better by a well thought out and seasoned author. Sally noting the metal rod that stuck up between seats. The two of us marveling at the amount of space we had. ”If only they don’t pick up anyone else”, we repeated after every stop. But this is South America and to have even the smallest thoughts of the bus running at any capacity besides maximum beckoned to be slaped in the face with reality.
The second to last stop, that’s when it happened. Time went into slow motion. The chorus of Bob Dylan’s Hurricane filled the bus like an amphitheatre. “Here comes the story of the Hurricane. The one the authorities came to blame. For something he never done. Put him in a prison cell but one day he could-a been the champion of the world”. I could have been a champion. It felt so destined to be and yet my prison cell awaited. The right side of the bus had a sudden and sharp tilt to the right which put us at almost at 45 degree angle. Her head emerged into view as she took each of the three steps with monstrous force. She turned toward the aisle and realized that regular forward movement would be restricted by her size. A slight look to adjust to a sideways shuffle, a smile to the crowd, and then she locked eyes with me. There was no other option but to make her way to the back seat. She plopped down next to the window, leaving one seat (half of one seat) between her and I. ”This isn’t so bad!” It might actually deter anyone else from sitting on what was left of the seat next to me. Just as I was getting through those very thoughts her husband boarded the bus. She smiled and waved to him, gesturing that there was an available seat next to her. My heart sunk as a man who had clearly been matching his wife’s eating habits made his way to the back of the bus. He wedged himself between the two us, not even acknowledging the fact that he was hanging over into my seat. This mother fucker.
My heart started to pound, my head throbbed, and I knew it would be a battle. This wasn’t trench warfare being conducted on neutral ground. The way he slung his shoulder over the top of mine (right over the fucking top!) and used the weight of his hairy leg to wedge extra space was an invasion my country, my space, my self worth as a man. I took deep and slow breaths. I slid my leg slightly away to avoid the flesh to flesh touching that made me want to jump out the window of the moving bus. Only to have that void filled immediately and then some by his invasive left calf. The pressure on my leg was more intense than before, as if he could sense my retreat. Holy shit. Breath Bret, breath.
I looked at Sally and she could see the frustration consuming my body. Just then we hit a bump and I flew up, hitting my head on the plastic ceiling. We swung around the corner and made our final stop. Sally and I whispered to each other about the situation. Her half-smile not matching her words of sympathy. The driver packed the final bag into the back of the bus (directly behind us) and slams the door. The seat jolts forward as the back door bounces off the over-packed luggage. He repeats this attempt four more times, sending us forward with each thrust of the door before he adjusts the suitcase that didn’t seem to fit.
At that point I felt like a postal worker. My face relaxed, eyes blank, masking the horrendous travesty I was plotting in my head. I need a distraction. I quickly found reggae on my iPod. Knowing that if Bob couldn’t keep me from focusing on every millisecond that was slowly passing by, I would be in for the worst ride of my life. My right arm began to sweat. I could feel every wrinkle of my t-shirt making an imprint on the side of my body. The AC for the bus blew right over the top of our heads and the body heat that was being put out by the two large bodies next to us could very well be responsible for a portion of global warming. My willpower to not forfeit any more of my seat finally gave in to the conscious fact that I was only moments away from using this mans face as a break on the pavement the next time our driver made a dangerous pass around a blind corner. I leaned forward and put my elbows on my knees. The rush of body into my seat behind me created a small shaking sensation that was felt throughout the entire bus. After about five minutes of leaning forward I started to calm down. I was almost able to unclench my fists and return my heart rate to normal. That’s when Sally leaned forward and pointed. ”You see that guy in the red hat?” It was a man who was almost six feet tall sitting next to his wife and looking quite comfortable. His seat kicked back as he took a little nap. ”That’s where we could have been sitting.” The steam that shot from my ears must have been noticeable because Sally’s giggle turned into a muffled laugh. I shared a few words that expressed my displeasure with her statement and noted that I wasn’t able to enjoy her joke at this time. She did a great job of pressing right up against the window to give me a little more room. As I slide over to use part of her seat my left ass cheek was reminded of the metal rod that stuck up. It took every man gene I had in me to keep from crying like a small child. Sally wedged her scarf down between the seats to cover the rod as best she could.
It was only two and a half hours of self-pity until we dropped off enough people that I could move to a different seat. The last 20 minutes of the ride was enough time to decompress and remind myself things could be worse. I could be sitting in a cubicle, looking out the window at the cold dark rain, trying to excite myself that it was Wednesday, and I only had two more days left until the weekend.
Reading Is Evil
As a child I found it difficult to pick up a book and read. As opposed doing what with it you might ask? Picking up a book and throwing it across the room?
More like tearing out the pages and trying to smoke them! (With a few added ingredients) Turns out the Bible DOES provide some value! Bahhhhhh-Zing! Relax, it’s a fucking joke.
To be honest, as a child even the small bubbles above some of my favorite comic strips seemed to be more of an absorbing task than I was willing to undertake. It could have been because I had a creative mind that didn’t want to conform to the proposed story line that was set forth for the masses to mindlessly ingest. I preferred to imagine my own commentary and create a story that was unique. One that isn’t confined to the four boxes of poorly written and obvious drollery that has been regurgitated from the 50’s.
Why did the chicken cross the road?
Because he was an unoriginal bastard and his highly predictable life of crossing the road for arbitrary reasons forced him to throw himself under the fastest moving eighteen wheeler he could find.
That could have been why I avoided reading. . . .
Or a majority of my disinterest in reading might have boiled down to the fact that I was fucking lazy. Still em. Actually, being lazy is pretty much my hobby. It is a very diverse hobby actually, widely applicable. I can do my hobby pretty much anywhere, at anytime. Not many other hobbies have such a luxury.
Yes, most books bored me as a child (most still do as an adult) and at a young age I equated reading to torture, which I firmly believe derived from two things:
1) All books in school are fucking painfully boring! Shakespeare, Dickens, and what ever else was placed in front of me that was immediately thrown into the back of my locker. Left to collect remnants of chewed gum and overlooked weed scraps. I mean, come on! Great Expectations!? What a fucking false advertisement that was. The only thing “great” about that book was it was thick enough to use as a desk pillow during class.
I think it is a government conspiracy.
This is how they ensure the blue-collar work force is sustained. Bore people to the point of dropping out of high school.
2) The summer reading program put on by my local library. When you are 8-years-old and reading is the devil, walking into a library is pretty much like walking into the flames of hell itself. But what are my parents to do with two intelligent future leaders of tomorrow (my step-brother and step-sister) and a child that was kicked out of pre-school? Yes, true story. I was kicked out of pre-school. An obvious foreshadowing of my accolades to come (i.e.) 0.0 G.P.A spring quarter my sophomore year in high school.
The concept was simple: read a book, fill out a summary worksheet, earn tokens, buy shit with said tokens.
What young preadolescent doesn’t want shove a brand new sparkly pencil up the ass of an anatomically incorrect naked troll with fucked up neon hair?
If I recall correctly I made it through one and a half books that summer. I say one and a ‘half’ because after the first 30 page torturous endeavor I learned a valuable life lesson. Read the back of the book, the first few pages for some character names, and then skim the rest to pick up on some key plot points. That’s right folks, at the ripe old age of 8 I learned that to beat the system, you gotta cheat the system. It was enough of a showing to keep my parents off my back and earn me a few stickers for participation, literally.
Thus my literary development was an even paced crawl through the trenches of underachievement. Managing to sustain enough improvement to carry me from one prison cell to another.
Or as the teachers liked to call it, “From fourth grade to fifth.”
Occasionally I would incite optimism in my parents by bringing home a book from the grade school library that didn’t require me to locate Waldo. A few ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books popped up on my radar after I was informed by a classmate that they contained some type of violence.
My parents desperation for me to read reached an all time high when I was eleven. Forced to find a book in the public library and told I couldn’t leave until said task was accomplished, I returned with two. One about mafia hits and the other about serial killers.
They were not impressed.
But it turns out they were determined.
I not only was able to check out both books, they actually became the staple of my extracurricular educational development. I remember marveling at how many times my name was sloppy scribbled on the checkout slip that was glued to the back page. Thank God someone out there had the decency to put both of these kick-ass subjects in an easily digestible kid friendly format. Heavy on the photos with quick little blurbs about the most gruesome facts.
Valentines Day Massacre – Al Capone’s north side Italian gang dressed up like cops and slaughtered a rival gang. See photo below:
The Night Stalker (Richard Ramirez) – A serial killer / rapist who was actually detained through the help of mass media. Locals spotted Ramirez and pinned him down until police arrived. Administering a little public justice while waiting.
Wow………….. I would have kicked him in the face!
As you can imagine, this was not the best spring board to propel me through the literary challenges that awaited me in junior high and high school. Try going from stories about the Boston Strangler to ‘The Poems of Edgar Allan Poe’ was a struggle. Edgar Allan Poe, oh fucking yawn! Talk about driving someone mad. Psychologists want to draw a connection between violent video games and school massacres. Maybe they should take a look at the fucking school curriculum.
I don’t actually recall where I learned the motto for my anti-reading campaign that ran through the duration of my teenage years. But having regurgitated it countless times and scribbled it in every book that was assigned to me, I think I have the right to coin it? Not that anyone can really contest it. Trust me, I googled it and nothing came up.
“Reading is knowledge, knowledge is power, absolute power is evil. Thus, reading is evil.”
Seems like a pretty simple case of connect the dots to me.
The (Not-So) Great New Zealand Road Trip (South Island)
The (Not-So) Great New Zealand Road Trip (South Island)
I made the mistake of taking a summer philosophy class at the local community college to fill out some of my elective credits.
This was a mistake for two reasons, which are not mutually exclusive.
One, I found philosophy surprisingly boring.
Two, my professor was a fucking crackpot.
Our second week of class, after spending the entire first week lecturing rhetorically about whether or not ”physical life is real, is the chair real, is what we see real, how many more dimensions are there that we are not aware of, blah, blah, fucking, blah”, he was asked by one of the students, his stance on drug use to ‘enlighten the mind’.
He replied back without hesitation or inflection in his voice, “I think everyone should take LSD at least once a year. It clears the mind.”
Now don’t get me wrong, I am just as much in favor of the recreational use of hard drugs as the next guy. But as I took a look around the room and saw just how impressionable my peers actual were and just how much of this guys bullshit they were actually believing, I became slightly concerned. I envisioned several of these 18-year-old kids explaining to the arresting officer, “It’s for school, I swear.” While sitting in the back of a cop car, wondering if the hand cuffs that are cutting off the circulation to their hands are actually “real” (Turn on, tune in, and, um, drop out?).
It was about this time that I started questioning the validity of our “professors” teaching credentials. I know he had written a book. He had succeeded at mentioning that part of his resume 17 times during the enthralling first week of class (I kept a tally). He even offered us a $5 discount off the hard copy version.
The fucking cheap bastard!
To top it off, the book wasn’t even something he wrote. It was simply a collection of philosophers that he felt were relevant, placed into a single book by him (and a co-”author”!).
I use to make mixed CD’s of my favorite rap artists as a kid but I don’t claim to be a music producer. Can you imagine if I managed to throw this blog into paper back and then used it as evidence that I should be lecturing impressionable, young, naive college students about global culture. Undoubtedly I would be telling them to come to my class piss-drunk, to get their head right for my lesson.
I personally prefer the philosophers of my generation. I can not only relate to them on a more personal level, but I feel they are more direct and eliminate most of the bullshit (unlike this blog post).
Take Xzibit for example, “I can drink a whole Hennessy fifth, some call it a problem but I call it a gift.”
That is a great observation of the duality of man. On one hand, drinking an entire fifth of Hennessy is considered a problem. While that very same attribute can be seen as a blessing. Is it a problem? Is it a gift? Maybe a gift that is a problem? Or better yet, a problem that is a gift? Certainly one for the ages.
Or one of my favorite and more widely applicable quotes:
“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.” – Mike Tyson
We had a plan for The Great New Zealand Road Trip (South Island). A complex and in-depth plan that detailed the entire first five days of our two week journey. We spent an entire half hour putting this elaborate and complex plan together!
Then we got punched in the face.
We drove from Queenstown to Te Anau at a leisurely pace, without a care in the world, chalked full of excitement for our days to come. The plan was to stay the night in Te Anau and head to Milford Sound the following morning. Spending an entire day enjoying the wonderful scenery that Milford has to offer from the decks of an overpriced tour boat.
We had become familiar with New Zealand’s weather patterns from our time in the North Island. But we never thought (didn’t properly research) that the road to Milford Sound might be closed if the weather was too extreme.
Even worse, closed with no fucking clue when it would reopen.
The most we could get out of any of the locals when we asked if the road would open soon was, “Maybe” with a shrug and a half-smile. That same fucking smile and sense of uncertainty you would get from your high-school pot dealer when asking when the drought would be over. So you could buy some more of his shitty and overpriced weed.
Convinced we would be missing out on a South Island highlight, we had no choice but to burn a day, sit inside our hostel, and watch as the torrential rains pounded the already flooded streets outside.
The weather report comes out twice a day for the roads in New Zealand (South Island). Once at 4:30pm and once at 7:30am. We waited until the seven-thirty report but didn’t receive confidence-building news. The roads were closed, it was currently raining, it was planned to continue raining, and no one wanted to give a firm answer on when they thought the roads would reopen.
Our time in the South Island was already fairly limited and after taking advice from pretty much everyone (to include the local North Island hobo) on where we should be spending our time in the South Island, we were left feeling like Shanic Johnson during her supermarket sweepstake run. Crashing our cart into the wall, trying to grab as much shit as we possible can. But realizing as we slammed our way through the aisles, there just wasn’t going to be enough time to grab some ribs AND make it to the beer section. So we did what we thought would be a close second and snagged as many hot dogs as we possibly could. That is, we cut bait and headed up the west coast. We were hoping to somehow squeeze Milford Sound in at the end of the trip.
Unfortunately our contingency plan was about as well thought out as our initial strategy. The road back to Queenstown was also closed due to flooding. We had to make an hour and half detour to circumnavigate the additional flooding. We managed to get as far as Lake Wanaka, until we were met with flooding again (this is summer right?). The lack of planning (in general and in regards to weather) left us scrambling for a place to stay, along with half of the South Island tourists. All of the hostels and hotels were full with people who didn’t leave and or people trying to hustle their way up the coast to avoid further saturation. Thankfully, after five different attempts, we scored a cabin at one of the camp sites for only $40 more than we budgeted for a nights accommodation (that’s drinking money man!).
With nothing to keep us entertained during our stay but a couple of bottles of wine, Dancing On Ice Finale 2011 (featuring Vanilla Ice), and a Thanksgiving episode of Ellen. . . we were more than ready for an immediate departure and sunnier skies.
The drive up the west coast of New Zealand (South Island) is nothing short of amazing. The rugged mountains sharply find their way into the stunning blue water that can only be described as the kind of beauty that literally takes your breath away. The kind of beauty that could at least land a part-time modeling gig. The impressively turquoise water seems more out-of-place than an intelligent comment coming out of the mouth of Lindsay Lohan. The color rivals that of the waters of Thailand, but the temperature (if tested), would ensure that your manhood served as dimples for your belly button (regardless what the locals say and do). It grabs your attention every time you come around a corner and it is brought into sight. Interrupting conversations, slowing the speed of travel, and requiring one or both of us to state how “fucking awesome” it is.
After several days of driving and stopping at virtually every scenic lookout available, we finally reached the north part of the South Island. Our time in the South Island thus far was pretty much spent confined to the inside of the car and or inside our hostel watching the rain pour down. We couldn’t help but feel like Charlie Brown when we watched the evening news. It seemed like the rain was literally following us around. Leaving sunny skies and warm weather both behind us and where we planned on going. At least we were achieving a scenery change with the different hostels, but we were starting to have a growing hatred for the car.
Thankfully the following day was supposed to be partly cloudy with off and on light rain. That was encouraging enough for us to make a dash to Abel Tasman National Park. Even if there was going to be just a moment of sunlight, we had to get outside and do something, anything!
As luck would have it, we arrived to the park just a pinch too late. Most of the tours had left only 15 minutes prior to our arrival. We had two options left: A boat trip up the length of the park and a two-hour break to walk and explore. Or we could be dropped off half way up the coast and walk back four hours. Those of you who know me, understand that I am inherently lazy and though I tried my best to smile at Sally and explain that I was game for either option. We ultimately ended up doing to the longer boat ride, shorter walk (score!).
The boat company turned out to be more geared toward taking people to various parts of the park to drop them off. A taxi service if you will, hence the name Aqua Taxi. I am not sure why they sell a “Tour Package”, but they do, and we bought it. The tickets really entitled us to speed up the coast as quick as possible and drop off/ pick up other passengers. But as luck would have it, the weather took a turn for the worse (surprise surprise) and the waters became a too rough to continue the trip up the coast. The boat company was able to turn a perceived rip-off into an extremely enjoyable afternoon through the single actions of our skipper. The local Maori (ex-kayak guide) Eric provided more cultural experience about the local culture, plant life, and history then we collectively experienced during the duration of our trip in New Zealand thus far. He also catered the rest of the afternoon to our interests. By taking us (and another couple) to Seal Island and a little cove for a quick swim in the water (Sally and I stayed on the boat).
Locked Up Abroad
The build up to the Full Moon Party turned from a burning camp fire of anticipation into an uncontrollable wildfire that would take collaborative efforts of both city and state officials to contain. Evacuations were necessary. . .
We had managed to find a comfortable spot on the giant wood balcony of Mushroom Mountain (or was it Mellow Mountain)? For the purposes of this story, both names are suitable and may be interchanged. The weathered wood platform stretched out over the ocean at what felt like skyscraper heights. The tables reduced to mere inches from the floor with worn rugs and old cushions provided to absorb your tired body. The only light that was provided derived from the almost full moon and countless black lights that were strategically placed throughout the bar. With mind-blowing, time absorbing, black light enhanced painted pictures placed directly below them. The thumping techno music was loud enough to reverberate throughout your entire body and excuse any complications that might arise from language barriers.
Chips? . . . . . Chips? Oh. . . . you mean fries! Fuck yeah I want some fries!
But quiet enough to ensure the illustrated commentary about the significance of life could reach your melting brain cells. Giving you the opportunity to smile and shake your head in agreement. While wondering just how in the fuck people like this survived in regular society.
We had been on the island for only five hours before we decided to make the journey through the thick, black, night, to the mystical structure that overlooked Haad Rin Bay. The journey alone was enough to detour most party-goers. As you left the main strip of the bay, the silence of the night gave a sobering realization to the madness that you left behind. The competing music from the string of bars that lined the beach fades into a quite and singular dull thumping sound, before subsiding all together. The journey is was only further complicated when you reach the base of the cliff that serves as the foundation for the memorizing lighted structure above. Various sets of unorganized rock steps lead you up to one of two bars (of the same establishment). The lower bar being left for the faint of heart. While the rewards of completing the trek to the upper bar was enough to ensure our return each of the following nights.
The full moon gods must have been shinning down on us as we situated ourselves onto an empty space on the floor. It was only a matter of a few Jack and Cokes before we were officially welcomed with the burning smell of road kill. Small talk was exchanged and I quickly directed the conversation toward the correct individual to speak with about scoring my own welcoming incense. Coincidentally the middle-aged women that had befriended us happened to be the girlfriend of one of the Thai bar constitutes. She ducked away behind the bar and returned moments later with more than enough supplies to sustain the average traveler a week of recreational use.
It was gone that night.
Once my generosity was known, we quickly became the center of attention. Several other backpackers gathered around our table and the constant smoke arising from our location was enough to induce an introduction from the provider himself. Who clearly knew how to identify a cash cow investment.
Two Australian travelers that were close to our age returned from the bar with milkshake type concoctions and received several taunting remarks from my friend and I. The sarcastic comments about ordering a “bitch drink” quickly subsided when it was announced that these “bitch drinks” contained high levels of mushrooms and only cost around $4 each. Moments later an icy cream drink was in the hands of everyone on the deck. The party carried on well through the night and into the next morning.
We quickly discovered that the days were meant for sleep, the evenings for food and planning (flyers passed out to travelers about the evenings happenings: waterfall party, jungle party, etc) and the nights were meant to get completely fucked out of your head. Thankfully I had a matured childhood and was already well acquainted with this goal and rarely caught off my game. I wouldn’t rank myself as an elite (Ozzy osbourne), but I definitely have more than just participation medals hanging from my wall.
Thus, the nights continued much in the same manner as the first occurred. To the mountain, the jungle, the waterfall, and ultimately back to the mountain. The fruits of our luck not squandered, but rather shared with virtually everyone who crossed our path. A simple request for a lighter or some papers, followed up with an inquiry.
“You know how to roll?”
“I got weed, if you can roll it, you can smoke it.”
The fact is my rolling abilities at the time were about average (much improved since) but my laziness and enjoyment of sharing have been constant variables in my life. It was also entertaining to see the pros do it with one hand, in less than two minutes, while maintaining conversation. Even more entertaining to watch was the desperate amateur. Who stumbled through three papers and half of the weed I provided them. While fighting back beads of frustrated induced sweat. All the while ensuring me that they knew what they were doing, but clearly just desperate to smoke some free weed. It was this generosity that I firmly believe kept me from spending time in a Thai prison for possession.
Four days of constant smoking and four nights of multiple mushroom shakes was enough to cause confusion when forced to look at that stranger in the mirror.
This rare occurrence would find me staring into the eyes of the very same weirdo I so easily dismissed before the 96 hour mushroom binge. The one who told me about dropping out of the grind, the evil of government, and the importance of keeping your mind free (fucked beyond belief).
My eyes widened as a smile began to form at the corners of my mouth. I reached out and placed all of my finger tips to the finger tips of the stranger and I knew that together we would get through this insane attempt to escape reality. Or was this an attempt to survive it? (That’s deep man)
We had watched as the crowds grew from 100’s of people to 1000’s. Two boats a day brought the new energy of unfamiliar and overexcited (over-intoxicated) tourists. The long-haired hippies that lived the simplistic and nomadic life of a true traveler slipped into the shadows of the island and the expression of the local Thai become obviously more tense. It was apparent that a long standing tradition had become more of a over-marketed tourist trap then the celebration of traveler and Thai union it once was.
Acoustic guitars replaced by thumping techno.
The spirituality driven with their worn out cloths and dreads are now alcohol crazed college kids sporting their frat and sorority attire, wooooing (there is nothing worse then a fucking woo-girl. . . . ).
We had been warned about this transition. But our concerns were focused else where. The boats were bringing more than just thousands of over-intoxicated travelers. The police force of two, who rarely make appearances and from what I understand are quite good at looking the other way. Are bolstered to a staggering 17 cops, to include several undercover agents. This should have been a clear warning sign that the fun was about to come to a screeching halt.
The day of the full moon party had the island pumping with excitement (literally). The beach was filling up with firework platforms, black light paint artists, fire jugglers, and of course the endless rows of booze buckets sprawled across folding tables and bar stands. Five dollars provided you with a bottle of your choice and a mixer, dumped into a child’s sand bucket. “Meant for a group”, but often absorbed by a single party-goer. I wasn’t sure if it was the weed, four consecutive days of mushrooms, or the combination of the two? But I was feeling quite overwhelmed and even startled at the drunken mess that the island had become. I made my way to the Mountain to conduct my usual transaction and hopefully find ‘a peaceful place to loose my mind’. But I was informed by the bar owner that he could do nothing for me today.
“To much trouble, to much police. You come back tomorrow”
“Tomorrow? Tomorrow does me no fucking good man!”
More than a little discouraged, I ordered a mushroom shake and sat on the edge of the balcony. I quickly sucked it back as I observed the madness developing below.
Then I waited.
The usual 45 minutes it took for the shake to kick in had turned into an hour and a half. I ordered another one and again waited out the expected delivery time. I finally asked the bar tender if I was given the “correct” shake and he informed me they had to cut the dose to a fraction of the usual amount. In past full moon parties the hordes of drunk college kids would try to drink their way through several buckets and then add a few special shakes to top off the night. They ended up with large scale freak outs and health problems (kids passing out in the water and almost dying). Thus they have been required to tone it down.
No weed, no mushrooms, and a head that is quickly fading from a dreamworld daze into a withdrawal nightmare.
Forced to stick to the booze buckets, I did a frustrated shuffle to the closest vendor I could find. I made my way through one in less time then it took for the ice to melt and began my drunken stumble of self-pity.
As the night weaned on my frustration turned to determination. I made a second trip the Mountain and again asked to be hooked up. This time being as discreet as possible to detour any other regulars and employees from noticing. It might also have helped that I was holding up some extra cash. By extra, I mean four times the regular cost.
The bartender must have taken pity on my “desperation’. He slide me a bag and told me I had to leave the bar immediately in case any cops came in. More than happy to oblige, I skipped my way back to the beach-side bars. A big happy “I just scored some fucking weed” smile on my face!
It didn’t take me long to find one of my fellow Mountain regulars and we headed to the treeline to roll one up, or two, or three. By the time we reached what I deemed a safe location, our group, had grown five strong. We collectively worked feverishly to roll several pain relievers.
We coughed, passed, and laughed for the next twenty minutes.
Just as the last joint was reaching roach status a flashlight pierced through the night and exposed our deer like expressions. The older French man who was laying on the sand at the time, quickly shoved the last joint deep into the sand.
The cop started yelling at us. Stating that he knew we had drugs. He kicked the sand but failed to expose anything.
“I smell your drugs. You give me drugs now!”
We all denied this accusation and insisted we had no idea what he was talking about.
With an obvious stale mate being reached with verbal instructions, the cop called his partner over to conduct a search. One by one the group was searched. My heart began to beat as I had visions of being stuck in a Thai prison. I slowly slide my hands into my short pockets as I stood quietly and observed the pat downs. The Thai cop had clearly conducted more than one of these in his time and was not showing any weaknesses in his method.
I debated making a run for it. I gauged the speed of the cops, factored in my flip flops, and my high blood alcohol level (not to mention cotton mouth).
I thought to myself, “I just might have the upper hand. At least I have the element of surprise.”
Just as I was digging my right foot into the sand to prepare for my dash to the left. The cops radio buzzed with another Thai cop from somewhere else on the island who was headed our way. It was clear that I was surrounded and I assumed they knew the island far better then I did. Considering my knowledge was limited to Mushroom Mountain, my hotel room, and the flyer guy that hooked up the tuk tuks to various other party locations (in which I had no fucking clue as to their whereabouts)
What to do? What to do? What to do? Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
I made eye contact with my fellow Mountain man and he nodded with a look of confidence. Just as the man finished searching the third member of our group, my partner in crime jumped up in front of the cops face and threw his hands out to his side. Jolting the silent air with forced laugh and making a mockery of the searching process. It greatly decompressed the situation and he even got a few chuckles from the cop.
He also obstructed the cops view with his theatrics.
I lifted my right foot and dropped the bag. I stood on it and slipped out of my flip-flops. When the cop finished his search I continued the joke and approached the cop in a laughing manner. Leaving my flip flops in the sand where I had standing, hidden by the shadows. My search was complete and the cops were satisfied with their results. They warned us that drugs are bad and very serious in Thai land. (You don’t fucking say)
“You just drink alcohol and you not have trouble.”
We all agreed with the advice and walked toward the party with the cops. I returned to the “safe location” 30 minutes later to find my flops still sitting there with my bag underneath them. I grabbed my weed and rushed to my hotel room to stash it. I marveled at my luck and scoffed at what a miserable event the full moon party turned out to be.
Fucking tourists ruin everything. . .