Monday, June 11, 2007

Ben's Asia Adventure - Epilogue

I've just realised the one single change in my life that the trip has brought about. I now have FIVE pairs of shoes! That's well over half as many as I have previously had at any one time!

So...not a wasted trip then.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Ben's Asia Adventure - The Last Chapter.

Here I am on Sunday the 10th, the day before I come back to Brighton and reality is due to come crashing down on me like a ton of bad tempered bricks. I may continue to keep a blog but as my trip is long done I thought I would bring Ben's Asia Adventure to a close and start afresh with another blog some other time, should I feel the inclination.

Well, it's been fun but now it's all over and back to reality.
Back to the reality of getting up on cold dark mornings to go to crap, badly paid jobs to work with people I don't much like.
Back to the reality of absurdly over-priced dank accommodation, council tax bills and Reality T.V.
Back to chavs vomiting in the streets, litter and surly shopkeepers.
Back to trudging through life on a polluted, war-torn planet that's rapidly consuming all it's resources and spiralling inexorably towards it's own destruction.

Just to end on an upbeat note.

I guess the question must be asked, have I learned anything on my travels?
Has the time away and a different perspective helped me realise anything fundamental?

Well, I would say that I have come away from the whole experience with three cast-iron, undeniable truths.

1.Daniel Craig was very very good in Casino Royale.

2.I really hate dogs and chickens.

3.Yes Virginia by the Dresden Dolls is the best album ever.

"And even as the skin rips off
I cherish the revolting thought
That even if I quit...
There's not a chance in hell I'd stop!"

Wise words for us all there.
Oh hang on, that's from a song on their first album, not Yes Virginia.

Oh fuck it.

Achieving Nirvana in Cornwall.

I was walking over the North Cliffs from Portreath to Tehidy Woods on a cloudy day sometime last week when the wind picked up and started to blow the clouds across the sky. As this happened the sun began to shine through and rays of golden light beamed forth making a play of ephemeral beauty across the shimmering surface of the sea. I sat down and watched the spreading display and started to get the sneaking dark suspicion that maybe there was meaning to life. Like an organic connection between all living things, a higher power, God, Yahweh, whatever. As the last of the clouds disappeared and the sun blazed forth in all it's miraculous magnificence the synapses in my brain exploded with the force of a thousand super novas, time stood still, I heard the seagulls call my name and my spirit was taken out of my body and transported to a higher realm of pure enlightenment and joy. I felt the presence of God, the mysteries, secrets and meaning of the universe were revealed to me and I realised as though I was shot in the third eye by a holy diamond bullet what my purpose on this Earth and what the point of mine and everyone else's existence was.

Unfortunately I had a pasty and a bottle of wine with me. I was a little peckish after all this spiritual enlightenment, tucked in and by the time I'd finished I'm afraid I'd kind of forgotten the gist of it.
I think it had something to do with taking regular exercise and only cooking with olive oil but I cant be sure.
It's a shame really. I think it could have benefited us all.

This is me...

...going away down to Lamorna. Rachel is now singing the song to herself I bet.

On an unrelated note the books I have read whilst in Cornwall are as follows -

Hannibal Rising - Thomas Harris (okay but pretty insubstantial)

Speak For England - James Hawes (very funny)

44 Scotland Street - Alexander Mcall Smith (okay but too insubstantial to dignify with the description "insubstantial")

Stalingrad - Anthony Beevor (very good, gives you frostbite just by reading it)

Skinny B, Skaz and Me - John Singleton (pretty good)

Viking, Odin's Child - Tim Severin (pretty crap, with moments. I didn't know Vikings had a sophisticated legal system).

Films I have seen are -

Stage Beauty (okay, has Claire Danes in it...yum)

Vanity Fair (okay, though I was drunk and cant remember most of it)

Spy Game (surprisingly good for a Tony Scott film if you can put up with Robert Redford and Brad Pitt gazing adoringly at each other)

Collateral (very good, inventively filmed, Tom Cruise was good in it, yikes!)

Last Orders (quite moving but nowhere near as good as the book which was absolutely brilliant)

The Good Shepherd (I liked it though it was too long and Angelina Jolie was too exotic looking for her part)

Hannibal Rising (pretty rubbish but it didn't have much to work from. The guy who played Young Hannibal did even worse silly crap sinister acting than Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs, although Rhys Ifans was quite good in it. Double yikes!!)

Road to Perdition (beautifully done but a bit unengaging. Jude -I am rubbish- Law was really good. What the fuck is going on?!)

Posed? What the fuck are you talking about, posed?

These relaxed, natural and entirely unstaged shots where taken at the Abbey Hotel in Penzance where I spent the weekend. The hotel is owned by 60's fashion icon Jean (The Shrimp) Shrimpton and she was apparently eating in the restaurant next door when we were in there but I couldnt comment on that as I dont know what she looks like. Twiggy yes, the Shrimp no.

Over the weekend I ate guinea fowl stuffed with brie and lamb stuffed with sweetbreads. Mmmmmmm...sweetbreads.

Who is this stylish, poised stranger?

And why has he never been seen in the same room as Ben Naylor, the scruffy drug-addled piss-head?

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Look...a spooky tree.

And now...a word from my sponsors...

Yes, it's my Mum and Dad, the folks who started all the trouble, seen here in the pub in Mousehole (that's a fishing village in Cornwall pronounced Mowzle for anyone reading this who isnt Rachel) before we headed to the Old Coastguard for some tasty seafood and white-wine.

My parents are paying for me to come with them to Crete in October.

Oh and they're paying off my student loan too.

Well actually, they're paying it all now and then I'm going to pay them back over the next fifty seven years, interest free. I just thought it sounded more impressive the other way.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Just everything a Cornishman/Young Adult on a cliff needs.

Here's me looking soulful and intelligent in a pub near Portreath Beach and here are the vitals that sustained me during my long walk. Yep, those miners were really on to something if you ignore the whole getting buried in cave-ins thing plus the nasty bronchial infections.

(Do I still qualify as a young adult?)

Check this out...

This cottage is at the entrance to Tehidy Woods and as I was walking past a beautiful young woman lured me inside but she turned out to be a wizened old enchantress and she kept me there with the intention of fattening me up to eat by feeding me pizzas. However she ran out of pizzas before I got full so when she nipped out to Morrisons to get some more I fucked off, but it was a close run thing I can tell you.

Monday, June 04, 2007

This is me... Mylor Churchtown near Penryn about to enjoy a cup of tea after a pleasant day out on my yacht.

Naah..just kidding. I wasnt really drinking tea.

Actually, my Mother's in the band...

She's the blond haired woman playing the sax on the far left.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Oooooh...get him!

This is me in one of the suits I bought in Vietnam. It's only in the cold light of day outside of the dimly lit Vietnamese shop interior and away from the high pressure sales techniques of the staff that I realise how shoddy the workmanship is on the both of them. The leather jacket I bought is slightly better. Actually, once the creases come out (if they ever do...they were crammed in a small box for about four months) and worn with a decent shirt as opposed to the laughable free ones I was given I think they may look better.
Still, I could of skipped the suits and jacket and had sex with roughly 17 Vietnamese prostitutes for the same price instead. If that wasnt morally indefensible of course.

Home again, home again, jiggety jig.

This is me enjoying a patriotic pint in an English pub whilst good old patriotic pissy English weather rains down outside. Whilst I went for a pastrami ciabata rather than roast beef and mashed potato I have had plenty of Sunday lunch type food since being back as well as consuming my body-weight in pizzas, wine and kebabs. I think I have spent more money in the last two weeks in England than in the last month in Asia and my hard earned Asian build is definately softening up and spreading waistward.
I shall be heading to Cornwall on Thursday to stay with my parents for three weeks (they know I'm coming to stay but they dont know it's for three weeks yet) and may post more entries on this blog if anything exciting happens as technically my holiday hasnt come to an end yet.
Yes, here I am in Merry Olde England, trying to adjust to crap weather, high prices and an almost overwhelming sense of impending doom with relation to getting a job and moving back into crappy, shared accomodation.
Who knows, maybe I'll end up finding myself in the Robarte's Arms in Cornwall. Hey it could happen. They do food in there now.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

And nooooow....the end is neeeaaaar....

....and so I face...the final curtainnnnnnn. Or final Singha beer maybe.
Here I sit on my very last day in Bangkok/Thailand/Southeast Asia.
I read The Beach yesterday.
As it's the quintessential corny backpacker read I'd steadfastly refused to read it before now but I thought it would be a pleasing notion to check it out right at the end of the trip just before I head home. It was surprisingly enjoyable. I am such a literary snob.
I got a henna tattoo on my forearm yesterday as well. It's a horned goat's head skull thing and I got it purposely to torture my mother with by pretending it's real which is why I chose such a terrible design. I've already noticed a few people giving me funny looks as they walk past. Kind of like, What kind of twat gets a henna tattoo like that for fuck's sake? looks. Tee hee.
The bar/hostel/restaurant/internet cafe I'm in is showing Ginger Snaps Unleashed in half an hour. Goody.
Umm...cant really think of anything profound to say on my almost last post.
Uhhh...I was chatting to a Swedish guy last night who was the spitting image of the bloke who played Stringfellow Hawk in Airwolf.
Yes, that will have to do.

And the Queen's Gallery plays another blinder.

Definitely the best gallery I have seen on my travels. Laos and Cambodia have no contemporary art scene to speak of and Vietnam's consist of really bad facsimiles of existing western art styles depicting Vietnamese scenes. Alright, Singapore had good contemporary art but that's cheating as it's not really a country although it's considered as such plus it has the immeasurable advantage of a heavy and healthy British influence over it's affairs.
I think I'm getting really patriotic. As Neil said in response to one of my emails, "typical, you go travelling and discover your inner fascist".
I want to go fox hunting when I come home. But replace the foxes with single mothers and immigrants, they're a bit more nippy.
By the way, sorry the last picture is a bit blurry but I had to take it quickly as you were not supposed to take picture or even have your camera on you and I've been told off elsewhere in Asia for doing so.