A Tense Stand-off on a Chinese Bus

The Situation
4:30 am, disembarking the train at Lizhou station. Another night of very little sleep. Pouring rain. My task? Find a bus to Guilin so I can get some rest, and a western toilet. A man is screaming ‘Guilin, Guilin, Guilin!’ like he’s screaming for help. I say ‘Guilin?’ he says ‘Guilin!’. Done. I board the bus and ask a youngster who looks like he can speak English how much the ticket will be. He says 50. I observe the others paying for their tickets, they all pay 50. The ‘Guilin, Guilin, Guilin’ man asks me for my money. I hand him a 50. He says no, pulls out two 50’s and points to them, as to imply 100. ‘100?!’ I say. That’s twice as much as anyone else has paid. There was a stand-off. I’d had just about enough of being overcharged for services and my policy was now to make it stop, and pay the market rate, not the westerner rate. I was tetchy to say the least, which gave me an advantage in negotiations, because I didn’t give a shit anymore. What is there to give a shit about when it’s pouring with rain at 4:30am? Whatever happens, I’m not paying 100 yuan for this journey. The argument went on into its 15th minute, ‘I can take this as far as it needs to go’ I thought, ‘you ain’t pocketing 50 yuan for yourself at my expense. I don’t like corruption. And I don’t like your attitude’.

The Solution
I then had an idea.. ‘Look, I think I know someone who can resolve this dispute for us. She’s a great friend of mine, in fact, she’s the best. She solves problems, it’s just what she does. She’s the only one who knows me. The only one who understands me. She consoles me at night. I always massage her before she sleeps. She prefers to be referred to by her initials.. A.K. Her surname, if you’re interested, is 47. Miss A.K 47. Have you heard of her? No? Here, let me introduce you to her’. With that, I rose from my seat, the entire bus intrigued by what I was trying to say and what I was about to do. I walked to my backpack next to the driver at the front of the bus, slowly unzipped it. I reached into the bag and found my good friend smiling back at me. I spoke to her for a few minutes, stroking her in the bag as she told me not to worry, she’ll fix this dispute for me. ‘Thanks A.K, I knew you would’. I then pulled out Miss A.K from the bag, walked back over to the conniving git who was trying to exploit me, and said, ‘Here, say hello to my little friend…. Hello! Hello! Go on, say it! What’s wrong bitch, are you anti-social?! My friend is saying hello! Say hello, Ni Hao, Ni Hao! Don’t upset my friend. Please! Do not upset my friend!’ I then pointed Miss A.K’s eye into those of the conniving git. ‘Say it bitch! Say hello to my little friend’. Finally, he said it, ‘Ni Hao, Ni Hao, Ni Hao’. ‘Once would have been enough, but Miss A.K appreciates your effort, don’t you Miss? Now, how much was that ticket again?! Yo, i asked you a question bitch, how much was the ticket?! Because i believed it was 50 yuan, but you were saying 100. I’m confused, why would you say 100 if it was only 50?! Miss A.K, I’m confused. Please help me out of my confused state’. I then shuffled Miss A.K into shooting mode. Everyone was screaming. ‘Don’t worry, she doesn’t want to hurt you. That doesn’t mean she won’t though. She’s just a little erratic. She’s working on that though, you need to help her. You know how you can help her, sit the fuck down, forget about your 100 yuan, and drive this bus to Guilin’. And with that, we were on our way. I decided to keep Miss A.K on my lap as she’d been stuck in the bag for a few days and needed some air. I stroked her as I spoke to her, thanking her for her help. ‘Anytime’ she said, ‘Anytime’.
The End

Note: Having been in China for 3 and a half weeks, I can safely proclaim the Chinese worthy of joining the Turks on the mantle of being the most hospitable and helpful people I’ve encountered in my years of travel. For every frustrating experience like the one above, there have been 10 uplifting ones.

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Tales from the road

This post offers brief analysis and anecdotes on my experiences and observations cycling over the past few months

It can be tough striking the right balance with what to wear; wear too much and you overheat and sweat, too little and you’ll catch a cold. I like to dress down when cycling, as body heat tends to start warming up after 10 minutes. I’m not talking about simply opting for fewer layers and lighter garments, I’m talking about wearing nothing but a helmet, boots, florescent vest and cock warmer. Please take a moment to imagine me cycling, wearing nothing but a florescent vest, helmet and cock warmer.

Now, the obvious problem here is, the cock warmer tends to fall off if I’m not aroused. Rather than fumbling around getting it in place while cycling, I prefer to simply keep myself aroused. I don’t mean by pleasuring myself or anything like that (that’d be inappropriate), I mean by looking out for attractive woman when I’m cycling. When I spot one, I slow down, look at her really intensely, until such time as I’m aroused and cock warmer is affixed, then cycle off.

Just re-reading the first few paragraphs… shit, where do I come up with this stuff. Cock warmer? Back to serious analysis now: There are many other fashion statements made on the road. The cycle-junkies like to completely deck themselves out in lycra. All over. Others like to completely deck themselves out in flashing lights, so much so they look like mobile casinos. The other night I saw a guy trying to throw chips into the wheel of a moving bike, yelling ’23 black, 23 black!’.

The funniest kind of cyclist is the timid-mouse kind. They are completely overawed by the whole concept of being on a road with vehicles, and as such, are constantly looking around, giving-way, hugging the side-walk, cycling at dangerously slow speeds and giving a hand-signal for absolutely everything. They hand signal in their own driveway.

My girlfriend is not quite a timid-mouse, but she is cautious. 98.6 percent of our fights have been cycling induced. The other day, she reprimanded me while we were stopped at a red light for having over-taken another cyclist a mile back. ‘You shouldn’t have overtaken him, that was dangerous’. ‘Um, that guy was 96 years old. The only thing making him mobile is the wind and the fact we’re on a slight decline. You can politely sit behind him, not me kid, you know how I roll’. The dialogue went back and forth until I lost it ‘Ah, stuff this!’ and cycled off in a rage, turning back to say, “You cycle your way, I cycle my way, this is the way to cycle. I play, and I play hard. You wanna roll with me, you better learn to…
‘Look out you fuckwit!!’ she yelled.
I turned around to see I was heading straight into a speeding truck, forcing me to swerve to the side, straight for an oncoming cabbie, who sniffed the scent of a chance to kill a cyclist. Finally I made a crash landing onto the footpath, toppling off my bike and finishing sprawled out across the ground. An elderly lady screamed, not because of the crash, but because the commotion had left me un-aroused and caused my cock warmer to fall off, leaving me exposed. I tried to reaffix it by staring intensely at the surrounding woman. They all freaked out and called me… I don’t know, sex-pest, or something like that. In the end I just left my cock warmer and ran away.

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Was that Deja vu? It’s a glitch, quick… let’s get outta here!

There are few things worse than when you’re enjoying a beer, look around, and see you have somehow been swept into The Matrix. The pub has suddenly become swarmed with savvy, smooth, ultra sharp, shiny men in black suits. All with that smug, cocky, I earn so much money my shit don’t stink smirk. But if you’re a cocky corporate type, what happens when it dawns on you that the attire you’re forced to wear to work each day, is the same you wear to a funeral. You wear exactly the same thing every single day, look around, and see everyone else is wearing exactly the same thing. So you buy one of those multi-coloured striped scarves to express your individuality. You excitedly walk into your shiny glass facade the next day, look around, and see everyone else has bought the same scarf. You look to the heavens in frustration, and see a camera staring back at you. So you look to the other heavens, and see a tv screen on repeat, reminding you where you work and the companies objectives for the hour, day, week, month, year, decade, century. So you look to your wallet, and the picture of your wife and kids for relief, then remember you don’t even like them, that’s why you avoid seeing them at all costs. You only signed up to them because that’s what everyone else was doing and made you appear more successful. And the ring suited your suit. So you look to the little thing on level 2 that you’re shagging, but she’s not looking back at you anymore. She’s moved on to the cyborg who just got a raise…

Epic finale to come.

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Dogs in general, one specific Dog, and some of her anecdotes

There are many Dog fans out there, though it’s safe to say my brother and I are number two and one respectively (they’re actually official rankings). Back in the days before I so selfishly abandoned my family to see the world, James and I would be walking along, one of us would spot a dog, and be like… “Dog”. The other would say ‘What, where?… Oh yeah, cool’. Then we’d stop and observe the Dog until it left the area, and analyse and discuss it afterwards. ‘That was a good Dog’. ‘Yeah, classic Dog’. Some Dogs were proud dogs, not with the aloof superiority of a cat, but dogs that weren’t up for just chatting to anyone, you needed to know them first. Other dogs were over excitable dogs, who, in the company of a group of new people, would lose their heads and try to sniff and be patted by absolutely everyone, all at the same time. Then get so overwhelmed they’d break into a chase your-tail-routine before collapsing to the floor. Other dogs were take-it-easy dogs… a hot day, sitting on the pavement waiting for their owner… soft constant breaths, massive smile, tongue out, surveying the landscape. ‘Yeah, it’s a hot day, I’m a dog, just chilling, how’s things?’

Our now deceased family dog, Sam, had it all… looks, brains and the ability to make people laugh. Sadly, Sam’s life ended in tragic circumstances. It was one of those ridiculous 35 degree summer night’s, we were all down at the beach. Sam, feeling as though she was missing out, decided she’d come down too, taking advantage of the door being left slightly ajar (curse the person who did that, curse you!). Though, being a typical Guerin (blind and no sense of direction), she turned right instead of left, straight towards the highway. If you have tears, prepare to shed them, for you know what happened next. We returned from the beach to notice her missing, and soon after, found her lying on the highway surrounded by 3 car loads of people who had stopped to keep her company. She heard my Mums voice, tried to rise to her feet, but couldn’t, and fell back down. While her eyes could no longer see, they could surely speak, and at that moment they said ‘Don’t leave the milk bowl out for me tomorrow morning Mum, for I’m not going to make it’. In another act of kindness, one of the cars went out of their way to lead us to the nearest vet, as we didn’t know how to get there (again, no sense of direction). Later that night she was put to rest.

On that note I think we should bow our heads in a minutes silence for Sam, one of the ‘classic’ Dogs.

Ok heads back up, eyes up. So, dogs are good… forever loyal, trustworthy and loads of personality. I want my future wife to be like a dog. No wait, that sounds weird. I want her to have the attributes of a dog. Shit, still weird. Ok, I want us to have a dog together. Not like… create one, instead of a kid…. Oh fuck it, I’ll just stay single and buy one.

One final Sam anecdote

Sam was a bit of an adventure dog, it’s in a Blue Heelers nature. She was once bitten by a snake. Another time she left home to fight a German Shepherd, returning with a massive chunk missing from her back. At first, upon seeing our gasps of horror, she was all like… ‘What, what? Oh this? That’s nothing, I can’t even feel it, you should see the other dog.’ Then it was a case of ‘Fuck, fuck, fuck, it really fucking hurts. Take me to a vet now, I’m ganna fucking die!’ She ended up having something like 100 stitches. Afterwards, Mum gave her a bit of a dog lecture.. ‘See Sam, let this be a lesson. You can’t just sneak out of home to fight German Shepherds, for they rule this neighbourhood, not you!’ Sam then gave a disgruntled puppy huff, and hobbled away.

Later that night I went and sat next to Sam in the darkness within which she sulked. I said, ‘Don’t listen to that, fuck that. Sure you have been defeated, but you are far from lost. Learn from this defeat, but don’t dwell on it. Be gracious in it. Respect the German Shepherds, but don’t fear them. For if you really want it, one day it will be you who rules this neighbourhood, not them. It just takes time. Yesterday you were too scared to look at the German Shepherds. Today you had the audacity to confront them. Tomorrow you will have the wisdom to overcome them. Every dog has his day, and yours is coming. Wink’. With that, Sam winked back, rose, and hobbled to her milk bowl for a quick sip, then settled into her favourite patch of grass, and mused into the light of the stars above. Fade into stars aaaaand CUT!

All of that was true, except the part where I had a deep and meaningful conversation with a dog. I have done that before, when I was 21, but that was because the devils candy I’d taken was laced with LSD.

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A party with poofs, designers, footballers… and me.

If I were to throw a party, the messy mix of friends I have mean it would go something like this:

The footballers would be looking at the designers thinking… what a bunch of stuck up poofs. The designers would be looking at the footballers thinking… what a bunch of common halfwits. The footballers would be looking at the actual poofs thinking… what a bunch of poofs. The poofs would be looking at the footballers thinking… oh, don’t hate us coz we’re poofs, be nice! The footballers would then beat the poofs up, after beating the poofs up, they would then proceed to get blind drunk, see how many times they could cheat on their girlfriends/wives, before participating in a gang rape (and laugh about it the next day at training). The designers/art history students would be standing back observing it all, so they could do an ironic, postmodern take on it while sipping a latte over brunch the next day. And I’d be standing there thinking… see, this is why I never throw parties.

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