Published by Johnny Ward on May 07, 2013
I’m writing this from Papua New Guinea, I love traveling, and I always will. A lot of the food I eat is delicious, a lot of the people I meet are awesome, a lot of the sites I see are breathtaking, but you know what… That doesn’t mean everything is f*cking awesome. Far from it, and I wish people were a little more ok with that.
I have a quick story from Mongolia. In Mongolia you can go on some rustic horse safaris into the Gobi Desert and beyond, you sleep in traditional nomadic homes (gers), stay with the local people and generally have a pretty amazing authentic experience. I actually witnessed a shaman exorcising a demon in my ger, but that’s another story.
Anyways, was my time on my Mongolian safari brilliant? Absolutely. Was it perfect? Absolutely not. There was a girl on a safari in Mongolia too, and when it came time for dinner, she was fed this mashed up root vegetable that wanted to be potato but fell well short, it was completed with a handful of wilted vegetables. Now anyone who has ridden a horse for any length of time will testify, it’s energetic stuff. And an afternoon of that will get you seriously hungry. So dinner time had an expectant air around it.
So here’s my problem. Everything for this girl was the greatest. She had hyperbole spilling out of her ears, and after everyone got served the grim mash for dinner people ate it through sheer necessity – people were hungry, so they ate. At best it was bland, at worst – slimy, foul and sour. However, and I meet a lot of folk like this around the world, my new friend couldn’t help herself “Wow, this is the most delicious thing I’ve ever tasted in my life, it’s amazing”. It wasn’t, and although tastes differ, this was legit bullsh*t. In the same way her Mongolian water tasted “so much more delicious than any water I’ve ever tasted before” and that the “Mongolian grass looks so much nicer than in North America/Europe wherever”.
It’s ok to be disappointed when you travel, just in the same way that it’s ok to be disappointed in the ‘real’ world, but people are seemingly relucatant to accept that *stabs himself in the eyeball.
So listen up my travel friends, backpacking is a beautiful thing. It’s an art form, and one we’re very lucky to be able to indulge in but it’s not all good. Some food is disgusting, some people are mean, some sites will let us down (Terracotta army anyone?), and it’s ok to admit that. Everything out of your own country isn’t amazing, some stuff is sh*t when you travel to. Acknowledge it and move on. Thanks.
Tags: food, rant, Tuesday's Travel Rant
Published by Johnny Ward on April 09, 2013
As you guys know I love Asia, and I love my new ‘home’ Thailand – probably even more than my ‘old home’ Ireland, but nowhere is perfect. And although Thailand comes close, they’ve committed a cardinal sin and I’m not happy…
A hangover like no other, Koh Phangan will do that to you. Now where’s my bacon sarnie?
So here you are, stonking hangover, woke up at midday, it’s now 2 oclock and you’ve gone straight to an irish bar/burger joint for a dirty hangover cure. Whether it’s a greasy fry-up, a heart-attack inducing cheese burger or a simple bacon sandwich, you’ve been dreaming about since you woke up and felt like someone had spent the night jumping on your forehead and p*ssing in your mouth.
Why did I drink that double redbull vodka at 5am just before I went home? No idea wotsoever, but I’m never drinking again, that’s for sure. Ermmm, right. Anyways, gimme that bacon sandwich please, lather it in delicious ketchup. Instant. Hangover. Cure. Unless you’re in Asia….
Get off my food you dirty imposter
What the f*ck is this sh*t. I thought I put tomato sauce on my sandwich/burger/fry up – not red f*cking syrup! AGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH.
I don’t know what’s going on in Asia, and Thailand in particular, when it comes to the most fundamental of savoury sauces but it seems like they’ve employed Willy Wonka to produce the stuff. It’s sweeter than 2 puppies hugging.
Seriously, I just wanna indulge in my disgusting western food, just this once, why do you do this to me? So I proceed to eat my bacon sandwich, although it tastes like it’s been fried in toffee and dipped in sugar thanks to this Asian ketchup imposter.
That instant hangover cure? The one we all perfected during our university days, the one get-out-of-jail-free card to kiss away that pounding headache and dodgy stomach. Leave the thought of that at the airport guys, it’s not happening in Asia.
Unfortunately/fortunately we still have one other foolproof cure, something to do with dogs and hair.
“Sir, would you like anything else with the sandwich”
“Um, yeah, I’ll have a double vodka redbull please, thanks”
Here we go again……
Tags: rants, Tuesday's Travel Rant
Published by Johnny Ward on July 31, 2012
Following up last Tuesday’s Travel Rant about people from around the world assuming that they can go straight to their city when asked where there from, as opposed to their country, I thought I’d continue in that vein.
Where am I from? Ireland. Ok no probs there. My mate, where is he from? Argentina. My other mate? Hong Kong. All good here folks. Move along.
Can you read guys?
When someone asks any of these 3 people where they’re from, would you ever hear us say – I’m from Europe, America and Asia? No, of course not. We say our country, like the other 99.99% of the people in the world. Simple right? Wrong.
“How about you – my stars-and-stripes, McDonalds eating, American-football-loving friend, where are you from?” I’M FROM AMERICA.
Argh, for f*cks sake. Here we go again….
America? Are you now?! Wow, that’s amazing. There are more than 30 countries in the Americas, throughout North America, Central America, and South America. Where do you mean exactly? Mexico? Brazil? Guatemala?
No of course you don’t mean those countries, because if you were from those countries you’d be humble, and informed, enough to not give a region or continent as your nationality. You’d give your country, like the rest of the planet.
But no Americans (which they’re unfairly, but correctly, referred to) like to state they’re from America, when that is not even a f*cking country. They’re from the US, or USA, or the United States of America, or colloquially ‘the states’. Got it? Probably not, but lets move on anyways.
So my AMERICAN friends, be informed, be less ignorant, be less arrogant and when someone asks you where you’re from. Tell them a country, not a f*cking continent.
I should note that some of my bestestest friends are from the US, and they’re all awesome so I know it doesn’t apply to the whole country BUT if I had to say one country that does this more than other, here you have it folks :S
You’re welcome. Good day.
Further proof found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organization_of_American_States and here
Remember guys, the travel rants are done firmly tongue-in-cheek, if we can’t laugh at ourselves, we’re all in a spot of bother :S
Tags: americaisnotacountry, antiamerican, Tuesday's Travel Rant
Published by Johnny Ward on July 24, 2012
Breathe johnny boy, breathe. It’ll be ok.
Question: “Where you from guys?”
GUY 2: “Colombia”
GUY 3: “China”
ASSHOLE GUY 4: “Denver” WTF?!?!?!?!
The arrogance is overwhelming. Do I call him out? Or do I stick by the pretend-to-be-nice-when-you’re-in-a-hostel rule?
I’m from Denver y’all
Where the f*ck do people like this get off? Listen Mr Asshole Guy 4, look at the pattern, you see what we’ve done there? We’ve all listed OUR COUNTRIES. Can you see a pattern emerging? Let me make it more simple for you, when people ask us where we’re from, we tell them our country first. If they know it well, then we can expand. You, however, decided to not only not say which country you’re from, but you didn’t even go for a state (not that that’s acceptable either). Nope, straight to the city. Good work mate
Why the hell should we know where Denver ? There are plenty of things to do in Denver, but that doesn’t mean the entire world knows that! Ironically, the biggest clue to what country it is in is that fact that only people from your country would ever be presumptuous enough to assume we’d know!
If guy number 3 says “Chongqing”, you’d look at him like he had two heads. Maybe even turn and giggle to your buddies at the crazy Asian guy, listing a random Asian city. Yet that city is 6 times the size of Denver. But does the Chinese guy arrogantly assume you’ll know what country that’s in, no of course not, and there my friend is a lesson in humility.
This post applies to other countries too (raise your hand, you know if it’s you!) and it literally happens almost every day when I travel. And everyday I try to bite my tongue. So in a hopeless quest to education the pompous, conceited people who do this, I’ve written this article. Is this passive-aggressive? Absolutely, I don’t deny it, but I needed to get it off my chest.
If you’ve done this before, shame on you. If you haven’t, I bet you’ve been in situations where people from certain economic powerhouses have. Please forward this article to any d*ck that does this. They need to learn. Thank you.
Tags: antiamerican, Tuesday's Travel Rant
Published by Johnny Ward on July 03, 2012
Being on a tight budget when you travel is half the fun of backpacking, working out where to say, how to eat for cheap, what local booze you can procure. Having to spend half your daily budget on replenishing your deodorant, shower gel and toothpaste supplies is not so much fun however.
What’s worse still is leaving your stuff in the communal hostel shower block. Schoolboy error. You’ve pushed the boat out and bought that sexy new Nivea, exfoliating shower gel, you know the one with the ‘bits’ floating around, God it’s expensive but it just feels so good. Can’t wait to have a shower this evening.
Shower time, moan and groan in ecstasy as you scrub off today’s traveling dirt, you feel every cent of that $7 bottle as you feel cleaner than you’ve ever been before. Heaven. Ok so it was pricier than the normal shower gel, but it’s awesome so it’s ok. And besides, it’s gonna last at least 3 or 4 weeks. I’ll get my money’s worth. Dry off, return to your room, get changed, leave.
Shower time the next day, grab your towel and get ready to shower. “Boys, where the hell is my new shower gel? Have any of you used it?”, “nope. No. no mate”. Hmmm. Then you remember.
You left it in the shower cubicle. Oh shit.
Swiftly sprint to the shower cubicle, towel in hand and there you see you’re precious gel, lingering roughly where you left it, but 98% empty. Every other dirty backpacking scumbag has had their way with it, used it and abused it, and left you with the dregs. Sloppy seconds doesn’t even come close. Absolute bastards.
You squeeze out the remaining globules, and wash yourself down, trying to calm yourself about your loss. There’s not even enough to properly was yourself. This will be the last time you make that mistake. How are you even gonna properly wash yourself now though? At the absolute lowpoint of your grief, you realize some idiot has left his Calvin Klein shower gel beside shower number 2! Yes! Sucker! And so it begins again. Happy travels!
Tags: travel rant, Tuesday's Travel Rant
Published by Johnny Ward on June 26, 2012
I remember being a little kid, watching movies of dudes out jogging, sweat patches on their back and under their arms, and I sat there thinking that’s pretty cool. It was manly, powerful, a show of strength.
Now I wish those patches would just f*ck off. Laundry is difficult enough on the road without drenching each and every shirt you put it on. I’m sure you guys know what I’m talking about. No air con in your hotel room, 35 degrees outside, hot chicks everywhere and there you are trying to look cool as beads of sweat drip down your back. Classy.
Where the manliness power now? I look more like a kiddy fiddler than stand-up guy. And whats with the locals? No deodorant, no air con and they’re bone dry, I know they grew up here but Jesus throw me a fricken bone here. And you traveling girls? You seem to deal with it pretty well too. Leaving us guys, in clammy, wet shirts, failing to look cool, with a bag full of stinking tshirts, and no laundry services for weeks. Can’t wait to choose which shirt to rewear tomorrow. Not. Oh and its 36 degrees in Macedonia now. Wonderful. As another bead of sweat hits the keyboard.
Tags: rants, sweating, travel rant, Tuesday's Travel Rant
Published by Johnny Ward on May 29, 2012
I’m not even gonna rant (well, sort of not) – this is how the thought process of booking a budget airline goes:
Wow, a flight from Ukraine to Poland for $20, that’s amazing. I’ve always wanted to go Poland. I’m booking that.
What? Why’s it $45 now? Oh, right it didn’t include airport taxes and fees. Bollocks, ok well I guess it’s still good value. Confirm.
Huh? Of course I want a f*cking bag you idiot, it’s a one-way ticket, what do you think I’m gonna do there? Spend one day in these clothes, then walk around naked in Warsaw while I wait for the washing machine to clean them? Ohhhh I see, another $20 for a bag. Wait a second, so it’s the same bloody price for my bag as it is for me? That can’t be right. I should just buy another seat for my bag then! Oh, I can’t do that? Of course I can’t, that would be much too sensible. So it’s now $65, marvelous.
Pass me my credit card. Oh, there’s a fee for mastercard, $4, wow, that’s steep. Well f*ck you Ryanair/Wizz air/Baltic air etc., cos I also have a visa, so HA! WTF?! A $5 charge for visa? So how the hell do I pay without paying a fee? Oh, I can’t. Well that’s just great isn’t it. $69 now.
Bloody hell that was exhausting. Ok, so I just turn up to the airport right? My passport is enough for my ID, right? No, wait…. What’s this small print? Oh, I need to print out my boarding card or there’s a $50 fee, what?? $50 for an A2 piece of paper, wow, that sounds fair. No problem, I’ll just dig out the printer and ink from Ink Technologies that I carry around in my backpack? The one I paid $20 to bring with me). Oh I must have forgotten to pack my laserprinter Ryanair, hold on while I conveniently spend the next 3 hours in a city looking for a printer. Thanks a bunch.
Finally, I paid 345% of the original advertised fee, spent a whole morning finding a printer so can I finally go to Kiev airport now please, it’s not so far from the city. Hang out, this isn’t Kiev airport, this airport is 60km outside the city, wtf?! So I have to take a taxi for $30 or a one hour bus just to get here? AND it’s the same when I land, well that’s just bloody excellent, isn’t it.
And that’s the lasr f*cking time I fly with you b*stards (until I see another $20 flight and get roped in again, probably next month).
Tags: rant, travel rant, Tuesday's Travel Rant
Published by Johnny Ward on May 15, 2012
Pounding headache, craving a pizza, wanna to snuggle up in your bed and shut the curtains – but it’s already 2pm. Why did I drink so much? Why did I do those shots? Where have my pants gone?
Partying is part and parcel of the travel scene, and long may it continue but we pay theprice for that cheap booze with the inevitable hangover. It’s the ying to the partying yang. And bloody hell there’s no worse ying than one in a hostel dorm room.
When I’m hangin all I want is some chilled air-con, some dirty fast food and a movie with my gf/friends, what I certainly don’t want is this:
1) A room full of other people who clearly don’t feel nearly as bad as me. Piss off youngsters, I’m dying here.
2) An ipod blaring Lady Gagy at 1000 decibels, plugged into some shitty speakers making it sound even worse than it already is.
3) Listening to two travelers trying to ‘out cheap’ each other “oh you paid $10 for that bus journey, lol, I only paid $9, but then I’ve traveled so much before, I know where to find the deals”. Shut your face mate, if I hadn’t lost my flipflops last night, I’d be hurling one at your face right now.
Suffering is bad enough, suffering in public is hell. That’s it, I’m literally never drinking again. Or at least until the next promotion night. Oh no, here we go again.
Tags: booze, rant, Tuesday's Travel Rant
Published by Johnny Ward on May 08, 2012
This one is close to ‘home’ unfortunately so this is gonna be a lot more of a rant and a lot less humour. For any longterm readers of my site, you’ll know that when I’m taking a break from my hard-core travels, I spent my time in Thailand (Bangkok and Chiang Mai).
Thailand is the country closest to my heart, it’s what started this whole lifestyle of mine when I taught English there after graduating from university. I speak the language (although I wish I could speak it better!), I love the culture, the food, the religion, the nightlife, the weather, the people – literally everything.
When I’m on the road and people ask me where I live, rather than explain my complicated living arrangements of constant travel, which people often don’t believe, I tell them I live in Thailand and that I work online; which is sort of true.
Bham! Disgusting sex tourists suddenly think they have some sort of connection with me. At this juncture I’d like to add I have never, ever, ever paid for sex, nor will I. Moving on, upon hearing that I live in Thailand, this is often how the conversation goes:
D*ckhead: “You live in Thailand do ya mate? Woooooahhhhhh, I f*cking love Thailand, me. Fucking love it. Go there every f*cking year for a month or two, been 20 times, Pattaya – best place in the world mate!”
Me: “I live there yeah, I love it too. Wow, you’ve spent a lot of time there. I’m working on my Thai at the moment, it’s great but it’s really a struggle, how your Thai?
D*ckhead: “Thai, f*cking Thai?! You don’t need to speak f*cking Thai there mate, I don’t speak a word of it, me. F*ck that, haha. I know how to say ‘boom, boom how much’ haha, know what I mean mate?! $30 for a woman, $50 for two, all day long mate, all day long!”
Me: “Sorry, what did u say?”
D*ckhead: “you know mate, Thailand innit, every girl has her price there, you must f*cking love it there, banging chicks, costing next to nothing, waaaaheeeey”
I then have a choice to make, cut him down for being a horrible dude exploiting the relative strength of his currency to negate his less than aesthetic appearance or bow out gracefully, normally I choose the former with my tirade of abuse falling on deaf, ignorant ears.
So here’s a message to any sex tourist who happen across my site. There’s a reason you’re not getting any attention in your home country, address that issue long before you venture overseas and benefit from people with less money than you. How do you sleep at night? Take a good long look at yourself, do you think your ‘client’ wants to be there? If not, then imagine your daughter/sister/mother in that position and reevaluate. If you can’t comprehend that, then I probably pity you more than your victim. Loser.
Tags: rant, Tuesday's Travel Rant
Published by Johnny Ward on April 24, 2012
As you guys know, I’m pretty much always on the road but that doesn’t mean I should have to buy new sandals every other week. Admittedly, 90% of the time I’m wearing my flipflops so they do go through a little bit of a battering, however surely the shelf life of these bloody things should be more than 2 weeks?!
Anyone who has spent anytime traveling in hot countries will relate to this, you’re bag is packed, your fake havianas are almost brand new and you’re walking up the stairs to your hostel room. You take a minor, minor trip, straighten yourself up and continue your trip – wtf?! You stumble forward and the f*cking stem of your flipflop has popped through the bloody sandal again. Pause, take bag off, fight with your flipflop, force it back through the hole (which is of course ridiculously difficult to squeeze through), bag back on, continue, forget about your flipflops.
12 hours later, in a bar, wearing your flipflops, you stumble forward a little bit again, the bloody flipflops pop again, but this time they’re beyond fixing. The hole is too big now so you can’t put them back, great. Now you’re out boozing, with only one sandal, looking like you just climbed out of a garbage skip and you’ve gotta spend the whole night like that.
The flipflops always, ALWAYS break at the most inopportune moment, it’s a fact of life, just like the bread always landing butter-side down and beautiful girls already having bfs, there’s nothing you can do about it.
All we can do is continue to complain about it and keep a spare pare of flipflops in our bag. Happy travels!
Tags: rants, Tuesday's Travel Rant