Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Anti-Antipodean

WHAT I THINK OF AUSTRALIA IN LESS THAN 100 WORDS: The accent is jarring. What was that? No, I don't want to go for a beer, thank you mate. Australia, like Kiwiland, is unsure where it came from and where it's going. The transport and health infrastructures are good but it's a soulless enough kind of place. The people here are easily confused- all you have to say is "hello, how are you?". The weather is nice, if a little hot. Everyone looks post-human, such is the devotion to sport and fitness. But there is a darkness under the sunkissed corn-fed grins. Australia, it seems, has witnessed a concerted programme of ethnic cleansing and murder of its aboriginal peoples, ceasing only in the 1940s after the Stolen Children contraversy, with a huge prejudicial hangover persisting to this day. Aboriginals live mostly in penury, have an average life expectancy of 50 years and are diabetic, alcoholic and unemployed for the most part. I have never seen racism quite like it. Australia have essentially been operating an apartheid system for the past 200 years, masquerading under the banner of a constitutional monarchy. Additionally, the Aussies are a bit fucking full of themselves for my liking. For example, I was talking to a girl in a bar recently and casually enquired as to the score in the Ashes series. She looked sideways at me and said- I'm serious- "Doesn't matter. We're Australian. We win everything". Needless to say she stared at me blankly when I asked her if she had watched Australia's mauling by Ireland in the Autumn test series. I suppose the architecture of the cities almost dictates social behaviour. Melbourne, for example is geographically larger than London, such is the urban sprawl and penchant for ribbon development. This leaves people isolated in the dullness of the suburbs, peeking out of windows, driving everywhere and not having any central societal focus. The only area I've found a bit of community spirit is in the Chinatown district of Melbourne, and even then the church is a bar and the altar a karaoke machine.

In short: boring.

LANDSCAPE: Varied, but mostly scrubland and desert.

BACKWOODS CREEPS: John Tully and I decided to check out the Hunter and Yarra Valleys, which are wine regions in New South Wales and Victoria respectively. We rented a car and ended up driving from Sydney to Melborne, some 700 miles. Along the way we stopped in some of the strangest places I've ever seen; villages with no economy save that provided by truckers stopping to have lunch; the site of the last stand of Ned Kelly and the Kelly Gang: a town called Bobbin Head (honestly folks); pies, pies, pies; and karaoke, loads of karaoke. What's worse is, we almost ran out of petrol thanks to a faulty gauge and had to coast through the outback to a petrol station with the words "Backpacker Murders" ringing in our ears. But we made it to Melborne safely and breathed some relief at the fact. It was interesting; the people in the outback towns are so isolated they seem to whip themselves into a frenzy at night, usually alcohol fuelled and got out looking for trouble, or pool, or karaoke, or all three.

WOULD I EVER LIVE HERE?: Not on your life, constable.

ARE THE ASHES OF ANY CONSEQUENCE WHATSOEVER? No.

IS THERE SUCH A THING AS AUSSIE CULTURE?: Well, I saw a man crush a beercan with one hand yesterday.

AM I READY TO LEAVE?: Yes

India beckons, dear readers, and I shall hopefully emerge from that subcontinent with a bossy wife and some funny yoga positions. I'll keep you posted.

Cliff Richard On A Guillotine

It has been an unorthodox Christmas to say the least. It went something like this:

23/12/06: Arrived in Sydney after a very enjoyable week in Melbourne with Ana Louise, Emma, and Michelle. We rented a swanky apartment, cooked a few times, ate out and generally enjoyed ourselves and each others company. I had missed them- there's nothing quite like being in the general vicinity of Ana and cohorts. It never gets boring anyway. They were all in excellent form and are gearing up for travels in South American early next (or this, I suppose) year.

Got the train out to Terrigal, a small beach community north of sydney and were met by Andree and Crona, two friends working in the ED of the nearby Gosford hospital. We then installed ourselves in their big rambling beach house (waves crashing within earshot) and walked the shore, catching up. Then it was down to the serious business of getting food and drink organised for the following days. I was given responsibility for Christmas eve dinner, which was a bit of a challenge as there would be twelve people around the table and calculating numbers etc proved a bit of a chore. Finally settled ona Jamie Oliver seafood pasta dish using snapper and calimari accompanied by salads. Starter: mushroom bruschetta.

Which was fine, in theory.

24/12/6:
Flurry of activity on all fronts between cleaning, tidying, prep work and general messing around. Most of the day was spent getting stuff ready for christmas eve and day dinners and I had only a short while to pop out and buy presents for the lads which were:

A reiki CD, a "mood ring", and a bottle of sarsparilla (Big Lebowski reference) for Dave
Choclate chip cookies, moisturiser and a Helen Fielding novel for Mark
A compendium of Harrison Ford films for John

As you can probably tell, joke presents ruled although worryingly, Dave was delighted with his reiki CD. I think he may be turning into a bit of a cloudfarmer. India will only exacerbate this. I am giving serious consideration to calling his mother so that she may put him back on the path of good old fashioned McQuaid Catholicism and arrange a quck marriage before he loses the run of himself completely.

We had dinner, chatted. I was presented with a bottle of Pinot Noir for my efforts, which was nice. We then strolled up the street to the house of some of the other people working in the ED for a bit of chat and a glass fo wine. It was unbelievably, excruciatingly, overwhealmingly dull. I was stuck beside some yammering gobshite who burned my ear off about what he called "the true meaning of medicine". I could never understand why doctors have a reputation for being arrogant obnoxious gobsheens. Now I do.

Back to the house. The electricity went off due to a flash storm so we played charades by candlelight. I was saddled with "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" by John. I reciprocated with "Gorky's Zygotic Mynci".

Off to bed.

25/12/06:
Woke at 8 (old habits die hard) to find that Dave had already been up for an hour. We pottered around, had some (you're not going to believe this, Mam) cornflakes with tea and exchanged gifts. Everyone had a bit of a laugh.

My stash:
A "guess that wine" boardgame from Dave
A model surfboard (I had been hit in the face by one in NZ) and a squidgy stress thingy in the shape of a can of Victoria Bitter (ref: I'm the least stressed of us and I hate VB) from Mark
A Modern Lovers CD from John (no joke- I just like them)

Mass was funny. In place of Fr Fergus Generic we got Petr, a Polish priest with great command of english but idiosyncratic phrasing and pronunciation. "The maost impaorthant theeng abaot Kressmash ees..". The altar was flanked by PowerPoint presentations showing the text of the mass and the words to the hymns. As for the choir- well, they may have been hot stuff when the boys arrived home back in '45, but now- hmm.

Back at the ranch we drank tea, ate biccies, played with our presents and chatted about the different ways each of our families "did" christmas. Everyone seemed surprised at presents on Christmas eve. I fact, noone seemed to make a big deal of it at all. Interesting how things vary. Other than that, Christmas day was as always- happy, overfed people strewn about, reading talking, watching television. We had to got to another party later that evening (I slipped away once "I saw true meaning of me bollix" guy edging closer) and I ended up talking to a girl called Liya, from London, originally Indian. Well, call me old fashioned but I don't make a habit of chatting up women on Christmas day. So we agreed to meet for coffee on St Steven's day instead (she suggested Boxing day, but I didn't know what she was talking about).

Like I said. Weird.

26/12/06:

Met Liya for coffee. She was interesting. We had a nice conversation over moccachipfrappeppermintoilatinos (or whatever fucking concoction Starbucks are serving these days) and took a drive out to Avoca, a nearby beach area. Lovely scenery, more chat but we both agreed that given the brevity of my visit it would be unwise to start anything. We may meet again at some stage, however,as she is only a flight away from home. Who knows, Diarmaid, she might even have a cute friend curious as to how nice these Irish boys really are.

I'm joking. Still, it's funny the people you meet.


THE NEW YEAR:

Sydney is famous for fireworks displays on New Year's night so we strolled downtown to try to get a good viewing position for midnight. Stopped for a few drinks in (sigh) an Irish bar and continued along toward the harbour. At twelve, the whole place exploded in the most impressive lightshow I've ever seen. It look fantastic, the bay illuminated with a thousand lights shot off the harbour bridge. Fantastic.

Then we lost PJ.

There were approx two million peope in the bay area so finding him was a little difficult but miraculously, we did. Soon after 12, we all just wanted to go home, as the streets had descended into mayhem, with fights breaking out all over the plave despite a heavy police presence. Groups of 20-30 lads prowled around looking for violence and the atomosphere turned sour. I've never seen anything like it. It was hard to believe that a city could be so magnificent and yet so inglorius in almost the same moment. We'd had enough and walked back to the hotel and went to sleep.

THE NEXT MORNING

I felt fine, walked to an internet cafe and composed this masterpiece. Shortly I may have some lunch. Generally, I am looking forward to leaving, and I never intend to live here.

As they used to say in MASH, that is all.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Paul O'Riordan, For The Love of God

While skittering through the internet stratosphere, happy as a wasp in jam, I happened upon an email from one Paul "Palookaville Massacre" O'Riordan, a good friend of mine and a veteran of No 7, Lower Canal Road. Paul expressed his extreme displeasure at my failure to update this literary piece of shit for the past month.

I am sorry Paul.

The truth is, I was beginning to lose hope. The blog entries are long and tortuous pieces of prose to compose, write and eventually type and I had convinced myself from the lack of commentary that not a soul was reading. Paul, dearest Paul, you have restored my faith in the internet as a medium for the conductance of unexpurgated ramblesome nonsense and I shall recommence as such.

I'm in New Zealand by the way. I went to Argentina on the way. It was nice.

Next time (a proper entry, I promise)

Why getting smacked in the mouth by a flying surfboard and almost losing your teeth is so much fun

Pies, pies, pies

THAT accent

General catching up

Monday, October 16, 2006

Soul Mining


(Retrospective)

The Devil and Muiris Llewelyn

I´ve just been downt mine, like a Welshman of yore, rugby and valleys.

Bolivia is the oft derided poor man of South America, which is quite an insult considering they share a continent with Columbia. Bolivians respond to these accusations not with political rhetoric a la Hugo Chavez, or mass bruitality and the murder of its own citizens a la Argentina (in times past); no, they have a much more lucrative and pragmatic approach: they roughly half the life expectancy of their young men by sending them down a near-exhausted mine to extract pitifully small amounts of zinc, tin, and silver ore, which is exported abroad, processed, and sold to, yes, Bolivians. Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Cerro Rico, Potosi, a mountain slowly sinking as man pulls its guts out in the hope of danglesome worthless glister.

One thing you must know, friend, is that the mine is the Devil´s realm. It is his larder that the miners steal from, and it is to him that they pay their respects; repest to "Uncle" or "Tio" for the wealth he provides at the cost of limbs and black lung. Stories abound; the man who implored Tio for a rich vein of silver, and was rewarded, but at the cost of a human or llama foetus every day unto death, to appease the dark overlord of the underworld. Soon, with wealth on his side, money in his pocket, whores on his arm, the pact was forgotten and Faustian miner experienced a streak of bad luck a mile wide and the length of infinity. His wife died; his house burned down; his daughter lost her wits; and he remained healthy, sane and intact enough to Job-like suffer the consequence of meddling with and scorning Tio.

Another supplicant to Tio´s burgeoning church thought it would be fun to play with TNT and ammonium nitrate in close proximity to two coworkers. They were immediately maimed and died later after the most gruesome suffering imaginable (both families were destitute and could not afford morphine, despite their wives´ best efforts in the only other Potosi industry of note, prostitution). he works in the mines to this day, shunned by coworkers and as yet uncharged by the terrified police. Lately, it is told, a young gopher witnessed the miner being devoured by a devil-like apparition, emerging unscathed afterwards. The miners take this as Tio assimilating the miner´s soul and await his rapid demise. The story is illustrative of the madness which pervades the place, stoked by the fatalism of the workers who have an average life expectancy of 45-50 years and thus value only silver, not life and slowly their lungs scar and contract, oxygen deserts them and they die.

Pedro, Let Me Follow You Down

As we descended we encountered first a makeshift museum, complete with a statue of Tio (these statues are common, and serve as points of worship); then to a winch station with monosyllablic Bolivians hauling baskets of rock and mineral ore up a vertical shaft. Our guide questioned one:

- How long have you worked here?
- Fifteen years
- How old are you?
- Fofty two
- Do you have a family?
- Four children

A chill filled the room, as the near-deadman continued to heft stone and contemplate his end, as did we.

We descended further into the belly of the beast via anklecrack tight tunnels not designed for men of my dimensions, as my neck curled upwards, my back downwards, contorted like an old man on a diet of arsenic. Pedro, the guide, spit lore and politics as were breathed in the dust and slid and scraped down, avoiding vertical shafts and rail buckets full of stone. We saw the other end of the winch operation, with pidgeon chested men shovelling rock and stone delivered by sweating and heaving comrades displaying a downright Stakhanovite ethic. My lungs felt the choke of dust and silica and I was invited to play miner. As I dug I thanked God that I was not Bolivian, did not work here, and would not die at 45. As I left, one of the old boys grimly complemented me on my shovelling surprisingly effective, he said, "for someone with such womanly hands". Better to have womanly hands than no lungs, I thought, equally grimly.

Did You Drink and Mine?

Further down to the fourth level and we happened upon a group of about 15 in a cavern drinking rotgut (96% ethanol) and lemonade, and we huddled in a corner a watched. Word got around; the gringos in the corner are Irish; they´ve brought booze; they have a little Spanish. Suddenly, my hand was being broken in the grasp of a man called simply "the Bear" as he poured the firewater into a plastic cup and gave it to me. A drop for the Pachamama, a drop for Tio, and a quick Hail Mary before I threw it back and felt my throat boil and my limbs twitch. The cycle was repeated about 20 times, and Irish-Bolivian relations were infinately enhanced as we drank in the most bizzare session of all time, 600m underground, in a mine, with devil-worshipping Bolivians. Further weirdness pervaded as John, refined as he is, asked if we could buy a round of beers. No problem, as a gopher scuttled off to the top and returned with a bottle of Potosina for everyone. The aforementioned diplomatic efforts were furthered (infinity to the power of n) and we laughed and blathered in broken Spanish until we were all completely peeloothered. We ascended, not minding now the vicegrip pinch or the suredeath falls. As we emerged into sunlight, I felt glad that I was out of that realm, and into a more benevolent one. Noone had been hurt, TG.

Then Pedro took out a few sticks of dynamite.

Traditional Bolivian Bomb Recipe

For this you will need:

1. TNT, one stick
2. Plastic carrier bag, one
3. Ammonium nitrate, 500g
4. Blasting cap and fuse, one
5. A spare piece of ground
6. Several drunk Bolivians
7. A lighter
8. Balls

Method:

Warm the TNT by rolling it between your palms. Break in into three pieces. Lay these side by side, mould them together and put them in the plastic bag. Set aside.

Open the packet of ammonium nitrate and spill half on the floor. Place the rest in the plastic bag with the TNT. If you have done this correctly you will still be alive.

Press the blasting cap and fuse into the centre of the TNT and tie closed the bag, fuse protruding. Take a picture. As this is happening, one of the drunk Bolivians will inevitably light the fuse, much to the amusement of all gathered. Start to run.

Place entire device on spare piece of ground. Garnish by running away in blind panic. Await "bang" sound.

Cooking time: approximately 2 1/2 minutes.

And finally..

Later we went for drinks with the miners and wound up in a total horrorshit divebar scumbucket of a club where I was offered sex for 40 Bolivianos (roughly $1.20), which I politely declined (I went for the Bs 30 option instead - just kidding Mammy). The mines, it seems, are not the only thing in Potosi which cause crippling disease in return for a pittance.


Next time...

Fishy Basquaise....

The Uyuni Salt Flat; salty, and indeed, flat....

Why Mitch Albom is a total and complete and unforgiveable and unreformable asshole....

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Rhyme, Verse, and A Bad Haircut

To summarise:

Went to the pampas. There were rivers, grasslands, snakes and alligators.

Went to the jungle. There were trees.

Got a haircut.

Flew from La Paz to Sucre, the gem of the Southern Altiplano, and was inspired to write the following, a poor take on "Philidelphia Here I Come!". It sometimes rhymes, sometimes not and has no meter, so its status as a poem is very much in question from the outset. Enjoy.

Talking Aeroplane Blues

Th' other day I packed my bags
And said, "So long, Ma, leavin' on a jet plane!
For some promised land or other
Think John Denver went there too"
So off I flew
All the azure blue beckoning

The girl behind the desk at check-in
Asked if I had anything to declare
Said "No ma'am but you sure would look better if you washed your hair
And lost some of the makeup"
And she slapped me on the face,
Handed me my boarding pass
With an assurance that if any plane were to crash this sorry day
It would be mine, a strike from God's paddle against my foulmouthed ass

The eunach at passport control
Wore a baseball cap and a stern expression
Like a hard-man leotard over a jump suit of depression
And he noted with glee the stamp on my pass that said "IRAN"
And why, pray, had I been there, young man?
"Worked for their government for a while" I said
All innocent, as such
And suddenly four more leotard wearing wrist talking security boys were all around
Didn't think working on a oil field for a while
Could land me in such a bind
It was just for a summer
They gave me one phonecall
I called my mother

"Mam!", I said, "I'm not there yet!"
And she asked how the flight had been
Not having enough courage to inform her of my incarceration
I gave the truth a wild mutation
And everything was fine in this beautiful paradise
Actually a grey room, with a grey man chewing gum
And absentmindedly fingering a gun
So I made it quick with the lies
But much to my surprise
Leotard 1 jumps through the door
And lets me go
Think it was something to do with my Dad being a senator
So in a fit of pique I asked for his name
And his badge, or something
And find out he's my cousin
Uncle Mike is doing just fine
The stroke only knocked out a hand
And his left eye

The baggage people had a look around
And pulling forth the five books I'd brought
Asked, I all seriousness

"What are these for?"

For reading, of course, was the logical reply
But logic, one feels, was far from Johnny Security's mind
And the half-chewed beard I wore
Made me look like "one of them"
And fear filled the room
Like cheap cigar smoke at a Republican Party conference

Before I knew it, the perceived danger was eliminated
John Fante burned to a crisp in a hightech oven for thoughts outside of "regular".
As I waited, I eyed the jugular of the man beside
Fall and rise
As he nervously clutched a bag marked "Coke"
And the boys came back and handed me a book of ethics and morals
Crucial to my survival
Sprung from the mouth of the Lord Himself
Called it "the Bible"

As I settled into two bottles of duty free rotgut
I marvelled again at the plight of poor pitiful me
As the dishwater pisspoor coffee
Burned my throat as I gleefully
Sucked down the last cigarette
Before making transatlantic for the first time

Unsteady on the gangway, boarding pass handed to makeup girl
With a shaky fist and a poem on the back
I stepped into the fuselage with the background clack clack of aluminium on tin
Music to my ears, and almosty on a whim
I hummed "the Great Beyond", a song I hate as much as death
But with each thinaired breath I knew in my heart of souls
That the banishment of this land's woes
Was but a temporary gain
Futher misery, it seems
Lay over this sea of pain

Monday, September 25, 2006

On The Road


Muchos apologias to the rest of the guys as I was able to upload only this image (of me) before www.blogger.com had a fit. I will upload more pictures from the cycle soon, preferably with a faster connection. This image does give some idea of what the road was like, however.

Sorry Mam.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Further Down The Spiral



Mary O´Sullivan, You Are Not Going To Like This

The World´s Most Dangerous Road. The Road Of Death. The Road Of Sheer Terror and 1000m Cliff Faces. The Road That Strikes Fear Into The Hearts Of Mothers The World Over.

I´m afraid the boys and I went down it at an average of 40kmph yesterday, on mountainbikes and then drove back up in a rickety GMC van afterwards.

It had taken us a number of weeks to decide whether to proceed or not. The arguement flittered back and forth:


"It´ll be the experience of a lifetime!"
"Yes, but the drop, man, the drop!"
"Okay, admittedly there are 1000m falls to the left hand side, but think of the scenery!"
"A truck went off yesterday, killing the driver, his wife, and their cargo of sheep"
"But the excitement!"
"It´s cursed. Said so in Wikipedia"
"Mary Harney sprung from that valley"
"Have you seen the pictures? "
"Of the Israeli with half his head missing? Went off last year"

In the end stupidity won, and we walked silently to the Gravity Assisted Mountain Biking agency in La Paz, looked at some pictures, examined safety records, cross-examined the staff. Soon enough, we were hyperventilating, signing insurance disclaimers, picking T-shirts and requesting decidedly non vegetarian food for the trip down. Yet more debating:

"You guys are the best, right?"
(Heavily accented English) "We haf nefer lost a customer"
"And injuries? How about injuries"
"Ya, last year we haf a man fall down and break his skull but he was trying to catch a butterfly and was a stupid pixiehead. I am sure you are not pixieheaded focks now, are you?"
"No"
"Gut. You Irish are sometimes stupid pixieheads and I do not like it"

As we settled into restaurant chairs later that night we discussed the wisdom of the decision and agreed it was the correct one. The company we had selected was the longest established and safest of them all and, as darling Sieglinda had pointed out, had never lost a customer. It would be stupendous. It would be a once in a lifetime experience. But, as someone else said, you only have one lifetime. And who could blame us when confronted with this?



As we ascended from La Paz to our start point at 4500m, my heart began to pound and the air started to get thinner. The group made gallows humour jokes and we guffawed at the profound stupidity and danger of what we were about to attempt. We were introduced to our guides, Anne and Rodrigo, and began to feel a little more secure. Anne is 13th in the world mountain bike rankings, and Rodrigo is a member of the Vertigo team, one of the top outfits worldwide. We received a pretty firm lecture on what and what not to do and took charge of our safety equipment and Kona bikes, complete with shock suspension and disc brakes. After an Almayra ritual asking the Earth Mother for protection (swig of 95% alcohol, cry of "Patchamama sancta terra!") we took off on the initial 18km paved highway descent.

What a rush! Cruising at 50kmph around beautifully cambered s-bends with the wind whistling through your ears at 4300m is quite a pleasurable experience, especially when equipped with the best bike money can buy. Pretty soon, the look of terror turned to a broad grin and a little giggle or two, why not? If you are an inch away from oblivion at speed, you might as well allow yourself a little humour.

Cocksure and swaggering, we pulled in for our first drugs check before cursing and spluttering out way through a 6km uphill section which was a little taxing as the oxygen concentration was of the order of 0.00004%. Redfaced and panting we arrived at the entry point to the vaunted, much famed Road and stopped for another lecture. Anne:

"Okaaaay, you are aboot (she´s canadian) to cycle down the most dangerous road in the world! Word of advice! Don´t fuck with it! It has killed more people than Jeff Dahmer on a good day! You are an inexperienced cyclist an a road you´ve never seen before! And do not fuck with me! If I see you cycling in a way that endangers you and those around you I will put you in the bus where you fucking belong! And I do not like accidents! If you fall over the edge through an act of bravado, and survive, I will wait until you crawl on one leg back up to the ledge and then I will fucking kill you myself! And boys- no metaphorical comparison of cock size, please!"

The safety directions are straightforward but they work: don´t be an idiot (as outlined above), park your bike and yourself on the cliff edge, bike outermost, if a car or truck is coming. Obey the whistle at all time (i.e. stop when your guide tells you). Finally, don´t overtake on a blind bend. It was only after the third bend, when the leader of rival company group went over the handlebars while trying to overtake a truck on a blind bend, a sheer drop to his left, did it become apparent how important the rules were. The guy was a total gobshite, unsafe, and putting his entire group at risk.

We zipped off down the mountain at as great a speed as we dared, as it allowed the bike to ride over the large stones littering the track and kept everything going in a stright line. The views were simply breathtaking, but looking at them for too long wasn´t a particularly good idea, as it detracted attention from the road ahead. Everything was dandy, and that old competitive urge began to creep in, especially amongst the boys. That is, until we noticed the crosses marking the final resting places of guys who thought they should be in front. So progress was slower thereafter, but none the less exhilarating. The terrain ranged from altiplano to pampas to jungle as we sped under waterfalls and through rivers, a 1000m drop perpetually a metre to the left. Oddly, the drop became less of a factor; it was apparent that the oncoming traffic was a greater danger. It seems to me that going down by bike is safer than by car- you have greater control, can handle the terrain better, and at the very least can jump off of things are getting a little too exciting. Off the bike that is.

Soon, the end beckoned and we cruised to destination, dust laden, sweat dripping and over the moon. As we sank the best tasting beer of all time surrounded by tropical wildlife, a sense of acheivement surrounded the group and a great whoop went up. We´d survived, unscathed, and would have something to lord over the rest of humanity for the rest of time:

Oh yeah? Well I did the World´s Most Dangerous Road. How´d ya like that?

Muiris´s Top Eleven Rules For Surviving the Road Of Death

1. Go with Gravity. They have the best bikes, the best guides, and a proven record.
2. Don´t do it cheaply. Cheap means standard brakes and no suspension, and death or a broken face.
3. If you think there´s something wrong with your bike, stop and refuse to continue until you are satisfied the issue has been resolved.
4. Wear something to protect your head, your eyes and your lungs.
5. When you encounter a truck, car, or van, stop and park your bike. Don´t try to cycle the tightrope between the 1000m drop and the impatient lorry driver.
6. Cycle on the left, about a metre in from the edge. Do not cycle in the middle or try to overtake on a blind bend.
7. It´s not a race. If you want to show everyone what a big man you are, walk through Jobstown, naked, shouting "Affluence!"
8. Go at a speed with which you are comfortable, but fast enough to ride the bumps safely.
9. DON´T admire the view, take pictures, adjust your waistband, or called your mother while in the saddle.
10. Don´t pretend to be dead. The guides don´t really like it.
11. If you can´t handle it, get in the bus. Noone will call you a chicken.

Other News

Lake Titicaca was as beautiful as expected, as was our trek around the Isla Del Sol, the mythic birthplace of Inca culture. All you need know is the blue of Titicaca is unlike that of any other.

Romantic News

None. All ties to Cusco have been severed, alas.

Canney News

Hair gel futures are down on Wall Street.

Heft News

It is back with a vengeance. Bolivia is Heft Central.

Next Time on this bloody thing that noone reads:

The boys enjoy wildlife in the yunga of Runnebaque....

John informs me that he can kill me with one finger....

Yet more deep thoughts.....

Dave falls for a Spider Monkey named Kevin.....

Photographs!


All this and more on Hefty Women, sending Bolivian truck drivers over the edge since 2006

Friday, September 22, 2006

Twink


This week´s blog entry is dedicated to the headmistress of panto, the darling of pants, the Salieri to Maureen Potter´s Mozart, TWINK!

It was about time someone gave Agnew a bollocking.

The recorded phone message of Twink berating Agnew ("what are ya like, ya stupid baldy fucker") may be found on www.youtube.com if one runs the search "Twink Goes Apeshit".

God bless her.

Normal service will resume later this week. It´ll be interesting. I promise.