Bikini

I made peace a long time ago with the fact that I don’t have the look. It’s always been my friends that get stopped for photos, my friends that strangers naturally gravitate towards and strike up a conversation with. I normally get pushed to the side and end up holding their handbag, or manbag, as they pose for another glossy magazine. But that was then. That was before I found my missing element. It was so simple. A blue bikini.

At first I wore it because, well, that’s the kind of shit I do. There was also the promise of free alcohol as an incentive. It doesn’t take much… I convinced a newly made friend to join me. We changed in the sparse bushes behind the bar, neither of us realising that there was a change room ten metres away. The bikini bottom was a struggle to get into. There were complaints about the amount of scrotum on view.

We did a lap of the beach bar and then went for a swim. The crowd roared their approval. They were laughing with us! Free alcohol was awarded. Everyone was happy.

Shortly after our parade we both went to change back into more respectable clothes. But of course, our clothes were running away with someone else. Knowing that with my bad knees I could never catch them I resigned myself to spending the afternoon in a bikini, which, it should be said that the most and probably only flattering thing about it was that it matched my eyes. Luckily my other friend gave chase in his bikini and returned triumphantly with our clothes, although minus his underwear. To compensate he used the bikini bottom as replacement underwear. A choice he badly regretted after the first eye watering wedgie.

It was a warm afternoon, so instead of changing into my t-shirt I kept the bikini top on.

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There are a bunch of photos on other peoples cameras of me in the full bikini. I am sure that at some point in my future these will come back to haunt me.


I was suddenly a celebrity. Heads turned as I walked by, smiles of appreciation beaming. My hands got sore from the continuous high fives demanded of by the crowds and I had more photos taken of me than all of the headline bands at Positivus combined.

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It felt good, and then they started throwing food at me. It was a few hrs later while having some dinner that I finally found the intolerant crowd. I surprised myself with my tolerance of their intolerance. Shortly afterwards the temperature had dropped enough that I put my t-shirt back on, it had stopped being fun anyway.

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One of the chill out areas between the beach and the main festival area.

My ticket to the Positivus festival was a gift from a few English guys I met two nights before. One of their mates had pulled out. I spent the day before the festival shopping for a camping tent, sleeping bag and other accessories. When I got to the camp site on Friday I couldn’t find the English guys and in my search ended up chatting with a group of Latvians. Chatting turned into drinks,

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Best vodka I've ever had. I purchased this in Krakow and was intending to bring it back home. I think everyone at the camp site was glad I changed my mind.

which turned into me joining their campsite.

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Letting things just happen, saying YES, taking risks and living outside your comfort zone is so rewarding. Chance had introduced me to some amazing people who welcomed me into their group and helped ensure that I had an amazing few days.

On Saturday the rain came

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and the entire festival and camp sites turned into a sodden mud pit.

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My tent also proved to be less than waterproof. The sky cleared momentarily while we watched Damien Rice. Listening to him perform Jeff Buckley’s Hallelujah then moving into The Blower’s Daughter and finishing off with a bit of Radiohead was an unforgettable treat for the ears.

Then a strange thing happened while watching the Manic Street Preachers. I’m glad the sun had set and I’m glad it was raining, because suddenly I was crying uncontrollably. Surrounded by my new friends, within a crowd of thousands, I felt, alone. I was lonely. The more I tried to dance it off the more tears I shed. We moved to the front of the stage, joined hands and partied in the mud. I cried harder. Like, totally embarrassing!

After the main bands had finished and when the rain started coming down hard again we all made our way back to our camping area. We chatted and drank until the weather made it difficult. My body was aching all over and I was exhausted, so I took this as a good opportunity to call it a night. The morning brought clear blue skies. The camp site was a war zone. People stumbled through the muddy trenches, empty beer cans in hand, their eyes glazed over, their bodies plastered head to toe with mud and often poorly constructed bandages. One man was wearing a nappy. The latrines looked like a bomb had gone off in them and the smell was hideous, one look inside them and I clenched every muscle in my lower body to ensure I would be able to hold out until I got back to town. Donating all my recently purchased camping gear to my Latvian friends I said my goodbyes and caught the bus back to Riga.

it’s been a really good few days. I opened myself up to possibilities and the world delivered. I was given free tickets to an awesome festival and I met an amazing group of people. It’s also been a strangely emotional few days, ranging from laugh out loud happy to bawling emotion wreck, from being nervous, timid and shy to transforming into a gregarious, outgoing, centre of attention bikini scrotum man. It was with my English friends that I wore the bikini, surprisingly the next morning my Latvian friends asked if I was the bikini man that they’d been hearing about. On the second day I also saw another bikini man wandering around. Although he was more modest and had the bikini bottoms on the outside of his shorts. It’s said that imitation is the greatest form of flattery and without a doubt it’s true that the original is always better. So I hope that at the very least he got a free beer out of it.

Last seen – Positivus.

A young teenager spends his days busking on the main tourist street in Vilnius. He is dedicated and persistent. He is also awful. For the three days I was in Vilnius I only ever heard him play one song, very badly. Auld Lang Syne dribbled out of his recorder at various tempos, none at which it was ever meant to be played. The old adage that practice makes perfect was definitely not on display here.

On my first day in Vilnius I wandered through the Basilian gates and was quickly intercepted by a man. Before he even spoke I new instantly that he wanted money, which is something I’ve never been instantly good at giving. He cycled through a few languages before it became clear that english was the only one that worked. Dabbing his dry eyes with a tissue he pleaded with me to pay for his hospital bills. Confused and defensive I instantly refused. He then lifted up his pants and revealed his right leg. It was very swollen and completely bandaged from knee to ankle. Next he started pulling the bandages off. Underneath was a rotting and grotesque piece of human flesh. It was pitted with open seeping wounds. Shocked and completely uncomfotable I again refused and quickly walked away. As I turned my back he told me to go and fuck myself. I had only been in Vilnius a few hours.

Back at my hostel I asked about this unsettling encounter. In my mind and through my experience I couldn’t believe that the injury was real. Lithuania was not a third world country with an inadequte health care system. But if the injury turned out to be genuine and he was unable to get it treated then I was honestly thinking about taking him to the hospital and paying the cost. A cost which if he was to be believed was less than $100. As it turns out the injury was real, but his motive for money was false. The hostel employee rolled her eyes as soon as I mentioned the man. He has lived in the town for many years and has had the injury for a long time. All the locals know him. But instead of getting his injury fixed he uses it to fleece tourists of money. The hostel lady alleged that this money is then used for drugs. I was also informed that not only is begging illegal but giving money to a beggar is also illegal and would result in a fine if I was caught. His con was very well practiced, if only he’d spent his time using a recorder instead.

My sympathy and empathy levels are pretty low at the moment. Completely non-existent for people who exploit their injuries as this guy did. It was shortly after this encounter that I named the two newly independent bodies floating around in my knees. I’ve had a few weeks to get to know them now. Ninja HI! lives in my left knee and attacks with speed and precision. Ninja HI! attacks me when I least expect it and leaves me stumbling and panting for breath. Ploddy lives in my right knee and politely always gives me a moments notice before he wedges himself between my joints. Ploddy is stubborn and will stay in my joint for long periods of time. I have gotten used to the uncomfortable pressure he exerts when plodding through my joint. If Ploddy causes too much pain I am able to shake him out. But Ploddy being Ploddy he always finds his way back pretty soon. Combined, Ninja HI! and Ploddy are making traveling for a month more difficult than I would have hoped. Planes, trains, buses, lack of sleep, to much partying and not enough rehabilitate exercise has also meant that my damaged nerve is playing up badly. I am a picture of health.

Today I’m heading off to a two day music festival. I will be camping and it’s pretty wet. Due to my health problems I almost didn’t go. But like Ploddy I’m a stubborn bastard.

Riga is having a summer music festival in the city at the moment. When I get back here in a few days I intend to buy a recorder and try my luck.

Impressions of Poland

It would be a lie if I said that the opportunity to try every polish vodka I could was not a driving reason behind my trip to Poland. Currently I am lugging around three Polish vodkas in my bag. So so cheap, but more importantly so delicious!

While in Poland I spent most of my time in Krakow, a city which doesn’t seem to sleep. Every night was a party, during which I managed to achieve a few firsts. First police fine for public drinking.

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First time dancing on multiple bar tops within a single night.20120717-170313.jpg
First tram party – and hopefully not the last.

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The hostel manager was impressed by my ability to play tourist all day and then party the night away. When I fell asleep during a tour of the Jewish quarter it became pretty clear that I’d reached my limit and then strangled it to death.

Another first, here is a photo of the best pork ribs I’ve ever tasted.
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Krakow is a beautiful city. A beautiful city that during the day you explore above ground and during the night below.
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The street is seven metres higher than its original level. This has enabled a labyrinth network of pubs and clubs to flourish underneath your feet. Entering what looks like a small pub via a steep set of stairs will most likely turn into a multi room, cavernous and jam packed club.

While in Krakow I did the obligatory day tour to Auschwitz and Birkenau. Not only was I satisfactorily depressed and disgusted at humanity, I was also freezing cold and rather wet in my t-shirt and shorts.

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Krakow even has a bridge of love. When your start a new relationship and want it to last, you come and put a padlock on the bridge and then throw the key into the river. Six months later you come back with bolt cutters.
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I left Krakow hungover and tired. I know I dribbled in the over-full train and I’m pretty sure I snored and possibly farted.

Arriving in Warsaw I was surprised by how much I like the city. The rivalry between Krakow and Warsaw is so vocal that I was expecting to hate the capital. Instead I found it’s rebuilt old city rather charming.

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In Warsaw I was lucky enough to meet a local who took me on a personalized tour of the city, both on foot and in his swish Alfa Romeo. After an exhausting few days it was great to see Warsaw via a more relaxed and often satisfyingly speedy means.

There is a positivity and energy in Poland that a lot of other countries seem to be lacking. It’s clear that the good times have arrived and that the country is making great strides in its
socioeconomic development and importance on the world stage. Unfortunately this also means that every corner either has an H&M, Starbucks or TK Maxx.

Sticky!

Earlier today while wondering through central London I visited a specialty liquor store and purchased a beautiful bottle of honey vodka. As of yet I’ve been unable to find it in Australia. The proprietor wrapped it nicely and then handed it to me in a plastic bag. The intention was to bring it back to Sydney with me, although secretly I doubted it would survive that long.

Within 2hrs the bottle was empty. A large portion of it is now spread between Selfridges in Tottenham court rd and Green park tube station. As I left Selfridges my bag brushed gently against the door. I am still dumbfounded that this could have broken the bottle, but nothing else of consequence happened.

It was while waiting for a train that I noticed a puddle forming beside me. This discovery and my subsequent confused and jerky arm waving led to my feet and hands being covered in vodka. My jumper, which had been with the bag is now crawling around on the floor with no pants and slurring its words.

I am ashamed to say that my first desperate thought was how to save the remaining golden liquid that was still sloshing around in the bottom of the defective dipping plastic bag. After a quick vote and subsequent tally of the results my mouth was selected as the most viable replacement receptacle.

I did start to lift the bag in preparation, but whether it was the judgement I feared from the occupants of the crowded tube station or the niggling feeling that shards of glass didn’t feature in the food pyramid, I somehow resisted the impulse beaten into me since my uni days – ‘GOON, SHERRY OR PASSION POP, THOU SHALT NOT WASTE A DROP!’.

Defeated, I sought out a tube employee and enquired as to where the closest bin was. She informed me that there wasn’t one and then kindly pointed out that my bag was dripping.