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You Can't Ride Around With A Tiger On Your Bike One man-cub, one motorbike. And a tiger-striped poncho, just in case.

Ex-mas & NYE & NY & The Rest.

UNITED KINGDOM | Thursday, 19 January 2012 | Views [478]

Happy New Year! Not nearly as impressive as Sydneys display, but it'll do.

Happy New Year! Not nearly as impressive as Sydneys display, but it'll do.

"Two jugs of Sex On The Beach, please"

"How many glasses ye need?"

"Mm? Oh nono, no glasses. I'll just grab two straws"

"........."

Christmas was nice. Spent the season in Englands world-famous London, home of Madame Tussauds, Big Ben, and junkies with afro wigs. Playing Scrabble. No, not the junkies, El and myself played Scrabble. The junkies probably played pin the needle on the junkie. London was quite pretty over Christmas. Lots of shiny lights. Lots of Christmassy junk. Pointy red hats and such. I hate Christmas. But this one was nice because I did nothing Christmassy. Et some festive avocado. Not very Christmassy. Smoked some festive cigarettes out in the cold. Kind of Christmassy. Got drunk on very bad mulled wine. That's quite Christmassy. Wore a tiger-striped onesie and cooked scrambled eggs on an electric wok. Merry Christmas.

Ella and I spent the tiger-tail-end of the year up in Margate, South East England, about a two hour bus ride from London. They had a beach, quite a nice beach by English standards. I wonder where they imported the sand from. There were casinos and amusement parks and even a Primark. It's funny when a small town gets a Primark because everyone ends up dressing in Primark gear and looking the same. The only thing I bought from Primark was my one piece tiger suit, and I still saw someone else wearing one in public. Lucky I opted for my black Levis and racist Clint Eastwood shirt that day. Could have been embarassing for both of us.

So El & I did what any good Australian does when on holiday at the beach. We drank heavily. Ate fish and chips and meat pies. Judged everyone who walked past. The evenings were spent watching documentaries about the Amish and eating msg-laden Chinese food. The mornings were spent watching documentaries about cats that like water, and picking at what was quite possibly the worst English brektus this side of the Mississippi river. The cats, and possibly some side-effects from the msg, convinced me that it'd be a good idea to take a dip in the ocean. So I swam, well, not 'swam', I walked in fully clothed and squealed and smoked a cigarette and posed for a photo and by then I couldn't feel my legs. Gosh, it was cold! Frigid. Brr. But I did it. Good for me, man.

And that was Margate. A boring bus ride back to London, just in time for a quick change of clothes, a quick whiskey shot and then another one before heading down to the river beside Big Ben and the London Eye for the fireworks display. It was packed tighter than a box of um, cats. You can make space for yourself though, if you're the only smoker in that part of the crowd. Some prick got a hole burned in his coat for pushing infront of Ella and blocking her view. Ha. Fireworks were alright, went for about fifteen minutes all up, the ones that shot from Big Ben clocktower were the most impressive but they lasted just the first minute and the rest came from the London Eye wheel ride. There was no pattern to them, I was a little disappointed, mostly because I walked all that way and had to endure the cold and crowds. But once it was over and we were back at The Ship Inn, we drank ourselves better again. Was a good start to the year. Happy New Year :)

Down to business. Tickets for India. I had a partial-wad of cash left after selling my Ural motorcycle, and sadly, only part of my brain left, the part missing was the one that reminds all good travelers of the importance of securing a visa first before purchasing flights overseas. YOU IDIOT, WILSKI! Bloody muppet. I bought a ticket, as cheap as I could find at that time which was still peak season for travel to India. Cost around 800GBP, but that was with an onward flight to Australia. Then I began chasing up a visa. THat was fun. Dealing with official government documents is always fun. Forms and forms and some more forms, don't forget to fill out sections F-6 through F-13, and on top of that there's a special way to post the bloody things that includes doing stuff with a chalk circle and the seventh son of a goat, at midnight when the moon wanes. Fuckin' hell bruv! Up until I got THE call, I was quietly confident all was secured for my India leg. The call was something along the lines of "I'm sorry to inform you but it takes between twenty and thirty days for a tourist visa to be processed so it shan't be available by the date you requested, you nob head, cheerio".... I cried a little into my Irn Bru. And forked out another 220GBP to move my flight date forward. In future, whenever dealing with anything important, it's best to let your parents do it, just like when you were young.

Time between now and my flight out was spent in the standard London fashion, eating toast and scowling at everything. Not sure if I mentioned my fortunate circumstances concering living arrangements. I don't proof-read any of my travel journal by the way, so apologies for the many spelling errors, historical errors, et cetera. So yeah, Ella let me stay with her, she was house-sitting for an old hippie lady who was visiting friends in Australia, I had my own little couch to kip on, a tiny television that I was banned from using unless Ella was watching something, a tiny kitchen where I prepared avocado sammiches and opened the bottles of whiskey, and a tiny shower to wash off the filth and despair of London life. Everything was little, but free, so I couldn't complain. I mean, I could, and I did, quite often, but was always rewarded with a push out the door and five hours trudging about cold, gray London, cursing everything. But it was convenient, and very kind of Ella to let me couch-surf there. Saved a lot of money that way. I spent the last couple of weeks staying at hostels though, back at Clink78, and also Generator Hostel in Russell Square. I got very much into reading books again, burned through about three a week. There was a cute little second-hand book store in a basement in Russell Square that I'd frequent, and would take my new second-hand purchases across the road to an all-ye-can-eat Indian vegetarian restaurant. Toying with the idea of sticking to pure veg dishes when I hit India. Might be a slightly safer option, and very easy to accomplish, as 80% of India is vegetarian. Mmm I'm hungry now.

The visa arrived! With two days to spare! Such a load off my mind it was, now with my ticket, visa, and bag pretty much packed, nothing could stand in the way! NOTHING! Nothing at all. Yep, I was free to leave. Aha. Free. Yeah, nah, nothing did stand in my way, I escaped safely. So don't fret, little ones. It definitely sucked having to say ciao ciao to all the close friends I'd made. I took some time to travel up country and say my farewells to the folk in Middleton Cheney, my motorcycle mechanic, Luke & Holly (who, sadly were out of town at the time, but like I say, there's always FaceBook), young Jamie and family at the New Inn, and old Phil the accountant with his awesome cats. Said my farewells to my darling cousins down in Tidworth. Megan the Canadan and her brilliant housemates Jazz and the other guy whose name I forget, all the staff at Clink78, most of who I don't know, and of course Ella, who was good enough to not cry at departure. Also, she bought me some ace presents to amuse my small mind! Most awesome was a three-dimensional notepad, that you draw on and the drawings become 3D when you put on the ridiculous glasses. Hours of entertainment, fun for the whole family, except grandma and grandpa. Gosh, I'll miss her. And Megan, and everyone else. It'll be doubtful as to whether I return to England though, as much as I like it there it's FUCKING expensive, ridiculously so, and hard to justify, more-so once I travel India and see the difference in the value of money. Hmm. Still, never ever say never, ever.

 

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