Living da vida loca part 2

Hola Amigo´s!
 
Je m’appelle David!
 
I’m in Ecuador!  Hitting up the salsa scene like nobody’s business!  I decided to do an epic 5 hour lesson, which seemed like a good idea at the time of booking, but felt like my brain was going to explode by the end of it!   Maybe I´m a masochist?!  
 
Eager to try out my new skills I asked the teacher where the hottest joint in town was?! She told me there was a salsa concert on that evening, a talented musician by the name of Victor Manuel!  I headed out with high expectations, some buena vista social club business or Spanish Harlem orchestra sounds perhaps?..  Instead I get the Puerto Rican Houlio Inglacias, and thousands of screaming loco Latin ladies sing along to cheesy Spanish love ballads,tTopped off with 3 Columbian crooners who are South America´s answer to Barry Manilow times tres! 

Hola chica, do you come here often?

I stood by bemused, wondering “what the hell am I doing here?!” I decided to take the bull by the horns and get invloved, as it’s an experience I´m unlikely to get back in Blighty. I´m now signed up to the fan club and have Victor Manuels face tattooed on my arse! The ladies love it long time.
 
As well as salsa dancing, being the double hard barstard that I am, I decided to hit the gym at high altitude ARRRR!   It´s funny whilst travelling the gyms I´ve been to are either the high end places that have machines so hi tech they virtually do the work for you. And a clientele of metrasexual pretty boys, primping their hair in the mirror before working out! Or spit and saw dust joints, with kick boxing in the back, and mean looking meat heads with prison tattoos grunting on the free weights! This place was the later! You know how I roll, keeping it gangsta!

"Do you know what time the step aerobics class starts?"

 

 
With all this dancing, I decided I need a theme tune for the South American leg.  Something cool with a bit of Latin flair, sit back relax and enjoy the ride, it´s about to get sexy in here chica!

Davano Baileyenito

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Living Da Vida Loca

Faze 2 South American tour in action!  Living da vida loca.  I arrive in Peru rocking the Speedos, wearing a sombrero and clutching a straw donkey whilst singing  “La Cucaracha, La Cucaracha”

Only to find the temperature is 14C and every other MO FO is wearing a woolly hat! Fear not I’m of to sunnier climes.  Can´t be doing with this English weather when I´m not in England!  
 
I spent some time with a Mexican historian exploring Limas ancient catacombs.  There are thousands of skeletons buried in the baroque styles caves beneath the city!  It reminded me of Indiana Jones and the last crusade, the bit in Venice where they go under the church.

Then we checked out some museums and erotic ceramics, or Porno Pottery as I prefer to call it!  This cutlery is guaranteed to spice up any party!  It´s funny seeing the religious relics of the pre Hispanic culture contrasted with current catholic symbolism! “More tea vicar?!”

I took a brief break at Mancura on the coast of Peru!  The place is a bit of partay town, a bit like Benidorm for Posh gap yah students and Israeli/American backpackers.  I stayed at the loudest hostel I´ve ever been too. It was like being in a Uni dorm, every time I came back to the room there were 10 Israelis getting cheech and chong in there, though they made me feel about as welcome as fart in a spacesuit. “Oy Vey!”

Laying in bed it felt like I was onstage with the band that played rattling the door frame till 5.30am, at a wedding party next to the hostel! Lucky I hadn´t just been on a 20 hour bus journey or it could have been really annoying!
 
Currently I´m in Quito, the capital of Ecuador. The place is awash with Colonial decadence, it´s like a cross between Rio De Janeiro and Florence.  Meeting English speakers here is few and far between, I say anyone would think I’m in foreign bloody country!

The altitude is high here and today I went trekking up the highest mountain in the world… Well Quito, past the sign “DANGER DO NOT CROSS THIS POINT!” Apparently there have been some armed robberies in the mountains!  Bring it on Puto… Just wait while I sit down and catch my breath, as it feels like I´ve just inhaled 3 helium balloons! Not that I´d know what that feels like!
 
Hasta la vista baby!
 
Dave
 
 

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A Hong Kong Finish

Also known as a happy ending! And I did have a happy ending to my Asia tour. It almost finished in HK, but not quite. A few great days in BKK before flying home. Actually talking of massage! I did actually get a HK massage!!! “Foot massage.” My suspicions were raised by the flashing neon light saying “Foot Massage 24hr” at the bottom of a flight of stairs which lead to a locked door! I rang the bell and it was answered by a cute looking asian girl in a white dressing gown! I was led into the lounge and sat down on the crushed velvet settee while the cutie sashayed off to powder her nose or something! The lady running the place asked what I wanted?! “Well!! Actually just a foot massage,” she took another drag of her cigarette and made the call. I wait watching the Chinese soap opera on the over sized plasma screen, wondering who is coming? A knock at the door and in minces an effiminate looking guy in a pink shirt!

“Say what!” They exchange words in Cantonese, he sits down in front of me and precedes to get lathered up with baby oil erm… What happened to the Lucy Lu looking chick that let me in?

No one speaks good English and I’m like damn son! So I get a foot massage from a gay dude rather than the attractive temptress seen in any HK massage fantasy… sheat. I’m beginning to wonder if “foot massage” is some code word for gay massage? In Bangkok me and my boy Roj we were coaxed into a “foot massage” by some attractive looking girls, only to be sat down with the gayest man in Thailand, he was camper than a row of tents and wouldn’t take his eye of me. I was like “easy sailor, stick to the feet, my thighs are fine thanks.” Not that I have anything against gay masseures but asking for my hotel, name and number was a little bit too friendly! It’s not easy being a sex symbol in these parts LOL! I’m in a bit of reflective mood. Thinking about what I learnt from Asia, hmm… A lot of things, always carry toilet paper with you, just in case! One thing that stood out to me though, there seems to be a split between developed and developing countries even with in Asia itself. We in the developed world need to relax, there is a permanent state of paranoia about swine flu, fox attack (I’m not joking) getting mugged raped or shot…Maybe by Islamic hoody wearing imigtrant Fox?! It’s ridiculous.

I see in certain parts of Asia they worry less and some of the crazy ass driving nearly gave me a heart attack. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to die in a road accident or any other accident. But a lot could be learnt from their more laid back attitude to “risk” and their less spoon fed approach to common sense.

 

In all likelyhood we are not going to die of swine flu or be eaten by Foxes. Hmmm… Probably wont happen. so sit back relax, don’t read the paper or watch the news as it’s probably just trying to scare the living shit out of you. Maybe a warm glass of coco and a book! Sheeat maybe even a foot massage!

Anyway I’m back home for a brief interlude before faze 2.  The South American tour! It’s been good seeing my family & friends. My film recommendation of the week is “4 lions”, a British suicide bomber comedy caper by Chris Morris. And it’s actually funny!

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What’s your favourite ice cream?

Ice cream! Sick of strawberry, fed up with Vanilla, bored with Banana?  Why not try fanny flavour? It’s 100% natural and all the rage in Vietnam.


 

While your at it, may as well stay at the Phuc dat hotel where you can…Sleep…Or not!
 
I’ve had a month in Vietnam and it’s hotter than a dow dig dog!  I’m not sure how hot that is? But it’s bloody hot!
 
Nam is one of the loudest places on earth! Beeping your horn is a national pass time!  The word noise pollution isn’t in the Vietnamese vocabulary. 
 
I got to Hoi An after a 36 hour boat, bus and coach journey. I was at the front of the bus and the hooter was literally rattling my brain like a foghorn every five seconds as the driver got trigger-happy.  At 5 am he decides to wack on some Vietnamese pop music!  It took all my meditation calm to ask him to “turn off the music” with out threatening violence!  Life on the road ain’t all glamour and glitz!  
 
Hoi An though offer’s a rare oasis of peace, it’s a UNESCO world heritage site and all that malarkey.  Quaint and charming but enough about me.  I had a funny evening on my first night as I joined a large group of Cambodian, Vietnamese and American exchange students for dinner.  After the meal the Cambodian girls got up, hooked up speakers to their computer and started traditional singing and dancing in the middle of the restaurant terrace. All this after drinking just ices tea!  I was cracking up as they got everyone involved. Then after-wards a group of about 15 of us played some Cambodian game of tag by the river, I don’t know what they put in the ice tea out here?! But it’s pretty strong stuff!

I went out to a club with the group and rolled in at about 2.30am to find my hotel locked! I had to scale a 10-foot fence and narrowly avoided impaling my nuts on 6 inch metal spikes. Luckily the family jewels are still in tact! LOL.
 
The last days in Vietnam and I visited a snake farm where I ate a beating snake heart and drank snake blood wine!  Apparently it put’s lead in your pencil, I’ll be out shooting skud missles by the end of this trip.  

Snake bite without ribenna!

Yesterday I left Hanoi!  As I sped to the airport in my stretched limousine , the traffic slowed to a halt.  I peered out the smoked glass windows to see what the hold up was?! A water buffalo stood in the middle of the 3 lanes of busy motorway traffic, leisurely taking a crap!  Hahaha love it.
 
This was a sharp contrast to my 1 night in BKK. There helicopters and clouds of black  smoke  filled the sky.  The place was eerily quiet, like 28 days later! Except with out the zombies and not set in London. I must admit when the trouble began, I thought maybe an airport sit in, a bit of inconvience but no biggie.  Never did I envisage this.   My friend from Thailand likened it to a medieval battle, and it is.  There has been a surrender but at a large cost.  What will be the legacy of so many killed?

Take care.
 
Dave

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Allow me to demonstrate the skill of Shaolin!

For all your lubrication solutions!

I saw this in Burma! I’m an animal lover but…  It’s funny what you see out and about in Asia! There’s Stallion lubrication and OK condoms, V wacky adverts in Cambodia and Vietnam.

It’s a ready made dynamite duo aphrodisiac attack, what woman or horse could resist?! 

Speaking of which, when I arrived in Burma I thought I was some pretty hot stuff.  Women old, young, black, white, even some dudes! Were all blowing kisses at me!   Soon as I step on the scene I’m hearing girlies screaming.   I turn up and I’m getting more come on’s than Tom Jones at a Cardiff old people’s home!

Then someone tells me, that in fact blowing kisses is the Burmese way of getting your attention, or saying “move bitch, get out the way!” Damn!

Cultural contrasts! In Burma they blow kisses to get your attention, In Brasil they “shoosh” you like they’re trying to scare a cat, and in England we just say “Oi!”

Which reminds me of the 1st single I ever bought.

I would love to do a Karaoke version of this.  It would be a showstopper no doubt!

It was the Burmese New Year water festival while I was here, and to put it mildly it’s “FUCKING MENTAL!” 

 

Absolute chaos, people drive maniacally around the city packed onto jeeps and mopeds, getting boozed up and throwing water.  The road is lined with stages/fortresses protected with barbed wire, while people on top spray high-powered fire hydrants at you!  It’s pretty rowdy and a complete contrast to the peaceful time I have spent here in the countryside or at the meditation centre.

As previously mentioned there aren’t many tourists’ here. And being a foreigner especially a tall dark and handsome one LOL you are granted literal celebrity status. Every body and their momma wants to shake your hand, have you kiss their baby etc etc.  Unfortunately though, due to Burma’s strict social conventions, stricter than the rest of Asia!  Single women aren’t aloud out unless accompanied by 3 armed bodyguards! So at the festival most of the attention, though thank god not all, was from whiskey breathed men with red betel nut teeth.

I’ve had more over excited wet man hugs than at a night at the blue oyster bar!

This celeb shit ain’t easy.

All this was very different to my Mahasi Vispanna meditation retreat. 8 days of Zen, enlightenment and being present! It was damn hard. There were a few times when I thought getting through the next hour, let alone the next 8 days was questionable.  But I did it, being mindful of the impermanence of things ;).

Apart from gaining spiritual enlightenment and national super stardom  The highlight of Burma has been going to a Shaolin monk’s birthday party with my Chinese/Burmese friends!  There was no kung fu, but lots of Ice cream and jelly! It was a really nice community affair with families and worshipers all providing food so we could enjoy a feast.  The monks took time out to speak to me and I felt really included in the celebrations.

 
Despite the political trouble here. People are extremely friendly and honest.  Plus they LOVE English football.  I actually pretended to like football! Some guys I met were SO enthusiastic to meet an Englishman to chat footie with, I didn’t have the heart to tell them actually I don’t like or know much about the” beautiful game!”  It’s all love.
 
After Burma it was a short trip to BKK.  It was a good to be back, the place feels so familiar and I know some good people there.  But I’m beginning to think I’m at the centre of a global conspiracy. I go to Burma a bomb goes off, I arrive in BKK literally an hour later a grenade attack at the train station I was at, either I’m prime suspect number 1, Carlos the jackal mark 2, or people are trying to kill me! I just got to the Nam, so expect a political uprising or unknown terror attack with in the next 24hr’s.
 
I am sad about what is happening in BKK at the moment.  I don’t believe the majority of the people involved in the demo’s are “bad”, maybe a bit easily led.  But not “bad”.  Politics seem very polarised here, I guess like everywhere it’s a tribe thing, the issues almost come second.  Men with Microphone’s screaming fiery rhetoric, people firing grenade launchers off and Thai police armed to the teeth, it’s not a good combination.  Things did feel a bit tense in some places.  As John Lennon said “all we are saying is give peace a chance.”

 
That said, Thailand is not BKK and BKK is HUGE. I still enjoyed the place. My friend had invited me over for a wedding and that was great. It was the reception which was pretty much a western affair, save a few karaoke jams and chicken’s feet, but it was cool to be invited and share that experience.  Afterwards we spent the night brocking out to Thai pop rock and drinking sangsun whiskey!
 
Increase the peace.
 
Dave

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ATM What!

I head forth to Burma, following in the footsteps of such luminaries as Rudyard Kipling, George Orwell and John Rambo! An unknown land, $15 in my back pocket, care free and ready for adventure. Utt ERR! Wrong answer MO FO! Head into Burma/Myanmar whatever you want to call it, with 15 bucks to your name, one major problem! No ATM!!! In the whole God damn country!
 
I found this out as the plane hit hard concrete at Rangoon international. Apparently they hadn’t got the memo “for everything else there’s MasterCard”  Because plastic didn’t mean ish.  These pesky politically corrupt regimes messing up my holiday cash flow.  I was either going to have to start a career as a masseur that offered happy ending’s! Or come up with another solution!  Luckily I met a helpful cabbie who told me about the “1 hotel” where I could get some “cash cash money, money cash hoes.” So Boom! We step on it, 1 hour later hard cash in hand we head for the black-market, where we whistle at a guy and he gets in the cab for some backseat business, FYI that’s strictly exchanging money, things had not descended to a “boogie nights” downfall low just yet!

Now I see Rangoon. First impressions; the city is awash with the old buildings of colonial grandeur, straight out of Piccadilly Circus, with street names like “the Strand.” And huge buildings in various state of rack and ruin. Some decaying and some shining with the glory of days gone by. The Indian influence is also much more noticeable here, last night there was an Indian procession through town. 
 
I met up with some Burmese/Chinese friends I made in Bangkok.  They took me out for dinner, to the Schwedagon pagoda, and explained some history about Burmese Chinese, how you only have electricity for half the day and other facts of living.  They have been extremely kind, introduced me to lots of Chinese/Burmese friends here, and asked me about the UK. 
 
People are genuinely curious and happy to meet foreigners.  Especially talling dashing Englishmen like myself ;).  I was a bit apprehensive as I had cringed when reading about the British Empire’s “glorious” past in Burma, thinking that maybe people might be a bit off key when they found out I was from the UK.  But not at all, they are very welcoming.  
 
Stop the press, cue wacky American voice over. “I’m about to embark on my kerazziest adventure yet!”  A meditation retreat. No talking, drinking or drug taking for a week! Up at 3 am, no eating after 12pm, ritually flogged by the monks! I’m making the last bit up, I hope! But it’s pretty hardcore. And TBH I’m a bit nervous about it, I think training for a marathon might be easier?! But it will be a challenge and an opportunity to learn, that would be hard to get back home. Let’s face it, travelling around the world, anyone could do it given the money, not that anyone just gave me the money haha. But meditation, in an ideal world, is something I’ve always thought would be good to learn. As with many things I’ve never had the time before, well now is time to make the time.  So I’ll be incommunicado for a while. Radio silence must be maintained! I’ll see you on the other side baby.

Dave

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Cambodia Calling!

Dream team reunited! Pan Asia tour part duos in full effect…erm!  WTF am I on about?! It’s the return of me mate Roj! He’s decided to up sticks, leave the UK and the English weather, for sunnier climes e.g. Phuket! That’s what I said!  In the mean time Roj and Dave do Cambodia, or Cambodia does us?!  I’m not sure which yet!
 
The place is quite different to any other country I’ve visited. A lot poorer. It’s like Charles Dickens’ 19th century London at 37 degrees Celsius. Street urchins play on the…street; begging kids, rubbish lining the road and people wearing pyjamas in the day time is the norm, I can’t remember that bit in Oliver Twist?! 
 
One thing that struck me personally, despite apparent difference from home, is that it reminded me of the stories my grandparents told me of growing up in the slums of Glasgow. No money for shoes, 10 people sleeping in a room, work as soon as you were able. The struggle to escape abject poverty, the haves and have not. Life was harsh then and it’s harsh now.  It made me think maybe things are not so different, if I can relate it to an experience with in my own family. 

Though, it is hard to comprehend in more than abstract terms what has happened in this country.  While people are happy and we enjoy ourselves, the haunting past hangs heavy in the air.  It’s tangible to feel when a person recounts a personal tragedy from their recent past.  And believe me everyone here has a story, Cambodia has one of the youngest populations in the world as a generation were literally wiped off the face of the earth.
 
Things have improved in Cambodia. But the government is still made up of former Khmer Rouge, hey no one is going to notice a small thing like that? And if you speak out of line your ass is prone to end up in a hole in the desert.  As a tourist here you are safe and can quite easily live in a bubble or air con mini vans and 5 star hotels.  Not that I’m deep under cover, stood knee deep in a paddy field wearing a conical hat and organizing the next peoples revolution or anything. 

But it is hard not to be affected by this place.  And with all our assumptions, we saw the face of the Khmer Rouge, an old gentlemen who son runs a local orphanage.  He plays with the children and is affectionate and loving. Black and white turns Grey and you realize why people here struggle to understand what has happened.  I don’t believe there was a master plan to wipe out the population, just a failed government looking for scapegoats and letting paranoia rule supreme.  Chaos killing and confusion followed leaving scars deep on the national psyche.  And it’s impossible not to be touched by that. The older generation live to survive, whilst the young are determined to pull themselves up. Though not in a “shit on any who gets in the way”, fashion. Which seems an attitude we openly celebrate back home, with shows like ‘The Apprentice’ being hailed as role models for entrepreneurial success.  There seems a deeper social conscience and responsibility to family and people here.  
 
I am not so naive to think that everyone in the east is on some happy clappy pixie dust trip, as some of the ko pnang yang yoga crew might have u believe haha. There are hustlers from top to bottom and some hold the do bad now, build 3 pagodas later path to nirvana, which is a comical twist on Karma. But I think the notion of Karma does have an influence, that and no social security.  12 hr shifts, night school, 6 days a week and non complacent attitude is common.  The spirit and determination of people is very humbling and inspiring because I don’t meet too many people like that back home.  That has been something I have taken from my trip across all of Asia.  
 
Day 6 at the temples of Angkor, we hit the campaign trail hard, hearts and minds old man 😉 This is one tourist attraction that meets the hype!  It’s like being on set of the next Indiana Jones film except with more Japanese tourists and no shit script from Lucas, crystal skull my ass!
 
Despite its popularity, there are secluded part’s of the complex. We came upon a huge temple where inside, an American hippie sat playing flute, surrounded by 40 Buddha’s! Nice! Then spent the next hour discussing his teaching with Hopi Indians and Mayan holy men. The crash of the dollar, the Asian 3 dragon illumine who aim to bring down US bankers and the 2012 apocalypse caused by galactic alignment and increased gravitational pull. Well it beats chit chat about the weather… But it is bloody HOT here.
 
In other Asian news… Some friend have asked me about the red shirt, Mr Thaksin supporters, protest in Bangkok. TBH ,I don’t know enough about Thai politics to say what Mr Thaksin opponents are like, not exactly great as far as I can tell?!  Call me old fashioned but Thaksin Manchester City money laundering antics are enough to raise, ahem, a few red flags! Thailand deserves better alternative’s.

The biggest joke though is Thaksin is now an economic “adviser” to the Cambodian Government. WTF are they smoking crack or something?! A man convicted of stealing over 40 million bucks from his own country, you ask financial advice from?! It’s like asking Michael Jackson for tips on baby sitting, that is if he were still alive?! Though I’m beginning to think he faked his own death, moved to Cambodia with Thaksin and is soon to be appointed head of child welfare out here. Truth is stranger than fiction.
 
Increase the peace!

Dave

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