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I dread to think...

What kind of mail awaits me when I return to Edinburgh.

Odds on there will be a red letter from the phone company demanding that I pay them or they're gonna send round the heavy squad to break my fingers.

There will, I know, be a letter from the local council informing me that I am due them a couple of months rent and unless I pay them I'll be hauled off to court. Fuck them, I'll pay when I have the money. If I pay at all. Ho ho.

Last day in Africa.

Well, the last month has certainly flew by. I fly out tonight at 19:20 and get back into Edinburgh at 12:30 tomorrow. Then it's back to work at the club where I stand behind the bar pretending I enjoy working there...

But enough of that for the moment, there are better things I can write about than how much I don't want to go back to my job of serving pensioners alcohol. There is my desire to see some more of this wonderful planet for one.

This trip to Africa has opened my eyes to the amount of places I can see, the people I can meet and the things I can do. Perhaps when I get back to Edinburgh I'll pack my job at the club in, get a job at the local Asda doing the nightshift stacking shelves, save up and take a year out and fuck off to the United States or travel around Europe. Perhaps.

Firstly I have to pay my Dad back the money I "borrowed" from him to pay for my ticket to come over to Africa. I say "borrowed" 'cos I told him I had the cash to pay him before I left but ho ho, I didn't. Gotta love him. And I do, just don't tell him. He'd just get all bigheaded.


Potholes and palm trees.

We got back from Mozambique yesterday night at about 5pm.

In particular my memories of Mozambique are of Inhambame being a place that I would move to in a heartbeat.

When we all went there last week there was a parade on due to the new President of the country visiting. Flags of many colors were nailed to the trees at the side of the road and banners proclaiming who the locals should vote for were draped between palm trees everywhere. It seemed that everyone that lived in the town was on the streets singing and showing their support for the democratic process. How little they know, I thought. Just wait until they realize that democracy is just another way for the elite to fuck you over. Then the shit will really hit the fan again for this beautiful country and there may be another civil war. But I hope that doesn't happen. I'd like to see nothing but positive things happen for the people and the places of Mozambique and Inhambame.

Wherever I go in the future there will always be the memory of Inhambame close to the front of my mind.

The local Jail was also nice. But that's another story... Which will be written at a later date.

Tattoo you.

I've never been one for mindless tourist tat. If you were to go on holiday and bring me back a stick of rock I'd probably attempt to insert it into your nasal passage. At best...

While visiting uShaka land in Durban the week we were staying with my aunt Eleanor and uncle Reg I went and got myself a new tattoo. Just as a constant reminder of my trip to Africa.

And, here it is...


Aint it cool? I think so. And that's all that really matters aint it.

If you feel like getting a tattoo then please remember that they are not easily removed and also remember that they do hurt when you get them done. Especially if you have sunburn as I did when I got this done on my back.

Trust me, I'm a Doctor.

I've been getting a few hits enquiring about T-Shirts with the words "Trust me, I'm a Doctor." So When I get back to the UK my first project is to make one of them up on my cafe press shop and start selling them.

I also want to do T-Shirts with the legends

"Lesbian is for life. Not just Christmas"

"Cogito Ergo Cum. I Think, Therefore I Wank."

"Show Me Your Tits."

I'm keeping a list of slogans that I can whack onto some shirts so keep an eye out for them in the future.

Almost over.

Well, my holiday is almost over. I've had a great time and over the next couple of weeks I'll no doubt be boring you all shitless with tales of my adventures. If I'm not in the tropical diseases ward of the Edinburgh royal infirmary suffering from malaria. Which is a distinct possibility as I didn't bother getting any prevention medicine before, or during, my holiday.

If I do get malaria it'll get me a couple of more weeks of work. Ho ho.

FAO Siggi.

If there is one thing I wish for right now it's for my friend Sara to be here and to see the things I've seen while on holiday in Africa. She'd love this place. Blue skies, blue seas and sunsets to die for. Perhaps one day I can bring her here and let here see them. Perhaps. Who knows.

First night.

I spent the first night in Mozambique having a lengthy conversation with Tami about whatever popped into our heads. And I gotta say I think she's one of the nicest members of the family that I've met. She's a bit on the quiet side but you can't fault her for that as she's only known me for a few weeks and some people take a while longer than others to open up to other people.

Read on...

I've been reading like a fucking demon the last couple of weeks. Steve has made the remark that he's never known anyone to read as much as I do. I'll take that as a compliment. I think it's meant as one.

Ever since I learned to speed read I have to say that my reading intake has been on an upwards spiral and that's never a bad thing. As the saying goes "knowledge is power."

I'm considering doing a 52 books in 52 weeks project when I get back to Scotland. I'll take suggestions for what I should read from people I know and do a report on each book when I finish it. Any suggestions for what to read will be welcomed to the usual address.

Mozz am big...

I have a sign on my arse...

It isn't visible to the human eye but it certainly is visible to the eyes of mosquitoes. I'm guessing that the sign reads something along the lines of "Free buffet. Bring the family." Because for the last few days in Mozambique I was almost eaten alive by the entire African population of mozzies.

I did buy some Mozzie repellent from the Leith Army and Navy stores before I came out here but I reckon all it does is give my flesh a slightly barbecue taste to it. 'cos I can hear the little fuckers lining up beside my bed at night sharpening their proboscis and eagerly awaiting their turn on the juicy rump of me.


Who wants to be a millionaire?

I'm rich, rich I tells ya.

Mozambique is a strange place. The language is Portuguese, the people are African and the monetary system is a fucking joke. I never in my life expected to pay 78000 of any kind of currency for a bottle of shampoo. Until I came to Guinjata bay and I did.

The currency here is called the mitacais and it's all fucked up. To explain it in a way that I understand it works like this... There are 12 south African Rand to the UK pound and three thousand Meticais to the Rand. Figure it out for yourself if you feel like kicking the shit out of your braincells. All I know is that if you want to be a millionaire in one easy step, move to Mozambique.


Language barrier.

I have very little grasp of any language other than Scots. English would be a whole different ball game for me if I could be bothered to learn it.

I'm having problems making myself understood in Mozambique as my accent is strong and my Portuguese is worse than shit. I can say "hello" and that's about it. Thankfully the locals here mostly speak English and if I was brave enough to try a South African accent I'm sure I'd have no problem being understood. But I aint about to go that far to make myself understood.

I'll just stick to the good old fashioned point at what you want and smile technique. It's far easier.


Shoes and chocolate.

Steve and I went to the pub today to watch the FA cup final and even though the game itself was shit I rather enjoyed it. Arsenal won on penalties after 120 minutes of, at times, dull and boring football.

I spent the rest of the day reading Marian Keyes' book "Postcards from the bed."

For several years now I thought women were deep, charismatic and enigmatic beings that I would never understand but this book sheds new light upon the whole female species. They're about as deep as a paddling pool. It's all about shoes, shopping and scents. Keep them well stocked in jimmy choos, give them a gold mastercard and let the rest take care of itself. There's nothing more to it. Or that's what I think anyhoo. Perhaps one day a woman will come along and prove me wrong but for some reason I doubt it.

And that's not to say I am in some way ridiculing the female species. I'm not that stupid. Mocking women is akin to going for a swim in great white territory with a fresh cut on your leg and hoping that they'll pass up the chance of an easy meal. Women are not things that nature meant for us men to annoy. Take that from someone who has had to try to split two women up when it came to blows and the fur began to fly.

There is a deeply rooted part of the female psyche that sees all men as the enemy. If you are a man then never try to separate two women who are intent on clawing each others eyes out. Let them rip one another to shreds. It's the ONLY thing to do. If you should decide to split them up remember this lesson... YOU are the common enemy. The one thing that women hate more than each other, when differences are unresolvable, is the male of the species.

They are like praying mantis on that side of the coin bubba. Praying mantis gone mental. Praying mantis gone menstrual. Keep back if you have any sense... If not, prepare to be scratched, clawed, mauled and kicked with pointy shoes and high heels to within an inch of your life. You think one woman gone postal is a bad thing? Wait until you have two sets of eyes flash red and glare at your throat with the intent of ripping out your jugular vein. It's not a pretty sight and it may be the last thing you see.


There are certain things in life that I've always wanted to try. Surfing has always been one of them.

Been there, done that. Rode the wave, Swallowed the seawater, got the scar to show to people in the pub.

Steve took me surfing last week while we were at Mtwalume and even though I can appreciate the adrenalin rush of surfing I don't think I'll ever be giving it a bash again. At least not in this lifetime. I'll leave that until I open my eyes and discover I am resident in the body of Kelly Slater. Or perhaps Eddie Aikau.

Until the point at which I waded into the Indian Ocean the closest I've ever been to a surfboard was when I walked past the Quicksilver shop in Edinburgh and thought it'd look cool to have a half surfboard sticking out the wall of my living room. I've canoed on the Forth estuary and have ridden a few waves by paddling frantically to catch the rising wall of water, but as for actually surfing, never done it. Until that day last week when the Gods that rule the ocean decided to spit me back onto the land for being to small to keep.

I was, as you can see in this pic...

Determined to ride the waves.,

Determined enough in my purposeful stride into the waves. And that's when it all went tits up.

Steve had explained to me the basics of surfing and I've ridden a skateboard in my time so I thought I'd be pretty quick to catch on to the art of surfing. It looks easy enough on the Extreme channel, I thought. How wrong I was. From the moment I was past waist height I could feel the current pull against my legs. No problem, I thought, it's all part of surfing. Just climb on board the board, paddle like a demon to get onto the face of the wave, stand up and keep your balance. Couldn't be easier. Wanna bet?

At this point...


I was still hopeful.

Steve, however, wasn't. From where he was he could see the rocks I was being dragged towards.

I, meanwhile, was thinking to myself that I was A-OK. The waves that were tossing me about seemed to be not attempting to drown me. Yet. That was about to change though. If only in my mind.

After several attempts to get on the board, find a point of balance and turning over like a drunken turtle, Steve appeared in my eyeline with what looked like concern in his eyes. If I had been able to say anything to him it would, at that point, have been "This is fun. In a scary kind of way, it's almost like a rollercoaster with water involved."

But, due to him saying to me, in a very concerned tone of voice, "You're heading towards the rocks, can you swim in from here?" and continuing with the remark "Whatever you do, just don't panic on me." my mindset changed from this-is-dangerously-fun mode to holy-fuck-I-could-die mode.

At that point every wave, which had previously been a bringer of a whoop-rise-whoop-descend-hold your breath-surface-deep breath-laugh out loud kind of rush, became a, Shit!-wave-swallow water-submerge-sink-kick wildly-swallow water-panic-swallow water-panic-Fuck-I-could-die-Please lord don't kill me-rinse and repeat episode of mayhem.

I'm not a religiously fanatical type when it comes to the existence of God. I have not been to a church in years and have no name that I can attach to my invisible deity but there are times when even the least religious person says a silent prayer. I said mine then. Hurriedly.

The little voice in my head pleaded for a respite in the relentless crash of the waves. "Get fucked..." Replied a different voice. Which at that instant I was wholly prepared to accept as the voice of God, "Who do you think you are? Moses? If you want miracles, you should have started praying a long time ago bubba. You owe me lots, I owe you jack shit. Have a nice day... If it lasts."

As wave after wave pounded over the top of me I could see reddish brown rocks out the corner of my eye. "Ahh well," I thought, "At least I'll have died in a cool way, challenging the sea. There are worse ways to go."

Something, or Someone, must have heard this thought of mine and decided that I wasn't going to be allowed to see the positive side at a time like this and I felt something solid below my feet. It was the rocks I had previously thought I was going to be dashed against and killed. I looked up to see that an almost perfect slope lead upwards past the wash line of the waves.

I walked up the slope and turned to that Steve had gotten out of the water alright. He told me to take a sit down and get my breath back. I did as I was told and sat my arse down on the rocks and took stock of my surfing career. Time to retire, I thought. Firstly, Count your limbs and check for missing parts. Which is exactly what I'm doing in this picture...


What I'm doing smiling in the following one is beyond me at this present moment. Perhaps It was the grin of someone who just survived stupidity. I'd like to think it is. Just 'cos it was.



If you said to me in a proud and happy voice "How do you fancy going to see a musical?" I'd ask if you had totally lost your mind. Musicals and I are like chalk and cheese, Oil and water, Armed forces and peaceful resolutions. But now I'm not so sure that this would be my reply to you if you asked me that question this week.

Last Saturday Steph, Steve, Tami and I all took a ride into Joburg town center to see the musical Chicago. And, much as it pains me to say it, I actually enjoyed it. I was even singing one of the songs as I stood in the foyer after the show had finished.

After the show finished we hopped into the car and shot across town to the restaurant "Moyo". Take my word for it, If you are ever in Joburg do yourself a favor and book a table at this restaurant. It blew my mind. And that aint an easy thing to do. I've drank a bottle of absinthe in one night.

Another thing to do, if you do somehow find yourself in joburg with no plans for what to do for eats and decide to check out Moyo, is when you phone up tell them it's your birthday. Even if it isn't. Lie, deceive and be dishonest, it's worth it.

The table that we were next to had someone at it that had a birthday and the staff of this marvelous restaurant went all out to let make it a special night for the birthday girl. In an Edinburgh restaurant you'll be lucky to be able to have a cake brought to your table, and remember to provide the candles, at Moyo you don't just get a cake brought to your table, you get three African drum players and all the staff dancing as though possessed by the devil. A marvelous sight indeed. And well worth doing penance for if you are of the Catholic faith, or burning in hell for if you wanna take that chance.

This restaurant is above and beyond a dining experience. I'd call it a lifestyle choice.

Read on Mcduff...

In the last two weeks of my holiday I've plugged through several books. The list so far is...
  • The Da Vinci Code. Dan Brown.
  • Bill Hicks. Agent of Evolution. Kevin Booth.
  • On the Road. Jack Kerouac.
  • The monstrous Regiment. Terry Pratchett.
  • The Wee Free men. Terry Pratchett.
I've just begun Angels and Demons by Dan Brown and hope to have it finished by tomorrow night at some point. Then I'm going to take a bash at River God by Wilbur Smith as Steve has recommended that I do so.

The wandering continues.

Back in Joburg.

I've had a very lazy day. I didn't get up until 1pm. That's awfully close to my rising time in Edinburgh but since I've been in Africa I don't think I've slept past 10am in the morning, for fear of missing out on seeing some new type of creature to question Steve about.

I've seen so much wildlife while here that my mind reels at the thought that I haven't seen anything close to .000000001 of the animals and plants in Africa.

In the last week or so, (I have no idea what date it is. Or what day. Holidays are like that.) We've been in Mtwalume, which is where my Auntie Eleanor and my Uncle Ricky live. The week has been enjoyable so much so that I am almost unable to describe the things I have seen and learned.


Elephants on parade.

Elephants on parade.

Also taken at Pilanesberg National Park.

Heavens above.

2005 a spaced odyssey

I took this picture at Pilanesburg National park. I thought I'd pop it up here just to let you all see how horrible my holiday is turning out. Yeah, Right...

Joburg diary.

I've been making notes on the journey as I've went along and as a small experiment I've decided to type them out here as they are. Whether they make sense or not is a different matter.

note #1
Kicking up dust in an African scene, Gineafowl scamper, skitter and skat. Kerouac invades my mind. I dig that cat. That real gone kid. The sage of the road calls to my soul and my heart is captured by the Moment, the Momentum and the Movement. All is good, all is Gone, but all is God.

Note #2
A small bird with Brest of red
Welcomes me as I rise from bed
Chipper, chip and chirp it cries
As I start to realize
All of time is but a blink
All I do is sit and think.

Note #3
Sun City.
Blackpool on acid. Las Vegas on Lithium.
There are lion heads and elephant busts carved into walls of solid rock. But the rock is not solid and It's only well sculpted concrete. The casino is more crooked than a carneys wet dream. Buy the ticket and take the ride? More like buy a ticket and be taken for a ride. Gimme a kiss, I feel like I just got fucked. Spectacular if only for the look of the place.

Note #4
The long straight highways pass by shanty's and shacks. Roadside sellers of fruit, sunglasses and all manner of trinkets and baubles. "Masta wan' buy Ray bans?" "Masta wan' buy Radio?" inside I feel I could offer him 100rand for his wife. Just like Belushi in Blues Brothers, "Sell me your wife, how much for your children?" I fight the urge as I realize these guys have guns. Or can get them...

note #5
Drunk in pilanesburg.
The stars above my head shine and twinkle like a million candles on a hillside that is in the middle distance. Discussing alien life with Steve while wandering through the camp with a 12 year old scotch, and then going to play on the swings and the trampoline. Steal a sunflower for Tami. I think she appreciated it. It certainly made her laugh when I told her it was plastic and wouldn't ever need watering. I'm fighting the urge to scream at the top of my lungs because it is so quiet. It's the devil in me.

note #6
Long straight roads do not make for fun on a motorcycle. There are no curves to get you giggling, No switchback for the soul. Big Country plays on the radio as we drive through The Big Country. Pulling in for gas at a gas station is like watching a 50's movie. Guys in uniform buzz around the car checking oil and tyre pressure. They even clean the windscreen.

Note #7
I have sunburned my lips.

Note #8
At the roadside, shops sell Everything from fruit and battery operated fans and carved heads to life sized Giraffes and elephants. Perhaps mum would like an elephant for the back garden. It'd certainly keep the cats out...

Note #9
I've been reading "On the road" by Jack Kerouac. It fills my soul with longing for The Road. Sal Paradise is taking me to places unknown and experiences unlived.
The Wild Jazz of the writing makes me wonder if I could Go, Just Go, Sell up and fuck off. Screw the gas on and slide along the spiral of life on the Road.

And that is what is written in my notebook.

tomorrow we are having sushi and will be going into joburg to see the musical Chicago. It should be fun. I'll also be topping up my suntan sitting at poolside and sipping my way through some more beers. I may even have a bacardi or six. Damn it's tough.

Out of Africa.

We've spent the last three days at Pilanesberg national park. Situated in the middle of what used to be a volcano, Pilanesberg is the most amazing thing I have ever seen. We arrived there on Tuesday afternoon and set up the caravan in the camping grounds within the park boundary.

I lost count of the amount of wildlife that we saw. Fortunately Steve kept a running total.

  • Elephants- 33+
  • giraffe- 10+
  • wildebeest- 10+
  • Zebra- 10+
  • Impala- too many to count but at a guess I'd say in the 60+ range.
  • Hartebeast- 10+
  • Kudu- 10+
  • black backed Jackal- 2
  • Ostrich- 2
  • Springbok- 10+
  • Vervet monkey- 10+
  • Waterbuck- 10
  • Warthog- 8
  • Eland- 6
  • White rhino- 7
  • hippopotomus- 7

Sadly we didn't get to see any of the big cats, lions etc, but I'd much rather have not seen them in the wild than stuck behind bars in a zoo.


It's always the quiet one...

My cousin Tamilyn is a bit on the quiet side.

A bit? I've heard louder mouse farts. But don't get me wrong on this, I am in no way saying that being quiet is a bad thing. Fuck, if only George W Warmonger was as quiet as Tami seems to be then we would all be living in a peaceful world where birds sang you awake with your favorite tune and no one would die in any war.

People are different. That's what makes the world go around. Though I'm pretty sure that's got something to do with physics and the movement of planetary bodies in space but you know what I mean...

I told Tami that I found it very disconcerting that she was so quiet tonight and she told me that she was "different when [she's] drunk." Ahahaha. Aint we all. My mission is set. Get Tami drunk and see what really lies beneath the cool exterior of this attractive young woman. And do not think for a second that I'm gonna try to jump her bones, I'm merely intrigued by the silent type. They always have something to hide. And I like finding out the things that people try to hide.

Diamonds on the soles of her shoes...

I've been in south Africa for a couple of days now and I'm having the time of my life. Steve, his wife Steph and my cousin Tami have made me feel very welcome and I'm busy trying to think of something, or somehow, I can show my appreciation. Perhaps a Vettriano print for the wall of their house? Fucked if I know. Any suggestions drop me a line.

This evening was spent at lusito land which is a yearly benefit concert for handicapped Portuguese kids. The atmosphere was fantastic. If you ever held any preconceived notions as to what an African benefit concert was all about the forget it bubba, it aint jack shit like what you ever expected.

The first thing that struck me was the fact that south Africa is a multicultural society. There is no race divide. It does not exist anymore. If it ever existed in the first place other than in the minds of the whites. Perhaps before apartheid it was different but I saw very little of the divide at lusito land. Whites danced with blacks, Portuguese and Spanish danced with each other and I tapped my foot and at one point I almost shook my tailfeather. Almost.

While at lusito land I was reminded of the shite side of Scotland when the DJ played the Proclaimers song 500 miles. Perhaps this was a small reminder to me that Scotland exists when I'm not there, but I doubt it. It was probably just coincidence.

Even though the organizers of Lusito land fucked up on the choice of music to play they did however knock seven shades of shit out of the live band. After having Portuguese calamari in prego sauce we all trooped over to the stage to watch a band named Prime Circle. Did they rock? Did they ever.

Even with only a minimal crowd of people these guys went balls to the wall to give the best show possible. If a young screaming female fanbase is a precursor to fame then the world had better watch out as these puppies have that in abundance. And their music will blister your brain too. Never a bad thing. The rhythm section is tighter than a nuns fuckpack and the singer could, I suspect, knock the balls off of lesser talented minions. Sure there is a sign of pearl jam and other mainstream rock and roll influences but trust me, these guys are full on, get your tits out rock and roll. Long may they last. Check out their website here.

Under African skies.

I arrived safely on Sunday morning and met up with my cousin Steven and his daughter Tami. The weather has been amazing and I am loving every minute of it.

Last night we had a south African BBQ while sitting next to the pool.

While Tami and Steff (Steve's wife) went out shopping this morning Steve and I hopped on his motorbike and took a trip to the Kyalami race track for a motorcycle expo and show. I'm not sure what was better to look at, the bikes or the brolly dollys who were dotted around the place. The choice was difficult to say the least. Do you slobber over a serie oro MV Augusta and look like a petrolhead or slobber over a brolly dolly in a tightfitting lycra body suit and look like a pervert... Tough choice huh? I have sunglasses that hide my eyes so I did both.

Off into the wild blue yonder.

From my notes..

I got dropped of at Edinburgh airport by my mum and dad. My flight was scheduled to leave at 5.45 but due to my mum not wanting me to miss check in we left my flat @ 2pm. Nothing like erring on the side of caution.
I said cheerio to my mum and dad and watched as they pulled away. As I stood outside departures I began smoking like a lab beagle so that I could put up with the prospect of not being able to light up for the next 11 hours or so.
By the time departures were open I'd smoked enough cigarettes to kill a reasonable sized mammal and left a pile of dog ends large enough for someone to trip over.

I picked up my bag, slung it over my shoulder and headed towards check in. No turning back now.

I checked in at gate 38 and as I had another hour until the flight I made my way towards the smokers section of the airport. While I sat reading my book a guy in a business suit struck up a conversation with me. He explained to me that he'd been stuck in the airport for six hours due to his friends missing their flight up from Manchester and we passed the time by doing what all brits do, talking about the weather. I learned that he was from the whiral and that he was in Edinburgh for the wedding of an "old school chum" His accent and his general demeanor made me think of suited and booted business men out to screw someone out of their fortune but he seemed not too bad and I was glad of the company.

I wandered into the shop to buy some sweets for the flight and was astounded to overhear someone ask the assistant if the Irn Bru they were selling was genuine Irn Bru. I kid you not. "It's not the watered down version we get in England is it?" she asked, as though Barrs weaken the recipe just in case the "real" version causes the English race to develop a Scots accent and take up the art of chibbing...

I paid for the sweets I bought and with a smile and a comment about the weak Irn Bru to the shop assistant I headed for the nearest bar. Two pints of Guinness and black later I wandered to the departure lounge and the duty free shop.

As I browsed through the selection of malts and other spirits I was approached by a nice looking blond sales assistant and she began her spiel about what was on offer and asked me what I was looking for. I told her to save it for the tourists and thanked her for the offer.

I bought three bottles of spirits and made my way to the departure gate.

The aircraft was on schedule and I, and the rest of the passengers boarded. The aircraft taxied to the start of the runway and the pilot threw the engines into thrust mode, or whatever it is that he does, and we shot down the runway and off into the skies. The adventure had begun...