Location: Swansea, UK
Richie: Folks, I've finally got around to adding some more photos.
Location: New Delhi, India
Richie: Richie's coming home, he's coming home, he's coming...
And so round-the-world 2 is very rapidly approaching an end. Although 10 KGs lighter and SIGNIFICANTLY poorer, I've many, many fond memories and an awful lot to be grateful for. Perhaps it won't make the most interesting of reading but some thank-yous are definitely in order.
Firstly to those of you that opened up your homes and fed and watered me like a lord, many thanks. To John and Hannah, Fab and Nat, Andy, Jenny and Steve, Sue and Hans, and Dacourt, it was genuinely appreciated.
To those of you that came out to visit. To Geouser, Dai bach, Cath and Mike, Matt and Stu, some good times. Some great times. A special mention for my faithful travelling companion too. Mr Kirk, it didn't quite work out as we'd spent all those important Cardiff pub hours planning it. Still, travelling NZ with you was a true pleasure. May you go well and in good health for the remainder (a word to the wise, skip the Madras when you make it over here).
To my folks, for your initial blessing coupled with your support throughout, I'm most grateful. Mother, you can nearly stop worrying. Pop, yep, I will start looking for gainful employment soon.
To all of you that I met along the way, including those that didn't make a guest entry on the site, a special thanks. For me travelling is more about the people that I meet than the 'attractions' I visit. It was always a pleasure. Please stay in touch.
And finally the readers. I hope this site has given you an insight into what I get up to whilst on the road. I hope you will have gained an appreciation of what a conscientious traveller I am, immersing myself in local cultures with full understanding and tolerance of their beliefs and cultures. It is all about respecting the individual. It vould not ve vight zticking to ztereotypez, or taking the pithth out of the mithfortuneth of otherth.
Cheers also to those of you whom kept me amused with your contributions to the message board. Any final missives are of course most welcome. I'll be adding a stack more photos imminently too so keep an eye open.
"Travel is the most private of pleasures. There is no greater bore than the a travel bore. We do not least want to hear what he has seen in Hong-Kong". Vita Sackville-West.
I hope my ramblings over the past months haven't bored you too much. I look forward to catching up soon.
Location: Delhi, India
Av Appu: An Update.
Mr Moya, I'll admit that I was getting a little worried. Finally though, I think we've got him.
For 2 weeks he pranced around Rajasthan: visiting temples, exploring the myriad of corridors in ancient forts, stumbling around grand palaces, cycling through national parks, and haggling hard over pennies. Everyone called him 'Sir'. He ate good food and drank like a Rajput. Seemingly he had little concern for our business interests.
Well, Mr Moya, I am happy to report that things have changed. With the high pollution and general lack of hygiene, we really can't be certain, but we're pretty sure it was the chicken Madras that kicked things off.
I can tell you, Mr Moya, my staff have been Singh-ing, Dan Singh and generally Joy Singh. It was soon after Lance Singh the chicken that Richie first went Ray Singh to the toilet. I suppose he was Dai Singh eating meat in the first place.
Fleur Singh, Richie's neighbour, reports hearing him Russ Singh to the Johns throughout the night. Without Joe Singh, she thinks he's a Centurion already. Quite Amy Singh.
So Richie has been Lou Singh all the weight that he'd drank hard to put back on. The fat is Miss Singh. Maybe now there'll be some Roman Singh.
Richie: Enough. Quite enough.
Sadly inevitable I guess, getting the squits again. It means I'm stuck in the heavily polluted and extremely hot (39 degrees) HOLE that is Delhi. Mother, a request please if I may, no curry and rice for a while when I'm back home.
Location: Pushkar, India
Vijay Singh (AKA The Camel Man): Holi Water
My friends, welcome to India. I organised a camel safari for Richie. Just him and 3 servants to cater for his every need. As has been the trend on the latter half of his trip, the weather was ridiculous. It simply NEVER rains in the desert in March. It rained.
They exited the desert on the day of the Holi festival, India's unofficial national drinking day. For breakfast we gave Richie a whisky and water. Followed by another. Then another. Then...
I am of high caste, of course. The Holi party I threw was attended by the most distinguished of guests. All of whom got hideously drunk, covered each other in coloured powder, danced like muppets, and passed out by 5PM. All, that is, with the exception of the city's most important resident, the Army General. We left him in the less than capable hands of a rather pale-looking Richie, talking politics.
Richie: An attack on the senses.
I remember writing something similar last time I was in India. The place really does attack the senses. It's a country of contrast. It's sublime and ridiculous.
I've tasted some wonderful chicken curries but I've had some foul fowl. I've seen some grand palaces but have also seen the outcome of eating foul fowl. I've heard the song of the early morning birds but have, all too frequently, heard the desperate cry for rupees. I've smelt the incense burning in temples, masking the stench of the open sewer that runs outside.
It's sublime and ridiculous.
Location: New Delhi, India
Ebrique Moya: The Delhi Belly Centurion.
Just as it seemed my days were numbered at TROTS ((Toilet Rolls of Trot Sufferers) South America, Ltd), it seems I've been thrown a life line: Richie has gone to India, his 21st and final country of this trip.
Many a roll manufacturer has tried and failed to set up an Indian paper market - it's the land of the hand. This time though Richie will be back there.
I have appointed Av Appu as SHITS (Secretary for the Headquarters of Indian Toiletary Supplies). Evidently his marketing department have already got things moving. On Richie's webpage they're organising a competition called 'A Ton Of Runs'. Readers are invited to guess the number of times Richie will have to go for a 2 during his 23 days in India. TROTS will present a packet of toilet rolls to the person whom predicts closest. Good luck.
Richie: A little scatalogical? Perhaps. Feel free to have a go though. The current going is good to firm, soft in places. Please bare in mind that I've just had a chicken tikka masala for breakfast. My conservative estimate - a century.
Location: Airport, Hong Kong
Richie: Just Rugby.
Over the past five days I have watched around one hundred live games of rugby, and crucially one televised game. I kid you not.
The Tens tournament proved a more than adequate build up to the main event. Over the years much has been written about the Hong Kong 7s. I'll just say that it was simply awesome. My metaphorical hat gets removed for the gentlemen of the South Stand for the shear quantity of alcohol consumed, albeit predominantly Pimms. A huge thanks to Pop for sorting out the tickets.
Then, of course, was the Grand Slam. A quiet drink or two was consumed after the game, as one maybe able to imagine. I shall not make a habit of hugging strange men (or any men for that matter) on the streets.
To Sir Clive and Gay Nev (Charv's hairdresser), thanks for the messages (see opposite). It is with regret that I must inform you that it all got on top of me and I went for a haircut. Quite an ordeal it turned out to be too. I'll edit a long story. For the third consecutive time I had it cut by someone that doesn't speak a word of the Queen's (including one in Cardiff). It's about time I learnt my lesson. We resorted to pointing at pictures in the magazine. My Ericsson-sponsored Assertivess course proved insufficient as Mr Mopp Chop, the 'Lead Stylist' had his heart set on the style of a Japanese footballer. I'm just off to India in search of a Rhino.
Location: Hong Kong
Rex Patrick: Where east meets west.
It's not how it used to be. Before the Chinese takeaway I mean. You wouldn't have had the Chinky-Chonks working behind the bar back then. Gweilo only, Murphy's was.
Yeah, I come down every Friday and Saturday. Sunday too. All day. I drink price inflated import beer. Pint after pint after pint. I'll speak to anyone, me. As long as they're gweilo that is. I read my International Times and eat my mushy peas and chips. None of that foreign muck - not that I've tried it, mind.
Go back home? Me? Never, I'd miss the Hong Kong culture.
Richie:Back in Hong Kong. Had no luck in the HK Derby yesterday.
Many congratulations go to Mike and sister Cath on the birth of their first child, Emily.
Other significant news, well, I now own a pair of trousers. And I've worn them.
Location: Macau (not strictly Hong Kong), Hong Kong
Richie: I am in my element.
I was hungover when I arrived in Hong Kong. I badly wanted to sleep. All of the tout's Christmases (or Chun Jies, or Yuanxiao Jies, or Kongzi Shengris, or whatever it is the chap believes in) came at once when I agreed to his origional asking price for a room/box in the infamous Nathan Road mansions. 'This where long people with big bag stay'. My box was opposite the appropriately named Main Lee Tak Hotel.
After a rat interupted doze, I went out to see what the city had to offer. I headed straight for the harbour to take in the much heralded view of Hong Kong's skyline. Magnificent it was too. I took 4 photos and 2 video clips. But not of the buildings. Nor of the boats. There were other attractions.
My timing was perfect as the show was just about to get underway. For some unknown reason, one of the girls had brought her Ghetto Blaster (remember them?) down to the pedestrianised viewing path. She and twentysomething female twentysomethings started to dance. A touch erotically I might add. No rush, Richie thought. Maybe just hang around for a wee while. Others seemingly had the same idea. It wasn't long before I was joined by Fran Sear, Des Prat, Ben Ages, and Pierre Vert, to name but a few.
There was an elderly Chinese chap looking on from afar. Very smart in appearance, with has dapper whistle and flute, brief case in hand. As he approached I was a little suprised to see his head rocking to the beat of the 'modern' music. I was more suprised when he set his brief case down and joined the girls on the makeshift dance floor.
The girls, a little shocked at first, soon warmed to him as they saw a potential target and source of amusement. They took turns to flirt with him. This was until they got more than they bargained for, however. Wan Sum Yung Ass started bumping and grinding like the black guys fifty years his junior do on MTV. I smiled and drew my camera.
When I returned 2 hours later, Wan Sum Yung Ass had drawn quite a crowd. The girls kept their distance.
I can not give Wan Sum Yung Ass the Freak of the Week award. Simply because competition has been so fierce. Both Hong Kong and Macau are rife with bizarre behaviour. I am in my element.
*****************************- *********** NOTICE *********************************- ******
For your own protection, the following paragraph has been censored.
Now, I was hoping to put some photos of my last few months of travelling on the page for you. Unfortunately, some beeping beep was picked the locks on my backpack and stolen my memory cards. You beeping beep. If I catch you, I'll rip your beeping beep beep off, you beep.
Location: Ko Samui, Thailand
Michael Pay: How much?
Alwight Geez? 'Aving a wicked time in Thailand. There are some diamond chicks. I've even got myself a girlfriend. For just 5,000 Baht a week, can't go wrong, Geez. A young one she is too.
Drink, drink, fecking drink - that's what it's all about. After a good sesh I'll sit outside my beach bungalow screeching out songs, Geez. Diamond.
Cracking drink at the Full Moon Party, Geez. Six thousand people - Richie and Stu amoung the number - were off there fecking faces. I managed to collect the black eye that I deserved.
Hey, she's nice. How much, darlin'?
Amy Horre: Hello sexy boy. Welcome.
Richie: I can't walk past a bar in Ko Samui without a dozen or so attractive young Thai girls screaming out to beckon me in. I reckon they just like my hair style.
Ad, congratulations mate. For your Bangkok to KL journey time prediction, you're to become the no doubt proud owner of a fake silver KL plate, complete with stand and presentation box. Actual journey time: 29 hours and 40 mins. I flew back up.
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Frank: Contacts, dear boy. It's all about contacts.
We meet the fine young man whilst watching golf at the Malaysian Open. One of our chaps was playing, you see. Us expats, we must stick together.
We organised Richard a Player's Pass, with all its associated privileges. I must admit that he did look a little out of place drinking the free beer in the Player's Lounge, with his stubble, his hat hair, and his scabby, backpacker's rags on. Still, none of the players, the resort GM, nor the tour director that he was hob-nobbing with seemed to mind.
The natives here seem to be under the false impression that because the name has changed from British Malaya to Malaysia, that they have some kind of claim to the place. What utter nonsense. The chaps and I know how to treat them. 'You - get me another jug - NOW'.
Howell Wong: When Wichie wee wee, we will watch.
Sue Pa Man: I could no give Wichie train ticket. I laughing. Everyone else get delayed. I just laugh. Wichie, he much look like Superman. Ha, ha, ha, ha. I laugh. Superman, ha, ha, ha...
Richie: Yeah, I'd forgetten about that. Seemingly through the eyes of virtually every asian, and indeed the folk from the South Pacific, I seem to have an uncanny resemblance to Superman. Much to their amusement, of course.
A little story for you before I sign off. Now it's very, very rare that I sleep walk. Evidently I did the other night though. As I awoke I was standing at the far end of the hotel corridor. I'd locked myself out of my room. To be fair, they didn't even batter an eyelid as I walked down into reception - as naked as the day I was born.
Click on any of the headings above to see some photos.
Get Your own Planet Ranger Travel Page. Click Here
Response: Hmmm, fruity.
Gay Nev, we need to talk.
Response: Gay Nev,
Can you please assure me that all of your staff speak fluent English?
Rob is fine, just a tad lazy with his writing evidently. He's currently in Aussie although I understand Thailand is expecting his imminent arrival.
Response: Thanks boyo.
Being an avid reader, you'll no doubt be aware that, since my departure back in July, I have indeed been Salsa dancing, grown a moustache, appeared on the front page of Odd Shaped Balls, and hugged men in public. At this stage I feel it important that I also write - before the tabloids do - that the other day I had a facial. I honestly only went to the barber for a shave. Before I knew it... There were no cucumbers involved!
Despite the mass of evidence outlined above, Julian, I'd like to categorically assert that I'm not your way inclined. I'm sorry. I hope that Nev and you are able to sort things out, and that your swords don't cross (or do cross, depending on your preference).
Given that I've evidently missed out on a Tour position, and unemployment and homelessness loom large, I may need a little floor space. What was your cottage number?
Response: To: Sir Clive
CC: The World's media
Please take note.
I was going to wait until Monday to make this announcement but I feel my hand has been forced rather.
Sir Clive, I'd like to expose you as a conniving, self-centred brute. I have finally worked out what it is you've been up to. You want me to switch codes, and not in the Neville/Julian type way. You want me to play for Southampton FC next season.
I'll admit you were very clever organising all those ladies to wear me down with their continous hair-nagging in South America. I eventually weakened and fell into your trap.
You underestimated my determination though. As the media reported of the fine form I was showing in the far east, you panicked and, like I coward, resorted to threats. I now understand why Mopp Chopp was so determined to give me a 'Japanese Footballer'.
Well, Clive, I may miss out on this year's Tour but I will return. You mark my words. With a potential 4 years growth with no apparent need of harvest, I'm confident of reaching Jones proportions. Beware Bear Hair!
If you are considering legal action over these allegations, remember please that I'm aware of your and Matt Dawson's 'little secret'.
PS All the best to the lads on Tour.
Response: Sir Clive,
I am delighted. Of course I will be available for the Tour. I shall cancel all other work commitments immediately.
I'm not too sure about the photo-shoot. Would I be able to wear my white socks with the dark team suit, Charv' stylie?
Richie the Lion
Response: Dear Uncle Neville,
Please, please help. I am desperate. If you can't assist then I can see no other alternative but to chop it off.
You may remember that I made the front cover of Odd Shaped Balls back in November when, in a moment of weakness, I made the foolhardy decision to rid myself of my beautiful locks. Perhaps understandably, Sir Clive acted immediately and my Lions chances seemed all but over.
Well Neville, as driven as I am, I've never given up my dream. I've dedicated significant amounts of time and effort to my regrowth strategy. I've been on a supplimentary alcohol diet, particularly under the eye of Mr Beer (really), my personal nutrition expert, at Thailand's gruelling 'Beach of Pain' training camp. At great personal expense I've travelled the globe to seek hair growth advice from such experts as Scott Johnson (Tactics and Hair Handling, Australia), Charv (Public Relations, Wales (V. expensive!)), Rupert Moon (H2O Application, Roving), Miss Inga Hare (School for the Bold, Argentina), and Dr How Soo Fasth (Acceleration Expert, University of Bouffant, Malaysia). I am currently under the watchful eye of Mr Fuey, Hong Kong's premier Feng Shui expert. He's maximised my growth potential by matching my 'energy lines' with those of Mr Adam Jones.
Uncle Neville, personally I am delighted with the progress that I've made, particularly with the 'push', as Scott calls it, over the last few weeks. I feel I'm starting to show the form that bought me into Lions contention back in the Autumn series. However, I've not heard a peep from Sir Clive. I didn't even get a motivational Christmas card from him.
Unc Nev (can I call you that?), I'm on the verge of giving it all up and having the chop. Please help.
Yours in desperation,
Response: Very long!
Response: Hello Neville,
Sir Clive here. Tell me, I understand that you are the Agony Uncle Neville from such fine rugby publications as 'The Gay Flanker' and 'Odd Shaped Balls'. Is this correct? I do hope so as I'm in need of your advice.
I did so hope that I'd be able to field a purely English Lions test team this summer. Neville, you'll have seen for yourself however, that the whole England squad are pathetic.
My question is then, Neville, should I be bald enough (pun intended) to pick a wholly English team, or should I give in to media pressure and let O'Driscoll have a half in one test?
Response: The Welsh, the French, and the Irish. Is it luck, you must ask yourselves?
Response: I was supposed to have learnt all that in my SAS training.
Response: Sorry. Having an interest in rugby, I assumed you were male. Being a male hairdresser, I assumed you were gay. Being gay, I assumed you were called Nigel.
You were correct. The weight of Colin's hair has ultimately forced him out of next week's vital encounter. Perhaps the growth of a handlebar mo may help provide a much needed balance. Tell him not to worry if he can't include any ginger.
A new jacket... $300
A new pair of shoes... $200
A ginger handlebar moustache... PRICELESS!
For everything else there's Mastercard. (Which you can use at www.dec.org.uk to make your donation).
Does he expect us to believe that the person in the bottom left corner is the same as that in the bottom right?
How do you find Regaine btw? I ask not for my benefit but for a number of other readers whom are similarly challenged.
Response: Excellent choice. A very real contender.
Response: Ah, how could I have forgotten 'The Intellectual'. A good option, worthy of considerable consideration.
I've just checked with the IRB. Grecian 2000 is listed as a banned substance due to it's performance enhancing properties.
Apparently it's allowed in the geriatric's leagues however. I wouldn't go drinking too much of it though!
A perfectly reasoned argument. The truth shall be revealed shortly.
Once again, a pleasure to recieve your correspondence. You too have thought logically to try to solve the puzzle.
I can confirm that my father still has a full head of hair and that he would be most anxious to accept his NZ ticket.
Can I ask on his behalf though whether there are any playing restrictions imposed in respect to the ratio of grey to black hair?
Wrt the hair scouting, I'd be honoured to take a look. I'll need at least 4 assistants and a water carrier with me at all times though.
Response: Thanks Gerald.
Regards to the Bridgend folk. Please wish them all the best for the New Year.
The only question I wish to ask is whether you believe a person of my sophistication and standing, and with my fashion sense could possibly let their hair get into that kind of a state?
It's for you to decide!