It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

Now, where’s that from again?

2006 was a strange year. I’ve taken the biggest leap of faith of my life and seen eight new countries; I got to see one of my best friends become a dad for the first time – in New Zealand; I learned to dive; I worked with tigers in a Buddhist temple; I jumped out of a plane; I met a gazillion new people and made friends with a lot of them; I taught Vietnamese kids how to make web pages; I rode two elephants; I held a koala, a snake and a lizard for the first time.

And I had my heart broken into so many pieces that I don’t know if it will be the same again.

I guess I learned two things:

1) that people you meet can turn out to be astoundingly kind and generous even to virtual strangers. Stand up and take a bow (in no order) – Mari & Jess, the Luxfords, Mala and Gilbert, the couple who loaned me my rent in Hanoi when my cashcard got “swallowed”, the others who bought me food, Ben in Melbourne, Elaine, Belinda & Albert, my parents, the staff at Hanoi Backpackers’, staff and locals from Inn Crowd, Kim, Chris & Lydia, Anni… My apologies to anyone I’ve forgotten.

2) that the people you think you can trust the most are the ones who can let you down and hurt you more than anyone else. Even when they come with a good reputation, glowing history in being nice to people and friends that you trust to give you an honest opinion of them, don’t expect them not to be capable of lying, cheating and screwing your life up as well – if not better – than some random malicious bastard. It’s even worse when they say they care about you – or even love you – while they’re doing it.

So in the grand scheme of things, this year past has been one of balance. All of the amazing things were pretty much written off and spoiled by one single shitty event which to date still cuts deep – and for which I still haven’t had the slightest hint of an explanation.

Bitter? ******* right I’m bitter. I have every right to be. Had it not been for this one person I’d not be in Sri Lanka right now. I’d not have SCUBA’d, skydived, cuddled tigers, visited the Taj Mahal, fired an AK-47 or held my best friend’s baby daughter in my arms. I really should owe them a huge debt of gratitude.

Instead I find myself unable to speak to them and sick to the stomach when I think of them. I’ve been depressed for months, confused, lost. This xmas, birthday and new year have been the worst of my life, while I know she’s been partying and living it up without a care in the world, deluding herself that I’m fine. I can’t look at another woman without comparing them – unfavourably in every case – with my ex. This makes it nigh-on impossible to find someone else. Anyone I picked would only be a substitute – second best and discardable should the ex change her mind about being with me. Utterly unfair on any new partner and therefore leaving me in relationship limbo.

Now does everyone understand why I’m such a miserable bastard at the moment?

Sincerly, though, a happy new year to you all. I hope it is for me as well as for you. I do have to get out of this hole and this is as good a point to start as any. No, I don’t have any resolutions. I’ll take every day as it comes, every opportunity as they fly toward me and I recommend you do the same. Keep coming back and enjoying both blogs, and leave me comments and emails.

And don’t get jealous of my travels… get off your arse and do it for yourself! You can always earn more money – but you can never get the wasted time back again.

No it isn’t

Before you wish me a “merry xmas”, read the title. It’s a shitty one.

I am in India. In a crap hotel. With music blaring from the hotel next door which is stopping me sleeping. I bored.

Because I’m bored, my mind is going in circles. All I can think of is how much I miss my ex-girlfriend and how much I wish we could get back together. And how much fun she’s probably having with her family and not giving a **** about me.

The only thing I’m grateful for is Hans, my travelling companion who’s done more than he knows in keeping my mind occupied at times.

I’m not homesick, but I wish I was at home simply so that I could go to someone’s house and be with people just so I wasn’t spiralling into the depths of depression once more.

I think it’s just because after Lou being abroad last year and me at home, I was so looking forward to xmas this year – our first together. For the first time in more years than I can remember I was actually looking forward to December. And then it was all taken from me when Lou dumped me, for reasons I still don’t understand.

So there you go. Merry ******* christmas, my arse. Worst one ever, frankly.

Death by ignorance

Read more at Two more dead prostitutes and still the UK won’t change the law.

I’ll point out the obvious – I’ve never used one and I sorely doubt I ever will. However, even the UK law states that a woman can recieve money in exchange for sexual favours, so prostitution is legal. However… a woman can’t advertise – that’s “solicitation”. She can’t work out of the same premises as another prostitute. As well as being safer, it’s “running a brothel”. She can’t pick someone up in a car on a well-lit street – “kerb crawling”. Her partner can’t help her and spend her income – or he’s guilty of “living off immoral earnings”.

Essentially, while prostitution itself is actually legal, everything around it is not, leading to the shady world that most prostitutes end up working in and therefore vastly increasing the danger they put themselves into. If they’re going to do it, they’re going to do it. So why not follow on from the Europe we’re all supposed to be part of and legalise and regulate it?

Increased revenue from income tax would help cover mandatory health checks. Premises would be placed in non-residential areas to avoid problems with families not wanting their kids to see “ladies of the night” selling their wares outside the garden gate. Policing would be easier and safety increased by allowing brothels to exist.

Or as a nation are we really that ashamed to admit that women would receive money for sex (or that men would pay for such a thing) that we’re prepared to let death, disease, drugs and violence result from our ignorance?

OK, so that was rhetorical but I think the answer’s an obvious “yes”. Shitty country. No wonder I prefer NZ.

Worst… xmas album… ever

But still a work of genius. Twisted Sister’s A Twisted Christmas just downloaded itself magically onto my laptop (illegal? really?) and it’s a steaming pile of metallic turd… but so absolutely, cheese-reekingly, diabolically bad that it’s just amazing.

Highlight so far is “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” done to the tune of “We Ain’t Gonna Take It”. I hate xmas songs. Hell, I hate xmas – I’m a miserable bastard – but this has put a right grin on my chops after all the ******* muzac versions in the malls around Singapore right now.

Twisted Sister do indeed rock like motherfuckers!!!!