Tag Archives: Victoria Bourhill

Someone I Once Met: Douchebag Deluxe

The struggle is real to dig deep into my memory bank for the purpose of Someone I Once met. Sometimes it takes a really random stroke of genius to realize that so-and-so would be a good candidate and ‘why had I not thought of them before?’

Its not like I can only write about people from the past, I am still actually meeting interesting people, however I’ve started to realize that not everybody likes being written about. Initially I hadn’t really thought much about whether or not folks would mind, my reasoning being that I was focusing on (mainly) positive things. But then someone asked me if I wasn’t worried about lawsuits??! And the odd subject asked me to remove this piece of information and that from a post.

And so came the slump in my will to write awesome little anecdotes about the random and not-so-random people I meet. Honestly- those who get written about are generally quite prominent parts of my life rather than an interesting passer-by. This because you only really get to know if someone is truely interesting after knowing them a while.

But here’s a guy who I really don’t care to expose. I’m not even the first to write about him. In fact, this article I came across a few months ago has been the inspiration for this post. In this article, Andrew is listed as one of ’10 “if we’re not married by” pacts that actually panned out.’ There he explains;

“My wife and I met in high school at the age of 16. We told each other that if we weren’t married by 30, then we’d get back together and tie the knot. I moved off to a different state for college and after graduation I moved to Chile for four years. I moved back to the states when I was 28, we started dating again and just got married this past May before my 30th birthday. But not because we said we would, but because it just happened that way.”

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The funny part is that when I met him in Chile, he was the doting American boyfriend of my British friend. We all traveled to a surf town one weekend. He seemed like a nice guy. When my friend and I went on a longer trip to Chile’s Lake region and he stayed behind, he came across as very possessive. He came across as in love.

Not long after my arrival in Chile and the meeting of these people, Andrew took a trip back home. Texas, USA to be exact. His trip worked out well for me, I thought, because I needed a new camera so I’d buy one online and get it sent to his house in Texas. He’d then bring it back to Chile with him. So I did that.

Andrew began to delay his return from the States. My poor friend was on the receiving end of elaborate excuses for his not returning home immediately. Weeks turned into months and the constant reassurance of his love and certain return began to seem somewhat…..untrue. My poor friend, completely confused by it all, was particularly irate about the rent for the apartment. That they shared. Together. But no, according to Andrew, all was well and he would soon be home.

Eventually, out of the blue he asked her to move out. He was coming home and she needed to be gone by the time he got there. There’s a lot more to this story but I won’t go into it. There was a lot of back and forth, a lot of lying from his side and a lot of hurt on hers. In the end Andrew returned to Chile. With my camera. He came, collected his things, told my friend he still loved her and buggered off back to Texas.

Now if you’ll recall, according to Andrew; “I moved back to the states when I was 28, we started dating again and just got married this past May before my 30th birthday. But not because we said we would, but because it just happened that way.”

Aaaahhhhh! The more I read that the more I want to kick him in the nuts. While, in its essence what he’s said is true, there’s just so much more to his story. The beautiful story of how he and his high school love came to be husband and wife after years of separation is so lovely from the outside and such a crock of shit from the inside.

Because of his complete lack of common decency, I witnessed the girl he left behind in Chile turn into a shadow of a human being. He devastated her so completely that it took the better half of a year for her to show sings of improvement. Now I’m not saying he should have stayed with someone he didn’t love. But be a man- seriously. 

I hope your new wife makes you very happy, Andrew. Asshole.

 

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Bringing You Bingin – Finally! Indonesia 2015

While I wait patiently to finish my teaching qualification (that I’ve only just started), I will continue to enjoy only 13 days annual leave on account of not working at a school. When Chinese New Year came along this year, and all the teachers enjoyed their extended two or so week holiday, I put in for some leave and got the hell out of the city to enjoy a week on some islands.

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Indonesian Islands to be exact. There had been some discussion about where to jet to but we finally settled on Indonesia and put Malaysian Borneo on the backburner for a bit. A quick outline; we spent 5 days on Gilli Trawangan. Note: It’s very hard not to say ‘island Gilli Trawangan’ but this would mean that you are, essentially, saying the ‘island island Tranwangan’. Not dissimilar to ‘tea tea’ when you say ‘chai tea’.

Anyway, after that we headed back to the bigger and better known island of Bali to enjoy three days in a pretty sweet surf spot. This spot was carefully picked out by my other half, the water-baby who lives for waves. Today I tell you about this second half of the journey and leave Gilli T and my PADI open water dive course a mystery for now.

So, about Bingin, Bali. Bingin is famous among surfers for the sublime waves it has on offer. According to a non-descript Bali and surfing related blog, “Bignin is one of the famous surfing breaks of the Bukit Peninsula. The short, fast barrel is a joyride for those who dare. Its ideal for advanced surfers and has a beautiful wave, that works really well during the dry season (June-September).”

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The observant reader, or someone who knows when Chinese New Year takes place, will realise that our trip to Bingin fell nowhere between June and September. And thus nowhere close to the time when Bingin enjoys that famous fast barrel ideal for advanced surfers. Unfortunately, we were stuck with very unpredictable, small waves. I say ‘we’ but really ‘he’ because this part of the trip was all about views from balconies and 400 pages of a cringy chick-lit book (that I found).

Those three days were so relaxing time almost went backwards. We did manage to fit in a cultural activity in the form of a visit to a nearby temple in Uluwatu.

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We also managed a walk along the beach to neighbouring Dreamland which is less like a dreamland and more like a package-holiday for taking selfies and hanging out with friends from China and India. No, Dreamland was a nightmare and we were eternally grateful to be strolling back to our Bingin ten minutes later. Other than those two strenuous activities, I sat, lay, swam, photographed, read, ate and drank smoothies. All while watching my man trying to find a good wave with about twenty to thirty other surfers. I shudder to think how difficult it is to get a wave to yourself in high season.

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Arriving to Bingin is interesting. Its not the easiest place to find and I was happy to sit back and be guided by my surfer who’d actually been there before. After the narrow winding roads come to an end and cars can go no further, you get out and walk the rest of the way. Winding through small concrete paths shaded over by great big leafy trees.Eventually you’ll start your decent towards the beach, and you’ll arrive there through the back doors of various accomodations.  

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Bingin is small and set against a cliff which means you don’t have to go very far to find a place to stay, everything is very much layered and within arms reach. This can all be pretty ideal if you arrive looking for a bed. Note; this is a dangerous way of going about it if you’re visiting in peak (dry) season. I don’t expect you’d find a bed as easily as we did out of season. The place is tiny and popular so keep that in mind. 

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With all the doing nothing I couldn’t help but imagine myself at Bingin as a teenager. While I felt completely at ease there now, I know the young me would have been unnecessarily self-conscious and constantly aware of how I paled in comparison to everyone else. Literally. I would have felt uneasy about my lack of knowledge and involvement in the world of surfing and sat watching from the sidelines as the more bronzed and toned surfer girls rubbed up against their male equivalents. 

I suppose what I’m saying is I’m stoked I got to experience Bignin going on 27. I soaked up whatever unwritten surfer rules came my way from Reece and enjoyed my first attempt at surfing photography, although nature wasn’t on my side. Things are always better experienced hang-up-free. In some ways, being on the dangerous side of 25 is so much cooler than being a youngster. Young me was always questioning….. older me is very stoked on life. Not that younger me wasn’t.

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Faces That Say “I Just Finished the Hong Kong Marathon”

As a tidal wave of marathon finishers surged past me, I waited for my marathon runner to appear. Unfortunately we were not able to find each other in the sea of 75 000 people and had to rendezvous back at home a couple blocks away.

I had an inkling this might happen but I also had a feeling I’d get in some good practice with the zoom lens I hardly ever use. Asians to the left and right of me obviously put my weighty lens to shame with their stereotypical telescope look-a-likes. With the zoom I was able to put faces to the otherwise faceless crowd. I found Caucasians, Asians, Africans, celebrants, wincers, stretchers, sitters, elders and all the combinations of adjectives you can think of from ecstatic to defeated and everything inbetween.

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Wild: Part Book Review, Part Self-Analyses

I was hoping to swap an old book for a new one, but that’s not how this sleepy bookstore somewhere in the Indian Himalayas worked. I’d have to part with some rupees if I wanted to leave with any new reading material. There wasn’t much to choose from, but one did catch my eye. Judge a book by it’s cover and go from there is what I often do. This one had a pleasant look about it – white and pink and with the image of a well used hiking boot on the front. Red laces.

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The story was about a young woman, called Cheryl Strayed, who decides to walk over 1000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail , on her own, in an attempt to overcome the death of her mother. The PCT allows hikers to walk from the Mexican border to the Canadian one- or the other way round. Incorporating California, Oregon and Washing states in all their glory.

This book ticked a lot of boxes for me: uniquely travel related with just the right amount of adventure, set in a part of the USA I could easily visualise because I’d been there before. I liked the book. I liked that it was written by a woman, I liked that she climbed an actual mountain to deal with her demons, I like how she took condoms with her for in-case. I like how, since reading it, I’ve watched the book gain popularity and be tuned into a screenplay starring Reese Witherspoon. I like how I didn’t know if it would be a good read, then I wasn’t sure the movie would be any good, and I love that its turned out to be Oscar material.

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I feel like I’ve journeyed with Cheryl from a random bookshelf in a Tibetan refugee town in India to her glamorous appearance at the Golden Globes, attached at the hip to Reese Witherspoon. Even more so, Wild has kept me awake at night thinking about that book I’d like to write. I’ve always loved writing, I’m inspired by travel and I’ve lived on 5 continents over the past 4 years. But i didn’t get married at 18. My mother didn’t die when I was 22. I didn’t become an adulterous sex and drug addict and I didn’t trek over 1000 miles to fix myself. 5 continents in 4 years but what the hell would I write about?! It’s a conundrum that’s got me thinking about writing fiction for the first time.

Then there’s the very real issue of having never finished anything longer than article before. I don’t think I could even claim to have written a short story. Any longer piece of writing I’ve ever considered writing has died not long after it’s birth. This does not bode well for undertaking and executing the huge task that is writing a book.

Wild is not about to be the next Harry Potter- read by billions- or turn into of the the great classics. And I’m sure it was never meant to be any of that. But what it has achieved, certainly in me, is a heightened appreciation for the average woman doing something for herself, thinking not much of it, and turning it into a source of inspiration for others.

I am increasingly of the opinion that anyone can be inspirational – just not everyone knows how to go about it. So good on you Cheryl. you were just another lot girl with a bleeding heart who navigated through various mountain ranges all alone and now everyone, including Reese Witherspoon, loves you.

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How to Grab Some Quiet Time in Hong Kong

There’s not much opportunity to get away from it all in Hong Kong. It is the most densely populated part of the planet and boy can you really feel it sometimes. Every now and then you’ll find a place all to yourself – but you’ve gotta make sure of a couple things first.

Don’t go in search of quiet time on the weekend. Seriously- rather just stay in doors or you will be competing for sidewalk space with the rest of them. We went to the seaside village of Shek O last Monday {which we’re lucky to have off every week}. Everyone else is working which kind of makes up for having to work Saturdays.

Go in winter. In the summer, Shek O will be crawling with people- Monday included. Like anywhere else in the world, summer means no school and no school means packed beaches and other fun places. Winter vacations seem bearable since everyone heads out in search of snow…or sun for that matter. Neither of which Hong Kong tends to offer in winter.

Not a long list but a fool-proof one. See how uninterrupted and glorious it all looks? The sun coming out to play helped a lot too of course but that’s not something us mortals have much control over.

So just remember- if you’re looking for some quality quiet time outside of your house in Hong Kong – make sure its a Monday, absolutely not during summer vacations and organise some elusive wintery sunshine and you’re good to go!

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The View’s my Muse: as Seen From the 21st Floor

A few weeks ago I came out and admitted that I feel Hong Kong is stifling my creativity. She’s a lovely city with many strengths like banking and shopping, but her ability to feed (at least my) creative side is a little lacking. Then one day, while working from the home office, I looked up and realised that I needed to open my eyes. This is not Barcelona who throws herself at creatives, begging them to use her assets to fuel their imagination. Its not India who’s poverty, overflowing religions, customs, cows and enlightened-wrinkled-half-naked men are available on every corner to photograph.

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A deeper look and a sharper eye will go a long way in Hong Kong if you wish to capture its soul and share it with the world. And then came my epiphany. The apartment I live in is the apartment I live in simply because of the view. We chose it based purely on the fact that it had a great view (and it fell into our price range). The ktichen’s not great, the bedroom only fits the bed, its generally pretty f*cking tiny- but that view!

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IMG_0866Cliche as it sounds, sometimes the things you’re looking for really are right in front of you. Just like my view of Victoria Harbour. Hong Kong is said to connect the east to the west, two worlds far apart in almost every respect from geography to culture. All this connecting is naturally going to keep its harbour operating at a maximum 24/7. While a busy harbour means a fruitful economy, for me it simply means a view that is in a constant state of flux. There’s not a minute that my view remains the same. In the time its taken me to write two sentences its changed again.

IMG_0882It changes with the weather, it changes with the sun, with the vessels that pass, the ones that anchor within sight and even the buildings change. The ICC is the tallest in Hong Kong and if its not disappearing into the clouds and smog, its constantly showcasing impressive moving, 3D images. Sometimes it tells me when its going to rain by way of a stormy rain cloud. In fact as I write this the whole building, from top to bottom, resembles a peppered TV screen that’s lost signal. You know how they go all black and white and make a god-awful noise? Its hard to explain.

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Christmas is fast approaching, and more than ever, you don’t have a choice in staying ignorant on the matter. Way before December arrives, the decorations, sales, and all round madness begins. If, for a moment, I wanted to gaze out my window and forget about it all- the consumerism, the red, green and white, the fake snow splashed all over the tropics –  my eyes would rest upon a festive, christmasy, Hello Kitty building across the water. I do wonder what their electricity bills must be like.

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I’ve always maintained that a good view is imperative. It does something for the soul, and at the very least it gives you something to do if the electricity goes out. Its true, one fateful night while home alone, the electricity failed and I had nothing but a half cooked meal and a dying phone to keep me company. The bright lights only kept my attention for so long before I resorted to creeping out the inhabitants of the building opposite. It really is a different life here- single apartments for whole families including grandparents and maids. Its enough to keep a creepster like me entertained.

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On Trying to Fuel my Creative Fire in Hong Kong

I don’t blog enough about Hong Kong. I can’t put my finger on it exactly but its probably got a lot to do with the fact that I’m not a city girl. As far as cities go, Hong Kong is supposed to be up there with the best and yet I find myself lacking the inspiration to produce content on it. Also my teaching job leaves almost zero hours in the day to work on my hobby. Valid excuses but excuses none-the-less right?

That being said I’m going to do my best to change my ways. I won’t be here forever so it really is in my best interests to take a deeper look and let myself be inspired and challenged to document this Gateway to the East.

I started my new leaf turning by taking my camera to work one day so that afterwards I could stroll past the arts festival/mardi gras happening in the famous Victoria Park. Finally I was being proactive and exploring (the bf was away and this was a better option than Saturday night in an empty apartment). Luckily my hopes weren’t high since the majority of stalls and activities had already shut down, and although there were a good amount of people around they were 70 percent infants and I felt like I was back at work.

I stayed a couple minutes photographing the mediocre dance routine on the main stage before continuing my walk in the direction of home. There’s a great little modern art museum/gallery on the way and I noticed it was still open so I popped in. I’m hesitant to label it ‘modern art’ since I really don’t like modern art – least not their museums. So lets call this a hands-on cultural center, with a current showcase called ‘Imperfect’.

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I’d been in a couple months before to finally get a closer look at a very cool installation they had up. It was a massive mirror erected at a 45 degree angle to the ground. Below it was the facade of a building. The cool part? That you could lie on the facade and by looking into the mirror above you it would appear that you were dangling, standing, posing on the side of a building. (No idea what I’m talking about? see here) Naturally this would have made a fantastic photo opportunity but naturally by the time I got my ass there it no longer existed. This was when I discovered the ‘Imperfect’ exhibition.

It was too hot to explore so I drank some free hot tea on the hot day and took part in the exhibition by writing something on a coaster which was there to be written on and soon went on my way again.

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That exhibition was still going strong the evening I strolled onto the property again. This time I was game to have a better look around. I was pleasantly surprised at what I found. In an Asian country focused on education, good grades, math, shopping and banking, I was intrigued to find a little artistic sub-culture manifesting itself inside these walls. I was more compelled to photograph then than I had been in a long while.

The idea behind it, I believe, is to partake in various activities, whatever tickles your fancy, or none if you just wish to wander around. There’s a room full of old sewing machines available to the public to make use of and donated clothing with which to sew. Or you can make a post card with hand made stamps which is what I took ten minutes doing. I was told though that the volunteers would help me if came by and wanted to sew. Maybe I should do that.

Upon further investigation, this arts and cultural center is called Oi! and you can read more about it here.

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On eating my weight in cheese and other French stories

With anything in life, things have to be pretty great to keep people coming back for more. If she’s good looking, you’ll be back for more. If her brain’s pretty good too – we know where to find you. And if she can cook! Well now there’s almost 100 percent chance of this hypothetical relationship working out.

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Countries are no different. Take France- people come, go and come back again for more. So much so that it is by FAR the most visited country in the world. It’s 84 million tourists per year way surpasses the US as runner up with a measly 15 million. France has earned it’s position!

The cafes, the pastries, the notoriously cute pastel coloured shutters, ancient alley ways and cobbled streets. Well perfumed people. Chic looking infants out-growing their Levi jeans faster than you can say ‘baguette’. Their equally as stylish parents. Free wifi at McDonalds. Good McDonalds. Macaroons. All French Food. The language. Overflowing national pride. And you can’t ignore the animal lovers. There must be more animal lovers per square kilometer than any other corner of the earth.

In the same breath, it might be nice to see fewer dogs in prams. When did dogs stop running alongside their jogging owners and be pushed in prams instead?

While we’re here, I personally (physically) could do with less pastries made up almost entirely of butter. Here’s looking at you croissant (remember to rough up the back of your throat when you say that).

Also, just like I could do with less Capetonians going on about their fantastical…… everything,  French people could tone down the ‘can’t beat our food and wine’ attitudes. Ze wine, ze cheese, ze Fois GROIS! Ze best! There’s something quite obnoxious about it all- be you Capetonian, French or just a nauseatingly proud mother. I dunno, to me, hyper-nationalistic people are about as annoying as someone who can’t hide the fact that they find themselves attractive.

As a possible after effect of all this love, the French have developed a unique character trait whereby they prefer to speak French and only French. As a country that attracts more tourists than any other in the world, it might be in their favour to be more open to the English language. And I’m not saying everyone go and learn it all- I’m just saying don’t treat it like an infectious wound that might take over completely if you get too close.

To ensure starting off on the wrong foot –ask a Frenchman if he speaks English. Then watch for that split second of what looks like a mixture between discomfort and annoyance before they say ‘no’. At this point try and work into the conversation that you are South African and not in fact British. This might salvage things a bit and prevent you from being shut out as effectively as the pastel shutters do the sun. Ze French don’t like ze Roast Beef.

But when you think about it, if you’ve got the world falling at your feet, jumping through hoops for their visa in the hopes of eating their weight in cheese – you can do and be whatever you like. And even though I’v successfully ranted and lets be honest, generalized, there are a number of French people who occupy a special place in my heart. You know who you are- please do not be offended. There might not be a more picturesque and cultured corner of the world, you guys have every right to be proud.

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Someone I Once Met: The Stalker

Looking back on this situation I shudder to think what could have happened. 

Over a year ago I was new to the town of Antibes, France, trying to land my first job onboard a luxury yacht. The yachting industry is saturated with twenty-somethings trying to edge their way into the world of being over paid for menial labour.

I was not the only newbie in town, in fact there were thousands of others prositiuting themselves on the docks, trying to make an impression or a contact that may somehow somewhere come in handy. You do whatever you can to get your foot in the door. They tell you not to tarnish your name at the local watering holes because no-one will want to hire you, although some have been lucky enough to score a job in exactly that way. The industry is slippery and unpredictable and landing a job is no exception.

In my first few weeks there was the Antibes Yacht Show where boats are more shiny than usual for people to come and pretend to buy them. At this particular event a certain tall individual of the male species locked eyes with me. He edged his way closer and when someone spilt a drink on my shoe he disappeared down to clean it off. Interesting tactic.

There was no turning back from there for this French man from Reunion Island. Over the next few days my friends and I got to know him and I tolerated his flirting and tried my best not to lead him on. Unfortunately he was probably well aware of my state of mind. During this time I, and others like me, saw the sky as the limit for things you’d do to get a job. He claimed to have dabbled in the industry, but not really but kind of. You hear what you want to hear I’ll tell you that much. He offered to drive me to Cannes one day to ‘introduce me to some people’. As the day wore on I lost hope in my contact as he was shrugged off by one person after the other just like the rest of us.

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Then he ran a red traffic light and next thing I know we were being pulled over. On top of that, he was driving with an expired license. Let me fill you in on all the things that were running through my mind at this point; ‘How on earth do I explain to the cops who I am to this person? Am even safe with him? Am I going to get deported? And finally- I can’t believe I’m going to the police station right now. And in separate cars to Thomas (that’s his name by the way). Could this situation get any worse?

Well actually yes it could. Waiting in the cop shop while my chauffeur was being questioned I called up my friend to find out how her day of dock walking was going. “It’s going really well actually. I got a job!”. I’m ashamed to admit the way I felt at that moment as rivers of jealousy ran through my body combined with disbelief that I was wasting precious time at the police station in the hope that some nobody would help me find a job.

The day didn’t really get any better. All I wanted to do was go home but he dragged me around town, first to his grandmother’s house so she could come and reclaim the car. Then she gave him money which he insisted on spending on me. Let just say that by the time I finally made it home I was one ring, a jar of honey, a jar of seaweed and frozen octopus richer.

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He loved his granny

In the days that followed his stalker tendencies really started to kick in. If there was anyone who couldn’t take a hint it was Thomas. I started by trying to ease him off gently and then resorted to completely ignoring his phone calls and texts. When he showed up to a night time get-together on the beach completely out of the blue and uninvited- that’s when I lost my temper.

I was finally free of Thomas except for the times I’d see him around town and I’d duck out the way.

But fast forward a couple of weeks to when I was still jobless and living in a different apartment. I told my story to someone I shared the flat with and this is where things started getting creepy. Her expression changed from entertained to intrigued when she began to realise that this all sounded terribly familiar.

The girl I was sharing a room with, she told me, had had the exact same experience. And when that girl got home and I asked her directly. It was official, we had both been overly admired and ruthlessly pursued by the same man from Reunion Island.

She didn’t necessarily find it as funny as I did, rather she felt quite annoyed that he had lead her to believe she was special while perusing someone else. As a result she told him what for in a not very nice way.

My favourite memory from all this? Shortly after my co-admiree lost it with Thomas he showed up at our doorstep (naturally he hadn’t been there before but being Thomas he knew where we lived). I watched on from my bedroom window, craning my neck to get a good view and trying not to fall out. I watched as he stood patiently waiting for one of us to show up – and I wasn’t going anywhere. When one of us finally arrived home he started his with his apology which of course came with a gift.

While she accepted his apology she was not keen on the apology jewellery he was trying to give to her. Eventually he forced it into her hands and walked away. If there was ever a man who didn’t understand ‘no’ it was this one. Poor girl, I had a great stifled chuckle at her expense that day. I was completely entertained.

The forgiving/open person in me saw something else in Thomas. I saw, after pushing through all the creep, a very lonely person with a kind heart. I know the picture I’ve painted of him here makes this hard to believe but the poor guy never appeared threatening. When he’d see my (male) friends out and about he’d offer them lifts or even just his company on their route home. Maybe they just do things differently on that little Island off the Island off the coast of Southern Africa.

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Turning 26 in the Philippines

This year my birthday fell on  Monday. On the bright side, that Monday happened to be part of a long weekend over which we decided to escape to the Philippines. Since I now live in one of the world’s most impressive cities, along with the fact that cities don’t really ‘do it for me’, we rummaged through a list of 13 beaches near Manila for the perfect spot. Long weekends are exactly that- not much longer than a weekend- so if you’re looking for seclusion in another country be prepared to mission.

Straight after work on Saturday (yes we work on Saturdays), we hopped on a flight that took us from Hong Kong to Manila in less than 2 hours. A quick couple hours of shut-eye in a nearby hotel and the adventure continued with a two hour bus ride south. From there we boarded a ferry which got us to our final location by 1pm. Perfect. A day and a half in paradise before we do that all again.

Now, in case you were wondering, that airport hotel, the bus and the ferry didn’t just miraculously arrange themselves in preparation for our arrival. No, a 72 hour getaway involves a decent amount of preparation because who wants to waste time in-limbo on a blink-and-it’s-over whirlwind tour? The vagabond in me took a back seat as I wrapped my head around the way ‘normal’ people travel. When time is limited, that obnoxious person who ‘doesn’t like to make plans and just goes with the flow’ needs to take a hike. Aint no-one got time for that.

Before I give you a blow by blow on the few hours- and even fewer days- I spent in paradise, there’s one thing I must share with you. You’re never experienced enough to be a cocky traveler. The moment you think you know it all, someone’s gonna come out of the woodwork and scam you. Here’s ‘Miss Wanderlust’ and her equally as wandering boyfriend handing over a small conservation tax fee to a man on the boat after being told NOT to pay anyone but the right people at our final destination.

This dude played it so chilled and there we were handing him our money like idiots. A moment later we realized we’d probably cocked up and said to him we’d like our receipts please. He came back with two torn pieces of paper that weren’t going to fool me (again). I tapped him on the shoulder and held out my ‘receipts’. Without saying a word he slipped my money back into my hand and carried on trying to scam people.

In other news, Filipinos are some of the most friendly, kind and helpful people I’ve ever come across. They definitely made an impression. Two ladies fanned me on separate occasions while we took public transport together. Now THATS hospitality.

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