Lifeventures: Chapter Two

You’re right – chapter one was a little overlong. It jumped across settings and time periods, lacked any tangible plot, showcased a boringly self-obsessed narrator and suffered a dreadful inconsistency of voice.

Chapter two will be different. In a world where different means exactly the same.

I’ve been living in The New Zealand for eight days. I am unemployed and it is profoundly disheartening. I have been to two roller derby training sessions (fantastic) and walked the Auckland Coast to Coast (spectacular) on a gloriously sunny day with a bunch of women who like drinking wine. Pretty good stuff.

I have made the following observations:

The New Zealand is exceptionally pretty. It’s like somebody put together a Pinterest collection of the prettiest houses and the prettiest landscapes they could find, and then hit CTRL+V+R (Paste to Reality).

The New Zealand is exceptionally cold. It has that weird kind of air we don’t get in Thailand; you know, the kind that moves around. Wind. That’s the stuff. They have all this WIND in the air, which makes things chilly. But also the air just comes out cold. In the sunshine, everything is glorious. A smidgen of shade and the shivers start. I regularly lose feeling in my toes when I’m at home at night. And it isn’t even winter yet, only autumn. Save me.

Despite the above, The New Zealand homes are famously and staggeringly cold, built from handsome wooden planks and useless single glazing (for any Brits out there, that’s double glazing but with 75% less heat-retention). The The New Zealand attitude is to don another sweater and hunker down. It makes me sad into my heart. I cannot abide the cold, the dark, the damp. Alas, each of these adjectives is a good description of my new home. Heaters and dehumidifiers will abound if I am to survive the long winter.

And I would like to debunk one myth: The New Zealand is NOT full of sheep. I have been here eight days and I have only seen around 30.

So, I leave you with my knowledges and fascinating insightmentals. I look forward to leveling up my awks in Auckland, to settling in, exploring the funs, making friends and – fingers firmly and unnaturally crossed – finding gainful employment.

Any advice for things to see, do, watch, try, eat, drink, visit or traverse while I’m here? Let me know.

 

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Day 17: The Bristol 7s

The fish in Phnom Pehn feels like lifetimes ago. I’ve remained classy. You can tell I’ve remained classy because I’ve had the shits for 3 days straight – we’re talking a 7 on the Bristol Scale. Not kidding. You’re welcome. But not only that. Also because I’ve got mozzie bites in unspeakable places, because the sunburn on my legs looks like a map of a haphazard archipelago, and because I bought a bad taste wolf tshirt on purpose for lolz. My legs are unshaven, my clothes are filthy, and I smell slightly gone off. I wear a fanny pack every day and not even ironically. Total mess. Bloody love it.

The following has happened: Laura went south to the Cambodian beaches; I headed East and crossed the boarder into Vietnam. In Saigon I stayed in a dodgy guesthouse with ants on the walls, bars on the windows and stains on the curtains, all for the knockdown price of $10, buy today, offer ends midnight. At night they pull a huge metal gate across the front of the building and lock it with an enormous padlock. Terrifying. At first I thought I was the only one there and that I was definitely going to get murdered, but I awoke the first morning to hear the father of the family who owns the guesthouse giving his daughter French lessons, which made it OK. People deffo don’t die in places where dads give their kids French lessons. It’s just science.

Saigon. Sounds so exotic. Or warsome. Bit of both. I wasn’t really there long enough to form an option. It’s a city. They have ALL motorbikes. They have street vendors. They have a cool indoor market that sells All Of The Things, including coffee made from beans that have been picked out of weasel shit. Nic and Rob, if you’re reading this, expect some through the post in the next month or so. I have no idea how the postal system works here. I’m carrying a bag-load of postcards but haven’t seen a single post-place. I should get on that.

As well as weasel-shit coffee, Saigon also has non-weasel Vietnamese drip coffee (totally delicious – iced, of course), road signs and traffic police (unlike Phnom Phen), a presidential palace (so dull I left the tour after 5 minutes, fuck the entrance fee), and a War Remnants museum that’s easily worth triple what you pay to get in.

In Saigon I had my first pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) with chicken – maybe the most delicious thing I’ve eaten so far – but I also ate mystery-fish pho, which resulted in the old Bristol 7s, stomach cramps, and a complete aversion to all foods, possibly forever. Ups and downs.

From Saigon I caught a coach north to Mui Ne. Beach town. Lots of Russians. 6 hours on a coach with the shits but no toilet. Pretty wild. HOWEVER, not only did I manage to NOT soil myself, I buddied up off the coach with a friendly giant, found a guesthouse with a pool for $10 a night, went to a beach with creamy sand and lined with palms, and swam in the warm green waters of the South China sea. Tough gig. Except that then I felt even worse so went back “home” and slept for 15 hrs straight.

Tonight (it’s 22:15 here) I’m in Nha Trang, massive beach city 5 hrs north of Mui Ne. Yesterday I spent hours by the pool, then had a walk by the sea, then went to watch the friendly giant eat crocodile. Tasted a bit. SRSLY YUMZA! Like meaty tuna steak. Was filled with jealousy. Also on offer in tanks along the ocean road – all live! – were fish, lobsters, MASSIVE shrimp, crabs, frogs, eels, turtles and A PYTHON. I really wanted lobster but was too much death.

I’m too sick to explore Nha Trang so am under a sheet in an air-con room thinking about the one dollar kid in Angkor and grinning to myself.

Kid (with a massive grin the whole way through): “Hey laydeeeeeee! You buy flute? One dollar.”
Me: “No thanks”
Kid: “Want water? One dollar.”
Me: “No, I’ve got water thanks”
Kid: “Postcard? Ten only one dollar”
Me: “Just bought postcards, thanks. I don’t need anything.”
Kid: “Nothing?”
Me: “Yeah.”
Kid: “Want nothing, one dollar.”

LOLZ.

Oh, here’s a photo of (among other things) the item I’m most glad I brought travelling – a bad taste Ross Kemp pillowcase

ROSS KEMP PROS
– Flat-pack travel companion
– Do an actual out-loud chuckle every time I look at it
– Convenient for separating and transporting dirty washing
– Protects head from minging guesthouse pillows
– The bestworst of ALL the shitbutbrilliant things
– Can be the first in a long line of shitbutbrilliant pillow cases

ROSS KEMP CONS
– There are literally no cons to owning a Ross Kemp pillowcase

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Notice of Development Works

NOTICE: development works to be carried out during the month of December.

Next year, Sasperella’s Story Shack is going on the move – and you’re invited to follow. With a one-way ticket and some very vague plans, I’ll be leaving (indefinitely!) the glorious heartland of Yorkshire for the frenetic metropolis of Bangkok, Thailand. It’ll take four weeks to gain appropriate qualifications and then I’ll be let loose on the world, teaching Engrish as a second language, clumsily adjusting to life in an alien culture somewhere, adventurising, failing at life and experiencing extreme bouts of anxiety.

To summarise, the Story Shack will be morphed into an Adventure Book. If the prospect of reading the stress-seeped tales of a lone female adventurer doesn’t appeal then I suggest you cease reading immediately. If, on the other hand, you think it sounds like something you might be interested in then please pull up a beanbag, pour yourself a hot chocolate and stick around.

If you wait long enough, there might even be something interesting to read.