Wednesday, 30 December 2009

81 places in one year

I’ve just realized how ridiculous my life is

Part 54

So I had to wait 20 minutes for a ferry and, having no book and not wanting to leave the shade, I decided to count how many places I’ve stayed in this year

And it came to a ridiculous 81, yes 81. Counting the train and 2 buses where I might have slept, and not counting the 4 overnight planes where I didn’t. And not counting the beds I returned to… Calgary, Trat, Camberley, Finchampstead, Dalston, Luang Prabang, Muang Neua Noi, Luang Nam Tha.

So, as this Blog is purportedly the record of a year in a nomadic poet’s life, I suppose I should get all anal and list them. And after that I’ll post an email I sent out from Hoi An in March, a very good bit of the year

So here goes.

It began in…

Copenhagen… we lived there three months, up till mid-Feb, and that was just about long enough… I simply couldn’t get excited by the place… unlike…

Berlin – Which I could get very excited about … but where I caught flu on an ice-cold airbed and went nowhere for 5 days. Bummer. … Then…

Camberley. Surrey - my parents’

Finchamsptead, Berks - my brother Chris’s

Bangkok - the traditional new traveller’s decompression in Banglamphu.


Ko Whai - the first of three great bamboo-hut beach island paradise experiences.

Trat again


Siem Reap – for Angkor Wat. Truly gobsmacking. Though a tad tragic, seeing how it’s a ruin.


Kompong Chhnang. Great place… mosque on stilts, pottery villages, errr mass murder site, stilted river villages, waterside sunsets, fat Tonle Sap sluggishly heading for Pnomh Penh, lush green riversides, beer-offering Saturday-off policemen and all…

Kompong Cham

Pnomh Penh- Took a while to get to like the place.

Pnomh Penh again. One of the worst rooms.


Some place south of Kampot on the coast.

Ko Tonsai, aka Rabbit Island- The second of three great bamboo-hut beach island paradise experiences.

Pnomh Penh- An even worse room. Then


Saigon - Least favourite of all the famous and anticipated places. Worst moment was watching The Watchmen bolloxmovie there – the bit where he gets his superpowers in time for the Yanks to not lose the Vietnam War, and the screen gets filled with exploding Viet Cong, was one of the year’s lowest points.



Hoi An- Killer place. We got there after an idio-epic 30km back-of-mopeds journey, and after 2 minutes of looking at streets, P said lets stay here a week. My favourite place of the year. Food streets walks shirts seas beer river paddies lakes birds cactus moon, etc

Hué- Priscilla’s favourite place of the year. The old Forbidden Palace etc, the old Citadel, etc.

Ninh Binh- Great bike rides round the green rice fields between the high Karsts, the vast limestone stacks… If a fifty-mile high giant walked down this part of the coast he would find this pointy bit very painful.

Haiphong- Error.

Hanoi. Then a Bus from Hanoi to


Vientiane- Reminded me of Brighton on the Mekong

Viang Veng- Reminded me of nothing except maybe a bonkers Ibiza up the Mekong..

Luang Prabang- Super-elegant French-Lao town way up the Mekong…

Nong Khiew- The boy in the blizzard of butterflies. The muddy riverbank had bath-sized carpets of white butterflies, and if someone walked through one they all flew up and became a blizzard. It was good to walk through yourself and be surrounded by a crazy flying confetti… but it was better to watch someone else… The boy in the blizzard of butterflies.

Muang Neua Noi - No cars no mopeds, not even motorcycles. Only woodcarts ,and boats up the Nam Ou.

Huong hill village a trek away- The trek through jungle, paddy, bamboo, tall grass, slash’d’n’burnt, and down the middle of a jungle river, was an extravaganza of fifty different types of large butterfly, each by the literal thousand. Most amazing experience of year. The village itself was hard: life looked unenviably tough up there.

Udomxai. [sp.]

Luang Nam Tha.

Acha Village a trek away.

Luang Prabang again- So nice we came back. Nearly killed myself on a 30km midday cycle to those wonderful waterfalls south. I got heatstroke which was finally cooled by lying/ floating with arms on the edge of the natural porcelain smooth deep bowl, letting the water flow through me over the edge while I looked out and over way way down the green green valley

Hueng Xai- Lao/ Thai border.

Chiang Mai.

Lampong - All-you-can-eat ice cream parlour!!!


Copenhagen- The vicarage …?

Then England before

Winnipeg- B&B. With P’s mum.

Montreal- Doncha just love it? I do. So does everyone else… Stayed with my mate Felix. Start of 7th tour. 62 shows, 110 days

Montreal- Then a switch of billet to Rosemont. New area.


Toronto- Great house, but mediocre reviews of shows which had gone plain great set summer pattern of OKness not fabness.

Winnipeg- Lovely billet but another luke review made it hard. I ran a killer cabaret and was very happy with my own show by the end.

Calgary- Super billet but, with Saigon, worst time of year.

Edmonton- Cheap and v cheerful Commercial Hotel. Great times. Started this blog for CBC. Best showfun of year.

Hinton, Alberta- Motel east or Rockies

Merrit, BC [sp?...?] - Motel west of Rockies

Victoria- Best billet. ORCAS, etc. …This blog took off.

Vancouver- End of fringe tour. I organised a killer cabaret: best show of year…. Eric/ RedBastard etc. Emotional split of everyone.

London, Ontario- First time there. Two last shows before I tottered to…

Dauphin, Manitoba- For some sleep.

Then Camberley,


Dalston, London

Stoke Newington,



Norwich- Cathedral, Holkham Beach, Southwold, etc…

Camberley- Then


Hyderabad- 5 million people, no centre


Tirupati- An unmitigated hole.

Then a night on a train before

Patnem, Goa- The third of three great bamboo-hut beach island paradise experiences.


Mysore- Great place






Fort Cochin Here.

So that’s, by my count, 81. Dunno, after making that list, who cares?

81. Places. 88 moves. In one year. Crazy.


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