Day 19: “Sick fashion…” – Sadao

I awoke in a small attic-type room, above the bar. After the night’s heavy drinking session it was always going to be a brutal morning. Michael went through every step of his customary hangover routine, as systematic and predictable as ever. He woke up chewing his hangover breath, then leaned over

Welcome to Thailand

Day 18: Welcome to Thailand – Alor Setar, Malasia

After a brief visit to The Chief’s new house, which he proudly explained was in an affluent suburb, the bus dropped us off near Alor Setar, only 30 kilometres south of the Thailand border. We considered calling it a day and finding somewhere to sleep, maybe in a field or something but the allure of


Day 15: “It must be Sayang…” – Singapore

Suddenly and inexplicably he came out with: “Do you know any gay people in Singapore?” It was at this point that I realised we were still shaking hands.


Day 14: A chilly reception – Singapore

We stepped gingerly off the boat with sunburnt faces, raw lips and bruised hips. It was like stepping into another world. I was reminded of a cartoon I once watched where, for some reason, Fred Flinstone and Barney Rubble had been teleported into the Jetsons’ future word. “Ugg!” I said, as I pawed

The Demon Masseuse – Jakarta

Day 7: The Demon Masseuse – Jakarta

On our second night in Jakarta, we were sat in a bar, sinking suds, watching the football. I returned to our table with a fresh couple of beers. “Hey Mike, do I look especially wretched, desperate and lonely tonight?” “No more so than usual. Why?” “Well, a fifth different prostitute has just

Sleeping in the back of Suwarno's lorry

Day 4-5: Suwarno – To Jakarta

We waited at the lights until they turned red and then stepped out into the traffic asking each car in turn if we could join them. “Turpan,” we’d mouth, pointing at our sign. It wasn’t long before our actions roused the curiosity of some local children, who, once they understood our intentions,

The Golden Ticket – Situbondo Police Station

Day 3: The Golden Ticket – Situbondo Police Station

We walked to the police station, took a deep breath and walked inside. We had no idea what we were hoping to achieve. I guess we were just bored of being cooked in the sun. “Do you speak English?” I asked one of the officers. “No,” was the expressionless response. He guided us into another

The Prayer room, Situbondo, Indonesia

Day 2: The Defacement of Fatty’s House – Situbondo, Indonesia

As time whittled away, and the evening turned into night, Fatty arose from his chair. He went inside and brought out a thick black permanent marker pen. He placed it in Michael’s hand and solemnly gestured to the outside wall of his house next to his front door. “He wants me to write on his wall?!”

Day 2: Fatty and one for the shudder bank – Situbondo, Indonesia

Anyone that could speak some English told us that people do not hitchhike in Indonesia. Everyone uses the taxi busses because they are so cheap and plentiful. Eventually, though, someone did stop. I was on my way to the toilet when Mike called me back. In retrospect, I realise it would have saved me