Posts Tagged ‘Aussies’

Backpacking in the News: Aussies Hurting Themselves

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

Link to article: Croatian cliff casualties mount as Aussies dive into danger

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First things first, the URL for this Australian newspaper is www.smh.com.au. When it’s reporting news like this, SMH is an appropriate acronym.

Something about Aussies diving into danger doesn’t feel that unusual to me. Take a look at the photo I chose for my first post about Aussie Guys. I don’t even know if the guy leaping into the crowd is Australian. I just saw the photo and thought: That dude’s gotta be Australian.

I’m not trying to make light of people’s serious injuries or even their tragic deaths. But when a 20-year-old woman “does not judge the distance correctly and falls onto rocks near the water’s edge,” or when a 24-year-old woman “plans to jump from the cliff but decides at the last moment to withdraw only to slip, fall and plunge to the rocks below,” breaking both her arms, her jaw, ribs and hip, and requiring that her kidney and spleen be removed, it’s a matter of people just being idiots.

Sorta like planking. For the record, I like planking and I think it’s hilarious. What’s not hilarious is when a 20-year-old Aussie man plunges to his death after “planking” on a seventh-story balcony.

SMH.

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Backpacking in the News

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Link to article: 10 Stereotypical Backpacker Nationalities

canadianbackpacker

Only a Canuck would suntan with the tube socks on.

This article was originally posted on BootsnAll.com by Amy Heading back in July 2009.

I got a kick out of a comment posted on Heading’s article by Beachcombers (05 March 2010): “Not to sure about the Israeli backpacker description. Friendly was not the first thing that leaped to mind. Aggressive, arrogant, rude, nihilistic perhaps….But Israeli chicks are super hot!”

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33. The Need to Masturbate

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

“Pssst.” No response.

“Pssst. Are you sleeping?” Still no response from the bunk across the room. He’s asleep. It’s go time.

While the need to flush the lovepipes during a long trip may be more urgent to men than to women, I’m sure the ladies must pleasure themselves from time to time in shared-room settings. Whether or not they can be as stealthy doing it, I have no idea. I suppose that means yes, they have been.

Many a real man has admitted to jacking off in the hostel shower (see 20. Getting “wubes”). Makes sense. If you’re traveling with other people, the shower is one of the few moments of “alone time” you get in the day. Although I enjoy that method (particularly if it involves conditioner), I’m simply more of a lie-down masturbator.

And I don’t need to explain how pleasuring yourself is, ironically, more of a selfless act than a selfish one. For me, it’s simply because I am an extremely dangerous person if I try to wait out a wet dream (haven’t had one since 1997). I’m looking out for the safety of others. As Chris Elliott’s character, Woogie, exclaimed in There’s Something About Mary, not “flogging the dolphin” before a big date is like “going out with a loaded gun!”

spacey

Discreet self-disarmament, however, can be tricky during group travel. While the scene in American Beauty, where Kevin Spacey spanks his monkey laying beside his sleeping wife, is not farfetched, I wouldn’t recommend it. (Note: Spacey jerks off in the shower too, at the beginning of the film.) And as anybody who’s been in a hostel dorm room with two people fucking in it already knows, some people get drunk and make mincemeat of discretion anyway.

But I continue to hide it and bust my nuts like a ninja when the time is right. I’m a classy guy. What can I say?

It has to be done. The following are reasons why I am a regular chicken choker, especially while traveling:

  • No game. I have no game, so I’m forced to attend to my own needs more than the Don Juan backpacker-types, musicians (esp. acoustic guitarists) or Aussie guys for that matter. I’m OK with that.
  • Plenty of material. Although no hot chicks backpack, you definitely encounter a lot of hot chicks while backpacking (local girls, hot girls staying in hotels, hot girls traveling with their douche boyfriends, etc.) so your mental photo album is bursting at the seams daily. There’s deece everywhere. No game + full spank bank = an overwhelming need to masturbate.
  • Stopped in the red zone. It was a big night. You tried scraping out some semblance of game. You may have been vying to score. You may even have gotten DFMOs. Everything looked good, but she didn’t want to try doing it in the hostel broom closet, her girlfriend dragged her home, etc. Damned if you should go to bed with blue balls!
  • Homesickness/Loneliness. Traveling alone sucks.
  • Insomnia. Traveling alone and not being able to sleep sucks even worse. Plus, skeet-skeeting makes me sleepy.
  • Low self-esteem. Sigh.

And there you have it. Masturbation should be an integral part of your physical and mental health regimen. Absolutely nothing keeps a single, male backpacker as confident, well rested and alert as some good ol’ hands-on therapy. But careful with the bar soap rub-out in the shower. That shit stings like a motherfucker.

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Backpacking in the News

Saturday, December 12th, 2009

Link to article: Parents’ plea to Miliband over jailed backpacker

patrick-malluzzo

British backpacker Patrick Malluzzo has been jailed in India since 2004, when, in what Fair Trials International calls  “a travesty of justice,” he was convicted of smuggling drugs.

Malluzzo’s parents recently met with U.K. Foreign Office offials, asking for help from Foreign Secretary David Miliband in securing a him new trial in Indian courts.

Apparently, while backpacking in India in 2004, Malluzzo gave his bag to a friend, who was travelling from Rajasthan to Goa, so he could travel light. “The friend accidentally left three bags, including Mr. Malluzo’s luggage, on a train,” wrote the BBC. “They were found to contain about 42 lbs. (19 kg) of cannabis resin.

“He has maintained his innocence but claims he confessed after police burned him with cigarettes, beat him and subjected him to sleep deprivation.

“The prosecution at the trial, which was conducted only in Hindi, decided not to use the confessions.”

Malluzzo’s predicament is yet another cautionary tale of backpackers caught smuggling drugs, similar to those revealed in the late-90s films Return to Paradise and Brokedown Palace. As did the “wrongfully” jailed culprits in these movies, Malluzo violated two known commandments in the backpacker credo:

  1. Thou shalt not trust everybody.
  2. Thou shalt not take your eyes off your shit (wallet, moneybelt, passport, luggage).

Dec. 15 – Related news: Young Australian backpackers becoming drug mules, bringing drugs home

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25. Crazy Israeli Guys

Monday, October 12th, 2009

Every country has good and bad citizens. One can only hope that the citizens traveling the world and representing one’s nationality are good ones, people who build a solid reputation for their country. Unfortunately for Israel, a disproportionate number of young, male Israeli backpackers are crazy and thus contribute to a poor international image for their countrymen.

israeli

Just as with my post about Aussie Guys, I initially called this one “Crazy Israelis,” only to change it because it’s really only the males that annoy me. Most female Israelis I’ve met on the backpacking circuit are nice, not to mention, attractive. Their being attractive might be why their male counterparts are prone to peacocking and giving non-Israeli backpackers the stinkeye whenever all three parties meet.

I’m accustomed to foreign guys being protective of their women. That’s normal. This post is not about that alone. I’ve met Israeli guys that display a sociopathic disregard for public decency, a desire to make other travelers feel uncomfortable or even afraid, and an enjoyment of mocking other people and cultures.

I think a lot of their wild behavior is a result of conscription. “The backpacking trip (is) a common custom, nearly normative, among Israeli youth in the period soon after the military service,” wrote Chaim Noy and Erik Cohen, in their book,  Israeli Backpackers and Their Society: A View from Afar.

The direct transition from soldier to traveler implies that many such backpackers may still be shellshocked. Noy and Cohen note that the “massive participation in backpacking expresses the demobilized soldiers’ need to ‘relax’ and ‘unwind’ following the intense years spent in the army.” I would concur, if interpretations of relaxing and unwinding include: being a cocky prick, acting recklessly or even dangerously (see photo below), reacting aggressively to the mildest opposition, yelling and rambunctious diplays while drinking, and general insanity.

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Darya Maoz, who teaches a class at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University called Sociological and Anthropological Aspects of Tourism and Backpacking, described stereotypes of Israeli backpackers in  Outside magazine (Aug. 2005):  “They tend to be rude, to curse the locals, to ruin things if they are not satisfied… they don’t respect local people, they party all night, they take a lot of drugs, and if people say something, some Israelis call them Nazis.”

Crazy Israeli guys are guilty of many of the same offenses as the typical Aussie guy, colored with whatever inclinations a few months of patrolling the West Bank can bring.

It’s a funny comparison when considering a letter written in 2006 on www.ynetnews.com by Nicola Lipman, a Jewish-Australian backpacker:  A message to my ugly brother. Lipman acknowledges the negative stereotypes perpetuated by Israeli travelers: “I realzied it was the loud, obnoxious type (and not the friendly, funny and interesting type) who were immediately identifiable as Israeli and giving the whole country a bad name.”

And that’s coming from an Australian.

Also in 2006, freelance writer Jeff Koyen wrote a column for www.jewcy.com, entitled The Israeli Asshole, in defense of obnoxious Israeli travelers. In the column, Koyen presents arguments as to why Israeli travelers are generally perceived of as douchebags and why it’s OK for them to continue being douchebags.

“Raised in their own land, speaking their own language, Israelis have freed themselves from the anxious self-monitoring still experienced by the Jews of the Diaspora,” he wrote. “The Jews of Israel have learned to stop apologizing. Early Zionists would have taken great pleasure in knowing this day would arrive. Perhaps we should take some pleasure in it, too.”

Uh, sure. We should all take pleasure in things we consider reprehensible, like child pornography and female circumcision. After all, the perpetrators have learned to be unrepentant about their cause. Good for them! Let’s celebrate their offenses as justifiable acts of self-preservation. Koyen has clearly lost his mind as well.

Atop Koyen’s column is a photo of a sign, from Bella Bella Guesthouse in the Khao San Road district of Bangkok, saying that it does not accept Israelis because of problems it has had with them in the past. Coincidentally, I took a picture of the same type of sign when I stayed at Bella Bella in 2007, but this one had a damning newspaper article attached to it:

israeli31

Few bad reviews can compare with a simple refusal of service. It’s pretty crazy, really.

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Backpacking in the News

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009
dfmos
Classic DFMO. Note the tribal tattoo.

What a shocking bit of news. You mean to tell me that backpackers are promiscuous? And they drink too much? No way.

Hmm… Perhaps the backpacking, drinking and promiscuity are related. Worth looking into.

A few highlights:

  • Over 430 backpackers in hostels across Sydney answered questions about their boozing and scoring tendencies for an Australian study, which also tested for Chlamydia. Subjects ranged from 18 to 30, with an average age of about 23 and an even distribution of men and women.
  • 3.1 percent of men had Chlamydia; 3.9 percent of women had it.
  • 7.6 percent of men reported a previous case of Chlamydia; 10.1 percent of women previously had it.
  • That pushes the percentage of ever having Chalmydia to 10.7 percent for men and 14 percent for women.
  • 31 percent of men had a new sexual partner en route to Australia; 20 percent of women had one.
  • 60 percent of respondents said they “always” used protection.
  • 33 percent of men are drinking over double the recommended daily intake of alcohol; 28 percent of women are doing so.

Doing a study like this is like polling Jamaicans to see if they smoke weed. Backpackers can regularly be seen having unprotected sex on the shore at Full Moon Parties, for chrissakes. While the investigative process was no doubt entertaining, we already knew the answers. I want to see a study examining the amount of beenouing going on in Sydney hostels. Wait a second, I know the answer to that question too: A lot.

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19. Coming Home with a Lame Accent

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

I’m happy for you that you had a good time in Australia, but do you really have to ask me “How are you going, mate?” every time you see me now? I respond better to variations of  “What’s up?” or “How’s it going?” or even “How are you doing, bro/buddy/friend?”

It’s not “no worries,” it’s no problem. And when you say thank you or you’re welcome, just say it. None of this “cheers” stuff. “Cheers mate,” is even worse.

You’re not Australian. It’s not cute. You sound ridiculous.

You’re not English either, even though you did a semester abroad in Leeds. Quit calling your apartment your “flat,” your roommates “flatmates,” dudes “blokes,” and trying to use some semblance of Cockney slang. You don’t sound cool like The Streets or the guys on Lock Stock.

It’s cool or awesome, not “brilliant!!” That chick is ugly, not “mingin.” And when you get takeout it’s takeout. Quit calling it “takeaway,” you pretentious prick.

It’s just because  it’s English that people think they can get away with it. You don’t see people coming back from internships in South America or France and carelessly speaking to their friends back home in Spanish or French.  There’s a reason for that. If they did, people would just stare at them blankly like they’re some kind of freak, and rightfully so.

People who drove overseas on the left side of the road for an extended period of time don’t come home and unintentionally veer into oncoming traffic. Please refrain from pulling a linguistic James Bond behind the wheel with me.

You’re from here. Cut the crap. You’re not a charming alien. It’s OK. Tell us the stories, show us the photos, but please leave the accent where you found it. It belongs to actual charming aliens.

You’re not “taking the piss out of” me, you’re making fun of/mocking/fucking with me.

Also, don’t beenou to us whimsically about places we’ve never heard of or stores we’ve never shopped in in foreign countries we’ve never visited. We don’t give a shit (see 4. Nobody Gives a S#%&). All of these things require explanations. Tell me “Boots” is like “Shoppers Drug Mart” or “Walgreens” before you carry on with some banal anecdote, complete with senseless tangents, about a typical day for you in England.

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17. Long Distance Relationships (LDRs)

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

“hey stranger”

What’s that? Don’t act like you don’t know. You’ve been backpacking on an LDR and your significant other has hit you with the above e-mail subject. Don’t feel bad. It’s common.

It’s a common mistake. No offense if you’ve successfully done it or if you’re trying to convince your significant other to let you go backpacking, but come on. Get real.

(Cliche warning! Cliche warning!) Backpacking is about you, about discovering who you are. What makes you tick. How social you are in new and unfamiliar settings. How good you are at picking up members of the opposite sex. What you want to do with your life (if you don’t end up teaching English). How much you appreciate your family and where you’re from. Don’t fuck with it. (Without fear of sounding like the older brother of the LMS* douche from Rookie Of The Year, on American Pie 2): It’s a sacred rite of passage.

You know because you’ve seen it tried before. Maybe you’ve been that person. Maybe you broke up before your trip, maybe you didn’t. Maybe it was painfully ambiguous. Maybe you’ve travelled with an LDR backpacker. Whatever the case, you’ve seen somebody showing the symptoms: constantly stressing to check their e-mail or get to their phone, wondering what time it is back home, scrutinizing their significant other’s Facebook page with a detective’s eye for detail, sitting in dingy Internet cafes talking on Skype (“Can you hear me, now? How ’bout now?…  Haha, now?”) while other backpackers are out having fun, eating poorly, drinking heavily, losing sleep, talking to you about it endlessly in the hostel and making you lose sleep, trying to pick up chicks/guys but failing miserably because their heart’s just not into it, feeling bad because they’re being THAT person. That LDR backpacker.

So yeah, don’t do it. Break up and get back together afterward. Or if you really love her/him and you can’t let him/her go, just travel together.

*LMS (Little Man’s Syndrome): Pronounced “elms,” this syndrome is commonly known as a Napoleonic Complex, exhibited by men who are short in stature yet display aggressive and overcompensatory personality traits. Prone to peacocking, contact sports and rough horseplay (see 1. Aussie Guys), men with LMS often lift weights in order to “get jacked” and offset their unimpressive height. A common LMS greeting involves an iron-grip handshake, low-voiced laughter and a hug that turns into a lifting-taller-friend-off-the-ground (and thus displaying their great strength) exercise. Sometimes, LMS just applies to short guys in general.

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15. Dormitories

Friday, June 26th, 2009

If you don’t know what it’s like to sleep in a dormitory, you’ve obviously never backpacked in Europe (beenou), North America  or Down Under. The reason there’s a difference is because backpacking in the developed world is expensive as hell (See 8. The Lonely Planet). Meanwhile, in underdeveloped countries, one can procure a luxurious private hotel room for the price of a Happy Meal in Western currency.

hostel-dorm1Because affordable lodging space is so limited in the former, it becomes possible to charge a premium for not only a room, but for a tiny fraction of a room (literally one-16th). There are, of course, varying levels of expensiveness. For example, North American backpackers know what it feels like to pay outrageous sums of money (after converting their meager dollars to English Pounds or Euros) for half of a bunk bed. It’s a sensation akin to non-consensual jailhouse sodomy (i.e. ass rape).

Aside from obvious disparities in global currency and real estate values, the inflation in high-traffic tourist areas is senseless. The average minimum cost of a dorm bed in Prague in July is 15 Euros (21 USD) per night; 23 Euros in Rome; 26 Euros in Barcelona; 22 Pounds (36 USD) in London; 30 Euros (43 USD) in Paris;  and a whopping 35 Euros (49 USD) in Amsterdam. Go to the same cities in, say, November and the price is 30 to 40 percent cheaper. That’s the beauty of supply and demand, folks.

Remember: a) this is for a wretched dorm bed, and b) backpackers have no money.

So what makes dormitories so awful? Hygiene is a major issue. Before going on my first backpacking trip, I brought a sleepsack (a bedsheet folded over once and sewn) as it was suggested to me to avoid using hostel bedsheets, which could have bedbugs. Long story short, the sleepsack was excess baggage and I’d overpacked to begin with, so I ditched it early on. Besides, I was too lazy to use or wash it, so I went ahead and used the hostel bedsheets. Bad idea. I got bitten by bedbugs and it was terrible – but that’s for another post altogether.

hostel-dorm2Regardless of the hundreds of online reviews you read about competing hostels, they are all dirty. It’s not the hostel’s fault. Consider their clientele. A typical backpacker’s day consists of sightseeing and heavy drinking, both of which involve perpetual movement and perspiration. Piles of unwashed and reworn clothes, especially socks and underwear, contribute to the dormitory’s signature potpourri. At capacity, there can be 8 to 16 people in a room (on 4 to 8 bunk beds), depending on its size. The room smells of other people’s feet, breath and sweat. It’s disgusting. Every morning, a sour, humid stench hangs over the place as sunlight begins to cook it through the windows.

The mattresses are uncomfortable and sometimes squeaky. The really bad ones have uneven springs that dig into your back. So, it’s hard enough to fall asleep, and then there’s the element of noise. Whispering, giggling, snoring and, God forbid, fornicating. Like bedbugs, dorm sex requires its own post. There are also the drunks that stumble in, yelling belligerently, turning on all the lights and crashing violently into their bunk… which is incidentally right beneath yours.

Because other backpackers are generally untrustworthy, there are often large lockers in the corners of the dormitory, consuming whatever residual space that would have allowed for orderly room navigation. Lockers must be large enough to fit a 90-liter pack. Thus, occupants bump into and step over each other attempting to get from one end of the room to the other. Doing so in pitch darkness, while drunk, is no easy task.

Sleeping in close proximity to foreign strangers is creepy. Movies like Hostel or Taken are not particularly inspiring cinema to watch prior to going on a cross-Europe dormitory tour. You never know what kind of nutjobs are sleeping in there – above you, under you, or beside you. Some of them are Aussies, others are Israeli – both are crazy. Sweet dreams, everybody.

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14. White sunglasses

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

white-sunglasses1I mean, come on. Are you serious?

White sunglasses should have been banned a long time ago. For people that are into them, however, I suppose they complement puka shell necklaces, gelled and frosted tips, and tribal tattoos.

I believe the Brits have a term for this kind of thing: “chavs.” From my understanding, it defines a type of style, or lack thereof. The look is pure cheese. Lame K-Swiss sneakers, Ali G tracksuits, “wigger” attire,  etc. In short, it’s bad taste. White sunglasses are the chavs of the eyewear world.

Over the past few years, white sunglasses were popularized among male backpackers by surfers and snowboarders (see 1. Aussie Guys) mainly because pro boarders are capable of scoring indeterminate amounts of women. Analagously, puka shell necklaces also flourished in the wannabe-boarder market during the late 1990s-early 2000s. While many poseurs attempt to recreate the pro boarder look, they fail to realize that Kelly Slater is a pimp and sadly, they are not.

Female backpackers, unfortunately, are not immune to the lure of a pair of ivory frames, particularly not if they’re available at an unbeatable knockoff price of $2.50 on the beaches of impoverished nations.

Perhaps these people are, either openly or closet, Star Wars fans. They are unwittingly motivated by a desire to look like storm troopers. If that’s the case, I’ll give ’em that. Storm troopers are pretty money.

white-sunglasses2

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