There was no piss on any toiletseat I used in my entire 2.5 weeks in Japan. Of all the things that struck me as odd in Japan, that one was the most unusual. After spending time in Japan you really begin to realize how rude and obnoxious people everywhere else really are. Folks are so polite in Japan that they will not even smoke and walk at the same time, no one uses their cell phones in public spaces, and when crammed into the subways together somehow people manage to not bump or touch their neighbors. Everywhere we went people would stare at Orion and I but would not say anything unless we spoke to them first. Everyone wanted to talk to us, but were too shy and polite. I remember on one train that was full of school kids in uniforms pretending to ignore us, I took the ketchup container out of my backpack and said ‘ketchup’ in a loud voice and the entire train car was in an uproar with everyone yelling ‘ketchup’. Within 2 minutes there were 20 cellphones snapping pictures of Orion and I with our arms around the local school kids.
For 3 weeks I traveled around Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. I tried to push myself to see as much as I could and experience as many things as possible. I ate every manner of worms, larva, grasshoppers, frogs and even two scorpions. There was 3 different times I got sick, even though for most of the trip I was taking antibiotics. Few of the places I stayed had any amenities like hot water, a flushing toilet or even toilet paper. I was constantly uncomfortable, traveling on the back of motorcycles, in school buses with wooden floors, in Tuk-tuks, taxis and trains. A poisonous snake attacked me while I was trekking in the jungle and I got stuck in a hailstorm where the hail was the size of golf balls. Through all the discomfort, confusion and unpleasantness I managed to create a truly unique experience, which was my own. I will carry these memories and experiences with me to the grave. This document is intended to inspire others to get out in the world and travel, and get more of the same kind of experiences. Leave the comfort of your feather bed and your espresso maker. Get out in the world and see what it’s all about.
If I had to sum up my whole trip to China in 2004 with one word it would be WOW! China is unlike anyplace I have ever traveled in the world. Although for the entire time I was there I was totally uncomfortable, overcrowded, altitude sick, and off-center I still had a great time. Why do I travel? I travel to give my brain new experiences, to look at things in a different way. Like a rat running a different maze other than the one he is used to running it stimulates me in a different way and makes me feel alive.
I flew into Hong Kong to start the trip off. For eight days I ended up getting stranded in Hong Kong while I waited to get my Chinese Visa. It turns out that the Hong Kong Visa does not work for China even though Hong Kong is supposed to be a part of China. This whole thing will continue to get more confusing as time went on. I wanted to fly to Tibet but the plane tickets from Hong Kong were obscenely expensive and I could not find anyone to get me a Visa into Tibet. Although Tibet is part of China you need a special permit to get there as well. It would not be until the end of my trip that I would secure a fake Visa to get into Tibet with, but that comes later.