Travel Blog 18; Just Think!

We’re living in a time where a lot of folks booze
Whether sitting in a bar or sitting in their front rooms
Some say its made for profit some say for fun
Some say its even made to keep the population dumb
It can loosen you up when your out with your friends
So you can finally approach that girl from your ends
Have a dance, lock lips, fall under the spell
Then wake up in the morning with a story to tell
It should come as no surprise I was a fan of the drink
Used to go through Whiskey till my nose turned pink
Jaeger Bombs by the tonnes, puking up in the bogs
Waking up without a clue how we got home from the clubs
Now don’t get me wrong it was all good fun
Cos we stayed smart enough not to leave in handcuffs
I know you’ve heard this and it sounds like a gimmick
But it always pays off just to know your limits
When your crowds buying rounds things get out of control
But try to keep your Ps and Qs try to balance your tone
If she just wont respond she just ain’t feeling you
Don’t persist don’t let the gesture get misconstrued
If your out and about and lose one of your friends
Take a second just to call them or a drop them a text
If your mixing your drinks your gonna get a sore skull
Morning after’s not for studying or visiting Mum
And if you see a sign of trouble don’t try to get involved
Don’t try to be the hero cos its not your job
You may think your the answer when you’ve got no hope
Plus the Bouncers get paid to stop fights you don’t
Wont bother saying don’t get drunk; you will
But try to keep below the point you turn violent and kill
Don’t try to walk home if its way too far
And for God Sake don’t try to jump in your car JUST THINK!

Most kids try drugs ‘cos they’re all the rage
I reckon most people have who are round my age
There’s nothing wrong with some weed once or twice a week
Laugh at jokes, eat Pizza, get deep, fall asleep
But you really need to think when your out in the street
When your looking for your MDMA and your Speed
Listen these things kill if you take them every day
But then again so does Macca’s, KFC and Subway
I’m not going to tell you don’t do drugs
But I’ll tell you to do them round people you trust
Like the type of friends you had since you were kids
‘Cos if you have a bad trip you’ll be thankful you did
If you don’t know what it is don’t put it in your mouth
Don’t snort it up your nose if you don’t know what its about
If your sniffing off a surface use a surface that’s clean
Don’t buy off a dealer that you’ve never ever seen
Don’t try to sneak the stuff inside of a bar
‘Cos if you get caught your leaving in the back of a car
Don’t take it at your job just to get through the day
If you cant go without then its time to walk away
to you its just a boost just to help you maintain
but I guarantee your boss wont see it that way
Have a good time and if its drugs your feeling
Do them at the right time do them for the right reasons
If your thinking that dropping will improve your night
Then why not drop something every once in a while
Nothing wrong with some dropping if your hitting the floors
Its just a problem when your dropping just to get out the door
Enjoy the rise but just consider the fall
Cos I can tell you coming down’s not pleasant at all
Don’t fall into the trap of doing drugs when your bored
And for God Sake only buy what you can afford JUST THINK!

I’m Tha Bozz and that’s my opinion.

 

 

Travel Blog 17; 5 Signs That You’re Growing Up

I turned 27 a couple of weeks ago.

Just had to let that opener sink in for a few minutes, I don’t quite know how it happened but I cant quite shake the feeling that this is all somehow Theresa May’s fault. I don’t know, seems like everything else going on at the moment is. This is not a political post though so I digress.

As a guy who lives in a hostel in Sydney in a dorm with 7 other beds, drinks beer and Goon most nights with Germans, South Americans and French people, smokes…Things. Listens to Hip Hop and proudly wears t-shirts emblazoned with Star Wars, Marvel, Super Mario and John Cena imagery its hard to admit that TECHNICALLY in the eyes of most civilisations I am growing up! As a guy who, in all honesty, fled my motherland with the full intention of prolonging this process its even harder to admit that its happening faster than I could have imagined and the signs are showing.

Now relax people we are going to have some fun here! I don’t have any grey hairs yet and I still find farts funny. Its just that as I sit here in a surprisingly comfortable bath robe that they gave me at a nightclub a few weeks back, for some reason, I cannot help but acknowledge the fact that I’m growing up. So what follows is a personal countdown of the 5 signs of maturity/growing up that I have recently encountered. Buckle up people and get ready for some references that if your younger than 23 you just might have to jump up and catch.

1. Beer Belly/Dad Bod

I swear to God when I was a kid I was the envy of every adult and adolescent in my circle. Even my teachers wanted to kill me, for other reasons aside from this but mainly because I could eat anything I wanted and wouldn’t gain an ounce. When I was in the swim team the instructor used to bring a pack of Polo mints to class and tell me they were for in-case I started drowning and this one time this tall kid 4 years above me put me through a low-level basketball hoop! I actually came out unscathed mainly because I slid straight through it like a needle through a thread.

The reason for the envy though was because although I had a body like a Timon I had a diet like Pumbaa! The trend of non-consequential eating continued until about 3 months ago when I stumbled out of bed to the bathroom, took one look in the mirror and was greeted by a very real voice in my head saying a very real thing; “Bozz you look terrible!” He was right as well. With my bald head, sticking out belly and less definition than an empty dictionary I looked like a white Skin from Skunk Anansie going into labour.

Gone is the care free diet. Don’t get me wrong I drink and smoke whenever the feeling comes over me (pay day, when I have to talk to girls, Sundays etc) but I’m trying to limit the amount of red meat, sugar and fast-food in my diet and although I slip and slip hard its starting to pay dividends.

2. Nightclubs Suck!

They probably have done for a while, particularly in Australia, but I’m just really not feeling the scene these days. I cant be arsed dressing up too much, the drinks are overpriced, the bouncers operate an ‘If Your Happy and You Know It Your Too Drunk’ policy and the music…Well that’s something else.

I haven’t heard any of it before! Hell, I didn’t even know what ‘Dabbing’ was until somebody in WWE started doing it during their ring entrance and its probably outdated by now as well. The other night me and a friend were standing around in a Sydney Nightclub as the DJ played, what sounded like 20 straight minutes of Lil Kendrick Dolla Sign until he randomly threw in one of my personal guilty pleasures; Right Thurr by Chingy. I hit the dancefloor like a Whale to a paddling pool and the shapes came out. Problem is that out of everybody in this place 50% of them might not have even been alive let alone listening in 2003 and after one run of the chorus instead of being told how he “Likes the way she looks in them pants” it was back to the Swag-Pack. This definitely never used to happen but the truth is musically my finger hasn’t been on the pulse for so long that I’m not even sure its still beating!

*And the music’s so bloody loud!……Jokes….*

3. Hangovers

Most people go travelling in search of life-changing experiences. This starry-eyed wonder is no exception but on the way I also went and found some life-changing hangovers. Up until about 5 months ago week-long benders were not uncommon. Yet its like something fell out of place inside me as now I find myself in a place where every time I choose to get on it I need to take into account the very realistic possibility that the next day will be a complete right-off. Do not schedule any work appointments, dates, sporting activities or social interactions of any merit the day after a sesh and for God-sake keep the route between you and the toilet bowl clear…

4. Less Tolerant

I actually don’t see this one as a bad thing. By less tolerant I by no means mean less accepting of any colour, race, gender, orientation, political or religious belief. I hate you all and I always have.

What I mean is less tolerance towards b*lls*it. Once upon a time I was the type of person that would run my mouth until it started sweating and losing weight trying to force conversation with people when I met them. The type of person that would hold my tongue tighter than a pair of tweezers when a person downright besmirched me for the sake of a quiet life and to not offend. The type of person that would become infatuated with members of the fairer sex and chase them blindly ignoring the way that they treated me like something that they stepped in, displayed insufferable personality traits or just downright weren’t interested.

Now if you are a reader who is also a Dyspraxic with their feet planted firmly within ‘The Spectrum’ then you will fully appreciate how exhausting the above can be. If your not just take my word for it; it f*cking is! People take the p*ss. Sometimes you do, sometimes I do, sometimes we don’t realise we’re doing it and sometimes we downright do. Sometimes people click and are meant to share good times and sometimes they just aren’t and this is fine.

Nowadays I make my mind up on whether to pursue a conversation with a person within the first 2 minutes and base it on a few things; eye contact, tone of voice, returning of questions and faith in my own judgement of character. If they don’t want it I’ll stop giving it after those 120 seconds. If a person moves my stuff, steals my food, wakes me up when I’ve got work or insults me personally they will know about it. Woman doesn’t want to know? She’s not going to and I don’t break my back trying to force a stone to bleed blood.

I suppose the long and short of it is I’ve KIND OF stopped giving a f*ck. Don’t get me wrong I still endeavour to be polite (no, seriously), endeavour to be kind and helpful (NO, SERIOUSLY!) and treat people with respect. I just expect it back and if you find the way that I strut around singing the music from my headphones enthusiastically, drape my Welsh flag across my bed in hostels when I’m on bottom bunks and how every now and then I just flat out do not want to be around other living things to be problematic then I don’t know what I can do for you buddy.

5. You’re not Proposing Are You!?

Yeah, my friends back home are moving on up like M People. Now I wasn’t one of those chumps who really believed he could go away for more than a year and everything would pause like an episode of Bernard’s Watch until I came home but this is scary!
Since leaving 2 of my besties have decided to tie the knot. I’m over the moon for them not least of all because they’ve chosen to do it with exceptional people who couldn’t have been more made for them and the stag doo’s will be heavy (better write off the next two days after those!). However as I tuck into my noodles and tuna and pour myself a glass of white wine that came out of a cardboard box with a bag inside this information does set the voice off again. This time with a statement along the lines of “S*it dude where’s your lady? Where’s your career? Where’s your Car and seriously do you really hand-wash your Draws!?”

Truth is this guy isn’t too hard to drown out but it doesn’t mean he isn’t there and it doesn’t mean that he isn’t a sign of the times. In the eyes of a lot of people me and my cohorts live a lifestyle that’s unorthodox. Believe me explaining it to the average 21-30 year old lady in Sydney is as much of a turn-off as handing her a handkerchief and asking her what it smells like. So I just tell them I’m an Astronaut and they don’t respond to that either. WHAT DO YOU WOMEN WANT!? Most job openings finish with a statement along the lines of ‘No Backpackers’ and like any of us could ever afford a car or regular use of the laundry machines!

Seriously though this last one is probably the biggest sign of growing up and it does hammer home the reality that nothing lasts for ever and at some point I will be forced to live a somewhat normal life. Hoping this doesn’t end things on a downer because on the whole my life at the moment is a blast, has been for some time and I don’t intend it to stop anytime soon its just that…27 man! Twenty-F*cking-Seven!

I’m Tha Bozz and that’s my opinion.

Travel Blog 16; Australian Scams & What to Avoid

I’m hoping that just the title of this piece will land me a few clicks alone due to the fact that its on a travel blog, features the word ‘Scams’ and doesn’t feature the name ‘Asia’ or any of its interior nations.

You would be forgiven for thinking after 3 months of frolicking around Thailand and its neighbouring countries in search of cheap booze, cheap food and cheap women that Australia should be a doddle. Its First World, is part of the G8 and is run almost entirely by middle-class white people. Plus they welcomed you (and your credit card payment) into the country with open arms with the promise of sun, sea, adventure and work along the way.

Honestly all of the above is true for Australia. Its a beautiful country with some beautiful and welcoming people. The weathers great, the transport links are pretty decent and so far I’ve yet to feel unsafe but, unsurprisingly, its not all as it would seem. I’m not in the business of b*llshit, know body’s paying me to be, so I’ll cut right to the chase; living and working in Australia as a backpacker is no cake-walk and the terrain is littered with a lot more scams and under-handed tactics than you might expect. Due to this and due to the country having an incline to lean towards keeping its, even basic, amenities in the “Extortionately Expensive” region its easy as pie to go broke and fast and don’t even think that just because you’ve done New Zealand before hand that you know what your in for. You don’t have a clue Sports-Fan.

What follows are a few tricks to watch out for when your on your Working Holiday. I am in no way implying that these scams exist only in Aus or even that they were invented there but it does often appear that they’ve been invited in with open arms and given a nice car, a free ride and the kind of benefits that even a mother with as many kids in her house as years in her life could get.  Coming from a man that’s only been here two and a half months and only been to two major cities, neither of which were Sydney, this list is likely incomplete but here we go. Just as a side-note; if your a backpacker who gets caught in any of the following nets don’t bother complaining to any of the relevant authorities because if they answer with their left hand chances are at least one of their genitals is in their right and they wont do a damn thing….And we aren’t even going to talk about Farm Work yet…

Bank Account; Paying for the Pleasure

So your in Aus. You’ve landed safely, its your first day in your new home and you want to get the ball rolling on the job hunt because you just spent what would be a weeks budget in Cambodia on a Chicken Wrap that looked like it had an eating disorder of its own, a small (and I mean small) Fries and a can of some kind of soft drink that tasted like p*ss that somebody farted in. First things first; bank account!

So you just head into the first branch you see, I mean they’re all the same right? Standard Debit Account, Savings Account attached, $1 fee for using card on other ATM machines; the norm. WRONG! Some dumb f*ck however many years ago thought to himself that it would be a great idea to make bank customers pay for they’re bank accounts. Unfortunately this guy didn’t keep his thoughts in his head and wasn’t actually as much of a dumb f*ck as it seemed because now most of the banks in Aus are doing just that and the customers are eating the s*it and liking the taste.

Commonwealth Bank charge standard customers $5 a month, ANZ charge $10 and so do Westpac and many of their peers. Although this isn’t technically a scam as its government approved (not that this should really make any difference) what is flaky as that the person setting it up for you will make no mention of such stipulations as they will assume you were aware all along. The fact it exists is a joke. The fact its not promoted is plain devious. Go with NAB they are the only ones that don’t charge, to my knowledge.

Job Hunting; The Kangals of Kings Kross

 So now that your account is all set up and after reading the small print your safe in the knowledge that your charges wont apply as long as your earning $55,586 a month you figure its time to hit SEEK and see what’s popping on the job front.

What do you know? There’s loads here and they all sound like really good crack as well; “Are you hardworking, ambitious, driven and have the skills and tools necessary to be your own boss!?” Well I’ll bet you do, or at least that you think you do so you go right ahead and apply for these positions with no mention of salary, hourly pay or what you’ll be specifically doing.

Sure enough 2 maybe 3 hours later you get a call from an attractive sounding secretary named Daphne who invites you to an interview the next morning. Great and even better is that the office is conveniently located only 15 minutes away from your hostel! So the next day you iron that crumbled up work shirt that you’ve been keeping in the bottom of your backpack, borrow your room mates tie (probably get him to tie for you as well), spray some Diesel Bad and set off on your way.

When you arrive at the office your taken aback by how swanky it all looks. The floors are polished, the walls are covered in $2000 artwork with titles like “Inner Expression” and sure enough Daphne the secretary is a real knock-out. However, Its at this point that if you know what to watch out for that you’ll be pivoting as sharply as your flat black shoes will realistically allow you to and heading for the door.

The reason for the advertisement not mentioning money is for the same reason that leaflets for Saudi Arabia don’t mention political freedoms; their isn’t any. These “Companies” will attempt to hire you on a “Commission Basis” and whilst disguising it with wording such as “The Harder you work the more you earn”, “Limitless earning potential” and “Your only limit is yourself” the Skinny on this is that they pay you nothing. Peddling whatever s*ite it is they’re trying to push is purely a game of luck involving little to know skill and its realistically possible that you will be working for free.

These people are scammers who will attempt to counter this argument by telling you that you “Obviously don’t have a lot of faith in your talents and worth”. No mate, we do and that’s the f*cking problem. Give me a blank sheet of paper and 10 minutes in a bathroom cubicle and I’ll show you my “Inner Expressions” and I wont charge you $2000 for it, good looking women in Aus are a dime a dozen and your colleagues will be the sort of people that haven’t yet realised that The Wolf of Wall Street was a cautionary tale. Be careful.

Fund Raising; A Free Ticket to the Cells

 So the interview with Jordan Belfort didn’t go as well as hoped. So you head back to the hostel feeling slightly disheartened and dreading the inevitable barrage of phone calls that you’ll be receiving from the 7 other similarly worded vacancies that you applied for.

All is not lost though as when you walk through the lobby of your hostel your vision is directed toward the notice board and you notice a certain notice almost immediately. No, not the one about “No drinking after 11pm” dummy! That’s more of a guideline than a rule anyway. The sign in question printed on plain white paper and written in bold black font reads “Want extra cash, Backpackers needed, immediate start, average earnings $130 a day, contact Tim on 042XXXXXX, no time wasters.” Well, s*it $130 sounds like a good piece of the pie and you need the money so who cares what the job involves right? So you call the number on the Sheet and it turns out that all you have to do is stand outside some supermarket and collect money for a “Charity” and that at the end of the day you get 32% of the takings.

Sounds easy enough doesn’t it and, as it goes, your actually doing something nice for those less fortunate as well. WRONG! You’ll find these b*stards have plastered their advertisements all over every hostel in the city and the reality is far from charitable. Before being driven to your supermarket your boss who operates out of a crappy bungalow in one of the rougher city areas and who looks disturbingly like Kool Moe Dee’s Albino brother will hand you 4 buckets with a badly laminated sticker for the charity in question attached and a phone number to hand out if the store gives you any hassle (warning bells anyone?).

Okay, here’s how this is going to go down; within a maximum of 60 minutes the Store Manager will approach you saying you don’t have permission to be doing what your doing, that the number you told him to call is faker than your Ray Bans and that if you don’t hustle in the next 5 minutes he’s calling the police. At which point you’ll contact the boss who conveniently wont be near his phone and his answer phone message will sound strangely like another human being. When he does eventually text you back you’ll get either picked up and driven to another spot or told to make your own way where the story will restart itself and you’ll ping-pong around locations for around 10-12 hours with a final taking of $198, meaning that you get $63.36 to be precise and three near arrests. Oh and the boss will also demand a copy of your passport.

In case you haven’t sussed it out yet; this “man” does not have permission to fund raise, sends you out to do his dirty work for chump-change, scolds you when you get moved on and, shockingly enough, when you get in contact with the relevant charity you’ll soon discover that they’ve never even heard of him. Be careful.

 Bottle Shop Lucky Dip; Mystery Pricing

 Well what a few days its been! Like any backpacker in this situation, or out of it quite frankly, you’ve got beer on the brain and why not? Alcohol makes you sexier, more confident, better at pool, better at dancing and makes you feel like a big man. So you and your new cronies decide to hit the local bottle shop and have yourselves a sesh.

When you get to the bottle shop and hit the fridges everything seems to be present and correct with your favourite brand, or what you assume will be your favourite brand, except one thing; the price. In fact the whole stock has no pricing on it anywhere. So naturally you ask the, hopefully, friendly old lady behind the till and she barks at you with the extortionate fee of $28 for 6 bottles of p*ss and gravy that isn’t even cold. After returning with several other brands you get similar rates until one finally comes in at around $18; deal!

If this all seems a little strange then that’s good because it is. Especially when you come in a few days later and the lady is quoting completely different prices to you for the same items. Price rigging in Australia is very much illegal and even in everywhere I’ve been in Asia its non-existent when it comes to alcohol in shops. The prices are obviously rigged based on how much a brand is selling but you can bet that even at its lowest it’ll never hit the levels of any legit liquor store likely 5 minutes away so save yourself the hassle and avoid these spots.

“Working Hostels”; Journey to the Edge of the Earth

 Its not been the smoothest of first weeks for you has it? Money’s running low and legitimate work seems hard to find in this city so you and your new friends think it might be time to get out and try somewhere else.

So you start looking into nearby towns and smaller cities and you think you’ve hit the jackpot when you stumble upon a Working Hostel in a town just a train ride away from the smog then speak on the phone with the manager who tells you that not only is work in the town plentiful but that the hostel will also help you find it. Jackpot! So you book the tickets, hop on the train and head to the promise land. The promise land that comprises of a Coles, 2 pubs, a petrol station, a bottle shop and, sure enough, your new hostel that you, just the day before, booked a week long stay at and gave the manager your card details whilst you were at it. Oh s*it indeed.

I implore anyone when looking into such moves to do as much research as they can before hand. Some towns are just dead others change with the seasons but one thing that wont change is the sales pitch of whoever’s running the hostel. Truth is, whilst many aren’t, a good deal of these owners are greedy, dishonest b*llshitters with a bad attitude and a crappy establishment to boot.

Don’t even start me on the agencies; Peter Pan’s have the neck to charge you $79 just to look on their job searches and Job Shop only lets you apply for two at a time. BE CAREFUL!

In-short Aus has its share of snakes, in every sens. Its a great country that should be experienced and despite the above its actually home to people that can be as warm as the temperature but keep your wits about you as much as you can. Truth is these scams exist and they exist relatively unchallenged because either the people in charge don’t no or don’t care, either is quite embarrassing and if you do get caught you wont necessarily get a lot of help. In closing; be safe, have fun, watch your back and my God if anybody in the WA area wants to give me some legit work please pipe up now!

I’m Tha Bozz and that’s my opinion.