Wolf-e-boy's Global Travel bites page-(29-09-'02 to 19-02-'04)
About 'Wolf E. Boy'
Wolfgang Ramadeus, writer and drinker, writes under the name of Wolf E. Boy.
When not writing, he's a carpenter involved in anything from converting barns to roof construction, loft conversions, research and development work, boat building, and anything else pretty much that's made with wood.
His writing is simplistic stuff, sticking to what he knows about, so mainly life experiences guide the things produced on the keyboard, be they short stories, blogs, spoken word rhymes/ rants etc. These web site pages are a collection of his writing, of a pretty much autobiographical nature of a life lived on the South coast of England, leaving school at 15 and thrust into the world of boat building. From very early on Wolfeeboy was putting pen to paper to maintain for posterity what he considered the more interesting aspects of the world he found himself surrounded by, some of these tales would later on be turned into the 'Shoreham Beach Stories', his first printed effort,(in the Beach News), which is also available to read on this web site in its entirety.
Wolfeeboy also has a book published, 'Bangkok to BC', a travellers tale of going around the world, visiting exotic locations, meeting fellow backpackers and friendly locals on the way, trying out all sorts of semi extreme outdoor activities, and no short smattering of 'illicit substances'. One man having a laugh as he travelled the world. Now available in pubs around Shoreham in return for a donation to the RNLI, all proceeds from sales go to charity. It is also available through amazon.com, there is a link on the 'Barn and Granary Conversion blog' page, (but I have no idea where that money goes, certainly not to me or charity).
Coming from a town steeped in maritime history, (Shoreham by sea in West Sussex, England), Wolfeeboy enjoys a beer, most sports, good books, screaming at politicians or religious nutters on the TV or radio, travel (when poss), good company, and loose women(again, where possible!).
Please look around this site, check out the:-
'A Brief Maritime History of Shoreham and its Fort' page, for my short story version of our towns rich history.
'Silly Witty One Liners' page, for my favourite one line jokes plucked from all around, if it made me chuckle I put it in.
Or how about my:-
'A Bygone Shoreham Beach' page, recollections of a life growing up in this fantastic giant playground.
My 'Blog on' pages, to keep you updated with what I've been up to lately, what's amused me, annoyed me, upset me, or just the world viewed through my eyes.
Then there are the early work years:-
'Watercraft, My Part in its Downfall' page, my time as an apprentice boat builder on the River Adur at Shoreham,
'When I left School, 1979' page, the year of boat building before I joined Watercraft to start my apprenticeship.
For art, or family, history buffs, you can check out:-
'My Ramus Family Tree',
'The Ring Master & John William Godward',
(A Victorian/Edwardian London art dealers story)
'Sampsons Art Ring'
(An edited version of the story above)
There's plenty else too, just check the side bar, click and read, hopefully to make you smile, nod in agreement occasionally, laugh out loud, or maybe even scream abuse at the monitor, I don't mind, as long as you didn't consider it a waste of your time visiting here!
Wolf E Boy can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please feel free to drop him a line if you have any comments or questions.
click here to check out the Argus write up about this web site and the book Bangkok to BC
Bangkok to BC is now available to buy through donations, in pubs round Shoreham, the Buckingham Arms, Waterside, and the Marlipins. Every penny goes to the RNLI, straight into their collection boxes at the pub. Please help them out, the RNLI is a fantastic cause.
PUBLISHERS JACKET BLURB
A no-holds-barred journal of a round-the-world adventure. The backpacker experience is laid bare as 'Wolf E. Boy' recounts his visits to S.E.Asia, Oz, New Zealand, Fiji, the US and Canada.
In this book he writes about the stunning scenery and alien cultures he encounters, along with lively descriptions of boarding in the surf and the snow. These provide the backdrop to a journey well fuelled by drugs and drink, and enlivened by the company of a changing cast of fellow backpackers.
'Wolf E. Boy' writes in the language of the drug scene - crude but colourful - giving a rich flavour of immediacy to this revealing account of his experiences.
The adventure started after the author sold his home in West Sussex, with vague ideas of travelling in Europe. But he somehow managed to walk out of a travel agents with a round-the-world ticket, departure date imminent...
He offers this book to students and other travellers, "or people like myself who just wanted to break free from the shackles of the rat race for a while, and stick two fingers up at the establishment".
Back of jacket quote
‘We were packed in like sardines on the ferry from Thongsala to Surat Thani, so no sleep there and not over comfortable, but whatever. Once on the long tail boat the view was breathtaking, like mountainous pinnacles which have risen out of the water, half green with vegetation and half multi coloured rock, pretty awesome. But like everywhere I’ve seen, it looks great from the sea, you land ashore and you’re in the middle of a building site.’
And now below, a few short snatches from Bangkok to BC
Getting the ticket
I’d only really gone into Brighton to buy a book, taking the train from Shoreham, armed with camera, rucksack, writing material, and a Robert Capa biography, ‘Blood and Champagne’, for the quiet moments. Brighton’s always a good place to bring your camera, from its wonderful Victorian railway station, down to the sea front and the two polar piers, West Pier battered into submission, the cynically renamed ‘Brighton’ Pier (formerly ‘Palace Pier’), and a fair amount in between.
After a lazy, enjoyable, jaunt around the town, and an unsuccessful effort of book buying, I stopped off at one of the ever increasing number of Coffee shops springing up all around Brighton, in Cranbourne street, just off Churchill Square. There I was, minding my own, when Chris and Gav wander past the shop front and we spot each other, they were on their way to STA Travel in North street, to pay for their trip to India which would be a couple of months further on. I tagged along with the intention of getting a beer in after they’d concluded their business. Well, their business took quite some time, and while waiting patiently out of the way, I watched as all the other potential travellers came and went, and the staff keep telling me it’s my turn, “no, it’s alright, I’m just waiting for these two”, pointing at Chris and Gav. Anyway, after about the fourth time of asking, and no real sign of Chris and Gav getting anywhere, I decided just to see what’s on offer, no harm I thought. The upshot of the situation was that I ended walking out of there having shelled out for a ten stop, one year, round the world travel ticket, and destined to fly out before Chris and Gav.
I’d sold my house a few months earlier, and was contemplating a trip somewhere, but I’d been thinking of buying a van and travelling around Europe, all of a sudden there I was, after a chance meeting with a couple of mates, a convincing travel salesperson, and most importantly, a great looking trip for only just over a £1000, which included a solid travel insurance for the year. Probably the first time in my life when I’d been in the situation to afford, both in time, and finances, to do such a thing on a whim.
I don’t really think it sunk in properly until the actual day of departure, I still hadn’t bought myself a proper rucksack until the day before, preparation not being my forte.
Depart Heathrow 29th Sept.’02
Thailand, Laos, & Cambodia Journals
29-09-’02 to 28-12-’02
Booga said to me at the airport, “ you look like someone going to the gallows”, I fuckin' felt like it, but didn’t want to speak about it and give my fear away, or rather, confirm their suspicions. This was meant to be the trip of a lifetime, they were all jealous as, but I was in a state of bewilderment wondering what the fuck I was chucking myself into. I mean, South East Asia, on my own, why ?!. Impulse ?, bloody minded stupidity ?, bit of both probably, I couldn’t say.
After just a day in Bangkok your eyes are opened to the virtually no holds barred traffic system which keeps buzzing 24/7, traffic lights seem to be just a guide rather than a law, with swarms of mopeds, Tuk Tuks, and motorbikes always at the front at red, revving up ready for the off, which itself is an experience as they all simultaneously thrash the living daylights out of their machines leaving plumes of smoke clouding the rest of the traffic. I noticed many of them had masks over their nose and mouth, no crash helmets mind you, and it occurred to me how pointless it would be to quit smoking since I arrived, walking around this place must qualify as the equivalent of chain smoking Marlboro full strengths, you can actually taste the shyte. I quickly noticed and took up the habit of holding a hankee to my mouth and nose for a few ‘fresh’ breaths, with earlier mopped brow sweat adding to the filter, many things Bangkok may be, but good for your health aint one of them.
Koh Phangan- Full Moon party- Oct '02
Still the 21st, midday-ish. While taking my camera for a walk to document what for me are the more interesting aspects of this little stretch of the island, such as the reptile element neatly ironed flat into the dusty roads, and their expansive recycling unit, otherwise known as the beach. Didn’t see any ‘crazy hairs’ today, they’re normally grey haired hippy looking types resembling leather skinned sun tanned new age travellers without the shithouse convoy of crapped up vans, dogs, horses, screaming kids, tea leaves, and attendant refuse heaps. There’s always a gentle smattering of them about the place, but today they’re lost among the ‘backpackalanche’ which is what moves me to scribble now. The past few days have been steady, but today it’s like the D day landings with boats coming from all directions laden with ‘full mooners’. And now I’ve got some irritating wannabe bongo drummer giving it the Les Dawson across the way, everyone’s gotta learn sometime, I just wish I didn’t have to hear it on this bongo novices’ first day. But then, Joy, as I write he’s packed up, bongo and all to join the rest of the trainee circus acts all over Sunrise beach, at least you can turn away from the jugglers if you feel like it. Everything’s pointing to an interesting night ahead.
Well this is turning into a busy day, it’s about 5 or 6 ish and the ferry pier is still busy but now we appear to have been delivered a police force from somewhere, complete with a fleet of shiny gleaming new 4 by 4 meat wagons. I haven’t seen a copper since Bangkok, not on Koh Tao or here, now there’s a small army of them watching all the decadent Western, pill popping, dope smoking, beer swilling, rave heads clambering off the ferries and on to a night of unrestrained oblivion under the studious eye of the full moon police, for that’s the only time you’ll see them. I’ve also noticed, during my afternoon stroll, an unmistakeable increase in the amount of British accents, from almost none at the beginning of the week, to maybe half the entire travelling contingent around here. It looks a bit like we have all the ingredients for a bumper payout for all concerned, be it bars for beer, dealers for gear, shops for wares, or boats for fares. Those dumb enough to get pulled by the full moon police may also find themselves in a Thai jail, a place I’m informed you don’t wanna be, and with a nice fat fine to pay before release. I’m taking my camera out tonight.
Trek day one
In the morning it’s prep time and try to bring as little as poss, well, what I wanted to bring wouldn’t fit in my small rucksack so I took the ‘Wolf pack’, and it was full. That nearly proved to be the breaking of my spirit. Everybody laughed at the sight of it, at least double the size and weight of any of theirs.
I tried not to think too much about what was ahead, and was relieved to see that stage one of our trek was on an elephant, which turned out to be quite an enlightening experience (and a little sadness for the animals). The dexterity of these huge creatures along such absurdly narrow routes simply amazed me as they weaved through this unkempt jungle with grace and intelligence, each foot delicately finding the foot hole in front, left by so many other treks, never a tremble and steady as a rock no matter how steep or how narrow.
Having alighted from our majestic beasts at the end of their shift, we were fed, and then came our turn for the hard work. It was about here that my pity and respect for the elephants would magnify beyond question, and at the same time the realisation of how dumb I’d been to bring a full pack set in along with the cramps which were in the post.
Pai- Northern Thailand
Arrived Pai 14-11-02
Bright and early Kitty and I took a local bus up to Pai for 60 Baht, a quaint old jalopy with electric fans strategically placed hanging from the roof to keep us cool, Thai music on the tape deck, and of course the ‘bus nutter’ sat in front of Kitty and myself. Some Dutch guy on a mission (apparently) to find an elusive ‘no one’s heard of it before’ hideaway lodge, asking Kitty questions like she’s some kind of tour guide before his attention was diverted by another woman, wearing futuristic looking ear phones, he liked those.
When we got to Pai I was a bit surprised at the size of it, I’d expected a small village but it’s more like a small town and a rapidly expanding one at that. Kitty was off and running straight away, so I just kept in tow and she led us to a bamboo bridge over a fast flowing river and we’d found our home for the next few days, 100 Baht a night, with an unspoilt view of the surrounding landscape (rainforest clad mountains), fresh baskets of juicy fat bananas, papayas, mangos, and other fruits put out for us every other day. Bamboo built shade platforms with hammocks for chilling, smoking, and chatting to the other bungalow tenants, and everything constructed from natural resources. This is a place you could get stuck in.
Written 29-11-02 More Pai
Straight away we’ve chummed up with some Aussies, Mark, Kelly, and Graham (Wiggo), and they’d only met an hour earlier. The first few days we didn’t exactly rush about to see the sights, but rather planted ourselves socially within our little area of Pai, and every ones travel stories became the entertainment. One night Kitty, myself, Mark, and Kelly decided to give some opium a try (2nd or 3rd night), scored the stuff and bombed it in rolling papers, that’s about as much as I can remember of that night.
Kitty and me had already booked a Yoga course for the following morning, how we made it I couldn’t say. There we were, walking on eggshells through Pai, eyes fixed ahead and down, less chat the better, feeling like death but still going to Yoga. Turned up and the madwoman that runs the course asks to make sure we haven’t eaten that morning, neither of us could even have looked at food without stirring unwanted bowel reactions. We got into it ok and managed the class without too much pain until, just before the end of the two hour session, when the sickly oily shyte that had been gurgling in me guts finally said ‘hello’ and I had to spring for the curtained exit quick sharp. I didn’t hurl, which I’m not sure was good or bad, but the madwoman just put it down to being my first time at yoga, “you no worry, first time, you fine soon”, it gave me and Kitty a laugh for a moment, not too long a moment unfortunately.
We only had a four hour break before the next 2 ½ hr session of yoga was upon us, and I was still fragile, as was Kitty. Our efforts didn’t go unnoticed by the rest of our new family crew back at Jays restaurant, but their compliments on our achievement did nothing to quell the disquiet my digestive system was experiencing. After an uncomfortable time of pushing my fruit salad around the bowl, busting in and out of hot and cold sweats, and recoiling bodily from the aroma of Kittys’ veg soup, my decorum had evaporated and I was eyeing the surroundings for somewhere to throw up. I waited for Kitty to leave first because she wasn’t feeling great either, and, I’d say, neither of us wanted to witness the other spewing chunks in our tender state. My options seemed limited, not really on to vomit in the river which runs past the restaurant, didn’t fancy projectiles within the place, so went for the cautious walk back to the bungalow. I made about ten yards into open area before the matter was taken unceremoniously out of my hands, big old gut surge and up it all came, right in front of an audience of laughing Thai farm labourers. After that I slept for a couple of hours, and the second yoga session was a sight more comfortable, mental note, fuck bombing opium.
They’re ‘dead set classics’ our Kelly and Mark
Top mates as cool as a walk in the park.
They ‘rocked up’ to Pai and ‘soon as’ became mates
when grass and the opium sealed our fates
The ‘O’ got us hammered and grass got us caned
The Chiang which is brutal so oft had us brained
A family grew from the few we first met
I’ve not met a better lot travelling yet
Kitty and Katja, Michl and Orr, and
Graeme the ‘doer’, now he knew the score
He had his own spit made and barbied some chook,
Bought a guitar and used Jays music book
We all built a raft in traditional style, which
made all the Pai locals widen their smile
Embellished with candles and flowers and hair
Fresh cut from Mark, ‘I’m me dad’ he declared
We ate and we drank and we lazed ‘but’, together
When Pai started crying they called it the weather
The sadness it felt that all good things must end
And saddest of all is the parting of friends
But now I’ll relax while my body repairs
Less eating, less drinking, I’ll try to be fair
It’s all been ‘too easy’ and ‘cool as’ right through
As our lovely Thai waitress said, “Khap Kuhn you too”
One by one the family departed, and Pai, as we painfully admitted, had been done. It had begun raining too so the time was right. I eventually left with Mark and Kelly back to Chiang Mai on the local bus. Not a straight forward affair, the last few days of rain had contributed to a healthy sized landslip on one of the mountain roads, and the bus driver lost his bottle after a couple of abortive attempts to get it through.
As the bus slowed up on arrival, we could see some Thai labourers and earth moving machinery along with a queue of four by four trucks looking on at mounds of wet and slushy sand, strewn across the bend in the road. Our driver made his first attempt as soon as his opportunity arose, inside the bus we watched with nervous interest as it went forward at first, and then began to slide sideways as the wheels lost all grip in the sea of sand. After a lot of shouting and furious waving of hands by the Thai workers, the driver stopped, and as he did, Mark and I jumped off, followed by other mildly concerned passengers. The drop from the edge of the road was considerable, and steep. After the rest of the passengers realised the wisdom of this move and followed suit, the driver rolled the bus back and took a run at it, with clouds of black exhaust fumes billowing out, sand flying everywhere but still he was sliding almost to the very edge of the drop until he had to give up. With his elbows lent on his steering wheel, and his head buried into his hands, he didn’t look a happy bunny.
23rd Feb:- Great Ocean Road- Oz
Up early for fried egg sandwich, pack up and push off again, passing through the Otway National park on our way to Port Campbell, and to see the ‘Twelve Apostles’. Otway national park is basically a forest with awesome looking trees, the ‘Ghost gums’, fittingly named, with their haunting silvery look, and the road strewn with peeled bark all over, hanging ready to fall from the trunks of the many varied eucalyptus trees lining the road. Huge tracts of woodland felled for logging here and there, and amazingly green ferns and meadows. Stopped to see the Twelve Apostles and take some pics of the outstanding view from the huge sandstone cliffs. Si went down the ‘Gibsons Steps’, which take you down from the cliffs edge to the water, and in for a surf, I didn’t fancy trudging all the way down there suited up and with a board. Opted instead to go for a paddle and watch, there were some shit hot surfers out already tearing up the waves and looking impressive. Unfortunately, this is a place where you need to be on top of your game, and Si struggled in what, in fairness, weren’t the greatest conditions for a good surf.
Fri5th Sept ’03 Leaving Auckland, NZ North
In the zone!, that impenetrable, untouchable time of bullet proof self confidence. Maybe it's the gorgeous green valleys and densely wooded hills with tiny awkward lambs unsteadily trotting playfully around, announcing another spring arrived, life springing eternally. Or running water everywhere, long expired volcanic cones now thick with vegetation and stepped where past Maori tribes used them as fortifications. Steep winding roads making travel slow so time to soak it all up. Maybe it's that whole 'Land that time forgot' vibe, like some five legged, horned, hairy beast with scaled head and feet could stroll across the road stopping the coach and everyone would look to the driver for confirmation of this being a perfectly common situation. Or MAYBE, my hangover's wearing off!!.
Click here to check out the my home town (Shoreham-by-sea) web site