A Travellerspoint blog

TO CATCH A FALLING STAR

MURRAYS TUMBLE DOWN THE MOSTAR GUARD TOWER STAIRCASE

17 °C

Murray is many things to many people. He is a lover. He is a friend. He is a weird guy that lives across the street that for some reason doesn't stop staring at you. But above all, he is the sun that warms the hearts of people that know him. And what is a sun? Merely a star that has not yet faded. Until now.

Many people hold Murray in high regard. For what, I'm not sure. Maybe it's his uncanny ability to stay calm in any situation? Maybe it's his smile that people think he doesn't know any better because he seems to have a lower IQ? Or maybe it's the fact he has a bent wang that is often referred to as 'The Bent Artichoke.' Anyway you look at it, Murray seems to be held aloft in many people's eyes. And it is from these lofty heights that this unsuspecting hero found himself falling faster than the soap in a prison shower.

The boys had been enjoying a beautiful afternoon in Mostar, Bosnia, a medieval town devastated by a war of yesteryear. As they toured the museum, a fortified guard tower on the famous Mostar Stari Most, they lads chuckled away at how nothing had changed between the tools used between the ages. They had simply been updated but not altered. It was soon to be learnt that stairs were something altered by time. Trent felt that he had seen enough, heading down the steep staircase, winding 5 floors below, to speak to the attendant to see where else they could get into for their money. As he spoke, he heard a crashing sound, followed by a thump, thump, thump, thump, and he looked up through the staircase above to see a skinny left foot pertrude the railing. Trent smiled. It was hard not to. The attendant looked at Trent, the smile beaming on his face and he too chuckled. From above was a howling groan. It sounded like a womans. Very lady-like. Trent had heard it before but it bought a bigger smile to his face. The Bosnian attendant on the front door could not hide his excitement. He ran and yelled something from the door, as if mocking the woman that he thought had fallen down the stairs and he wanted everyone in the old square to know about it. Trent ascended the stairs amd tried to comfort Murray's sobbing but could not. The attendant grabbed a bottle of water and helped Murray down the stairs. He couldn't stop laughing as he poured the water over Murray's very minor scratches.

Oh, how the mighty do fall!!!!

IMG_0305_1_.pjpeg

Posted by Jippo 07:42 Archived in Bosnia And Herzegovina Comments (0)

ALBANIA, YOU SAY?

IT'S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU MIX TOO MUCH BACARDI AND A CANCELLED FERRY TO DUBROVNIK.

sunny 33 °C

With the team finishing their first tour of Rome, further play is scheduled in mid July, the boys ventured to Bari, a port city very similar to Frankston in the fact it's the last place you would want to be caught stranded in after dark. With the team polishing off several of the new sponsors drinks, after Barcardi became the official sponsor following Dunlop Volley's axing, the boys found themselves at the ferry terminal. After quickly learning that the overnight ferry to Dubrovnik was cancelled, they were left with a very hard decision. Do they stay in Bari, which you will remember is very similar to Frankston, or do they jump the next ferry to wherever they can?

No decision is made without a heavy heart, but most are made easier with a drowned liver. So with a bottle of Bacardi drowning their senses, they decided to flee and the next available ferry was to Albania. So to Albania they were to go.....

With the I-pod speakers on full ball, they sang the team song as they left port. Rip, Rip, woodchip, turn it into paper. Throw it in the bin no news today. Nightmare dreaming, can't you hear the screaming...... It was a song for the ages. A true Australian classic that bought the boys to tears as they belted it out. It was their Galipolli. They were sailing to fight the good fight. They had no expectations, but by God they had courage in their hearts.....

IMG_0109_1_.pjpeg

The team slept out on the deck that night, the wind blowing through Murray's hair and sort of ruffling Trent's eyebrows. It was cold but the warmth of the sleeping bag kept them warm. Or maybe it was the grog. But either way, they awoke, a little worse for wear and wondered where it was that they were meant to be going. They knew that in just 12 hours they were actually meant to be meeting Jemma and Lucy in Dubrovnik under the old clock tower. As they awoke to the bright orange sun, their thoughts of where the hell they were going to end up. They asked several strangers on the ferry where they were due to land. Some pointed north. Others pointed south. Either they asked the wrong people or the Albanian's are a completely stupid race.

IMG_0128_1_.pjpeg

As the boat docked, they realised that they were still no closer to working out where the hell in Albania they were. Even the port name was unable to be found on their map. They figured the best way to work it out was to grab a taxi and ask how much it was to two different cities. That way they figured that which ever was cheaper had to be closer.

Well, it turned out Tirana, the capital of Albania, was the closest, so to Tirana it was. It may have been an unscheduled stop, and the boys may have been 12,000 miles from home, but the internet is universal and the boys were swamped by young adoring fans, forcing pens in their faces, apparently wanting autographs from their heroes. The boys being who they are, declined. They didn't want the attention and would prefer to be anonymous in this country that produced a spy that Homer Simpson took in and nearly brought the United States to their knees.

It later turned out that the kids that the boys thought were autograph hunters were actually beggars that were trying to sell them pens that they had found on the street. It doesn't matter though, because the boys gave them a greater gift than money. They allowed them to be in their presence. It was if the second coming of Christ had arrived in Albania.

Albania turned out to be a country of unexpected surprise. As the team tried to walk unnoticed through the city, they came to the realisation that the female population in Albania is a very much untapped source. 94% of the females in Tirana were between a size 8 and size 10 and had bodies that were absolutely fantastic. Their heads may have looked like a half eaten pie but their internet bride potential was sky-rocketing. With the tour only lasting seven weeks and both team members being over the age of 30, it was time to look at the future and it appears that this is where it lies. Selling awesome bodied Albanian's to lonely Australians.

Posted by Jippo 07:39 Archived in Albania Tagged educational Comments (0)

DISASTER AVOIDED - A RELUCTANT HERO'S STORY

THE TRUE UNTOLD ACCOUNT OF HEROISM AND A TERRORIST PLOT THAT WAS FOILED - WELL SORT OF.....

sunny 34 °C
View Two Blokes, Backpacks & Global Mayhem on Jippo's travel map.

The day started like any other for the boys, packing their kits in the sweltering early morning Rome heat. There was laughter and drunken memories being replayed about the night before. A morning coffee watching the best Italy had to offer walk by them in the street. The scene had the innocence of two friends that were having the time of their lives. Within hours, a terror plot would start to unfold that would rape these two of their innocence forever, and turn them into reluctant heroes. This is their story....

One is a knockabout lad from the blue collar suburb of Reservoir. He's done it tough through his life but has never complained. He's a hard worker and battled his way to get him where he is in life. The other, a well versed traveller, from a middle class family. Different backgrounds, becoming almost one some 12 years ago, on an unlikely collision course with destiny.

The walk to the central Rome train station on that fateful Tuesday, was like any other. One that thousands of backpackers like them, had walked countless times before. Sweat beads formed on their foreheads in the 37c heat as they stopped for a photo, their excitement still apparent in their faces of plans to explore Europe over the next 7 weeks. Little did they know, that within hours of this photo being taken, they would become the ultimate unknown accidential heroes. Until now....

IMG_0092_1_.pjpeg

They looked up at the departure board, but could not see the platform for their intended train to Bari, a port city rivalling Narre Warren for unwed mothers and generally things to do. A nun stood next to them, chatting to a female friend. They too appeared to be waiting for the same train. Over the next five minutes, they took turns looking at their watches, then looking up at the departure board. Time was getting close and still no platform. Then with a minute or two to spare, the little yellow numbers flicked over, making that distinct fluttering sound. Platform 8. It was time to move.

The two lads reached down and hoistered their heavy packs upon their broad shoulders, the same ones that the world were about to rely on for their strength and courage. They began to take their first steps towards their destiny, when the nun reached out and tenderly grabbed the male known only as Murray, the Reservoir battler, by the hand. She looked at Trent, a longingness in her eyes, before raising them to the heavens as she spoke to The Almighty. Her Italian made the two Australians smile. They stood there as she finished, making the sign of the cross before backing away, never taking her eyes of them. This was it. It was time for them to run head first into God's plan. The two discarded it as the rants of an old woman, but perhaps they had been chosen by a daughter of God, to save his people.

There was a hustle and bustle on Platform 8 due to the lateness of the platform becoming known. Old ladies were helped onto the trains high first step. Children played, laughing and slapping hands. An innocence that made the two remember their youth. Although Murray's was nearly always behind barbed wire fencing with guards on the towers of Reservoir primary school. None the less, they were still happy times. Then it started. The mysterious stranger walked past them, bumping Trent, who glanced for an apology, but none was received. The stranger's blue garments, fixed by the bright orange cloth around his midriff, standing out against the sweltering people of platform 8. Trent may have turned towards his friend and mouthed the word, 'terrorist'.

The boys got on next to last, helping others with their bags and a steadying hand for the elderly. They walked down the carriage to their seats, 33 and 35 of carriage 9, on platform 8 for the 2pm train to Bari. They sat opposite each other, their heads filled with only thoughts of fun times to be had. They had not a care in the world, yet next to them, sat the horror of a world gone mad. This bearded monster, dressed as a smurf with an orange sash, sat plotting in seat 34, to Murray's left.

The rattling of the train rolling on its outdated tracks jolted the boys slightly as the next destination of their great adventure awaited them. Many a trip over the next hour or so to the toilet was had, accompanied by the bag containing the bottle of Bacardi and the 600ml coke bottles. The laughter continued, but an uneasy suspicion was rising in the belly of the beast that lay within. They realised soon that the passenger in seat 34 could not speak english, even the drunken type they were now speaking. That led them to only one conclusion; he must be a terrorist and he must be stopped. With thoughts of the Madrid and London train bombings in their heads now, and the laughter and occasional body odour of a fat Italian bloke nearby ringing freedom in their heads, they acted. Dramatic CCTV images were captured from the trains video and have been exclusively published with this story.

IMG_0094_1_.pjpeg

Murray attempted to gain the terrorist's attention, pointing out a building in the distance and distracting him long enough for Trent to be able to muster the civilians of carriage 9 towards carriage 8. Murray, a cunning linguist from his many years growing up in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, kept the attacker of freedom distracted long enough, allowing Trent to slip back into his seat. Murray, known for his lightning speed which any woman he's been with could attest to, pounced. Using a death touch, learned through his countless years in the Papua New Guinea rain forests weaning pygmies, Murray had returned righteousness to carriage 8. It happened so quickly that the CCTV was unable to capture frame by frame images of freedom being rescued.

IMG_0100_1_.pjpeg

The terror plot didn't stand a chance and was over before it could begin. The world was safe again. There was no applause. No pats on the back. There will be no tickertape parade for these men and their names will not be talked about for generations to come. It may not be expected, but it is definately what is deserved.

The two Australians slipped away quietly from Bari that night. It is believed they boarded an overnight ferry to Albania to escape the media throng that was converging fast on the town after news filtered back down the rickety train line to the Italian capital. Like Batman and Robin, and Murray is definately the boy wonder between the two, they would prefer their identities to remain unknown. Their true identites may remain lost to the pages of history forever but their story is not.

N.B. - In a seperate report, Italian authorities have since released that the Indian male assaulted by two Australians on a train to Bari, was an Indian university student and have directed Victoria Police to submit an Incident Fact Sheet to appease the Australian Government. The two males are no longer believed to be in the country.

Posted by Jippo 02:16 Archived in Italy Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

THE TOUR BEGINS

LIKE DRESSING A MIDGET IN A NUN OUTFIT, READ ABOUT THE TOUR THAT MAKES NO SENSE

sunny 33 °C
View Two Blokes, Backpacks & Global Mayhem on Jippo's travel map.

With the boys attempting to rest on the 13 hour flight from Hong Kong, there was also time for them to prepare and attempt to learn the layout of Rome in the hope of giving themselves a better chance of sucess. With the 747 touching down smoothly at just over 6am Rome time, the team looked fresh given their past 48 hours and the emotional drain of losing two teammates in Hong Kong.

You could see the excitement on their faces as they disembarked and headed towards passport control, before a look of horror crossed Dwyer's face as he looked at his team mate and said, "Oh crap!! We forgot to learn Italian." With a few made up words like "beep ed ee bo" and adding the letter "o" to anything else they said, the boys bumbled their way through. But it was not over, with the more experienced Dwyer heading through the 'nothing to declare' gate at customs, before realising he had lost Thomas. Dwyer slipped back through the gate and found Thomas declaring to customs officials the moves like 'Teddy Tiggy' and 'The Train Game', that he hoped to unleash. Dwyer quickly escorted Thomas through customs and was overheard berating him as to the international pressure now placed on the team by informing Italian authorities what he planned on doing to their nationals. It is believed that before leaving the airport, Thomas' photograph was taken so it could be broadcast nightly as a warning.

The boys made their way to the team hotel, to discover that they were unable to check in until after 1.30pm, allowing them around 5 hours to try and get a grasp of Rome. They headed straight for the Colosseum, second only to the MCG in stature for sports mad fans. It made the team think strongly of home after learning that their beloved Tigers had just pulled off a magnificent victory against the Eagles.

IMG_0023_1_.pjpeg

The boys walked the length of the city in the soaring heat, with near misses occurring often in the form of traffic hazards. It appears that team officials have acknowledged that training in the southern hemisphere has now likely hampered the team, with both members now thrown into disarray as left becomes right; cold becomes hot; and east becomes black. The team will have to aclimatise quickly and Dwyer took it into his own hands by sneaking Thomas out of the team hotel and taking him to the Spanish Steps in the evening. The Spanish Steps are a renowned training ground for the under 18 Italian mens team, as they pit their skills on unsuspecting female tourists. The two watched on and became students to the game that they thought they owned back home as these pre-pubecent latharios, with moustaches thicker than you grandmothers, worked their moves.

It is also believed that the touring squads major sponsor, Dunlop Volley, is at loggerheads with team officials after it was learnt the both members are carrying niggling injuries after their marathon walk around the ancient cobblestoned city. It has been suggested that the minor sorness experienced by the squad is through lack of fitness and too much alcohol consumption. Team officals have denied this and have put the blame on the thin wafer shoe that Dwyer has been sponsored by since he was a child, saying that it is not designed to use on the european layout. Dunlop Volley executives are believed to be working on the problem.

Posted by Jippo 02:50 Archived in Italy Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

TWO MEMBERS KICKED OFF THE PLANE AT HONG KONG

AS CONTROVERSY SURROUNDS THE START OF THE TOUR

sunny 28 °C
View Two Blokes, Backpacks & Global Mayhem on Jippo's travel map.

The European Tour got underway at around 7am local time as the team took off from Melbourne airport. It is believed that both team members had not slept the night before, with the anticipation of the impending 7 week tour weighing heavily on their minds.

The tour hit it's first hurdle at Sydney airport when fan favourite, Murray Thomas, was pulled aside by airport security and screened for bomb residue. It is not known who the security were tipped off by, but sources close to the team suggest that it was possibly disgruntled former squad member Steven 'OLLIE' Olver after remarks made by skipper, Trent Dwyer regarding his 'sand in the vagina' injury which saw Olver pull out of the tour. Security soon released Thomas, after it was noticed that he couldn't even work his camera, let alone design and build a T47-340 hydrogen bomb.

The team was soon graced with the presence of former Victorian Police Commissioner, The Blue Beanbag, aka, Christine Nixon, as they went through customs. There was no doubt that she had obtained yet another free flight with Qantas.

The short stopover in Sydney saw the inclusion of two new squad members, Mr Bacardi and Senior Canadian Club. The two were expected to make the trip with Thomas and Dwyer, but their inclusion was kept secret after numerous nights leading up to the tour where the four were in 'training', ending in allegations of drunken shenadigans. Their inclusion would no doubt boost the performance of the team, but controvesry would soon follow.

Landing into Hong Kong, the team was pulled aside by the Chinese dictator style customs officials and told that the two new team members were not allowed to continue past this point and were remanded into custody. Dwyer and Thomas begged their case to be allowed to have their team-mates continue on to Europe, but were shut down. It is believed the Australian Government is trying to assist the detained members and are attempting to have them deported back to Australia.

IMG_0004_1_.pjpeg

Shattered by the loss of their two newest members, Dwyer and Thomas, found comfort in the form of $58HKG beers during their 7 hour layover. No doubt, their thoughts were still with their detained teammates when they 'forgot' to pay their $348HKG bar tab.

The team boarded the flight to Rome at around midnight local time, having been on the go for nearly 40 hours since waking Friday morning in Melbourne. Another quick few drinks were had before both members were out of it and attempting to rest in preparation of play starting in 13 hours time. Unfortunately, Thomas may have been preparing harder on the plane than his skipper, when journalists travelling with the team observed an awkward moment between them. With Dwyer asleep in the aisle seat, Thomas attempted to climb over his skipper in the hope of not waking him. Unfortunately Dwyer woke right at the time his rookie teammate was straddling him and their eyes met in horror. All Murray could do was give a wry smile. Hopefully this is a sign that Thomas is thinking strongly about taking back the role of Pig Hunter, because if he is willing to straddle Dwyer, then anything Europe can throw at him will be a piece of cake.

Posted by Jippo 02:12 Archived in Hong Kong Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 10) Page [1] 2 »