Another preview from my never??? to be released book
AROUND THE WORLD IN 100 FATTIES
Between 2016 and 2019, I put up fatties in 100 countries around the world, and here are a few of the ‘mostly true but somewhat dramatized stories‘ from during that time and the adventures that ensued.
List of countries
Bosnia and Herzegovina
United Arab Emirates
It’s been a wild ride, had the best times of my life to the worst times of my life, met so many different people and experienced so many different cultures/ways of living.
Spending the past few years doing this has definitely changed me a lot as a person, and it has changed the course of my life as I have been focused on doing this instead of normal real-life adult things, and I guess I have lost a big part of my life in that retrospect, but I wouldn’t take it back for the world.
I hope you all enjoy reading these anecdotes and it inspires you to go on your own adventures.
Do something which scares you every day, live life on impulse, seize the day, take random opportunities.
Don’t spend too much time thinking about the future, live in the present, don’t let your own fears or other people hold you back.
We aren’t born to live work and die.
– Tony (tubby1)
This story takes place about a week and a half into my India trip with my friend Alex. We had just finished up doing a group tour in India travelling the ‘Golden Triangle’, which basically involved doing a bunch of the normal ‘touristy’ stuff, seeing the Taj Mahal, Ganges river and a bunch of temples, castles, and stuff etc.
Alex and I had already somewhat become ‘accustomed’ to India by then, we had both gotten extremely sick from the food, spent ~10 days dying of heat, being crammed in 14 hour train rides, and I was looking forward to doing something more fun/exciting now. Our original plan was to go to Goa, (actually the main reason I even wanted to go to India) where there were apparently nice beaches, chill vibes and crazy all night psy-trance parties.
But as it so happened one day we were walking through New Delhi and some man came up and started making conversation with us and we told him about our plans to go to Goa.
“But surely you aren’t going to Goa now, it’s monsoon season, it rains every day there all day.
Everything will be closed.” he remarked.
I didn’t believe him at first so I checked the weather on my phone, and sure enough, it showed just constant rain.
I was pretty disappointed. Also because I asked the woman at Flight Center about the weather and everything, and she told me it was a great time to visit India and Delhi, she neglected to tell us we were going straight into the middle of a scorching 47 degrees summer and monsoon season.
“Come with me to my friend’s travel agency, we can show you a better place to go than Goa, you can go to North India to the mountains, it’s 20 degrees cooler there”.
I glanced over at Alex and he gave me a look of skepticism. One thing you have to know about India is EVERYONE wants to try and sell you something, everyone is trying to approach tourists on the things selling various knick knacks like USB’s, phone cases, trying to convince you to go into their shop etc…
Some of the locals just look at tourists as walking ATMs. And so this man just found out in 2 minutes of conversation that he could make a big sale. (Another thing one should note about India, everyone gets commission from everyone, by taking us to his friend’s travel agency he would definitely get a cut if we spent money inside.)
So, against better judgment (and because I tend to say yes on impulse to random opportunities rather than take the time to evaluate), we went into his friends shop and booked a new flight package to North India. So this brings us to the next chapter of the story…
Alex and I landed at the airport in Jammu, and wow, it was a hell of a lot different. The very north of India felt like a different country entirely. It was 20 degrees cooler, fresh mountain air, a very welcome change from the heat, filth and pollution of New Delhi.
Everything seemed a lot calmer and nicer. (Aside from the fact that there was military police at every corner due to a political unrest situation.)
We got a transfer from our airport to the houseboat were were to stay at for 5 days. Now the first thing I noticed about our accommodation was that it was isolated from the town- the only way to get back and forth from land to houseboat was by a slow canoe ride operated by one of the workers on the boat.
As soon as we got onto the boat we were greeted by a man called Muneer.
Muneer was a prick. I could tell from his demeanor straight away, as soon as we got onto the boat he kept trying to sell us things, sell us weed, sell us alcohol (which was prohibited in the Kashmir region of India but he kept saying he had a friend who could sneak it to us). He would even bring in people on small canoes on the houseboat to try and sell us jewelry and various other unnecessaries.
So now let me paint the picture of the situation for you. I was starting to get very agitated when I realized we were going to have to spend 5 days on this houseboat doing nothing, or take Muneer’s suggestion to “relax and smoke some weed”.
About 2 hours into being on the houseboat I was pacing the room bored out of my mind.
“We need to get out of here, we can’t stay here for 5 days!” I said to Alex.
While Alex was just sitting there relaxing (he did end up taking Muneer’s advice about smoking some weed), I’m sure he would have found my constant whinging and me comparing the boat to a prison to be insufferable, and I don’t think he would have wanted to put up with me for 5 days, so we called over Muneer to speak to him.
“I can’t stay on this boat for 5 days, what activities are there we can do here?” I asked him.
Instantly I saw Muneer’s eyes light up; he had been waiting for this moment, it was time for him to make some more money.
The only suggestion was to go trekking in the Himalayan mountains.
“Well of course you can’t do that , you have an injured leg.” Alex calmly reminded me.
“Um, yes I can.”
Looking back, it definitely was not a good idea, and I probably ended up doing some permanent damage to my leg, but at this stage I was so bored that I would have probably said yes to any suggestion at all, as long as it meant I didn’t have to spend 5 days stuck on the boat.
So then it was decided- the next day we were to canoe over to the town and embark on…
We caught a bus the next morning to a village on the edge of the mountain to meet up with the people who would be joining us, the ‘Cook’, the ‘Donkey Man’ as well as 2 donkeys.
After a stop over at the Cook’s house to have some tea with his family and grab the necessary supplies/equipment, we were ready to embark on our trek.
“It’s a trek” is a colloquialism commonly used in Australia when you can’t be bothered to do something, too lazy, too tired etc…
But let me tell you, this was a real trek.
Within about 20 minutes of walking I realized this was probably going to be the most physically challenging 4 days of my life, the mountain was extremely steep and treacherous, and it was really not the brightest thing to be walking up with my injured leg.
After about 2 hours of walking, Alex and I were exhausted, we both agreed we were in way over our heads and we weren’t fit enough to climb this mountain for 4 days.
Somehow we made it to the 6 hour mark, and we arrived at our first campsite. The ‘Donkey Man’, had rushed ahead and set up the tents already and campfire waiting for us by the time we got there.
Alex and I pretty much collapsed and just lay on the grass as soon as we reached the campsite.
I called the Cook over, I told him there was no way we could trek for the full 4 days, he would have to take us back down the mountain tomorrow.
I looked at him in disbelief, surely he would want to take this opportunity to take 2 days off work and still get paid.
But the cook was adamant in the fact he was taking us to do the full trek, he was raving on about how amazing it was at the top. He didn’t want to argue, we were doing it.
TO BE CONTINUED?? 😉
Bangladesh is bad. Like really bad. I’d be happy to hear out anyone who says otherwise, but to me it’s a filthy gross city with basically nothing to do for tourists really.
This is the story of 2 days in Dhaka, the capital.
I flew into Bangladesh because they had cheap, direct flights from Nepal, where I was previously. I was already feeling quite sick (most likely food poisoning from just eating street food in Kathmandu) before I even got on my flight and by the time I landed I was feeling very, very ill.
I basically stayed at my hotel the whole day, feeling like I needed to throw up but I couldn’t, and I was starting to second guess why on earth I had decided to fly here.
I was feeling better and now it was time to explore the city. The whole city was so polluted and dirty, you could literally feel it in the air. I basically compare it to India but with nothing really interesting or cultural to do.
Another thing about Dhaka. It is CROWDED. There is pretty much nowhere to go in the city, no backstreets, or anywhere which isn’t always packed with pedestrian traffic. I painted my first spot and basically an entire sidewalk of about 50 people stopped to stare at me.
One person came up to me from the crowd and asked me “Excuse me, what is the meaning behind this?”
He wasn’t angry, he was just curious. Curious because I was a rare tourist doing graffiti in a city where it pretty much did not exist yet.
I didn’t really have an answer to his question. Like there really is no meaning.
“Um, I’m just an artist, I just paint a happy fat guy”. I shrugged it off.
He continued to ask me more questions, about why I was doing it and where I was from. I’m sure it was just baffling for him.
I quickly walked away and continued to try and find some more sly spots to paint but it was difficult. It was just so, so crowded, and I seemed to be causing such a huge scene at every spot I painted.
“Hello friend, are you looking for a driver or tour guide?”
I turned around and there was an old man, who looked to be at least 60, driving a rickshaw taxi.
“Nah dude, it’s okay.”
I didn’t want a tour guide, and I really didn’t want to be driven around on a bicycle by an elderly man.
But he persisted, he kept asking me why I didn’t want a driver, so I told him.
“I just feel bad, it looks like you are an old man and looks like it is very tiring for you, I wouldn’t feel right”
“No, it is okay this is my job and I would love to show you my city, see the river and some other places”
I told him I wasn’t really interested in seeing normal tourist spots, I was in the city to paint. He didn’t really understand, but agreed on a price for him to drive me to the river and see a bit of the city for day.
We stopped at our first spot, a small square concrete slab on the side of the road, perfect size for a character. I hopped out of the rickshaw and quickly started painting.
My driver was intrigued. Now he understood what I meant when I said I was there to paint.
He was into it. As we kept driving, he would keep pointing out places to paint, and we would stop, paint quickly and make a quick getaway with a crowd of people staring at us in our wake.
This was actually kind of fun now.
As we continued driving, I spotted someone selling sliced fruit on the side of the street, a good time for a break.
I bought myself a plate and one for the driver as well. As we were sitting there eating, a young girl came up to me, and begged me for some money.
“I’m not going to give you any money, I can buy you a plate of fruit if you want.”
She didn’t want the fruit, she just wanted cash, but she ended up settling for a plate when I said that was my only offer, take it or leave it.
We finished our food and I went to take out my wallet to pay for it.
I looked up in surprise.
“I will pay for these, it is okay.” The driver remarked to me firmly.
The total price would have been less than $2, but he really insisted that he wanted to pay for the plates.
(I thought this was because he was going to ask for an exorbitant tip at the end of the day, but he didn’t.)
Another thing I have learned from my travels; The poorest people with next to nothing were some of the most generous and kindhearted people I’ve ever met in my life and the richest people with everything were the greediest/least generous people I’ve ever met.
So we continued driving and eventually made it to big river (which was apparently the main tourist site in Dhaka).
This river was disgusting. I had never seen anything like it. There were literally MOUNTAINS of discarded plastic bottles and trash lining the sides of the river. I mean if this is what they would call a tourist spot, Dhaka really didn’t have much going for it.
The river had some big bridges and I decided I wanted to paint a spot on a pillar right in the middle. I thanked and paid my rickshaw driver and then I walked down and spotted some people with canoes sitting at the edge of the river.
“You looking for river cruise?”
“Uhhh, no.” I replied. “I just need someone to take me to the middle of the bridge and back because I want to paint it.”
They were confused but they said okay and they took me in the canoe. So we paddled out, I hopped out of the canoe and painted the pillar.
That was my last spot in Dhaka and I was happy with that, I really didn’t want to stay in the country for any longer.
Now I still rate Bangladesh as probably the worst country I had every been to, but in the end I had a fun and eventful day and met some interesting people.