To be white, or straight, or male, or middle class is to be simultaneously ubiquitious and invisible. You’re everywhere you look, you’re the standard against which everyone else is measured. You’re like water, like air. People will tell you they went to see a “woman doctor” or they will say they went to see “the doctor.” People will tell you they have a “gay colleague” or they’ll tell you about a colleague. A white person will be happy to tell you about a “Black friend,” but when that same person simply mentions a “friend,” everyone will assume the person is white. Any college course that doesn’t have the word “woman” or “gay” or “minority” in its title is a course about men, heterosexuals, and white people. But we call those courses “literature,” “history” or “political science.”
This invisibility is political.” —Michael S. Kimmel, in the introduction to the book, “Privilege: A Reader” (via thinkspeakstress)
I find it a bit out of order when people complain about Tesco for having horse meat in some of their ‘beef’ burgers. If you’re prepared to eat a dead cow, you should be prepared to eat a dead horse.
Not so mqny posts recently cause I am sitting in an internet cafe in Brussels after hitching from Glasgow. Tomorrow - Netherlands
Obviously, otherwise I wouldn’t leave the empty wrappers in the bathroom.
Well, she’s started again. The mistake (aka my flat”mate”) has started on her bitching again. This time after finding 4 tampon wrappers in the bathroom and leaving them outside her room, she decides to throw them into my room instead of disposing of them. Cause they’re mine. Silly me.
Coupled with this, after washing the grill 3 times after her grilling her bacon on it without covering, I have left the grill for her to clean. The first time I washed it normally, second time I washed it with her dishcloth and then proceeded to clean the oven with it, then put it back in its place. Then the third time I washed it and her dishcloth was too fatty to use again so I binned it. Now I’m just leaving it. Considering I’m a vegetarian and I get bacon-flavoured toast this isn’t good. I feel like battering her round the head with it. Picture evidence guys!
Solidified fat on the grill. Om. Just Om fucking nom.
should I be?
Started by collecting my friend, Christina, at the airport in Belfast. First port of call was home to drop off her stuff. Nothing exciting happened here so we got home and sat for a bit. Soon we drove up to the north coast of Ireland and had a wee drive around there and the beautiful scenery. Coupled with me nearly tipping the car round a tight bend going a tad too quickly. I swear I’m a good driver.
We came home and proceeded to have the first (and definitely not last) drink of the night. We started on White Russians cause we’re so fucking classy. Shortly followed by wine. Shortly followed by beer. Hardened drinkers, obviously. Or so we thought.
We were so classy that we brought a bottle of vodka and coke on the bus and sat like little teenagers at the back swigging on this bottle. What made this even better was that before this we had hidden a hip flask of whiskey under a traffic cone in the nearest small town, so that we could pick it up on the way back after the night out.
We headed to the first bar already a bit merry and ordered a Guinness, just to complete the stereotype. Christina had this strange idea in her head because she was in Ireland everyone was happy and willing to open up to strangers, so with this thought she turned to the person sitting next to her and asked, “Hi! What do you work as?” As imagined she was greeted by strange looks from this person. The night only got weirder.
We hit a few more pubs and Christina was a bit piddly to say the least. We attempted finally to get into a gay bar in Belfast so that we could have a late night but Christina kept getting turned away from this particular one, so we headed to one round the corner, unknown to us that they were run by the same people and the bouncers were in contact with headsets. Not allowed in there either, Christina was too drunk. With that we got a box of chips and sat in the street eating them, soon followed by Christina “losing” her passport which then magically reappeared in her pocket.
We then proceeded to call it a night and walked for a bit out of Belfast so that we could get a taxi away from the stupidly expensive taxi ranks. Found a taxi and got to the small town where I left the hip flask, with the traffic cone sitting outside a barber shop. I asked the taxi driver to stop just outside the barber shop, and given it was 3 in the morning the taxi driver obviously thought I was drunker than I actually was…or he just thought I was retarded, because he replied with, “Are you sure it’ll be open this late?” Ran over to the traffic cone and got the hip flask. Back home. Pizza. Nom.
Next night was more successful. Decided to go straight to the gay bar. Got in no bother. Except I kept being mistaken for a woman. Even by drag queens. A haircut was definitely in order.
Last night in Belfast was quite eventful. We started drinking White Russians early and made the foulest lasagna known to man. Dry and overcooked. White Russians made up for this mishap. We did our usual of getting the bus into Belfast with our bottle of vodka and enjoyed watching a hen party on the bus. Went to a few pubs, got a few drinks then Christina got tired so we decided to call it a night and walk out of Belfast. This is where we found a child’s scooter on the street. Being slightly inebriated we decided to take it and have some fun, followed by trying to pass it on to some men drinking on the street in our best Russian accents (dangerous part of Belfast, not the best to use a Belfast accent) They kindly declined. I then got on the scooter and was having a great time until I tripped over a taxi. I was pushing myself along and caught my leg on the wheel of a taxi, hit the dirt and proceeded to shout “Man down! We have a man down!” I cut my elbow. It was painful. Followed by home. Cheese on toast. Nom.
Next day was hitchhiking.
So, we began by hitchhiking from Belfast to Dublin. My mum wanted to drive us to the nearest service station on the motorway from Belfast to Dublin, which turns out to be quite far. We got out with my mum and sat with her whilst she worried for a while and did the typical mother things of “Do you have enough food? Do you have enough money? Do you need a drink of water? Want me to ask people for you?” She finally calmed down and we had our sign drawn so we headed to the exit of the service station and waited (Me and my friend, Christina). A few minutes passed and within 10 minutes someone had stopped. I opened the door, climbed in and listened to the guy on his telephone. It definitely wasn’t English he was speaking. Then I realised - it was Russian. Bonus given that both me and Christina speak Russian. We started a conversation and it turned out I had done it again - the Latvians were following me around the world. I have this habit of attracting Latvians wherever I go and hitchhiking in Ireland was no exception. This guy was from a small town near Riga and was slightly eager to know why I spoke Latvian too. So we had a wee conversation in Latvian and he told me all about the local drink and that if you drink too much you end up in the hospital.
We got out in Dublin and wandered around, got a drink then decided in our infinite wisdom, to walk to the airport. Just 9km I thought. How wrong was I?
9km slowly turned into 18km. Arriving at the airport was one of the most relieving parts of my journey. We quickly went upstairs in the airport and slept there for the night. Next stop - Estonia
Helsinki’s great, very pretty. But far too cold. Needs some heating.
No blog updates recently cause I’m currently in Estonia. Went to Latvia and had great fun. Shall update more when I get back home on 29th April. Tomorrow = Helsinki, Finland. Fuck. Yes.
In order to board a giant, distastefully fluorescent airplane from London Luton to Dublin I had to get to London from Nottingham by hitching (OK, a bus would’ve been more expensive, but where’s the fun in organised travel?)
I did my usual of heading to the service station and stood with my wee sign saying “London” on it. I stood for around two minutes before a young guy, smiled and pulled up. Turns out he was heading to Portsmouth, which is further south than London. Figuring he had to go on the M25 I got in the car and away we went.
He subjected me to 2 hours of Cher and Robbie Williams along with a lovely chat. We agreed that I’d get off where the M4 crossed the M25, with me figuring “Well, it’s near London, I’ll hope off the motorway and into a suburban area.” He pulled up to the hard shoulder and I thanked him, swiftly exiting the vehicle, surveyed my surroundings and had one thought: Fuck.
Turns out that the M25 runs through some serious countryside. Serious countryside coupled with overgrown hedges and trees, with thorns and ivy weaving their way through the bushes. The shape of this intersection is called a “clover-leaf” intersection, meaning that it’s like spaghetti junction. I walked along some on-ramps but with no luck, plus the traffic police driving by, prompting me to do what can only be described as a “tomb-raider-lara-croft-style” jump and roll into bushes.
After a while of this I thought it might be better to navigate the bushes instead. Now, that is some serious overgrowth. I also had to battle the HUGE thorns that stuck out everywhere, which made me look like some sort of mental tramp, popping out from one side of an on-ramp, thorns in my hair and clothes, running across from one side to another only to disappear into the bushes again. I navigated a while before I decided that I needed to just walk along the motorway, and if I get picked up by the police, so what? At least I’ll get to a little road.
Little did I know was that to get back to the motorway from my bushes I had to confront a drainage ditch. Now, this ditch was probably two metres in diameter, which meant me adopting my oh-so-athletic long-jump skills. I used a bull-rush to check the depth of the sludge at the bottom. Around half a meter, not something I wished to test extensively with my own legs. I stood for around ten minutes prompting myself to jump, each time freaking out and not doing it until I forced myself to do it…but throwing my bag across to the other side and thinking “Right, now I HAVE to do it.” Finally, I cleared it and appeared onto the main M25 motorway with bushy hair and thorns all over me.
I finally made it to Hounslow from the M25 before I have up trying to get to Hammersmith by foot. I gave in and took a nightbus, arriving at my friend’s house at 02:00. All in all, a slightly weird experience, bright side though? Bear Grylls got nothing on me.
Not yet, only had positive experiences. It just requires you to keep aware of what’s going on and always stay safe. If you’re looking for someone to hitch from London with just say, I usually hitch somewhere every weekend and London is piss easy to get to, just a bit difficult getting out of, but possible.
So! I did hitchhike to London for the weekend, and jeeeeesus, was it good.
To begin with, I had a rather lengthy wait for a lift from the service station. Literally standing for around an hour and a bit, which is rare. Mostly I wait for around twenty minutes and have a lift part of the way. Instead I got some people stopping and asking if I wanted a lift to Birmingham (which is parallel to Nottingham on the west, whereas I needed to go straight down south) and one guy who asked if I wanted to go to Reading, which I had no idea where it was until after he left and I checked my map. Around thirty minutes from London. Shite.
So, I stood with my wee sign, watching the motorway and thinking about how many people on the main motorway were going straight to London and how easy it would be if I could hitch on the motorway. Unfortunately that’s illegal. For English people at least. This does not deter the Turkish.
I heard a lorry beeping its horn at me and I thought it was just someone on the motorway taking the piss, which usually happens. I just smiled and kept making eye contact with cars coming out of the service station. After a minute I heard a man shouting and turned round. Some guy had pulled off the main motorway and onto the hard shoulder. In his 18-wheeler.
I went over and saw his license plate. TR. What the fuck kind of country is that? I attempted to talk to him and kept saying, “London?” and he kept replying in some strange language and kept saying “Dover. No, Dover.” So I figured he must have to go round the M25 (London ring road) at some point. I got in and tried to speak English. No luck. I tried German. No luck. French. No luck. Soon he was convinced that I was going to Dover with him and onwards to Luxembourg seeing as I mentioned “Deutschland.”
We stopped at a service station and I decided just to be safe it’d be better to leave, seeing as he kept mumbling things about Oxford. I got out and he looked perplexed. I didn’t really care, seeing as all I wanted to do was get someone who I could communicate with. I went off to the service station exit and got my sign out again. This is where shit got even more weird.
Two guys beeped their horn at me and I went over to talk to them. They said they were going to London so I got in. Already the car smelt a bit “funky.” So the start the conversation I did the usual thing and asked about their journey and why they were going etc etc. He replied, “Oh, just going down to London to drop off some growing equipment to a guy.” He then proceeded to light up a spliff. It suddenly dawned on me that I’d gotten into a car with two drug dealers.
Apart from them doing drugs, they were pretty nice guys. I stupidly asked how they got the growing equipment and they told me about how they break into Vietnamese drug dealers’ sheds to steal the grow boxes. My estimations of them suddenly plummeted. But oh well, it was a free ride. I even got to see “the drop” being done then they drove me to a convenient underground station so I could get the tube into inner city London. Lovely guys.
So that’s my most recent hitching experience complete. Hopefully be having one again very soon.
Also found out my exam timetable. I end on 6th June. Summer of budgetless travelling? Me thinks so.
Lai jums laba diena!
Well, I began with a five mile walk to the nearest big motorway. I arrived early morning with a sleeping bag, a pad of paper, my map and a few markers to draw a sign with. I was a bit surprised that I managed to find my way to the service station without getting lost. I made it to the correct side of the motorway, sat down in a café and became a slight attraction for people drinking their coffee after producing a map, some paper and began drawing. I kept looking up and seeing nosy bastards staring at me, especially when I began to colour in. It was almost like a university geography field trip.
I went outside and thought about the best place to hitch from, finally deciding on the exit to the café area. I was slightly embarrassed at getting out my sign, but after 10 minutes I found it easier just to smile at passers-by and respond to any of their heckling with laughter and a thumbs up.
After standing for 20 minutes with a sign saying “M1 NORTH” a middle-aged woman approached me and asked how far I wanted to go. I told her anywhere north is a bonus and she said that her and her husband would take me. They had a nice Volkswagen….good start to the trip. I began talking to them and found out they were driving north after coming from a cruise of the Gran Canaries which docked in southern England. The conversation was a bit dry, but I enjoyed listening about their son, the heterosexual male hairdresser (I know, I was shocked too).
I exited their car and drew a new sign saying “MANCHESTER” and stood by the exit of the service area. Here I met two French guys, looking to hitch to Scotland in that day. Bit ambitious, but what the hell? They quickly left me alone after realising that they were impeding my chance of getting a lift. Soon a guy in a large white pick-up truck stopped and said that he’d take me. His eyes slanted downwards and he smelt of farms. I like farms.
We began to talk about why he was going to Manchester and he told me that his sister-in-law lived there. He kept in contact with her even though his wife had died after committing suicide during manic depression. Now, it does sound like a sad story, but he completely turned it around. He began to explain to me that the memory of how sad his wife was gives him happiness each day, knowing that no matter what he goes through, he will always think of how sad his wife was in her final days. Although slightly morbid, I think it’s true. No matter how bad your situation is, someone is always experiencing worse.
He told me about his trip to Austrailia with his kids (one son and daughter, both in their teens) and how he wanted to “educate” them about the world. Naturally, what better way to educate them than by bringing them to a strip club. Upon entering it he explained that there was an asian girl with her top off dancing onstage. She was being heckled to remove more clothing and finally gave in, removing her underwear. Only to reveal that she had a dick. He took his family out swiftly.
I arrived in Manchester at 16:00 and made my way to the city centre where I was due to meet my friend. Enjoyed his hospitality and a night spent with them smoking weed out of a beer can. Classy as fuck.
Next post: Day two of hitchhiking
Well, I arrived back from hitchhiking on Sunday and it was another amazing experience. Total distance covered = 668km/420 miles. I met an array of wonderful people and also got to visit Manchester and Bristol, both gorgeous cities. I shall be writing soon to tell more of these amazing people, but for now, I am safe!
Les Plans pour vendredi? Hitchhike of course. I’ve wanted to try it in England for a while and haven’t had the chance yet, BUT NOW I DO! I shall be starting off from a little petrol station and just see what happens. Bit worried about the number of people I’ll be doing it with, there’ll be three of us in total, which is a SHIT number to do it with.
I get to employ hitchhiking skills from Germany all over again. YEAH BOIIIIII