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Wake Me Up Before You Go Go – Why We’re Not Planning on Going Solo

We’ve been looking through a lot of travel blogs lately – just to get some inspiration and try to engage more with the blogging community – and it seems that most of them seem to be written by solo travellers.  While we applaud all the solo travellers out there, it’s something we can’t imagine doing again ourselves. We have both done solo trips in the past (pre-Pinge & Wang) and while it was a liberating and rewarding experience, in our opinion it doesn’t compare to having a fantastic travelling companion on the road with you. Here are reasons why having one of one of your best mates along for the ride means double the fun!

  1. There’s always someone to talk to

From having someone around to talk about and share each experience as it happens, sitting in a bar at the end of the day and recapping everything that just happened, going on a night out and not having to worry about sitting on your own until you find some new friends, to being able to entertain each other on an 8 hour bus rides (otherwise full of strangers whose language you can only say “please”,  “thank you” and “two beers” in) – this is the stand out benefit of travelling with someone you know well and whose company you enjoy.  Everything is more interesting and hilarious when we’re together, it’s great to have someone else’s take on all the goings on and we constantly surprise ourselves by never running out of things to say to each other! That said we each know the other well enough to gauge when they just want a quiet moment to chill out or appreciate the view.

Or when you just need someone to fall asleep on…

Shake your mate awake and read this way…

All Countries for Old Men (or “Why Talking to The Elderly Locals is The Best Way to Get to Know a Place)

As you no doubt know, one of our favourite travel activities is finding grotty little dive bars in which to talk the toot to drunk old men. The grotty dive bars thing has long been a tradition (as we would rather stay away from the touristy places and get to know some of the locals), and we didn’t really give much thought to the old men part until we were in Estonia earlier this year, reading through the “In Your Pocket” guide to Tallinn and noticed “Vaali Bar”, a “small and stinky local institution” promising “cheap drinks and unusual elderly regulars” and thought that sounded right up our street (declaring “I love talking shit with old men!”, “I love talking shit to old men too!!!!”) and our great night there with our new friend Aaaaaaaarrrrrrnie, that we decided that we should make more of a conscious effort to meet more old men and make it part of our mission statement and core values.

Looking back, we’ve had some of our best craic with old men! Drinking beers in a record shop in Tulum (Mexico), driving around the castles of Transylvania (with beers, obviously)…and our favourite occasion when, after being warned that the men in northern Albania were dangerous and would kidnap us, we happened upon a hut halfway up a mountain near Thethi where the old mountain men within greeted us warmly, offered us beers and we had a fabulous evening drinking, playing dominoes and chatting in broken English/Albanian – these are some of our greatest old men times! So, we thought we’d put together a list of reasons why old men are the best.

To the List!!!

Promotional Photo Shoot Opportunity‏

Hi Dave!

We saw your work on rockthenorth.com and were also pointed in your direction by your good friend Traci Island. We are an experimental electro spastic quartet from Moldova and are looking for a local alternative interest photographer who can think outside the box to shoot some provokative promotional shots for our forthcoming, self titled debut album “Marijuana Fuelled Murders” which I’m sure you’ve already heard of as it is slowly becoming the buzz word on the unergroung scene (a new mix of underground and grunge – as I’m sure you are aware).
The cartistic concept of our croject is to bring to the pubics attention our glam and gritty fundamentalist proactive mission statement and core values – think Boney M meets Sir Winston Churchill (maybe we can get some poppies (and poppers) involved?). Do you think you’re up to the challenge? Please be aware that we do have in mind some very risque shots, do you have a problem shooting on full frontal male nudity? Do you have a lense big enough for one of our majestic yet diminutive male members? We will provide our own make up artists, warrobes and fluffers. Location wise we have heard of a place near East Bolden Metro station where there is an amazing tree deity which we would like to be photographed in the throws of pagan worship to. I do hope that this does not contravene your religious beliefs. If you would like us to commit sacreligious acts against your enemy religion then we would be happy to confer on that topic as a matter of thanks for your endeavours in our cartistic croject.
Anyway, the balls is in your sink!
Hope to hear from you coon,

Marijuana Fuelled Murders.

For your reading pleasure we have included the lyrics to one of No 1 Molavian hits (please excuse the translation) :

Subpoena your sub-penis
It really is quite heinous
My caravan in Venus
Has a sink and a loo

Subpoena your sub-penis
I really couldn’t feel this
I just don’t want to ream this
Or cover it in poo

Subpoena your sub-penis
You really oughtta see this
A baboon in some Chinos
That looks just like you

Subpoena your sub-penis
I think you might be Amieesh
I want to build your barneesh
With bits of wood and glue.

We hope you’re impressed by our lyricular semantics and etamology.
Come and be part of our parts Dave – As we say in Moldova – Мы хоп у вас много хороших киска – или осел, если вы предпочитаете.


Jill and Susan’s Idiotic Glastonbury Adventure #2

So… On Saturday morning we woke up in our tent, on our lovely little patch of grass by the M4. it had been raining all night so unfortunately, due to us just popping the tent up and getting straight in it the previous night instead of pegging out all the right bits, we were a bit soggy. At about noon we managed to blow off the cobwebs of our hangovers, put the tent away (amazed Jill remembered how! Remembering that time when she first bought it, when Danny insisted on putting it up in the living room and couldn’t get it down again so it stayed there for a week until she YouTubed a video of some bloke showing you how you do it?) and recommenced trudging up the side of the motorway in search of our next lift. After doing a convincing impression of a human fire extingiusher, vomming up foam and partially digested fake ham into the hedge. One of our classiest moments, we feel.
Unfortunately we were fettled by the appearance of a police car that pulled in next to us and told us we weren’t allowed to be on the motorway, so we explained that we had been dropped off here (“by a friend” of course, not some random Polish truck driver) and told that the services were just up the road so we were trying to get to them. “Nope nope” said they, “The next services are 6 miles away, and you can’t stay on the motorway so you have to leave at the next junction”.
So we continued our mooch up the grassy verge, with tons of lovely hitching opportunities (mainly hippies in campers yelling “Want a lift to Glastonbury?!” ) which of course we had to decline, pointing out the patrol car crawling along the hard shoulder 100 yards behind us. Which incidentally was very rude, as if they were following us to the next junction they may aswell have given us a lift there. Quicker and easier all round, we reckon. Even the roadwork man in the truck putting the cones out offered to take us to the services but we couldn’t get in (which would have been a pretty random vehicle to add to the list) due to those pesky rozzers.

The next junction brought us to this random little place called Bradley Stoke. it was generally very posh and there was not much hitchable traffic going past, so we decided to find the nearest shop and buy a bottle of cider with the £1 Jill had found in her pocket (our hangovers were kicking in big style, and both of us had hideous DTs going on), have a spot of breakfast and assess the situation. We found an Aldi about fifteen minutes walk away. We also found an injured pigeon that Susan wanted to take to the vet. “We could call an ambulance and get them to take the pigeon to Glastonbury?”
“Yeah, the special Pigeon Ambulance. And I’ve totally heard that there are some very fine specialist travelling Pigeon Hospitals at the Glastonbury Festival! it’s a flawless plan.”
We got a bottle of cider anyway, used the facilities in the local pub (which was very posh, think they thought we were going in there to shoot up. in fact once we got outside, we noticed the sign saying “Although we do not insist on a shirt and tie, smart dress is essential.” ) and found ourselves a nice bus stop in which to have some breakfast, as it was far too good a neighbourhood for them to let vagrants like us picnic on their nice bits of grass. Susan had to open the cider on one of those metal electricity boxes as we had no bottle opener. After a very classy bus stop breakfast of cider, fake scotch eggs and bananas we got back on track and headed to the big roundabout just off the motorway, hoping to catch someone going back onto it. Which after a while, we did.

Ride #5 – 2 Random Blokes
Our first car of the trip (Joe doesn’t count, as we’ve already mentioned, due to his tiny penis) contained 2 blokes that were probably about our age, who felt sorry for us standing pitifully by the road and ignored by snobby Bradley Stokers, and agreed to take us to this big shopping park a few miles down the road, where apparently there would be many more opportunities to get a lift in the direction we were going. Susan was a bit wary of getting in with TWO blokes, but they seemed canny, were scrawny enough for us to take them out if they tried anything and we REALLY wanted to get out of FUCKiNG BRADLEY STOKE!

The dropped us at said retail park, where we chose a strategical spot on the roundabout leading to the motorway, next to the traffic lights so people would be stopping and held up our classy wrapping paper sign, trying our best not to look too insane. We were there a while, but then a car stopped for us.

Ride #6 – Bridget
Bridget was an awesome, lovely lady that had been to the retail park to buy her son a birthday present and ended up buying a zillion pairs of shoes from the Dune sale instead. She lived in Cheddar and said she would drop us there, which would mean we were so CLOSE to Glastonbury! We told her all about our crazy plans and our worldly adventures and she seemed genuinely interested in our daft anecdotes about hooker bars in Cambodia and the like. The journey whizzed by, and she dropped us in Cheddar with clear instructions on exactly where to head next and even gave us a couple of quid to buy some cider. Which we absolutely refused as it was nice enough for her to give us a lift all that way, without her giving US money for the pleasure! But she was insistent, and we gave in, thanked her loads and said goodbye. 

Cheddar was a lovely place. in fact, this trip has caused us to have a bit of a crush on Somerset. We really wanted to visit the Gorge and the Wookey Hole, which were on the way, but ended up hitching before that point. Bridget had told us to head for a place called Wells, where everyone went before Glasto for their beers etc, so we should have no problem squeezing into someones car who was heading that way. She said it was quite a way but “walkable” and went through lots of nice little Somerset villages, so off we went.

A bad thing about Somerset, however, is that they don’t appear to believe in pavements. Nor do the cars take account of this when honking and scowling at you for walking along the roadside. We had to hold in many urges to shout “Well where the FUCK AM I SUPPOSED TO WALK THEN???”. We concluded that everyone in Somerset must go everywhere by car, and not walk anywhere at all. We attempted a bit of “active hitching” but to no avail, so kept on walking until we found a nice spot for some lunch next to a humerous sign advertising “Steve’s Horse Manure! it’s the best! With wiggly worms!”. Made fake ham and beetroot and red onion cheese sandwiches, and had some of the dubious pineapple, as it looked like it wasn’t going to last much longer before turning to mush. And of course, some vodka and coke. 

We hoped that at some point we would come across (in one of said quaint Somerset villages) an offy, from which we could purchase some cider with our Bridget money, but alas none was to be found. We had tried in Tesco in Cheddar, but everything was too expensive. it was one of those Tesco Express doodahs, so only sold the big brand things. So we kept on trundling up the imaginatively named “Wells Road” until we were absolutely knackered as it was all uphill and totally scorchio. Found a nice bit of grass by the road in a prime hitching position, sunblocked ourselves, made a new wrapping paper sign saying “Pilton” (as Glastonbury isn’t actually in Glastonbury, its in Pilton) and attempted to get us our next lift. We were there ages before a nice bloke took pity on us.

Ride #7 – Nice man who’s name we can’t remember
We were so happy when this guy stopped for us, as all of the locals must be sick to death of being invaded by Glasto revellers and we were starting to think that there wasn’t a snowballs chance any one would give us a lift and were just about to resign ourselves to walking all the way to Wells. He dropped us in Wells, near (duh duh DUH!) Lidl! There was much rejoicing, as we were sure we could get cheap cider from there! We ended up managing to get a 2 litres of dry cider, cloudy lemonade and cheap cola (for use as mixers for the pinge, as we had drunk the last of the vodka with dinner and were now down to pinge as our last booze. Seriously a dire state of affairs.). Result.

The bloke who had just dropped us off had pointed us in the right direction for Glastonbury. “Straight down that road” , imaginatively titled “Glastonbury Road”. After getting a photo of Jill posing like a wanker under a road sign saying “Glastonbury 5 miles”, we set off. We managed to flag down another car, not too far down the road who agreed to take us to Glastonbury town.

Ride #8 – Bloke with the REALLY HOT car who’s name we can’t remember (we know, we forgot our note pad to record things on the way, so it’s down to our poor old pinge-addled memories)
it wasn’t hot as in “hawt”, it was just really, really warm. We were totally cooking but you feel guilty opening other peoples car windows if they are obviously comfortable enough with the temperature to leave them closed. Especially if you’re hitchhiking! So we roasted our way to Glastonbury town centre, chatting about how lovely Somerset is, and how we hadn’t seen any charvers so far. No seriously, even the teenage mothers were nicely dressed and well spoken!

He dropped us in the town and pointed us in the direction of Pilton. Can you guess what the street was called? Yes, “Pilton Road”. The unimaginative Somerset street names had now become a bit of a running joke. We headed off that way, on the non-existant pavement, trying to hitch a ride from anyone going past and after about 10 minutes of walking a car stopped. We didn’t initially think they had stopped for US, as when it went past, the car looked full but no, bless them they all just budged up and made room for me, Susan and all our stuff. They were going to the festival, and offered to take us right up to the pedestrian gate.

Yup yup. We made it…but now for the REALLY hard part. Getting in! 
Stay tuned for Episode 3!

Jill and Susan’s idiotic Glastonbury Adventure #1

it seemed as harmless as any of our other stupid ideas (you know…”lets hold a rock festival in Joanna’s mam’s field”, “let’s sail to the moon on a raft made out of old Blackberries”), and as likely to become reality…but when Jill, Susan, Lolly and Joe  got drunk last Wednesday night and decided “let’s hitch to Glasto tomorrow and try and get over the wall!” , two out of four of us woke up the next morning still determind to make it happen.

Well, we say “morning” – Jill was up morningish after being summoned to the pub by iain, and since she hadn’t heard from Susan by about midday assumed that she had forgotten our “right we’re leaving for Glasto at 9am tomorrow” pledge, and thus resigned herself to a nice afternoon in the King’s Arms beer garden putting the world to rights over some real ales with her favourite hairy amigo…however, Susan rang iain at about 3pm (Jill had yet again lost her phone drunkenly the previous night), asking if she was still up for it. Jill, having topped up last nights beer with the few pints that afternoon, concluded foolishly that indeed yes, she was.

So we met up in Savannah, accompanied by Lolly, iain, Joe and Aaron, all of whom we tried to persuade to join us on our expedition but due to work or homosexual commitments they declined. For the best really, thinking about it, as who the hell would pick up Joe or Iain if they saw them trying to hitch a ride at the side of the road? Plus the more of us, the less likely we are to fit in anyone’s car and they seemed reluctant to agree to dish out their fair share of blowjobs to truck drivers, should it come to it.

At this point, Jill was still less than convinced that we were actually going ahead with it. But then of course, most of the pub (mainly Grant, Kay, Liam, Damian, Willis and Nick Hell) started piping up about how we were talking shit, would never dare do it and would still be sitting on Savannah’s settee this time tomorrow. Saying thus to Jill and Susan is on a par with calling Marty McFly “chicken”. 

So, we drank up, said our goodbyes, called everyone tossers, apologised to Nick in case we didn’t make it back for his wedding reception the following day (still thinking we would end up standing by the A19 for an hour, get bored and come home) and set off for Jill’s to get supplies. Grabbed Jill’s lovely camo pop up tent (now affectionately named Raphael, due to it making us look like a kind of ninja turtle when worn on your back), filled a beach bag full of what booze was left lying around the flat, sleeping bag, change of clothes etc. then to Susan’s parents’ to scavenge food. Her parents seemed less than impressed with the plan (although we were a bit economical with the truth and told them our friend was giving us a lift and we weren’t hitching. Uh-uh, not us. We’d even drafted in Joe to pick us up from theirs and take us to the A19 so it would be convincing.) but nonetheless gave us a fine selection of foods to take, and her dad thrust a tenner at us bless him. At about 8pm we set off in Joe’s car. And so it began…

The Mission: “Get to Glastonbury and into the festival on not even 1p”

The Rules: You are not allowed to spend any money on getting down to, or into Glasto. You are allowed money on the way (Susan had that tenner from her dad and Jill had a couple of quid change in her bag) but it’s only allowed to be spent on drink and must be spent BEFORE reaching the festival site.

Our Supplies: 1 punnet cherry tomatoes, 1 punnet of grapes, 2 packets of fake ham, one bag of fake sausages and fake scotch eggs, 2 lumps of cheese, 1 bag of pasta sauce, 1 loaf of bread, 1 bag of asda fine cut salad, 3 bananas, 4 satsumas, 1 bag of suspect looking pineapple bits, an assortment of dried noodles/pasta/couscous sachets (although we had no means of making them, just assumed we would befriend someone with a stove or something), 1 small bottle of vodka, 2 litres of coca cola, 1 bottle of palinka (aka “pinge” – dubious Romanian moonshine that has been sitting in Joe’s fridge for about a year and we think has dissolved most of the inside of the plastic waterbottle it’s been kept in and is now probably carcinogenic and generally “wrong”), 8 cans of stella, 1 bottle of cider, 10 Lambert & Butler, directions to the Glasto site printed off Autoroute, 2 rolls of xmas wrapping paper and a marker (for making our signs to hold by the road)

Joe ended up taking us as far as Leeds services (we think? Somewhere down there anyway…) after getting as far as Scotch Corner and deciding to go a bit further (methinks he secretly did want to be part of our adventures, mainly for the chance to suck lots of trucker cock …) where we sat on a nice bit of grass (services always have nice bits of grass don’t they?) for a spot of dinner, a few cans and to make our first “GLASTO” sign out of wrapping paper to hold up. We were amazed when it didn’t take that long for our first “proper” ride (Joe doesn’t count, as he has a tiny penis). 

Ride #1 – Jim
Susan had just gone to the loo in the services and Jill was happy chilling with a cigarette, half heartedly waving our sign around when lo! it appeared! A beautiful baby blue, VW camper van. He MUST be going to Glastonbury too – surely? As Susan came out, Jill yelled “SUSAN!! CAMPER VAN!!!” and we both waved a lot and held our sign up. The bloke inside seemed to think about it and then agreed to pull around after he’d got his fuel. Turned out he wasn’t going to Glastonbury, but would be happy to take us as far as Northampton. Score.

The camper was amazing too. we want one! Jill was slightly concerned about the very rattley door that took about five good hard slams to close properly (you all know her and car doors…), especially when Jim tried to reassure me with “Don’t worry, it’s only fallen off once!”. We ended up all squeezing in the front seats as it was so noisy in there once it was going any speed, we couldn’t hear each other talk and were getting bored of yelling. Jim was lovely, and we had a good crack on talking bollocks. We attempted to entertain him singing Tenacious D and the Shirehorses, and the poor bloke didn’t even stop the car and boot us out, as any sane human would. He even mentioned that his mate in Northampton was also going to Glasto, and when we got there he would ring him and see if there was room in the car for him to take us. Unfortunately, he had already set off when he rang, but the thought was there. So, some amount of time later (no idea, wasn’t paying attention), we arrived at the services outside of Northampton, thanked and waved goodbye to our new friend Jim and his sexy camper and collapsed on another nice bit of grass, all radiant with confidence of our fabulous hitch-hiking skills, to consult our map and plan the next move.

Our smugness was shortlived however, as it took us over an hour to get the next ride. All of the trucks were heading the wrong way and all of the cars and vans were normal folk, wary of picking up hitchhikers, especially crazy (and by this stage quite tipsy) hippy girls. So after some pacing around and pondering of the map, we decided to wander round to the slip road for the road that we should be getting next and see who we could flag down there, as theoretically they would all be heading the right way. Result…

Ride #2 – R**** M*** Bloke (can’t remember his name and he said not to mention the company he worked for if we wrote an article about it, as he would get fired for picking up hitchers)
Fuck me! Our first truck!!!!! Whooooot! And a lovely truck it was too. I do believe it even had Hot Rod flames on it. The bloke was going to the depot in Swindon, so agreed to take us there. He was also very canny and we talked a load of crap, gave him relationship advice, sang along to the radio and learned many a useless piece of info such as “Did you know, that the woman carrying the coffee tray on the cover of “Breakfast in America” by Supertramp, was John Travolta’s mother?”. Fascinating. Susan also mentioned how nice and non-pervy everyone had been so far, to which Jill added “Yeah! We haven’t had to blow ANYONE yet!” and he gave us a very confused look and mumbled that he wasn’t like that but he wouldn’t mind a little kiss from one of us. Which of course he didn’t get. Well Jill wasn’t going to, as he said that he thought she was older than Susan. Admittedly, he did say Jill looked 22, and Susan 20…which considering we’re 29 and 34 is pretty good going, but still…it’s the principle. He dropped us in Swindon somewhere anyway, and pointed us in the right direction for the next road to hitch on so we trundled off towards a dubious looking flyover. 

Susan was mid-wee in the hedge when Jill heard her whisper loudly “Jill! There’s someone else in the hedge!”. 
“in the next cubicle!”
So she peered through the hedge to investigate, and couldn’t see anything as it was pitch black, but heard rustling. “Yeah! I think there is a bloke in there… I think he’s having a wank!” 
Susan had a closer look along the hedge “Yeah! He so IS having a wank!”. And even with us staring and giggling he didn’t miss a stroke! So we continued on our merry way to the motorway sliproad, laughing about the absurdity of it all. Yes, it probably wasn’t the most desirable situation to be in, but we were high on crazy adventure adrenalin and vodka, and hey – we were hitch-hiking for god’s sake. Being wanked on in a privet while having a piss is NOTHiNG!

So anyway, we found our next road* and within ten minutes or so, had flagged down another big truck.

Ride #3 – John

John was a lovely older bloke, who picked us up as we reminded him of his daughters who were “about your age” (who blatantly weren’t, as he was telling us about their ponies and scholarships and things) and he didn’t want to see a couple of young girls standing around roads at this time in the morning (think it was about 1am by then). Told us all about said daughters, who to be honest sounded like total spoilt madams who’s poor Dad worked all hours long distance driving to provide them with lap tops and horses and private schools. Nonetheless, Susan and him had an indepth chat about horses, during which Jill probably fell asleep. He dropped us off as far as he could in the right direction, where we promptly got totally lost trying to find which was the right road to get us to Bristol and ended up in Lydiard Tregoz, which we found hilarious for some reason. Turned out that was the correct road anyway and soon  found another truck (although Susan reckons it was more a large van).

Ride #4 – Adul the Polish man
Adul was an old Polish bloke who didn’t speak much English  who agreed to take us near Bristol. We sang a lot of songs at the poor bloke whilst finishing off the cider and stella, and as he couldn’t understand us we drunkenly whittered on about boys and sex and the like. He dumped us on the hard shoulder somewhere along the M4 and told us the next junction was just round the corner and there were services there. It wasn’t and after an hour or so of tramping alongside the motorway (illegal, kids. Don’t do it. in fact don’t EVER do ANYTHiNG me and us and our friends do.) the sun had come up, it was about 4.30am and we were exhausted, so we popped open the tent on a nice bit of grass between some electricity boxes on the verge by the hard shoulder, made fake ham sandwich, toasted to our progress so far with vodka and coke and a swig of palinka (*shudder*) and snuggled up in the one sleeping bag, as Susan had forgot hers.

There you go. Day 1. Next installment tomorrow 🙂