Exile goes through a number of phases, much like grief.
- Immediate Culture Shock or What the Fuck? (this can go on indefinitely)
- Honeymoon – (skip this period if you find yourself in South Korea)
- Acceptance – (routine established, you realise life is much the same for you here as anywhere)
- Meh – (where next? or should you just end it all somehow?)
Soon, I will be writing more about my improbable adventures since leaving the UK in 2004. They include
- Arrest and deportation (South Korea)
- Police shakedowns (Laos, Cambodia)
- Fistfighting a Frenchman (Italy)
- Death threats (Thailand, South Korea)
- Homelessness (China)
- Colossal drunkenness (South Korea, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Italy, Vietnam)
- Winding up patriotic American GIs (South Korea, Bahrain)
- Illegal drinking dens (Saudi Arabia)
- Driving through burning Shia barricades (Bahrain- to be fair, we took a wrong turning because the driver was drunk)
- Pretending to be both the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela (South Korea)
- World of Warcraft addiction (South Korea)
- Djinn attack (Oman)
- Betrayal (Vietnam, South Korea)
- Some other shit I forget
- English language teaching (all of the above)
Of these, perhaps the last is the worst. In fact, it’s something I really need to limber up to and besides the field’s already covered by the excellent English Teacher X whose motto “Wherever you go, there you are” pretty much sums it up.
While I struggle to unpick the above- starting with the epic tale of how I nearly got shot on Koh Phangan- here’s some photos of funny English I’ve spotted (which is about all I take photos of these days so that Kenyan woman who stole my camera can go bollocks after all).
Look at these, then, and go ha!ha!ha!
Because… just… ‘so long’ actually means ‘large cockles’. But then they put… oh, just read it will you? Okay, the spelling isn’t right. Even so, this was the funniest thing that happened to me in eight months.
OMAN: GERMAN MEAT PRODUCT
Who doesn’t like Knackers in natural casing? I know I’m very attached to mine.
And what better way to take revenge than with a t-shirt that contains two mistakes? None I can think of.
SOUTH KOREA: CHOCOLATE BAR
The bottom picture is in Hangul and says something like ‘ki kuh’ (I’d do the phonemic spelling if this text editor would allow it and I knew what that meant). This chocolate bar looks and tastes as near to Kit Kat as it can without being sued. It’s only actually not called ‘Kit Kat’ in Hangul because that would be impossible.
This chocolate bar is testament to Koreans’ inability to originate things and their ‘Korea-first’ mindset when buying stuff. That’s understandable here considering how shit actual Kit Kats taste these days.
THAILAND – ANOTHER GERMAN MEAT PRODUCT
German pig waves the Thai flag and cunningly encourages masturbation. Meanwhile, look- it’s my feet!
THAILAND: SPIRIT BOTTLE
After a heavy session on Black Cock you may find it hard to walk properly. Despite rumours to the contrary, at 70cl it is the same size as other spirit bottles.
THAILAND: OVERLY-HONEST FOOD SIGN
Coconuts can get a bit boring, but they’re not going to sell many reminding people of this fact.
VIETNAM: TOILET SIGNS
Piss anywhere, right? Or maybe that’s diarrhoeia…
As can be seen, this is actually a popular Australian cheese. Their defence for its racist name is that that was the name of the cheese maker and everyone can go fuck themselves. But then they would say that, wouldn’t they.
British people will understand ‘fanny’ to mean ‘vagina’, which is a confrontationally feminist title considering the traditional female role espoused by the cover. American people will interpret ‘fanny’ as ‘bum’ which still doesn’t convey a wholesome idea of baking, knitting and worrying about your horoscope.
Maybe it’s dog fish?
Part of the Halloween celebrations at ABC Bakery, Saigon last year. They were clearly covering all bases on the ‘blood-sucking parasites’ theme.
Poor thing’s been told the sign is for a golfing umbrella sale.
UK: FOOD SIGN
This one’s actually taken in Leicester and shows what a bunch of fuckwits the UK produces also. If you can’t spell it, I don’t want it.