Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Return of the 96 pound weakling

Forget the Atkins diet, throw your low carb books in the bin and join guru ed in his new revolutionary weight loss regime. IT WORKS. Read the following.

I was an overweight stressed out TV producer until I met Ed and discovered the Ed poo a lot diet. It is amazing. I lost 4 kilos without getting off the hammock, (except to shove a long hose up my bum) and feel great. I've also discovered God, buddha and how chakras can loosen up energy fields to allow your body to return to the rhythms of chi. Ed Holmes Sydney

Yes I have become a smug sanctimonious spiritualist and I want to share my smugness with all of you out there. Upon return to Sydney in 8 days I look forward to sharing my centuries old wisdom as we sip wheatgrass spirulina celery shakes on our yoga mats. Because I feel great...and hopefully the rat race has got to all of you blog readers out there so I can continue in my smugness. Gotta make the most of it I'm sure I'll be off to Macas the moment I land on the tarmac in Sydney... but for now I am a true believer.

Colonics and carrot juice rocks!

I've also overcome my fear of spiders. Next stop Sydney

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Fast and blast OR How I learned to stop worrying and drop the bomb

So how do you like your coffee in the morning Ed?
Up the bum please.
Yes it's day three of our now 5 day Colonic fast and things have been interesting indeed. Turn away now if lengthy descriptions of intestinal muck don't interest.
Kate and I have been getting into quite a routine which pretty much goes like this. Mug of clay at 7 in the morning.
90 minutes later 6 pills that taste of grass,
90 minutes later jug of clay please,
followed of course 90 minutes later by some delicious grass flavoured pills.
And that pretty much continues most of the day until at 4pm when it time for....wait for it... flashing lights,'s time for ...COLONIC.
My first day was quite spectacular for the fact that there I was lying on my back with a tube up my bum whilst apple cider and coffee solution was forcing itself from a great height into what used to be the domain of undigested red meat, when, Norah Jones started communicating with me. Yes the piped music gently easing all my worries of how slightly unnatural it is to be lying with a tube up your bum with 10 litres bearing down on you, when Nora sang What is this hideous thing I see before me
She couldn't have been more apt. Upon inspection, which is what everyone does here... I can confirm that she got it exactly right.
We are provided with rubber gloves to give our poos a good prod and report back to poomaster Mr Moon our spiritual guide. Some even go so far as to take their digital cameras in with them. You'll be glad to hear I havent gone that far ...YET...there are still 2 more days of the fast. So stay tuned for piccys of things you know you want to see. We're talking greens and reds here.

In other Colonic news I also set a new world record for fastest colonic when there I was lying on my back, tube up my bum, this time listening to morcheeba, when one of the larger black hairy spiders of southern Thailand decided a quick sprint across my bathroom wall was in order. (Very near my head I might add). Let me tell you I consumed that 10 litres quicker than you can say come near me you big black mother f...... and youll be seeing a poo tsunami. Spiders especially large hairy ones are not the kind of thing those of us with phobias like to encounter when we're sort of preoccupied if you know what I mean.

Ohh colonic stories I could bore you all day with more of them, especally some others I've heard but no... time to move on. The fast itself for me has been going well. Surprisingly I'm not that hungry (must be all those clay shakes). I'm really starting to feel better and perhaps even won over by this very interesting Gandhi concept of not eating. My body is defintely in detox mode and I'm having to clean my teeth 3 times a day. As for Kate shes had a tough time as last night she spent 6 hours violently we're talking projectile vomit ill. According to our guru Mr moon this is all perfectly normal and Kate has started to feel better so that's good. We are counting down the days. In truth a 3 day piece of stale old bread would get three michelin stars from me at the moment. we have all become food obsessives. Ooooops. My ninety minutes is up, Hand over one of those delicous clay flavoured shakes Mr moon. By the way I was joking about the pictures.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Where angels spread their wings

Not content with a week in paradise picking mangoes off trees and sampling the fruits of the oceans we have crossed Thailand (literally... only took 4 hours at it's thinnest stretch) and are now in the Gulf of Thailand on the island of Koh Pang Gan at the Sanctuary resort and spa ( recommended by my good friend Bill Mcqueen). Yep it's one of those places where firesticks, juggling balls, yoga classes, rebirthing, ayurvedic massage and colonic irrigation are not dirty words. In fact it's a place where howling at the moon is a perfectly worthwhile way to spend the beter half of your evening.
Now as Kate and I know, it's all about energies and what we've discovered is that our chakras have been neglected and we're now correcting the flow of energy thru intensive tantric meditation. In fact we're actually undercover taking notes on the dangers of too much yoga when combined with vegetarian food and rainbow coloured sarongs. The research I can say is going very well. Part of our project is the 7 day colonic irrigation fast which in laymans terms means shoving a hose up your bum twice a day to see what strange things you may have swallowed when you were a toddler. Yes it's all very interesting especially dinnertime conversations when we compare and contrast.You should note that dinner time conversations do not actually include dinner unless of course you call a jar of watery clay food. Today is our first day and aside from clay we have had a few brown tablets that are said to contain herbs. I'm looking forward to tonights watery vegetable broth which of course has no vegetables. We get all sorts of interesting people to talk to ( thrown in at no extra cost) but by far the most fascinating thing of all is the toilets which are a cross between an igloo, something for disabled people and a large car park. Stay tuned for reports on how the thing is actually used. Our first irrigation is this afternoon.... yippeee

The beach

After meeting a dodgy backpacker in Bangkok who gave us a secret map we made our way down to the phi phi Islands where we discovered the most amazing deserted beach(If you forget the hordes of koreans, chinese and Swedes of course). Yes it was pure unadulterated paradise ( If you're not averse to crystal clear tranquil waters with brightly coloured fish that is). We spent our days hunting, playing didgeridoos and forming a small cult to deal with the forthcoming end of the world but then we got into a fight with Tilda Swinton and were raided by Thai drug warlords. It was all terribly exciting but in the end we discovered that paradise just isn't worth it and have decided to return to Suburban Sydney and live a life in the hill districts where the real action is. That's what Thailand will do to you.
oh yeah, I forgot to mention we also laid in hammocks and read books.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Run to the Hills, Run for your life

Koh Phi Phi was one of the worst hit places for the Tsunami in Thailand with more than 2000 people dying in this beach resort alone. ( About one quarter of the people on the island at the time). The reason for the high death toll was because the shape of this unique Island. In fact it is 2 islands joined togethor by a sand isthmus. The tsunami rising up in the shallow waters approached from both sides and caused severe damage. much of the beach jungle was destroyed and the whole island was pretty much closed down for 3 months. But now locals are beginning to get back on their feet and the tourists are back bringing their most valuable contribution of cold hard cash. Must admit I was a little scared at first. We made sure we stayed at virtually the highest bungalow on the island, made mental notes about the best evacuation routes and was ready to jump up and bolt at the first hint of a siren. But alas nothing happenned. Although the week before there were apparently more than 20 earthquakes in the sea registering 4 to 5 on the richter scale (Tsunami was 8.9) and was enough to trigger off the tsunami alarms 2 days before we got there. One Irish girl we met found herself unknowingly the only person in a restaurant wondering where all the staff were. After about half an hour some very panicked and sweaty tourists returned having bolted all the way up the mountain. She was completely none the wiser there was any alarm going off. Sometimes ignorance is bliss... but not always.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Crazy Lek and the last of the madcap elephant lovers

Our mission was to invade Burma, destabilise the Government, establish a democratic regime and publicly hang the Top Generals. Unfortunately we were not as successful as we would have liked. But we did get to see some elephants ... Our slightly eccentric platoon was led by Lek, a pint sized Thai lady armed with more plastic toys and medicines than you can load in 6 backpacks. In fact we did more looking after little kids than looking for elephants.Her foot soldiers were Chas, a man who can order a gin and tonic at 50 yards. Laura, the token American who proved she can projectile vomit better than any Burmese General. Chom, an ex Thai kickboxer with a slightly worrying attraction to men. Geoff, a man unashamed to don the local garb even if it is stripes and stripes, Kate undercover team journalist and myself who had been talked into filming some elephants doing things they probabaly really shouldn't be doing in this day and age. With this crew the whole mission was doomed from the beginning... but hey it turned out to be a lot of fun. We even got to see some tourist sites. Of course the entire time we were under a complete media blackout unable to mutter the words down with all stupid generals for fear of being politely asked to leave the country. Crazy isn't it, you can walk around in skirts but glance at a soldier too long and it's all over red rover.
It all started when we flew into Mandalay International airport, one of the worlds largest with perhaps the fewest number of passengers. In fact it was so large the driveway to the airport was probably about 25 kms all of it done with a few thousand Burmese labourers against their will of course. Before we knew it we had visited the longest teak bridge in the world, had a laugh with the Moustache brothers and hopped on another flight to Bagan for some serious Temple viewing. Now when it comes to pagodas the Burmese dont mess around. In Bagan alone there about 4000 littered aroud the joint. It's one giant pagoda convention. After bagan it was down to Taungoo, a town famous for bombs going off in it's general vicinity. The three days we were there 2 went off and 2 fires as well. Of course you wouldn't have heard about this such is the tight control of media reportage in the country. (Lucky Foreign Correspondent Kate was on the spot)... Too bad she spent most of her time drinking teaohh yeah there was also loads of monks... They were everywhere and all very keen to talk to you. in fact the quality of English in the country was amazing. One of the fun games we all played was spot the informer. It's quite tough actually. Apperently theres all sorts of ways to spot them like their watches are on their right wrist, smoking with the left hand, assuming corner positions in the teashops... Everyones got their opinions and rules.
One revelation was the food. it's not unusual to have more than 30 plates on your table for lunch. It's also a bottomless pit and just when you think you're getting thru one of them, some waiter pounces on your plate with a brisk " You need more beans" we were never sure if it was a question or statement. Sometimes we were even lucky to have 4 or 5 women fanning us while we ate. No wonder the English loved it here.
After the delights of Taungoo we headed deep into the jungle. We found ourselves pushing the car rather than driving it. Finally we made our Jungle hideout where we proceeded to destroy the shelter the locals lived in....fat westerners that we are. One very big rainstorm later and we were really starting to enjoy ourselves ,Kate has even mastered Burmese Bush cooking
We got to see lots of elephants pulling logs, and lots of very poor Burmese people whom Lek was trying to recruit for work in her Elephant Nature park. We even got to see some cool trucks.

After the jungle it was off to Yangon, but not before we survived the main north south highway. In Burma they drive on the right hand side of the road, but most of the cars here have been illegally brought from Thailand where they drive on the left. So you have the absurd situation of the driver being on the side of the road unable to see whats coming on the other side should he wish to overtake. This is all well and good if youre in a bullock cart but we werent. Lets just say it was an interesting trip
So there you have Burma in one blog. A more intersting country you will be very hard pressed to find

Faces of Burma

Big Burma is watching YOU

Myanmar is the land of invisible oppression. On the surface it appears like any third world country. Shops are open, children are playing and everyone seems to be going about their normal business. But looks can be very decieving.
The Burmese Government which ironically calls itself the State Ruling Peace and Development Council is an authoritarian military regime. Unfortunately 50 million Burmese live in a state of fear which puts Orwell to shame. Thousands have lost their lives, many have been imprisoned their only crime being anti government, hundreds of thousands have been forced into labour camps, many to build the tourist infrastructure, and such is the control over the people that the huge network of informers and secret police makes any kind of resistance virtually futile. All media is censored. Much of the country is restricted to travel in, people are imprisoned and tortured without trial, and a resource rich country is being run into the ground by a bunch of fat Generals. For the very intelligent and sophisticated Burmese people it's a tragedy of Orwellian proportions. The only taste of democracy they recieved was when Aung San Sui Kyi's party won the election in 1998 with a staggering 94 % of the vote. The only thing that changed with the election was the oppostion party crackdowns, illegal imprisonment and house arrest of pro democracy leader Sui Kyi. Interestingly she had condemned tourists visiting Burma as it brings in money for the authoritarian regime. However, there are other schools of thought, which we belong too, which is that the only people who are suffering out of this blockade is the Burmese people themselves. we never met anyone on the streets who was supportive of the blockade and the taxi drivers, restaurant owners, elephant mahouts, and shopkeepers who recieved our money all were very glad. We met people whose monthly income was about 3 dollars. Moreover, I strongly believe that you don't help a country by cutting it off from the rest of the world because some day the regime will fall. Surely it's better to help educate the people about the outside world and let them know that people out there havent forgotten about them.
Not that I'm saying Sui Kyi hasnt achieved a huge amount and is pehaps the greatest role model for the Burmese one can find. I just believe that with more knowledge and power the Burmese will surely be able to help themselves. It's all very similar to the Google in China argument. Surely a little knowledge is better than none at all. Also, If there are more tourists it becomes harder for the government to hide what it's doing. And lets face it how will they know about our lovely new shiny toys like digital cameras if we dont go.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Moustache Brothers are under surveillance

When everyone else in Burma is wondering who is listening in on their tea shop conversations, the mostache brothers of mandalay are throwing caution to their wind. In fact they are openly mocking the Burmese Government. Bully for the Moustache Brothers I say.
Yes it all began in 1996 when Par par lay and his merry band of moustache buffoons took one joke too far and ended up in the clink. (Which really isn't a place you want to be over here) After much road building and stone breaking ,5 years in fact , Par Par Lay who had now achieved international fame, was let free under the proviso they made no more jokes in public about the Government. But you can't keep a good buffoon down and the jokes have just kept coming and The Moustche Brothers Troupe are busy entertaining the 10 to 12 tourists who swing by their home each night. One thing to mention you're not coming here for the jokes, which are of the dad variety. It's the blatant crazy bravado, big smiles and wonderful hospitality. The more tourists that come the less easy it becomes for the Government to lock them up again. Hooray for the jolly troupe of moustache men from Mandalay.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

News from Burma

The ruling state peace and development council has informed us that construction projects for the 62nd year since independence continue to achieve intended targets. In addition the peoples desire of creating a disciplined and flourishing economic nation similar to the other global countries has continued to overcome difficulties. This has been achieved through cooperation between the people and the Peoples government especially in regard to eliminating those who rely on external elements especially foreign stooges who thru negative views attempt to destabilise the peoples system. All internal and external destructive elements ie the common enemy and their propaganda machines are to be eliminated (we fart in their general direction).
In other news, the government has discovered that the cultivation of the physic nut will achieve ecomomic stabilisation for the Northern region. A ceremony was held for this achievment attended by the generals, their wives, their wives friends and wives generals friends.