Miserable Travels
Hobo code

An ethical code was created by Tourist Union #63 during its 1889 National Hobo Convention in St. Louis Missouri.[14] This code was voted upon as a concrete set of laws to govern the Nation-wide Hobo Body; it reads this way:

  1. Decide your own life, don’t let another person run or rule you.
  2. When in town, always respect the local law and officials, and try to be a gentleman at all times.
  3. Don’t take advantage of someone who is in a vulnerable situation, locals or other hobos.
  4. Always try to find work, even if temporary, and always seek out jobs nobody wants. By doing so you not only help a business along, but ensure employment should you return to that town again.
  5. When no employment is available, make your own work by using your added talents at crafts.
  6. Do not allow yourself to become a stupid drunk and set a bad example for locals’ treatment of other hobos.
  7. When jungling in town, respect handouts, do not wear them out, another hobo will be coming along who will need them as badly, if not worse than you.
  8. Always respect nature, do not leave garbage where you are jungling.
  9. If in a community jungle, always pitch in and help.
  10. Try to stay clean, and boil up wherever possible.
  11. When traveling, ride your train respectfully, take no personal chances, cause no problems with the operating crew or host railroad, act like an extra crew member.
  12. Do not cause problems in a train yard, another hobo will be coming along who will need passage through that yard.
  13. Do not allow other hobos to molest children, expose all molesters to authorities, they are the worst garbage to infest any society.
  14. Help all runaway children, and try to induce them to return home.
  15. Help your fellow hobos whenever and wherever needed, you may need their help someday.

got a few good clips this morning-this has to be one of the best ones though. My friend ben pascoe http://benpascoe.co.uk/ broke his wrist last week on the same section.

It struck me-I’m an anti-tourist. Until today I had never heard of the phrase and I thought god, maybe I can pioneer a new sub-genre of travel. Dissapointingly, I have found someone coined the phrase about 15 years in Kyrgzstan. I saw this person’s manifesto and have to agree with it wholeheartedly.His name is Daniel Kalder and he has written a book called lost cosmonaut.
 
His manifesto is below but I hope to add my own interpretation soon…
 
As the world has become smaller so its wonders have diminished. There is nothing amazing about the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, or the Pyramids of Egypt. They are as banal and familiar as the face of a Cornflakes Packet.Consequently the true unknown frontiers lie elsewhere.    The duty of the traveller therefore is to open up new zones of experience. In our over explored world these must of necessity be wastelands, black holes, and grim urban blackspots: all the places which, ordinarily, people choose to avoid.The only true voyagers, therefore, are anti- tourists. Following this logic we declare that:The anti-tourist does not visit places that are in any way desirable.The anti-tourist eschews comfort.The anti-tourist embraces hunger and hallucinations and shit hotels.The anti-tourist seeks locked doors and demolished buildings.The anti-tourist scorns the bluster and bravado of the daredevil, who attempts to penetrate danger zones such as Afghanistan. The only thing that lies behind this is vanity and a desire to brag.The anti-tourist travels at the wrong time of year.      The anti-tourist prefers dead things to living ones.The anti-tourist is humble and seeks invisibility.The anti-tourist is interested only in hidden histories, in delightful  obscurities, in bad art.The anti-tourist believes beauty is in the street.The anti-tourist holds that whatever travel does, it rarely broadens the mind.The anti-tourist values disorientation over enlightenment.The anti-tourist loves truth, but he is also partial to lies. Especially his own.  

It struck me-I’m an anti-tourist. Until today I had never heard of the phrase and I thought god, maybe I can pioneer a new sub-genre of travel. Dissapointingly, I have found someone coined the phrase about 15 years in Kyrgzstan. I saw this person’s manifesto and have to agree with it wholeheartedly.His name is Daniel Kalder and he has written a book called lost cosmonaut.

 

His manifesto is below but I hope to add my own interpretation soon…

 

As the world has become smaller so its wonders have diminished. There is nothing amazing about the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, or the Pyramids of Egypt. They are as banal and familiar as the face of a Cornflakes Packet.

Consequently the true unknown frontiers lie elsewhere.    

The duty of the traveller therefore is to open up new zones of experience. In our over explored world these must of necessity be wastelands, black holes, and grim urban blackspots: all the places which, ordinarily, people choose to avoid.

The only true voyagers, therefore, are anti- tourists. Following this logic we declare that:

The anti-tourist does not visit places that are in any way desirable.

The anti-tourist eschews comfort.

The anti-tourist embraces hunger and hallucinations and shit hotels.

The anti-tourist seeks locked doors and demolished buildings.

The anti-tourist scorns the bluster and bravado of the daredevil, who attempts to penetrate danger zones such as Afghanistan. The only thing that lies behind this is vanity and a desire to brag.

The anti-tourist travels at the wrong time of year.      

The anti-tourist prefers dead things to living ones.

The anti-tourist is humble and seeks invisibility.

The anti-tourist is interested only in hidden histories, in delightful  obscurities, in bad art.

The anti-tourist believes beauty is in the street.

The anti-tourist holds that whatever travel does, it rarely broadens the mind.

The anti-tourist values disorientation over enlightenment.

The anti-tourist loves truth, but he is also partial to lies. Especially his own.  

Article submitted and then revoked *I wrote this 3 days before the algerian hostage situation in Jan 2013.

Salafists dampened my night out in Algeria

Algeria has a bit of an image problem. A million killed in its campaign of resistance against the French, a bloody civil war and an on-going battle against Islamic fundamentalism hasn’t helped. Tourism in GDP terms accounts for less in Algeria, than it does in Iran, Libya, Chad or Pakistan.

This made me curious to visit and rather superficially, Nightlife in Sunni Muslim majority countries has never let me down. Fuck London, Berlin or New York, Algeria would be a perfect way to spend my new year’s break.

Researching the trip, I had read about a jihadist organisation called al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, who is active in Algeria. This group’s aim is to “cleanse” North Africa of western influence and establish a sharia law state. Kidnapping tourists is definitely on their ‘to do’ list.

On the morning of my flight I decided to dress as Algerian as possible -in my mind, the less western I looked, the safer I would be. Reflecting on my holiday snaps, the look was definitely more ‘mossad’ and less ‘khaled’ (an algerian rai singer. Rai is a form of protest music symbolic of this country). Not ideal.

The plane landed in Houari Boumediene Airport - Algiers and we were greeted by gendarmerie with machine guns and escorted quickly to the building. Lining up at the customs hall, a flash of my British passport and a suddenly I heard a “monsieur, this way” and was encouraged to the front of the cue. Algerians are well aware of the perception their country has. The fact that you have chosen to visit their country out of choice rather than on a corporate visit with an oil company makes them very happy. The hospitality and warmth of everyone I met, makes it easy to forget that this is a country nursing some pretty deep psychological scars; 150,000 estimated to have been killed during the ‘dark decade’ just 20 years ago.

The hotel was based in the ‘didouche mourad’ quarter which seemed disappointingly European and rather timid. The infamous casbah however was a massive juxtaposition, and felt like the Algeria I was looking for. This is still a no go area for the police and one of the few unesco heritage sites that was out of bounds by order of the government. It was alleged to once be the most sought after postcode for Islamic terrorists and even today, most Algerians do not venture within its boundaries.

Walking around, I observed two distinct looks. ‘The beards’ with their traditional Islamic Kashrabia dress code or tough looking dark skinned youths in knock off adidas track suits and shaved heads standing around aimlessly. I was prepared to least to get robbed, and when I didn’t-it almost came as a bit of a let-down although the nervousness of my guide suggested the reputation of the place, is still justified.

Algeria is in a fragile state of stability. Guide books and other people I bumped into consistently advised ”not to rock the boat.” Women drinking in cafes are a big no no, open displays of affection are not encouraged and being drunk in public was a massive faux pus that could potentially cause things to kick off.

Mindful of that advice, I put on my leather jacket and turtle neck and ventured outside looking like a low paid porn star to track down my first beer. The first place’ koutamoa’ described by my guide book as a rowdy seedy bar looked closed, burnt out even.  The next place on the list was near the riad el feth complex, which also appeared to be closed. Walking around, I saw plenty of restaurants (historically, a place for alcohol) but they were shut or bordered up and the hope of replicating the decadence in Damascus, Uzbekistan or Beirut was fast fading. It was getting dark but going back to the hotel defeated just wasn’t on the agenda, the only chance was to get into the side streets, against my natural instinct.

One road had a few 60’s style cinemas whose entrances were guarded by female attendants without the hijab. Dinar was paid and I ventured in. The place was thick heavy with smoke, and there were groups of single men and couples huddled up closely next to each other, whilst a very bad Bollywood film played in the background. The scenes seemed uncharacteristically raunchy and I guess it was probably where people went to hook up and get off.

As interesting as this was, it wasn’t what I had in mind and shortly after leaving the cinema, a guy stumbled out of a disused house just next door, and bumped into me-he looked and sounded Nigerian. The door he came from was temporarily left ajar and I could hear a flurry of voices. Deciding to go for it, I knocked at the door and a shady gentleman answered. I did the universal hand to mouth sign ‘I need a beer’

The gentleman guided me into a room full of people pissed drunk. I have learnt over the years that in these places, whiskey is the drink of choice and a measure is about quarter of a pint. The connoisseur must go for J&B and drink at least 2 measures. Chain smoking whilst spitting on the floor is etiquette. The atmosphere was so refreshing compared to the set up I observe in London, no pretentiousness and a genuine feel of prohibition right on the coast of North Africa-this is living!

There was another room that people would go on to enter but having been clocked as the random foreigner and as obliging at the bartender was, it was made sure that the fruits that lay behind the door, would remain a secret to me. The whisky high wore off and the place got more rowdy and out of control. I was drunk and panicked about finding me way back in the dark whilst also maintaining the perception of sobriety.

When I finally got back, the receptionist was impressed by my conviction as apparently hundreds of pubs and other alcoholic drink outlets have been closed in the Algiers recently due to increasing Salafist influence (Salafis adhere to an ultraconservative interpretation of Islam).

I have since learnt that an application to form a salafist party called the “Free Awakening Front” was lodged in early 2013. A spokesman for the group “Zeraoui” said that rejecting the application could have serious consequences. To put this in context, Zeraoui was a former activist with the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), a political party banned in Algeria which led to the civil war in 1992.

finsbury skate today. 

finsbury skate today. 

Stuck in No Man’s Land (between two borders)…?

 Have you or someone you know been in the following situation and what did you do? 

You are leaving a country in which you resided temporarily thanks to a single entry visa. BUT, you are not allowed in the bordering country (the one you want to pass through in order to continue your journey) and are now in “no man’s land” (the space between the two countries). Are you, by law or some international agreement, allowed back to the country which you just exited (thereby “spending” your single entry visa)? If yes, what are the conditions? If not - what does one do stuck between a country that would not accept them and a country which one just left and no longer has visa entries for? Is there perhaps a transit visa issued AT “no man’s land” for the purpose of temporarily entering the former country in order to exit it via different crossing point (i.e. going to another country)?

Sri Lanka empty reefs

Sri Lanka empty reefs

Palestine

Palestine

Armenia

Armenia