Whistle Another Day

My grandma asked me something a couple of decades ago now that I still think about from time to time, she asked “Why don’t I ever hear people whistling anymore? Men used to walk down the road whistling a tune in the morning, now it seems nobody does it anymore. Do people still whistle?”

I never grew up in my grandma’s time, but I do remember people whistling in some of the older books I have read, as well as in movies and on TV, The Andy Griffith show pops in my head when i think about old time whistling.


Wow look at how young Ron Howard was back then.

I remember as a child I had wanted to whistle, I used to practice it when I was very young, and got fairly decent at it. Whistling though, seems to have become somewhat of a lost art. I wonder, why people had stopped whistling? Is it possible people don’t whistle in the rest of the world as well these days? I don’t remember hearing any whistling by anyone on my world travels. Well other than myself, including the occasion I will tell you about below.

As many of you know, in my early twenties, I took quite a long, nineteen consecutive month, trip around Asia. After my first stop in Hong Kong, I made my way to the old Portuguese settlement of Goa, situated on the west coast of the Indian subcontinent. Goa is a wonderful place described in the Lonely Planet as something similar to “Perfect tropical suburbia” It also boasts ridiculously beautiful beaches, occasional surfing, and a night life that often carries right through till the afternoon of the next day. Though my European readers are of course completely familiar with Goa and all its stories, for some reason North Americans, for the most part, have not discovered it.

Goa Beach Palolem

Goa Beach In the Afternoon

About a month into this trip, which I had taken on my own, I had already found a good bunch of male British friends to spend my time with, but I was especially happy when I found myself a couple of lovely, and fun, female British friends, one was named Trudy, and the other, Klowie.

Trudy, Klowie, and I had many adventures around Goa together. After sleeping off a night of partying, we would often jump on our motorbikes, and head off to eat our afternoon breakfast at the local German bakery, on a few occasions if we all got up early enough, we would then head off to some remote, quiet beaches, or perhaps a nice hot springs for a soak in the middle of the jungle, just the three of us. It was great, just me and two pretty ladies. Though I suspected both might have been interested me, I was growing closer, faster to the lovely, long brown haired, Trudy.

As Trudy and I continuing to get closer, Klowie had stopped spending as much time with us, after a while though Klowie would still eat breakfast with us, it was normally just Trudy and I for the rest of the day. We were still not a couple at this time, but one lovely full moon night, like something out of a romance novel, Trudy mentioned how dirty her hair was, and I suggested that I should wash it for her. OK not really a romance novel, but it was the way it happened. So off we went back to her place for some good old team scrubbing.

CENSORED

Somewhere around 5 AM the two of us were still awake, and not wanting to sleep, we left her hotel for a nice long full moon lit walk down the long empty beach. We were both smiling as we held each other’s hands. After some time, the moon and stars faded, and the sky started to get light with the coming sun. As the sun was rising, the waves were breaking on the shore, a school of dolphins were spotted, birds were chirping, and then for some reason in my happiness I began to whistle a soft practiced tune.

At the sound my my whistling, Trudy stopped, looked at me, and said. “Stop that.”

“Stop what?” I asked.

Trudy looked at me sternly. “Stop your whistling, I’m not going to walk around with someone whistling.”

“Why?” I said “There is nobody around.” and then proceeded to continue my tune.

Trudy turned around, and stormed away from me, off the beach, as I stood there, whistling. Once Trudy was out of sight, and I realized she was not coming back, I lost my moment of happiness, and no longer felt like whistling anymore.

Trudy and I only saw each other once after that, across a crowded room, but we did not talk.

I do not regret my continued whistling that day, though Trudy left me alone, I was free to whistle another day.

A song for Trudy:

Stupid Dog On The Beach

Some of you may feel I have too many cat, and not enough dog videos here on Chasing Carrots Blog.

Believe it or not, I do actually like dogs, I know a few good dogs around the neighborhood I enjoy petting, and have even owned a dog once. I find dogs to be wonderful empathetic creatures, and hope one day, once I have a house with a decent sized yard, to own one once again.

I would not necessarily like to own the dog in the video below however. Enjoy !

Simian Madness

A few weeks ago my girlfriend and I decided to take a week off, for a short trip to one of my favorite quiet tropical beaches around the Cambodian/Thai border, just a few kilometers away from the beach I wrote about in “Beach Beyond The Guidebooks” We decided to go to this beach, because the Beach Beyond The Guidebooks beach did not have any water or electricity, and this time I was determined to be conveniently clean, and be able to recharge my laptop.

It is a very beautiful beach with many types of restaurants within walking distance, usually cooked by the nationality themselves, things like French Food, Chinese, Italian, Cambodian, Mexican, Thai, Lao, Vietnamese, American, and there is even a Canadian restaurant, I never knew such things existed!

The beach itself has a white powder like sand, the kind of sand that sort of jumps up and separates as you step down on it, there are lots of little crabs running around, who will run and hide in their sandy holes as you approach. The sand continues right deep into the ocean where on stormy days, waves decent enough to surf on, break in the shallow bay.

The two of us ended up renting a normally vacant, thirty year old or so teak house part way up a cliff facing the beach for about twelve US dollars per night, it was clean, had air con, electricity, hot water, and also a very large balcony, with a beautiful sunset facing view, below you can see exactly what I saw from my patio every day. I found I spent a lot of time there on the patio, every morning, afternoon, and evening was a stunning one, but all was not perfect in our little the house on the hill.

View Of The Beach From Our Balcony

View Of The Beach From Our Balcony – Click to Enlarge

Now as you can see in the image, everything pretty much from the water up is covered in virgin rainforest, the kind of stuff that is hard to see these days, because it is first growth, ancient, rainforest, that has probably been there since before the dinosaurs. The area around and above this house was all ancient rainforest also, and in that forest not only are there foot long grasshoppers, centillions of ants, giant moths, scorpions, crocodiles, huge lizards, pythons, cobras, bear, boar, deer, and wild elephants, but there are also some little, annoying, chaotic, but always amusing monkeys.

Monkey Behind Us On The House

Get Off Our Turf

The house had been vacant for a while before we got there, and I think the troop of monkeys that fed daily around and above the house had pretty much decided that we were invading their turf. Mostly they just left us alone, and we hadn’t had any real problems with them, we watched them each morning for a few days, and listened to them calling at one another from a distance in the jungle, but on the fifth day, while returning from a swim on the beach, we found them around and on top of our house, some of them were actually standing right in front of the door. They are fairly large and a few of them together defiantly demand some respect. We approached them slowly and they backed away from the door slowly, eventually we could get in the house. As the monkeys were still running around on top of the house and around the doors we decided to stay inside a bit until they left.

After a while we went out on  our balcony and looked around to see where they were, I brought my camera to take some picture if I could. Some of them were on the trees above us, and some of the others had run over to another house down the hill a bit. After a short while there was a huge bang on the roof, a very large branch had dropped a hundred meters or so from the trees above us where some monkeys were, onto the roof, putting a fairly large hole in it, after a while we went outside again to try and get some pictures, and look what decided to come down and inspect the freshly made hole.

Monkey On The Roof

Are You Seriously Going To Blame Me For This?

There was quite a bit of movement on top  of the house again, so we took shelter back inside, after a few moments, they dozen or so monkeys started screaming, then things started banging all over the house, as the monkey had all decided to throw  branches and fruit at the house for a while. After a  couple minutes of this, all calmed down, and we were once again able to go outside, they had finally moved on.

Later that evening when we were heading out for dinner, we discovered they had stolen one of my girlfriends shoes. We looked around for it for quite a while but it was no where to be found. The shoes were not very expensive, and thankfully she had brought another pair so it was not that big a deal. We enjoyed our evening  and went to sleep to the sound of the monkeys occasionally fighting with one another in the trees.

In the morning I woke up itching, to my horror I soon discovered fire ants all over the bed, I jumped out and onto the floor only to find out there were millions  more all over the floor also, I had never experienced quite so many ants running all over me in my life, nor seen so many in such a small area as I did that morning, and fire ants are some of the worst ants around as they are very aggressive. I jumped in the shower and quickly got the ants off me, then turned on all the lights so as to see a safe passage through the house without getting too many more on me. I went outside on the balcony to see the reason for the invasion. The fruits the monkeys had pelted the house with had attracted all the ants. It is amazing the amount of trouble a group of monkeys can cause in just a matter of minutes. We left later that day, as was planned, though I am sure the monkey were all high fiving each other as we left, thinking it was a victory well fought.

I will return to the beach a few more times over the next couple of years, although the monkeys were an occasional pain in the behind, they provided entertainment, and I am glad they were there. I plan on staying in the same house, and we will probably see them again soon. They probably won’t be there much longer however, as there has been some roadway development on the bluff, someone has begun building condos on a hill, and a five star hotel is being built right in the center of the beach, so soon the trees will be gone, and with it the monkeys, the beach will become spoiled, and in order to find an unspoiled beach, we will be forced to go back to Beach Beyond The Guidebooks once again, hopefully by that time they will have running water.

I Never Reached Superman

A long time ago, when I was six, I remember fondly walking outside the theatre after seeing the Superman Movie for the first time. I was not just simply walking however, but striding, and jumping. I was convinced that if I could just get it all right, I too would eventually be able to fly.

As many women grow up with the ideals of Barbie in their heads, the pretty blond with the attractive figure, closets full of clothing, cute dog, handsome boyfriend, a house, and the corvette. I grew up with thoughts of being Superman, the honest good looking guy every girl wanted, using his superhuman abilities such as super strength, laser beam eyes, super breath, and virtual indestructibility, to flight the bad guys, and save the world.

That really is a lot to live up to.

Superman Movie Poster 1978

Superman Movie Poster 1978

I am sitting here now thinking of all the things I did to try and be a bit like Superman, the physical training I have put myself through, and the risks I have taken. I am not sure why I did it, if it was for the adrenaline or to prove something to myself, but I did it just the same.

When I was young, I used to like to jump off of things, each time I tried to jump from just a little bit higher than the last time. I would sometimes jump off things while riding other objects such as my bike, skis or skateboard, all in the attempt to just see if I could do it, and feel what it would be like to fly just a little bit. I have still not grown out of this really, just last week, I jumped off the roof of a sixty storey tower on a zip line, it was pretty cool, but Superman would have just leaped over the building in a single bound.

If you want to be a superhero, of course you need to learn to fight. At the age of ten I started to study Karate. I had to postpone my studies at thirteen for a couple of years, as I broke my arm quite badly while testing to see if I was indestructible, I am not. I later continued studying various martial arts formally for about eighteen years. I fought a few times, I even managed to defeat the number four ranked fighter on the Canadian kickboxing team several times. I never fought any higher ranked fighters. I found I did not like hurting people, and didn’t really like getting hurt either.  If  Superman kick boxed,  he would be number one, I don’t think he minds the pain so much, but I know he doesn’t like hurting people either.

I did a fair bit of mountain and rock climbing in my life, but for some reason volcanoes were always the most interesting to me, there is just something about their sheer awesome lava spewing power that I found irresistible, and once you get to the top, you not only get a view, but you also get to look in to their centre. One of the most memorable volcanic experiences I had was in the northern Philippines, after climbing the volcano, my friend and I then climbed for hours through the lava tubes inside it, right into it’s underground river systems. There is nothing quite like squeezing through small limestone holes and dropping ten meters or so through pure darkness into pools of fresh drinking water. Another memorable volcanic occasion was when I had a semi active volcano I was standing on in Indonesia erupt right under my feet, thankfully I survived. I had this picture taken of me, standing right over its billowing molten heart less than a minute before it erupted. I ran away in fear  from the top of the volcano as it exploded, I am pretty sure I freaked out a little bit also. Superman would not have freaked out or ran, he would have kicked that volcano’s ass.

Scott Vs The Volcano - Seconds Before An Eruption

Scott Vs The Volcano - Moments Before An Eruption

 

Large waves are another force I have felt a powerful attraction to. I have learned to swim and surf in some huge waves over the years. One particularly wavy January day in southern India, I chose to ignore the warning siren of the concerned lifeguards in the lighthouse on the point, and the people on the loudspeakers warning us of a dangerous wave coming into the bay. I had seen their “dangerous” waves before, and felt I could handle them. Larger waves break further out, so as everyone else was busy getting out of the water, I swam out into deeper water to get ready to body surf this wave.  After a moment, I found as I looked out past the fairly common five meter wave in front of me, I was able to see a much larger wave towering over that one, I would guess it was seven meters high or so.  Realizing it was breaking too far out for me to ride it, I was forced to swim towards it as fast as I could, so as not to get caught in its dangerous break. Once I reached the top of that wave, which was shockingly high, I could see an even larger wave coming, it was already well over eight meters tall, and still growing fast. I swam towards this truly giant wave as quickly as I could, there was no way to get away from it as it was sucking me towards it as it was building its height. I made my way over it just as it was beginning to fall, I am not sure how high it was exactly, I would guess ten meters or so, I remember looking over at the people on the beach, as I crested it, I was both a long ways from them, and towering over them, as they scattered up the beach, and away from the water. Luckily, I made it over the wave before it broke, because when the enormous wave did fall, it fell right over top of the beach, destroying quite a few things, including some holiday houses, the retreating wave then brought all sorts of things back into the water with it, chairs, tables, doors, glass, dogs and even some other people. The next thing I knew I was being sucked a good kilometer or so, at a very high speed out into the open ocean. It took me an hour or so of hard swimming to finally make it back to the beach. Of course Superman would have just started flying and saved everyone, but for me, my own survival was barely possible.

I have saved four people’s lives, two people were drowning once in Goa, and I swam out with a large log for all of us to grab onto and swim back to shore. One time when I was in Thailand, a lady that could not swim fell into a river in Bangkok, I grabbed her hand as she was going under the water to pull her up. Another time in Indonesia, a group of people were trying to kill my rickshaw driver, something about him picking me up on their turf. One of them smashed a large brick into his head, and I stood up to them all. They decided not to fight us both, my driver was bleeding quite a bit from his head, but he survived because of me. I really am quite proud of actually saving some lives, Superman would have done the same, but of course for each one I saved, he saved a billion.

Although I have a lot of stories about things I have done, I look back and notice a pattern of me putting myself in harms way, in hindsight it seems a little bit stupid,  and when I really think about it, I am a little surprised that I am still alive. I tried hard to do as much as I could, but now as I am nearing forty, my body is in its decline, and my risk taking days have ended, I realize, for all my efforts, not for a moment, did I ever come close to being Superman.

Five For Fighting (John OndrasikOndrasik) Superman – It’s Not Easy Lyrics

I can’t stand to fly
I’m not that naive
I’m just out to find
The better part of me

I’m more than a bird…i’m more than a plane
More than some pretty face beside a train
It’s not easy to be me

Wish that I could cry
Fall upon my knees
Find a way to lie
About a home I’ll never see

It may sound absurd…but don’t be naive
Even heroes have the right to bleed
I may be disturbed…but won’t you concede
Even heroes have the right to dream
It’s not easy to be me

Up, up and away…away from me
It’s all right…you can all sleep sound tonight
I’m not crazy…or anything…

I can’t stand to fly
I’m not that naive
Men weren’t meant to ride
With clouds between their knees

I’m only a man in a silly red sheet
Digging for kryptonite on this one way street
Only a man in a funny red sheet
Looking for special things inside of me
Inside of me
Inside me
Yeah, inside me
Inside of me

I’m only a man
In a funny red sheet
I’m only a man
Looking for a dream

I’m only a man
In a funny red sheet
And it’s not easy, hmmm, hmmm, hmmm…

Its not easy to be me

Beach Beyond The Guide Books

A Little Bit of Asian Heaven

My Hidden Beautiful Secluded Island Beach Near Cambodia

I have just spent the last two days traveling in South East Asia  by buses, trucks, then boats, 4×4 and finally hiking, to a nice island beach very near the Cambodian border. I would like to be more specific but unfortunately, paradise found and shared with the general public soon becomes paradise lost.

This location is not for everyone, the only accommodation available, are simple wooden huts, featuring only a mosquito net and a bed. There are no bathrooms or showers in the rooms, no electricity, no Internet connections, and unfortunately no place to plug in and charge up my laptop. Still though the view is nice for $8 US per night.

I came here to write, but as the power remaining clock ticks away on my laptop, now at 51 minutes, I realize I probably won’t be able to write very much.

This place is not yet in the Lonely Planet, and although Google Earth does of course show the location. You can not find it yet by name.

I would encourage anyone traveling, to try and really  get away from it all sometimes, to far out and away locations like this. I have sometimes been the only person at a place that you might think was the most amazing place in the world.

In order to find a place like this of course you will need to know where to go. The best way is to get a Lonely Planet guide book, and start looking for areas where it seems the road has stopped and no locations are listed beyond it.This is your launching off point. Almost always the “last” hotels will have a small tourist centre, offering boat rides, 4×4 or safari tours that will take you beyond the guide books.

View From The Beach.

No Need For Umbrellas When You Have Trees.

These are not the secluded place a travel agent would offer, these are truly secluded places, far beyond the newspapers and or most television shows. They have no phone lines, or cell phones or Internet connections to even make a booking if you wished to.

You must bring backpacks, not suitcases, with everything you need, and only what you need, often hiking is involved, and suitcases are just not very good on long dirt hikes. If you are really feeling adventurous bring a tent. I would also recommend bringing a knife, lighter, some flashlights, and medical supplies.

This particular beach is not quite as secluded as some places I have been, for instance one time I lived for just over a week with just my girlfriend, on a tropical island with nothing more than a tent, hammocks, matches and some fishing line. Thankfully the fishing boat did not forget to pick us up, as our cell phones were out of range to call for any help. I wouldn’t encourage any risk taking whatsoever if you are in completely secluded a place like that, minor injuries can actually kill you if you are not careful before your week or so is up.

I found out from experience, I enjoy having things like restaurants to serve me when I vacation, so I don’t generally get really lost too much these days, besides meeting at least a few other travelers each day is often the best part of the trip.

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