“What a nice looking camera, but does it taste as good as your bike did”?
My afternoons are spent volunteering at the Donkey Sanctuary where I’m kept amused by sixty eight cheeky little fellows Hell-bent on destruction, getting in my way and commandeering the wheelbarrow. I am getting pretty good at giving the speech to tourists about our work here and exactly how a guy from Scotland wound up in Aruba with possibly the coolest job on Earth. You could say I can talk the hind-legs off a donkey -sorry-!
I am a very happy man here even though the visa people are trying their best (by not trying at all) to make it difficult to extend my stay here. I’ve had painkillers work faster than these people and I honestly think if I took some of our donkeys, stuck a tie on them and put them in that office they would not do any worse than those employed right now. The words ‘get your ass in gear’ have never seemed more appropriate!
Most tourists that visit our sanctuary are nice enough and with the more I learn about these furry dudes –the donks-, the more I enjoy showing folk around and giving the grand tour. Stupid questions like “How do you tell which ones are male”? and “Do donkeys have teeth” from adults(!) can be forgiven but during the space of six months you will meet some visitors who really should be chopped up and fed to chickens;
“It’s not safe for your son to feed the donkeys out there. They surround you and fight with each other.”
“That’s OK, my son is tough”.
Fine then you old boot. Hope your son gets bum raped by sixty eight furry little murderers.
. . .
Locking up for the day and taking my time about it. With searing tropical cycle home to look forward to I feel no need to rush anything at this time of day and so I’m making myself a nice wee brew while counting today’s takings from the cash-register.
From the sudden explosion of activity outside, it would appear World War Three has just begun and as I step out the shop to inspect the latest donkey drama –last time they beat an old lady to the ground and stole her bag of carrots-, I feel myself stumped by their well hidden little dark side.
A pace of donkeys form around a young, wild goat that’s had the sheer nerve and stupidity to enter this lair and help itself to some gold-dust (hay). The circle of death closes in.
Stomping, biting, dragging, the blood-lust begins. With tilted-back ears and slanted eyes, they home in on their chosen target and by the time I get between these raging beasts the damage is done. Billy is an ex-goat. I take the dead animal in my arms and make my way to the Sanctuary café area, but now I am surrounded! They have built what would seem like an impenetrable wall of donkey around me. “Put the goat down and walk away”. Or “ EEEEEAAAWWW”! To you and me.
Being something of a donkey wrecking ball allows me to break through and escape into the safety of my café where I lay down our deceased horned one and continue cashing up well aware that our lovable little donkeys have now surrounded the area and are staring intently at the corpse on the floor.
Moments later while packing envelope’s into the safe I sense unease from outside. Not again!
Arriving late and now standing over our cabbaged one I now feel the need to explain to these tourists exactly why I have a dead goat in the middle of the café floor. “It’s our donkeys! Be VERY careful, they hate Americans almost as much as goats”!
Carrying Billy towards the front gate where his final resting place awaits (thorn bushes and cactus) I am once again menacingly stalked by murderous villains who still want more. I think in future when I see a Christmas scene involving that token, beloved donkey in a manger consisting of a baby a goat and a cow I will be thinking “this is an accident waiting to happen”, camera’s at the ready especially if Mary’s got a bag of carrots!
My supervising donk Thunder. Forever nosey.
I had a decision to make while preparing trees for the coming orange season in Sicily. To stay and make the most of a further seven months traveling and farming through Italy or make my way back home now and find out if a possible six month project working on a donkey sanctuary in Aruba is actually going to happen.
I make my way back. Best decision I ever made.
Traveling the world was always a dream for me and now that’s what I do. After wasting so much time chasing skirt and wondering how great it would be to find the right one, I then discover that not having that shit is exactly how I live this life of adventure. It all worked out better than I could have hoped, but let us never speak too soon!
So living with my parents when in Scotland is a massive part of how I still manage to do this. I do work when I’m here and I pay my own way but living in a nice village so close to a large industrial area has meant I don’t need a car and just think of all the money that’s saved when you don’t have a mortgage, wife, kids and a dog named Sue. Depends what you want in life really.
This time I’m taking part in The Leonardo Project which is a vocational educational non-profit programme funded by The European Voluntary Service. I’ve just told everyone I know that I’m going to Nubia, but I don’t have to feel so stupid about this little geographical mistake. I’m still going to the Caribbean for six months and they’re not!
My working days will be split between Arikok National Park in the mornings, before it’s too hot to work and afternoons with the donks at the sanctuary which is fine for me. I’ve notched up a few good projects by now, but this looks like it could be the best .
. . .
My early commute by bicycle to volunteer at the Arikok National Park is comparable to cycling inside an over-sized hand-dryer, but I wouldn’t like to imagine how this windy little country would feel without that strong breeze. My last words in Scotland before setting off were “Thank fuck I’m leaving this windy shite”, so let’s not pretend I was always so chirpy towards a breeze so strong and constant that the trees grow sideways!
Arikok in the mornings after surviving another gauntlet of increasingly annoying dogs would consist of watering the garden, prostitute spotting in San Nicolas, general upkeep of the surrounding area, snake patrol when our resident rattle snake escapes and an unexpected sight of Hitler’s grave in the pet cemetery –who calls their dog Hitler?-!
As much as I do appreciate advice on poisonous plants during my first week I do, however feel that we could work a little on our timing with such issues now that my face resembles a ruptured scrotum. Everything my venom-smeared little fingers touched that day became a hideous mass of rash and swelling. After a much regretted toilet break I took on the appearance of a porn-star Popeye!
This thirty four Km2 National Park covers almost twenty percent of the island and is home to about a million billion boa. Seriously, well maybe a little exaggeration but it really is a huge problem here. Some phantom thought it a good idea to bring some as pets then just let the go free. Free to decimate the indigenous bird populations and munch all our chickens at The Donkey Sanctuary. And so we have a boa box!
Boa box..Something I do see everyday!
I could say that it’s not every day I see a box of snakes but thanks to my time here that would not be true. Eventually a vet would come to ‘take care’ of our slithery fellows but until then I can learn a thing or two like how funny it is to watch a Ranger open the box, shit himself as a snake propels itself on to his leg and then watch him flap this specimen up, into the air and onto his equally snake-fearing friend!
On one of my first days off I take a stroll down towards one of the many great beaches that surround this Caribbean island and got talking with an old local about island life and the donkeys on Aruba:
“These days it’s all cars, cars, cars. Cars bumping into each-other, people getting hurt. I remember not so long ago when it was all donkeys. Donkeys, donkeys, donkeys. Everywhere donkeys and what happens when a donkey bumps into another donkey? You get more damned donkeys”! Gotta love the old timers and their take on things.
The need for a cold, cold beer on this scorching day leads me to a nice, not-so little family restaurant where I prop myself up at the bar and order some fries. It’s about five pm and there are maybe four large American families strewn throughout, it is a tourist bar after all. I press the near frozen bottle against my sunburnt, balding head and stare up at the television. What the fuck?
Aruba is a dependent territory of Holland and so it comes as no surprise that they would watch Dutch programmes but let us remember what time it is here then know that Holland is six hours ahead. Yes, there is a plethora of vaginas popping up on screen in a variety of styles, most notably one grown and styled to resemble a Jewish set of sideburns. I look towards the barmaid only to see that she too is watching this, her favorite show! I think this is a bit much with all these kids running around and then in true Dutch style things get a little more naughty with the introduction of fingers. At least there’s no cock.. Oh there it is! Think a line has been crossed in the world of family dining establishments, but then maybe the barmaids just thinking ‘when’s this weirdo gonna leave so I can watch Pop Idol’?
New meaning to ‘Pop a cap in yo ass’!
Been far too long since I put anything up here so I thought I’d just let everyone know I’m still alive and starting to put my notes together from the last six months I spent in Aruba volunteering at The Donkey Sanctuary and working with the park rangers in Arikok National Park.
Some crazy stuff to come..
Where to start?
Might take a few more days for anything to be ready, so here are a few pics.
Bucket list.. Soon to be Bucket fucked!
Coco and Chula.. Hell hath no wrath..!
You heard of a rocking horse, but did you ever have a stalking donkey?
Attack comes not from the front, but from the ones you didn’t even know were there. JURASSIC DONKS!
No photos of Aruba yet so heres a picture taken shortly before the forest police arrived and went nuts..Ehh, wasn’t me!
With my latest adventure planned I thought it best to take a moment to explain why I haven’t put up any posts for a while on my blog and why some recent posts are not in order of when things happened.
I’m going to live and work on a donkey farm and also volunteer at a National park in Aruba in the Caribbean. I will be there for six months. This is step one in my plans for 2013 but I can’t say for sure what I will do afterwards. Definitely something along the lines of travel and adventure anyway. I have ideas but nothing concrete yet, suggestions welcome.
The last part of my book Without Wax kind of ended with the post http://withoutwaxblogdotcom.com/2012/11/30/looking-forward/ ,but then Only in Panama (Porn to raise Hell) was a little story I’d forgotten to write about so I just stuck it on there after starting my attempt at an introduction to a second book with a post called ‘Round 2′.
Oh yeah.. There is also an advert for party poker that doesn’t fit in at all, but lets not dwell on my selling out!
I really have to live it before I can write about it so you know as much as I what will feature next.
Hopefully I can finally find my geek (I love the bookworm type) and you can read a ‘happy ever after’ post at some point. Until then you might have to settle for me doing what I unfortunately do best. So if you are sporting a MASSIVE pair of glasses, woolly jumper two sizes too big with a bland pony tail draped down your back then you can find me somewhere in Aruba. I’ll be the one scooping donkey poop with skin like a lobster!
Happy travels people and I hope to update soon..
The post that was previously here was an advert for party poker.
My inability to present this add in the exact manner that was intended combined with the fact I have never actually gambled in my life (apart from the time I was in that casino!) has let me to my decision to replace it with something French related to which I do know something about.
I apologise to those who left comments regarding casinos in France and Monaco but, I felt like a bit of a fraud supporting and advertising something I know nothing about.
As part of a mating ritual, the male hippopotamus will spray shit onto the face of a female in an effort empty its balls.
With skin as thick as one inch the hippopotamus is an unstoppable killing machine and will stop at nothing to destroy you.
Only a calve (baby hippo) can in fact swim where as an adult may bounce, walk underwater or even stand in the shallow end giving the impression that they are swimming.
In the jaws of a hippopotamus you will find an average of forty teeth and maybe an occasional slow native or two. These slow moving, placid creatures should always be approached with reckless carelessness and offensive language can easily discourage a charge from an adult bull (man-hippo).
* I claim no responsibility for those who are eaten while following my Hippo fact file.
I like to travel and see the world.
I enjoy meeting new people and seeing things we wouldn’t normally see, but it’s those one off characters that you meet along the way while traveling that brings a little smile to the face and makes you say “That could only happen here”!
In the small city of David close to the border of Costa Rica we wait for our guide who will take us on a tour of the surrounding countryside. This is where we meet one shady looking funny geezer. We are here in Panama for the first of our visa runs but also to bump into characters like this.
He stands near by smoking his cigarette then approaches our small group of obvious tourists whilst digging a wallet from his pocket. He’s showing us an old, battered picture. Maybe his wife, girlfriend or children. No, none of that nonsense in Panama. He holds out his favourite hard-core porn picture. Maybe this is’t such a bad thing. In the case of such a national tragedy happening as this man getting macked by a big bus, they could scoop the rest of him into a nice little sandwich bag, open his wallet and discover that he was in fact male. No need for ID just some x rated pics. Who cares about his name anyway, the man has porn and that’s the kind of heirloom that every man wants. Or maybe that’s just here.
We would later see a black 4×4 in the city centre cruising by the market vendors with a large man kneeling down in the back. A sudden stop and he’s onto the pavement with his shotgun grabbing what must be hundreds of cigarettes from someone before casually leaping back in and hitting the road. We thought we’d just witnessed a robbery but this was the police and there way of controlling the black market. No paper work needed, just frighten the shit out of them with an unmarked drive-by. Would you ask a monster with a shotgun for his police ID?
It was when we were at the border and in the process of leaving Panama when we passed one of the craziest characters I’ve ever seen. Not one of the craziest, most definitely the craziest! We were on our way to get some cheap whiskey when we passed this nutter wearing an unbuttoned military shirt, black baseball cap and shouting at no one in particular while brandishing a large silver pistol. I’m no gun expert but this thing looked heavy duty. On our way back I had my camera phone at the ready to take a very cheeky wee picture of this mad man but he was nowhere to be seen. In place there now stood a noticeable number of armed police officers. Wish I could have witnessed the events that transpired and God do I wish I had a picture of this lunatic! Maybe Simon got one?
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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 4,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 7 years to get that many views.
Click here to see the complete report.