Where In The World Is Evan?

The Black Hole of Calcutta

Posted by Evan on Tuesday, 12 December 2006 at 2:06 pm

Having stepped off the plane, collected our bags and left the airport, there was no denying that we’d entered somewhere very strange. Row after row of archaic looking ‘Ambassador’ taxis flanked the squat, diminutive airport. A taxi driver waved and motioned for us to enter his anachronistic vehicle. As we approached another man can running up, screaming abuse at the cabbie, and motioning us towards another taxi. Having already bought a fixed price ticket we weren’t that fussed, so we got in and set off into town. The dilapidated outskirts of Calcutta reminded me fondly of Kathmandu, and as Alex and I gawked out the windows we speculated on how long it would be before we encountered a cow blocking traffic.

Arriving at Sudder Street, the chief backpacker slum of Calcutta, everything looked filthy, cramped and decaying. As the hostel we’d chosen from the LP was full, we wandered a few meters up the street and checked into a dorm at a hostel with a rather incongruous hammer-and-sickle flag hanging above its door–The Paragon. After dropping off our bags and stepping back into the courtyard, to light a cigarette, the first thing I noticed were the missing posters plastered to the walls. It seems that even today Calcutta can be something of a black hole, as every now and then a tourist simply disappears forever.

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Country: India

Bangkok; Another Return

Posted by Evan on Monday, 11 December 2006 at 2:03 pm

As you step out of the airport a wall of humidity hits you in the face and the pungent smell of raw sewage forces its way up your nostrils… you are of course in Bangkok.

And boy is it good to be back! Or at least, it was…

Being in Bangkok for the beloved Thai king’s birthday was quite fun. Considering the recent political machinations, it turned out of be quite a party–complete with marching bands and parades, passing up and down the streets of the tourist district. About 90% of the Bangkok population was dressed up in matching yellow polo-shirts, to declare their love for a monarch that has proven instrumental in maintaining stability in a country plagued by years of violent unrest.

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Comments (438)
Country: Thailand

Pushing Limits

Posted by Evan on Thursday, 30 November 2006 at 10:21 am

It was Sunday afternoon, and the last in a string of baking hot days. My tent sat pitched in the levy of the drought stricken Goulburn Valley River, and I sat unmoving on a warm esky out front, pulling what was probably my 20th cone for the morning.

Feeling a slight jab of pain on my right foot I looked down. Swarming over the myriad of cuts and abrasions on my battered feet were a dozen or more flies. As I waved my hand half-heartedly over my feet, they lifted off and hovered annoyingly around my head. Bending over to get a closer look, I idly scratched the freshly laid maggots from the open wound and crawled back into my 40 degree tent.

Welcome to day three of the Earthcore Global Carnival!

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Country: Australia

Almost Famous

Posted by Evan on Tuesday, 7 November 2006 at 12:24 pm

In a post back in March I talked quite a bit about my reasons for blogging, however, what I didn’t really address were the complications that stem from making such open and public admissions about my life.

Many of you who read this blog have met me during my travels, and of those who have, quite a lot of you feature in my stories. My audience over time, however, has grown to include many more people whom I’ve never met, and until recently, never thought I’d meet.

Over a month ago, while attending the Earthdance Festival in Melbourne, I got something of a surprise. While queueing up for a beer in a sand-pit I was approached by a woman in her mid-twenties, who walked right up to me, stopped, and gave me a very considered look. “You’re Evan, right?” she said, after a short pause.

In general, I’m pretty poor with names and faces, so as I looked blankly back, I racked my mind for even the slightest hint of recognition. “I don’t know you, do I?”

“You have a website… Where In The World Is Evan .com, right?” she said.

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Comments (46)
Country: Australia

Back On The Road… Soon

Posted by Evan on Thursday, 24 August 2006 at 10:55 am

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted out any sort of update on my globe trotting activities–due primarily to an almost complete lack of news worth reporting.

When I quit my English teaching job in China and returned to Australia I had ambitious plans about what I was going to do next. I had overlooked in those plans, however, some basic realities about my willingness to compromise in pursuit of my goals.

After marking my much anticipated one year anniversary of being unemployed I decided that it was time to move on. Three days later I began reacquainting myself with the 9-5 grind, through an auditing job with a large engineering firm. After a few of weeks of that, I decided to make a return to teaching.

For the last month I’ve worked as a teaching assistant at a university–teaching a 3rd year software engineering subject. Aside from the personal gratification that teaching can bring, my newfound employment enables me save a little money to get back on the road.

In about three months time (Dec 1st) I’ll be on a flight to Bangkok. After a quick transit through Thailand I’ll be spending a couple of weeks exploring the jungles of Myanmar (Burma). From there I’ll be heading to India to spend Christmas and NYE partying on the beaches of Goa.

Some friends in surrounding areas (and some from afar) have expressed interest in meeting up at various stages of this trip, so I though it would be worthwhile to let everyone know what my general plans are.

If you’re going to be in the area, or a looking for an excuse to take a holiday, why not join me in Goa for one hell of a party?

Comments (22)
Country: Australia

A Descent into Madness

Posted by Evan on Tuesday, 11 July 2006 at 5:19 pm

Alex Grey's Oversoul

It was with great amusement that I read about a recent study on the effects of psilocybin. It says much about the scientific community’s closed mindedness regarding psychedelic drugs that 40 years since it was isolated as the active ingredient in magic mushrooms (and after thousands of years of shamanic use) a study reporting what any first time user could tell you is considered “breaking news”.

After experiencing qualified success with the Amanita family of mushroom, some weeks ago, my interest in more conventional magic mushrooms was renewed. As convenience would have it I was able to locate a reliable source of Copelandia cyanescens within the wildlife reserve of a nearby public university.

Although I cannot be sure enough in my memory of recent months to say with complete certainty, I can recall taking psilocybin based mushrooms on at least ten occasions during a six week period immediately following the events of my last blog entry. One might go so far as to say that through various mushroom related activities (i.e. reading research papers and field identification guides, picking wild mushrooms and processing them for consumption) mushroom taking became my primary, and on some days, sole occupation.
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Country: Australia

Soma; Not Taking the Piss

Posted by Evan on Tuesday, 16 May 2006 at 11:36 am

Amanita muscaria var. flavivolvata

On a recent trip out of Melbourne with two friends, J and M, I spent a day bushwalking down on the peninsula. Ostensibly we were there to escape the city and get some much needed exercise. Instead our trip soon changed into a mushroom hunting expedition.

Being the height of autumn, mushrooms of hundreds of different varieties abound. We set off looking for Copelandia cyanescens (blue meanies), which are the most common magic mushroom in Victoria. Unfortunately after a whole day of searching we couldn’t find a single one. We did, however, discover an area abundant with Amanita muscaria (left). J and I had both seen photos of these fairy mushrooms before, but were convinced of their extreme toxicity.

After moving house, a couple of weeks later, I mentioned this discovery to my new housemate who’d apparently experimented with Amanitas before. After investigating the multitude of contradictory literature available on this exotic mushroom species—many sources report it as being highly poisonous, whilst others offer gourmet recipes—I decided to give it a go. The following weekend we returned to the location where we’d seen them previously, and within 45 minutes had collected about 6 kilos of mushroom caps. This quantity—three full shopping bags—proved quite a bit of work to process. By the next day, however, we had reduced it all to a small jar of what looked like ground coffee.
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Comments (21)
Country: Australia

The Dilemmas of Blogging

Posted by Evan on Friday, 31 March 2006 at 10:26 am

Naval Gazing

I got an email today from a former lover of mine who’d become concerned with the thematic direction my blog has taken, or rather, what the content of recent posts implies about my lifestyle. This got me thinking a lot about why I blog, and particularly about the choices I make in regard to what I blog.

In the beginning I had clear motivations for what I was doing, although I don’t think I’ve ever really addressed any of them here. Primarily I was getting seriously fed up with sending off long group emails to a contact list of 76 people and only getting an average of about five replies. I guess it’s a reality of extended travel that the number of replies you get dwindles over time—there’s only so many times a person can read about what a great time you’re having without getting royally sick of it. Conditions in most Chinese internet café’s were pretty rough, and after spending two or more hours writing up an email it seemed like such a shame for that record to just disappear.

When Olen suggested that he could set me up with a blog it seemed like a good way to sidestep this issue. By notifying people of the blog and then posting to a central point I could monitor the statistics on how many people were actually reading what I wrote, broken down by country codes. What I didn’t expect was that far more people in China and around the world would read my blog than people I knew back home.
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Comments (45)
Country: Australia

Disgustation

Posted by Evan on Wednesday, 22 March 2006 at 8:28 am

Fat Chicken

Never let it be said that my life lacks variety. After being inspired by the McDonalds documentary Super Size Me, James and I cooked ourselves a truly disgusting meal.

We stir fried a kilo of pork spare ribs in a homemade plumb marinate and then stuffed the lot into a two kilo chicken. The chicken was then basted with more marinade and baked in the oven for two hours.

All the fat in the pork and chicken liquefied and then percolated through the meat, slowly rising to the top and erupting through four small holes in the foil.

Our attempt to carve the resulting meal was frustrated by the unbelievable tenderness of the meat. When we attempted to pick up a drumstick the bone pulled clean out, leaving all the meat behind… oh, yeah :-D

But three kilos of meat proved too much for us, and we could not quite finish.

Check out more photos here.

Comments (135)
Country: Australia

Hippie Fest

Posted by Evan on Sunday, 5 March 2006 at 12:26 pm

One of the interesting things about being back in Australia after such a long period of absence is the many things that I get to discover anew. My lifestyle over the last year has been quite dynamic and my interests and attitudes have changed in tandem with many of the external influences in my life. Shortly after I got back I went through the address book on my old SIM card, and was surprised to find how few people I actually wanted to call. By the time I’d finished my deleting frenzy there were only about six names left. Partly this reflected a change in my interests, but it also reflected a desire to start anew, with as few ties to the past as possible.

Although it’s an obvious statement to make, the sort of social scene that I got into while living in China just doesn’t exist here. The bars, the clubs, but more importantly the people and their attitude to life, are just so different. As I no longer really mesh with my old lifestyle in this country I’ve been broadening my horizons a little recently.

On Friday night I drove out to Gippsland with A and J to attend a two day bush party. This party, on a remote farm property, was held in celebration of the anniversary of the accidental discovery of LSD by Albert Hoffman. Having never been to a bush doof before I was in for quite a treat.
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Comments (91)
Country: Australia