Posted by: The Only Gringo on the Bus | September 15, 2010

Vietnam/Vietscam: will the real Vietnam please stand up?


Episode 26: Hanoi/Ninh Binh/Hue/Hoi An/Nha Trang, Vietnam

Skin colour (Tom): Jodie Marsh
Skin colour (Jane): Rodney Marsh
Location: Nha Trang, Vietnam

Date: 14th September 2010.

If you’re looking for teenage breasts, you’re in the wrong place. The reason I say this is that I have access to all sorts of (highly addictive) stats about my blog, and I’m disappointed to find that the search which most often returns my blog on Google – by some distance – is “teenage breast”.

This, presumably, is a result of my foolishly mentioning them in my blog post about the Banos to Cuenca bus in Ecuador. I suspect that my commenting on it again here will only exacerbate the problem, but if you’re here for that reason, you’re out of luck. We did see a man’s testicles today though, I’m sorry to say. Read the whole post…..

Posted by: The Only Gringo on the Bus | September 3, 2010

I love the smell of impending death in the morning


Episode 25: Hanoi/Halong Bay/Sapa, Vietnam

Skin colour (Tom): George Hamilton
Skin colour (Jane): Christine Hamilton
Location: Hanoi, Vietnam

Date: 03rd September 2010.

What has 1376 wheels, all pointing in different directions and moving at different speeds at a single crossroads? That’s right, the traffic in Hanoi. Beep-beep, honk-honk, all aboard the crazy bike.

We thought the traffic was bad elsewhere, but Hanoi is an entirely different animal. As I type this I hear evidence of the two-wheeled disorder and carnage on the street below me – incessant honking of motorcycle horns. Rather like the boy who cried wolf, this means ABSOLUTELY NOTHING because everyone’s doing it all the time. Read the whole post…..

Posted by: The Only Gringo on the Bus | August 27, 2010

In The Tubing


Episode 24: Vientiane/Vang Vieng/Luang Prabang, Laos

Skin colour (Tom): Ossie Ardiles
Skin colour (Jane): Ozzy Osborne
Location: Luang Prabang, Laos.

Date: 26th August 2010.

Ya-ya……. hao……. jou……. SONG!

If you are currently standing still and proffering your knee to assist me clambering onto your back, then you’re a Lao elephant and have no business reading this post.

If you are staring at your screen in a slightly bemused manner, then in all likelihood you’re of the human persuasion, so please continue. I promise not to mount you and ride you down to a muddy river to bathe you.

Yes, we are officially mahouts! Our three-day course finished today and, though there’s probably little call for mahouts in the UK (especially those who only give commands in Lao), we feel we could do a job should the national obesity crisis continue: by directing “bubbly-folk” from K.F.C. to the microwave meals aisle at Aldi and then back to their sofas in time for Jeremy Kyle. Read the whole post…..

Posted by: The Only Gringo on the Bus | August 18, 2010

Two weddings, nine trains, multiple hangovers and a ceilidh


Episode 23: London/Alsager/Edinburgh/Teddington

Skin colour (Tom): Peter Andre
Skin colour (Jane): Andre the Giant
Location: 31,000ft, over the Bay of Bengal

Date: 18th August 2010.

Due in no way to popular demand, I’m penning a short update on our UK holiday while being deprived of sleep by a combination of Air Asia‘s non-reclining seats, food service at 3am and overenthusiastic Arctic air-con, and the chap behind me, who sounds like he has a loudhailer built into his throat.

As you can probably tell from the above, we’re not particularly enamoured with Air Asia, but they’re (relatively) as cheap as chips and we’ll use them again for that reason alone. Read the whole post…..

Posted by: The Only Gringo on the Bus | August 6, 2010

The “You’ve Been Framed” beach


Episode 22: Koh Pha Ngan/Phuket/Georgetown/Batu Ferringhi/Nipah Bay, Thailand/Malaysia

Skin colour (Tom): Jordan

Skin colour (Jane): Eddie Jordan

Location: Nipah Bay, Pangkor, Malaysia

Date: 05th August 2010.


Don’t you just hate it when someone gives you two excuses for not being able to do something? It kind of makes it seem less believable if they don’t think one will do. Having travelled all the way to Phuket, specifically to do a sailing course, we were emailed the night before it began to be told that our instructor had a “bit of a chest infection” and the weather wasn’t looking too good for the coming days.

To be fair, the following day brought truly atrocious weather, but surely that’s what sailing’s all about, at least it looks like it when Ellen MacArthur is splicing the mainbrace and shivering her timbers. Read the whole post…..

Posted by: The Only Gringo on the Bus | July 23, 2010

Kindly get that thing out of my face


Episode 21: Koh Tao/Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand

Skin colour (Tom): Pages of library copy of the Da Vinci Code

Skin colour (Jane): Pages of library copy of Ice-making for Eskimos

Location: Haad Yao, Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand

Date: 23rd July 2010.


Well, I finally managed to drag myself away from the blistering, blinding sunshine of the beach one minute away from our very comfortable room to write an update. Whilst we’ve been lazing for a couple of weeks and there have been very few excursions to update you on, we’ve also had time for a great deal of people watching, and the last time I checked my bitchiness monitor it had exploded.

First things first – how many holes (excluding pores) does a healthy male human body have? It’s a question which has divided opinion between two people with too much time on their hands on Thailand’s stunning islands and we’d be grateful to have it cleared up. I can’t offer a beard stroke prize as usual unfortunately. Read the whole post…..

Posted by: The Only Gringo on the Bus | July 12, 2010

There once was a man named Michael Finnegan……


Episode 20: Bangkok/Koh Chang/Koh Tao, Thailand

Beard length (Tom): ZZ Top/Billy Connolly/motorcycle cop/Paul Calf/Adolf Hitler/pre-pubescent girl

Skin colour (both): Porridge oats

Location: Koh Tao, Thailand

Date: 11th July 2010.


At 4.53pm on the 5th July 2010 the life of a brave beard was cut short (literally) against the wishes of its owner, but under doctors orders after a bout of folliculitis. It was 6 months and 11 days old.

I know that there will be a national outpouring of grief at this news, but I would ask you not to send flowers or donations. Perhaps find a quiet corner of your office or home to observe a moment’s silence and then attempt to get on with your lives. I will reluctantly (and with huge difficulty) try to do the same. Read the whole post…..

Posted by: The Only Gringo on the Bus | July 5, 2010

Would you like a raw egg with that?


Episode 19: Tokyo, Japan

Beard length (Tom): Sébastien Chabal

Skin colour (both): Kleenex

Location: Had Tha Nam (Koh Chang), Thailand

Date: 5th July 2010.


We have very little negative to say about Tokyo. I know, it breaks with tradition, but it’s an excellent city and we’re agreed that we’d like to return. The biggest disappointment was the lack of teleporters and advanced robots, but we did use a space-age loo.

Don’t close the blog just yet though – there were plenty of minor disappointments and gripes with which to regale you. Read the whole post…..

Posted by: The Only Gringo on the Bus | June 27, 2010

Guess the D-list celebrity competition


Episode 18: Hervey Bay (Fraser Island)/Noosa/Brisbane, Australia

Beard length (Tom): Yassir Arafat at full length.

Skin colour (both): Dirty sheep.

Location: Tokyo, Japan.

Date: 27th June 2010.


We were in the company of greatness. Jane actually spoke to him and she claims she brushed his thigh (inadvertently)! The excitement was palpable on Fraser Island, as we realised part-way through our day trip that we were sat opposite a D-list celebrity on our 4WD bus.

But who was it? You decide in a new, rarely to be repeated feature of the blog – a competition. Pick from the D-listers below and all will be revealed (including a corroborative photo) at the end of this post. Your choices are:

  1. Toby Anstis
  2. Joe Pasquale
  3. Sean Maguire
  4. Pat Sharp
  5. Wolf from Gladiators

Read the whole post…..

Posted by: The Only Gringo on the Bus | June 18, 2010

On the road again…..


Episode 17: Melbourne/Cairns/Innisfail/Mission Beach/Townsville/Whitsundays/Rockhampton/Seventeen Seventy, Australia

Beard length (Tom): Cat Stevens

Skin colour (both): Birch

Location: Town of 1770, QLD

Date: 17th June 2010.


Nothing prepares you for the sight of your first decapitated kangaroo, but after 1500km of driving on Queensland roads in the last couple of weeks, Jane and I are getting quite used to the sight. We’re hoping to knock the block off one ourselves – everyone else is doing it.

Yes, we’re back in a camper-van. Not one painted with drug-induced abandon I might add, but a striking orange and white “Spaceship”. It doesn’t fly, reach anywhere near warp-speed or even have a place to sit in the back, but it is like driving an Aston Martin compared to our NZ van and it already has a name painted on the side – “De Lorean” – so apologies for those of you hoping to win a stroke of the beard via another naming competition. Read the whole post…..

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