Travelling At The Speed Of Treacle

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik
In 1994 my friend Dael and I took off for Israel. We were novices, and hadn't a clue between us. Nonetheless, we made it across the Med to the UK. But not without some misadventure....

February, Tel Aviv, Israel
Day 1: Arrive at Ben Gurion, subjected to intense search and interrogation. Apparently they’re at war. They don’t find the acid or the weed.
Day 2: Arrive at Kibbutz Ga’ash. There are Swedish girls. And three-shekel vodka. Yebo baba!
Day 5: This place is heavenly. Start work tomorrow. Smoked last of the weed. Bummer.
Day 6: The hot Swedish dolls have left! We work in a powder coating factory. This place is hell!
Day 10: Got fired from the factory, hallelujah. Purim tonight, Jewish Easter. Big party, free beer.
Day 11: Kicked off kibbutz after taking acid and running naked through bar. And stealing a quad bike. And setting off fire extinguisher in hall. Sleep in orange orchard. Screw kibbutzes for a laugh, we’re going to Tel Aviv.
Day 13: Find hostel in old city, Jaffa. Sold all the acid. Weed is expensive as all hell here but this place rocks!
Day 27: Nearly mugged by Arabs but outran them. Fuck Tel Aviv, we’re going to Eilat. Paradise on the Red Sea! Supposed to be like Durban and close to Dahab, slacker heaven.
Day 30: Love Eilat – beaches, girls, beer, weed. Just like Durban but the airport is smack bang in middle of town.
Day 31: Meet beautiful Austrian girls, hang out, drink Screwdrivers and watch the Boeings come in over our heads. Mad. It never, ever rains here so we camp on the beach next to Jordanian border. Border guards are menacing and have fuck-off size rifles. Sand storm came up, kicked up some small surf. Nearly got skull cracked while pulling in to boulder barrels. Hanging out at Peace Café, going to pick up construction graft tomorrow. Vodka too cheap.
Day 32: Screw that for a joke, construction is slavery. Leaving for Egypt soon.
Day 45: Gotta go to Egypt. Islamic country, no alcohol allowed. Must…stop…drinking…
Day 50: Egypt! Smuggled seven bottles of fake Stoli in. Has paid for ten days in Dahab’s Camp Camelot, spitting distance from Red Sea. No beer, but holy crapulation, the weed she is cheap-cheap.
Day 60: Have learnt backgammon and how to make hairwraps from Bedouin urchins. Am now nut brown with surfer-boy blonde hair. Off to see the pyramids.
Day 63: Cairo never sleeps. Nor do its bedbugs. Pyramids tomorrow.
Day 65: Damn that stallion, my balls still hurt. Sphinx smaller than you think, pyramids bigger. Cash running out but lunch costs fifty cents, Cleopatra cigarettes a rand.
Day 67: Got work as extras in Collywood. We’re ‘British soldiers’. Get half a roast chicken, salad, Sport Cola and a hundred Egyptian pounds a day. That’s a lot in Egypt.
Day 70: Out of cash. Getting more wired tomorrow. Going to Egyptian Museum.
Day 71: The artifacts are amazing. Pickpocketed, $300 gone. How do you say ‘FUCK!’ in Arabic?
Day 78: Have been working again, now we’re ‘German businessmen’ in a Bahraini soapie.
Day 86: Back in Israel. Leaving for Greece via Haifa.
Day 88: Rhodes Island. Castle of the Knights Templar, ancient city, Gucci and Benetton. And two South African vagrants travelling at the speed of treacle.
Day 90: Faliraki beach. Doing hairwraps for cash. Goddamn Poms, they’re tight bastards. We are without a doubt the poorest fuckers on the island. Cash being wired.
Day 100: Got cash, getting outta here ASAP. Hanging for a bunny, a surf, a quart and a zol.
Day 102: Athens. Visa expires at midnight. Have no plane ticket.
Day 103: Got Athens-Gatwick standby ticket just before midnight. Board dodgy little plane and promptly fall asleep; awoken to an English breakfast that features black pudding. Don’t care. Tastes like…dunno. Tasty, but. London is wet, cold and grey. Arrived with no visa, no work permit, no money. South Africa rejoined Commonwealth yesterday, so they don’t know what to do with us. Called our relatives, scratched their heads and gave us two-year work visa. Sweet.

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