Random Episode 5: The Bloody, Filthy Travel Edition

174 Comments

This is a short Random episode — 10:30 — and easily the most disgusting to date. I also think it’s the funniest. Imagine Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations if he didn’t need to edit for cable.

This episode has some educational bits, but it’s focus is on enjoying the not-always-so-smooth experience of travel.

Not for the faint of heart.

From Glenn:

The following video segment is a continuation of the randomly shot randomian-thought random show project with Tim Ferriss and Kevin Rose. This time, we’re not in a library nor are we out on a boat dock fishing for fish – we’re on a street corner in Jinggu. At night. And it’s not really cold outside. It’s slightly humid with a dusty breeze coming out of the southwest.

Audio Note: Most of this was recorded with a Shure-VP88 stereo condenser mic (good with headphones). Apologies for when I don’t have it pointed in correct direction (sounds like they’re behind us).

To borrow from Gary Vee, here is the Question of the Day (QOD): What is the most disgusting or confusing travel experience you’ve ever had?

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Posted on: August 27, 2009.

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174 comments on “Random Episode 5: The Bloody, Filthy Travel Edition

  1. Hey, Tim, that eastern counting system is interesting indeed, but I’d rather count my fingers in binary (http://is.gd/3Pqdd). Just makes more sense to me and I get to count up to 31 with one hand and up to 1.023 with both. Learning to count binary has helped me quite a lot, why don’t you give it a try?

    Cheers!

    Like

  2. Interesting video. I would think that for a normal bowel movement the squat would be okay but what about when you are sick and things are working as well as they should?

    Like

  3. Hi Guys

    To move from the normal onto a food cart is the best way to taste the city I totally agree!

    It can be a gamble at the best of times but that’s the adventure isn’t it?

    I can see the excitement in Tim’s face and the horror in Kevin’s and as he eats the ‘food’ he’s just trying to work out not if he’s going to spend some time on the toilet, but how long….

    Ahhh travelling such fun !

    Like

  4. OK, I’m about 1/2 way through the 4hww book and am just discovering this site. I simply wish that I had read about or uncovered or discovered this info 20 years ago. Lots of gray in the hair now, but it’s never to late to break the bonds. The blog posts and vids are great, but what is the story with this tea?

    Like

  5. Tim,

    I’m Chinese but from not from China and I think this episode is argubly the most hilarious of the Random series.
    The combination of your approachable infomative personality and Kevin’s hilariously frank but nice personality makes Random a really a watch.

    I speak 5 languages (English, Bahase, Chinese, French and Japanese) but all not too well. I find that once I start learning a new language, my brain starts focussing on processing everything in that language format and all my other languages starts mutating. You’ve however mentioned that your ‘base’ language is English and it stays the dominant language to translate the other languages. I hope that makes sense. Do you have a tip on how to maintain languages effectively besides having to go through the books and tapes all over again?

    Also I recognise your method of not putting dates on your blogs for the purpose of the new readers, but how does a regular reader find out about the lastest blog update?

    Like

  6. Tim, do you practice that hooked-hand over-the-top cup hold to look all macho, or are your arms just so big that you can have your elbows next to your body (and your pinkie extended) like us dweebs?!

    You guys should go to a Wal-mart equivalent there and see if everything’s made in the USA. Or find the factory that makes 1000 types of plastic tubs for westerners to hold all their crap in!

    Like

  7. I was traveling on an overnight train from Vienna to Budapest. It was 12 am and the train was scheduled to leave and I was alone in a sleeping car. All the sudden, two men entered my car and settled in. One was large and fat, the other small and skinny. They both spoke English. They told me that they were just released from detention due to immigration issues from Morrocco. They smelled so bad. They told me that they haven’t taken a shower for a week.

    They told me that they were gypsies and started asking a ton of personal questions,ie. my nationality (I became Canadian), religion, etc. They then pulled out a tea set and some bread and asked me to drink with them. I declined. They then asked “do you like porno?” I pulled out a stash. Really odd. I was backpacking alone at the time and all of my belongings were on top of the beds. No easy way of escape. I heard of many stories previously about people riding that route and attempting to steal. Anyway, i decided not to sleep and stood in the hallway next to the car. As I was standing, I stuck up a conversation with a man next to me. He was a fellow backpacker like myself from New Jersey who was training to be a chef.

    All ended well, the gypsies never bothered me, and the Chef and a few other Americans I met thereafter on the train hung out in Budapest for the next few days.

    Like

  8. I was traveling on an overnight train from Vienna to Budapest. It was 12 am and the train was scheduled to leave and I was alone in a sleeping car. All the sudden, two men entered my car and settled in. One was large and fat, the other small and skinny. They both spoke English. They told me that they were just released from detention due to immigration issues from Morrocco. They smelled so bad. They told me that they haven’t taken a shower for a week.

    They told me that they were gypsies and started asking a ton of personal questions,ie. my nationality (I became Canadian), religion, etc. They then pulled out a tea set and some bread and asked me to drink with them. I declined. They then asked “do you like porno?” They pulled out a stash. Really odd. I was backpacking alone at the time and all of my belongings were on top of the beds. No easy way of escape. I heard of many stories previously about people riding that route and attempting to steal. Anyway, i decided not to sleep and stood in the hallway next to the car. As I was standing, I stuck up a conversation with a man next to me. He was a fellow backpacker like myself from New Jersey who was training to be a chef.

    All ended well, the gypsies never bothered me, and the Chef and a few other Americans I met thereafter on the train hung out in Budapest for the next few days.

    Like

  9. Tim – I have serious respect for you guys. That was not only hilarious, but it was done with taste (if that possible on a topic like maggets & nads). I thought the way you guys walked the line of showing the realities of travel in China (or Asia even) while still holding the people and culture in such a high regard was really wonderful. I live in Hong Kong, and have lived in Thailand and sometimes it is just too easy for people to have a laugh at the expense of another culture, especially in Asia where the differences can be so great. Well done and thanks for sharing. Your Chinese sounded pretty good too ;)

    Cheers
    Perri

    Like

  10. Tim’s Chinese accent is pretty good! But at 1:52 when you said “ten,” (i.e., shi), it sounded more like third tone than second tone. ;-)

    Like

  11. I realize this post is old, but peeps may find my travel story interesting anyway. I’m a traveler, always have been, and have lots of stories. Arguably the worst was in Guatemala for me.

    Back in the days, during Guatemala’s simmering civil war, I took on a solo bicycle trek through the Peten region of Guatemala. My original plan was to exit through the jungle to Chiapas. This was at the height of the rainy season – suffice it to say I learned a lesson.

    Though vaccinated, I contracted an illness. My urine turned the color of CocaCola. I thought I was going to die – ironic, since earlier machinegun-toting (soldiers? Rebels?) hijacked a bus I was on for several hours. The locals hid me under the seats in the back… to die alone in the jungle seemed anticlimactic.

    I struggled (and how) to a hotel. For six dollars a night I got a bed and a concrete shower. When, feverish and needing to cool down, I turned the shower on… it emitted an wheeze like an old tubercular man punched in the gut, and dribbled a brown trickle from the plastic pipe emerging from the wall. The concrete floor was cool with my face pressed against it though, and the trickle was cold.

    When I finally, after days of this, had enough strength (after gobbling every antibiotic I had), I stumbled to the nearest restaurant. The cook was asleep on the grill, which should have been a sign. But I was too weak to explore. I saw “hamberguesa” on the menu – good Lord, a hamburger! Comfort food for a very sick traveler. I was in for a surprise.

    Inside the bread, the patty was paper thin, and crunchy, like a potato chip. I opened the assemblage, and I swear it looked like it was covered in matted fur. It was incredibly salty. After days of delerium, I needed the calories. I just gritted my teeth and ate it.

    This is the worst thing I’ve ever eaten – whatever animal it was – and I’ve eaten things like aged khlea in Morocco. It was worth it though!

    Like

  12. Disgusting/crazy travel story: Kevin’s story about going #2 reminds me of when I lived in Thailand. I had to travel to Malaysia from Bangkok by train, and just before boarding I had a bottle of orange juice. The OJ made me pretty sick and I spent most of the 21hr train ride on the toilet, which consisted of a hole open to the ground moving swiftly below. I soiled every pair of underwear that I’d packed, tossing the previous pair out on the next trip to the toilet. At the border, I somehow convinced customs that I was *not* sick, and stumbled about 1/2 mile into town before collapsing in front of what turned out to be a hostel. Fortunately, they owners dragged me inside, and nursed me back to health with plenty of tea and some toast – I’m forever grateful. Lesson learned, stick to bottled water when traveling, and bring extra skivvies! – Dan

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  13. Hilarious Tim, reminds me of a trip to Serendipity Beach, South Cambodia! Funny that I still want to go to China after this post! Cheers, Ewan

    Like