Contributor Archives: Eric Greene
It was the loneliest birthday I can remember. I got on a flight the day prior and had three shitty layovers – Montreal, Heathrow, Munich or something like that – before arriving in Vienna, Austria sometime the following morning. I felt tired and sour, ripe with overseas residue. The bitter, wet Austrian winter air blasted my face as I stepped outside for the first time in 30-plus hours.
I can’t stop picking my nose. I try to keep my finger out of there, but if I leave it alone for three minutes it just fills up with the city’s residue all over again. I’ve been in massive developing cities before: Lima, Mexico City, Shenzhen, Hanoi…but this? This is crazy. This is New Delhi.
“Shot, bru. Thanks for picking me up. Ughh… I’m so tired. I can’t even remember you dropping me off at work this morning.”
“Yeah, man. I barely remember driving you to the hospital. I went and surfed after and was a complete wreck. I don’t want to go out at night with you anymore [laughs].”
“Well, I had to go work in the O.R. as soon as I arrived at the hospital. I had my friend inject me with a shot of adrenalin first for a wake up call [laughs].”
“What! You guys do that to each other?”
“[Laughs] We have access to all the drugs. And this is Africa, man. There are no rules here.” Read more
I know a lot of people who traveled to Australia as soon as they’ve finished high school. At 18 or 19-years old, it’s a safe and culturally familiar destination for a first time traveler. I get it. When I was that age, Australia was the last place on my mind. I’d spent enough time in Whistler to think that all Aussies were obnoxious and all I cared about were mountains. I didn’t give a shit about the beach. I grew up on the beach and it was overrated. As time passed, I heard so many stories about people going Down Under to drink box wine in Byron Bay and get laid in cheap Brisbane hostels that I felt like I’d already been to Australia, even though I was subconsciously making an effort to not go there. I had officially convinced myself that I should stay out of Australia for good.
I’m in the quarantine sector of the Chinese border, near Mengla. It’s mid afternoon in sweltering jungle heat. I have no idea what’s going on, but I’m the only person in here. The border is new and modern, yet there’s no traffic. I later discover that the border is recently completed, but the highway is not, hence the lack of border clients. Maybe they’re trying to fuck with me by making me wait in this room alone for so long, but there’s nothing I can stress about. I’ve got the proper Visa stamps, I don’t speak any Mandarin, and neither of the two officers working can speak any English. I can only wait.