Why Campsites are Strange and Wrong

So, a few weeks ago we had our great annual school camp trip. It was a pretty nice experience, though we were only actually camping for two nights, but one thing struck me: why do we have campsites?

I mean, I get that camping helps us grow closer to nature (including such lovely natural phenomena as enormous cobras, but whatever) but surely if that’s what you want, where is the sense in camping in the middle of an artificial clearing with modern amenities?

And yeah, I get that modern technology is great. You can’t get internet from birds and we didn’t get to the moon by climbing up a tree. But if you really can’t do without technology, why isolate yourself from it? Why not just stay in a hotel?

Because honestly, when you’re at a campsite with electric lighting, bathrooms and so on… you’re basically in a hotel by the forest. Only it’s one where all the rooms have been strewn about the garden. And also the bedrooms are mostly just some fabric and sticks.

Oh – and I understand regular camping might not be such a great idea for a school trip. But that’s the thing. If you want the wilderness experience of camping, but you don’t want the wilderness, and you’re setting up the tent in a predefined location anyway…

Why bother sleeping under a sheet with sticks?! Why not a regular room?! Seriously!

SEAMC 2015 – The Horror, The Horror

So, back in the far-off time of February 2015, I went off to SEAMC. SEAMC is Southeast Asia’s premier biggest nerd competition mathematics championship. As you can probably guess, our little Balinese school didn’t do very well.

No disrespect to SEAMC, of course. I don’t resent it. The SEAMC people tried very hard to make us socialise and it kind of worked – we met some kids from Sha Tin College, who later went on to dominate the competition, so all was good. That wasn’t a problem.

But, of course, we had to do maths. And lots of it. It was pretty difficult. By which I mean it was so terrifyingly difficult that I was completely dumbfounded for most of it. Still, thanks to the incredible power of guesswork, I managed to do okay. Well… I placed maybe 200th out of 240 people.

So yeah. Day 1 was fairly traumatic. There was an early wakeup, fear in the air and so on. And so, we took a leap of faith. Unfortunately, the long jump pit was filled with bricks and we ended up limping through the 100m sprint and collapsing on the hurdles.

However, we went back to bed and emerged, fresh-faced, the very next day. And this time we were… well, if not prepared then more aware of our impending doom. So this time, we were ever so slightly less stomach-crampingly terrified!

We still got fucked up though. Apparently we placed last. Oh well – it’s the participation that counts, right?

Happy New Year

Some of you may have noticed that the date thingummyjig on your computer screen says 2015. That computer is the work of the devil. Purge it. With fire.

Also, it’s a new year! Happy New Year 2015! Why is this late? Because I’m a normal human being who has a life and did stuff over the new year. Sorry for betraying you, but it was pretty rewarding! …Anyway, how’s your new year been? Just kidding, I don’t care Mine’s been great!

So, basically, for New Year I went diving. With my friends. Two of them. Yeah, that’s about it. Also, my grandparents (mum’s side) came over. And my cousin. With them, they brought Christmas presents. Rare and coveted Christmas presents. Truly astounding gifts that twist the very souls of mortals.

Yeah, they brought Salt and Vinegar flavoured crisps and Marmite. We got two jars of Marmite and two shipments of crisps. Mum ate four packets of crisps from the first shipment. Then I hid them. After a lot of hoarding, I still have seven packets. I will die for them.

Anyway, present-talk over. As you may have deduced, they spent time here. Besides giving me presents, we went on actual trips with them. Like, to Lombok. And to the mountains. It was nice and we had a nice time. And for most of the time, we weren’t even sick!


Things happened and I am happy.


©because of misanthropy


no but seriously I hate you all




that was a joke, please don’t leave

Still not Dead Yet

Hi! I’m not dead! The blog is, though And just to prove it, here is a new post!

So it’s been a while since I last did one of these. You may have noticed that I have abandoned the Why My Summer Holidays Were Better Than Yours series or whatever it was called. Why? Because I forgot why my summer holidays were better than yours. *cough*

So, it’s probably wise to recap what’s been going on. Backwards. In increasing haziness. Starting yesterday. Yesterday was Monday. It was unremarkable. Then Sunday – actually, all I really did this weekend was sleep over. Anyway, the week before this it was PBL (Project Based Learning) week at my school, so we were free to learn or something.


Time warp! I… forgot. Anyway, I also found out that I was born on International Toilet Day. I kind of wish I’d been born slightly earlier. Or later. Also, my shit is together. Not literally – it’s just that I’m doing some after-school stuff, for which I am prepared, and some other stuff which requires me to have a suit (no, not a funeral), for which I am unprepared because I am required to have a suit. By Thursday.

And I have to get a suit.

In Bali.

Well, that’s pretty much all I remember. Also, the other things I did during the summer holidays.

  • Excessive loafing
  • Whitewater rafting
  • Wow, more loafing
  • Jesus man, you need to do some exercise
  • This simply cannot be healthy
  • Scuba diving
  • Ever so slightly more loafing
  • Complete bone degradation and atrophy from not doing enough physical stuff
  • School!




Thanks for reading!


©please explain copyright to me

no but don’t actually explain copyright

maybe in a few years

seriously, I don’t even know if I can copyright this shit

probably though

The Summer Holidays Memorial Part 1: Paragliding

Hello everyone! This week is my first week back at school. As well as that, it’s my first week in Year 9 but that’s not important. This post is dedicated to the summer holidays (may they rest in peace) and my experiences during them. So, to begin with, I did nothing. By which I mean nothing. I didn’t even breathe. That’s how lazy I was*.

Anyway, after a trip to the emergency room and a lot of oxygen**, dad came over. Although we didn’t do much (even with our spectacular budget of about five million rupiah***), we had fun. I’m glossing over that because besides breathing a little more, we still didn’t really do anything of note.

So by now we’re quite late into the school holidays and (while, to be perfectly honest, I could easily just have lounged around for the remainder and then regretted it for the rest of the semester until I forgot any lessons learnt in time for the Christmas holidays) we decided that as such, we should do things.

What things, might you ask? First, we went paragliding. You may know that mum has acrophobia (not vertigo, as I often remind her), so this was a really fun and fulfilling and not at all terrifying experience for her. Meanwhile, I absolutely did not silently contemplate what my final thoughts would be if the straps gave out.

So there’s that. Here, have a photo.

I am very disappointed in you.

Here, have it.  Are you happy now?

What? What do you mean “mediocre”?! You try taking a photo with a smartphone while hanging off a parachute by some string! Any takers? No? Then stop judging me.

*That was a joke. I did not suddenly stop breathing at any point in my holiday. Well, not for long.

**Again, a joke. I did not wind up in the ER during my holidays.

***That’s less than $450. He was staying weeks. For a more accurate measurement, check out this cool site.

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I’m Not Dead (Yet)

Hello everyone! It appears many of you did not realise that my “shutting down” post was in fact a devious April Fools’. But it was! Why was it three days before you updated to say it was a prank, you ask? Shut the fuck up, that’s why.
Also, we didn’t have WiFi.

Anyway, it was partially true in that school has eaten up a sizeable chunk of my time, although I still have plenty of time to spare – as demonstrated by the fact I’m writing this post on a weekday (yes, it’s amazing). Actually, it’s pretty amazing that I’ve even posted Although there has been less homework recently. It’s probably about the impending school trip, which I might as well tell you about.

Yes, next week we will go on a trip! To the faraway land of Java! For five days! At a cost of 200 pounds! No, I don’t think it costs that much either. Still, we get two weeks of school so why not. Anyway, it’s been fun at school so far; I have made some friends and even one enemy! (Nah, apparently he’s a dick to everyone – speaking of dicks, he seems rather insecure about something…)

Where was I? Oh yes, so this new school. I don’t regret anything; although the power went out today in the old campus, leaving the facilities without the aircon on which they appear to rely, I really like this place and likely will do for some time to come. Besides, it’s necessary for my education and my future.

So that’s about it really. Oh, and we went to Malapascua over the half-term, but that was replaced by the April Fools’ post. No, I will not write about it. Unless mum makes me. But until then, read hers. Seriously.


Over and out.

Farewell to you all

I’m really bad at starting posts, so I’ll just break it to you: I’m discontinuing the blog. For those of you who don’t know what I’ve been up to, I’ve been settled down and going to school (yes, school) in Bali for quite some time now. As a result, I’ve had less free time and been doing less travel overall.
This has meant that I’ve been unable to post anything new for a while and, while those of you who know me are quite familiar with my long breaks from posting, this “hiatus”, as it were, is permanent. In short, no new posts. The site will be staying up; I may move back to WordPress.com because it’s free but it will stay up.
If, and this is highly unlikely, I do manage to get the time required to form a new blog post, I will do so, but don’t get your hopes up because as I said before, I have been very strained recently. It’s been a nice run and I’m very grateful to have been granted the success I have been, but I simply can’t keep it up.


After Australia

Hello! Today I am hailing from Bali, tourist hub of Indonesia. You probably know the reason I haven’t posted is because I was in Australia for new year’s. I dunno… actually, I think quite a lot of people read this. I still tend to think of it as something I do that is seen almost exclusively by my family, but…

Moving on. Remember how in Harbin we did that long house hunt? Well, here in Bali, the first order of business was to clear immigration. Two hours later and we take a taxi to Ubud via the brand-new highway erected for god knows what reason. Oh, and then we checked in.

So check-in was rather tedious. Apparently someone hadn’t checked out or something so we couldn’t stay in our room so we waited and then we ended up in another place. This new one was nicer and we stayed there for a night before moving back to the hotel. But anyway, our househunt wasn’t very impressive.

We went out, spent an hour or two checking hippy-infested vegan cafes for boards not advertising chakra repair shops (I’m joking, alright?! Take it easy) before finally going to Pizza Bagus. I can’t remember where, but we found an ad for a two-bedroom place next to a doctor’s house. After that, all we needed to do was… well, everything else.

Starting with school. There are four main options. There’s Green School, Bali International, [expunged] and, we learn, somewhere called [espunged]. Of the four, I’d say [spunged] is the best for me because it’s kind of friendly and laid-back but not as laid-back as [sponged] so I’ll get some work done.

See, the problem with me is that, like many people, I’d rather do less work than more. I can do it if I have a deadline to meet, say, if I’m working towards a test or something, but if someone asks me “okay, you’ve done your core studies, what do you want to do now?” then I will be inclined to say “nothing, hope you’re okay with that.”

Hence the desire for a conventional school framework. But anyway, it was time for a holiday. (Yes, already!) We’d been offered a free stay at two five-star hotels in exchange for some post or other and honestly, for an (almost) all-inclusive package for three nights, who wouldn’t accept?

So, with little fanfare, we checked in. We were shown around the hotel and then the spa, which has many rooms (one of which, “Blue Romance” or something, seems to contain what looks like bondage gear but apparently does something less kinky and more therapeutic).

I has a foot massage, she has a… long-winded massage. I don’t know. Anyway, after a considerably shortened foot massage (I slipped and screwed up a foot a while ago), get dressed, realise I haven’t got a room key, panic, sit outside for half an hour, go in, get a key from mum, walk to room 2237 as per her directions, realise this is wrong and storm back.

Some time later, I successfully unlock the door to room 3327.




Okay, so what next? We have a tour of [spooged], nice, then a tour of [wait, what?!] the next day, nicer, then we both fall into a storm-drain. Neither of us gets wet (fortunate, because I think there was more than just mud in that water) but mum sprains her ankle. Tragically, this means we can’t spend an hour on a bike going to a meeting at [I mean, uh, expunged] at 7 AM the next day.

And then I went to school. The end.




Anyway, don’t expect many posts from me.

Yes, I know. Stop rubbing it in, will you?!

Diving, or How I Nearly Died (AGAIN)

Diving. Diiiving. Diving is awesome. There are many, many dive sites in Dahab and I honestly can’t name many of them, but there’s one that will stick in my mind for a while: the Blue Hole. What happened was pretty simple: I went diving at the Blue Hole. I had reservations about it (people have died there), but I was bribed with Kerbal Space Program.
So yeah, there I was. Joyfully squirming into my tight bastard wetsuit, legs flailing, almost in the blissed-out state of mind that gamers (screw you spell checker, it’s a real word) get when they have a brand-new game. But not quite – demonic wetsuits are bastards like that.
So yeah. After that, I got into the back of the Hilux and we drove to the place. After a short walk (during which I do not carry my kit) everyone puts their kit on except me. I only put on my belt and boots, with the rest going on in the water. I miss out on jumping in, though. Sadface :(
So… underwater, it’s all pretty much normal. We swim along the wall, not really doing much. Then my fin comes loose and I have to fiddle with it. This distracts me from the fact I’m rocketing skywards surfacewards towards the surface at a rate of bloody knots. I notice the change in light and I adjust my buoyancy, even fining down towards my mum.
This, unfortunately, dislodges my fin. I plummet nonchalantly to my potential doom, fiddling with the offending footwear. Eventually, I notice something wrong.
Here’s the deal: J tends to hang several metres below us, staying well away from the main group. So you can imagine my surprise when I noticed she was on the same level as me. Aaand… mum is higher up. As is [EXPUNGED]. And she’s signalling for me to… deflate my BCD? What the hell?
At a depth like this, as I realise I’m sinking, why go further dooown… oh, she wants me to go UP. Well I was going to anyway – wait, why’s she got my hand? Then she inflates both ours and we’re away. The rest of the dive continues as usual, apart from my inexplicable air supply drop forcing me to breath from [EXPUNGED]’s spare reg.

Who would’ve thought I’d just had a near-death experience?


©Copyright Zachary Sutcliffe 2013-whenever I damn well choose. If you steal it my imaginary lawyer will shank you.


Note: this happened a while ago.
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I’m Screwed

I’m screwed. Screwed.
I am alone in the house. Mum has gone diving. I have to do maths. I have done a pretty good deal of maths, but I have a lot left. I am taking a fifteen-minute break from my hour’s worth of maths. Let me explain. Mum got rather mad at me yesterday (I didn’t do enough maths and then I took out my phone at dinner).
So today, as I am alone, I am to do four hours’ worth of maths and my Chinese characters, with the penalty for failure being a computer ban, with the exception of Skype (and not with my friends), for a week. So, here’s the deal. If I complete the task, I don’t get a computer ban… but mum recognises the system as viable, storing it for later use.

If I fail… it’s a ban. Balls.

Yeah, that.

By doing this post (and thus admitting I took a break), I am… well, spinning the chamber.

There’s just one thing: how the fuck do I win?