The Smugglers Pacific Rim Job Tour 2000

Japan - Australia - New Zealand

The greatest thing about being in The Smugglers, besides the records and the shows and the amazing people we meet, is the places we’ve been able to see and play. This tour pretty much beat all, as we pulled off a jizzy dream and completed a wild ‘n’ wooly whirlwind trip along the Asian Pacific Rim. In Japan we toured with Supersnazz, in Australia we teamed up with Mach Pelican, and in New Zealand we rocked with Shaft. Here’s ALL the sordid details from all three countries....

JAPAN:

japan_1.jpg (90489 bytes)Friday May 5 / Saturday May 6, The Shelter, Tokyo (w/ Supersnazz, Firestarter, Pay Channel)

This was one of the most incredible days in Smugglers history. We woke up in Vancouver on Friday, got on a flight bound for Tokyo, endured a terrible Michelle Phieffer/Bruce Willis movie, and landed in Japan on Saturday afternoon (nine hours after we left Vancouver) to play a show that night in downtown Tokyo. Our pal Maki from Tokyo band the Lottie Collins (see St. Louis March 00) and Chris from Lookout met us at Narita airport, and we all took a two hour train ride to Tokyo. After disembarking into a packed rail station, we boarded a subway for a twenty minute ride, then finally made into the hustle bustle of the neon city of Tokyo. After one last confusing hike through the narrow and sweaty streets, we finally reached the Shelter club, stumbled down the tiny stair case and finally ended the journey by being met by our friends Supersnazz, who told us the show was already sold out for the night. We collasped face down, happy and beyond exhausted.

In what would become the norm on each of the Japanese shows, an excellent line up of bands opened for us... strangely enough, first up was Supersnazz (who we thought should have been headlining!) and it was a major thrill to see them rock again, as we would be lucky to do every night this tour. Next up was Firestarter, a band that has risen from the ashes of the legendary Teengenerate. It’s the same guys from Teengenerate, save for drummer Shoe (currently pounding the skins for Supersnazz). Firestarter is as their name suggests - red hot, and more melodic than Teengenerate. Right before us was another fiery fucking rock’n’roll band of young dudes called Pay Channel. As this Japanese tour would prove, this country has got to have the best quality rock’n’roll bands per capita of any other country in the world. We finally got on stage, absolutely weary from the bizarre travel day, but as soon as we counted in the "1,2,3" to our opener "Booze Can", the sardine-stacked ‘n’ packed house EXPLODED, singing EVERY WORD! At first we were completely taken aback, but crowd enthusiam is often a remedy to even the most exhausted shit sack. Our travel fatigue vanished, and we played a long set and had one of our most memorable shows ever, at least for us. It was great to be back and very thrilling to get such a reception! We got an encore, but for some reason Nick was absolutely no where to be found, so we went out there and played a few anyways, assuming Nick was the first to take a kamakazi flight to the "toilet" with an early case of "Bishy-Bishy". In Nick’s absence, we were honoured to have Fink from Firestarter/Teengenerate join us on guitar for a raging "Talkin ‘Bout You", and then kept on rockin’ for "Kings Of The Party", waiting for Nick to join us. Never did. Turns out Nick stumbled out the back door of the soundproof club, letting the door slam behind him, then staggered down the alley and passed out on a woman’s doorstep. She eventually arrived home to find a dripping wet foreigner in a steaming, dirty suit, snoring face down on her doormat. Ah Nick, ever the ambassador!

Sunday May 7, No Space, Kanazawa ((w/ Supersnazz, Pay Channel, Smoked Cheddar)

This tour was much more far-reaching geographically than our last trip to Japan, and today we started our journey at Dave’s ass-crack of dawn, rising at 6:00AM to start the two-van caravan with Supersnazz across the mighty Island of Honshu. We hauled our way across the Japanese Alps, through colourful valleys filled with terraced rice fields and farm houses, all the way to the sunny west coast, and eventually the small town of Kanazawa. Lots of fast-flowing canals in this city, as well as "the nicest garden in all Japan" where we spent the afternoon drinking beer, looking at temples and weird trees, and feeding Pocky to massive goldfish. The venue tonight was not named in irony, as No Space lived up to its moniker, rivalling the tiny La Casamance in La Rochelle France for intimacy (see Europe Feb 97). After excellent sets from Smoked Cheddar, Pay Channel (this was their hometown) and Supersnazz, we climbed on the extremely narrow stage, and, Sunday night and all, the crowd, full of sharp-looking Japanese rock ‘n’ rollers, completely detonated when we started. It reminded us of our recent Columbus Ohio experience for crowd energy on the brink of total destruction. There were hilarious little guys dressed completely in leather with Ramones haircuts, up on stage with us, singing along, crowd surfing, hanging from the ceiling, tearing our microphones away, and basically going Kanazawa krazy. Once again we had a reality check as here we were in a town we had never heard of, tearing it up on Sunday night with a bunch of Japanese kids who desperately wanted to party. We love to rock! Tomoko from Supersnazz explained / judged the dance contest and a truly electrified kid won, who barely stopped shaking long enough to grab the trophy, shriek, and throw himself back in the crowd. After a big post-show dinner, we stayed at Hiro from Pay Channel’s very nice family home, complete with their own rice field out back!

Monday May 8, The Woody, Niigata (w/ Supersnazz)

japan_2.jpg (91156 bytes)We woke up after an amazing slumber (our first real sleep so far) to breakfast on a heated rug, served by Hiro’s accommodating mom, whom Beez quicky got the hots for. After brekkie we all took massive shits on their heated toilet and wiped our asses with their scented toilet paper!! Our butt holes smelt like STRAWBERRIES!! Does Japan have it going on or what?? As we waited around for Supersnazz to come and pick us up, Hiro’s mom gave us an impromptu performance on her "Koto", an ancient Japanese acoustic instrument that is basically strings strung along the outside of a hollow log. Cool tunage, thanks lady!

The weather was sizzling hot, and we all had a pleasant drive up the west coast to Niigata, the only place we’ve ever played that I still can’t pronounce. This show turned out to be the only bonifide attendance lemon of the tour, but they had a pretty good excuse as a member of the punk rock community had tragically died in a car wreck two nights previous. And while good-time Canadian party rock may have been the tonic they needed to ease their mourning, they didn’t take the opportunity and few showed up. We still had fun, and one of our drivers Enoki (also the guitarist of legendary surf-acrobat band Jackie and the Cedrics) judged the dance contest. We knew it was an off night, since to our shock, the winner flagrantly discarded his trophy!! Not since the trophy was rejected due to communist politics in a squat in Rome had a trophy been tossed with such disregard to the legacy the dance contest trophies hold, so we quickly awarded it to our runner-up who thankfully freaked with joy. Little does that first asshole know that those trophiess go for sixty bux US in Albuquerque!

We stayed at a cool traditional Japanese hotel tonight, which means sleeping on the floor, using a bean bag for a "pillow" and public, I-can-see-your-cock-dude bathing. We loved it!

Tuesday May 9, Fandango, Osaka (w/ Supersnazz, the Wimpy’s, the Go-Devils)

This was the longest drive of the tour, as we snaked our way back across the beautiful, lush mountains back to the east coast to Osaka. The weather was still sunny and hot and we were loving every minute of it. We finally arrived into Osaka in rush hour, where the van turned incredibly steamy, and fans will be excited/disgusted to note that I, Grant, stripped completely naked and dozed off in the make shift bed we constructed out of our suitcases in the back of the van. It was a tad embarrassing when the local promoter and townspeople popped open the van’s back door in downtown Osaka to find my naked, matted, hairy body, curled up in a sweaty ball. The show wasn’t scheduled to start for hours but once I got my clothes on we were greeted by all sorts of Smugglers fans waiting outside the club and we knew it was going to be a great night. More fantastic bands opened for us tonight, including the Go Devils, and one of my favourites of the whole tour, the Wimpys, and of course Supersnazz. And speaking of Supersnazz, I should mention in more detail how great they are. They really are four of the nicest, sweetest people we’ve ever met or played with, and their graciousness and generosity is second to none. They also have a great love for playing rock ‘n’ roll music through the ups and downs, are roughly the same age as us (late twenties) and Supersnazz has existed just as long as The Smugglers. This is a band that had a lot of hype from a Sub-Pop deal way back when (rabid fans will recall a Supersnazz poster being in the background of many David Silver DJ booth scenes for several seasons of "Beverly Hills 90210") and when that died down they could have too, but they’ve kept rockin’, and their latest album, "Diode City" on Sympathy, is by far their best yet. YOU MUST GET IT! We owe our return trip to Japan directly to Tomoko and Supersnazz and we’re very grateful. Back to the Osaka show, as predicted, tonight’s crowd was another insane bunch of rock’n’roll fans, manic and explosive, bashing the mics into our mouths, singing along to songs from all our records and running around on stage screaming and diving into the crowd. It was very flattering. Enoki from Jackie and the Cedrics, a rock’n’roll celebrity in Osaka, judged the dance contest again with one of the girls from the Go Devils taking the prize. Beez tried a new move tonight, back-dropping into the crowd, and though he weighs very many pounds, he managed to pull it off without too much damage to himself or the kids. So impressed were some that he even autographed a cel phone after the show!

Wednesday May 10, Taku-Taku, Kyoto (w/ Supersnazz, Pop-A-Rocks, Radio Shanghai)

Kyoto is right beside Osaka so it was basically a couple hours of driving through city streets and suddenly we were in Kyoto instead of Osaka but, uh, we couldn’t really tell the difference. We arrived at what would have been an impossible to find club had we not had the luxury of Japanese guides. "Taku Taku" is a huge, ancient wooden barn that was once a saki factory, but for the latter half of the last century it’s been a reknowned blues and rock ‘n’ roll bar. Even though the rough, wooden-planked interior was the definition of rustic, pretty big stars like Bo Diddley, David Lindley, Robert Cray, Taj Mahal, Los Lobos, the Neville Brothers and tonnes more played here, so we felt kinda honoured we were booked to rock out on the same stage.

We arrived in town hours early, so as usual we explored. Being such a sunny day I thought I’d catch a little of that risin’ Nippon sun on my fair Canuck bod, but the Japanese aren’t that big on parks or grassy spots. Pretty much all the space in cities is taken with buildings, roads and vending machines. I finally found an old temple, went inside the gates, found a quiet corner, stripped to my soiled skivvies and started soaking up the rays. I had no sooner dozed off before I was violently woken by an extremely old man, viciously stabbing the butt-end of a broom into my quivering flank, all the while shrieking what I could only assume were the harshest of Japanese swear words. Not even giving me time to clothe myself, he chased me around the temple garden, repeatedly whacking me with the broom and yapping, until he ran me out onto the street, and there I stood, ashamed, in the middle of Kyoto’s rush hour wearing nothing but a thoroughly shit-stained pair of Canadian gonch. Thanks, buddy!

The show that night was good, though as we were forewarned, the Kyoto crowd was slightly more timid than others, and we really had to work it hard on. That old barn heats up pretty nice, too, as we were quickly sopping wet after a few songs. Our celebrity dance contest judge tonight was this local "punk rock legend" that Beez befriended before the show: "Kamakazi, the rock’n’roll fighter pilot". He didn’t really understand what he was supposed to do, so after slamming around the stage and scissor-kicking Dave in the balls, he flung himself onto the floor where he remained in a passed out heap for the rest of the show. The nickname made sense. Once again, great opening bands tonight: Supersnazz of course, and local power pop sensation Pop-A-Rocks, and Nick’s fave band of the tour (besides Supersnazz) the blistering, rude, and moody Radio Shanghai (the singer refused to speak to me).

We had a party-lot parking after the show, spraying booze on our polite fans, and then all went to a cheap Korean restaurant for our nightly booze up/dinner party with the local promoter and bands. We haven’t mentioned the eating part that much, but like navigation, thank BUDDHA that Tomoko from Supersnazz was around. Pretty much all we can do at restaurants is point to other people’s food, and then point to our mouths, so it’s handy to have a honey who can actually communicate beyond pathetic grunts and hand signals.

Thursday May 11, day off, Kyoto

We stayed with the Pop-A-Rocks guys and today they were kind enough to take us sight-seeing. It was another sizzling hot, sunny day so we hit the temple circuit, of which, as I discovered the day previous, Kyoto has many. While keeping my clothes on, we saw all sorts of huge structures, gardens and shrines, including the Heian Jingu, a spiritual rock garden meditation joint, and a gold house in the middle of a pond where a real somebody lived centuries ago. The house is made of actual gold, not just gold spray paint on wood as Nick initially guessed.

After several more temples, shopping sprees, and many run-ins with giddy school girls everywhere, we all retired to Pop-A-Rocks house and watched "Boogie Nights" on a lap top computer. Mark Wahlberg has a huge cock.

Friday May 12, Jellybean, Nagoya (w/ Supersnazz, the Lottie Collins, Panther)

Today it was back to Nagoya, the first city we played in Japan four years ago. That time we played to just a few people in a massive club called the Diamond Hall, this time it was a tiny, packed, rock ‘n’ roll sweat box called the Jellybean, and that’s just the way we like it!! It’s sounding redundant, but I ain’t lieing when I report that another awesome bunch of bands rocked out tonight, starting with Nagoya’s Panther, who had an incredibly cute and spastic female lead singer whose unique, electrified dance moves reminded me of a young Calvin Johnson.japan_3.jpg (78757 bytes) We finally got to dance around to Tokyo’s the Lottie Collins who were up next. Maki and the boys wore matching plaid pants, white shirts and red ties and rocked very hard, much like a Japanese version of the Hi-Fives, with wild Chubby Checker-esque vocals provided by our pal Maki himself. Supersnazz killed as usual, and then it was our turn, and we had another fabby night, the very hottest of the tour, with so much bouncing around that Beez broke right through the stage, collasping on his ass, but didn’t miss a note. Beez once again put on such a performance that he signed more cel phones, guitars and motor scooters, but also attracted a fan of a different nature tonight. Affectionately known around the Nagoya scene with a nickname that translates to "Penis Boy", a little fellow in big thick Buddy Holly glasses, much like Beez’, timidly approached the Beez man on the sidewalk in front of the club. "Penis Boy" said he found Beez the most attractive of any Smuggler, and then said Beez was his very special sweet-heart, to which he would give much pleasure. japan_6.jpg (68256 bytes)With that, the funny little fellow unzipped his pants, whipped out his cock and ball sack, and offered the whole package to Beez, who unfortunately burst out in laughter at the site of such a bizarre display. "Boy Of Penis" wasn’t discouraged and came at Beez swingin’ his soft lil’ shaft, so much so that Beez had to bolt to the van, slamming the door, and just missed crunching a lil’ Japanese dick cheese in there with it. Much to Penis Boy’s incredible disapointment, the closest that Nippon noodle managed to get to Beez was but a dick-print left on the side window of the van.

Saturday May 13, Animal House, Shizuoka, Mt. Fuji (w/ Supersnazz and many others)

We had been anticipating this show all week, since this town is right at the base of Mount Fuji, but upon arrival we were dissapointed to see that the volcanic landmark was shrouded in the usual grey Japanese haze that seems to exist over everything withing a couple hundred miles of Tokyo. We were lucky however, as the grey eventually lifted and the sun came out, revealing a beautiful, massive, snow-capped Fuji right in front of our faces. This show was a seven band affair (grounds for instant "festival" billing had it been in Europe) that started in the afternoon and went through the night til we finally got on around 11:00PM. We couldn’t pronounce most of the bands playing, but an all girl pop band’s name translated into "Pumpkin", and apparently one of the bands right before us was a legendary Japanese political punk band (formed in 1977!!) whose thick Japanese name translates into "Nuclear Bomb Masturbation".japan_5.jpg (94632 bytes)

These kinda shows always worry me because I assume the crowd will be completely exhausted by the time we get on, but the Japanese are a different breed and greeted us once again by freaking out, even though they had been dancing all day and night.

Once the show wrapped up, a massive storm rolled down the mountain, causing a torrential rain fall the likes of which we have hardly ever seen before. We are talking solid walls of water and instant flooding of the streets. As the bands and fans were all cowering under the club’s tiny awning trying not to get drenched, lightning flashed and thunder rumbled, and a cute lil’ Japanese girl jumped right into Nick’s arms! This took all of us by surprise as the Japanese, while an extremely wild audience, are a very gracious and polite bunch. It is very, very difficult to have sex in Japan. They’re just too polite! Beez’ penis boy aside, the girl with the fear of storms cradled in Nick’s arms was the closest any of us would get to "action" on THIS leg of the tour... unless you count what happened to Grant in the public baths the next morning....

Sunday May 14, Jam Club, Shinjuku, Tokyo (w/ Supersnazz, the Have-Nots, the Treeberrys, Boogie Boy Ikuto)

We stayed the night at another tradition Japanese hotel, which meant all of us Smugglers and Chris all stayed in one room, sleeping on futons on the floor, which we dig. Very comfortable, save for the farting. The one thing that some of us have issues with is the public bathing at these hotels. As I (Grant) was the first one up in the morning due to a particularly raging piss boner, it was me who had to be the guinea pig. First I stripped naked in our room and pulled on the tradition komono robe supplied by the hotel, hoping I could just like, shower while wearing it, like on "Big Brother", avoiding exposure of my naked cock, balls and cornhole to strangers. I plodded downstairs in the tiny slippers provided and entered the bathing area where I was met by one of the old grannies that ran the hotel. I tried asking her the protocol, but not speaking English, she replied in rapid-fire Japanese, to which I gave my usual reply: a blank stare. After a few more outbursts from said fossil, in one swift motion she lunged forward, violently ripping the sash off my komono, then tearing the entire garment off my body and onto the floor, leaving me completely buck naked in front of an eighty year old Japanese woman. Babbli ng away, she then shoved my shrunken sack into a showering area already occupied with several other older, naked Japanese men. One of them approached me, put his hands on my shoulders and pushed me downwards, until I was eye-level with his "ramen rod", if you catch my drift. To my relief, he was not forcing me to suck his cock, but kindly showing me to sit on a little stool to let the waist-high shower head pour over me while in a crouched, seated position. The waist-high nozzle was also great for the washing out le asshole, but I could tell by the look on my fellow bathers’ faces that they did not approve of the impromtu ass splash. Once scrubbed, I got up to get the fuck out of there, when I smacked into another wet naked man who, taking hold of me, tried to lure me into a steaming hot tub of still water to "soak" with other ancient dudes. japan_4.jpg (88359 bytes)I managed to wriggle my soaking self out of there, into my komono and back upstairs without further incident. After relaying yet another naked horror story, Nick and Dave immediately backed out of any sort of bathing altogether, but Beez and Chris were into it, and subsequently showered naked together, scrubbed each other, and soaked in the hot tub together... naked. Hey, that’s great!

Back to the tour: we made our final drive today, back to Tokyo for our last show, this time in the heart of the massive shopping and entertainment district known as Shinjuku. Tonight was another sold-out success with a final string of awesome opening bands: Supersnazz first (what is up with them going on first again!?!?), then an extremely chill local Japanese bluesman called Boogie Boy, followed by the mod stylings of the Treeberrys, and up after them were the thoroughly rockin’, Devil Dogs-ish Have Nots who were high-energy to the max. When we finally hit the sweltering stage in our specially embroidered white tux jackets, as we had hoped, we had an excellent final show with many highlights, thanks mostly to the wonderful crowd who endured the intense heat of the sold out club right along with us. It was Dave’s birthday tonight, and Supersnazz made him a surprise cake, and by shere coincidence Dave’s dad was in Tokyo on business and made it to the show and up on stage for some cake and a cheer. Tomoko from Supersnazz got up and sang a fab song with us by her old band the Tweezers, the Lottie Collins joined us for "Supercar", and when we finally got to our last song, "Kings Of The Party", all the people who helped on the tour were up on stage with us... Supersnazz, the Lottie Collins, the other opening bands, and even Enoki from Jackie and the Cedrics, who did us a great honour: Dave threw him his guitar and Enoki easily cranked out an incredible solo to cap the song, the show and the tour on an amazing note.

That night we had one last feast in a Shinjuku eatery with all our friends, and finally collapsed at the first class hotel digs that Supersnazz booked us into for our final night. What a trip. It was the greatest. Thanks to all in Japan who did so much, especially Tomoko Snazz. We were thoroughly spoiled every night. We love you! Domo arigato!

AUSTRALIA

Monday May 15, fly to Sydney Australia

Ok, THIS was one of the most incredible Smugglers days ever. A couple of us have often set goals saying stuff like "ok, if we make it to Calgary one day, then we can break up". Then it was "ok, if we make it to Alabama, then we can break up". For the last few years the dream-destination had been Australia, and as we said teary goodbyes to Supersnazz, Chris and Maki after such as amazing Japanese tour, we all climbed aboard a Japan Airlines 747 to cross the equator for the very first time ever. We flew over Hong Kong, China, Vietnam, New Guinea and finally into Australia.

Tuesday May 16, day off Sydney Australia

We arrived without incident in Sydney, and were all extremely excited and kind of in a state of disbelief when we stepped out into the brilliant sunshine of the early Australian morning. The first culture shock we experienced as we rode a bus through the city streets en route to our hotel was the absolute lack of style. Throughout Japan we constantly gawked at the outrageous and usually completely cool fashion envelopes being pushed... here in Australia it was back to ugly white people in bad shorts, loud t shirts and sloppy tits.

oz_1.jpg (64812 bytes)As we pulled into Newtown, a suburb of Sydney, where our hotel "The Billabong Gardens" was (Beez later commented it should be called "Get-A-Bong Gardens", referring to some of the other guests’ "reefer madness"), our cab driver warned us of the "dangers" of the neighborhood, offering the advice "watch out for the dirty thievin’ Aboriginies... they’ll rob ya blind, mate! G’day! Beer!" Turns out the neighborhood was a university district with no crime threat whatsoever, so we spent the first part of the day exploring, emailing, eating, sleeping and washing soiled clothes. Later Nick and I found the train station and boarded it for downtown Syndey. Arriving at sunset, we quickly stumbled onto Sydney’s beautiful harbour, and almost ran with glee up the famous Opera House stairs to take photos and once again get over the fact that we were even here in the first place. I seriously almost openly shit my pants.

The other guys saw an Aussie flick and then coincidentally ran into the star of the movie at the corner store across the street from our hotel! The star was not impressed!

Wednesday May 17, Excelsior, Sydney (w/ the Hard Ons, Mach Pelican)

Nick and I got up at first light for a day trip out to the legendary surfing/topless beach of Bondi, just oz_2.jpg (63556 bytes)outside of Sydney. It was worth the sleep deprevation, as we spent the day on the beautiful beach, suntanning, surfing and soaking up the hot sun, blue water, white sand and yes, some beautiful people. And to prove his Canadianism, Nick was the only guy on the entire beach to surf without a wet suit! Throw that on the barbie, you Aussie bastards!

After getting thoroughly scorched by the South Pacific sun, we met up with tour manager Luke and our touring partners Mach Pelican, who ironically are three Japanese kids who decided to move to Australia, form a band and make it big. So far so good, as they’ve set up shop in Melbourne, put out a couple of albums and toured with lots of bands. They’re incredibly nice, hilarious little guys, and a great punk rock band.

We all drove over to our first ever Australian show, at a traditional British pub turned rock venue. This was the first of three shows with Mach Pelican and "legendary Oz punkers" the Hard Ons, who were once a massive draw in Australia, toured the country with the Ramones, and can still sell out clubs across the country. Our egos were feeling oh so slightly fragile... after being treated like the Kings Of The Party in Japan, we quickly found out things were gonna be different "Down Unda", finding out that our place on the bill was also "down unda", as we were scheduled to be the first band of the night. It’s the first show we’ve "opened" awhile, but hey we’ve never been to Australia and our tour manager had warned me many times that it may not be tea, crumpets and tits every night. As Beez put it:   "from the Ritz to the shitz in 48 hours".

After all the anticipation, both positive and negative, the Sydney show was so-so, but as I always say, if you were there and thought it was great, we’ll go with that! The crowd was an older, cooler bunch, and when kids finally started shaking it for the dance contest it turned out they were travellers from Halifax, Canada! We met up with other people from Vancouver, Calgary, and an ol pal from San Diego, Jay Wiseman, the lead singer of the Hoods. He had moved to Sydney that DAY and saw our name in the paper! The Hard Ons attracted a bunch of disgusting, drunken, shirtless thugs, epitomizing the Aussie stereotype we were desperately trying to avoid. Already we started to long for the gracious appreciation of the Japanese fans. We stuck pretty close to the Mach Pelican guys for the rest of the trip.

Thursday May 18, The Espy, Melbourne

Both us and Mach Pelican piled into two vans at Graham’s ass crack of dawn and began a massive 900 kilometre drive across the southeast of Australia. The haul through the "outback" was much longer than anything we did in Japan (or the USA in March), and ignorantly thought these kinda drives didn’t exist outside of Canada. Wrong, wrong.

Australians like to make their road side attractions into massive, bizarre structures, so on this ride we saw a four-story concrete sheep with a sheep museum inside it, and a thirty foot plaster statue of ruthless1800’s Aussie outlaw Ned Kelly (played by Mick Jagger in the movie!!). After the exhausting journey, we finally pulled in to Melbourne and checked into a dumpy youth hostel above a tiny pub (where we found out later, was the spot that ABBA tribute "Bjorn Again" started, who are now one of the top-grossing concert acts in the world!)

Tonight we played what we were told was an "icon" Melbourne venue, the Esplanade Hotel, down on the harbour, known to the locals as the Espy (Aussies abbreviate EVERY SINGLE WORD in their dialect!! Sample sentence:

"Oi! Me n’ me mates ‘n’ me sheilas git nasty riggas watchies footy on the tele at the uni". Translation: "Pardon me. My friends, our girlfriends and I receive great enjoyment watching soccer on the television at the university"). Once again we found the bill to be slightly against our favour, as tonight we discovered we were opening for the "house band", a ten person funk cover orchestra, led by an odd bald character. We certainly had to psyche ourselves up for this one, cuz it was one of those gigs where you weren’t sure if the people were there to maybe see you or just hang out and drink. But as negatives can quickly become positives, the show turned out to be great, and all those people drinking WERE there to see us, so we sold lots of stuff, made lots of new friends, and once again ran into more Canadians, this time from Nanaimo, Vancouver and Montreal!

Friday May 19, The Tote, Melbourne (w/ the Hard Ons, Mach Pelican, Shaft)

Our couple of sun-soaked days in Sydney aside, it is actually FALL/WINTER in Australia in May, and down in Melbourne, it gets pretty FUCKING chilly as they get the cold goddamn winds from Antartica all winter long! Subsequently we were caught a little off-guard in our short-shorts and tube-tops, expecting nothing but sun ‘n’ surf. Subsequently, we spent a fairly freezing night in our little ABBA roach hotel, but managed to shake it off and spent the day exploring and doing radio interviews.

Tonight’s show was the "anchor date" of the Australian tour, another with the Hard-Ons and Mach Pelican, at a venue described to us as "the CBGBs of Oz!!" The place was quickly sold out, we were feeling that high anticipation and were ready to rock. We were also playing right before the Hard Ons, so we pulled out the white tux jackets for the special occasion. Finally an Australian crowd FULLY reacted to us, dancing, yelling and trashing stuff off and on stage. As our show rolled on, total mayhem errupted on the dance floor, with people piling on top of each other, smashing glasses and bottles on the stage and each other. One particular drunken and quite strong "shiela" took to picking up and throwing the huge monitors at us that usually at sit at our feet, causing me to often have to spring into flying leaps to dodge airborne stage equipment. Toshi, the amicable drummer from Mach Pelican, judged the dance contest, and later, in a moment of rare and furious ego-mania, Beez suddenly realized he wasn’t receiving enough stage lighting, so he precariously balanced himself at the edge of the stage, delaying the show for ten minutes, while rearranging all the lights to all shine on him, leaving the rest of the band in the shadows. What the fuck? Ever since Beez got his new toupee he’s had a major star complex... he thinks he’s god’s gift to rock and that his stage moves MUST be seen by all!! Fuck the rest of the band! It’s the Beez show!

When we finally wrapped up what was for us a very memorable set, a bunch of drunken yahoos started up a rugby chant with "Smugglers" inserted in it, and several completely tanked patrons hit us up for various sex acts throughout the rest of the night. One "sloshed shiela" asked Beez for a "toilet fuck", a man at the urinal (who apparently resembled the late Australian comedian Yahoo Serious)oz_5.jpg (67858 bytes) asked Dave about his uncircumsized cock, and Nick befriended a couple of teenaged twin hotties named "Lucy" and "Kat". Graham was offered both "a nasty dragon" (cumming in someone’s mouth and then punching them in the back of the head so the cum squirts out their nose) and a "dirty sanchez" (sticking a finger up a butthole, then wiping the shitty finger across your partner’s upper lip, forming a shit moustache) and finally, I was offered participation in the "soggy cracker game" (getting all your "mates" in a circle around a cracker, in a race to jerk off onto the cracker, with the last to jizz the one to have to eat the cracker... therefore you are punished if you are the LEAST turned on by the site of your "mates" jerking off in front of you). Only in Australia!

Saturday May 20, Holdfast, Adelaide (w/ the Hard Ons, Mach Pelican)

After the positive insanity at the Tote the night before and another, shall we say "brisk" night at the ABBA hotel, we bundled ourselves up for the chilly Melbourne morning and, along with Mach Pelican and our trusty tour manager Luke, began the drive to Adelaide in the central south coast of Australia. Once again we were floored at the distance of the haul, this time a whopping 1,000 kilometres through more desolate yet fetching "outback". Sure enough, big stuff exists along this tiny, two lane road too, as we stopped for lunch at the "Giant Koala", a six story, crudely constructed model of a massive koala made out of chicken wire and plaster, again housing a museum inside of it. As our Australian story unfolds, the reader will note that this will not be the only time that I end up inside a koala on this trip....

oz_4.jpg (87469 bytes)The Giant Koala, several "petrol" stations and two whopping speeding tickets later, we eventually pulled in to Adelaide to another sold out show with the Hard Ons. This venue was again basically a British pub, and already our last with Mach Pelican! No! We grew to love this band pretty quicky. Besides their incredibly generous and pleasant demeanor (and loaning us all their gear for the tour), they’re a great group, sounding much liked a hopped-up Queers. Tight as hell and hilarious to watch, they even crank out the Queers’ song "Ursula Finally Has Tits", plus a medley of about six Ramones songs. Australians love ‘em, too. Watch for their upcoming tours to North America and Europe!

It was another good show for us, with a healthy, dancing, cheering crowd. A scary moment was when I climbed way up the PA and, dancing and jumping up and down on top of it, I thrust my fist in the air in triumph only to stick it straight into the whirling blades of a cranked ceiling fan just inches away from my head. Blood sprayed everywhere and my terrified scream could be heard from Melbourne to Darwin, but after wrapping a tie around the gash, we continued the rock.

After the show, Beez was trying to make his way through the Hard Ons crowd to get to the merchandise table, when a huge Aussie thug reached out from the pit, grabbed him by the hair and screamed "you fuckin’ Canadian wanker! Get in the fuckin’ pit!", and dragged Beez by the hair into the mess of frothing bodies on the dance floor. Beez managed to escape but again the guy caught him and threw him like a rag doll into the mess of shirtless men pounding on each other to the Hard Ons beat. Beez again made a break for it, only to be caught a third time. Before being tossed, Beez managed to finally work out a deal with the guy and his buddies and ended up getting completely stoned by sucking on the guy’s massive BONG in the bathroom!!! Yes, the guy brought his bong to a gig. Only in Australia!

That night we stayed at a once-fancy, massive old hotel from the late 1800’s. Still pretty amped from the gig, we hung up our suits to dry on the sprawling, colonial style balcony and took off to party all night on booze and drugs and sex. I had a Greek sandwich.

Sunday May 21, day off

oz_3.jpg (124232 bytes)For what felt like the first time on this entire tour, we all slept in, but once awake and getting packed up, we realized to our horror that we were the victims of a heinous crime of the night. At some point in the wees hours of the morning, some desperate motherfucker(s) managed to get up onto our balcony and ROB US of our drying stage apparel. YES! OUR SUITS WERE STOLEN!!! For the first time in twelve years as a band, theft was upon on us (touch wood). Gone were our shirts, ties, jackets, and pants, even our gig gonch! The only articles remaining were our rubber boots (very common footwear in Australia) and Dave’s beloved Tommy Hilfiger gig socks. We were pretty shocked, as yeah, sure, from afar we look great, but up close those suits are as rancid as a festering tub of piss, puke and shit. It must have taken a truly DEPRIVED soul to even think about stealing those rags, but nonetheless, they were gone. We found out later that Adelaide had recently legalized marijuana, but the legalization has so far surprisingly backfired, causing a hard-drug junkie scene to move in, making the once non-existent crime rate soar like an emu. The victims this Sunday morning? Your Smugglers! We searched the dumpsters around the club for awhile, and besides finding a garbage bag stuffed with pot, it was a fruitless search. The clothes were gone.

To ease the pain and shock of losing our outfits, Luke took all of us to a wild animal park just outside of Adelaide where we saw all of Australia’s weird wildlife, like wombats, emus, wallabees, Tasmanian devils, dingos, and of course the kangaroos and the koalas. I got to hold a koala bear!! Unfortunately in my excitement, this backfired too, as, desperately searching for the "pouch" I inadvertantly managed to shove my hand up the poor creature’s ass, causing me to get kicked out of the park. As the Paul Hogan-like rangers were dragging me off, the other guys heard me utter the feeble excuse "I thought it was a marsupial!"oz_6.jpg (73073 bytes)

Dave later suggested I should have really gone for it and made the koala give me oral sex, at which point I could have complained to the rangers "I thought this thing only ate bush!!"

That night we took a long, relaxing drive to Melbourne, spending the time telling and retelling famed Smugglers stories that we’ve all heard a thousand times but were fresh for Luke. We got lots of good dirt out of ol’ Luke too! A hint to the ladies: Luke loves to cuddle!!!

Monday May 22, Punters Club, Melbourne (w/ thee Legends Of Motorsport, Pillow)

Back to musty Melbourne today for our last show of the "Oz" leg of the tour. We spent the day searching the Melbourne thrift scene piecing together new suits, and while they didn’t really match, we were able to eventually clothe all of us in new garb. Dave put together a tweed British gentleman’s look, Beez found a waiter’s jacket and Graham looked like a guest star from "The Love Boat" with a navy blue, gold button number.

As with most Monday night gigs the world over, this show didn’t really turn out that great... a smallish crowd, mainly of friends we had made at our first couple of Melbourne shows, but it was our last show in Australia so we let it all hang out, playing requests, weird songs, old songs, and even had Mach Pelican power-guitarist Kai come up join the kings of the party club by playing guitar with us on, yes, "Kings Of The Party"!! Incredible!! He totally rocked!! As usual we drenched ourselves in sweat and piss, breaking in our new clothes nicely.

Luke and the Mach Pelican kids were nice enough to throw us a farewell party after the show, so us Smugglers and basically the entire audience and staff from the club all piled into Mach Pelican’s tiny apartment to drink Melbourne Bitter, smoke Melbourne cheeba and for some of us, try to hook it up with a couple of Melbourne twins!! Yes, those aforementioned sexy, sassy 18 year old identical twins we met at the Tote were back, and drunk, and stoned, and I was certainly trying to throw my shrimp on their barbie if you know what I mean. I eventually got "down unda" with the particularly fowl-mouthed yet thoroughly HOT Lucy twin, and heard later that her sister Kat freaked out on her for getting together with a Smuggler: "are you fuckin’ mad, ya ruddy cow?!!?? He’s a dirty ol’ Canadian wanker! He’s completely fucking gross! He must be 40 years old if he’s fookin’ day!!" Jeez louise, shiela! I’m not that old!

Some frumpy old barfly also trotted along to the party, and as it was apparently her birthday, it seems she wanted Graham to be her cake, icing and candles all in one. In an Aussie accent as thick as her booze breath, oz_7.jpg (100237 bytes)she demanded he accompany her home to fuck her, but since she looked like a cross between Marilyn Manson and Buddy Hackett, Graham steadfastly refused the offer, to which she shot back "yeah well yer band fuckin sucks bollocks, ya ugly fuckin’ cunt!" Hmmm... what a sweet ol gal! Only in Australia! After the booze was swallowed and the pot was smoked, we all eventually passed out after a solid week of Australian debauchery. We finally made it through one of our final touring frontiers, all thanks to Sir Luke The Duke for rolling the dice on a dumb Canadian band he had only kinda heard of through the Donnas. Thanks very much to Luke for taking a chance on us, booking the tour and teaching us all the ins and outs of the Australian touring circuit, and to Mach Pelican for being such great people and such a great band! We won’t forget it!

 

NEW ZEALAND

Tuesday May 23, fly to New Zealand

Our new found friends Mach Pelican and Luke were kind enough to tag along with us all the way to the Melbourne airport to say goodbye, and after a fairly tearful round of thank you’s, hugs and see ya next time’s, with trepidation, we finally boarded our little Air New Zealand flight and flew east over the Tasman Sea for more unknown territory.

When booking this whole tour we thought that it was pretty wild that we were able to tackle Japan and Australia, but when checking email in Dallas Texas in March while on our tour with the Donnas, one of the subject lines said "NEW ZEALAND?!?!?" The guy on the other end of the email was a fellow named "Jumpin’ Johnny Baker", and after a few more exhanges, an extension of the tour to New Zealand was booked, and here we were en route to very southern reaches of the Pacific Ocean.

After the glory of Japan to the grind of Australia, we thought we may be on a steady decline into further "markets" that had little or no fucking clue who we were. Truth be told, we had actually considered cutting our losses and "blowing off" New Zealand altogether! How low can you go!?! We were also a little nervous, based on a few of his emails and the odd Aussie rumour, that our tour booker/manager, the previously mentioned John Baker, was a raving lunatic.

Of course we didn’t cancel, and arrived safely in Auckland, although Beez was held up at customs as his massive rubber boots showed up on the customs X-Ray machine. As we travel to these foreign ports of call fairly "incognito", when asked by customs the purpose of travelling with rubber boots, Beez froze, (even though we had gone over this possible scenario a hundred times) broke out into a cold sweat, then spat out in a loud shrill voice "uh... the boots? The boots! My boots? Oh! Oh fuck, right... right. Well... they... are... for... in... case... in... case... in case it rains! Duh!! What the fuck, man, c’mon, hey hey, geez... Hello? Knock knock? "The Piano"? C’MON! Rubber boots ... get the fuck outta here, guy! Boots... oh, all of the sudden!" Even though he blurted all this out through a mess of sweat and tears, amazingly him and his boots got through. We found our tour manager John just outside of the airport’s main doors. He was snoring in driver’s seat of the van, his head resting face down on the steering wheel. He had a six pack of beer sitting in his lap, and was clad in a bright Hawaiian shirt and a black baseball cap that said in red capital letters nz_1.jpg (87777 bytes)"I AM A ROCK ‘N’ ROLL MACHINE!!" We were nervous. Once awakened and the greeting were over with, the first thing John did was take us to a hole-in-the-wall Japanese restaurant where the Japanese owner’s name unfortunately was pronounced "Knob Eater" (no joke!) and I got to see a cute Japanese guy give a cuter Japanese girl a handjob in the next booth. Yes! Visions of three ways that will never happen once again danced in my head. Up next, John showed us through the uh... darker side of Auckland. Prostitutes. Coming from Canada where prostitution is just vaguely illegal but fairly tolerated, we THOUGHT we were used to seeing hookers of all types, until John drove down a dark street where all the "gals" came out of the shadows showing... FULL FRONTAL NUDITY. The further twist here is, if you were scanning your eyes say, downwards, first you’d see a nice rack of female breasts and then the tummy, some pubic hair and ... a cock. A fully developed male penis. Welcome to quaint and lovely New Zealand!! Needless to say all we did was check prices and drive by. And we should mention that on that drive to where we were staying, to our excitement and surprise we easily noticed many full colour Smugglers posters plastered all over the city!! Maybe Johnny wasn’t such a maniac after all?

Weds May 24, Ward Lane, Hamilton NZ (w/ the Datsuns, Babinski)

After a pleasant sleep we woke up to warm, sunny tropical weather, in a beautiful city surrounded by blue waters, squat volcanos and lush vegetation. And we were quickly discovering more and more that John completely had his shit together, as he picked us up bright and early to escort us to a television interview with a national NZ news station. We did the interview standing in a fountain in our rubber boots at a stunning beach, and even had a couple of roller blade babes RECOGNIZE us!! It made for good TV, especially when we shoved Nick face down into the fountain, fully suited and booted.

We were so completely WRONG about John. Besides being a top-notch promoter, Johnny turned out to be a very good delegator, and works with an entire crew of helpers to make tours like run like clockwork. He’s the boss man and driver; then’s there’s Rachel, a second driver and all around helper;

Stephan, a roadie and money man; several billeters for us around town; and a hip cat named DJ Skinny, a travelling DJ who spins awesome records at all of John’s shows in New Zealand: AC/DC, Buzzcocks, Stones, Ramones, and tonnes more 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s rock ‘n’ roll music. SUCH a great DJ and a hilarious guy! And he’s fucked every girl in town! Skinny, John and Rachel all came with us on our first drive to up/down to Hamilton. The polar effect was screwing with me, as my "body compass" was completely convinced that we were travelling north, yet we were in fact going south. Big whoop, get on with it, I know, but it was a strange sensation that I felt like sharing.

Even after all the evident promotion, we were still a little shell-shocked from the Japan/Australia gig culture clash, causing us to be a little hesitant about this first show. Would the crowd be kinda stand-offish like one or two of the Australian shows? Indeed they were a little bit for the first two bands, Babinski, an all girl pop band, and the Datsuns, a completely fucking KICK ASS rock ‘n’ roll band of young dudes who came off like a cross between AC/DC and the Supersuckers. Very impressive surprise. We took the stage having no idea what to expect, burst as hard as we could into "Booze Can", and all our fears were erased: the Hamilton kids went instantly crazy. From the first note to the last, they were freaking out, dancing like mad, crowd surfing, charging the stage, and in the last song, actually grabbing me, hoisting me about their heads and pinning me to the relatively low ceiling, repeatedly mushing my face against it. It was great. Jumpin’ Johnny had read all about our fairly phased-out kissing contest and had seemingly told everybody in New Zealand all about it, so for this tour it was back. All a "lucky" audience member had to do was name a Canadian band to win a kiss. A wild boy in the front row quickly barked out Loverboy and chose our devilishly handsome drummer Graham for some fast tongue action. A fucking damn good start to the last leg of the tour!

Thursday May 25, Masonic Hall, Devonport (w/ Babinski, Shaft)

John kept the publicity machine pumping and had me up at the dawn’s early light to do an interview on a the #1 morning show in New Zealand, hosted by a Kiwi loud mouth described as the "Howard Stern of NZ" with so much influence he is apparently responsible for the successful election of the current Prime Minister! Afterwards we all explored sunny downtown Auckland. Beez hit the casinos, Graham ran into some punk fans of ours and sampled locals herbs, and Dave went to see "Gladiator", starring New Zealander Russell Crowe (who most people think is Australian). Nick and I went went to a tropical little park looking for a beach, and on the way spotted a strange little animal on the grass... while peering intently at it, Nick showed off his utter lack of zoological skills and guessed the creature was a koala bear. Um, no. It was in fact it a miniature hedgehog. Tonight’s show was in the affluent touristy suburb of Auckland called Devonport; the fancy club located right on the harbour front. While taking a wild piss in the urinal, I heard a "hi Grant" coming from directly behind me. Bracing myself, I turned and I saw a face from the past... and after a twenty minute spin through the facial rolodex in my mind, I tucked my cock back in my pants and came to the conclusion that the person in front of me was none other than San Franciscan Paul Currin, once a member of the Ne’er Do Wells, and since a member of Go Sailor! He and another Bay Area friend of ours, Sarah, happened to be travelling through New Zealand by camper van and to their shock, spotted our name in the paper! It was great to hang out with some normal people.

The show was a bit of a fish-bowl affect but fun, the club was strangely brightly lit for a rock show. The all girl Babinski played again and easily managed to sex us up quite a bit, and then Shaft, a fantastic rock’n’roll band in the tradition of the Faces and the Real Kids. This band has amazing songs! Paul judged the dance contest, causing audience members to start chanting "Go Sailor", and the kissing contest winner was an extremely foxy lady who AGAIN went STRAIGHT for Graham’s hot tongue. We later surmised that the secret to Graham’s success may be his recent habit of donning a bit of Mick Jagger-esque eyeliner before shows. Gimme some lipstick!

Friday May 26, King’s Arms, Auckland (w/ The Get-Fucked Ups, Shaft)

nz_2.jpg (76696 bytes)We had the entire day to fuck around again, so with our driver Rachel as our guide we drove way out into the stunning country side of New Zealand for some fun in the sun.

We eventually made it to the town of Rotorua, famous for its geo-thermal wonders of boiling, volcanic mud, hot springs, geysers, volcanos, ancient Maouri villages, and gift shops, all surrounded by thick, seemingly prehistoric rain forest. And yup, we saw the pits of boiling mud, right beside the road!! Steam constantly rises up from the pits, and the grey mud bubbles, pops, farts and burps before your very eyes, just like Beez!   The ground is so heated that pond water is at a steady boiling point, and the whole place gives off the pungent smell of shit, so in a special way the Smugglers had finally reached the promised land: guilt free-farting and the absolute liberty to shit our pants if need be. It was awesome while it lasted. We also toured a Maouri village with a live Maouri tour guide, but got bored so we ditched him in the middle of a speech about his kooky ancestors. nz_3.jpg (51709 bytes)We stumbled into a deep jungle ravine and found an incredible waterfall, and then rode a gondola to the top of a volcano where we all raced ridiculously fast and dangerous "luge" go-carts down a winding concrete track all the way back to the bottom! Incredible! What a day! Thanks Rachel! We had to high-tail back to Auckland, as John had secured another promotional coup, booking us to appear on another national TV show, this time playing a couple of songs on an entertainment magazine show called "Space". Of course we managed to minorly screw up both songs we played ("Coffee, Tea Or Me?" and "Supercar", songs we’ve done 10,000 times perfectly) and then the chirpy, tanned hosts interviewed Beez and I. Nick said both Beez and I looked extremely sweaty, zitty, fat and gross compared to the perfectly quoiffed host and hostess.

Back at the club, we arrived to a pretty packed house rocking out and getting drunk. We had already missed the Get Fucked Ups, and Shaft were already blasting it out, so we quickly got changed and ready to rock. This was another awesome, very memorable show for us, as the New Zealanders again really went all out with us, showing us much appreciation. Jumpin’ Johnny judged the dance contest and picked a girl in a Chixdiggit t-shirt, who, like her shirt, was from Calgary!! Our very, very sexy new friend and billeter Belinda, from the local band Mary, won the kissing contest and eagerly rammed her tongue down Beez’ throat, snapping Graham’s smooching shut-out.

Belinda was so excited that she threw a huge after-gig party, where literally the whole scene showed up. DJ Skinny was spinnin’ records and makin’ it with the chicks, beer was flowing fast and free, and there was a major dance party in the living room. Conga lines formed, people danced on the tables, the couches and in the bathroom. There was beer, whiskey, blowjobs, wine, ganja and speed. In a blur of tongues, air guitars and dirty dancing, the Smugglers eventually all parted ways, and I ended up at an inner city warehouse with a sloshed half-Maouri/half-Scottish chappy named Hansel who taught me all about the intricacies of eating Kiwi fruits.

Sat May 27, Pizza Pizza, Auckland (w/ the Get Fucked Ups, Sommerset, Missing Teeth)

Caught a cab in the early morning light from the boner warehouse back to our crash pad, and just to show how thoroughly promoted we were, the cab driver recognized me from one of our TV appearances during the week and didn’t charge me!!

And even though we were all thoroughly fucked up from the night before, we had another day to play, so Nick caught a ferry across the harbour and hiked up a volcano, and I went to the record store to snatch up a bunch of records by the awesome bands we had discovered here (Shaft, Mary, the D4, Babinski, the Get Fucked Ups, the Datsuns, Sommerset, the Hasselhoff Experiment, the Peeps and more). Dave, Graham and the Beez-Man chose to slowly recover from their own all-night adventures.

Tonight was our last show of the entire tour. We had been on the other side of the world for a full month now, and we were ending it all off with a bonifide all ages punk show, right smack dab in downtown Auckland, at a rough and ready upstairs hangout called Pizza Pizza. Tonnes of kids came and sold the place out, all the bands were good, and we finally played our very last set of a very long and bizarre tour. There was no stage at this place, so we played right on the floor and the kids constantly surged into us until we were all pinned up against the drums, but it was great, and most of the time there was no real definition of "stage" and "audience" which is cool in its own right. Fittingly, a Japanese kid won the dance contest. When we finally hit the final chords of "Kings Of The Party" one last time, dedicating it to John and all his helpers, we dragged ourselves off stage once more nz_4.jpg (95656 bytes)time, stripped down and either threw out or gave away all of our suits and boots.

No big party tonight, just a quiet "retrospective" over at John’s place... we all kipped out pretty early, except for Beez who stayed up all night talking to a girlfriend of John’s, where Beez learned many bizarre sex-webs and fuck-fuck cross-overs in the scene we had just spent a week in. That’s right New Zealand, Beez knows everything!!! And he knows that everybody is fucking everybody! Oh yeah!!!

A heartfelt thanks to John Baker, Rachel, Stephan, DJ Skinny, Belinda and all who put this awesome trip to New Zealand together! Cheers, we’ll never forget it.

Sun May 28, fly home

John and Rachel drove us to the airport, where we quickly missed a flight back to Sydney because of a mix up in our visas and because John had to pop by and pick up his dry cleaning and chat a bit.

All was slightly stressfully sorted out and we said our last teary goodbyes to new friends, and away we went on one last very strange, long day of planes, continents and international datelines. One on whole day, we saw the sun rise in Auckland, had breakfast in Sydney, dinner in Tokyo watching the sun set, flew over the Pacific and watched the sun rise for the second time on the same day had breakfast again, then landed in Vancouver, had dinner again, and watched the same sun set on the same day that we had already seen go down hours pervious in Tokyo. The world is an amazing place and I’m glad Vancouver is our hometown!

This was an incredible journey for five broke, fun-loving Canadians to be a part of, and one last thanks goes out to all who made it happen. Kompai, cheers, and thanks.

See you in the front row,

Love,

Your Smugglers