Liv Hambrett

Germany + Australia + Culture + Motherhood + Home

Opinion, Santorini Summer 2011, Travel + Life Abroad

‘I’m Not Into Eating Shit.’

I happened upon a group of people last night, distingishable largely by their somewhat alarming hair and the distinct impression bathing had fallen by the wayside somewhere along the line. In one young man’s case, the two seemed to have a causal relationship. We got to talking – or, I got to pouring them beer and became an unwitting conversational participant. As they chatted and I poured beer and occasionally fell into their discussion, I learnt they were on a tour through Europe. They had started in Spain, given each other hair-cuts, and driven, in a convoy of vans, to Athens, where they’d parked their vans and taken a ferry to Ios. From Ios, they’d come to Santorini of which they had seen approximately nothing, the interior of their hotel notwithstanding. It stands to reason they have seen a similar amount of each European country they have thus far found themselves in.

From Greece, they will begin to make their way to Oktoberfest, where the tour will end. It will end with each van nominating a member to participate in the Centurion – 100 shots of beer in 100 minutes without vomiting or wetting one’s pants – interspersed with funnels of whatever liquid a superior authority (read: someone who participated in the centurion the previous year) deems appropriate. Liquids recently ruled out are blood, faeces and semen. Urine remains an option.

Following the Centurion, they will assault Oktoberfest.

Before long, and just a little bit after they told me, excitedly, about the grand finale of the van tour, they were joined by some pals. One pal, a small girl with an extraordinarily loud  voice, hastened to tell me that this year’s van tour were ‘timid’ compared to years gone by (apparently this is a grand Australian/Kiwi tradition, dating back 25 years) and it wasn’t fair that their tour was judged based on the behaviour of others’. She was genuinely hurt that campsites were refusing them entry, upon sighting the convoy of vans. Shaneo (serial killer moustache, peroxided thatch) backed her up; ‘like, last year, they were eating shit. I heard that and I was like na, na, I’m not into eating shit.’ Small Girl nodded solemnly. ‘A bartender in Lagos said other years have caused like 10,000 euros of damage in one night. We don’t do anything like that.’

Their mothers must be so proud.

She continued, ‘this year, there hasn’t been anything too bad. I mean a couple of pelicans, but that’s about it.’

Naturally curious and at a general loss as what to say beyond, ‘I would do more than refuse you entry if I was a campsite owner and saw your line of white vans pull up to my gate’, I enquired as to what a pelican is. A pelican, it transpires, is when someone lies down and opens their mouth, and another person stands over them and vomits. The dual aim being to projectile into the prone person’s open mouth and for said open mouth to provide a pelican-like vessel for the vomit.

The most obvious question, is why. Beyond that, why Europe? Why not just get in a van, drive into the middle of Australia and barbecue your own shit there? Why bother spending thousands of dollars to motor through Europe, smearing faeces, vomit and your nation’s reputation at each stop? You’re not seeing anything beyond your own accommodation because, presumably, hours in the van are spent sleeping, drinking or coming up with stupid rules like ‘you can only point with your elbow’. You’re not learning anything beyond your own capacity for alcohol and mortification. When you return home, or to London, where you’re doing your obligatory two-years-visa-stint, you won’t have seen anything beyond each other’s arses. All you are doing is acting like a dickhead and making the rest of us who choose not to do piss beer bongs in the middle of a campsite, global jokes.

So, I am begging you. Go home and eat shit somewhere the rest of the world can’t see you.


  1. Rachel @ Musings of an Inappropriate Woman

    24 August, 2011 at 8:58 am

    I totally agree. I’m getting a bit old and crotchety these days, but even when I was 22-year-old backpacker, I couldn’t see the point of getting wasted on your trip through Europe. Drinking and partying was super fun back home, where I could do it with all my favourite people to party with, but when I was on holiday, I preferred to spend my time doing things I couldn’t do at home. I also found I was pretty damn exhausted by 8pm or so (certainly 10pm) after 12 hours on my feet.

  2. admin

    24 August, 2011 at 9:09 am

    I drank plenty on my backpacking (although I didn’t have a backpack …) jaunt through Europe when I was 22, but a balance can be found. And should be, even if you are fresh out of school with no idea what you’re doing or why you’re visiting another country. Otherwise, what’s the point? If you can do what you’re doing at home, do it at home. And to be fair, you were exhausted because you were doing the concept of travel justice – these guys are doing nothing of the sort.

  3. Bon__8

    24 August, 2011 at 9:09 am

    Mmmm, well partying my way around Europe is the only way to do it in my opinion, however this kind of behaviour is taking things to the extreme and can’t realy be considered as partying. Its the sort of stuff that should get you a punch on the end of the snout no matter where you come from!!

  4. Eric

    24 August, 2011 at 9:10 am

    This is why I don’t want to go to Oktoberfest!

  5. admin

    24 August, 2011 at 9:14 am

    @Bon – there’s partying and there’s … eating shit. The former can be done with fun and good spirits. The latter is just repugnant. Punch in the snout inDEED.

    @Eric – you said it. Not. A. Chance.

  6. Tinka

    24 August, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Actually, Australian (and Kiwi and US) travellers are the reason why GERMANS don’t want to go to the Oktoberfest anymore. Am convinced they are going to sell XXX and VB in years to come to accommodate to changing needs…

  7. Jo Hambrett

    24 August, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    well written article Liv – very embarrassing for australians!

  8. Chris Johnson

    5 January, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    I unfortunately have to add some additional evidence to this discussion. I am Australian and have also come across Van Tour people in my travels this year. I was on the “Alternative Pub Crawl” in Berlin at the beginning of October 2011 and was talking to a Kiwi at the warm up drinks. He warned to “watch out” for some of the other Kiwi’s. He told me apparently outlandish tales of their disgusting deeds and that said deeds were so frequent that I was likely to witness them that night. I did not know what to think or expect.

    To the details: I call this the Unholy Trinity and it is my new definition for disgusting.
    The first guy unzipped his pants and started pissing all over the face and shirt of the second guy who was kneeling in busy street. He was presumably trying to get it into the mouth but was failing miserable due to his inebriated state. The guy who was being pissed on then stood up, unzipped and started pissing all over the kneeling third guy. Third guy then did the same to first guy. OMG you sick Kiwi’s

    The only positive thing from this is that i now have a story to trump anyone’s disgusting story.

    1. admin

      7 January, 2012 at 10:13 am

      Honestly, mortifying. And what purpose, what PURPOSE, does it all serve?

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    3 May, 2012 at 6:56 am

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