​​​​Because humor is funnier when you know it's true.


In 2001, my sister, who lived in Melbourne, Australia, informed her siblings that she expected us to be at her fortieth birthday, in December.

I'd never been to Australia, but we had some money saved and we set off on New Years Eve, arriving in Britain on New Years Day.  With absolutely no plans we thought we could probably make it to Australia by December, and we did.  More luck than judgement.

We spent a couple of months in the Middle East, We spent a month in Burma.  I love Kipling.  I read, "The Law of the Jungle", to my mate's dog, and I wept.  I can't read Kipling without weeping.

"On the road to Mandalay, Elaphints a pillin' teak, in that sludgy, qhudy creek [sic].

Round about September we got a bus from Bangkok to the Cambodian border, and a bus to the next town, Siem Reap.

Siem Reap is the stop-off town if you want to see Anchor Wat.  It was worth seeing, twenty years ago.  Now, don't bother.

Twenty years ago it was a village in the jungle with four guest-houses and two, very primitive bars.  I've been there twice since then.  Now it has a main drag called, "Pub Street", with fifty bars blaring techno and a thousand backpackers staggering between, with a Lonely Planet in one had and a bottle in the other.

Anyway, we got into Siem Reap very late at night, and we found a guesthouse down an alley, behind a school off Charles De Gaule Road.  I bought water and cigarettes from the new gas station opposite.

A year later, I was back in Pennsylvania, cutting trees down, and the home-owner wanted to chat.  He was very proud that he had travelled.  He told me that he worked for Citgo, and he had supervised the building of a gas station in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Before I could stop myself, I said, "Not the one on Charles De Gaule Road, opposite the school?"

I have never, in my life, seen anyone so surprised.  He built a gas station in the jungle in Cambodia,  I had been there and bought fags, and I remembered the address.

-Spade Braithwaite

Spade Braithwaite was born, and lived an idyllic early life, in Oxford, England.  In Britain, he worked a variety of jobs including the very first, ever, pizza delivery man in Britain (for Britain’s first pizza delivery company - Harry's Pizza Factory), a highway surveyor, bartender, Italian restaurant cook, fork truck driver, mason laborer, compost shoveler, and manager of a big, very busy pub/hotel/restaurant.  He also studied to be a Cessna pilot (but was too terrified of flying to get a license), studied civil engineering at Oxford to become a construction manager, and studied motorcycles at college to become a qualified mechanic.  At twenty nine he moved to Pennsylvania and worked as a lumberjack for fifteen years.  Since then, his life has been a bit chaotic, working in every appalling industry on four continents.

His novel, Herbert Brewer's Dirty Little Secret (Amsarnie Book 1) is the first is a series of very funny stories set in his imaginary island nation of Amsarnie.  His website is Amsarnie.com.