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Sample post 2: Parties, People, Tattoos and Glory.



From http://versive.blog.co.uk here is the second of the samples I'm giving to you lovely lot - swear words allowed on my blog may be hashed out, or may just be fruitcaged - I hope those bits don't get totally cut out thiough because some of them are rather relevant.

We shall see.




I should be on a boat touring the local islands right now, but I valium'ed and slept in. Plus after a 7-hour tattoo session yesterday with only 2 five minute breaks, I felt I was owed some leave-me-the-pissing-*fruitcage*-alone-people-please time just at the moment.


So as promised, the sordid details of the last few days now lay bare for all to yawn at ;) Greg has done a runner - well, I had to let him go. There are only so many times you can hear someone say `aluminum` and `sidewalk` and `6 cheeseburgers with that please` before you go a little crazy.

Actually for the record, he spent a good lot of time in Blighty and may as well be English. He is cynical and relentlessly sarcastic and has a sense of humour and doesn't much like the French. I'll give him my validation for honorary citizenship if he ever wants one.


He buggered off on a lovely comfy sleeper bus (they actually are, I disengaged the sarcasm capacitors for a second there) and left me to go back to the hotel and have a good night's sleep myself - ha, ha, how very funny. More illness, still, so now I'm taking my own brand of antibiotics and maxing it out with repeats of the doctor's prescriptions for a full extra 6 days now - I just don't think they quite understood in that hospital just HOW much of my life I spent sitting in small rooms reading short articles.

Before he left there was a little education for me in the different states of the union, this time of the southern californians; my, do they talk slowly. Painfully slowly; I found myself wanting to stnd up and slap them yelling them to finish their *fruitcage* sentences. They were two middle-aged beer drinkers who could hold a 3 hour conversation without actually saying anything either - they were the two most boring people I have ever heard, and I'm glad Greg was the one who engaged with them because I would have taken one of the interminably and pointlessly discussed beer bottles from the table in front of them and poked it into each of their eyes in turn with a mantra of something like "New (poke) sentence (poke) new (poke) words (poke) New (poke) etc.


Not sleeping has, however, added to my creativity - by the way apart from when I take valium or sleeping tablets then I actually can't sleep now; without valium it would be almost 9 straight days of no sleep now, as it is, I think I have slept 3 times, plus once during the day after too many hours of constant wakefulness just overtook me.

It happened before I even got the valium I'll have you know, too, it's not a side effect of relying on them, but a case of staying awake with aching gut grumbles, and being in a constant state of readiness to launch myself into the smallest room, which has, in effect, made me an insomniac now as well, which is nice :roll:

During all this I learned all of Greg's nightly habits, as I were his goddamn wife or something; now he doesn't dribble or noticeably snore, much, but he does make arresting spasmic movements, and has a good line in irreverant and intelligable dialogue, I think he speaks something from one of about every 4 dreams, which meant I got to almost have a bit of a conversation on my sleepless marathons.

Best of all though are the screems, which he emits on average about 4 times a week from what I've seen. They are loud and warbly and really quite terrifying when you're hazily staring at your laptop from across the room trying to work out whether you can withstand trawling endlessly through random wikipedia articles on minor historical figures or the structure of molecular compounds again, or just give up any pretence of righteous learnedness and go look at some more porn.

It can be quite scary - but then he is quite a scary man!

He can also get up and go to the bathroom without opening his eyes - I checked: dead closed. Not many people can sleep-###### and not make any mistakes!




Anyway now he's gone and I'm still not sleeping (apart from last night) I have taken to molesting my bedroom - abusing it, defacing it, OPTIMISING it.

There is no suitable table in here for working (the table top and seat of the two chairs in here are basically at the same height, like a coffee table without the benefits of any room service coffee cups nor, given the size of the table, enough space to actually balance one on there) and the rest the of furniture at my disposal consists of one large lumpy bed and one small less lumpy bed, a TV and a fridge.

So. I had a poke around at about 2am the other night, and finding that a shelf in the cupboard is about the right height, this now serves as my desk with a chair pulled up to it. The chairs make ungodly noises, a bit like baby giraffes being horribly tortured (not that I have tried, you understand) whenever dragged across the floor tiled, so I had to lay my elephant pattern beach towel under it so I could rapidly escape to the toilet as and when necessary without disturbing the neighbours.


In another effort not to disturb them I spent a full hour the other night turning the fluorescent lights on, then guiltily off again, then on because I couldn't see the keyboard and couldn't actually work on this thing, then off again thinking that the glare would be irritating off other poor, random guests along the hall, when I finally realised, with a hint of inevitable resignation and something of a sigh, that the windows are all tinted black to avoid this exact problem.

So it goes...


Sitting upright for 6 hours makes your back hurt though, so a drawer taken from the same cupboard unit upside down on the bed serves as my second desk, and the bed itself - the double bed - is now vertical, propped against a wall to give me more space in the room to trail computer cables and so that I have less opportunity to bash into things in my sleep-deprived or alcohol-sponsored stumblings. This means that when the cleaning lady comes in she is Not Right. The first time she just stared for a bit, mumbled something and took a look around and just left.

Now when she enters I see a tear in the corner of her eye form, and if I wasn't here she would have to put everything back in the proper place and probably start fully sobbing, which isn't very nice so if I go out I at least but the beds back and return the drawers to the right places.


I still coat every surface from floor to ceiling with sand, sweat and mud, though. It's just part of my duty as a guest.




The next day I lay down and closed my eyes for an hour (this is NOT sleep, not unless you actually go off with the fairies, but I thought I had better make an effort of some kind) and then did nothing very much during the day except watch films. I watched Zulu again and drew a tattoo while doing so. This is important, because I had that design I drew then and then tattooed onto the back of my right leg just 48 hours later.


It is strange that I have omitted the film `Zulu` from, for example, my facebook profile, unitl now. No other film actually has had a bigger impact on my life. It is responsible for both my first tattoo, and my most recent. It is what gives me a large part of my sense of pride at the British empire, and it says all the things about bravery, courage and supreme acheivement that I would like to be able to say about myself. It is responsible in part for my dislike of the Christian clergy (Dad, you'll never be included in the same lowly league I imagine of the rest of them, don't worry) and it makes me feel an affinity with both the commonest of the comman man and the most snobbish of the aristocracy all at once, as well as the `average` person - something that made me so successful at my old job that people used to admire it in me and remark upon how I could deal with everyone superbly (they said it, not me), whether they be the modern equivalent of a cockney chimneysweep or Lord Arseforth the Third from Secondsgrange Firstly, all practically in the same breath. And I never knew all this until I saw it again the other day. Amazing


There it is - go rent a copy of Zulu, sit down for an hour and a half with no expectations; do remember it was all done in the 1960s though, so the filming is old and the pacing slower than new movies, and the dialogue is actually intelligent and realistic - but pay attention to every word, and watch 4 characters in particular character: the preacher Reverend Witt, Lieutenant.John Chard the technical commanding officer but who is really just an engineer and not a fighting man, Private Henry "Hookey" Hook the workshy skiver in the sickward, and Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead played by Michael Caine.

The film also gave me my lifelong admiration, respect and constant high expectations of Maurice Mickelwhite, as Mr. Caine is called on his birth certificate, and I am rarely disappointed so long may he still live and work.


See? It gets me all misty-eyed just thinking about Zulu, and for the bravery of the zulus as much as all the white actors who, after all, were representing the invading Empire.

The comments from the preacher at the very beginning (the only sensible things the old fool says in the whole movie) about zulu men and women being betrothed to each other also gave me a deeper respect for foreign cultures, even at the young age when I first saw the film, I think I must have been about 9 or 10 then sadly missed seeing it again for another good 9 or 10 years.




Anyway that other day came and went, the tattoo took up all my time until I went for dinner, met up in the `Why Not?` bar across the street from my hotel with whole load of people including a really great German couple.

Did I mention how famtastic the Germans are when they're travelling? I can't say enough about them. Anyway these guys were brilliant, fluent in English and they were both funny, easygoing, up for a lot of fun and just really, really coool, and I sincerely hope they get in touch after I them my email and website.

We were in the why not? bar unitl gone 1am, talking with a small crowd of english, vietnamese, german and dutchy people and it was dead quiet even then, so knowing that the Sailing Club, although expensive, is always full of partying people we went there at about 1:45am, but only to find that amid the crush at the bar and the happy dancing hoards the music shut off at just 2 in the morning!


This is when my organisational glands kicked in so I grabbed my German buddies, told them to do what I was going to do: go up to every person and small group, say sorry for intruding but do you want to carrry on the party? 90% said yes, so the only place open until 4 was, funnily enough, Why Not? bar, so I managed to move an entire club full of people from one venue to the next (I spoke to maybe 20 little groups, maybe another 20 lone people) and along the way I bumped into DJ Errol Brown, a London club DJ who's semi-famous but was just here on holiday. Together we hatched a plan to sneak his drink (a bucket of vodka and redbull) out past the bouncers, and while I made it, Errol didn't, so I might go find him when he's at Fabric or SE1 or something back home in a few years and buy him a few to compensate as I was left outside with his tanker of disco fuel while he was lost somewhere distracting the staff. Oh well.


Anyway we made it back to the Why Not? bar and partied away, then the two Germans and I left at 4:15 or so, went to the beach, and waited for sunrise. Great company, they had a little bit of nice weed, and when the sun came up at 6 we all stripped off to our skivies and had a swim in the South China Sea at Sunrise.

*fruitcage* awesome.




The next day (Saturday) I went to the tattoo shop down the road from me and had a great talk for like 3 hours with the owner, a Puerto Rican guy who's lived in Vietnam for 2 years now selling equipment on eBay.co.uk, funnily enough, and running his place.

His computer artist and I manipulated the edges of some line to flow down my calf and resized my work so it was about 11" long, taking up about all of the back of my calf, and the owner and I had a great chat about everything - his boats, his kids, tattoo shops in India and in England and he was an all-round great fella. I might pop back in there this afternoon and say `hi`.


Knowing it would be the last time I could swin for a while, I then had to make a plan for another sunrise swim the day of my tattoo, yesterday, so instead of doing anything sensible or boring I made sure I stayed awake all day and planned to go and sit in a 24-hour coffee place drawing through the night so I could again go for a swim as the sun came up.


That day I watched movies until the evening, then went and ordered a pizza and, having 20 minutes to kill (they do a superb italian pizza there and I like to take it away to devour in front of a movie) I sauntered a little way along the road and stepped into the towns only Irish bar. Well, that was my evening taken care of - I was doodling on a piece of paper stolen from a waitress (I always do this when I'm in the drawing mood) and a Candadian girl next to me passed comment on it, and struck up a conversation.

It was pretty obvious she would be trying to pick me up if I played my cards right, it being her last full night in town and all - now there is a `thing` with many women while travelling who do this, because they know they are going away the next day. Call me a misogynist but I have seen it more times then you, I'll bet, and I can prove it and you probably can't, so :P ) but a) I drunk a couple of beers and didn't care for the idea (she was very nice, but who can think of chatting upp women when you can't read the label on your beer properly?!!) and B) I have realised and decided recently that I don't want any part of anything romantic. At all.


The thing is, I simply don't NEED it like most people do, and the complications are potentially painful and often quite pointless in the first place so I made friends with her friends as soon as I could as well, including a big Irishman call Richard (he was big, too, Like the size of Jonah Lomu sorta big) and a bar owner in Nha Trang who was actually English, by the name of Andy.

Andy was a great fella - we ended up going out to 007's nightclub somewhere in the downtown area, and bugger me, but do they know how to run a nightclub here.


It was a proper, full-on club where you can only just about make yourself heard to order drinks - and the bar is at the OTHER end of the room from the speakers and DJ booth - and the laser shows were impressively modern and very cool to look at.

The DJ took my request and I had a Daft Punk track mixed into every song for half an hour; and I lost at least 4 pounds dancing, as I do, like an epileptic boxer to all the mixes. The DJs were good, too - I am going back to 007's before I leave this town!


So that was that - I stayed up after everyone else I guess, apart from any couples that were in there ;) and went back to the room to watch a film called Conspiracy - it's got Val Kilmer in the starring role and bugger me, the boy finally learned to act. It's actually a fairly good movie, if totally predictable.

By the time that was finished I notced with a jolt of panic that it was light outside, so I threw my swimming shorts on and wrapped the elephant towel/rug/sarong thing around me without a shirt, walked to the beach, had myself a nice swim at just after sunrise and came back, showered and went to the tattoo shop.


*fruitcage* ME IT *fruitcage* HURTS BY *fruitcage* NORRIS DID IT *fruitcage* KILL but it was okay, I had my laptop so I read comics and listened to music lying face-down on the tattooist's table, but even that wasn't enough distraction as I almost had to stop at several points, so the Puerto Rican owner, bless him and his family forever, went and rolled a joint and we snuck to the bac and had it and the last hour of it was just fine. Just, just great :D


I had dosed up on Ibuprofen (about 2600milligrams) during the tatoo to take the edge off but it just didn't work at all, then I tried a bunch of Diazepam - Valium - and about 70milligrams of that which is enough to make a horse go to sleep, let alone a human forget about some pain, but in the end only the weed worked.


And that's the only thing it's good for. I ain't a stoner any more, not by a long shot!


And then today I slept in and missed my boat ride and I don't much mind, it only cost £4.

See Vietnam is cheap, if you know where to go, and at £4 for a whole day sightseeing the islands - with lunch included - looks like I found yet another great place here in the fine town of Nha Trang.


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