Archive for the ‘Blah blah’ Category
Every morning, I make coffee, turn my computer on, and open the balcony door and throw out a handful of sunflower seeds for the house finches. There’s a lot of them; sometimes there can be ten or more at any one time. This is the only one I recognise because of the weird thing on top of her beak. She’s also by far the bravest of the finches. She doesn’t fly away when I stand up (my desk is near the door). She often perches on the metal bar on the balcony and looks straight ahead at the apartment. This, it would seem, is her way of telling me there’s nothing but empty seed shells on the balcony. She’s an ugly bugger, but she’s my favourite. I call her Bullet.
I will never tire of the feeling of waiting for a bus to go to a town I’ve never been to before. Leaving Placencia featured a lovely way of doing it, too. The place where I was staying was a few hundred metres from the end of the 20-odd km long peninsula, and the bus I’d be taking would go to the end, turn around, and pick up passengers along the way. It took nigh-on an hour to travel the length of the peninsula; so many people were scattered along its length, we were stopping and starting constantly. Most of the passengers were heading further north than I was, to Dangriga. I was getting off before then. When I bought the ticket form the conductor, I asked him to let me know where to get off so that I could get to Hopkins. He ignored my request, but thankfully, the guy sat behind me had heard me ask, and told me when to get up.
Hopkins is about six or seven kilometres off the highway. The bus stopped at the junction, I hopped off. There was an old guy stood around. I asked him if there were any buses soon. “In a few hours, yes.” So I started walking. I’d been warned about this, but figured it doesn’t hurt to ask. I plugged in my headphones, turned on “The Wall” and stomped along the side of the straight, sandy, road. I’d been told that the best way to get from the highway to the village was with a passing vehicle. It was hot. My shirt was drenched, and sweat was dripping off my face. Ten vehicles passed by before, about 40 minutes into my walk, and, as it turned out, about halfway along the road, a truck with an open flat back part (what are these vehicles called?) pulled up. A guy sat in the back gestured for me to get in. I took out my headphones, threw my backpack over the back door thing, and jumped in. The guy and I had a wee chat. He told me I’d come to the right place to relax. He was friendly. We stopped at a junction, pretty much the only junction in the village. The guy and I said goodbye, he wished me a good time in his town, and I chatted to the driver while another passenger got some stuff from the store. He asked where I wanted to go. A friend had recommended a place to stay. The driver, Johnny, told me it was nice there, and dropped me off right outside. Not to be, though. They were closed during the off-season to do some renovations, but the woman swinging in a hammock recommended another place a bit further along.
I traipsed along the road, ten minutes later saw the sign for Tipple Tree Beya, and walked up the stairs to ring the bell to see if there was a room. There was a room. About 40 dollars a night. Splendid. Two nights please. The room was one of three that faced out towards the sea. Small wooden rooms, with wood slats covering bug screens for windows. And a hammock on the deck out front. Perfect. After spending the last hour or so sweating buckets, I just dumped everything, put on my shorts and went out for a swim. Swimmy swim swim. Brain is there going, “hey relax, dude.” And it was nice. Two days here in Hopkins, then off to the western border, nip across to Guatemala to see Tikal. A couple of days there, then back up to Chetumal to fly back to Mexico City. The couple in the room next to mine were a lovely German couple. You really couldn’t ask to be sharing a hammock-y deck with nicer people. Spent some time in the hammock as the sky got darker, drank a couple of beers, and I was in bed by 11pm. It was still hot. I opened the window slats at the front and back of the room; no need to turn the fan on when there’s a lovely ocean breeze there to keep me cool.
With the windows open, a new room, thus new bed, I woke up around 5am. Just in time for the sunrise. The sky was all pink and dark purple. I walked down to the water’s edge. The husband of the woman who runs the place was raking the sand. He has the best job ever. Every morning, he does something nice and gentle and repetitive like raking sand while the sun rises over the ocean. Plus, he told me, it’s good for the back to spend some time each day walking backwards. Advice I have failed to heed, simply because I don’t have any beaches nearby, and walking backwards down the street would be mental. I had my iPod in my pocket, so I tried to draw a quick drawing of the sunrise. I did another a hour or so later. I did another 30 of them during my stay in Hopkins. It became a lovely ritual. To stop, have a look at the see, really look, and that flat block of water beneath that airy stuff changes colour so often. (Those drawings can be seen here.)
I had breakfast at a place called Innies. It looked a bit crappy from the outside. A concrete building painted pink and yellow with some kind of shower-strength leak coming from somewhere on the upper floor. Like a lot of restaurants in Belize, the glass doors and windows were tinted glass, so you can never really tell if they are busy or even open. It was open. Terrible instant coffee with what I think was condensed milk. I ordered an omelette, which came with beans and fry jacks, a local thing that’s basically like a puffy tortilla. The omelette had Cheez Whiz on top; a little daunting, but my gosh, it was delicious.
Lounge in the hammock, listen to music, read a bit, watch the grackles flying around, and squawking at each other. I like them. I like how strident they look when they walk, like, I’m. Going. Over. Here. They were brave, too. On the edge of the deck in front of the rooms were bowls of water for us to wash the sand off our feet. The grackles would hop up the steps and onto the edge of the bowl, drop big seeds in there to wash them, fish them out and fly off to have their snacks. Swimming, hammocking, swimming, hammocking. At one point in the sea, I realised that I only had a few vacation days remaining. Could I really be bothered to trek all the way, on three buses to get to the western side of the country to cross into Guatemala, change some money for a couple of days, come back, re-change money, just so I could spend the last day on buses all the way back to the northern border with Mexico? Nope. I chatted to the owner, two more nights please. Bingo. No more things to think about until I had to actually stop being on vacation. I borrow a bicycle and went for a ride to see what the rest of Hopkins was like.
I headed north, and after about 20 minutes of leisurely cycling, found myself at the top end of the village. On the beach, at a bar called Driftwood. I’d been told about this place by a guy who runs a bar/restaurant in Placencia, and it was as good as he’d said. They do pizza. Really good pizza, actually. It was pretty dark and empty inside. The guy who runs the place came out from the back room. I told him there was a few dogs, including a mean-looking pitbull/mastiff mix outside the door. He thanked me, cos she’d got out of his garden, and told me the dog was a sweetie. He gave me a menu, a beer, and I went and sat outside where the bar area has an open window and a, y’know, bar with stools. Not poop. High backless seats. We had a chat. He was, I guess, early 30s, originally from the northwest of England. The three dogs outside were all his and his partner’s. It was nice, in this country with so many stray dogs, to see people adopting some of them. One of them did a weird dipping-the-head motion every ten seconds or so. Apparently he’d had distemper, and the dipping was a tic he’d developed since then. He was a cute, friendly dog, though. A few afternoon beers and I was nicely buzzy. Cycled back to my room. Did a bit of swimming, hammocking, reading, and was truly knackered. At twenty past eight.
There was a big thunderstorm during the night. The whole room lit bright by the sheet lightning. Early to bed, so up before sunrise again. Same as the morning before. Watched from the water’s edge, had a wee chat with the raking man, did a couple of drawings, and then made a coffee in the drippy drip machine, after the Germans had given me half a packet of coffee that they didn’t need when they left in the morning. Back out on the balcony, and I had a chat with my new neighbour, a British woman from Newcastle. She could talk. I’d barely said hello before I was knee deep in her life story. Not that she wasn’t pleasant, you understnad. Although she did use the word “Chinaman” once.
I didn’t realise it at the time, but sat with my flip-flopped feet in the sand outside the pizza was a problem. I was bitten to fuck by sand flies. Mean little bastards. I estimated that I had about thirty bites, but when I counted, it was over seventy. Itchy. So very very itchy. I had a walk to go to a coffee place a bit later, they had Wi-Fi, and my willpower was weak. As it happened, when I got there, there’d been a power cut throughout the village, so no Wi-Fi, but I did get a coffee that had just brewed. I asked the teenage-ish girl who served me where I could get some cream for my sand fly bites. When she saw that both of my calves were covered in bites, her eyes widened and she said, “O! M! G!”
I walked back towards the room/hammock/sea. Stopped off at a place called Iris’ for some breakfast. Other guests from my place were there. We chatted. Dutch. Nice enough people. She was allergic to loads of things so ended up eating air for breakfast or something. Back to the same old swimming/hammock ritual for the remainder of the morning, until I fancied a change, so went for a wee ride up to a bar called King Cavassa Club near the centre of the village; that is, near where the road out of town is. A few beers in the sunshine, while the bored but pretty young woman who served me flicked through TV channels.
More swimming, and I think I got to the point, after two nights in Hopkins, where I was actually relaxed. In the water, not really swimming, my feet barely touching the sea bed, though, not thinking about anything other than the waves that I’d rise up to crash into a little bit. Kept on doing this. And after I’d been out there for 15 minutes or so, I saw a pelican dive bomb into the sea, and he/she righted him/herself and gulped down a fish. This was about 15, 20 metres away. I was bouncing as the waves pushed me up, the pelican just stayed still and let the waves pass underneath. The waves, though, were pushing him/her towards me. He/she didn’t seem to care. I stayed still, kept my arms under the water, and eventually, the pelican was about two metres away. It was amazing. we were that close to each other for maybe ten seconds. Then a few flaps of the wings, and he/she was off to get more snacks.
That night, the non-relaxing crept in. I woke up several times in the night thinking that I’d missed the sunrise. I hadn’t. It was still dark every time. Another lovely sunrise, though, slightly tainted by some guy a couple of house down using a circular saw before 6am. Another incredibly lazy day. Back at King Cavassa Club for lunch (stewed chicken, rice and beans). While I was there, a Hungarian family wanted to know when the next bus was. They asked in Spanish, and the waitress didn’t speak Spanish. She tried to tell them that the last bus of the day would leave at 2pm. It was 1.55pm. They somehow managed to have a vacation here without speaking English. They didn’t understand that they needed to get their arses into gear. The bus stopped across the street, so it’s not that far. But they’d just bought coffees. I got up in there, told them the story in Spanish, and they gulped down there coffees and got to the bus on time. I feel that that should be enough to get me into heaven if this God character really exists. I got up to pay for my lunch, and saw the guy I’d first met on the back of the truck when I came into Hopkins. He smiled, and said “Hello, Craig.” He remembered my name. I had not remembered his. We had a little chat and said goodbye. As I cycled back, I was heckled by a kid, “Hey, straight hair!” He and his friends giggled like crazy.
My last night in Hopkins, early to bed, awake at 4.40am. Plenty of time to make coffee and enjoy the sunrise one last time. Hopkins is a beautiful, sleepy place. Could happily have spent another week there. But it was time to leave. On the 7am bus. It was already packed. There are only a couple of buses a day, so, y’know. The conductor was young-ish guy, baggy jeans, a basketball vest over a t-shirt, Miami Heat cap, and, awesomely, a Hannah Montana backpack. It took about an hour to get to Dangriga, the next big town, where I had to get another bus. Stood outside the station, having a smoke, this guy comes up to me and asks if I wanted to buy some DVDs. He had about ten in his hands. I didn’t recognise any of them.
Then he offered me a CD, “It’s by P. Diddy!”
He asked for a cigarette. I gave him one. “Can I have two?”
“Can you give me a dollar so I can get a burrito?”
Tired of him, I just gave him a one dollar coin. A cab driver nearby rolled his eyes and asked why I gave him money. I shrugged.
The guy came back and said, “A burrito is two dollars.”
That’s not my problem, so, “Sorry.”
He then made sure I noticed that his blue shirt was a Snoop Dogg shirt. He pointed to the logo on the chest, then turned around so I could see a cartoon dog drawing on the back. He held out his fist. I bumped it with my fist. And then he left.
The bus from Dangriga that would take me to Belize City via the capital Belmopan was not a school bus. It was a Greyhound bus. With air conditioning, and seats big enough for adults. It was luuuuuuuuuuxury. Never in my life did I imagine a Greyhound bus would feel like luxury. A very pleasant journey. I enjoyed it on the way south, and I enjoyed it again on the way north. There was a sun halo for a while, too. But I needed to piss like a race horse by the time we arrived in Belize City. Off the bus, straight to the filthy bathroom. Utterly disgusting. I had my backpack on, so there wasn’t space to stand at the trough with two people already there. Had to use a stall. There was some sort of foul-smelling casserole in the toilet. I daren’t touch the handle to get rid of it. There were casserole stains on the wall, too, that seemed to have been put there with the intention of writing something. Graffiti told me that this was “THE SEX BATHROOM.” Other graffiti described things that could indeed happen in a sex bathroom, and in a country where most people are not white, there was graffiti that demanded that N-words should leave Belize. The floor of the bathroom was wet. I was wearing flip flops. I would spend the remainder of my journey wondering what the hell hideous things my feet now had crawling on them.
The next bus I needed would take me from Belize City all the way to Chetumal, across the border in Mexico. And as luck would have it, it was right there, filling up with lots of people. I nipped ’round to the back of the bus to avoid the queuers at the front. One spare seat, right at the back, next to the pile of luggage. I dropped my backpack on top, sat down, and spent the rest of the journey wedged between a whole load of luggage and a small old man with awesome, yet quite greasy, long hair. By the time got to Corozal, the closest town to the border, there were just a handful of people left on the bus. Me, an old Mennonite couple, a mother and her two toddlers, and a couple of German backpackers. We trundled towards the border. We all got off the bus to get out passports stamped exiting Belize. Back on the bus into the queue of traffic over the bridge that separated the two countries. As the bus sat there in the queue, we all got off and walked to go through Mexican immigration. The guy there barely looked at my face, didn’t say a word, scanned my passport, and I was back in Mexico. Eight-and-a-half hours on buses, and I need a place to stay. I had no idea at all where I would spend the night before my flight back to Mexico City the next day. But the bus passed a couple of places near the bus station. First one I went to, Costa Azul, was cheap, just 19 dollars a night. And I soon saw why. Basic. No towels. Less than half a roll of toilet paper in the bathroom. Horrible lighting. Plastic coated remote control. The people who worked there – seemed to be an extended family, various members of which were behind the reception desk at various times – were all really happy. To each other. Whenever I needed to ask a question, they suddenly stopped smiling and answered in a monotone, bored, manner. After all the travelling, I had no real desire to spend my one night in Chetumal doing anything other than watching telly with the air conditioning on. I’m not proud of myself, but I got a pizza from the Domino’s down the street, and settled in, watching “Hitch” and “Rush Hour 3.”
And that, aside from the scanning machines not working at Chetumal airport, and having my backpack searched by hand like a man artificially inseminating a cow, was my vacation.
The bus from Punta Gorda was, like most buses in Belize, an old U.S. school bus. It was hot as hell in there while we waited to get going. But, the journey north was only a couple of hours. I was heading to a place called Independence. When the bus pulled into the “station” (what seemed like someone’s driveway), there was a guy, as is often the case, targeting the tourist and insisting I take his taxi. Sometimes, I’ll go with it, but this time, I was in the mood for a walk. I had to get to a place where the water taxi would go across the lagoon to Placencia. I said no to taxi man, and walked. In the wrong direction, as it happens. I was walking in the exact opposite direction. Stupid, really, to think I would know where I was going in a town I’d not been to before, but I have a compass on my watch, and assumed that because Placencia is directly east of Independence, I’d be walking towards the water. Wrong. The lagoon curls around, so I should’ve not been heading south and east, but north. It was hot. I bought a bottle of water, chatted with the lady in the shop, and she told me where I needed to go. By the time I got to the water taxi place, I’d missed the 12pm water taxi.
The place was called Hokey Pokey. I bought a ticket for the next one, at 2.30pm. Two-ish hours to kill. Couldn’t really be bothered to go back out to the town and explore, so I sat there in the covered waiting area, as it started pissing it down. Which made me glad I’d missed the noon taxi: I would’ve got absolutely drenched. There were a few other people in the waiting area. A couple of them looked to be expressly ignoring the sign that said “NO LOAFERS.” The woman who was running the place looked like Proposition Joe. There was a Jackie Chan film on the ridiculously loud television. Everyone there, myself included, was entranced. The film was about diamonds or something. At the end, a hovercraft drove over one of the bad guys and all his clothes came off. Prop Joe found this hilarious and shouted, “his batty red!” Aaah, how the time flew by. Eventually, one of the loafers got up and shouted “Come on!” which was our queue to board the boat. We bombed across the lagoon, my enjoyment of the lagoon tempered slightly by having to hold onto my cap to stop it flying off. (My hair was just a mess underneath, and I was already feeling a bit self conscious after a less than satisfactory encounter with a mirror in the morning.) Twenty minutes or so later, we pulled up where water met some wooden planks supported by wooden poles, and it was time to find somewhere to stay. I’d been told of a couple of places that were reasonably priced, and headed off looking for the one that sounded best.
After a bit of a walk, I found the Sea Spray hotel, about 35 U.S. dollars a night. The Mayan receptionist was pretty and smiled a lot. Made me a little melty. The room was simple: bed, shower, toilet, unplugged fridge, fan. But it was only about about 20 metres from the sea. It was situated on the Sidewalk. The Sidewalk is technically a street because it is, apparently, in the Guinness Book of World Records as the narrowest street in the world. It’s about four feet wide. No cars would be able to use it. And there are signs saying that cycling is against the rules, so, not very street-y. I dumped my shirt, put on a clean shirt, and headed off. Walking down the Sidewalk, I heard “Hey white boy!” from behind me. I ignored it. “Hey brother from another mother!” It was an old-ish guy with dreadlocks. We exchanged general pleasantries, then he asked if I liked Bob Marley? I told him no, sheepishly. He wished me a good afternoon, turned around and left. (Later in my trip it dawned on me, after being offered a handful more times, that he was probably going to ask if I wanted to buy marijuana.)
Time for a beer. Went to the first place that would sell me beer, an open-sided bar called Barefoot Bar. They had Wi-Fi. So, moth to flame, iPod whipped out, and I started checking things. A few emails, some Twittering, some Facebookery, and checking on baseball scores. It was kind of like when you give up smoking, and then you have a cigarette, and it’s just rubbish. Tastes crappy and you’re full of self loathing. Really, what had I missed? Nothing.
I have said it before, and I will undoubtedly say it again, but white people are funny when they are travelling. Not all white people, tends to mostly be younger folk. In my experience, Belizean people are friendly, and will say hello on the street. You get into the habit of doing it, too. Walking along the Sidewalk, I passed a white guy, mid-twenties. I said hello, he glanced at me like I’d called his mother a whore and looked away. Dude: you are not an explorer. This is a tourist town. Seeing other white tourists may be spoiling your delusional thoughts of having discovered a pure gem in the wilds of Central America, but it doesn’t mean you have to be a cunt.
After a good, solid, twelve hours sleep, I was up and at ‘em. There’s a coffee shop in Placencia now, called Above Grounds. It’s on stilts, so y’know, ho ho, funny name. Sigh. Decent coffee, though. Went there every morning during my four-day stay in Placencia, and spent my time using the Wi-Fi, and drawing. The next couple of days were pretty much all based around swimming in the sea, drinking, eating, lying down, repeat. The swimming schedule was retarded by not putting on sun block early on in my stay, and having to stay out of the sea when it was really sunny, and having to coat myself in aloe vera at all other times, but now, a few weeks later, I’ve still got a nice bit of a tan, so, swings and roundabouts. One of the benefits, though, was it meant that when it was really cloudy, I’d go swimming. One time, it rained while I was in the sea. That really is one of life’s greatest things, I think. Getting your head down as low as possible in the water and watching the water bounce Tic-Tac-shaped drops back off the surface.
I only spent two days at Sea Spray, they were fully booked for the next two nights I’d planned to stay, so found another place. A bit closer to the shops, bars, etc., a bit farther from the sea. But it had air conditioning. And I used the hell out of that. Not ordinarily a fan of air conditioning. I’ve never lived in a super hot part of the world, so my view of AC is probably different to someone who lives in, for example, Phoenix, Arizona, but I can’t imagine what it would be like to live my days like that. Cold home, cold car, cold office, only ever experiencing the real temperature in short bursts. But, I did spend the whole of my Saturday night with the AC on, lying on the bed in my pants, watching movies on the telly.
My brain was beginning to think it’d be nice to be back in a big city again. But, brain: you’re a dick. I wish I could properly relax and get rid of those thoughts. I did a decent job of suppressing them, but they still found their way through the gaps now and again. And as the holiday went on, the thoughts got fewer and farther between. And that really started properly, as I left Placencia. I waited on the road outside the hotel, jumped on the bus heading north, and an hour or so later, I was off the Placencia peninsula, heading up the highway, toward Hopkins. Which we will discuss in the next underwhelming blog entry.
Punta Gorda is a town. I’ve just sat here looking at those five words for a good ten minutes. It was going to be a longer sentence, but in the end, I just added a full stop. It is indeed a town. A fairly sleepy town. I had the express intention of doing nothing on my holiday. I wanted to do nothing but sleep, eat, drink, walk around a bit, do some drawing. And Punta Gorda was the perfect place to begin that. I purposely didn’t ask for the Wi-Fi password at the place where I was staying or elsewhere in Punta Gorda. I didn’t want to know. And that lack of access was delightful. Back here in Mexico City, because I have taken to using my iPod touch as the clock in my bedroom, the first thing I do pretty much every day, is press the button, check the time, and before I put my glasses on, before I do bathroom stuff, or have coffee, is check email, Twitter, Facebook, blah blah blah. It’s rubbish. Easily solved obviously: put my watch by the bed instead of the iPod, but when things are there, they’re more difficult to ignore. Being away from the Internet for five whole days was fantastic.
And waking up in the jungle was fantastic, too. Waking up in the jungle heat, the smell, and waking up to the wonderful coffee they serve at Hickatee Cottages; just spending the start of my day sitting on the verandah in a shirt, shorts, and flip flops, watching hummingbirds humming. Next up on my great lazy adventure: a walk along one of the jungle trails around the back of the cottages. Jungle is ace. Yes, there are tons of insects and you get sweaty and a bit uncomfortable, but I love that when I walk around, there is so much there, so much to look at, and to be aware of, that my brain stops whirring with other stuff. It’s not overly dramatic to say that there is a chance, when in the jungle, that you could die. Of course this is true about the street outside my house, your house, everywhere; but in the jungle, there are creatures that could injure or kill you. Knowing that however unlikely it is, there’s a chance that there could be a jaguar out there, is quite thrilling. I saw lizards, plenty of birds and insects, I could hear the sounds of howler monkeys. The trail, though, was kinda swampy after the rain in the night, so it wasn’t as long a walk as I’d hoped for. So it was back to the room for a shower, and then hopped on a bicycle to ride into town to find somewhere to watch the European Championships final.
I ended up at the northern end of town, at a bar called Waluco’s. This was the only time during my stay that I knew anything was going on outside of my immediate environment. I sat at the bar, had a few Belikin beers, chatted with the guys sat next to me. They were Dan and Antony. They were old school friends who still meet up for a drink now and then. One of them worked in construction, currently building a hotel further north in Placencia, the other was recovering from a stroke. He was only about my age. His right arm was pretty limp, but he was getting some movement back in his hand. He spoke about the work he did before his stroke as if he really missed it. He drove (piloted? captained?) cruise ships. We watched Spain beat Italy, I paid as little attention as my mental brain would allow to the scrolling baseball scores at the bottom of the screen. We bought each other drinks. In fact, a guy who dropped by to pick up some takeaway food was in a good mood and bought the three of us beers on his way out. An afternoon of drinking, a bit of a fuzzy head, a cycle back to the cottages, some drawing, dinner, and the realisation that when I was having breakfast in shorts and flip flops, I’d been bitten by a doctor fly.
The doctor fly, called a yellow fly elsewhere, is a vicious little fucker. Over the course of my two-week holiday, I was bitten eight times by doctor flies. Each time, the same reaction: the area around the bite starts to feel a bit tender a few hours later, then itchy, then starts puffing up like a balloon. I’d been bitten twice that first day in Punta Gorda. The bite on the top of my left foot was blowing up so big that the next morning, I couldn’t fit my shoe on. One of the other guests gave me a couple of Benadryl. I took one, and after having been asleep for nearly nine hours, felt sleepy again and spent another five hours in bed. I went out for a bike ride in the afternoon. No destination, just a ride around. Some guy asked me if we’d met early near the Catholic church. Nope. After ten minutes or so more riding, I saw him again. He introduced himself as Ivan, telling me he was sure we’d met. We hadn’t. I rode off, and later found out that Ivan is wont to do that with tourists. If I’d've stuck around chatting, he’d have tried to scam some money out of me. On the dirt road back to the cottages, there were loads of dead, crushed crabs. Apparently, they live inland and take the trip to the sea quite often. I saw a couple of them scuttling across the road on their back feet. Not walking like crabs normally walk. I’ve never seen crabs go two-legged.
Next day: nothing. Just did some drawing, some reading, a little walk, some insect bites, heat rash, a blister on my foot after not putting socks on before my walk. Same thing the next day, my last day in Punta Gorda. Spent a good chunk of the afternoon drawing on the iPad, listening to music, getting bitten by insects. It feels weird to be experiencing this after being a professional illustrator for over ten years, but those few days in Punta Gorda really made me love drawing more than I have ever done before. Specifically drawing from life, not from photos. It’s something I don’t do very often. And something I should do a lot more. The insects were getting pretty hardcore about halfway through the drawing I was doing, so I took some photographs and decided to finish up in my room, but it just wasn’t the same. The colours were, of course, different, and the jungle-y garden looked different. (The drawing I was doing, btw, is the third one from the top here.) So I covered up as much as possible, covered the rest of me in aciete de citronela, and went back out there. Half an hour later I was done. And so were the doctor flies. A couple of bites, one on the hand, another on the thin area of skin between my jeans and the hem of my t-shirt that must’ve been exposed for a few seconds.
I would be leaving the next day, so packed up my backpack (I like being organised and ready to go), and about to take a shower, stood looking through the window at a couple of awesome woodpeckers pecking wood on a tree behind my room. They had red heads. They were lovely. Kate, Ian, and I went out to have a few beers and some food at a place in town called Asha’s. It was a wooden place on stilts over the water. It was nice to spend some time with them away from the place they run, and work at seven days away. There’s a joy in having friends in places around the world. It’s great to know you can go and visit them, catch up, and that. But it’s always sad knowing you won’t see them as often as you’d like.
Next morning, I said goodbye to Kate, and Ian gave me a lift into town to get the bus to my next destination.
I had a pretty boozy night a couple of Saturdays ago, and didn’t get to bed until around 5.30 a.m. The next day, the Diablos Rojos had a doubleheader beginning at noon. If you do the maths, the answer is “never in a million years am I going to arrive on time.”
And that was the case. I woke up, had coffee and some bread, put on last night’s clothes (mmmm, delightful) and traipsed to the subway.
I arrived at Foro Sol around 1.30 p.m., top of the 5th inning. It was the last regular season game, and it was pretty busy. I went to the section I usually sit in, and saw the beer vendor who I see every game. He was, like, “where the fuck were you?” He said it with a smile, shook my hand, put his arm around my shoulder and pointed to the ass of an attractive woman walking by.
I told him I had a hangover, I got a Coke from him, and took a seat.
A while later, he was bringing drinks to a family near me, and I asked him for another Coke. He came over, quizzical concerned look on his face, and asked why I didn’t want beer, did I feel bad? I told him I felt like shit.
He gestured and said “one minute” and hurried off to talk to a guy sitting a couple of sections over.
He came back holding a small plastic Canada Dry ginger ale bottle. It had about an inch of liquid in the bottom. “Drink it.”
It was tequila. And, damn it, if I didn’t feel better straight away. Maybe it was the tequila, maybe it was the fact that someone who is paid to work at the baseball stadium took the effort to do something so friendly and thoughtful.
I thanked him, and ordered a beer. He told me I didn’t need to thank him, “you’re my brother” and slapped me on the shoulder.
Seven years ago today, I went to a baseball game for the very first time. I’ve written about it over at The Score’s Getting Blanked blog.
Belize is a country I have come to know relatively well, in as much as one can know a place by being a tourist there. I just returned from my fourth trip to the country, and have now spent a total of six weeks in the country. There are times there when I wonder why the hell I keep going back. But there are also times when I imagine that I’d enjoy spending a longer chunk of time there to let the place really sink in. (The lack of decent Internet speeds, and the measly 30-day tourist visa are probably the main reasons for not really bothering to investigate what it would take to spend three or four months there.)
The last time I visited, I looked for flights direct from Mexico City to Belize City, and there were none, so ended up taking a ridiculous route via El Salvador and Costa Rica. This time, I did what I should’ve thought about doing before: flying to Chetumal, about 4 hours south of Cancún, and about 10 km from the border with Belize.
In the last few months, I’ve taken brief trips to Puebla and Oaxaca, and both times, enjoyed that feeling of having my backpack on, going to the bus station and waiting then heading off. I enjoy bus stations. They’re totally better than airports. That first day of my trip, though, had the potential to be a relatively stressful one. I didn’t have much wiggle room when it came to flight or border crossing delays if I was to get to the Corozal (the closest “big” town across the border) to get a bus to Belize City that would allow me to get the last bus of the day to my ultimate destination, Punta Gorda, right in the south of Belize.
The trip started off in the worst possible way: my upstairs neighbours (I don’t know their names, but lets call them Cunt and Twat) were having one of their idiotically loud parties. Despite previous complaints, and an assurance from them that they’d give me prior notice to any more of their parties, they keep on failing to bother. I’ve been in this apartment for three-ish months. They’ve had seven all-night parties in that time. And I’m not talking about a regular loud-ish party; I’m talking full-on massive sound system and lights, and going on until well into the next day. It was already 1.30am when I got home from having a few drinks with friends, so no point in even contemplating the possibility that they would turn the music down. I turned right around, and went back to my friend’s house, had another couple of beers and got three-ish hours sleep on the sofa.
For some reason, I decided to not take a taxi to the airport. Took the subway. A bit of a delay on the first two connections. A bigger delay on the next one. Arrived with about ten minutes until the flight closed. Got through the queue to check in with the gracious help of people in front of me in the queue. (The airline I was using doesn’t have individual desks for specific flights.) Exhale. The flight spent a wee bit too long waiting to get onto the runway, but in the end, it was a smooth one, arriving in Chetumal on time.
The airport in Chetumal is small. And, the good thing about those airports is the way you walk off the plane down some stairs and you can feel like the Beatles or a president for a few moments. Plus, arriving in a town on the Caribbean coast, you get the brilliant blast of heat. My backpack was one of the first on the carousel, out the door, “taxi!,” and straight to the Mexican side of the border. Got the exit stamp on my passport, then did what I’d been looking forward to ever since I booked the flight: walked across an international border.
There’s about a kilometre or so between the place where you enter/exit Mexico and the place where you enter/exit Belize. The Mexico border dudes are closest to the border. Just a hundred metres or so walking along the edge of the road until you are on a bridge crossing a river, the actual border between the countries. On the Belize side, there’s a few food places, a shitty-looking mall and a casino. I guess you’re technically in Belize there, but as I’d exited Mexico, and not yet had my passport stamped to be allowed to enter Belize, where am I at that point? I mean, if Belize were to refuse you entry, and then Mexico did the same when you tried to return, what would happen to you? Where would you be?
Something else that exists before you reach the immigration thingy, is taxi drivers looking for business. Friendly guy honed in on me, telling me he’d take me to Corozol for 20 US dollars. (In Belize, US currency is valid. One US dollar is equal to two Belizean dollars.) I bullshitted, told him a “friend” had told me it was 20 Belize dollars. He said he’d split the difference and take me for 30 Belize. After we’d agreed on that, I found out he wasn’t the driver. He was just the pimp. A Latino guy was the driver, and his pal, an old fella with greying dreadlocks sat in the front, me in the back. They drove me to the immigration point. This was a few drive through areas, like toll booths, and an office off to the side. I got out of the cab, went into the office. I was the only visitor in there. The immigration guy asked why I was there. Holiday. Noted that I’d been before. I love it here. Asked about the London Olympics. Don’t really care that much about it. Then we had a wee chat about the Belizean team. He didn’t know how many athletes would be going. (I just checked: they have just three competitors attending: Kenneth Medwood in the men’s 400m hurdles, Kaina Martinez in the women’s 100m, and Eddermys Sanchez in the men’s 66kg judo.) Kinda got the feeling he would happily have had me standing there chatting for ten minutes. A quick buzz through customs, and I’m back in the cab, chatting with the two chaps. Both of them awesome. We talked about the Queen’s jubilee. Belizeans seem to love her, and I found out why. Back in the day, Guatemala wanted Belize. They thought it belong to them. British Honduras as it was then known, had its borders protected by British troops. Thus, the Queen-lovin’.
The worrying about the tight wiggle room with getting to where I wanted to go turned out not to be anything to worry about. I was well over an hour early, had a Coke at the bus station, and got on the 11am bus from Corozal to Belize City. Buses in Belize are old American school buses. Like the ones you see in films. They don’t have a huge amount of leg room, or luggage room (it’s all just stashed in a wobbly pile at the back where one of the seating benches is missing), and they’re not overly comfortable. And they have music playing really loud. (During the journey we heard a lot of reggae. And in the middle of all this proper reggae: “All That She Wants” by Ace of Base.) The bus set off, but we’d not got more than half a kilometre before we were stopping to pick up another passenger. This was repeated quite a lot. If you want to get the bus, you don’t need to go to a station or a bus stop, you just stand at the side of the road and get on.
The bus stopped in Orange Walk, the only major town on the route to Belize City. It filled up to the point where there were ten or so standing passengers. A guy sat next to me. An Indian guy who’d been living in Belize for a couple of years. I could tell, as I sat in the window seat, that he kept looking at me. Like he wanted to talk. And when I glanced over at the other side of the bus, he started chatting. I took my headphones off, had a brief get-to-know-you chat, who where why what. He asked about night clubs in England. Pause. Then he asked if there were any “naked clubs” in England. I told him, that, yes, there are places to see naked girls dancing in England. He told me there were none in Belize. I asked him if there were naked clubs in India. He looked shocked that it was even necessary to ask such a question. No, there were not any naked clubs in India. Then he rambled a bit about the conservative nature regarding such things in India, and out of nowhere, told me the law was very harsh in India regarding rape. Err, what the fuck!? There was a moment where I wondered if I was sat next to a rapist. The conversation was very stop-start. We’d discuss a topic, be silent for a minute or so, then he’d come back with another question.
“Have you ever had sex with a black girl?”
I have not.
“Don’t do it in Belize…. baaaaad.”
Pause for a minute.
“Have you ever had sex with a Mexican girl?”
I have, yes.
“Did you pay for it?”
Three hours after leaving Corozal, the bus pulled into the station at Belize City. It’s not the nicest place in the world, the bathroom was disgusting, and I got the feeling that straying too far from the outside of the station would have me walking around neighbourhoods that I shouldn’t be walking around. I’d missed breakfast, only had a mini packet of crisps and a coffee on the plane, so ate a burrito at the bus station. It was about 90% tortilla which was welded to the greaseproof paper it came wrapped in. An hour or so later, the bus heading for Punta Gorda pulled in. There was the polar opposite of an orderly queue to get on the bus. A couple of younger fellas jogged to the back of the bus to open the back door and bypass the queue. I followed them and got a seat. The bus pulled out of the station, rammed full of people. As we got onto the street, someone outside the bus was shouting at the driver to stop. A girl of maybe 11 or 12 was running to jump on the bus. One of the passengers shouted the girls name. It was her mother. She’d gotten on the bus without one of her children.
Soon after we left Belize City, about eight hours since I left my apartment, I started to get that feeling. That lovely travelly feeling. My mind was emptying of all the normal stuff. Just staring out of the window at the landscape, the houses, the small villages. We headed inland first to the capital, Belmopan, and then back through a more jungle-y landscape towards the coastal town of Dangriga. It was lovely looking to see jungle again. There’s very little in life that makes me feel something inside like seeing jungle. There was obviously no air conditioning on the bus, and with the windows open, the smell of another country, another landscape blew in. A smell of heat, humidity, trees and plants, smoke from fires in villages. The bus was half empty after we left Dangriga. Now heading more or less directly south, this final part of the journey was long and dark. After being on a full busy bus all the way from the very top of the country, with ten or so remaining passengers heading to Punta Gorda (the most southern town of any size), it was really beginning to feel like heading to the last tube station on the line. Which it was. Around 9.30, the landscape became familiar. The barely-lit highway turned into yellow sodium-lit street heading into Punta Gorda, a town I’ve been to three times before. It was a feeling like that when, as a child, you fall asleep in the back of the car, and wake up when you are nearly home, and you know that you will be in bed shortly. I got off the bus in the centre of Punta Gorda, got in a cab, and head a couple of kilometres out of town to Hickatee Cottages, where I’ve stayed every time I’ve been in the town. It was fantastic to be back, to see Kate and Ian, my friends who run the place, again. Sixteen hours of travelling, and I was sat on the verandah, having a beer, chatting away. And then, it was time to sleep. Sleep in a lovely small cottage with the jungle all around and a thunderstorm that shook the building, and rain hitting the leaves of the jungle. When I can’t sleep normally, I’ll go to YouTube and find one of those rain sounds videos, dim the computer screen, and fall asleep. I did not need YouTube, I had the real thing.
It’s been a couple of week since I got back from Belize. As part of my efforts to not spend much non-drawing time using my electronic devices, I made notes about the trip with a pencil in a notebook. Thus, it’s not just a matter of copying and pasting blog posts about the trip. But, that’s kinda nice. It means I read my notes, and relive things a little, extending the vacation feeling just a little bit. More about the trip over the next week or so.
If you have any passing interest in U.S. politics, you’ll know that critics of Mitt Romney will point to how often he’s changed his mind about things. The right tried it – successfully, I guess – when John Kerry was the Democratic candidate, and accused of being a “flip-flopper.” I’m no fan of Romney, he seems thoroughly unqualified to be in charge of a country, but I find it interesting that in the world of politics, changing your mind is seen as a horrible sin that leaves you open to attack. The funny thing for me is when we have any sort of discussion, where there are two or more people arguing different sides, both are trying to convince the other that they are right. In politics, it seems to have (d)evolved into some sort of ugly PR who-comes-out-looking-best thing, rather than making a good, solid point. In other areas of life, if you accept new ideas and alter the way you think, it’s likely to be an advantage. But not in politics.
What got me thinking about this was when it crossed my mind that hypocrisy (misspelled and then auto-corrected by my iPod to “hippo racy”) is kind of like changing your mind constantly and simultaneously. You know when you have those cardboard discs attached to string, and when you spin it quickly, the red side and yellow side are spinning so fast, all you see is orange? That’s what I think the brain is doing when it’s being hypocritical. Kinda. Maybe not, but that’s how I think of it.
The older I get, the more I realise that I am hypocritical quite a lot in the way I think about things and people. For a long time, I’ve been interested in the idea that the people you dislike often are the ones you are most similar to, or display characteristics you dislike about yourself. It’s so easy to be hypocritical. And while I know it’s kinda wrong, I can’t help myself sometimes. Even when I try to lay out the arguments logically – like I hope to do shortly – I still can’t force my brain to not make a decision one way and stick to it.
The other night, I was at a baseball game here in Mexico City. One of the pieces of music played at every game, to gee up the crowd is “Rock and Roll, Part 2″ by convicted sex criminal Gary Glitter. The people at the baseball stadium here love that song. Everyone’s dancing, clapping, shouting “hey!” And amongst all these happy Mexicans, there’s one scowling Englishman who wants to photocopy leaflets and give them to everyone at the game, informing them that they are letting their children sing and dance to a song sung by a man who liked to look at pictures of naked children. Yet, I love the KLF. And will happily listen to “Doctorin’ the Tardis,” a song that uses a sample of the Glitter song. That’s easily justified in my mind: the KLF/Timelords song was sampled a long time before we knew of Glitter’s crimes.
But, something that is hypocritical, that I am unlikely to ever change in myself, is my love of the Gill Sans typeface. The letter G in the image at the top of this page is Gill Sans. The typefaces used in all of the books I have done is Gill Sans. I use it all the time on both Flip Flop Flyin’ and Flip Flop Fly Ball. Some old well-respected designer, I can’t remember his name, once said that a designer should only use three or four typefaces. I’ve found myself going more minimal than that, and pretty much only ever use Gill Sans. Gill Sans was designed in 1926 by a British chap called Eric Gill. Gill had an incestuous relationship with his sister, sexually abused his children, and fucked his dog.
Another hypocrisy example: Chris Brown. Hideous man. If you can stomach reading about such things, it’s worth reading the police report of what he actually did to Rihanna. And his subsequent, hey-can’t-we-all-just-move-on stuff is bullshit. Don’t care what his records or like, if they are good or not. He’s a twat. And then there’s Phil Spector. An utterly wonderful record producer. He made a handful of my favourite records. His Christmas album is just delightful. “He’s A Rebel,” “Be My Baby,” “Baby, I Love You,” “To Know Him is to Love Him.” Utterly fantastic. Yet he is currently in prison for murder. When he was married to Ronnie Spector, he seemed to behave like a psychopath, virtually keeping her prisoner. (If you like the music of the Ronettes and are interested, Ronnie’s autobiography, Be My Baby, is a good book.)
Both of these examples of hypocrisy seem to not hinge on what the people did, but what they produced. Gary Glitter: stodgy glam rock. Eric Gill: a beautiful typeface. Chris Brown: fairly run-of-the-mill modern pop music. Phil Spector: some of the greatest pop songs ever. It seems so wrong to me that I can make that distinction in my head. But I can and do. Very easily. I wish I knew why. But I guess, really, isn’t hypocrisy something we learn very early in life? How are we expected not to grow up being hypocritical when, as a child, we are told to “do as I say, not as I do”?
Five Things I Could Do with a Certain Degree of Confidence Were I to Be Named in Tonight’s Yankees Line-up
Five Things I Could Do with a Certain Degree of Confidence Were I to Be Named in Tonight’s Yankees Line-up
Swing my bat standing in the on-deck circle
Tap the catcher’s shin guards with my bat
Have my ass patted by the first base coach
Chat with the first baseman
Argue with the umpire
Five Things I Absolutely Could Not Do with a Certain Degree of Confidence Were I to Be Named in Tonight’s Yankees Line-up
Hit the ball
Field the ball
Steal a base
Not have a beard
Spit sunflower seed shells without them dribbling down my chin
For a while now I’ve been keeping a note of the misheard and/or misspelled names I’ve had in Starbucks and other places since living in Mexico. I’ve also been taking photos of a bunch of them too. It’s time to put them online all in one place. So should you give a monkeys about such things, you can see them here: http://flipflopflyin.com/wreck/
My local supermarket is about as local as one could wish for. It’s directly across the street. I can leave the house to get milk in the morning in flip flops, shorts, and without having washed or brushed my teeth should I so desire. (I so desire.) It’s kind of a shitty supermarket. I think you can tell a lot about a supermarket by walking straight to the refrigerated deli section. Do they have hummus? No? Shitty supermarket. Shitty supermarkets also tend to sell those DVDs with three movies packaged together that feature the same C-list actor for just 50 pesos. Anyway, the Sumesa supermarket across the street is shitty, but it’s across the street.
This evening, around 8pm, I went over there. I wanted bread and a six pack of cervezas. It was relatively busy, they had three cashiers working, which is pretty much the maximum I’ve ever seen working at the same time, even though there are six checkout things. (An aside: you never ever see all cash register aisle thingies working these days. I remember when I was a kid, we’d go do the big weekly shop at Asda, and it seemed like every one else was doing it to, so they’d have like 20 or 30 cashiers working, typing in the price of each thing by hand, not just scanning the barcodes.)
I picked the checkout row nearest to me. The other two seemed to have lots of people with a few things, but my row just had a few people with lots of things. Whatever, I’ll take the nearest one, I’m not really in any rush. This is what happened.
The lady in front of me was around 50 and had copper-coloured hair and copper-coloured skin. She was holding one brown bag from the bakery part of the store. The lady in front of her had orange-hair and a trolley full of stuff . She was a pensioner. The lady in front of her, who was about to be served, was the orange-haired lady’s daughter. The copper-haired lady asked the orange-haired lady if she could sneak in front of her, because she only had one thing. She said yes. She saw me there with just two things and turned away. (It’s a tough one, that, though; if she let one person through, she’s not really obliged to let everyone through not matter how much I was eye-guilting her.) Copper-haired woman, though, was a minor Trojan horse. The moment she got in front of the two trolley-ed mother and daughter double act, her husband appeared from nowhere cradling a bunch of stuff in his arms. Five or six items. Well, that’s just taking the piss. Not the amount as such, just that the missus had specifically used the “I have one thing” gambit to get in front.
Anyway. The daughter started unloading her trolley. Another older lady behind me, in her 60s, skin like raw chicken, hair like a flourish of golden sunlight (not really, it was like straw), had some chops wrapped in cellophane on a polystyrene tray. She thought the second trolley was mine because orange-haired lady was in front of it helping her daughter empty the first trolley. She asked if she could go in front of me because she had one thing. I said that I only have these two things myself, so, no you can’t you cheeky fucking cunt. Words to that effect, anyway.
The daughter, had emptied the first trolley. The mother was removing items from the second trolley. And they started having the cliché old lady discussion, “No, I’m paying for that,” “No! I’m paying for it.” Eventually they got that sorted out. The daughter would pay for virtually everything apart from some cakes and a plastic dog bowl. The chicken-faced lady behind was chuntering away impatiently the whole time. At one point, she jinked past me, to help the orange-haired lady get yoghurts outs of the trolley. The orange-haired lady looked a little surprised at that. I reached for a Kit Kat from the temptation racks next to the conveyor belt. Not because I wanted a Kit Kat particularly, just that one more item would probably annoy Chicken Face a little bit.
The first-trolley lady had paid and was stood watching the packing person pack her stuff, like the Queen of fucking Sheba. Orange-haired lady checked the price of everything as it was scanned. The plastic dog bowl was 29 pesos. No, she said, it should be 22 pesos. Chicken Face was into a pissed-off monologue by now, like a crazy person. She kept trying to engage the bored-looking and overly-gelled teenage cashier boy. He smiled weakly as he called for a price check. Another bored-looking teenager came along to look at the item. Cashier boy showed him. Orange-haired lady pointed to it, too. And told him where it was in the store. She kept on telling the cashier exactly where he should be going. No, right. A bit further. The other chap came back walking slower than a slow thing. He had a different dog bowl. The cashier scanned it. This different, smaller one was 22 pesos. Orange-haired lady consulted with the daughter. Yes, they should buy the cheaper, smaller dog bowl. Good. Her points card was in her purse. She needed to find it. Which one is it? Her daughter told her that it’s the orange one.
Beep, beep, beep. Bread. Beer. Kit Kat. One hundred-odd pesos. I had the approximate amount of change in my hand. A few seconds going through it; passed it to the cashier, told the packing person that I didn’t need a bag, got my receipt, and I was done.
I walked out of the supermarket, screwing up the receipt as I left and Blake Griffin-ed it into the bin next to the entrance. I walked across the street, walked up the stairs, unlocked the door, put the bread on the side, five of the six beers in the fridge, opened the sixth beer, and sat down and watched the Cardinals and Mets play baseball on my computer screen. Not, y’know, players all stood on top of my computer; I watched a live broadcast of the game. And my life went on, as it rightly should.
Some photos of the baseball games I went to in Oaxaca.
Chris Brown is so sexyy
Chris brown is fucking sexy.
Chris Brown is so damn sexy!
Chris brown is tooo damn sexy …
Chris brown is sooo hot
Chris Brown is so fuckin hot
Chris Brown is Soo Hot<3
Chris Brown is pretty hot.
chris brown is so fineeeeee!
Chris Brown is fiiiinnneeeee as hell
Chris Brown is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooodamn fine :)
Chris Brown Is Some Fine Caramel!!
Chris Brown is in the building
Chris brown is in the building
Chris Brown is on the building!
chris brown is in the boulding.
Chris Brown is the king of Pop.
Chris Brown is the prince of RnB!!
Chris Brown is a really good dancer
Chris Brown is like jesus to me.
chris brown is a singer
Chris brown is perfecto! <3
Chris Brown is oh so soothing
Chris Brown is a modern day Sisqo
Chris Brown is my idol.
Chris Brown is my role model
Chris brown is really an inspiration.
Chris Brown is the master of my soul!
Chris Brown is a worthless fucking scumbag
All lines from this poem culled from searching "Chris Brown is" on Twitter.
Note: it feels like picking low-hanging fruit to do a Twitter search poem of the things said about Chris Brown. He’s a moderately talented musician, a pretty good dancer, and, it would seem, a hideous human being. But he has a lot of fans, many of whom are more than willing to overlook his failings as a person simply because he is physically attractive.
More Twitter search poems here.
pigging out on Moroccan food
Pigging out on Cambodian
pigging out on Mexican
pigging out on Indian!!
pigging out on a burrito
Pigging out on pizza
Pigging out on noodles
pigging out on fajitas
pigging out on brownies
Pigging out on Chinese
Pigging out on strawberrys
Pigging out on some Portuguese cheese
pigging out on Wendy’s
Pigging out on burger King
Pigging out on Mcdonalds
pigging out on buffalo wings
pigging out on porfiteroles
pigging out on cupcakes
pigging out on oreos
Pigging out on chocolate and milkshake
pigging out on spagetti on toast!
pigging out on subway
pigging out on Mac and Cheese
pigging out at a buffet
Pigging out on mangoes!
Pigging out on fruit
pigging out on cereal
pigging out on froot loops
Pigging out on leftovers
Pigging out on sushi
pigging out on a huge cheese plate
pigging out on KFC!
pigging out on curry
pigging out on pizza hut
pigging out on bacon
pigging out on donuts
pigging out on nacho’s!
pigging out on apple pie
pigging out on cheesy puffs
pigging out on french fries
Pigging out on pickled onions.
pigging out on soda
pigging out on dim sum
pigging out on the sofa.
More Twitter search poems here.
You know what’s awesome? Cheese.
You know what’s awesome? Leaving work early.
You know what’s awesome? Being a virgin.
You know what’s awesome? Elbow sweat.
you know what’s awesome? jello shots.
You know what’s awesome? Magical unicorns.
You know what’s awesome? Earth Wind & Fire.
You know what’s not awesome? A papercut on your knuckle.
You know what’s awesome? My mom
You know what’s awesome? My new phone
You know what’s awesome? My spider-man blanket
You know what’s awesome? Nothing.
you know what’s awesome? Mustaches.
you know what’s awesome? DINNER.
You know what’s awesome? Lightsabers.
You know what’s awesome? Kicking dudes.
you know what’s awesome? life
you know what’s awesome? kitties.
You know what’s awesome? Nothing.
you know what’s awesome? Me!
Poem edited from searching for the above term on three separate dates: 4th August 2010, 17th May 2011, and 7th May 2012.
More Twitter search poems here.
There’s something very appealing about old futuristic houses that are in a less-than-perfect, slightly crumbly, state of repair. This is in Puebla, Mexico.
Radiohead, Foro Sol, 18 April 2012.
It was good to hear There There, but aside from that, they were average. They need to get out of their arses and realise the glitchy songs don’t really have a place when you’re playing to a jillion thousand people in a baseball stadium. But then, I thought their last album was shit, and they played a bunch of songs off it, so, y’know. I got drunk, though, so that was good.
Pulp, Palacio de Los Deportes, 23 April 2012
Way way way better than Radiohead. First time they’ve ever played in Mexico. Crowd so into it. And it’s rare I feel any patriotic pride for my home nation, but there was something so amazing about hearing songs with lyrics about things which seem so local, so British – woodchip on the wall, for example – being sung by 10,000 Mexicans. I got drunk again.
Bars need tables. Normal tables. The sort of tables you can eat a knife-and-fork meal off. In my opinion the worst thing that happened when bars got all fancy was the introduction of sofas and coffee tables. Kinda makes sense in a nightclub: you’re more relaxed, and they are obviously better for any copping-off opportunities. But in a bar, where people tend to begin the night sober and you might want to have a conversation with your friends, the sofa and coffee table arrangement is awful. Just think of how easy a conversation is around a regular table. You can pull your chair in, lean on the table, drink, and your heads are relatively close together. They are built to enable socialbility. The sofa and coffee table arrangement, though, totally retards sociability. The only people you can talk to in any comfort are the people either side of you. If you are having a conversation with someone on a sofa on the other side of the coffee table, all comfort that the sofa is there to provide disappears. Particularly because the type of bars with sofas tend to also have louder music. You have to raise your voice. Making everything even louder. So everyone raises their voices, and they scooch to the edge of the sofa and lean forward (rendering the original comfortable intention of the sofas redundant; a regular dining chair is way more comfortable than perching on the edge of a sofa), still with a huge coffee table between you. It doesn’t promote conversation at all. Bars need normal tables.