Bloke Walks Into A Bar

Trip Start Jun 01, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Malaysia  ,
Monday, October 23, 2006

"Here's to alcohol; the cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems"

-- Homer Simpson

We spent three nights on Perhentian Kecil, staying in the cheapest place on the island. We arrived at the end of the High Season, and a lot of places were closing down. We hooked up with Tanya and Paul, a lovely couple from Australia and England respectively.

We had to keep an eye on our cash because there are no ATMs on the island or cash advances, and if we weren't careful the only way we'd be able to get off is by doing favours for sailors.

Still, we managed just fine. At night we would eat barbecued fish on the beach, freshly caught that day. One night I had Shark - which is a moral issue in it's own right. On the one hand, scuba divers campaign against eating sharks as it reduces the number that they can see. On the other hand, whilst I have nothing against the other fish on offer; barracuda, kingfish and so on, I hate sharks. It made sense to me to eat a shark, as if I am ever killed by one at least I'll die knowing I got in their first. A preemptive strike, if you will.

The place we were staying in was closing down, so our water was unreliable, the power only came on when it felt like it, and by the last night everyone who worked their had left and gone back to the mainland. But, like I say, it was cheap. And it was nice having it all to ourselves, without even the staff.

On the last night, we were having a pretty quiet one as our pennies were dwindling. We were wondering how we were going to get to the nearest ATM with our rather dismal amount of cash - when we noticed a Visa sign in the restaurant, and the good times just reignited.

Although it was midnight, and although we were leaving the next morning, and although Tanya and Paul went off to bed, Vinny and I allowed this sudden windfall to get the better of us and went up to the bar at the top of the hill for 'one quick drink'.

The bar at the top of the hill was crowded, and we got our drink and sat down. Moments later though we were asked to join a group of ten or so who were playing drinking games. Now, Vinny and I are always willing to demure to social niceties, so we agreed.

Within minutes it was clear that we were nowhere near drunk enough for this table, so rather than leaving we bought another bottle of whiskey. In the blur of recollection I'm not sure what the game was about, but it involved pretending to be an animal and not nearly enough drinking. For what it's worth, Vinny was a snake (an excellent full body slither) and I was a chameleon (went and hid behind a chair).

I also remember regaling some poor Swedish girl with my wonderful grasp of the Swedish language (I know four phrases. Three of them are gold, but you don't get very far with "Adventure, excitement... A Jedi craves not these things").

I have no idea who the people were that we spent the evening with, but they were probably great. Two more bottles of whiskey later it was time for bed.

We hadn't been this drunk in ages. It will please our Mothers no end to know that, since our slightly energetic trip through Europe, the pair of us have behaved like judges who are also missionaries who also do charity work and are allergic to alcohol.

The walk back from the bar up the hill was interesting for two reasons. The first was that Vinny fell into a bush. Completely understandable - for it was pitch black and these bushes do have a nasty habit of sneaking up on you.

The second happened whilst I was waiting for Vinny to remove himself from the bush. I had stopped outside a wooden shack and decided to lean against the door to steady myself.

Now, you know that scene from Only Fools And Horses where Delboy falls through the bar hatch?

This was nothing like that.

I fell through the unlocked door and managed to cut my head open on the door frame. I was sat rather puzzled for a while (afterwards I would express relief that the shack wasn't occupied by a sleeping Malaysian family), trying to work out why my head hurt and why my hands were covered in blood.

Then Vinny came to the rescue. Well, I say rescue. He kind of stood over me laughing. Which got me laughing. Everything was just fine.

We found our way back to our shack where Vinny performed a remarkable, if rather drunken, examination of my head wound and decided that all was well. We slept.

The next morning we were awoken by Tanya shouting through our open window that the boat was leaving in ten minutes.

Fortunately, we were both still dressed (although my face, t-shirt and shorts did have a kind of dried blood motif) and were able to pack in six minutes.

There is a moral to every story of course, which may very well be that alcohol is the devil.

I like to look a bit deeper though, and it seems that the moral of the story is that the human body is remarkable under pressure... Neither of us were sick on the boat.

So that's nice.
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