Hot in Ho Chi Minh

Dinner in Ho Chi Minh
Negotiating the traffic of Ho Chi Minh

We had wandered into a little restaurant near the Ben Thanh market, right in the heart of Ho Chi Minh. We found seats where we could sit adjacent one another. Just days earlier the lovely Amy, girlfriend and companion in our six-month Asian adventure, and I had finally abandoned our professional lives in Melbourne.

We had spent the morning exploring a labyrinth of ramshackle laneways. First impressions were of a city well and truly on the move. The city felt alive. The air is hot and humid, life fast and busy. The hum of a million Motos was punctuated by a thousand different horns. This was Ho Chi Minh’s mood music.

Continue reading “Hot in Ho Chi Minh”

Furious flight of fancy

Furious Dragon Love harbour ambitions of becoming the greatest rock band the universe has ever known but will anybody ever know who they are?

Columbian Dave and Furious Dragon Love look to get the crowd involved.
Columbian Dave and Furious Dragon Love look to get the crowd involved.

Saturday afternoon and I sit in the Tote public bar with a pot of post-mix raspberry lemonade. Nursing a vicious hangover I wait to interview Ben ‘Cuz’ Cowsens and Jims Ingrams of Melbourne band Furious Dragon Love who just twelve hours before made an innocuous debut in the adStream Battle of the Bands competition held on the Greswin Room stage of St Kilda’s Esplanade Hotel. As the interview had been arranged at the gig a level of trepidation accompanies the wait: there was every chance that any memory of it had been erased from the memory of both boys by some substance or another.

Losing hope I am about to leave when the two wander in like two lost souls in search of a hug. I wave and they stumble over.  “Busy day”, sighs Cowsens.  Asked if they would like a drink Cowsens requests a glass of iced water with a pink umbrella and a squeeze of fresh lime juice and Ingrams demands a shot of tequila with lemon and salt. I note the disappointment on Cowsen’s face upon my return. There is neither lime nor an umbrella in his drink, “Sorry mate, you know the Tote,” I mutter sheepishly. At this point Ingrams looks me in the eye and says, “Jims Ingrams will now demonstrate his skill”. Pouring a large portion of salt onto the back of his hand he takes the tequila in the other. Tequila lick-sip-suck I assume, it’s early in the day but by hey.  Much to my surprise, he proceeds to snort the salt, gulp the shot down, squirt the lemon in his eye and at the top of his lungs shouts, “STUNTMAN!”  I must say I am impressed, now that’s rock and roll. However, it isn’t long before Ingrams begins to look a little queasy.  Making a desperate grab for Cowsens glass of water he merely manages to knock it over onto the table.  “Jims Ingrams will be back in a minute,” he stutters as he stumbles towards the toilet. “Always, trying to show-off” Cowsens says with a shake of his head, “Shall we begin?”

Tit splitn' rock'n'roll : one of Furious Dragon Love’s promotional posters.
Tit splitn’ rock’n’roll : one of Furious Dragon Love’s promotional posters.

The band (or at least some members) seems intent on emulating the stereotypical rock’n’roll lifestyle propagated throughout the 1980’s and 90’s by bands such as Kiss and Motley Crue.  Upon his sheepish return from the a substantial stay in the toilet Ingrams declares, “Basically all Jims Ingrams and Furious Dragon Love want to do is rock out every night and fuck as many chicks as we can.”  This womanising hard living approach is definitely a strong feature of the band’s promotional material. One poster advertising their debut gig contained the tag line, ‘Fire Spittin. Ear splittin. Head kickin. Fight pickin. Whore stickin. Furious Dragon Love.’ Another featured a cropped image of a woman’s bare torso, breasts covered in mud accompanied by the tag line ‘Furious Dragon Love. Tit splittin rock n roll.’

Amidst today’s politically correct landscape many within the industry believe this approach is more likely to prompt disgust and resentment than attract the adulation of the gig-going music buying public. Prominent Australian music producer and staunch feminist Jenna Jameson stated as much, “The rock industry is full of infantile misogynists harbouring unrealistic aspirations for celebrity but I think the tastes of today’s record buying public have matured. Those types of bands (read Furious Dragon Love) don’t have a hope.” Cowsens seems unperturbed by such sentiments, “A comment like could only have come from a tight arsed bitch who hasn’t got on the good foot for a while, if you know what I mean. Give her half an hour of Furious Dragon Love and we’ll sure as hell change her tune. We’ll be the greatest band this universe has seen.” Pressed on whether that is a realistic goal for a band that only plays covers his reply is frank, “Only time will tell. You see, there are all these geezers out there, Franz Ferdinand, the White Stripes and Kings of Leon, and sure they put on a good show and their records have had multinational success but at the end of the day they’re all fuckwits. They aren’t trying to be the biggest act in the universe and that’s where we’re different.”

Ben ‘Cuz’ Cowsens gets the love from long time Furious hanger-on Scott ‘Scooter’ Holland.

This lack of modesty is echoed by Ingrams. Invited to assess the previous nights gig he says, “Jims Ingrams reckons Furious Dragon Love headlined and rocked out. Other than that the whole night was a complete fucking balls up.” I ask him to clarify the last comment but it is Cowsens who chimes in, “The boys have pretty regimented pre-gig routines. Jims and our long-time roadie Scott ‘Scooter’ Holland usually drink a couple of Red Bulls each, do some Charlie and then get stuck into the nude bocce. Columbian Dave and Capital Jay are right into their Connect Four and the Doctor is adamant that he is on the cusp of developing a viable perpetual motion machine. Me, I read, Proust or Tolstoy. Needless to say, we need a fair whack of gear to cater for all of that. We put in a rider request with the adStream organisers but the stupid twats fucked it up. Sent us a carpet bowls set rather than bocce. Jims had a massive freak out, locked himself in the toilet and started eating those yellow urinal cakes from the bottom of the pisser. Luckily Scotty managed to lure him out with a bag of chocolate covered teddy-bear biscuits.”

Ben ‘Cuz’ Cowsens embarks on a trademark solo
Ben ‘Cuz’ Cowsens embarks on a trademark solo

Despite the hiccup there is no denying that the boys from Furious did treat a sweat-soaked, boozed up Espy crowd to a lesson in rock. They teed off with Led Zeppelin’s Rock’n’Roll, followed by Black Sabbath’s Paranoid and an explosive performance of AC/DC’s TNT. A journey into the first file of the punk/pop catalogue the Ramones’ Blitzkrieg Bop delivered a welcome change of vibe. The pace was again quickened by the angry rock optimism of Rose Tattoo’s We can’t be beaten. A fitting end to the show was a classic belting of the Angels’ Am I ever gonna see your face again? The rock world waits with baited breath.

Furious Dragon Love have no concrete plans for forthcoming gigs.

Furious Dragon Love played in the Adstream Bonza Bash at The Espy, Melbourne on 24 November 2006. This is a piece I wrote afterwards.

Unemployed in Old London town

It has been a while between dispatches but I thought this was a story worthy of note.

I have been in Old London town for a couple months now. Like many an Australian before me I landed myself a job slaving behind a bar for board and minimum wage.

My pub gig at the Dick was a bit of a weird one. A franchise operation in Greenwich in which every penny was counted and every spillage noted. The general manager, Henry, is your typical, middle-aged English whinging twat, with a nasty streak to boot. The floor manager, Billy, is a Welshman, a former coal miner with shot knees and a massive drinking problem. I liked the grumpy old bastard on first sight.

Henry and Billy passed their days and years playing a game of cat and mouse where Henry tried to catch Billy out on his constant drinking (which by proxy was theft because he never paid for a drop). Billy was forced to go to extreme lengths to hide his drinking – I once caught him pouring the contents of the bar drip trays back into the lager barrels (needless to say I never drank the lager again).

The staff quarters were located above the bar on the first and second floors. Access was via an internal stairway. The rear courtyard was fully enclosed with no laneway access meaning that the only legitimate way in or out of the pub was via the front doors which – trustworthy though I am – I wasn’t given a key for.

It was an arrangement that proved to be quite inconvenient. In order to sleep in your bed you had to be home before the pub closed (11pm). There was also a strictly enforced “no guests” policy.

Two months had been spent trying to make a dent in my credit card debit, Thursday through Monday pulling pints, Tuesday and Wednesday labouring.

It was fair to say, my London life was starting do my head in. It was time to rattle the cage. I made some calls. Enter Honest Joel and Master Shackleberry. Two likely lads all the way from the antipode bush.

Being the site of London’s old docks, Greenwich has a pub on every corner. Our goal was to sample the fare of as many as we could in one day. A good old-fashioned pub-crawl:

10am, at the the Dick for breakfast pints. 11:30am, next door to the Union for brunch pints. 1pm, to the Mitre for bangers and mash for lunch washed down with a pint. High tea (pints and crisps) at  St Christopher’s. Up the hill to The Hill, to join the masses for “knock off” pints. And so it continued. The exact details of the night are a little hazy but at about 11pm Shacks caught the tube back to his digs in Wimbledon. I convinced Joz to crash on my floor back at the Lion, I had removed the dead bolts from the window in my room so it was simply a matter of scaling the front of the building and climbing in.

The night continued in earnest until we found ourselves in some dingy club that charged eight quid a drink. Realising that all the punters looked as if they had been smashed in the face by a shopping trolley we called stumps.

We wandered drunkenly back to the Lion. Joz gave me a leg up, allowing me to open the window and tumble in. Joz was about halfway up when I got a feeling in my waters. The night was about to take an interesting twist.

A “Rees, I think we’re nicked” from Joz confirmed as much.

Two Bobbys, on night patrol, deemed that it was their obligation to enquire as to the rationale behind a 3am climb into the first floor window of a pub by two piss-wrecked Australians.

It was my place of employment and abode, I explained.

Unconvinced, they sensibly asked why we had opted out of using the front door.

I outlined the complicated constraints of my accommodation arrangement at the Lion.

They understood but explained that were required to confirm my story with the manager.

I explained that would most likely cost me my job.

They understood but explained that were required to confirm my story with the manager.

I gave them Henry’s number.

They called.

A brief discussion ensued then Henry poked his head out of the second storey window.

He unleashed a frightful tirade.

I responded in kind.

In no uncertain terms, he told me that we would sort out our differences in the morning and he told Joz that the Lion’s doors weren’t open to lads of his sort.

This turn of events left Joz in a bit of a pickle. It was 4am on a cold, damp London night and he was a long way from his bed. Opting for the only sensible option, he decided to lodge an application for a night in the warmth and comfort of the holding cell.

Joz began his impromptu interview by conveying to Henry his initial impressions of him. He then proceeded to share his impressions of the two Bobbies with the entire neighbourhood. He capped this virtuoso performance with a fly kick to the back of the Bobby mobile.

I was impressed. I even think Henry was impressed. Unfortunately, the two Bobbies weren’t and to show this displeasure they decided not to arrest him. Instead, leaving him to the London cold.

Disheartened, Joz wandered off to get a minicab (so he said) and I closed my window and began to pack.

At 8:00am Henry and I briefly resumed our discussion from the previous night. At 8:08am my employment at the Lion was ceased by mutual agreement.

I bid farewell to Billy and made my way out.

Walking up the street I called Joz, he had slept in the train station elevator down the road, not as good as a holding cell but cheaper than a minicab.

The conclusion of a New World adventure

Well that’s it… the adventure is over … for a while.  I have finally arrived in England.  I am in an internet cafe in London, and I have a bit of time before the money runs out so I thought that I would share the last part of my American travels with you crazy kids…

From Belize I jumped a flight to Miami where I stayed the night.  Miami was an excellent choice, it offered all the creature comforts that the modern day retiree could want. It is like the Gold Coast only super sized, same as everything else in America. Everybody who lives there was born in New York, has spent about three decades too long in the sun and spend their days riding the bus looking for unsuspecting victims to tell how much better their life had been when they lived in New York.

The plan was to catch up with a friend who lived in the “small town” of Stuart (about 3 hours north of Miami and with a population of 130 000) before following my teen idols – Jason, Kylie and the entire 80’s cast of Neighbours – in seeking fame and fortune in the motherland. I caught the Greyhound up to West Palm Beach where I missed my connection to Stuart. I was planning on getting a hotel when K-Dog, a guy that I meet on the bus offered for me to crash on the floor of his mates house. The cheapest hotel I could find was about US$40 so it would have been rude of me if I didn’t. K-Dog had just got out of prison but seemed like a solid citizen who had fallen in with the wrong crowd. He showed me some of the poetry that he had written in prison, it wasn’t bad.

The next day I ventured up to the thriving metropolis of Stuart, where I spent a couple of days with Chris and Mike. Chris works at a mariner hobnobbing it with the rich and famous golf playing retirees of Southern Florida while her boyfriend Mike is a fire-fighter. I got to see the station that he worked at but was very disappointed to learn that there was no fire-pole.

Fire fighting in Stuart is no where near as good a deal as what they get in South Gippsland, there is no beer or bbq’s and you have to turn up on days other than Sunday. Lighting forest fires is even frowned upon. Although Chris and Mike’s eating habits were a little “alternative” they were really fantastic people and I had a banger of a time. I think that the best bit of my stay there was when Mike told me a ripper story that he had heard about a left-handed serial rapist named K-Dog.

So that’s it. The New World adventure had come to an end and it was time to head to England, the home of countless bad TV soaps, mushy peas and flat beer served at room temperature (which is not too bad).

Breaking of the fellowship

I think that you last joined us in the Lonely Planet’s Honduran darling, the city of Tela. Despite the allure of the Tela’s monkey-less lagoons and anaemic nightlight, Jozza and I decided head back to Tikal in Guatemala (word on the street was that there was some kick-arse ruins there). The trip took about 13 hours and had it all, about six changes of buses, corrupt boarder officials and a very uncomfortable ride in the back of a pick-up with two fat Guatemalan women who stalked Joel for the whole day (I think they liked the look of the cankles that he has been vigorously developing since hanging up the boots).

From Tikal we visited the Mayan ruins that are about an hour drive away. Fucking awesome, is the best way to describe them. It was here that we finally saw a monkey, no thanks to the Lonely Planet. A couple of days later in an internet cafe over a few beers, we listened to Roy and HG call the Roys (or the three Fitzroy players that remain from the so called “merger”) home in the Grand Final. It was also here that Joel and I went our separate ways. I was headed for Belize and he was going to bible camp in Mexico.

The fellowship was broken and while Joel tried to be strong, as the bus drove away I looked back to see him crying like a kid who had knackered himself on the frame of his BMX for the first time. Although this gesture was moving I was glad to be rid of him as I had not had a decent nights sleep for two months because of his serial snoring.

I arrived in Belize City later that day and stayed the night. It is not the most pleasant of cities, the whole city stinks because the sewage runs straight into the canals. Also, the masses there seemed to make a much bigger effort to take advantage of me than in the other cities that I had visited.

The next morning I caught a boat out to Caye Caulker were I did a couple of days diving. It was awesome, the worlds second largest reef and some of the best diving that I have ever done. Thousands of fish, sharks, rays and crayfish. Once again I wish I had a spear gun but Joel’s little incident with the Utilia scuba hippies was still fresh in my mind.

The continuation of Latin American adventure

Last time, our two heroes. Alone, in the wilds of central Honduras, were faced with a life or death decision…

stay on beer or switch to rum and coke.

What would they do? Who would they turn to? And so the adventure continues…

With so much riding on the choice they did the only sensible thing, ordered another two beers and considered their options.

After seeing some pretty impressive Mayan ruins, Joz and I decided to head for Tela on the Caribbean coast. We jumped on the bus and were on our way. I sat back and watched my fellow traveller’s throw their non-biodegradable rubbish out of the windows as we drove. This is a favourite pastime in Latin America, they love it. As Joel noted it would make Roy and HG proud to see the kiddies getting involved at a young age.

Things were going along smashingly until we hit San Pedro Sula, where we had to change buses. We walked to the other bus terminal and asked which bus went to Tela, one of the guys looked at us for a moment and then began yelling at us in super quick Spanish. One minute he was yelling at us and pushing us on to a bus and the next he was shaking his head and dragging us away from the bus. Then some other guys came and joined in the fun. It was a good old fashioned let’s fuck with the stupid Gringos session. We were confused and frightened. The two of us walked ten meters down the street and held an impromptu executive discussion, it was decided by majority that we head to La Ceiba instead, because it was easier. So we caught the bus to La Ceiba.

The next day we got up early and caught the ferry to the Bay Island of Utilia. Which is one of the coolest places on earth. They only have electricity for a couple of hours a day, three year old kids ride four-wheelers up and down the one dirt road at 60 kph, all the bars are on jetties and have no toilets so everybody just pisses off the side. But what stands out most of all is the extent of inbreeding among the locals. I don’t know if it is the Agent Orange from all the US Vietnam vets that live there or what, but it is amazing.

Utilia also has some fantastic diving, Joel went to hire some snorkeling gear and asked about hiring me a spear gun. For this he was kicked out of the shop, damn scuba hippies, all I wanted to do was slaughter some innocent fish and eat them.

After a couple of days we caught the ferry back to the mainland. We decided to give getting Tela another crack. Getting there was almost too easy. My Lonely Planet guidebook had given Tela a big wrap – something about a day trip to cool native villages and a lagoon full of monkeys. We headed out to take a look at this natural wonder. Stupid Lonely Planet, the villages were just the same as all the others and we saw no monkeys.

Tune in again next week to Survivor: Central America. When Rees learns of the Joel’s sordid past and his failed sex change attempt. How will this affect the morale of the tribe?

Guatemala, the land of disappointment

Looking back on our two weeks in Guatemala reminds me of the history of the St Kilda football club, one disappointment after another. We arrived in Guatemala City from the Mexican border – 6 hrs, 150km, everybody from infants to the elderly trying to sell you something, rubbish dumps in the middle of towns and suicidal bus drivers – the usual.

Guatemala City made downtown LA look like the MCG on grand final day (ok it wasn’t that bad but it was a bit of a rat-hole). We had a bit of a poke around then headed for Antigua, beautiful colonial architecture and home to countless language schools. Things were looking up… or so I thought. Joel and I had enrolled in for a week of Spanish School. After 25 hours of intensive study, I was positive at the very least I would be able to conduct international business in Spanish and woo the ladies like Liberace.

Oh, how I was mistaken, as far as I can tell there is no international business in Central America, Liberace was gay and I still struggle saying ‘gracis’ and ‘por favor’. During my first day of schooling, I developed a fever leaving me quite sick. I don’t know what was more disappointing, being bed-ridden for more than a week or the fact that I had pneumonia. I was in Central America for Christ’s sake, if I was going to be sick I wanted it to be with something cool like Malaria or Typhoid. Not pneumonia, only pensioners get pneumonia.

I was getting better and the weekend beckoned. We decided to do a half-day trip to Volcan Pacaya, an active volcano near Antigua. Now I don’t know about you guys but when I hear active volcano, I think “Liquid hot magma”.  Not quite while we were there, we got a long walk, some sulphur smelling smoke and some lukewarm pebbles.

The next day was National Independence Day. All of the locals had been talking it up, we had heard rumours that the drunkest person at the festivities got to chase people in the crowd wearing nothing but a paper-mashie bulls head with lit fireworks strapped to it. Joz and I agreed our attire was inappropriate for such a momentous occasion so we headed for the local op-shop. We picked up suits for Q$20 (about A$5). Mine, a three-piece pin-striped ripper. We were pumped and ready to go but all we found was a couple of families enjoying “quite time” with some crappy plastic flags, not a drunken bull-man in sight.  We ended up at some trivia night in one of the local pubs (Team Dick Toggs came a disappointing second). All the bars closed at 8pm and we walked home, disappointed once again.

Like the Australian Cricket Board’s stance with Mark Waugh, we thought that we would give Guatemala one more shot to prove itself at the highest level, so we headed to Panajachel on Lago de Atilian. It is a massive mountain lake surrounded my volcanos. It was very beautiful, but once again I couldn’t help but feeling a little let down. You would think that a 126 sq km lake would have some kind of man-eating mythical creature that had been sighted in it but never caught.

We left the lake yesterday and we are now in Honduras. Forgive the whiny, cynical tone of this post, I was sick. Guatemala was great and I would definitely recommend a visit. That said, I think I will have a more enjoyable time in Honduras, beer is half the price and we have already seen a cross-eyed cat.

Two Australian Gringo’s Mexican adventure

After our time in Oceanside Jozza and I arrived in Tijuana full of hope, of better times to come. Armed with Joel’s 1973 Mexican Lonely Planet and all the Spanish that you can pick up from a Speedy Gonzalez cartoon, we headed south.

About twelve hours into our first twenty-four hour bus ride we pulled to halt at a military checkpoint. It was about 2am and the nice man with an M16 made us have a go on the traffic light machine. It was great; I got the green light meaning that I got to keep going. Joel got the red light, so he got a full cavity search.

We got to Los Mochis and had a bit of a look around. Local’s friendly, beer not as cheap as you would think. Took the Copper Canyon railway to Creel. Where we held an international language convention with three nature love’n Germans, a couple of French girls, a homeless hippy from Brazil, a fucking nutcase from Slovenia and the two boys from the bush. As you would suspect English won out.

In Creel we had out first Tequila in a Mexican redneck bar, tried to impress the locals by doing them as Stuntman shots, a sniff of the salt, the shot, and a squirt of lemon juice in the eye later and we were looked at like fucking loco Gringo’s.

From Creel we embarked on a 30hr train/bus trip to Puerto Vallarto, Joel had a great time playing pirates while I slept. There we raced other buses on cobblestone streets, paid too much for beer and did some snorkelling. By this time my Spanish was picking up, I could now say ‘No, Gracis’ instead of ‘No’, much to the delight of the locals.

Headed from here to Zihuatenjo, which is a cool little fishing village, great markets and beaches, not an international tourist mecca yet. There we met some Canandian hippies. They were in perfect harmony with nature and their spiritual inner selves despite the fact that Ron still drove some Toyota sportscar that got half a mile to the gallon.

After a couple of days there we headed for the boarder and onto Guatemala. Our Mexican adventure was over. The country hadn’t seen such good times since the ’68 Olympics. The best thing about Mexico is that no matter where you go or what you do, two Mexican dudes with kick arse moustaches wearing white cowboy hats will be sitting on a rock or a roof watching your every move.

A lucky escape from sleepy Oceanside

We arrived in Oceanside, California at about 8am after an overnight bus ride from Merced via LA.  Joel and I were there to catch up with a couple of mates from back home, Jason and John. They were staying with Dave, a local surfing photographer.  We found out Dave’s address and walked there from the bus station. At first glance Oceanside, right on the beach, seemed nice, quiet and safe. Nothing bad could happen to two happy go lucky blokes from Australia… or so we thought.

We got to Dave’s place and unloaded our kit. There had been no swell for days so Johnny was pretty keen for a few drinks to celebrate our arrival. To the pub it was. It proved to be a constructive session; beers, conversation, a bit of Spanish was learnt and quickly forgotten. Good fun was had by all.

A club offering drink specials was our next port of call. The fun continued unabated long into the night. But there came a point in the early hours of the morning when a thought took root in the depths of my mind. The feeling grew until there was only one option left open to me. It was time to go walkabout.

I am not really sure but there was walking, a freeway, a fence and a fall. And then there was a police officer. He had received a call about a man in a blue shirt wandering the streets carrying a gun. I tried to explain to the officer that my shirt was not blue but he assured me that the stripes on it were blue. Lucky for me, I had left my piece in my other shorts.

I was patted down and given a seat on the curb. More police officers arrived and each one took delight in patting down the drunk Australian. I had a Victorian drivers licence and three bucks in my pocket.

Where was I staying? Ummm, Dave’s place in Oceanside.

It was the best I could manage but after prolonged questioning I managed to convince them that I could find the house. If not, it was to be the drunk tank for Rees Quilford Esquire. Good deal really. I was cuffed and escorted to the free taxi back to Dave’s house.

After the initial shock of seeing me, in handcuffs, being escorted up the stairs by one of Oceanside’s finest, Dave and Jason saw the humorous side of the situation. It turns out that I had had been on quite an adventure, wandering about 8 miles into one of the seedier parts of town. A place where bad things happen to drunk white boys walking by themselves.

The following day was filled with obligatory sightseeing, it was followed by a Saturday, the day when legends are made and broken. Dave’s brother Chris was planning to celebrate his 29th birthday. Johnny, Joel and myself decided that it would be rude of us not to assist him in his time of need. Word on the street was that the Violent Femmes where playing as part of the San Diego race day festivities, so that was were we intrepid travellers headed. For US$5 we had a day on the punt, saw the VF greatest hits playlist, not bad if that’s your bag. Then it was back to Oceanside for a night of chuckles.

Sunday followed, with the hard work of the weekend out of the way we shared a few hands of cards and a couple of cold cervezas, relaxed and reflected on memories past and future prospects. As is its nature, this innocent Sunday session led us to the bar. The night went along smashingly if not uneventfully – chatted to a few of the locals and had a few drinks.

It was around stumps that things started to go pear shaped. It seems that Joel had unwittingly managed to piss one of the local marine boys off. Not a bad effort since he couldn’t recall even talking to the guy. Obviously this dude didn’t like Jozza’s style, which as many would attest is fair enough.

Anyway we were standing at the ATM outside when he came charging across the street. Made a V-line straight for honest Joel. There was a bit of biffo with a bit of man cuddling (wrestling) thrown in for good measure. Security finally broke it up. The cops arrived and low and behold, my mate from the previous night was one of the attending officers. He told me in no uncertain terms what a silly sausage I had been.

I agreed, I had a black eye and Joel copped a few in the back of the head. Chapped knuckles were proof we did alright though.

We left Oceanside and headed for Los Mochis, Mexico. We had been out three nights and potentially life-threatening incidents occurred on two of them. I am not so sure that I like those odds. It was time to take the advice of my policeman friend and pull my head in.