Stare at a computer screen long enough and I swear your mind becomes a mass of white noise. Which pretty accurately describes this evening – too many interesting links, blogs to follow up on and general clickery and I become an excitable puppy, unable to concentrate on anything long enough to really function. Blogging becomes an even harder task, as coaxing my thoughts into a structured story of any sort is akin to herding cats. Which was why I went instead to go and rummage through the part of my cupboard where I store all of the goodies from past travels, to see if there is a story that I may have written previously on one of the various diaries I took with me to the places where the Internet has yet to arrive.
I am sure the Vietnamese word for fool must be in those pages somewhere.
It’s a fascinating cupboard, with all manner of interesting bits and bobs having made a home in there over time. There is a lanyard from the World Debating Championships in Thailand, a pink patient record book which (in Vietnamese) records that I sustained something akin to second degree burns to my legs after sitting on top of a boat from Cambodia in the full sun without any protection. I am sure the Vietnamese word for fool must be in those pages somewhere.
There are also one or two old diaries which have made that space their home as well. Tatty old books of various sorts, usually purchased at stationery shops, street vendors, or wherever happened to be nearby, they have each served to record interesting thoughts or things I wanted to write about when my laptop, or Internet, or both, were absent. They have many complete or near-complete stories, most of which have long since been transcribed onto this blog. Occasionally though, a story, or a fragment of a story remains to be found – lurking between coffee stains and scrappy writing. Sometimes it’s just a phrase or an idea on a page which I thought was important at the time – sitting and looking at me with wide eyes and waiting for me to recall the context under which I originally wrote it. Or at least come up with a credible explanation for why I might have thought it important to remember. Tonight, just such an animal was staring at me from the diary I carried through Mozambique earlier this year.
Baby go crazy, break the rule. Oh oh there you go
Which seemed to me to suggest a song lyric of some or other variety. A quick consultation with the oracle that is youTube revealed that I was right. Listening to the song (as you may wish to do, to provide context to the impending recollection) takes our protagonist (that would be me) and his partners in crime (which would be this bunch plus Katherine – who is blog agnostic) to the evening of 2 January in Inhambane, Mozambique. Cue fuzzy memory fade effect.
We had originally been camping in Tofo, a smaller town to the east of Inhambane, until New Years, but after a rained out noncelebration, we had decided to hoof it to Inhambane, where we found a cosy little four bed dorm right behind a beachfront bar whose pizza and icy cold 2Ms (the local beer is called Dois M, because of the two M’s on the label – which actually, as I recall, stood for something else, but I digress). It was a little piece of paradise – in a large part because of having a day or two of not trying to chase chapas (minibuses) to get from one point to another. The ocean in front of the bar (in front of our cosy little four bed dorm) was similarly obliging in presenting us with a most pizza and 2M-appropriate sunset. Life was good.
Gradually, as it became darker, and we tired of entertaining the dog which appeared under our dinner table with an ick-smelling sock, it became apparent that a number of townsfolk were in the middle of gathering in and along the road that ran in front of the bar (that was in front of the cosy… you get the idea). At first, we thought it might just be a social end-of-weekend, watch-the-sun-go-down sort of thing. But once the sun had firmly gone down and the people remained, the smell of impending fun began to hang thick in the air, like the smell of an ick sock (now on the nose of the table-stalking hound).
It took the arrival of one car with big sound to manifest what was plainly on everyone’s mind. The two or so more which subsequently arrived, the pickup with dancing girls and the man who set up a DJ stand at the end of the road were absolute, if warmly-welcomed, overkill. The road in front of the bar had become one long bohemian celebration, to which our contribution was a comfy spot with a good deal of 2M and the fire poi that I had buried in my luggage.
Somewhere in all the revelry, I believe this song was playing. Which is how it happened to make it into the back page of the Mozambican diary, along with a pristine 2M label, folded like a pressed flower between the pages. After waking up in a wet tent the night before (ranking very high on my list of depressing mornings), that night in Inhambane marked a turning point in the week when the nonsense finally returned after a tiring stint in Tofo. Who would have thought that we would find a dorm cum bar cum street party in the seemingly quieter town of Inhambane on the night after New Years. Sometimes you just need to get off the beaten track, I guess.
Baby go crazy, break the rule. Oh oh there you go