Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Dog Poo And The Lamprais - Part One

It is with a generous dollop of trepidation that I bring you this post. I've been dwelling on the positives and negatives of sharing this story with the Sri Lankan blogosphere for a number of reasons and a number of weeks. Finally, I've concluded that you need to know, I need to get it off my chest and the plunge must be taken.

To those of you that think of me as a father figure and a island of wisdom in an ocean of pillocks I apologise. I hope you'll still be able to think of me as that person, even after hearing the tale. To those of you that think of me as a sex symbol and a DILF I apologise too. I know that will change. I'm ready, this is in the public interest. Let's go then. This is the most disgusting post I've written and sadly, every word of it is true. It's going to be a two parter, the details are important.

Whilst in Sri Lanka a few weeks ago I was invited to a fellow's birthday thing. I say "thing" because it was more of a gathering than a party. Some would say that I could have just said "gathering" to start with, but that would have been too easy. I say a "fellow" because I don't want to mention his name specifically, he might prefer to have his identity kept out of the frame. We'll just call him Dom, the photographer. If it's anonymity you want I'm your man.

I had left the girls at the hotel watching TV. They'd promised me, in that way that neither they nor I believed for a split second, that they would go to sleep at about 11. They were fed and watered, well spaghetti bolognaised, ice creamed and diet coked, and as keen for me to go out as I was.

I headed off in a hotel cab and arrived at Sansoni Mansions. There were quite a few well known Sri Lankan blogging and society faces milling around and all were having a highly jolly and sociable time. Java was there with the Dancer, Indi was there and Mr Posingis was around too. I've lost count of the number of occasions I've been in the company of both Messrs Posingis and Sansoni and I can't believe I've never asked one of them to take my picture, then I moan about the lack of photographic knowledge in passing Indian chaps whom I do ask to take my picture.

Interesting anecdotes were being shared with that customary Sri Lankan laughter ever present at these things. Oh, and no one understood my South West London accent, all quite normal.

In the middle of the proceedings one of the house canines approached me and started to sniff around. I tried to bluff my way through the situation but I can't claim to be comfortable in the vicinity of dogs. Ever since I was a young boy and a video of Lassie Comes Home fell on my head I've felt uneasy in their presence. Going into a video shop for me is a traumatic experience and driving past the Isle of Dogs here in London can bring me out in a rash and shivers.

Java spotted the situation developing and, remembering that I've blogged about my lack of dog fondness before, he laughed and teased me a bit.

"Ha" said Mr Jones. It was one of those "Ha"s that have a few exclamation marks. If it was music it would have been in staccato.

"You don't like dogs, do you Rhythmic?" he teased.

"Erm, well it's not that I don't like them, I'm just not a dog lover" I bluffed unconvincingly. I often find it hard to appear convincing when something's sniffing my balls. I expect David Blacker's used to it and can carry on a three way conversation with something or someone under the table doing its thing, but I'm not that up to that level of expertise.

"Pardon" he said, as he hadn't understood my South West London drawl.

Over the years I've gleaned considerable skill and knowledge about how to make myself understood to you foreign Johnnies, or Javas in this case, and I put all that to good use. I said exactly the same words, only about three times as loud. I find volume helps people to understand.

It did, though I'm not sure I managed to convince anyone in the room that I was going to be the next owner of Lassie. The dog continued to sniff around me as if I was an African going through the "nothing to declare" channel at Heathrow while my suitcase was leaking talcum powder and I smelled of old fish.

After a little while the thing lost interest in me. These things happen. At least this time there were no kids and houses involved. The animal moved on to other things and people and I carried on conversing with the guest list. It's important to be on your guard in these situations in case a Hi! mag photographer jumps out from behind a pillar or something. I made sure my hair was cool and my stomach was sucked in at all times. No paparazzi were evident, but what with Naz and the Dancer there the stomach sucking in was still worthwhile.

I guess glamorous women like them have a false view of mens' stomachs. They must think that we all have thin six packish stomachs all the time. Little do they know that the second they've gone we all relax and let the paunch hang out.

As the night drew to a close I phoned a cab, dropped and smashed the phone, reassembled it (with Mr Jones' help), said my goodbyes (Sri Lankan style over about half an hour) and then strolled out into that balmy Colombo night feeling slightly the worse for wear. I found my cab driver and got into his chariot.

Now I don't know about you but, as far as cabs are concerned, I'm a tourist. By that I mean that, if on my own, I'll always sit in the front passenger seat. I can't do the back seat thing unless I'm with a guest. I think, in Sri Lanka at least, that makes me a tourist, or a driver.

Well my cab driver was Barry White, the dead singer, clearly not dead as he now drives one of those 2688688 cabs in Colombo. It was him for sure. A bit heavier but the same voice, the same look and dark sunglasses too.

The lovemobile was an oldish Japanese car with tinted windows. There's a type of fellow who doesn't quite get the concept of glass. While most of us accept and understand that one of the purposes of glass is for us to be able to see through it, there are a few that just fight the principle. To them glass is just another thing to make walls from. In some societies they'd be hailed as revolutionaries and non conformists. In Sri Lanka they're usually drivers and they tint their windows so heavily that night driving becomes like one of those laser games in which you aim for the specks of light.

And that's what Barry did. He drove me to my hotel peering through the deeply tinted windscreen as if our lives depended on his ability to spot obstacles in the road, totally against all the rules of Sri Lankan driving. The only thing that mattered was his ability to spot the checkpoints, which he did. I was pleased about this as it meant we didn't get shot, always a bonus.

The journey was pleasant. Barry and I chatted as he aimed the Japmobile towards the lights, then slammed on the brakes each time a light became a bus or a building. In the best Sri Lankan cab traditions the brake discs grinded like fuckerry each time he applied the slightest pressure on the middle pedal so he reserved the braking for emergencies only, of which we had only twenty seven. That's good for a ten minute journey I reckon.

Ten minutes, twenty seven emergency stops and four checkpoints after leaving Sansoni Mansions we pulled up at my hotel. I handed over some cash to Barry and gave him a tip for which he was genuinely grateful. The thing about taking the hotel's in house cabs everywhere, which I often do out of laziness, is that the drivers are used to massive tips. Give one of the chaps a tip less than about 500 Rs and they say thank you and all those words, but they're said with derision and scorn. I blame the barmy army myself, going round befriending and spoiling the natives.

Barry was different. He was a religious man. I could tell from the cross dangling from his windscreen and some of the conversation. At times his liberal use of good quality swear words made me wonder if he might be a moonlighting priest. When I gave him his tip he said "God Bless you", shook my hand and bid me farewell as he steered the Barry/Jap/Lovemobile off into the night. I felt as if he was one of those characters in a book, one that was just passing through in this chapter but would be crucial at later stages in the story. I was wrong, I don't mind telling you that now, but that was how I felt.

I sauntered into the hotel and went up to the room to check on the girls. I half expected to catch them up watching TV in bed and eating whatever they'd ordered from room service. But, I was wrong. They were fast asleep and that meant I could slope downstairs to grab some food.

I went down and took a pew in the coffee shop. It was quite empty, unusual I thought for a Thursday night in Colombo, but fine by me. I sat down and pretended to peruse the menu. I pretended because I already knew what I wanted, but ever the Brit I wanted to be polite to the staff and make them feel that giving me a menu was worthwhile.

I looked at the waiter, he looked at me, he walked in my direction and I said to him....

To be continued...........


Middle Child said...

can't wait for part 2 .

you are hilarious btw.

Soixante Neuf said...

So we've met a dog but are yet to read about the, um, poo...

And still no sign of the lamprais although a waiter and a menu have tantalizingly appeared on the scene.......

Oh R! The suspense!!!


Ps - I love the appearance of the undead Barry White. As a cab driver no less. I'm just surprised he didn't try to seduce you with a flawless delivery of "Can't Get Enough of Your Love" in that breathy baritone of his............

Scrumpulicious said...

The dog continued to sniff around me as if I was an African going through the "nothing to declare" channel at Heathrow while my suitcase was leaking talcum powder and I smelled of old fish.

I actually laughed out loud (not that I don't usually but other people were around this time!)!

Love it!

ViceUnVersa said...

This is fantastic, I keep coming back to it.
Barry deserved his own post. You unveiled him way too early!
Nice one. :)

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Thanks all for the comments. Part 2 is under construction.