Continued from here, aka Part One.
I looked at the waiter, he looked at me, he walked in my direction and I said to him.....
"I'll have a lamprais and a bottle of Lion Lager please"
Now, over here in London, a night out or even a night in, is often accompanied by a curry. Curry has become the most popular food in the country and it's relatively cheap and highly accessible. I can walk out of my house and there are two curry houses in the parade of shops at the end of my street, about thirty seconds walk away. In an average high street Indian curry house here you can get a rice, a curry and a vegetable dish for about ten pounds, less if you're in Southall or Brick Lane or somewhere similar.
So, for me to be in Sri Lanka, even in a five star hotel, the prices are still cheap, even though I'm aware that they're expensive by local standards.
This is part of the dilemna of a Sudda in Sri Lanka. I mean a diasporic Sudda like me, not a normal tourist one. A normal tourist one just swans around their hotel, paying 500 Rs for a lamprais and marvelling at how cheap Sri Lankan things are. A diasporic one, like moi, continually struggles to deal with the knowledge that 500 Rs for a lamprais is totally over the top by Sri Lankan standards, yet it's the price of a dodgy prawn sandwich in London.
I just ordered the thing anyway. The tough battle going on in my head between conscience and hunger was fading off into the distance and being overtaken by beer and things. Hunger was winning the battle anyway. It was a no brainer and rice and curry was involved, well a lamprais was involved, something that I consider to be about one step away from an orgasm in terms of pleasure. If they could make orgasms that you could tidy up by folding the leaf over then they'd be up to the level of lamprais. Until then I'll have a lamprais please.
The chap returned with my beer and I sat there as happy as a man can be. A cold beer, that lightheaded and merry feeling, a lamprais on its way, the girls tucked up and fast asleep upstairs and me in Colombo. Things can't really be much better for me, all that was missing was Britney Spears and a drum kit.
Then it happened. I smelt something, slightly unpleasant. It didn't seem to be a big deal. I looked around me and couldn't see anything that might have caused the smell. I sniffed again. What was it? (you've probably realised by now)
There are only two things in the world that smell like this. My eyes, now in a state of high alert and as sharp as a conversation with Barrack Obama, looked everywhere but I couldn't see a Durian. I hoped that there'd be one on the seat next to me, perhaps smuggled in by a chap and unnoticed by the staff. Maybe Java had hidden one in one of my pockets earlier. I checked but there was no sign anywhere.
My mind, that powerful weapon that many are so envious of, came to its conclusion. If you're a regular around here you'll know about my incredible speed of thinking. You'll understand that it only took me about five minutes to deduce all of this.
Dog shit. Somewhere in the immediate vicinity. Fuck. Bollocks. I had to do the obvious. I checked my Converse (s). There it was, on the left one. It was hardened and drying, which was good. It wasn't covering the entire sole, which was also good. It was dog poo, I was in a restaurant and about to eat. Not good.
To tread in dog poo when you're at home is one thing. Most people would go and remove the offending shoe, perhaps after shooting the offending dog, chuck it in a garage or a garden or something, the shoe that is, not the dog, then carry on with their life with the good intention of cleaning the shoe at some point in the next ten years.
When you're on holiday and staying in a hotel it's a different ball game altogether. I felt as if I was standing in a meteor shower and the things comings at me were problems, dog shit and holiday and converse (s) flavoured problems. It's weird because, even though I've watched a lot of Star Trek (Jean Luc and James T) I've never actually stood in a meteor shower, not even a golden shower for that matter.
As Cerno would say. Vut to doo? I couldn't run up to my room and change footwear. That would leave a number two encrusted Allstar (cutoffs) in the room with the girls. Germs would be everywhere and I wouldn't be able to sleep or wear clothes for fear of contamination.
I was in a hotel so the option of removing the shoe and chucking it somewhere out of the way wasn't viable either. I contemplated asking one of the staff if they might "look after my problem" for me. I was sure that they would have done it for a price and I was sure that the price would be worth it, but couldn't go through with that option.
Taking off my shoe wouldn't work either. The staff would all look at me and smell the evidence.
The lamprais was about to arrive and I couldn't reject that could I, certainly not without appearing to be ill. Or worse, English.
Whilst my head was still computing all the information, with the speed of a ZX Spectrum, the lamprais, complete with waiter, turned up.
"There you are Sir" said the voice.
Mmmm... a talking lamprais I thought, how clever. But I digress.
The lamprais was placed in front of me. I was ravenously hungry, like an, erm raven I guess. I could smell that warmish lamprais smell, of the rice and the assortment of curries that these fellows bung in there. The leaf had the rather sexy slightly oily sheen to it. It's a special sheen. It makes the mouths of members of the Sri Lankan diaspora, those reading this, salivate and pine.
Over here we get these tins of paint. They're white paint but with a very slight tint to them. So people might by "hint of peach" which will be white paint with a very slight peachy tint to it, or they might grab a can of "hint of apple" because they want their front room to be white but to feel a touch warmer than it would if it were just plain white. Apologies for the rather patronising explanation but I don't know if you get them in Lanka or not.
The reason I tell you about the paint is that it's a good comparison or simile or metaphor about what I was going through. The lamprais was sitting there and steaming away in front of me, with all of its aromas. But it was like being in a room painted "hint of apple". Only my room was painted in a new colour that may not make it to market. I call it "Lamprais with hint of dog shit".
It's fundamentally a gorgeous and appetising aroma, just with that hint of doggie excrement going on in the background. It made me contemplate my plan of action for a nanosecond, perhaps a millisecond if I'm honest. But I knew what I had to do. I knew that I had to eat, enjoy and savour the lamprais. I knew I had to use this as a learning experience and that it would make me a better man. I knew that I couldn't waste a lamprais.
But I wouldn't want you, particularly if you're my stalker, to think of me as a man with no scruples, a savage with no sense of hygiene, the type of bloke who doesn't get out of the shower to have a pee. I casually mentioned to the still hovering waiter that I was just going to the toilet. I nipped off to the mens' room and washed my hands, up to the elbows actually, most thoroughly. And I used soap.
Then I returned to my table and went for it. I used every ounce of my willpower and positive thinking to focus on the enjoyment I was feeling through my taste buds, not the smell that wafted up from my Converse (left side) every so often. I did enjoy the food too. I drank my beer and finished up quickly. Dessert isn't usually anything more than a waste of stomach space as far as I'm concerned. Decidedly un Sri Lankan man I know, but I like to go against the norm.
I paid, tipped and went up to my room. The cleaning operation was about to begin.
Luckily the girls were still fast asleep when I got there. There was nowhere to leave the offending Allstar so I knew I had to clean the thing in preparation for the next day of frantic Odel browsing. I went into the bathroom and turned on the shower, there was one of those special poo washing shower things so I used that, figuring that poo is poo and, even though the thing is designed to wash the poo off a chap's arse after a clingon, cleaning dog mess off a Converse wasn't too far from the inventor's original idea.
I had taken my shirt off, it's one of my favourites and I didn't want it to get ruined. I thought, in a rare moment of self adulation, that the scene could have been one from a slightly weird porn film. A chap's muscular torso, stripped to the waist and cleaning dog poo off a trainer. The market for these films might be limited but perhaps I could sell them to those people that will be queuing up to buy the new paint I'll be bringing out soon. I'll probably have to reshoot the scene when my stomach's not swollen by lamprais and beer as well.
The cleaning operation was successful and I managed it without the need of my hands, just the force of the water and its heat was sufficient. I ended up doing it in my pants (the new flowery ones from Odel) as there was too much rebound of water to start with. Fine tuning as you go is part of the process.
Then I chucked the thing out on the balcony to dry during the night. I half expected crows, or men, to steal it in the night. They didn't. I cleaned up thoroughly. I gave the shower a shower and washed myself as if I was due out on a hot date with a smart and sexy woman, like Paris Hilton, Amy Winehouse or Celine Dion.
Then I slept.
As I imagine all the male commenters on 69's blog would love to say to her.
Sorry that it was so long, but it's all real.