Day 7: The Day My Brain Forgot
January 1st, 2010
The sun sets on 2009. It was a grand year for my photography; a lot of good things happened and they happened quickly. If you’d like to check out what I ticked off my list of things to shoot before I die, you can visit China here and SE Asia here!
I guess I didn’t take it easy last night.
What time is it? 1 o’clock? Seriously? What happened to the morning? I really don’t like New Years Eve. I want to tell anyone that will listen. Megan has been up since forever – the music – that horrible, insane music – got louder and louder until 7am, and she wants to vacate this squalid hut of stale stink. Can you blame her? I’m wearing a mustache. I don’t want to shave it, though. I’m looking more and more like Burt by the hour.
The shower isn’t sorting me out. Not surprising. The shower is a garden hose attached to a rusty head in a ditch at the base of our hut. Tell me again why we decided to do the hut thing? Someone sort this out? We had a place that overlooked the beach and the pool and now we’ve got speakers lashed to our front door and a hole in a concrete slab for a toilet. The seat is broken and digs into my butt, too. I really am not a fan of New Year’s Day, no matter what year is being rung in. My neck hurts. This is the second time I’m aching. I need to have a serious sit down with Marty and Zach and discuss issues relating to military-grade choke holds and why they are never, ever a good idea.
A burger will save my soul. I know it. And not just any burger, either; a burger from Joe’s Place, around the corner from Reggae Bar, smack dab in the middle of the madness… though on New Year’s Day it’s more of a temporary insanity than a madness. The food is not Thai but I don’t care. I couldn’t force a beer into my body if I tried so that cure-all is out. The burger is enough trouble; it weighs in at approximately four kilos and comes with an epic side of onion rings. It tastes good, but it gives me the spins and the brew sweats. I am not having a good day. Megan is chipper, though; even on two hours of sleep. This being our last full day together and all I am determined to shake off my hangover and have some fun. Determined!
Right after I take a nap. A long nap.
I want to wake up at three, pack a bag of gear and hike out to the viewpoint to watch the sunset with Megs. I’m sure my internal clock won’t let me down. When I wake up shortly after 5, I’m slightly disappointed. I feel even worse knowing that I’ve slept most of the day away, so I yank myself out of bed and we roll out into the mud flats – the sun will be gone in 30 minutes so there’s no way we can make the viewpoint – and shoot with what’s left of the light. I make maybe half a dozen frames. Whenever I lean over to compose a shot my stomach tries to escape through my ears and I have to sit down. I feel like an infant, tottering on shaky knees. It’s not a good scene. The whole world is bathed in gray as far as I can tell. Should have gone to the viewpoint. Really should have.
We want to sit down for one “fancy” one while we’re all together. We head over to the other side of the island, the place where people spend five times as much on a package holiday to do things half as fun, and scour the available concessions. I’d be happy with street food at this point – anything quick and greasy – but I guess a steak and or rock lobster has a certain kind of appeal. A certain kind of appeal to everyone but Zach, apparently. I thought I was rough today, but GI Joe is worse. I’ve never seen a man order a steak, take one look at it and retire to his bamboo hut on the beach. Never. Couldn’t imagine doing it myself. In fact, when we find out that the lobsters are overpriced and undergrown we overcompensate with enormous servings of steak, mashed potatoes and mushroom soup. Big piles. This doesn’t mean the meal is especially good; it’s not, in fact. I’ve had better at VIPS on a Wednesday night in Suwon. Sadly, it’s the first time on the trip I’ve thought that Thai cooking isn’t up to snuff. Thais make better burgers than the Americans, better curries than the Indians and better meatballs than the Swedish, but they can’t do much with 72oz. of Canadian beef. Long live the grill.
We split up for some solo/duo adventuring – Kevan has “something” he wants to take care of, Marty has to apologize to Sue for being Marty and the girls want to see a bit of the island. Who knows what Phil has going on in that mind of his… Megan and I explore the shops and the bars and the huts and this and that, though we don’t buy much more than aspirin and water. Then it’s back to the hut where, mercifully, Jack Johnson has taken center stage from Daft Punk and he will go on to work through his entire discography before sunrise. I pack my gear for the long journey and begin to dread saying goodbye.
Shooting Day 7:
© 2010 Flash Parker