overheard

Aug. 11th, 2008 07:44 pm
devi: (thegap)
Last night in the Hobo Hideout I managed to fall asleep though there was a room party going on nearby with chatter and terrible sub-sub-ambient, sub-Chillout-Moods music. What did wake me up was the man outside my door bellowing "Guys, turn it off and go to bed. I have a fuckin´ busy day tomorrow."

It´s the real backpacker hostel deal. Poky with shared bathrooms and dog-eared posters for local activities. But not what I hoped for, lots of other travellers hanging out in the common room. I was on my own in Lima and Pucallpa, intimidated by the chaos of the places and the sense of danger into posher hotels where you don´t meet people, and now that I´ve found my feet I want to talk to someone who´s having the same experiences as me. But very few seem to be on the move at the moment. I´m spending a lot of time at the Yellow Rose, the travellers´ hangout down the street from my hostel, slouching in their comfy chairs and drinking beer in the heat of the day, but it´s hard to break into people´s twos and threes and randomly say hi.

I was there earlier, having breakfast and watching a gecko clambering around on the wall, when I saw a mini-play unfold. Two older white guys were sitting near me. One with a white buzz-cut and jungle shorts and a petulant, slightly squeaky voice; the other big and paunchy with jowls and mournful John Kerry eyebrows. The squeaky one really didn´t like Bill Grimes, who is mentioned in the guidebook as someone who runs good jungle cruises. He kept saying "in this business..." so I figured he was a rival. He monologued for easily 20 minutes about all the things Bill does wrong on his boats and at his wildlife lodge. What happens if you´re showing someone the tame anaconda, it gets skittish and you´re sued for negligence? What happens if one of the monkeys bites someone and they have to get a rabies shot? What happens if your group meet a jaguar and you haven´t got a pistol? With the shared bathroom on the boat, what if someone needs to take a screamin´ shit? The word 'irresponsible' featured a lot. He got squeakier and squeakier as he went on and on. I wondered what Bill had done to him, what petty infighting went on in the clique of macho jungle men, and reflected that he wasn´t putting me off doing one of the tours at all, considering the amount of bias wafting off his words. The other guy fidgeted and sighed, repeatedly let his eyes glaze over and then caught himself, and now and then said something equivocal which suggested he thought Squeaky was overstating matters. Quite suddenly Squeaky stood up to go. "You have a good day," said the other guy. "I will," Squeaky said emphatically. I wondered. He appeared to be the sort of person who liked to exist in a state of outrage, so it seemed unlikely.

After various men engaging me in conversation in netcafes, I have discovered that the moment when a conversation becomes creepy is when they ask where your hotel is. Saying "So you don´t want friends?" when you refuse to tell them, then saying they want to come to your hotel because their cousin works for the company you´re booked on a tour with and they want you to deliver a special letter, does not make it better and is a good time to go and do something else. This is irritating when you´re in the middle of a post.

But unlike Squeaky I do not live in a state of irritation. I love it here. And though I thought it was just a pre-storm thing, it turns out the birds flock at dusk every day, presumably to catch insects. Which is cool.
devi: (dancing)
It's been a good week, full of funny little spikes of euphoria that hit me suddenly as I'm on my bike or sitting watching TV or wherever, really. And I feel like documenting it, with a big long rambling life-update, before the sun goes down and the dancing begins.

Monday: the life cycle of the lesser spotted time-travelling policeman )

Tuesday: being dense, floating, drinking, petting (well, not really) )

Wednesday: boys in grass skirts )

Thursday: hero's welcome, shakin' that ass )

So yeah, tonight: More dancing, but different. Later I'm off to get the Oxford Tube, meet [livejournal.com profile] uon and do some trance-dancing somewhere in a tunnel under London Bridge.

All good, all very good.

yay me

Jan. 25th, 2006 09:34 pm
devi: (capsule)
A UPS delivery guy came to the house to deliver a router today. I signed for it, then he asked me to spell my name.

When I'd finished, he said "Well done."
devi: (Default)
I am closer than I've ever been to the room I have in my head. I got the first lot of my stuff back last night, from [livejournal.com profile] secretrebel's attic, and spent several glorious hours book-geeking – sorting them into categories and shelving them. Then I lit the lanterns I posted back from China and lay on the bed staring at the swirly patterns they make on the walls and thinking OMG my room is TEH COOLEST.

But today I woke up already feeling gloomy even before I was properly conscious. Yet another dark cloudy day, maybe. Or maybe it's the Red Wall oppressing me in some unconscious hardwired way. (Though I doubt it. I love the red wall.) I'm flat and uninspired and dwelling on things I shouldn't be. Even the books look weird to me. So many of them! So many words all over the walls! I'm not used to having so much stuff any more. I thought opening the boxes would be like coming home, but there was a funny undercurrent of unfamiliarity too. Like I'd broken the bond with the stuff by leaving it in an attic for seven months. Why do I have all this? I wondered.

I think I joined Oxford Freecycle at exactly the right time.

There was a girl at the bus stop the other night with her hand full of 2p pieces. She begged me to swap them for a 50p. I looked at her suspiciously even as I put my hand in my pocket, waiting for the catch. "I'm not a gyppo or nothing," she said. That word pisses me off (ever since the doctor who first shot me up with Depo-Provera said smirkingly, "We call it contraception for gyppos, you know") and I wanted to put the wind up her, so I said "What if I told you I was one?" I think she believed me. She said "Awww, bless!"

Then again, maybe being Irish and having had no fixed abode for half of last year would qualify me as one in her eyes. Who knows?

But it's great, even through the gloom I know it's great, to have a place to live again. And I know the books will come round. They're like wary pets who aren't quite sure what to make of you when you've been away a long time, but soon they'll remember me and love me again.
devi: (Default)
Scene: Cold December evening. [livejournal.com profile] bluedevi is cycling along Blackbird Leys Road. A group of LADS are walking along the footpath on the far side of the road.

LADS: Show us yer tits!
[livejournal.com profile] bluedevi: Okay.
(She stops the bike, gets off and parks it. She removes her hat, the bag slung across her, her full-length coat and scarf, then takes off her big woolly jumper and her T-shirt and unhooks her bra, putting everything in a neat pile on the grass verge.)
[livejournal.com profile] bluedevi: What do you think?
LADS (nodding): Yeah, they're tits all right.
([livejournal.com profile] bluedevi puts everything back on and cycles away.)
devi: (Default)
I was just standing by the side of the road when some guys yelled at me from a speeding car. It could have been either "Foxy!" or "Fat slag!" (Actually, considering I was in a shapeless black parka-thing with the hood up, both seem pretty unlikely.)

Sainsbury's is full of slightly panicky-looking flowers.
devi: (Default)
In other news, I've pretty much given up on Nano. I've been working late most evenings of the week, but it's not just that. I seem to have lost the knack of fast writing. I'm planning every bit before I write it, especially with the Choose Your Own Adventure story (working title Traffic Lights). And planning doesn't count towards your word count, but I don't want to dive in and write confused, badly-thought-out stuff. I remember the sheer tooth-pulling agony of turning The End of Words from a Nano-novel into a proper final draft this summer, and I don't want to knowingly write stuff I can't use.

But I've got 27k of words I didn't have before. If I could do 30k a month, I'd be finished a draft of another book by February. Maybe I'll try to do that instead?

*

A man on the tube yesterday, wild-haired and unshaven and holding a can of strong cider, was addressing the whole carriage in a thick Northern Ireland accent, barely moving his lips so that I was looking around for a long time wondering where this Ian Paisley blare was coming from. He was saying 'No' a lot, which added to the Paisley impression, and 'I'm not running away. I'm facing up.' The girl opposite him fiddled with her water bottle and looked around and shielded herself with her pink handbag. Two others moved away. He said something indistinct ending in 'words', but it wasn't till he stood up to get off that I worked it out. He was saying 'You think I'm talking to you because I want something. I don't want anything from you, just words. Words, that's all."
devi: (Default)
The aliens have clearly stolen me and replaced me with someone who can keep time. I'm in stansted with time to kill so I'm killing it at one of those kiosky things. Thank you all for your encouragement - I'd like to comment properly but typing on this thing is murder. Just two funny things before I fly off to a shed in Kerry, aka Farranfore airport, to the wedding of Cousin I Haven't Seen Since She Babysat Me:

At the check in desk they'd spelt 'Kerry' as 'Kerri'. It's like the whole county dyed its hair blonde and took up cheerleading.

And in the newsagents, right beside each other on the shelf, they were selling huge 200g bars of dairy milk and a glossy mag called 'Living With Diabetes'.


Oh, and my hair is fine.

Right, off to make sure my tiny wee plane actually has two wings...

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