Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Because I have a spare 20 MINS FOR LUNCH and need to regain my sense of humour I have copied "down a day in the life of"

(Please note names, places and acts of stupidity have been censored to protect .... well... me)

Well armed with the just enough knowledge to get into trouble and not enough to get out of trouble..

A rude awakening by the telephone alerted me that all was not well at one of our outstations
So at sparrows fart, Saturday morning I set off for a kampung (village) that which sounds like a BBQ but is really little more than a flooding hole in the ground about three hours from my present abode.

Unfortunately, the plan starts to come apart the moment I get to the car. The "Padang Princess" who so cheerfully announced the previous evening "I have locked the car for you" forgot to mention that she had also secured the keys inside the vehicle as well.

Not one to let a minor setback get me down.. a rambling thought to a misspent youth had me quick as flash probing the window with a bent coat hanger .."mere minutes thinks I and awayyyyy we go" One hour later and 5 broken coat hangers inside the car door, the lack of quality of which explains all those clothes lying on the bottom of my closet (and all this time I thought I was being a bit lazy in my drunken stupors)..finally the door pops open.

Away I go.....roaring down the road at 30Kms an hour ..hmmm I had forgotten today was the big day of the religious holiday. Today is the day where everyone is duty bound to meet the relatives, so out of a population of 220 Million, 50% were going the same place I was, the other 50% were heading the other way (but still on my side of the road).

Of course, it has since occurred to me as one of life's great mystery's if everybody is on the road who the HELL are they visiting!!!! (the other great mystery is ..why does everyone like sitting in the front of a plane when no plane has ever backed into a mountain).

Progressing along, flicking errant motor cycle riders off the windscreen with a deft flick of the wiper washer (don't leave the wipers on too long or they smear across the windscreen). It was now approaching 11am so feeling a bit peckish and reverting to the early morning plan of some breakfast on the way, another minor hitch develops !!! Everything is closed (did I mention the whole country is traveling on motor bikes to meet one another) but dedication and persistence finally a road side stall is found to which the standard answer every question is "Sudah Habis" or "Already Finished"

Back on the road, gulping down my 1/2 kilo bag of unroasted peanuts which I managed to swap for a down payment on someone's house (expensive Pak, its holiday time). I should add at this time, that no matter how hungry you are 1/2 kilo of peanuts cannot be made to taste like coffee, bacon and eggs. But feeling much better with a feed singing along to the music and the dulcet tones of five broken coat hangers inside the car door and the scenery flashes past and pulling over for the odd hoodlum on his push bike who wants to pass us.

Arrive my desitatation, after passing the detailed and intensive examinations from the local security service.." Di mana Pak (where you wanna go Mister)" Answer " Di sana (over there)" ."Ok Pak."....

Now this intensive security checking is truly impressive when you later notice that at no time did the security guard actually have to stop looking at the TV blaring in the background..multi tasking ..bill gates you are not in the race.

Its now been 4.5 hours on the road but have arrived..Meet a friend at the new location

"Hi, the service crew here yet" (we had some lads go down earlier, whilst I was playing Uri Geller with the coat hangers).

"Yep down the road"

Off down the road, and but its flooded.

Wade thru the boot deep mud (is it a cosmic plan that no matter how high the sides of my boots are, the mud is 1 cm deeper, there must be a "da vince code for this), to the side of the "lake".

See our lads on a pontoon in the middle of the "lake"

"So how do I get on?" casting my eyes around (and that hurts) in vain for the dingy.

" Pull the Rope Pak" ..Oh top plan.. so after 20 minutes of reeling in a the pontoon from the middle of the lake to the shore, I finally land the bugger!!! it was a tough fight but these local road crossing pontoons are known as the Barracuda of pontoons on light tackle. In fact, I didn't quite land it, 6m short of the shore it ran aground, well armed with the advice from our crew "its best if you take you boots off and wade out, its not deep" . I sally forth.

So out into the lake I venture. It is at this point, I should point out there are certain things that, by rights should set alarm bells ringing
1. The cheques in the mail !
2. Its not deep !!

I should also add we wear boots because the mud has sharp edges but its ok it didn't hurt. Luckily, when leeches smell the blood and bite they have a leave natural anaesthetic. This is a sneaky ploy by the leeches, so you don't know you are being sucked dry (this is also the principle women employ when raiding your wallet whilst you are watching the football). It is also known as Einsteins "law of life sucks" or "for each and every shitty thing that happens to you an equal and opposite shitty thing will happen to you again"

Now the statement "its not deep" may well be true that for the average guy here weighting 50kg wringing wet. However, with my 100kg of winter conditioning about 3M from shore (I think aircraft carrier pilots call it the point on no return) it occurred to me that I was breaking thru the crust under the water. Suddenly it was getting considerably deeper than I had planned (It also occurred to me at this time that it would have been smarter if I had left my phone, wallet and smokes on the bank).

Oh well bite the bullet, I will swim for it..oops did I mention I was now knee deep in mud and sinking, so swimming was the next best option short of sprouting wings. Of course, I was now better anchored than the Queen Mary at dockside. Pulling my leg from the mud (notice the singular because three weeks ago had a knee operation so the other leg was not going any where, which lead to swimming in circles. Finally I crawled, swam, sluttered and coughed myself to the pontoon, dignity intact (??) ready for action.

More next why am I here..

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