Maybe it was the hair...maybe it reminded it of its long lost mother...either way, there was a giant spider on my head today. As big as my hand. It ran across my face and at first I thought it was one of my braids so I brushed it off. Then it ran right across my face again, over my eye and its body blotted out the sun for a fraction of a second. Long enough for me to realize what it was. I screamed and swatted at my head. Eventually it jumped off (leaped maybe) and ran under the back tire of a jeep. I'm not really scared of spiders in general but I was a little jumpy for the rest of the day!
Ko Phagnan isn't exactly what I expected (are you surprised? I wasn't.) It could just be the full moon party at the end of the week, but there is an entirely different cast of characters on this island. Brent is a good example...we met Brent this morning on our way up the hill from our guesthouse (which is a shithole, but that's another story). Brent is from Washington D.C and has been travelling for 3 months..."It's been a total mind trip ya know? I forget English all the time now and like, talking to fellow Americans (Canadians, but why be petty?) it's like totally blowin' my mind..." Ditto.
Brent has a shoulder that he can't move because he drove his rented motorbike into a ditch while trying to ride down a mountain drunk. Brent has lost 15 pounds because he stopped eating a few weeks ago and now only drinks beer. He has two Thai "girlfriends" (and an extra at home but "she's Indonesian so she understands what it's like"...hmmm) one of whom can only say two words in English - "Yes" and "fucking". How appropriate. Brent is a 4.0 student in an honours business program at the American University...or at least he was, until he started doing drugs all day long and now says he needs to go home and get tested for every STD known to man. Nice. Brent also says we "should totally come out and party at the Amsterdam bar tonight...I guarantee you (this is said with a very earnest expression) it will blow your mind."
I am reading Are You Experienced? (by William Sutcliffe) right now, it's about a young guy traveling India and the things he sees and the people he meets. Brian read it too, passed it to me when he was done and said "That's how I feel" I thought the least I could do was read it. It's quite good and pretty funny...and the character, Dave, is acidic if a bit sad. He's lost and isn't buying all the hippie BS he encounters from fellow travelers, who are all carrying around the book (Lonely Planet). At one point his friend throws the book out the train window and Dave nearly has a heart attack..."But, how will we find all the other travelers?" My favourite part is when Dave goes running up to the only other white face on a train platform...it's a journalist from Reuters. The journalist berates him: "Your kind of travel is all about low horizons dressed up as open-mindedness. You have no interest in India, and no sensitivity for the problems this country is trying to face up to," and ends up shouting: "DON'T FORGET TO PUT YOUR BIG TRIP DOWN ON THE CV!" I thought that was pretty funny.